Leviton VRCS1-1LZ - 1-Button Zone Z-Wave Controller

Good, But Better Options Exist
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Leviton VRCS1-1LZ is a Z-Wave button controller that serves two main functions. It can serve as an in-wall Z-Wave Switch for operating the Z-Wave devices and executing smart scenes. The other function is that it can serve as a 3-way switch for multi-pole setups alongside other Leviton Z-Wave in-wall switches. Although the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ was a very good device at its time of release, it has since been replaced by more advanced Z-Wave Plus devices. As such, it as been discontinued, and new models are no longer available. But if you have an existing Leviton VRCS1-1LZ, or if you come across a used model somewhere, then it should still work fine. All things considered, we give the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ 4 Stars.

There are some things we like about the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ. For one, we like its versatility. The device can be used as an in-wall switch for activating Z-Wave scenes. This is pretty convenient if you want to have multiple devices respond to a single input. The other purpose of this device is that it can be used as a pairing switch for other Leviton In-Wall Z-Wave Switches. This can allow for a multi-pole setup, in which multiple switches control one lighting load. Other benefits for the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ include the fact that it is easy to install and use, as well as the fact that it comes with multiple faceplates for added customization.

The biggest downside to the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ is the fact that it is discontinued and can no longer be purchased new. It is also fairly limited in terms of compatibility, as you will really only use it with certain Leviton devices and as a Z-Wave scene controller. The fact that this is just a standard Z-Wave device is also a downside. You will not be able to take advantage of the extended range of Z-Wave Plus, even if you have a Z-Wave Plus hub. If you are looking to establish a new setup, then you will probably want to get more advanced equipment that can utilize Z-Wave Plus. Overall, we think the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ is a fine product, but there are better options available. It gets 4 Stars.

Good: In-Wall Switch for Z-Wave Scenes, Pairing Switch for Compatible In-Wall Z-wave Switches, Easy to Use & Install, Multiple Faceplates Included

Bad: Discontinued, Limited in Compatibility, Standard Z-Wave

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Leviton VP00R-1LZ - Coordinating Z-Wave 3-Way Dimmer w/ LED

Better Options Available
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Leviton VP00R-1LZ is a Z-Wave 3-way coordinating dimmer module. This is a coordinating module that is used alongside other Leviton Z-Wave dimmer devices and Leviton Z-Wave fan controllers. The only reason to use the Leviton VP00R-1LZ is if you have the proper configuration for a 3-way wiring setup already in place, including a traveler wire. And even then, you will only use it with other compatible Leviton Z-Wave devices. If you have a multi-pole setup where more than one switch is controlling a single lighting or fan load, then you should only use one (1) Z-Wave dimmer module, and the other switches should be Leviton VP00R-1LZ devices. Remember, the Leviton VP00R-1LZ isn't actually a load bearing switch. It is just used for coordinating a multi-pole setup. Most of the Z-Wave sensors used with the Leviton VP00R-1LZ are outdated, and the module has largely been replaced by Z-Wave Plus switches and/or modules that don't require traveler wires. If you have an existing Leviton VP00R-1LZ, then it should still work just fine. But users in the market for a new device will usually want to turn to more advanced technology. For that reason, we only give the Leviton VP00R-1LZ a 4 Star rating.

The biggest positive to the Leviton VP00R-1LZ is that it allows for a multi-pole wiring configuration, in which multiple switches can control one lighting load or one ceiling fan load. The device features an LED light indicator to assist with the process of pairing to a coordinated dimmer module. We can also say that the Leviton VP00R-1LZ is easy to use and install, making it good for DIY users.

But the downsides to the Leviton VP00R-1LZ are pretty severe. First, it is not an actual load bearing device. You can only use it alongside Leviton devices that are load bearing. You will need a traveler wire to make a setup involving the Leviton VP00R-1LZ possible. The device only uses standard Z-Wave, meaning you won't get the benefits of Z-Wave Plus with this device. We recommend finding newer, more advanced Z-Wave Plus devices for your smart lighting setup if you are just getting started. Using more powerful and robust devices will provide you with greater flexibiltiy in the long run. Additionally, this device has been discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. Because of these downsides, we give the Leviton VP00R-1LZ 4 Stars.

