Z-Wave is far superior to Zigbee for battery powered devices IME

Better battery life aside, I’ve found that for non-passive devices, eg door locks and thermostats, Z-Wave devices IME are far more responsive and reliable.

Edit: For me the issue I’ve noticed seems to be specifically related to battery powered devices that need to be woken up by the hub and commanded to do something.

My latest data point to back this up are my Yale dead bolts. I have been running them with Zigbee modules for around a year and I had to implement retry logic to make them reliable with Zigbee.

And yesterday I replaced those Zigbee modules with Yale Z-Wave radios and now when the house mode changes, they both lock/unlock on the first try.

With Zigbee one of them would lock/unlock and the other would respond on the 2nd or 3rd attempt and it was random as to which one would respond first.

IME This isn’t unique to Yale Zigbee modules, I have the same issues with my Zigbee Zen thermostats.

So to sum up, Imo z-wave is the superior wireless standard as it doesn’t need to compete for bandwidth in a congested 2.4ghz frequency band.

Z-Wave also seems to make sure that devices wake up and perform the desired actions unlike Zigbee which seems to operate on the Hail Mary principle (ie send the command and hope the device does as its told). This isn’t an issue for mains powered Zigbee devices as they are always awake.

My experience has been the opposite. With bulbs and sensors I started with 50/50 Zigbee and Z-wave. Every time I had an unreliable device I substituted it with another brand device.

Now, with more than 60 devices in a relatively large property, including garden lights and external gate sensors, I find myself with most Z-wave in a drawer, with my home running 90% on Zigbee.

BTW I’m located in Europe, where Z-wave frequencies are not identical to American ones (still 900MHz).

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Thanks for reporting this! It's very interesting to learn your experience which seems different than mine.

I've found Zigbee to be a lot more responsive in general. I've always thought that it's due to the higher bandwidth and somewhat more robust mesh strategies. You do need a certain # of devices to make this work well though and that depends on your environment. Also the channel # selection can make a difference as well - like you said, interference is a greater issue with Zigbee.

Z-Wave has always worked for me too though routing has been problematical, sometimes causing hub "busy" events (this is much better now thanks to the newer firmware) or just being very slow to respond or not responding at all. The range SHOULD be much better being at such a lower frequency but the quirkiness of the routing really seems to impact this. I guess this is one of the reasons they developed the very Lutron-like - "Z-Wave LR" spec. As I've said before - once in place and operating properly I rarely have issues with a Z-Wave device.

In terms of sensor longevity my zigbee devices have ranged from a couple of months (an often used Zigbee lock) to a few years (closet door sensors). I no longer have any battery powered Z-Wave devices so can't really comment there.

Most of my contact/motion sensors are Zigbee so hard for me to make a definitive statement about speed/responsiveness but relative to some powered Z-Wave motion sensors I have in the basement the battery operated ones down there seem faster.

I will also note as a counterpoint that my Zigbee Sonoff SNZB-03 motion sensor is a bit laggy, taking about a 1/2 to 1 second to respond and is probably my slowest performing sensor, but it was very inexpensive.


I’m in Australia. I find mains powered Zigbee to be very very reliable, but my battery powered locks, remotes and thermostats are anything but.

Thankfully my locks are now running zwave and are now 100% reliable.

I’ve never had an issue with Zigbee motion sensors or contact sensors, just locks and thermostats.

For me the issue seems to be specifically related to battery powered devices that need to be woken up by the hub and commanded to do something.

Okay that's interesting. Just tried to unlock / lock my Kwikset and Yale Zigbee locks from my dashboard. Kwikset worked but took a second or two but that's normal. The Yale seemed unresponsive for like 20 seconds - so to your point! The Kwikset is our main lock and gets frequent use while the Yale generally stays locked for a while.

For my use case I usually don't send commands to the locks other than a "lock" for my nighttime routine. The manual unlock/lock events appear quickly enough but that's probably due to the devices being woken up when touched.

edit: now my Yale lock is responding appropriately. I wonder if it goes into some kind of a deep sleep if unused for a while to save energy. :thinking:

Following up on this bit - you mean you can't get the Zigbee device to talk to the hub when you manually engage it? Like physically unlocking a door or changing the temperature?

Mine are Yale locks too, the difference after moving to the zwave module is huge. I use a handful of rules to lock/unlock the house based on mode changes. And the mode changes are mostly controlled by geofencing events.

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Gotcha - interesting I can confirm a similar experience with the Yale lock but not the Kwikset.

So what would happen is say when I trigger our bed time routine and the house goes into night mode, my rule would tell the doors to lock.

I would usually then hear 1 of the locks trigger, and then it would take several attempts for the other to lock.

I know this because I send the “lock” command to both at the same time (see my rule in the first post) so the one that did wake up would chime several times to indicate the command had been received and acted on.

Now with the z-wave modules, both locks respond within a fraction of a second of each other and I’ve not seen the rule trigger a repeat command yet.

Does that make sense?

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Yep - I think I got it.. Hub commands are more responsive in Z-Wave for the locks. For the thermostats I still have to test this - I have Pearls, but will let you know when I do.

I do not unlock anything via automated rules / geofence as a matter of principal but can understand why it is a handy thing to do.

My locking rule has been working as far as I know but I might test tonight just to be sure. Of course I have a combination rule based on a contact sensor and door lock that auto-locks after a certain time or not if the door is open so usually the night lock is redundant.

I was going to get the Pearls myself, but they failed the WAF test (ugly and cheap looking was her pov) and so we got the Zen’s in white. They work great most of the time, it’s mainly when I send a manual set point change. Sometimes it works perfectly, and others it doesn’t and I have to try again. Status Updates from the thermostats to the hub always work fine.

We use the digital deadlocks as an additional security measure. I’m in IT so I’m a firm believer in redundancy. We have physical locks in the door handles, plus the digital deadlocks.

The digital locks are fully automated to ensure maximum WAF. :rofl:

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Just another data point:

I’ve been running a Samsung Zigbee contact sensor on the rear mailbox cover to alert me when I get small parcels.

It worked great in summer, but moisture kept getting in during winter and draining the battery. Unfortunately Zigbee couldn’t penetrate the aluminum hatch so mounting it internally didn’t work.

So 2 weeks ago I bought a Dome zwave contact sensor and it works great inside my mailbox. Hopefully that’ll prevent the moisture issues I had on the Samsung sensor.

The range is roughly 45m line of sight and being 10m from the front of the house seems to be no issue even with all the brick etc in the way.

It takes a nice big ER14505 lithium battery so I’m hoping battery life is good too.