Review: Home Automation Insider on the TKBHome TZ88 Z-Wave Smart Energy Plug Power Meter

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So there I was, putting together an order for half a dozen or so of the Fibaro Z-Wave Wall Plug, resigned to the fact that it was the best option for a “metering” wall plug socket in the UK, when I suddenly received news that the Z-Wave product manufacturer TKB Home had released an actual UK version.

Never could there be a starker contrast between how companies handle product launches – look at the way Fibaro go about things, masses of pre-launch rumours, chatter and gossip, big fanfare and marketing propaganda releases.  And now compare the launch of the “TKB TZ88E Wall Plug Switch / Meter” (hereafter referred to simple as the “TZ88E”) from TKB Home – exactly, what launch!?  The first I knew of it was it appearing on their product page a few weeks ago!

Roll forwards to last Thursday and Vesternet received our first batch into the UK to sell (they are going fast too) and by Saturday I had one in my grubby hands for testing


A bit of a let-down really, no sexy packaging like the Fibaro devices, just a plain white box.  And with the device taking the familiar shape of most UK style wall plug sockets, it’s definitely no looker either. A single clear On / Off button on the front that houses a LED which shines red when the socket is on and that’s pretty much it for “design features”.

Incidentally the red LED is an improvement on other TKB sockets, which annoyingly by default have a blue LED to indicate off, apparently as a “night-light” feature.  This can be changed in the settings so that it indicates on instead, but it’s not possible to turn it off completely.  So the red LED signifying on is a welcome change.

TKB TZ88E Wall Plug Socket Power Meter Front and Rear

Once you’ve seen one socket…..

Seeing that this device is a UK version, it has a normal UK style plug at the rear and has a normal UK style socket at the front.  So there’s no need for any of the adapter shenanigans I experienced with the Fibaro Wall Plug. Oh, and it’s an off-white colour…….can’t think of much more to say about it really… move along…. nothing else to see here.

Testing the hardware

I mirrored the tests that I carried out with the Fibaro Wall Plug using a kettle and hair dryer with no adverse effects.  To be honest, there’s nothing much else to report here either, no flashing LED or other such gimmicks – the TZ88E just gets on with the job in hand without any fuss.

One thing I did note is that if you were using a wall-wart type power supply with the socket, there’s a chance that it could cover the On / Off button somewhat which would make it difficult to operate.  But it’s no big deal really as I would think that most people using this type of device will be operating them remotely over Z-Wave from a smart-phone or tablet App or from an Associated device.

What else do I get for my £38?

Nothing. Seriously, this is such a boring device that there’s not much else to report about it.

But, that’s actually a good thing in my opinion.  At the end of the day, what do you really need from this type of device?  You want it to switch stuff on and off and to report the power being used.  And that’s exactly what the TZ88E does.  There’s no superfluous extra features to bump up the cost.  And that’s reflected in the price, it’s not much more than the standard on / off wall plug socket from the same company, is £17 cheaper than the Fibaro Wall Plug and £6 – £8 cheaper than other makes as well.

Using it with a Z-Wave controller

As with all Z-Wave devices, without a Z-Wave controller it’s pretty pointless.  To get the most out of it really requires a MiCasaVerde Vera, Zipato Zipabox or a Fibaro Home Center 2 or Lite.

I tested the TZ88E with both a Vera and a Home Center Lite, but I can’t see a reason why it wouldn’t work with any other controller – it uses the most basic of Z-Wave Command Classes which 99% of controllers won’t have a problem with.

Like some other Z-Wave devices, TKB have thoughtfully included an “automatic inclusion mode” so that when it is initially powered up if it isn’t already included in a Z-Wave network it goes into inclusion mode automatically.  This then makes adding devices simply a case of initiating the inclusion process on the Z-Wave controller and turning on the power to the device – it really is that easy.

Once added to Vera and HC-Lite, it shows up in the respective web UI with the instant power consumption shown in Watts on the device icon.  HC-Lite also includes the KWH value as well, but this appears to be absent from the Vera web UI, although the data is still available for use in Scenes, logging or Energy monitoring.

In contrast to the Fibaro Wall Plug which has absolutely loads of “parameters” that can be fiddled with and tweaked, the TZ88E has just two.  These simply control the frequency that the device sends the Watts and KWH data to the Z-Wave controller.

TKB TZ88E Wall Plug Socket Power Meter on Fibaro HC2

By default these parameters are both set to an hour, which seems kind of strange, especially for the Watts value which you’d really want to be as near to real time as possible.  A quick bit of editing in the Vera and HC-Lite device configuration screens soon sorted that out, after which the TZ88E was sending Watts every 60 seconds and KWH every 30 minutes.

Real world usage

In the Fibaro Wall Plug review I wrote previously, I covered the “ERGY” plug-in for Vera which is a fancy looking Energy monitoring and graphing facility.  This is pretty nice, but this time I played around with the Fibaro HC-Lite “Energy Panel” which makes the Vera offering look pretty naff by comparison.  I’ll let the photos tell the story here as there’s plenty of settings to fiddle with to view the energy data in a variety of different formats.

