Tried and tested choices for beginners

So after many, many years of switching from smart home to smart home, we have finally found solid ground. We've moved from Rako (very early days), to Fibaro Home Center, to Smartthings, and finally to Hubitat, which we've been running now for about 2 years.

It has taken the best part of 10 years and LOTS of expensive device/sensor replacements, but I can now say our home is fully functional, completely self contained (offline), but most of all, RELIABLE! (ehem smartthings…).

If you're new and looking for guidance for common things then I'd like to help out. My No.1 piece of advice - Go Zigbee, wherever possible. It has been BY FAR the most reliable way forward. Forget wifi controlled devices, they’re a pain and they will clog up your probably already messy home network. Zwave.... we had zwave for 4 years, and we always had issues regarding the mesh/network, and it always seems to lag. Devices would also randomly become excluded (unpaired).

Right, let's start.

For lighting, obviously I'm going to recommend Philips Hue, it is just amazing, especially the dynamic modes, but if you're on a budget then IKEA Tradfri Bulbs (Zigbee) have proven to be extremely reliable, even the colour ones. Our entire house is now either Philips Hue or IKEA Tradfri.

For sockets, again, IKEA Tradfri Switched Sockets (Zigbee). They have all worked flawlessly since adding them (and we have at least 20+!).

For blinds, yet again, IKEA have your solution. Their Fyrtur Smart blinds are superb and pair directly to the Hubitat Hub. They’re battery powered (rechargeable) and will last about 3 months from a full battery (from what we’ve gathered). A third party driver (easily googled) is required to operate them though. They come in width sizes between 600mm to 1400mm, in multiples of 200mm. They drop up to 1800mm, but this can be adjusted and memorized by simply using the up and down on the unit.

If you need a Dry Contacts Relay Switch Module, for example to give a zero-voltage pulse for your electric gates or garage door, we've found the Samotech SM104Z (Zigbee) to work great. The wiring diagram provided only shows for switching Live (for switching lighting loads etc.), but you can just leave the switched Live disconnected and hey presto you have a Zero-Voltage Zigbee relay module! It took us AGES to find an in-wall module like this that had a proper clunky relay.

Of course, if you’re looking for an In-Wall Relay Switch Module for switching Live appliances, then the above module will also be your best friend.

BUTTONS ... Boy, have we tried and tested some buttons! Our daily drivers throughout the house are the Sonoff SNZB-01 (ZigBee). They’re reliable, pair directly to the Hubitat and the battery lasts ages. Oohlala driver is required to get them going though. They support Push, Hold and Double Tap. My only gripe is that you have to Hold the button for about 4 or 5 seconds to register as a Hold, not a Tap. We have around 30 of these dotted around the house with small Dymo labels on their face to remind us what they all do :sweat_smile:

Other buttons we have are the Moe’s 4 Button Wall Unit (ZigBee) and the IKEA Styrbar (ZigBee). Both work flawlessly and are cheap as chips.

Sensors , again, everything we have is Sonoff and work from the Oohlala driver. PIR sensors SNZB-03 (Zigbee), Door Contact sensors SNZB-04 (Zigbee) and Temperature Sensor SNZB-02 (Zigbee) all work reliably and brilliantly. We have around 60 Rules/Routines that these are integrated into. Plus, they're cheap.

My guess is part of why we are having such good luck with the ZigBee platform/protocol is because we have so many ZigBee devices, most of which, the hard-wired ones at least, will act as a node/repeater to strengthen the ZigBee Network.

I hope this advice reaches any curious newcomer, it’s taken us a long time to get where we are with almost the entire house smarted up.


I prefer to use smart switches for most lighting, and my favorites are made by Lutron, which integrates nicely with Hubitat.

Good list of zigbee devices to refer to though, thanks.


Best writeup ever on this commmunity! ty.

I am brand new to Hubitat, about 2 weeks.
I just purchased a SNZB-01 off Amazon to play with and I don't see a OhLaLa Driver/type listed in the device.
Only thing I see that's close is the Sonoff Zigbee Button Controller.

Where can I find the OhLaLa driver?


Use the community Hubitat Package Manager to install..

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The driver is not installed out of the box, but like erktrek said you can install it using hubitat Package Manager, or you can copy and paste the first release code (which works fine, just an older version) from here:

You will need to log in to your hubitat via the web interface, head to "Drivers Code" in the left hand menu and then click "New Driver". Copy ALL THE CODE from the link I gave you (select the right one for your device, or just copy and paste all of them individually if you plan to get more sonoff stuff). Press "Save" at the top right and you're done.

