Why so few Zigbee Switch users?

The answer is complicated. If all my home automation devices were switches, I'd use Z-Wave Plus exclusively. As it operates at under 1 GHz frequency, it is better suited for penetrating building materials, and it also has no issues interfering with wi-fi.

But it isn't that simple. Battery devices such as contact and motion sensors tend to be Zigbee, and you have to think about supporting that mesh too with powered devices that repeat. So I went back and replaced some Z-Wave Plus switches with Zigbee in strategic locations.


That is the original reason I bought the GE zigbee switches; supporting the mesh in a couple areas, because I wanted to add more motion sensors. After I replaced them, I saw that my motion lighting automations were quite noticeably faster.

There just are not a lot of options and the feature set it limited for those that do exist. Sinope are very good quality and supported by HE, but their features are pretty basic.

FWIW, I have 2 of the Honeywell/GE/Jasco Zigbee switches, bought specifically because I wanted Zigbee repeaters near my Hampton Bay Fan Controllers.

They work fine, but, I think they feel inferior to Zooz or Innovelli, or even the Jasco newer Enbrighten models.

Now that Jasco is offering Zigbee in wall outlets, I expect that i will continue to have a mostly Zwave+ mesh for light switches (and thus Zwave repeaters) augmented by a Zigbee mesh for sensors and buttons which uses primarily Zigbee in-wall outlets as repeaters.


I agree that Z-Wave's lower frequency makes it better to penetrate the building materials. At 2.4 GHz and ZigBee you are looking at double the dB loss compared to 900 MHz of Z-Wave with some material types:

Material Type 900 MHz Drop 2 GHz Drop
1/2" Drywall 2.03 dB 2.43 dB
Venetian Plaster 7.91 dB 16.22 dB
6" Concrete Wall 10.11 dB 19.41 dB
Glass Window 4.35 dB 4.38 dB
1/4" Fiberglass 1.62 dB 1.90 dB
Low Emission Glass Window 33.8 dB 33.8 dB
Brick 7.57 dB 14.66 dB
Solid Wooden Door 6.11 dB 12.33 dB
Hollow Wood Door 5.39 dB 10.11 dB
1/2" OSB Plywood 3.27 dB 4.91 dB
1/2" Solid Pine 2.01 dB 5.05 dB
1/2" Solid Oak 4.68 dB 6.11 dB

I've gone pretty much all zigbee at this point.
This wasn't due to any specific issues with zwave other than lacking group messaging support.
There's over 150 zigbee bulbs, dimmers and switches here, it's nice being able to send one command to the lot of them, or subset groups.
I've also taken to use level prestaging to manage brightness settings through out the day.

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My recollection is that at one point of time you had in-box relays with Picos in front of them. Still the same setup, except with zigbee relays?

yup, this is correct...

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That sounds great in theory..but in reality for most of us it's not a problem. I have three access points in mesh running 2.4 and 5Ghz SSIDs. I've switched as much as I can to zigbee at this point and have been rock solid. Most of what's left for me is zwave in wall switches. I use the IRIS outlets which are absolutely amazing repeaters for zigbee. So there goes your penetration problem. If there were more zigbee switches this would be even less of an issue. I also was an early adopter to the XBees, which allowed me to see very easily into my zigbee network and what was repeating to what. They also make excellent repeaters and for very little $$.

The Lutron switches were my substitution for lack of zigbee in wall switches. I have about 10 wall switches left that aren't a priority because they are working. Eventually those will be lutron also.

Xbee info:

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Sorry, not trying to derail a Zigbee thread, but does Z-Wave 700 have any group messaging ability?

I don't believe so.

However, while it's not quite the same as group messaging, z-wave has supported direct association for a while - I think, at least as far back as z-wave 300 series chips.

I believe it does, but obviously requires a 700 hub and 700 series devices...
We haven't looked into implementing this yet, mostly due to the lack of 700 series device penetration.

With zigbee it was a no brainer as every actuator supports group messaging...

While zwave direct association (like zigbee touchlink) eliminates a round trip to the hub, it's still requires sending a separate command to each associated device.


I'd like to hear about this relay/pico setup... sounds interesting.

Care to share WHICH Zigbee relays?

True. my thinking was biased by my very simple use case of two dimmers in my garage.

nothing special really, I'm using RGBGenie Zigbee micro dimmers and switches and controlling these with Lutron Picos.
The micros do not have anything connected to their momentary trigger input.
Prior to changing these to the RGBGenie zigbee units I was using aeon micros.

Yes, i know the hub and lutron bridge need to be running for this to work, in three years of running this way it's not been a source of issue, any more than any other automation not working...

RGBGenie Zigbee micro dimmers and switches

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Interesting. And why did you go the Pico + relay route rather than installing a Lutron switch directly in the box? Just curious.

The couple things I can think of are:

  • You get a "favorite" level button with the center 5th button.
  • You get pressed, held, and released events that you cannot from the switches.
  • The switches don't have the ability to be used without the light coming on like you can on many Zwave switches. Disabling the relay so to speak.
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in addition to what @neonturbo mentioned:
--all my devices are black, and at the time caseta devices in black were mega bucks.
--the dimmers are two wire (no ground) and I don't like the way that they start at 100% then dim down to previous level when actuated manually


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