Good: Multi-Pole Wiring, LED Light, Easy to Use & Install

Bad: Not Load Bearing Device, Requires Traveler Wire, Standard Z-Wave, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Honeywell 6160PX - Alphanumeric Alarm Keypad with Integrated Proximity Reader

Great Proximity Tag Keypad
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell 6160PX is a wired Alphanumeric push-button keypad with a built-in proximity tag reader. This is basically the same keypad as a regular Honeywell 6160, only with the proximity tag reader as an addition. If you need a new keypad for your Honeywell VISTA Security System, and you want it to have a proximity tag reader, then this is the keypad for you. It returns all of the great features offered from the Honeywell 6160, and we can definitely recommend it. We give the Honeywell 6160PX a 5 Star rating.

There are many positive aspects to the Honeywell 6160PX. The one distinction it has over the standard 6160 is the addition of the proximity tag reader. You can hold up one of the proximity tags ot the keypad in-place of entering a valid code. In other words, the proximity tag itself grants authorization. This can be great for small businesses, as well as for individuals who may have trouble remembering a code, or who simply do not want to enter a code. The keypad even comes with two (2) proximity tags to get you started. Other positive features for the 6160PX include its Alphanumeric display for advanced system programming, its backlit keys and display screen, and its ability to perform the backdoor method for getting into programming if locked out.

But there are some downsides to the Honeywell 6160PX. Although the keypad comes with two (2) proximity tags, obtaining more can be difficult. These proximity tags are not sold by Alarm Grid, so you will need to look elsewhere if you want to buy them. The proximity tag reader requires its own keypad address, in addition to the one for the keypad itself. This means the device will need two keypad addresses for full functionality. Also, the 6160PX is a wired keypad, and it can only be used with wired Honeywell VISTA Systems. But these are relatively minor downsides. They do not stop us from giving the Honeywell 6160PX 5 Stars.

Good: Proximity Tag Reader w/ 2 Proximity Tags, Alphanumeric, Backlit, Backdoor Method Supported

Bad: Additional Proximity Tags Not Readily Available, Needs 2 Keypad Addresses. For VISTA Systems Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell DT906 - DUAL TEC Long-Range Commercial Motion Sensor w/ Anti-Mask

Great Outdoor Motion Sensor!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell DT906 is a long-range dual-tech hardwired motion sensor that utilizes both PIR and microwave detection technologies. Using dual methods for detecting motion helps prevent false alarms, as the system will not be alerted unless both sensors (PIR and microwave) are triggered. The sensor offers a long range coverage area of up to 200 feet by 15 feet. Overall, the Honeywell DT906 is a great sensor, but it does have some downsides to consider. We give it a 5 Star rating.

There are many positive aspects that help the Honeywell DT906 stand out. Being a dual-tech sensor is a huge plus, as it helps prevent false alarms. Users who may have had trouble with false alarms for motion sensors in the past may achieve great success by switching to a dual-tech device like the DT906. But also keep in mind that many false alarms on motion sensors are caused by poor mounting. The DT906 can still cause false alarms if it is mounted poorly or used in an undesirable location. But as a dual-tech motion, it is less likely to cause false alarms. Another benefit of the DT906 is that it features anti-masking technology. This is very good for letting the system know if someone tries to defeat the sensor by applying a substance to its lens. The DT906 has a great coverage range, as its detection area spans from up to 200 feet away. The device features a bug guard to keep out insect.

Despite all those positve aspects, the Honeywell DT906 does have some serious downsides to keep in mind. Its biggest downfall is that the sensor is very difficult to adjust. This isn't a huge surprise considering how powerful of a motion sensor it is. But the sensor is so difficult to adjust that Honeywell actually released their own guide specifically covering the process for adjusting and configuring this sensor. Needless to say though, if you're looking for a simple motion sensor that is quick and easy to set up, the DT906 is not for you. We must also say that the Honeywell DT906 features a rather ugly and unattractive design. The sensor is mostly used in commercial settings where design isn't as important. While you can certainly use the sensor in your home if you have a wired system, it may become a big eyesore when mounted.

The Honeywell DT906 is a powerful motion sensor that is great for situations where a long-range dual-tech sensor is needed. But you will want to keep its downsides in consideration. Still, we see enough positve aspects in the DT906 to give it 5 Stars.

