One of the UK based company specialising in smart home products or home automation is LightwaveRF. Compared to other firms in the same industry, LightwaveRF appears to be in the middle ground when it comes to the products they offer. They offer a lot lesser sensors compared to SmartThings. But on the other hand, they offer a lot more sockets and switches to allow homeowners to fully integrate the home automation system into their home, completely transforming every house into a smart home. It may seem to be a less comprehensive system compared to Z-wave, but it’s also a cheaper and easier option.
LightwaveRF home automation system mainly focuses on three key areas, Lighting, Heating and Power, then a control unit that will serve as the central command centre of the system. To be able to understand how this state of the art technology works, here is a brief explanation of each section and the devices needed to get started automating your home with LightwaveRF.
The Main Command Centre – Control
LightwaveRF Web Link is the key of this home automation system; it serves as the central control unit of the entire network. Considered to be the brains of the whole Lightwave operation, this device is the most crucial piece that every LightwaveRF Home Automation must have. Priced at £65.50 on Amazon, it is a much cheaper option compared to Z-Wave Home Centre Lite which is £225 and the SmartThings Hub which is £100.
The Web Link device is attached to a wireless broadband router to allow you instant control over your lighting, heating and electrical devices from any part of the world, as long as you have internet access.
The LightwaveRF Web Link Features:
- Manage and control home Lighting, Power and Heating from anywhere using web-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, iPhones, iPads or computers
- Set up and store lighting and heating schedules the will perfectly fit your lifestyle
- Monitor and analyse your energy consumption through web-enabled devices and reduce your electricity bills
- Enhance or boost your home security when you are away
- Create and save personalised profiles for every room
Setting up or installing the LightwaveRF Web Link is a pretty quick and easy process. It is plug and play type of device that you will only need to connect to your broadband router using the provided Ethernet cable. Plug it in for power then wait for it to self-configure for a few minutes then it’s ready to go!
Once the Web Link is set up, all you have to do is to download the free LightwaveRF App from Google Play or App Store. The app features a user-friendly interface that allows you to monitor your energy consumption and manage your home lighting, heating and power.
The LightwaveRF home lighting range is a variety of smart dimmer switches that can be managed or controlled using wire-free switches, handheld remote controls or manually on the dimmers themselves. They can also be operated or remotely controlled via the LightwaveRF free App. This range of retrofit dimmer switches is very quick and easy to install, they use existing home wiring circuits, and they also fit into the standard 35mm back box commonly used in homes. No need for complex processes and extra wires.
The dimmer switches feature a stylish high-end design that comes in stainless steel, white, chrome and black chrome finishes to fit the room’s design.
LightwaveRF Dimmer switches are attractive high-end devices that are pretty easy to install. The One-Gang Wireless Controller from LightwaveRF will cost you around £20, compared to a complete unit of Z-Wave that cost from £32 all the way £72 for a two-button glass switch. Lightwave switches are more attractive and stylish; they look more expensive despite the price. Other Z-Wave products are even more expensive, while SmartThings does not offer any switch solution at all.
With regards to functionality, LightwaveRF can be more inferior compared to Z-Wave due to the absence of various sensors Z-wave has. However, LightwaveRF offers a variety of additional or extra devices to make up for functionality. They offer LightwaveRF enabled bulbs that enable you to directly control the bulb, making the implementation of the system easier.
Power and Energy
Power, the area where LightwaveRF excels in comparison to other home automation products. Maybe because it is a company based in the UK.
LightwaveRF sockets are designed to provide a seamless look to the installation, a much cleaner look compared to other solutions that require ugly adapters to be plugged into the existing sockets. Although adaptors are easier means, replacing a power socket is an easy process to undertake that offers a more attractive look. It also eliminates some issues with bulky adaptors blocking sockets or getting knocked out that may lead to property damages. It’s also better practical choice since SmartThings offers a single socket adapter for £44.99 against the £27.50 dual socket from LightwaveRF. It clearly shows that SmartThings is a very expensive choice if you are to use their sockets on your entire house.
Home Heating System
LightwaveRF offers a thorough home heating system. It has a thermostat, a boiler switch, radiator valves magnetic triggers and electric switches used for electric radiators. A very thorough home heating system that allows you to set personalised heating profiles that perfectly suits your preference and lifestyle.
The boiler switch along with thermostat will allow you to directly control the boiler to provide a smart temperature control. Then the TRVs are attached to the radiator for direct radiator control. Pretty straightforward. However, magnetic triggers are the interesting addition in this system. These magnetic triggers are devices that can be attached to windows or door frames. When these triggers detect that a window or a door is open, they will automatically relay the information to LightwaveRF TRVs to turn down the radiator temperature. A simple device that offers a great feature to help save energy.
LightwaveRF home heating system, offers maximum efficiency and optimum performance, but it faces stiff competition. The UK has a huge smart heating market, and it currently has a lot of heating systems such as Hive, Tado, Next, Heat Genius and much more. A large number of these systems available in the market are arguably better compared to the heating system that LightwaveRF offers. However, LightwaveRF is a cheaper option to implement compared to other smart heating systems in the market. Heat Genius is the only heating system that integrated TRVs with radiators, and they offer a basic price is an astonishing £250, excluding the £60 price per TRV. While Nest and Tado are priced at £200, LightwaveRF basic installation is priced £100. Then it clearly shows that the Lightwave system is an affordable way for implementing an efficient smart home heating system.
Overall Thoughts About LightwaveRF
One of the biggest issues about LightwaveRF is the lack of sensors that can be used as home automation triggers. Sensors like the Z-Wave Motion or Multi-Sensor by Fibro as well as motion detection by PIR. Devices that can detect light levels and sense temperature all in one. Sensors that can detect movement from the house and automatically trigger lighting, heating and power. However, having sensitive sensors like this can be very expensive. They can improve the system, and they can offer a lot of great opportunities for automation, but they can also increase the cost and make the system very expensive.
Although LightwaveRF lacks in sensors, it is still possible that they add them in the future. The system has magnetic triggers that can be used in conjunction with the heating system, though. With extensive planning and a little creativity, LightwaveRF devices can be used and personalised to achieve the system preferred.
LightwaveRF is home automation system that has the best plug socket in the UK, compared to other systems that use bulky and ugly adapters as there plug sockets. The Lightwave system designs their products to provide clean installation and provide a seamless look.
We can’t say that LightwaveRF is the best home automation system in the smart home industry, but one thing is for sure. It is an affordable way to implement an efficient and reliable home automation system that features quick and easy installation. A very straightforward modular system to set up that you can expand.