Zigbee and Z-wave

If you are just getting started and are looking for good switches to buy consider going with Zigbee over Z-wave. I have hundreds of Z-wave switches in multiple locations and you really have to baby the network to get it right. I have recently been putting in Zigbee switches and building out Zigbee networks. I have cut my setup time in half and increased the reliability. My reference is based on large installations only.

Here are the issues with Z-wave

-With Z-wave you have center the hub in the location and avoid more then 2 hops.
-Sometimes I have to move the hub beside a switch to get it to work right on setup or I have to unlink it and link it again a few times.
-Sometimes a switch on the fringe areas will have long delays in reacting (usually does not happen if you follow the two hop rule which is not always possible)
-You have run "Repair Network" a few times during installations and/or wait for your network to "self repair".
-If a switch fails it really messes up your network

None of this happens with Zigbee. All I have to do is setup the switches and they always seem to work. If there is a failure only the switch that fails is the problem.

I will usually bring a few plugin sockets with me. Set them up first and spread them around a large location. Make sure I can talk to all of them and then get to setting up the switches. When I am done, I will remove the Zigbee Plug sockets and the I am off to a new location. I have found that I have cut my time in half. I group up all of the Zigbee devices and you now get an instant on/off.

If you are starting out a new network then consider Zigbee over Z-wave because the switches are all the same price. I personally use exclusively GE Enbrighten switches. They are cheap, can take a full 1800 watt load, easy to install and very reliable.

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A small note on the GE Enbrighten switch; the Switch version can take 1800watts the dimmer version can take 600watts.

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99% agree. Z-Wave just isn't reliable enough in my experience. The only reason I've found to keep using z-wave is I really like the central scene support. If I found a Zigbee dimmer or switch that supported multiple tap and hold/release button operations, I'd switch over too.

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And consider Lutron Caseta over both :slight_smile:

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I dunno, both Z-Wave and Zigbee seem really stable now. I haven't had any issues since the last Z-Wave radio update.

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It's interesting how everyone's experience varies. I suspect some of this has to do what what kinds of Z-Wave devices you use; if something on your network changes, "classic" Z-Wave devices might require a Z-Wave Repair to find new routes, where as Z-Wave Plus devices should do so on their own eventually (though one shouldn't hurt, aside from it possibly being an intensive process). Environmental factors (building materials, number of walls, placement or routers/repeaters--which you can't always help if they're in-wall products, other networks on same frequency in the area, and probably a little bit of luck--I'm not sure all of Z-Wave routing is public knowledge) probably play a role, too.

Zigbee, meanwhile, has always been self-healing, so the mesh issues you sometimes find with Z-Wave are less likely to happen. This is despite the disadvantages Zigbee may have in some environments (higher frequency and less range; competition with other things in its 2.4 GHz range, like Wi-Fi). In unrelated-to-this but still relevant issues, Zigbee certification isn't as tightly run as it is for Z-Wave, so you can find lots of different Zigbee products on the market that may or may not work with your hub/controller. Further, there are some oddities, like some smart bulbs being poor repeaters for non-bulb devices and possibly causing problems on your network. So, there are definitely ways you can mess up a Zigbee network, too. And as noted above, another unfortunate disadvantage is that there are some cool Z-Wave devices with no Zigbee equivalent (Inovelli Red Series switches/dimmers, I'm looking at you--they're working on the Blue Series that should address this soon-ish, so yay!).

Some people have better luck with one or the other, while many are able to make both work well. I think I'm in camp "both" myself, though I can't say Z-Wave didn't require a bit more patience sometimes... :slight_smile: But, I'm glad to use a system that supports both so I don't have to choose!

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I think a lot of mesh issues could be resolved if they'd give us external antennas on the C8.

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I do a lot of Caseta as well. I have a lot of clients that want a "normal" switch so then I go Zigbee. Also I tend to do large installations and the 75 limit comes up fast. I will then top up with Zigbee in those cases. RA2 select is also an option but very expensive and still has a 100 unit limit.

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That is an advantage of some Z-wave switches but for what I do; a basic switch works best.

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It is more about the setup and device failure that causes issues.

I have been able to get my large Z-wave networks to work but it was the time and device failures (uncommon but do happen) that caused my pain and suffering. I just do not have these issues with Zigbee. I am also dealing with multiple customers and when something breaks it is not fun.

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100% agree. If I could return all my zwave devices I would. The problem is to redo everything in zigbee at this point would cost me thousands. Also, zigbee device diversity sucks. Where can I get a 30A 240V zigbee switch? Where can I get zigbee relays? Etc. zigbee has great switches, bulbs, and sensors, but beyond that it’s hard to find zigbee devices sometimes.

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I would agree completely. I have left my Z-wave installations alone but use Zigbee for new ones. I also use Z-wave when I have to (battery operated thermostats for example).

Also Z-wave installations are fine but just take work to get them there.

Sonoff makes a small one similar to the size of Quibinos. And these relays work well, I use one to control my garage door opener after I gave up on MyQ. Bigger than I want but they do work well and come in 1, 2, and 4 relay versions and 2.2.9 includes a stock driver for them

Doesn’t seem to be UL listed. Also I’m talking consumer relays, not just a pcb. I couldn’t put that, for example, inside a gang box. Well I could but I shouldn’t put an exposed pcb in a box like that.

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SmartThings Smart Button... Tap, Double Tap, Hold... cheap as chips and its Zigbee ...

RGBGenie has one as well.. their micro controllers that kind of look like Aeotec Nano switches.

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How about these?

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I personally believe there are still issues with Silicon Labs 700 radios as implemented. I have 2 Zooz Zen15 outlets literally less than 1 foot from one another and one is 100kbps and the other is 9.6kbps with totally different (and non-sensical) routes. Not to mention routes of other devices in the mesh.

Yes, agree. Yet Lutron (lower frequency) and Zigbee (higher frequency) both perform better from the same closet for me.

I saw your C7 antennas in a photo in another thread. Have you documented your modifications? I'd like to try something like it out.

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