Good: Dual-Tech, Anti-Masking, Great Coverage, Bug Guard

Bad: Extremely Hard to Adjust, Ugly & Unattractive

Bottom Line: 5 Stars ADC-V821 - Outdoor 720P POE Mini Dome Camera with Night Vision

Get the ADC-VC826 Instead!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The ADC-V821 is an outdoor 720p mini dome camera for use with the platform. The camera is largely outclassed in every possible aspect by the ADC-VC826, and we will almost always recommend purchasing that camera over the ADC-V821. If you have an existing ADC-V821 Camera, then it will still work just fine. But you should be aware that there are newer, more advanced camera options available. While the ADC-V821 is a very good camera, it is not one we would recommend, simply because the ADC-VC826 is better across the board. For that reason, we give the ADC-V821 a 4-Star rating.

There are positive aspects to the ADC-V821. The camera features a small and compact design. In fact, it is slightly smaller than the ADC-VC826, which is the one advantage the ADC-V821 has over that camera. The ADC-V821 can utilize Power over Ethernet (PoE), which makes it easy to provide power to the device. If you do not want to use PoE, then you can use the camera's included 8-foot power adapter. However, you will still need to connect an ethernet cable to the camera anyway for network connectivity. Remember, you can always add a PoE injector if your IP router does not support PoE. One other aspect we like about the ADC-V821 is its weather-resistant design. The camera features an IP66 waterproof rating to keep out rain and moisture.

The negatives to the ADC-V821 are extremely pronounced when you compare it with the ADC-VC826. The ADC-V821 has 720p recording capabilities, which pale in comparison to the 1080p recording capability of the ADC-VC826. The ADC-V821 cannot connect to a WIFI network, meaning you must use ethernet with the camera. This is fine if you wanted to take advantage of PoE anyway, but having WIFI would have been a nice touch. The ADC-VC826 has much better night vision than the ADC-V821, which is another mark against this camera. And perhaps most remarkable is that the ADC-V821 costs MORE than the more advanced and more powerful ADC-VC826. There is almost no reason to pick the ADC-V821 over the ADC-VC826.

The ADC-V821 is a good camera, but it is outclassed by the ADC-VC826 in almost every category, including price. If you already have an ADC-V821, then we aren't saying to go out of your way to replace it. But if you are in the market for a new camera, we strongly recommend checking out the ADC-VC826 first. As for the ADC-V821, we give it 4 Stars.

Good: Small & Compact Design, PoE, Optional Power Adapter, IP66 Waterproof for Outdoor Use

Bad: 720p Recording, No WIFI Connectivity, Weak IR Night Vision, More Expensive than ADC-VC826

Bottom Line: 4 Stars

Yale YRD256 w/ iM1 Module - Assure Lock SL Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt for Apple HomeKit

Great HomeKit Lock
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Yale YRD256 with iM1 module is a smart door lock designed for use with the Apple HomeKit platform. It is great for iOS users looking to expand upon a HomeKit Network with a new door lock. Once paired, the module can be controlled from the Apple Home App. This allows for operation through Siri Voice Commands, and you can include the lock with various HomeKit Smart Scenes. The lock also boasts some beautiful designs, and it showcases the high build quality of a Yale Lock. Overall, we really like the Yale YRD256, and we give it a 5-Star Rating.

There are many positive aspects about the Yale YRD256 with iM1 module. The biggest plus is its ability to be used with Apple HomeKit. If you are building around the HomeKit platform, and you want to add a new lock to the network, then this is a great one to choose. The lock is fairly easy to install, which is a major benefit for DIY users. We have found that the YRD256 is a very secure lock, and it will definitely keep unauthorized individuals out of your home. Another benefit of the Yale YRD256 is that it has a great design, and end-users will appreciate the three (3) finish options to choose from. Other benefits include being able to store up to 250 codes, a weather protection gasket, single-touch locking, backlit numbers, a privacy button, and a tamper-resistant cover for the battery.

