(2024) Color Zigbee Bulbs That Act as Repeaters

It’s April 2024. What are all the color Zigbee 3.0 bulbs that function fine and that act as repeaters reliably when connected directly to Samsung SmartThings (Aeotec v3 hub)?

My understanding is that while Philips Hue bulbs use Zigbee and can connect directly to SmartThings, they had a repeater problem where they would not forward packets for other device classes. Maybe the problem still exists.

In the past (2019-2021), I tried using Ikea TRÅDFRI USB repeaters butted up against Sengled A19 color bulbs, with AC to USB adapters for power conversion. (Sengled bulbs do not act as repeaters.) Thieves stole the TRÅDFRI repeaters. :disappointed:

All that uncertainty and the fact that SmartThings won’t update the firmware of most products is what kept me away from Zigbee for lights and opt for Matter over WiFi. Since there is no mesh there, you can happily power off a bulb from the wall switch without devices going crazy.

Innr bulbs connected directly to a SmartThings/Aeotec hub work fine as repeaters for most people.


While it’s true that Matter over WiFi doesn’t use repeaters, check The manufacturer instructions carefully for any smart bulb you are considering, as most still say that they should always have power for two reasons.

  1. if you cut power to a smart bulb, say with a wall switch, it won’t be able to hear the next “on“ command for the network, so you lose the ability to control them with voice or automations until you restore power again.

  2. The radio in most smart bulbs is sensitive to what is called “inrush current“ when the bulb is powered up again, so that overtime, cutting and restoring power to smart bulbs can reduce the working life of the radio, often by as much as 25%. There’s typically no safety issue, but it does make expensive bulbs even more expensive since you have to replace them more often. Sengled are the exception to this since they are designed to be turned on and off like a Dumb bulb.

So with a few exceptions, I would treat matter over Wi-Fi bulbs like any other smart bulbs, and try to avoid cutting power to them. If it happens once in a while, like with a storm-caused power outage, it shouldn’t be an issue. But if you need a bulb where you can regularly cut the power, check the manufacturer’s guidelines for that model. And of course, always be aware in your planning that when you do cut the power, you’ll have to manually restore power before you can use network or voice commands again.

(It’s probably obvious, but “cutting power“ means literally cutting the current going to the bulb, typically with a dumb wall switch. If you turn the bulb off with a network or voice command, that’s no problem as the bulb still has power for its radio, so it can turn itself on again.)

  1. and one more point, unrelated to cutting power: Zigbee became popular for smart bulbs for several good reasons. The odds are that once you go all in on automation, you will have more smart bulbs than most other device classes. The average American home has about 40 bulbs, But it’s not uncommon to see 60.

If you use matter over Wi-Fi, that means you’re using 40 to 60 device slots on your Wi-Fi router just for lightbulbs. Many home routers max out at about 75 slots, the more expensive ones typically handle up to 125, but some can only handle 30. Taking 40 of those slots Just for lightbulbs may reduce the number of other devices you can add.

(Separately, your ISP may also limit the number of Wi-Fi devices you can have, it’s just something to be aware of. Comcast, for example, will let you have unlimited devices on some unlimited data plans, but restrict your connections to as low as 15 on some of their budget plans.)

Anyway, speaking just for myself, I reserve Wi-Fi for the device classes Which can fully utilize Wi-Fi for audio and video streams like video doorbells, and tablets. And of course, for Internet bridges. But otherwise, I will typically choose a different protocol, and Zigbee happens to be a very good one for lighting.

Choice is good, and if you want to go with Wi-Fi lighting, that’s up to you. Just be aware of the issues you can run into before you start investing time and money. :thinking:


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Absolutely! I have a few Matter over WiFi WiZ / Philips Smart LED lights. They are made to be switched off/on manually if you want and even have a feature called WiZ-click to determine how to start after a single power cycle or after a double power-cycle. Plus they let you configure the power-on behaviour if there’s a power loss, thing you can’t normally do with Zigbee. I don’t use the physical switches unless it happens to be where I am at the moment, but guests may.

Warranty is great too, it’s 3 years here and they send you a new one for free if it stops working. I used it a couple times actually.

Another advantage of Matter is multi-admin, you can control them locally with several smart home platforms at the time. Like Alexa which supports offline voice control of Matter devices and SmartThings which supports local automations with sensors and buttons.

Thread has the same problems now and from what I’ve been reading not all devices are “good routers”.

As far as I know, defining “power on” behaviour was first introduced with Zigbee and first popularized with the Philips hue bridge and its Zigbee bulbs.

It’s an available setting in zigbee2mqtt which works with a number of different Zigbee brands.

Perhaps you just meant you can’t configure it in SmartThings, but that’s not a Zigbee issue, that’s a SmartThings issue. :man_shrugging:t2: obviously, still relevant here, but as anybody who follows my posts will pick up pretty quickly, I do pay a lot of attention to the strengths and weaknesses of each protocol, so I tend to seek clarity if an issue with the SmartThings platform is described as an issue with the protocol. But that’s just me.

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Anything other than Innr?

I looked around myself, and could not find any other color bulb that met the requirements. This is a small market, indeed. :expressionless:

How many brands do you need? :wink:

Anyway…Sylvania smart+ is another option, but costs more and is less bright than Innr.


Also, ikea makes some RGB bulbs in some markets, but customer satisfaction is not high on those, which may be why they’re not more widely available. Lots of complaints about buzzing. The plain white bulbs seem to be fine, but that isn’t what you were asking about. :man_shrugging:t2:

I bought some Innr bulbs and they are working for the application: they route packets and they have RGBWW color. Problem solved, thanks.

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