Hi everyone , am currently a smart life user using 3rd party tuya type devices like plugs and light switches. I have a couple of sonoff devices as well. Hooked up to Alexa. The smart life / tuya am finding unreliable with smart scenes etc.
Am getting fed up of when there’s an internet outage everything goes down the pan (tuya specifically) hence looking at Hubitat to help locally when this happens.
Am a noob to all of this and have been looking at zigbee / Zwave and wondering are they more reliable in these instances with a hub and if so which one to go with? I understand tuya can be flashed but the drivers aren’t being updated anymore? Am probably wrong. Have no issue ditching tuya for something more reliable.
I have seen Hubitat has Alexa and IFTTT integration as well.
Also can I just login to Hubitat externally from my local network if needs be? I expect some sort of RDP would suffice to an always on machine which I have.
Wrt to zigbee/z-wave, zigbee is cheaper but the waveband is more crowded - though I've not had any problems related to that even though I live in a densely populated area. I use z-wave where I know the signal has to go through some of the brick walls I have in my house, as the wavelength is more suited to obstacles. So I have both protocols in my system.
I use my Alexa and Google Home for end-access only - all automation is done on the Hubitat hub itself since I don't wish to have anything actually reliant on my internet being up, like IFTTT is, and so are Google and Alexa to a large extent.
I have a combination of Lutron Caseta Clear Connect dimmers and switches and both Zigbee and Z-wave sensors and devices. I also have some Hue lights.
I have found Lutron to be highly reliable. It is expensive as you have to have the Lutron Caseta Pro 2 bridge. However, I do not regret the expense as the Lutron system works with no fuss.
I have found Zigbee to be almost as reliable as Lutron. Devices tend to be fairly inexpensive. I am using some inexpensive Tuya based Zigbee 3.0 plugs as repeaters. They work great.
Z-wave devices seem to be a lot more complicated. They are more expensive than Zigbee. They seem to be a lot more sensitive to signal connectivity issues. I have some devices that work reliably and some I cannot get to work for more than a few days. The reason I use Z-wave is that there are some actuator devices like door locks, water valve controllers, and doorbell chimes/alarm sirens that are more readily available on Z-wave than Zigbee.
I try to avoid cloud-based WiFI devices that have to be connect through the Internet. There are a few WiFI devices that Hubitat can control directly through your local router. Check the Hubitat device compatibility list.
It may be possible to have a Zigbee only or Z-wave only system, but I decided that using multiple protocols would allow me to select the best devices for my specific needs. I could do nearly anything Z-wave, but in doing so, I might drive myself crazy troubleshooting connectivity issues.
If you look at the forum threads, there seem to be far more threads dealing with Z-wave issues than with Zigbee issues. Most of the Zigbee issues have to do with non-standard Zigbee devices such as those by Xiaomi/ Aqara.
The choice between zigbee and z-wave will depend to some extent on which types of devices you need, and what’s available where you live. That’s true for Lutron as well; if you don’t live in North America, then Caseta probably isn’t a viable option.
Local access to your hub doesn’t require RDP or any type of intermediary machine to be running. And it’s possible to view hub dashboards and interact with devices remotely as well.
If you want to be able to access the hub’s administrative interface remotely, then you would need a VPN or similar solution, or you can subscribe to the Hubitat remote admin service.
I will echo @rwclements228 comments about Lutron. A little more money but the most solid smart devices I have. They just work, all the time, every time. And if you're in an older home some of their models do not require a neutral switch.
As for the rest I think you'll discover you end up with both zwave and zigbee devices, though as others have pointed out zwave ends up being more complicated. Like others I avoid any sort of wifi or cloud integration where possible.
@toby1kenobe I too like @rwclements228 and @brad5 Use a mixture of zigbee, z-wave, and Lutron Clear Connect
Lutron Casetta = Light switches. Why? Because they just work. (Require pro hub but is directly controllable from HE and lightning fast)
Zigbee.... Most of my small sensors. Battery life on non wired stuff is pretty good. See forums from crappy zigbee devices. Also the floor thermostat in my master bath i Zigbee (sinope). Mains powered devices act as repeaters
Z-wave... Locks, hard wired devices, some water detectors and some battery stuff (battery life with 700 series better than 500 series) , garage door, Hardwired outlets and energy monitoring. Mains Powered devices act as repeaters. Though if you have metal boxes, some plug in beaming repeaters are reccomended. (Aeotec 7 or Ring v2 repeater)
HE has some cloud device integration both native and community but most do not rely on that for primary control. Control and automation should stay local only. Do not rely on the cloud (the recent break of the MY Q API is a great example of this)
Oh and I have a hue bridge v2 for shitty zigbee zll bulbs I use for the occasional table lamp directly controlled by HE either using the native integration or cocohue. (I use cocohue)
I think new users will find that you almost have to run a combination. Some devices are WiFi, some are zigbee and some are zwave. It depends much on the device you want. There isn't always an option that meets your needs to choose from in all categories.
EG; you may find a great looking wall switch, only to find it's only available as ZWave. You may find that certain devices are stupidly expensive for no ascertainable reason.
Personally, I'm doing nearly all zigbee as I'm a cheapskate!! I'll also add that watching the Zwave stuff around the HA world - different trip ups. Weirdness you have to be careful of for Freq/Band. the new security stuff seems to create problems. Ghosting recently seems to be a big issue. I just want stuff to work and I don't have to worry about esthetics - as a home renter - I can't put permanent items in.
I have both zigbee and zwave. My zigbee devices are flawless and guaranteed to fire simultaneously each and every single time. Z-wave takes 3 prayers from 3 different deities and a smack on the wall to work at an 80% rate. If I could start over, I'd go all in on zigbee.
When I started with SmartThings I tried all manner of device communication types (Zigbee, Z-wave, WiFi and even from RF). It was fun but stability was always an issue for me.
I continued this when I moved to HE. After a while I determined to focus on making my system simpler and more stable while retaining the functionality I want.
I decided to choose Z-wave devices whenever i could. I also decided to focus on as few vendors’ devices as possible.
I will admit at first I had some challenges with my Z-wave devices because I installed about 40 of them in a bit of a helter skelter manner. I backed up and started over following the recommended guidance for connecting a lot of devices in a short amount of time (closest first). My system settled down and has been stable ever since.
I still have some Zigbee, HomeKit and WiFi devices because I don’t have an alternative, or in some cases I just prefer a device that uses a different communication method.
All in all, it works for me, and my WAF is high. It helps she is very patient with me about my hobby.
@waffles Dude! that was so funny! (And at the risk of PO'ing said deities who no doubt are watching - I AGREE!!!)
You should take a look at these two articles BEFORE starting to build out your network... many of us (me included) read them afterward and that's not the best approach.
When I started my journey in home automation a year ago I really wanted to select one home automation wireless protocol and attempted as much. What I found out over months of experimenting, it was just not realistic. There are simply better options in certain device categories for one protocol vs. the other. Good example, I tried for a long time to get a good/fast Z-wave motion sensor for automating home lights and failed. In the end switched to Zigbee for just the motion sensor (light switches are all Z-wave) and really happy with the combo.
So don't be afraid to embrace both wireless home automation protocols, use the best of breed devices in both camps.
Many thanks to all your recommendations! Will start to price up the Z-wave/Zigbee alternatives to my current cloud setup in the UK , majority are plugs, a couple of light switches and sonoff controllers (not sockets due to age of house) and take it from there, btw the sonoff on eWeLink app run in local mode and are solid.
Again appreciate the comments and feedback!
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