To Zigbee or not to Zigbee. Is that a question?

Honestly, it almost is. In my experience, SmartThings and Hubitat are the only commercial hubs on the market with a broad range of Zigbee support. I decided to move away from one of them before the other was publicly released, and it was quite difficult to find any hub that worked with all of my Zigbee devices. (Vera Plus requires the device to be on its whitelist, which has stagnated around a paltry 18 devices. Home Assistant has a couple different ways to do Zigbee, but what I thought was the easiest, the native ZHA component with an HUSBZB-1 stick, also has a whitelist--but luckily one that included most of my devices except my thermostat, especially Centralite devices like the Iris v2 sensors. I didn't try deConz or any of the other methods.)

It's hard for me to remember how happy I was when Hubitat was released and included support for custom Zigbee devices; that happiness has been more than matched by the staff's incredible willingness to find new Zigbee devices and write drivers for them before one of them even ends up in my hands. :slight_smile: In any case, ST and Hubitat really excel in the Zigbee HA field. Unfortunately, most other players don't unless you're exceedingly careful about which devices you choose since support is out of your hands (I'm assuming Wink, Iris, and the few others that support/supported Zigbee also work this way).

So...that's one advantage for Z-Wave. I bought several Z-Wave sensors when I was on Home Assistant, trying to replace some Zigbee ones that either didn't work or just didn't work well. But, as it turns out, some of them are a bit slower. My biggest problem was that Z-Wave motion sensors had too much lag for them to be useful for my lighting automations (not sure if that has to do with Z-Wave itself or just intentional lower sensitivity on the devices, something discussed in another thread and something the v2 ZooZ 4-in-1 might have addressed). But if you're happy as-is, no reason to change. :slight_smile:


I have almost felt left out seeing all the Zigbee posts. The people that love their Zigbee really seem to be very enthused. Without any real reference I wondered whether I was missing an opportunity. No one was encouraging me to make the leap so I will happily stay with Zwave.

I kinda did. But, for this particular application, I still say you should stay with Z-Wave. Everything else? Zigbee rulez! :wink: (and Ikea, but I'm not digressing again).

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image The Swedish meatball emoji.

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So perhaps it wasn't just FUD.

I was wrong. From the Digi website

XBee-PRO 900HP
    Long Range 900 MHz OEM RF Module
    Superior LOS range of up to 28 miles* with high-gain antenna
    Simplified AT command set and advanced XBee API 
    Over-the-air firmware updates
    Software-selectable channel mask for interference immunity
    Advanced sleep modes: sleeping routers, pin sleep, cyclic sleep
    Try these modules out with a XBee-PRO 900HP DigiMesh Kit

If Z-Wave was the cheaper option, guess what I would have more of? I don't like all the include, exclude, repair stuff, but money talks.

So what are the good cheaper ZigBee alternatives?

Some folks seem to be pretty positive on Samsung’s latest sensors, and they are fairly low cost.

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Yes, unfortunatly as much as I hate to throw recomendations in that direction, they work, and are reasonably priced.
Also, the Sylvania contact and motion sensors are out there, these are centralite oem, same as the iris V2 devices, but slightly more homely looking...


Agree completely. I have one of the Sylvania and it’s fantastic but it can’t match the looks of the Samsung. I didn’t keep it but I bought a newer Samsung and it was really good.

Visonic MCT-340 E Contact/Temperature Sensor can be found for $15-ish. I picked up a couple for $11 each + free shipping (shoulda bought a dozen at that price). Also, we have a hack

There are a lot of zigabee advocates here.....and much of the industry is pushing wifi plus zigabee as the new home automation standards...mostly because manufacturers want to minimize their expenses and zigabee runs on the 2.4ghz band and doesn't require an additional radio plus zigabee devices can be tweaked so that they are in essence proprietary....forcing lockin of customers to specific brands and hubs (hue, iris v1, smart things future direction?).

It's easy to give in to the non stop marketing and ease of use of zigabee. Iris, other than its migration to v2, was a well run zigabee focused automation system. A proprietary system can innovate faster than a cross platform one …..but might end up in the long run buggier and less stable.