TKB TZ88E Wall Plug Socket Power Meter with Vera

Over a period of time I compared the power measurement data from the TZ88E with that of both Current Cost and EDF ECOManager IAM (Individual Appliance Monitor) units, as well as the Fibaro Wall Plug from the previous review.  The TKB was easily as accurate as the Fibaro and once again I confirmed all readings taken with a plug-in meter from Maplins.


This was a tricky conclusion to write and in fact I’ve re-written it several times now as my opinion keeps changing. The TZ88E is in stark contrast to the Fibaro Wall Plug – it is a very simple device, does exactly what you’d want it to do and comes at an incredibly attractive price point.

On the other hand, there’s no doubt that the Fibaro Wall Plug is a more capable device with loads of additional features crammed in.  But it comes at a cost, plus you also have to factor in the cost of any adapters that you may need to use with it as well.

I have to wonder if I’d reviewed the TZ88E first, whether the Fibaro Wall Plug would have even got a look-in?  I may well have been happy enough with the TZ88E and maybe the Fibaro Wall Plug would have been seen as too much of a hassle with the need for additional adapters as well as the higher initial cost?

After a reflective coffee, I’ve decided that I’ll definitely be buying plenty more of the TZ88E in the near future to add to my Z-Wave Home Automation system.  This will probably even be in preference to the cheaper On / Off wall plug sockets as the price difference is negligible compared to the benefit of having the power monitoring features.

But, I’ll also be picking up some more Fibaro Wall Plugs for situations that demand the extra functionality that the Fibaro device has – for example the ability to set alarms should a piece of connected equipment like a fridge or freezer fail is a definite plus point.

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Martyn WendonThe Home Automation Insider – Martyn Wendon spent 20 years as an IT Specialist in demanding roles within leading companies in the Gaming, Financial and Retail business sectors. During that time he has tried and tested thousands of products, protocols, systems and settings to gradually refine his own Home Automation setup.  Now what started off as a hobby has become his day job and working at Vesternet he’s well placed to bring inside news, reviews and comments from some of the largest players in the home automation industry.

Last update on 2024-04-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6 Comments on "Review: Home Automation Insider on the TKBHome TZ88 Z-Wave Smart Energy Plug Power Meter"

  1. Hi Martyn,

    One question for you. Do these units draw power when in use and when not in use? If so, duo they calculate that?



  2. Just a quick note to say that the TZ88 is not currently supported on the Zipato Zipabox –

  3. Hi Jon,

    No, they don’t calculate their own power usage.

    They’ll always be using some power (unless you switch them off “at the wall”) as that’s the nature of a mains powered Z-Wave device – it will always be “on” so it can participate in the Z-Wave network.

    I would imagine the power used by the device itself would be minimal – I did just try to measure it using a Maplin plug socket meter and it didn’t even register anything on the display.



  4. I use these with HomeSeer V2 and they work well. The only gripe I have is that if they are powered off then they default to “off”. Not very good when monitoring a fridge for example.

    Their support were responsive and came back to me to say that they will add this as a configurable option in a later firmware revision (new devices only)

  5. Not exactly expecting an answer and sorry for trying to resurrect this very old post, but it is with a reason. I bought 3 of these a couple of years ago to monitor and control devices in my home. The problem for me was that after working perfectly for about a year all the devices started reporting very random values (like -1,000,000 volts and similar). I’m hoping that you’ve now used these for a while and maybe can tell me if you’ve had similar experience?

  6. Anthony Phillips | April 3, 2020 at 8:34 pm |

    I echo the question about the longevity of TKB products. I have 25 of the older models, 8 TZ68E and the rest TZ69E. The LEDs have failed on 5 of the 8 TZ68 sockets and on 1 of the TZ69.
    I changed the “LED off when the switch is on” parameter so that the LED is on when the switch is on and as most switches control “always on” devices they were on nearly all the time. However, LEDs are supposed to have a long life and some of these failed fairly quickly. This is possibly why the switch default is for the LED to be off when the socket is on. I took one of the sockets apart and the LEDs are tiny surface mounted devices either side of the push button switch on a daughter board so not much chance of DIY replacement.
    OK, I don’t really need the LEDs to be working all the time but it is a handy indication when troubleshooting equipment problems, does it have power? It’s also an indication that the devices aren’t very well designed on the hardware front.
    I also get weird figures reported by the metering sockets, in my case these have been happening since the beginning. Instantaneous figures are OK but the accumulated values are usually rubbish.
    I only have 2 other Z-Wave sockets, one an Aeotec Smart Switch 6 which is excellent in every respect but was expensive, the other made (aren’t they all) and sold by a Chinese company NEO Coolcam which is sold via Amazon. This was circa £30.00 including postage from China and is tiny compared to most and has metering facilities. This has been in use for over a year now with no problems and provides comprehensive metering as well. I mention this to show that cheaper Z-Wave sockets can be reliable.

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