Where to start with buying devices in Canada

I'm just starting out with the notion of home automation after having some google home mini's, some TP link light switches, and a nest thermostat that have worked well together.

I'm moving to a new house and after the research iv done it seems like Hubitat is the hub of choice for me (almost no smartthings devices seem available in Canada) I have no experience with any hubs or any zigbee or zwave devices but I like the idea that its on the local network, and i feel im intuitive enough to figure out HE, but HA just seems too much of a knowledge gap for myself (no coding experience) and I mostly dont have the time to learn it, i run a business and have a infant that keeps me pretty busy. I only have experience with Wi Fi devices, but it seems like for many of my needs zigbee is the way to go.

While researching what to buy it seems very difficult to find what devices work best with what is available to the Canadian Market. My plan is to get the following

Contact Sensors
Motion Sensors
At least 1 Water Sensor
a setup that will work with my garage door (maybe iftt integration)
More Dimmable Switches (TP link Kasa switches seem the most readily available but not sure they are my best choice)
Light Bulbs that I can change the temp during day/night
Door Locks/Doorbell
and an outdoor camera setup in the future

Any advice on this would be a great help!

Thanks

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Hello there from a fellow Canuck!

I'd like to recommend (playing to Hubitat's strengths), the following:

  1. Stick with inexpensive Zigbee sensors. They are fast, inexpensive, and if you stick with Zigbee 3.0, you shouldn't have any issue with them. I recommend the usual Chinese websites for this purpose (e.g. aliexpress, baggood, etc.).
  2. Stick with Zwave Plus devices for lights. Available from AAretech, Amazon, PrimeCables, etc.
  3. For locks, I've had no issue with zwave plus, but many others swear by Zigbee locks (Schlage, Yale, etc.). I purchased mine from Amazon.

Best of luck.

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I second @jtmpush18’s comments. I purchase most of my devices from the following:

Amazon.ca (Dome Water Sensor (Z-Wave), Doorbell & Outdoor Camera (Ring/Blink), Sengled Bulbs)
AArtech.ca (Other Motion Sensors, Inovelli and other Z-Wave switches and other Z-Wave / Zigbee devices)
AliExpress.com (Sonoff Motion Sensors and Aquara Water Sensors - Takes 3-4 weeks to deliver)

Welcome to the community! You will find a lot of very useful information on this site. You will also find a bunch of fellow home automation enthousiastes here to help you!

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I have about 10 TP link Kasa switches i was going to install at the new place, Im just wondering if i should return them to Amazon and choose something else or try to use them in my setup.

@Sebastien Thanks for the brand name drops thats very helpful.

I mostly want to make these installs as easy as possible for myself.

Im also wondering how well these devices work with the Google Home Assistant and Hubitat combined?

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Yup I have ordered from aartech.ca a few times. I like them.

Sometimes the sales at inovelli make it compelling to buy direct but shipping takes sooooo long.

Of course amazon.ca but Zooz never goes on sale and the smartest house won’t ship to Canada directly.

Sonoff zigbee stuff, yes AliExpress and amazon.

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Welcome to the Hubitat Community!

I'm in Toronto. Often look for warehouse deals on Amazon. I buy from the aforementioned sources too. However, do reach out to the community before purchasing specific device brands and types. Lots of good advice to be had here.

Some of the devices are challenging to keep stable, and some are very easy. Short answer, it depends. The TP-Link devices work locally with a very good community driver, so you can keep using those, but do yourself a favor and don't add too many WiFi devices. You'll regret it in the future.

Here are the officially compatible devices for Hubitat Elevation. You can find a device you're interested in and then cross check this list to see if it's there. If it's not, that doesn't mean you're dead in the water. There are lots of talented developers here that have written drivers and apps for devices that are not on that list. Just ask in the community if the search option in the forum doesn't pan out, but do search first.

Start with the docs and get familiar with how the interface works, learn about apps and drivers, and read the How to docs. Especially the docs about How to build a stable Zigbee and Z-Wave network. These technologies are different than WiFi and need to be setup and used in specific ways to get the best results from your devices and the hub.

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Welcome to the community!

As above, also IKEA does have four officially supported devices that offer great value.

The IKEA 4

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You can buy Ring z-wave plus devices at most big box stores in Canada. Lowes in BC still have plenty of Smarthings devices. AArtech.ca is quite good. I used them many times before.
If you still could. Return your wifi switches. Not worth it for the long run. stick with Z-wave, zigbee or Lutron Caseta with pro hub.
get Sengled bulbs on Amazon.ca when it's on sale ( if you are going with Zigbee). They are really reliable and not causing issue to your Zigbee mesh.

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A lot of good info from fellow Canadians here.

Totally agree with this. I had a whole home of wemo devices and just ended up getting rid of them all due to frustration. Avoid wifi as much as possible. Unfortunately wifi is not always avoidable.

I also just discovered www.hometechsolution.org as I was getting a device replaced from Zooz and it was handled by them because I was in Canada.

I've also ordered from these sites. You get some good prices but have to wait probably a month or more for shipping to arrive. Luckily I'm a patient person. Sometimes I get tracking and its fun to watch the path around the world it took to get to me.

Because I have a lot of xiaomi devices, my only zigbee repeaters are ikea devices and they work perfectly together. Make sure you have enough repeaters for your devices as you start to expand.