But, technically, I think a house built on zwave plus running at 900mhz for low bandwidth sensors/locks and 802.11ad wifi running at 2.4ghz for high bandwidth cameras/complex devices makes the most sense. Devices have different needs and this combination makes very good sense. 802.11ad will get rid of the bandwidth and device limits associated with 2.4ghz access points. As for zwave plus - you get much less bandwidth congestion, longer range, real interoperability, and the 700 series zwave plus devices will have very, very long battery life (potentially up to 10yrs on a single battery).

Most of the benefits of zigabee are on the vendor side, not the home owner - which might be why amazon is pushing it.

I'm using aeotec zwave bulbs for the time being. It does help to have a full zwave plus, not mixed mesh. Zwave plus does allow device discovery far from the hub with good repeaters and the possibility of future automated over the air device firmware updates regardless of device vendor.

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Of these three hubs, only one adopted a non standard zigbee profile (iris v1), but later supported zha and zll like the others, hue being primarily a bulb hub, doesn't support zha devices.

I don't agree with this, zigbee devices of a given type are far more interoperable than their zwave counterparts, largely due to zigbees more highly defined reporting and configuration schema.
From a device and hub vendors perspective this translates into less development costs.
I see this as a benefit to the end consumer, not a detraction.

Not that it matters, but personally while I have an equal number of zigbee and zwave devices, and having written a significant number of drivers for both protocols, if I were to start from scratch i would go all Zigbee.

Another less known, zigbee advantage being battery devices they sleep differently than zwave, zigbee devices per spec check into their parent for pending messages every 7.x seconds max, zwave battery devices have no spec driven check in interval. This is why many zwave drivers have pending status bits indicating the remaining unconfigured parameters, while none of the the zigbee devices require this.
With zigbee devices you can push configuration changes without the need to manually or programitacally wake the device up.


The original reason I went with Zwave was that there didn't seem to be as broad a range of devices. Ten years or so later that may not be the case. I'm not sure how much more I would build out my devices although if things were considerably less expensive, I might add a bunch of new sensors.

To me, that still seems to be the case.

But -unless you're chasing Banggood items- they're not often 'considerably' less expensive ...and you need more to build out the mesh.


Oh yeah, Ikea.

My decision was made for me. I have too much interference from neighbors for a lot of zigbee. I have a handful of zigbee devices (15 or so) but I'm used to sometimes huge delays with them. Also, I started down the zigbee path stronger than I do now but got frustrated that some of my spec (sylvania) repeaters dropped the cheap Xiaomi and slightly out of spec zigbee devices frequently so I backed off.

(BTW, I bought three tradfri plugs to repeat the Xiaomi deivces but... they are just too big and ugly for me and my wife... plus I still have two RGBW controllers that will drop Xiaomi so it didn't fix anyway.)

Why choose one or the other? Pick the best device for the job.

In my house I have primarily (all) zwave dimmers and switches. My in-wall outlets are zwave, the plugin outlets are primarily zigbee, and I have a mix of zigbee and zwave sensors, although most are zigbee.

I also have a Hue hub and a fair number of hue bulbs.

I find the ST zigbee stuff to be rock solid, and I use a mix of zwave brands (GE/Jasco, Zooz, & cooper I think).

Both I say!

That’s been my strategy as well, but I live in a relatively small apartment, so a weak zigbee and/or z-wave mesh isn’t much of an issue for me, regardless of how many/few devices of each protocol I use.

Yeah, my place is a 3 floor house of about 2800 sq ft, but it's stick built, and has very little metalwork on the upper two floors. Since all the floors are roughly equivalent in size, I seem to have very little signal blockage from the hub and a couple of Zigbee Plugs (repeaters) placed around the house.

I'm also fortunate to have a 'large' 1 Acre lot with reasonable setbacks between myself and my neighbors, both of whom would seem to be luddites in respect to Smart Home Tech (Zwave/Zigbee), so no worries there either!

My meshes seem to work pretty well. I was concerned about the basement, but since I moved from ST to Hubitat, I haven't had any problems to speak of, even with the Hub on the second floor. I did read the Xbee monster thread though, and through a couple Samsung Zigbee plugs in a couple of rooms on the first floor to act as repeaters (just in case!).


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