Once considered a futuristic pipe dream that only appeared in far out cartoons such as The Jetsons, home automation has morphed into a mainstream consumer niche.
By taking technology principles from building automation, home automation product and system designers provide families with enhanced convenience, comfort and most important, energy efficiency.
Home automation provides the elderly and disabled homeowners with improved quality of lives that reduces reliance on other people. Smartphone and tablet connectivity have prompted further interest in home automation products.
VeraLite and VeraEdge leverage smartphone and tablet connectivity to help homeowners save monthly on monthly energy bills, as well as buttress home security. The home controllers send messages to you via your smartphone or tablet to keep you apprised of what is going on inside of your home.
While VeraLite and VeraEdge share several home controller features, the two products differ in a number of ways. By understanding the features of each home controller, you should be able to make an informed decision on which home controller works best for your home.
The Key Features of the VeraLite
The VeraLite home controller defies the stereotype of highly complex home automation products that put a huge dent in the family budget. Many home automation experts consider VeraLite to be the most affordable home controller on the market.
Here are the noteworthy VeraLite features:
- Manages up to 70 connected devices
- Plug and play through an Internet connection
- Receives customized text message for any home automation issue
- Controls over 900 smart home products
- Powerful Z-Wave (“wireless”) home control all in one box
- Extended indoor and outdoor range
- Choose from dozens of world renowned certified device partners, such as Honeywell, GE Jasco, Leviton, and Yale
VeraLite home controller provides tremendous portability, which allows you to take the home controller to work and on road trips. It essentially becomes a personal assistant for busy professionals who have neither the time or focus to monitor home electronics products.
In addition to portability, VeraLite provides homeowners with several benefits. Although affordability sits at the top of the benefits list, other benefits make the home controller one of the most popular home automation products on the market.
VeraLite watches every inch of your home to ensure airtight home security. The home controller manages surveillance cameras, controls door locks and sends important alerts. Some alerts simply inform you of a package delivered by UPS, while other alerts inform you of damage caused by a violent thunderstorm.
VeraLite controls energy consumption by providing you with month-by-month settings of the home thermostat. You can also use the home controller remotely to change energy settings.
VeraLite controls lights, entertainment systems, and electronic appliances. Whenver you bring a new electronics product home, VeraLite quickly adds the component to the home automation system.
Easy to set up by plugging into a WiFi network, VeraLite allows you to reap the benefits of home automation right away. With its price (see this listing), you also receive the VeraLite controller, power supply, Ethernet cable, four AA batteries, and an easy to read quick start guide.
Key Features of the VeraEdge
Homeowners who can afford to spend a little more money for enhanced home security and energy efficency should consider purchasing the VeraEdge home controller.
For the price (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), you receive the VeraEdge home controller, along with an Ethernet cable and power supply. You also benefit from the following features:
- Compatible with a wider variety of devices, including over 1200 Z-Wave devices
- Controls over 220 devices
- WPS easy push button pairing for Wi-Fi devices
- Multi camera viewer dashboard and camera hot zone motion detection
- One-touch control of the entire home automation system
- View cameras and control devices from one app
- Control home automation system from any smartphone or tablet
- Intuitive setup with simple Q&A format
- Add devices by working with preconfigured settings
- No monthly fees required
VeraEdge allows users to control home automation systems from any Android or iOS mobile devices. The home controller includes geofencing, which is a tool that provides you with information on who arrives and leaves your home based on detecting cell phone locations.
Customized automation prompts the home automation system to adjust for sunrise, sunset, and other environmental triggers. VeraEdge sends notifications whenever the smoke alarm goes off (sensors must be purchased separately).
Recently added energy management features report daily, monthly, and yearly household energy consumption, as well as display dashboard energy statistics that help homeowners stay on top of energy costs.
VeraEdge comes equipped with the cutting edge Vera UI7 app to guide you through installation of the home controller.
Advantages of the VeraEdge
VeraEdge provides homeowners and small business owners with the capability to lock doors, turn off lights, change the thermostat setting, and set the alarm by touching one button.
Convenience also includes the peace of mind from knowing when your children arrive home and by monitoring your small business from the comfort of the living room sofa.
The high-end home controller automatically changes thermostat and light settings to consume energy only when family members are home. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors built into the home controller eliminate the need to purchase costly separate units.
The flexibility to add cameras and window sensors at any time make VeraEdge one of the most adaptable home controllers on the market.
Most importantly, The VeraEdge offers 2x the RAM and a significantly faster processor than the VeraLite and has built-in native WiFi support.
The VeraEdge may run you a bit extra in terms of cost. I’d recommend checking out this listing for the latest pricing.