There aren't many downsides to the Yale YRD256 with iM1 module. The biggest downfall is that it cannot do Z-Wave. This means that it will not readily integrate with security systems that don't support Apple HomeKit. Yale makes another version of the YRD256 that speaks Z-Wave Plus, but that version cannot do HomeKit. You really only want the Yale YRD256 with iM1 module if you are planning to use the lock with HomeKit. If you do not have HomeKit, or if you do not want a HomeKit lock, then we suggest finding a different product. But for users needing a HomeKit lock, the Yale YRD256 with iM1 module is excellent. It gets 5 Stars from us.

Good: HomeKit, Easy to Install, Secure, 3 Finish Options, Great Design, 250 Codes, Weather Protection Gasket, Single-Touch Locking, Backlit Numbers, Privacy Button, Tamper-Resistant Battery Cover

Bad: No Z-wave

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC PG9975 - PowerG 915MHz Vanishing Wireless Door/Window Contact

Outstanding Door/Window Contact!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC PG9975 is a wireless PowerG Door and Window Contact Sensor. It is used with systems that support PowerG wireless technology, including the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and DSC PowerSeries NEO Panels with added PowerG Transceiver. As a PowerG Sensor, the DSC PG9975 is praised for its excellent wireless range and 128-bit AES encryption.The sensor also features a very thin design that helps it appear almost invisible when mounted on a blank white surface. However, the sensor has been discontinued, and it can no longer be purchased new. Overall, we really like the DSC PG9975, and we give it a 5-Star rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC PG9975. The sensor really shines with its incredible wireless range. It can be used from up to 2 km away from a panel, depending on the type of security system that is being used. The sensor also utilizes 128-bit AES encryption, which makes wireless hacking or takeover attempts virtually impossible. We also like the super thin profile of the sensor, which makes it unobtrusive when mounted. We also like the fact that the sensor is very easy to mount, making it great for DIY users.

There aren't many downsides to the DSC PG9975. The biggest issue is that it is discontinued, and you can no longer buy a new model from Alarm Grid. Its replacement model is called the PG9303. But if you have an existing PG9975 Sensor, then it should still work just fine. Another issue is that since the door and window contact is wireless, you will need to replace the battery every few years. The sensor uses a lithium 3V CR2032 coin battery for this purpose. Overall, the positives for this sensor really outweigh its negatives. We give it 5 Stars.

Good: Great Range, 128-Bit AES Encryption, Super Thin Design, Easy to Install

Bad: Discontinued, Requires Battery Replacements

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA - Commercial Alarm Control Panel

Very Powerful Panel!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Honeywell VISTA-128BPTSIA is a hardwired commercial burglary panel that is compliant with standards outlined by the Security Industry Association (SIA) for preventing false alarms. This is a very complicated and powerful security system that is usually only used in a commercial or industrial setting. Although this panel can be used just fine for residential use, we would recommend that homeowners get a system that is easier to work with. But if you have a commercial or industrial business that requires burglary alarm monitoring, and you want to be compliant with SIA standards, then the VISTA-128BPTSIA is an excellent system to choose. We give it a 5-Star rating.

The best thing about the VISTA-128BPTSIA is that it is extremely robust and powerful. Users can take advantage of up to eight (8) partitions, and program up to 128 zones. The panel has a Polling Loop, and you can add one or more V-Plex Polling Loop Expanders or start adding V-Plex Polling Loop Sensors with the system. Polling Loop Sensors are great for commercial locations, as they support extremely long wire runs that cannot be used with standard hardwired sensors. Up to 150 user codes can be added to the system, making it perfect for medium to large businesses. And by getting it on cellular and/or IP, you can use the system with Total Connect 2.0 for remote access and control. Also, SIA compliance helps prevents false alarms.

The biggest downside to the VISTA-128BPTSIA is that it is very complicated. New DIY users will have a very tough time setting up this system on their own. If you just need a system for your home, then it is almost always more practical to get a wireless system, or at least a residential wired system. Adding an extremely powerful and robust system like the VISTA-218BPTSIA to a residential location is almost always overkill. And although SIA compliance is great for preventing false alarms, it does place some restrictions on how you can program the panel.

Overall, the VISTA-128BPTSIA is an outstanding system if you require commercial burg protection for a medium to large business with SIA compliance. We give this product 5 Stars.