I also set up price watches in CamelCamelCamel and get notifications when the ring/amazon devices drop in price. It happens pretty often.

And just to add,

I recommend trying to minimize your different device brands. Stick to as few brands as possible. Some brands don't play well with each other and just add frustration. In my place all of my switches are Innovelli. I only manage 2 drivers and they all work great. All my sensors are Xiaomi and repeaters are ikea. For my other one off devices I stuck to bigger names like zooz and aeotec.

Sometimes just because there is a community integration, it doesn't mean you should use it. Especially if you don't want to baby your smart home. Some of us love the punishment. But maybe you don't want to wake up one morning and have to troubleshoot why the garage door integration is no longer working.

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Thanks everyone this is most of the information I was looking for. I'm returning the Kada lights that I can, and I think I plan on going with the inoveli light switches.

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The vast majority of my purchases would have been on either amazon.ca or aartech.ca, but I have used ebay on occasion. If you are just starting out, seriously consider a Lutron hub, this allows you to use Lutron light switches and Pico remotes, Lutron is generally considered to be the most reliable and robust lighting solution for home automation and the pico remotes are easily the best button option. (I have mostly zwave plus lights (GE/Jasco and Inovelli) and have had no issues with them, but Lutron is still arguably the most robust and reliable. The best price I found in Canada for Lutron is: https://www.montreallighting.com/

Current Canadian prices for a Lutron Smart Bridge Pro:
$158.00 Montreal Lighting (https://www.montreallighting.com/lutron-caseta-smart-bridge-pro.html
$277.69 Amazon.ca (https://www.amazon.ca/Lutron-Caseta-L-BDGPRO2-WH-SmartBridge-Programmed/dp/B00Z8AXQCQ/ref=sr_1_14?dchild=1&keywords=173-L-BDGPRO2-WH-C&qid=1612106985&sr=8-14)
$191.62 Ebay (Lutron Smart Pro Bridge L-BDGPRO2-WH Caseta Wireless HomeKit & Alexa enabled | eBay)

And definitely go with a zigbee lock as opposed to a zwave.

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I don’t know. My Alfred DB2-B is pretty awesome.

Also a Canadian company!!

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After almost 7 years of this I can only offer anecdotal advice.
Don't go down the Xiaomi rabbit hole. I have lots of these and I am used to being frustrated and banging my head being in the IT industry for 45 years. They are cheap but be prepared to read hundreds of thread and spend your days deleting and re-adding them as they are incompatible with most Zigbee repeater save Ikea. If took me forever once I transitioned to HE at Xmas to even gte them to route through the 2 I bought and remove the powered Zigbee switches.
For the extra couple of dollars and free shipping Aartech.ca is your best bet.
Amazon is a bit cheaper sometimes but no support and not always free returns.
And definitly try not to mix and match too much.
Find a brand with a good firmware reputation and go that direction.
I am replacing all of my Gen 1 GE/Jasco/Linear with GE Enbrighten partly to get the Z-Wave + functionality but also to get away from the polling issues that ST had partly solved for old devices.

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@dnickle Interesting the different experiences among users on the on Xiaomi (I know this is an ongoig topic) ... I have a few of the Xiaomi products and they have been solid. In particular I am loving the Opple button. I have also found it hard to beat their small form factors. In contrast the Smartthings button is always rock solid, but only offers 3 functions.

to the OP, don't throw away your Wifi stuff.. sounds like most of it will work (TP Kasa). +1 for Zigbee in general for price and function (Zwave just seems to carry a price tag). I wouldn't recommend the Leviton Switches.. they are good form factors, but the relays are loud and they can be flakey (for me anyway). Ikea bulbs and outlets have been good and reliable and cheap - not the best form factor in the plug outlet.. but it could be worse.

For Garage Door Opener, I have had good luck with my Linear GD00Z. I have not heard of many who really love the MyQ.. there is a solution with Fortrezz Mimolite too I think (see aartech)

Don't worry about the 'Coding' - I am not either and get along just fine. This community has made it very easy to add the functions I want and are great about support and troubleshooting... as you can see from all the responses you've already received.

The Innovelli Switches are great (they would be the one exception to my Zwave comment above) They have great form, function and support.

I just added some Kasa Switches today (they were $20 each on sale over xmas) and am sort of regretting it already as the feel and operation are kinda cheap and crude to me.

Best of luck with the New Set Up!

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I returned the kasa switched through amazon today, i bought some around xmas as well and was able to return them as the last day for the return on them was today. They are down to like 13 dollars cdn each on the amazon warehouse deals page currently. I did buy some dimmers from them that im going to try before i buy some inoveli switches.

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Just bought two of the Sonoff Zigbee plugs to try. Have heard they don't seem to be repeating well or at all. I have an XBee so I can confirm that easily. Would be nice to see them work well because the price and form factor is good.

And won't my wife be pleased?

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I have a bunch of these and I like them.

But do device route through them? Just asking. I'll find out tomorrow myself :wink:

So, how do you check with an XBee? Do you have XCTU on at all times?

No. Don't recall how or if I can measure distance. I think you can. Mine is setup to act as a repeater for my stuff in the backyard (damn v1 OSRAM Gardenspots that like to drop unless the XBee is repeating for them). Ordered a set of Sonoff Zigbee plugs to test. I'll let you know when I go to test them out.

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