I just need a single on/off switch for a bathroom exhaust fan. Should I just get whichever one is cheaper? I already have a couple of Zen21s and like them. But since the Zen26 seems to be newer, I was just wondering if I should get that instead.
There are other differences you can find summarized here:
Mostly, for the switches, it seems to be that the ZEN26 has a lower max wattage rating than the ZEN21, plus slightly different requirements for multi-way setups. I know for the similar comparison with the dimmers (ZEN22 vs. ZEN27), there's also a difference with the type of dimmer used (TRIAC vs. MOSFET) besides similar wattage considerations.
If it were me, I'd get whichever is cheaper, as long as I didn't need anything that only one offers. (Given my experience with the ZEN27 and the LEDs that like to stay lit when "off," I'd probably consider the ZEN22 if I had to do that room again, but that's another story and shouldn't matter with the switches, and your experience may vary based on your actual load.)
I have a 26 and it works differently on my system. I had to exchange one for a 21 and now the other one has some behaviors that I can't resolve and they're exchanging that one. They are for very specific use cases and the 26, I think can support button taps. Or vise versa. It would be good to speak to @agnes.zooz about your use case to ensure that you're getting the right switch to match your needs. Zooz is really great to work with on things like this.
Don't get zen26 for a bathroom fan. It is not designed for that. I learned that the hard way. My switch blew a fuse on the traveler side. Smartest house has top notch customer service and replaced mine even though it's my fault. Inovelli and GE switches can handle bathroom exhaust fan.
I am not sure either of these are fan/motor rated. This is from the Inovelli instructions, GE and Zooz are very similarly worded.
These dimming switches are NOT meant to control appliances. Please only use these for controlling lights. In addition, please DO NOT USE TO CONTROL FANS as it will ruin your fan’s motor. These switches are not built to control a fan or any motor.
Now I notice it says "dimmer" in the text above, but this is an exact copy paste of the on/off switch instruction manual. Black Series On Off Instructions
There is ONE specific GE/Jasco commercial duty switch that is fan/motor rated. 43074 and 43072 are the specific part numbers.
Don’t get the dimming switches for exhaust fan. Get their on/off switches. I have a inovelli black series on/off. From their website
3. Control Fans & Lights
Now you can turn on and off both lights and fans! Perfect for exhaust fans.
But the problem I have with their switch is the firmware. I excluded my inovelli switches from my hub right now.
Again, this is from the SWITCH instructions, not the dimmer. Click my link and read what they say. If the instructions are wrong, they need to be corrected.
Yup they need to be corrected. I used mine for my bathroom exhaust and they work. Their website says differently
Interesting. Would this still apply if I'm planning on getting a Panasonic fan that uses a DC motor since the switch would really just be powering the AC to DC converter and not the motor directly?
EDIT: The text you posted was for the dimming switches, which I obviously would not be getting. Will see if I can find anything like this for the on/off switches.
I would say yes, I have had this issue with both an AC and DC motor. I think the one that killed the non-commercial GE switch was a DC motor, it is one of those new low amp ultra quiet Broans.
The text is from the linked ON OFF instructions. Either the instructions are wrong, or the website is wrong. I am going by their PDF instructions on their website which should be the same ones shipped with the switches. Everywhere else in the instructions it refers to ON OFF Switch.
It would be nice to have this clarified by @Eric_Inovelli
They've clarified this on their forum that the LZW30/LZW30-SN (so the switches, still not the dimmers) can handle inductive loads like fans:
Not all of this made it into the manual.
The PDF installation guide for the Zen21 says
CHECK THE LOAD: lights only (150W for LED’s, 600W for incandescent), DON’T CONNECT THIS SWITCH TO FANS OR TUBE LIGHTS.
So why can't you connect these switches to a fan?
I asked similar question to smartest house when I blew up my zen 26. Iirc, it something about a high inrush current from an exhaust fan when you turn it on that these switches cannot handle. Not the wattage itself.
Motors look like and act like a dead short for a very brief moment when first turned on. It is not unusual to see many times the running watts upon startup. This high inrush current is very damaging for certain devices.
There also may be an inductive spike or kick when the device is turned off. The motor acts like a generator, and pushes current backwards into the switch.
Well it did make it into the manual in at least one place, or I wouldn't have been confused. I am glad they are fan rated, and the site and their forum does say so, but I went right for the instruction manual which contradicts their site.
Sorry for the mis-information, and I hope they fix the manual to reflect this so there isn't more confusion.
My point still stands for the normal (non commercial) GE and Zooz though, those are definitely not fan/motor rated.
I think GE Enbrighten Z-Wave In-Wall Smart Switch With QuickFit™ sku 47191 is good with exhaust fan. It's written on the box. I don't know if that is commercial grade or not.
I can't speak for the Z-Wave line, but I had a friend install a Zigbee one (GE by Jasco) under the assumption that it could work for a fan as claimed on their website (on/off for ceiling fan is what they claim there, but you'd think a lower-HP bathroom fan should be an even safer bet)--and I hope I didn't mislead him. I do recall the warnings on most Zooz products (double switch/relay aside) not to use them on fans.
@neonturbo -- my bad, I'll fix the manual to reflect this. Good catch. When the switches were created we went off the assumption that they couldn't control fans (as our Gen 1's couldn't). However, it was later clarified that these could control up to a 300W inductive load.
@bertabcd1234 -- thanks for clarifying
Against Agnes’ recommendations i installed my first Zooz switch - a zen21 controlling and bathroom exhaust fan so I could time it. She told me it could damage the switch and therefore it would not be covered under warranty. That was a year ago and it works flawlessly.
I would stick with the zen21 over the zen26 for this application.
Since then I have added two dozen more Zooz devices