Now when you add a sonoff device it should select the driver automatically. If it doesn't, head to the device page and select the driver you just installed from the "Device type" drop-down list. User added drivers usually appear right at the bottom of the list.

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Thank you Sean.
I'm away from home for a couple weeks but will try it when I get home.


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Just a short question about the Styrbar. How is the battery life and how much of the original functionality is still working properly. I was playing with the shortcut button and the sound button for a while, but battery life was a mess. If this one works, it would be awesome!

Thanks Sean for great start-up advice. I'm brand new to Hubitat (this is my 1st post!) and am frantically reading as much as I can go get my feet planted. I'm well underway getting my Hubitat system functioning, but at this point I have a question about the Sonoff SNZB-01 wireless switch. Hope you can help?

I want to use that switch to control a dimmer module attached to a table lamp. I want to be able to hold down the switch & have the lamp brightness slowly ramp upwards until I release the switch to stop the brightening. I actually have everything working great except, when I release the switch the lamp continues getting brighter, and goes all the way to 100% brightness each time.

Does this Sonoff SNZB-01 switch not have a "release" control function? I see it in the list of choices alongside the other single press, double press, & long press functions. The log doesn't show a "release" activity so, maybe that answers my question. Just curious maybe I missed something?

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Hi Nordic, As far as I know, release is the one function the SNZB-01 does not support.... yet. There's no reason why it couldn't support it through the driver script in possible later updates, but as of yet it is just the three functions from the button unfortunately.

Thanks Sean much appreciated! Are you aware of other wireless button switches/panels that do support the release function? I'm a casualty of the recent Insteon apocalypse and am trying to replace my once-proud Insteon automations.
How else can I control a lamp dimmer if I want to change the brightness randomly via a switch?

Hi again, no problem!
There is one button that comes to mind, and we are still experimenting with it ourselves as we just bought a couple last week. It's the IKEA Tradfri Shortcut Button E1812 (Zigbee), and cost £9 (BARGAIN!), and if you're in the UK I know that IKEA offer cheap delivery options. It has just one button (the entire front face is a button, similar to the SNZB-01). It does not support Double Tap, but it does support Push, Hold, and Release. If this is of any interest I can set up a simple Rule Machine rule to test it out for you?

Link to Shortcut Button on IKEA Website
TRÅDFRI Shortcut button, white - IKEA

Thanks Sean, that's an interesting button indeed. However if it gives up double tap to replace it with release then that sorta cools down my enthusiasm. Also it's still just a single button..

I probably did something dumb yesterday,, I ordered an Aqara OPPLE wireless switch from Banggood, It has SIX buttons, and each one supports single press double press long press and release. It is a zigbee 3 protocol. Sounds perfect right? Now sadly someone here is probably going to tell me it is incompatible with Hubitat? :frowning: Not big deal considering how dirt cheap the switch is, but I'm hoping I can use it. My bedside night table needs a multi-button controller for Hubitat!

Aqara x opple zigbee 3.0 smart switch homekit version wireless remote control wall light switch works with homekit from eco-system Sale -

Thank you. Very helpful.

Have you found any Zigbee devices that will trigger with a dry contact?
I have 2 sump pumps with a float switch.
I had bought 2 Centralite sp? water sensors that I soldered wires to, to connect to the float switch but one of them keeps disconnecting from the hub or won't send a notification to my cell.
So I ordered a SNZB-04 and will hack it to attach wires.

Thanks, stevenr

Look at the neo coolcam water sensors. They have a 4' tail on them and work very well. I use them everywhere. One of them is in my water softener. It sits on top of the salt and as salt lowers and it hits the brine it sends a message that we need to add salt. Should do you well with no soldering. I think @danabw found you can use a basic stereo mini extension to make it even longer.

Exactly what I did, copying @rlithgow1. :slight_smile:

You can also extend the sensor by adding in an extension - I got this:

One thing it doesn't do is report very much, so I'd think that you'd want to check it regularly to make sure it's still hanging on.

No, unfortunately.

Hi user819, attacking an SNZB-04 is exactly what we did!! And it works beautifully! Great minds.... As you've probably guessed it's just a big old reed switch to unsolder and Bob's your uncle. We use ours attached to a gate control board to give open/closed feedback while we're away. That was a year ago and it's still working!

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Excellent! Thank you.

Thank you rlithgow.
I see it in Aliexpress. Does it work with the generic zigbee water sensor driver?

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