Good: Very Robust & Powerful, 8 Partitions, 128 Zones, V-Plex Polling Loop Expansion, 150 User Codes, Total Connect 2.0, SIA Compliance for Preventing False Alarms

Bad: Extremely Complicated, Usually Overkill for Residential Use, SIA Compliance Restricts Certain Programming Settings

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

DSC SS-102 - Seismic Shock Sensor w/ Tamper

Great Wired Shock Sensor!
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC SS-102 is a wired shock sensor that is used with hardwired security systems. It activates upon detecting the associated shockwaves of a door or window being struck with force. The sensor works really well, and it offers some nice features that help it stand out. It does not have many downsides, and it is a good option if you are looking for a wired shock sensor for a security system. We think this is a great product, and we give it a 5-Star Rating.

There are many things we like about the DSC SS-102. For one, it is reliable at detecting shockwaves that occur due to a window or door being broken or smashed. The sensor comes equipped with an LED light that will provide an indication of whether the detected shockwaves were major or minor. This can be useful in determining if a serious break-in occurred, or if it was just something minor that caused a small tremor. The device is moisture-resistant, which is good if it accidentally gets exposed to rain or other sources of liquid. We also like the fact that the DSC SS-102 has a tamper switch to let the system know if someone tries to open or disable the sensor. And you can adjust the device's sensitivity to the desired level.

There are not many downsides to the DSC SS-102. Perhaps the biggest negative is the fact that this is a fairly old sensor with a somewhat dated design. Also, we find that listening-based glass break sensors are better at preventing false alarms than shock-detection sensors like this one. And although this sensor is moisture-resistant, it should not be submerged in liquid, and it is for indoor use only. But still, if you need a wired shock sensor for your system, then this is a very good option. We give it 5 Stars, and we can recommend using it.

Good: Reliable, LED Light, Moisture-Resistant, Tamper Switch, Sensitivity Adjustments

Bad: Old Sensor, Outdated Design, Shock-Sensing May Lead to False Alarms, Indoor Use Only

Bottom Line: 5 Stars

Somfy ZDMI - Z-Wave Shade Controller 1870171

Good Z-Wave Curtain Controller
Submitted on 01/02/2020 Alarm Grid

The Somfy ZDMI is a Z-wave shade controller. It is a relay module that connects with a shade motor for controlling the blinds or curtains. The name ZDMI stands for Z-Wave to Digital Motor Interface. By using this device, you can control your blinds, curtains, or other motorized window coverings. As a Z-Wave device, it is universally compatible with most Z-Wave controllers. Keep in mind that some Z-Wave hubs might see the device as a light switch or something other than a relay for window coverings. The Somfy ZDMI works great as a Z-Wave relay for curtains, and we give it 5 Stars.

There are many things we like about the Somfy ZDMI. For one, it is one of the few home automation options that provides smart control for a motorized curtain controller. This can be extremely convenient if you want to control your blinds while you are away from home or have them activate automatically with smart scenes. The device is easy to operate and install. It gets its power from the curtain motor, so you don't need to plug-in the ZDMI. We also like the fact that the wire between the ZDMI and the shade motor can run a maximum distance of 30 feet. This gives you great flexibility in choosing an installation location.

However, there are some downsides to the Somfy ZDMI. For one, it is specifically designed for use with Sonesse 50 ILT2 and Sonesse 30 RS485 curtain motors. You may not be able to use it with other curtain motors, so make sure to check compatibility before purchasing. Additionally, you may experience some limitations when using the Somfy ZDMI to open the curtains partially. For example, many Z-Wave controllers can only use the Somfy ZDMI to either open the curtains completely or shut them completely. If you want to open the curtains part-way, then you might not be able to using the Somfy ZDMI. But if you are just wanting to open or close the curtains, then it should work just fine. One final downside to the Somfy ZDMI is that it uses standard Z-Wave, not Z-Wave Plus.

Overall, we think the Somfy ZDMI is a great option for users with a compatible curtain motor. Just make sure to keep its limitations in mind. We give it a 5-Star rating.

Good: Controls Motorized Curtain Controller, Easy to Operate and Install, Gets Power from Motor, 30-Foot Wire Run from ZDMI to Motor

Bad: Only Designed for Certain Curtain Motors, Most Z-Wave Controllers Only Allow for Complete Opening/Closing, Standard Z-Wave

Bottom Line: 5 Stars