New to Hubitat in EU - looking for advice on starting my journey

EU user here; Hubitat unit still in the mail (for at least another week).

I considered getting a Homey, because the featurelist is great and it's sold at a lot of places where I live. But I stumbled over a review from Poul Hibbert. Short version: he said it s*cked, for reasons I won't go into here, and suggested Hubitat instead. List of supported devices is smaller, device looks more complex, but community looks SO much more friendly. And Devs are actually posting in the forums - which is beyond awesome! So dear Hubitat folks: You can thank Paul Hibberts and your awesome community for bringing in new customers! :slight_smile:

I had a rough smart-home journey. I started with Amazon Echo and DIY Raspberry Pi solutions years ago - but quickly got frustrated with how hard it was to do even really simple things. So I decided to just capitulate and wait a few years (or four...) until the whole area had matured.

Now, my second journey has started. With Hubitat. And I am going to need reliable devices which work with minimum effort (when possible). It's not that I am afraid to code or mess around with config files or protocols - it's more a case of "I have better things to do than making a button send a primitive signal to a smarthub". It just feels like such a waste of time. So I'd rather reward vendors with good devices that are easy to work with, and pay a few extra bucks for them.

Many of the devices listed on the official page are not easy to find in the EU. Some are, but I suspect the list is heavily "US centric" which is off course fair. Some of the brands are so unknown that it's hard to even force their presence into my Google Filter Bubble...

The most easily obtainable brands of smart devices for me are: Nedis (which I am told is a variation of the "Tuya platform"), BleBox, Nexa, Ledvance, Netatmo and IKEA. Off course in addition to the major stuff like Google, Samsung, etc.

I find it hard and a little unintuitive to start my first round of procurement. I ordered 5 cheap test devices form various brands just to have something to play with when the Hubitat unit arrives. But I would love some input from the community about how to go about buying and installing new devices. I consider myself "lucky" that I don't have a large pile of older devices that drag me down. I start with the current-gen Hubitat and a clean slate.

So .. now what? Do I go for Zigbee, Z-wave, Wifi or all of the above? What brands should I avoid? Are any of the brands I mention above known to people (and known to work or not work)? Do I need range expanders of some kind? Or do I link two Hubitat units? If you have been in the Hubitat community for some time, and you could start over without the anoying baggage of old stuff, how would you go about it?

I am not a rich guy, but I am willing to spend more to get mature quality products rather than cheap chinese-crap. I prefer stuff that works out-of-the-box, but if the best solution is a certain amount of DIY then i am capable of small/simple soldering jobs, replacing firmwares, using Pi's and Pi Zeros, and slight adaptation of existing code/scripts. I am an IT professional, but no longer a true dev (it's been over a decade).

Our house has an older "Smart Home" system from Schneider Electric (formely "LK") but the API is proprietary and known to be a PITA, so I am not expecting to have any proper integration with that. It's stable and solid but dumb as a brick. It will be gradually replaced with newer tech and Hubitat as the core.

I don't mind using cloud-based services, but I want them to be a supplement to my ecosystem. Voice commands with Echo and Google Home is nice, but I don't want my wife and kids laughing at me if the lights don't work because the internet connection is down.

Thanks for whatever advice you throw my way. :slight_smile:

Welcome!

I use Zigbee devices for sensors (contact for doors and windows, motion for presence-like functionality, and buttons for user interactions where required) and bulbs because I like the group messaging support for simultaneous updating). I like the price, standardization, and wide availability.

I have mostly Wi-Fi devices where I wanted an in-wall switch. I have a mixture of TP-Link Kasa devices (with @djgutheinz 's excellent Hubitat integration) and some Tasmota-enabled Amazon specials (I just look for an NRTL mark of some sort to give me at least minimal peace of mind).

I also use the Lutron smart bridge pro and a bunch of Pico remotes. The up front cost of the hub is a bit high, but they work very reliably and look nice on the wall.

I also keep a RPi in my network so that I can run some nodejs-based integrations with local http access. For example, I run @rob121 's broadlinkgo integration as well as the jishi node-sonos-http-api for local control of my Sonos system.

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Hubitat natively supports Z-wave (go for Z-wave Plus whenever possible) and Zigbee. There are some integrations with WiFi base devices but you need to be more careful there - i.e. research to make sure that the community has developed an integration before buying. Node Red on rPi’s seems to have a good size presence here so several integrations outside of the native are available there.

Z-wave and Zigbee are both mesh protocols so the more powered devices that can serve as repeaters that you have generally the better your network will perform.

Several ways to automate - apps, Rule Machine, webCore, Simple Rules, Motion Lighting, Event Engine, etc. Generally best to start simple, and build from there - if you get stuck give us a shout here, you’ll usually get a pretty quick answer.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

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I cannot give specific device recommendations, as I am in the USA and not familiar with EU products, but here are some of my observations.

Being that you are in the EU, Zigbee is probably the most available. And Zigbee (except for line voltage differences) is universal across the world. Zwave on the other hand has regional variants, so be careful there and only purchase ones that match your region.

Zigbee and Zwave sensors, switches and bulbs should work fine, with a few exceptions here and there. Buttons are sometimes problematic, there seems to be more issues reported here anyway. Also the more complex the design (switch with multiple input or outputs, or something odd like a switch/sensor combo) will probably be the most likely to NOT work correctly.

My best suggestion is to use the search function of this forum, and see if any of the devices you are looking at show up as proven to work. There are many non-USA users here. And yes, that Hubitat official list is somewhat USA centric, but it does have some other products that have been proven to work, so don't totally discount using that list as a resource.

Welcome to Hubitat, and I hope you are able to find things that work for you.

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I have a zigbee repeater in every room in the house in the form of a wall outlet. These need to be plugged in but don't have to be turned ON (led glows red). These form the basis of my zigbee mesh.
I see that you have Ledvance as a option for equipment to purchase. All my outlets that form my mesh are Sylvania outlets. These Sylvania outlets are made by Ledvance so I would assume they will work well with your hub. I also use Sengled zigbee bulbs which work well. It is known that these bulbs do not repeat and are less problematic. I don't know if these are available to you. I would think that most zigbee devices you can purchase will work but I don't know for sure. Be aware that only devices that are plugged into the power can repeat the zigbee signal and help form a mesh. Also some zigbee bulbs are repeaters and this can cause problems, but I have Sylvania bulbs that have never given me a problem. I hope this helps.

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Hello @SplatMan , I am new user (01-2021) from EU as well, from Czech rep. You are right, aproved devices are mostly rare in Europe. I only have four devices so far, all working without problems:

  1. SONOFF SNZB-02 - ZigBee Temperature and Humidity Sensor (HE driver), bought on Itead.cc
  2. SONOFF BASICZBR3 - Zigbee DIY Smart Switch, bought on Itead.cc
  3. Immax Neo bulb 8,5W E27 - - here - (2pcs. for EUR 24,-)
  4. MS-104ZN-1 Light switch module - www.moeshouse.com, bought from Aliexpress
    Especially the last one surprised me very positively - perfect device for dumb switch retrofit (works for pushbutton = momentary contact as well).

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