Most popular protocols in 2021 (a user's perspective)

After my experience with multiple installations I wanted to list the most reliable solutions. These are listed from most reliable to least reliable. Hopefully this helps people before they make their large purchases.

  1. Lutron Caseta and RA2 select
  2. Zigbee 3.0
  3. Z-wave
  4. WIFI

Lutron is the most reliable but it is very limited on what it can do so I do mix a lot of Zigbee devices (ie Motions) with Lutron devices with Hubitat handling everything.

Z-wave has a lot of issues if there is a failed device and I believe it has been responsible for loading up the Hubitat Hub. I do still use Z-wave for locks and Somfy blinds but I make sure it is a direct hop to the hub and keep only a few Z-wave devices on the network.

Wifi devices have just been the most unreliable when it comes to switches and motions but I do have some success with Thermostats and Rachio.

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LIFx is pretty solid and local. Anything cloud based is going to be a crap shoot

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These kind of lists are always subjective.

My Z-Wave and LoRa devices are much more reliable than my zigbee... But I am also in an area of very overpopulated Wi-Fi spectrum, lots of interference on all channels.

And I am very selective on which Z-Wave devices I use, and only use known good devices. And if I find one that isn't I replace it.

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I can't disagree with your list. I've seen nothing but love for lutron and its reliability. It should be that way as they own both the product and the protocol they work on I believe.

The others are tuff to decide on. Too many factors that cause issues.

For example, zigbee can be affected by wifi based on the frequency and you get those companies that just down follow the specs properly and cause compatibility issues.

Zwave also gets those bad devices. Devices that would flood the network with power reports and just cripple other things. Add to that ghost nodes, bad routing and a mix of zwave 700/500 and whatever the first version was called which is really slow or switches that require polling for states. It was a mess and its just a pain in the ■■■ to work with sometimes. But if you have all 500 or 700 devices and you get a handle on it, it works well.

Wifi is a mess. If you don't have a really good wifi network it can cause all sorts of issues. Add to that, every wifi device has its own method of communicating and most have a cloud dependency its way at the bottom of my list. I'd even put zigbee (pre 3.0) above it. Some devices work well... but throughout the year all my wifi devices have suffered a cloud outage at some point.

This is why I mix it all up and one of the reasons why I love having a hub like hubitat. Most of my sensors are on zigbee, my switches on zwave and my wifi devices are mainly those one off devices like my ecobee or rachio.

In the end, I would have listed it the same though as well.

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When local, wifi is crazy reliable. I still use some wemos for outdoor lighting and they have yet to fail me. Zigbee has been 99 percent perfect. Had 1 zigbee bulb not come on one time. Zwave has been rough but so much better now that security is disabled.

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This is the key for every protocol towards achieving the level of reliability that we all desire for our set-ups. I hope that this new category will help others benefit from the wealth of knowledge that our more active community users, so selflessly share with those who are just starting their journey of home automation.

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Good to know.

This is my experience. I am referring to Zigbee 3.0 devices only.

I also agree with your assessment.

I do agree Local WIFI is good. Lutron is technically local WIFI. I have had a lot of issues with smart bulbs in general; I much prefer hard wired switches.

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We will have to give the new category a look :slight_smile:

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I use mostly switches for lighting, but for the occasional table lamp I use smart bulbs with a pico switch on a pedestal next to it.

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I more or less do the same.

Sengled RGB zigbee bulbs pair well with inovelli red
zwave dimmers/switches. I have a pretty good mix of ZigBee and zwave. All of the light switches are zwave and most of the outlets are zigbee. For motion I use ZigBee because it responds faster.

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Now everything is very reliable; I'm using:

  • WiFi (aka Shelly) - thanx to a very good router (Fritzbox).
  • Zigbee - thanx to a bunch of IKEA repeaters.
  • Hubitat - thanx to avoiding Rule Machine.

The only "problem" are my Google Minis: Every some weeks a random one is loosing the connection to Google Home and I have to "reboot" (i.e. briefly interrupt the power supply of) that one Google Mini.

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Except that it broadcasts at a much lower frequency of course (ala Z-Wave).. I guess you meant the bridge communication? The only slight concern for me is Lutron eliminating telnet which hopefully won't matter for existing setups. I agree though it is the most reliable solution.

Like Lutron I would also maybe add "Hue Hub" integration. While technically Zigbee, Hue devices just work really well with the Hue hub so I consider it a separate solution.

Also there are some ancillary servers that have been working really well... at various levels of technical difficulty..

Homebridge
Node-RED
Home Assistant

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How so?

Lutron Clear Connect sounds like a different wireless protocol to me, although I’m no RF engineer.

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Thankfully it is.

Perhaps @silverton38 was referring to Lutron using a WiFi-esque radial network topology with each device directly connecting to the bridge/hub rather than a true mesh. Assuming, off course, that one isn't using a Caséta or Radio RA2 repeater .....

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I agree with your list.

I have Lutron Caseta dimmers switches, plugs, and PICO remotes throughout the house. They have always been rock solid.

I seldom have problems with Zigbee. It is not really accurate to say Zigbee 3.0. Although you might have some Zigbee 3.0 devices, Hubitat only incorporates a HA 1.2 radio, so devices are operating as Zigbee 1.2.

I routinely have issues with Z-wave Plug devices dropping off line, Despite having multiple repeaters. My three most troublesome Z-wave devices are in the basement: a ZOOZ Zen15 power plug, a ZOOZ Zen16 Multirelay, and a Smart Home Automation Z-Wave Water Auto Shutoff Valve.
The Zen 15 is mains powered and the others are powered by chargers. I know that a basement with is not the best environment for RF signals, but I never have issues with my Zigbee devices in the basement.

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That’s true, Clear Connect is typically a wheel-and-spoke type topology, like wifi.

But unless I missed something, the two protocols are no more related than wifi and z-wave are to each other.

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