Tale of the Home Controller Tape: Features Compared Head-to-Head
Home automation has come along way, as Vera’s two home controllers prove by offering homeowners a wide variety of features and benefits. The best choice between VeraLite and VeraEdge depends on your buying criteria, as well as the comparison of features and benefits.
|Manages up to 200 connected devices||Manages over 220 devices; double the RAM and a slightly faster CPU|
|Controls over 900 smart home products||Compatible with a wider variety of devices, including over 1200 Z-Wave devices|
|Receive customized text message for any home automation issue||Receive customized text message for any home automation issue|
|Z-Wave home control all in one box||One-touch control of the entire home automation system WITH WiFi capability as well as Z-Wave|
|Intuitive setup with simple Q&A format||Intuitive setup with simple Q&A format|
|(see here for latest)||Recently discounted here|
|Includes controller, power supply, Ethernet cable, four AA batteries, and easy to read quick start guide||Includes controller, Ethernet cable, and U17 installation app|
|Provides security alerts||Provides security, smoke detection (sensors purchased separately), and energy consumption alerts|
|Requires homeowner to manually reconfigure settings||Automatically adjusts settings to account for home occupancy and environmental changes.|
The best way to comparison shop the two home controllers involves creating a small chart that lists the features you want for controlling your home automation system. Place a check mark in one of the two home controller boxes for each feature.
Count the number of check marks and home controller that has the most check marks wins the comparison battle. However, some homeowners place more emphasis on certain features.
If you fall into the weighted feature category, you have to add more points for certain features to decide which home controller is the best option for your home automation system.
Conclusion: Which is the Better Value?
Vera Home automation manufactures both the VeraLite and Vera Edge home controller. Consumers can expect similar high quality performance that ensures home security and energy efficency.
Budget conscious shoppers may prefer the VeraLite price, which falls below the cost of the VeraEdge home controller. However, the extra spent on VeraEdge includes several additional features that provide more home security and energy efficiency benefits.
UPDATE: 10/8/15 – The Vera Edge is now available for essentially the same price as the VeraLite. Right now, you can check the latest discounted pricing here.
VeraEdge controls and manages more devices than the devices controlled and managed by VeraLite. The expanded coverage is especially important for small business owners that do not want to invest in a costly security system, but still want many of the same security features and benefits.
VeraEdge gives homeowners more convenience by automatically changing settings to account for security and environmental changes.
VeraLite owners must manually reconfigure settings to change security and energy efficency parameters. VeraEdge issues more alerts that include smoke detection and energy consumption.
The verdict for which home controller works best for you depends on what you list for your home automation requirements. The more criteria that you need to control and manage your home, the more likely that VeraEdge represents the best home controller option.
UPDATE: With the prices now being essentially equal, I don’t see any reason NOT to go with the VeraEdge over the VeraLite. See below for the latest pricing.
Thanks for the review Patrick. I’ve used x10 controls in my house for years but have always had communication issues across the legs in the house. After my kitchen outlet that powers my coffee make gave up the ghost I started looking for an alternative. Finally learning about Zwave communication and looking at products at Lowes and Home Despot, I went to the internet to see what if really available and what the costs are. Your comparison has convinced me which controller I’m going to purchase. Again, Thanks! 🙂
Patrick Sinclair says
Glad to help! If you have the inclination, I’d be happy to hear what you think after using for a few weeks/months. Every home has nuances to it. You never know what can help other prospective owners.
Hi Patrick. I’ve been involved with the residential electronics/home automation industry since the early 1990’s (real “eye of newt, wing of bat” magic back then). I currently run an Edge and a Lite. The Edge is the best controller I’ve seen so far in terms of flexibility. It can be hot-rodded to an extent that other controllers cannot. But, it is probably not the easiest controller for inexperienced users to warm up to. I use a VeraLite running UI5 (the older version of the interface) as a controller for robotic relays that operate water shut-off valves and the like. The UI5 interface is not “officially” supported any longer, but it is rock solid, well documented, and works at geek level with a lot of excellent plug-ins. So for critical applications it is a great choice.
In short, I let the Lite handle the critical stuff (behind a VLAN) and push the Edge to the edge
Patrick Sinclair says
Alex – this approach makes a lot of sense. The Lite is nearing the end of it’s life cycle and the Edge is virtually the same price (now). For those who are technically inclined, I’m leaning towards the Edge. Your system – however – sounds like the ideal marriage. Not for the faint of heart, I’m sure…
Richard Spear says
I have been very happy with my VeraLite until recently when I could no longer control the120 VAS plugs I used to mainly control our Christmas tree lights. Just after updating my VeraLite I received an error message indicating that “Can’t detect device” for each of the plugs, I purchased and installed new Z-wave plugs and after paring them to the controller I installed them. The new plugs worked when they were next to the controller but after I installed them I received the same message “Can’t detect device”. The controller is located in the same place and in the same orientation as when all the devices were working.
Is it reasonable to thing the VeraLite controller is the problem and should be replaced? The controller is between three and four years old.
Thanks in advance for your time and help.
Patrick Sinclair says
Richard, without being there to mess around with it, it’s hard to diagnose from a far. My sense is that it may be worth upgrading anyway, due to the new features. Vera is going to be migrating new customers towards the Edge anyway. I’d also check out their forums which have been very helpful to me in the past.