Z-Wave vs. Matter: battle of the smart home standards.

Matter's key benefit is that it's focussed on ease of installation and purchasing. Z-Wave has long been focussed on providing a complete automation system. One is brand new, the other has been the amongst the most broadly deployed solutions since 2009. But when it comes to Matter versus Z-Wave, which standard wins?

matter versus z-wave

In the following table, we compare the two best chips for Matter and Z-Wave Plus from leading chip-developers Silicon Labs. We have to caution that it's not a complete comparison - while 800 series Z-Wave products all benefit from using one, high-end chip, not all Matter devices will. There'll be multiple types of Matter chips and modules, each with different capabilities and performance. In short - all Z-Wave Plus devices are born equal, the same cannot be said for Matter devices.

 MatterZ-Wave Plus V2
Key aimEase of choice and installation despite different wireless chips in Matter products aimed at 'simplifying smart home' for end users.All-in-one automation standard inclusive of automation, security, and network management translated into higher-quality performance.
Hub requiredYes, necessary for quality automation. Inclsuive of Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod.
Note that Thread and Matter try to market that you need a 'Border Router Gateway' and not a hub; they're effectively the same thing.
Yes, necessary for quality automation. Inclusive of Atrim Stick.
Underlying architectureThread
Some Zigbee device profiles additionally compatible and ported into Matter standard. Matter is, essentially, an application running on top of Thread.
Complete systemNoYes
First releaseMatter 1.0 delayed since 20211999
Chip comparedEFR32MG24
Backwards compatibilityNo
Most existing Thread and Zigbee devices cannot be upgraded to Matter as they lack memory for both 802.15.4 functionality and a secure enclave for security certificates.
All editions of Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus.
Protocol supportVaried
EFR32MG24 can be flashed to work with BLE, Bluetooth mesh, Matter, OpenThread, Proprietary 2.4 GHz code, and Zigbee or to have multiprotocol support. Such support unlikely to be open to end-users.
Z-Wave Plus V2
Local processingYes, hub dependentYes, hub dependent
Simplified setupOptional, via Bluetooth, NFC, and QR codesYes, SmartStart
Device-to-device controlYesYes
Energy consumption meteringNoYes
Wireless Performance
Frequency2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi band)
Can communciate via Wi-Fi and IEEE 802.15.4. Interruption and slow performance from signal interference possible.
Varies by region
Sub-GHz band avoids most common cause of interference.
Signal interruptionMore; expect all the issues of weak / lost Wi-Fi signalsLess; signals encounter far less interference than Matter
Data relayYesYes
Max. # connected devices~250232 in relay mode, 4,000 in star network
Max. wireless range (Relay)TBD401 metres
1,316 feet
Max. wireless range (Star network)TBD2.41 kilometres
1.5 miles
Z-Wave Long Range products only
Battery lifeTBDMax. 10 years
Hardware Platform
CPU / MCU32-bit ARM® Cortex M3332-bit ARM® Cortex M33
CPU / MCU Speed78 MHz78 MHz
RAMUp to 256 kB64 kB
Flash MemoryUp to 1536 kB512 kB
Operating voltage1.71 to 3.8 V1.8 to 3.8 V
Operating ambient temperature-40 to 125°C-40 to 125°C
Chipset dimensions6 x 6 mm6.5 x 6.5 mm
Unique device IDsYesYes
Public key (PKI) certificate managementYesYes, ECDH based
Secure VaultYes, optionalYes, optional

Last updated: 29 July 2022