Best Brand? Is it OK to mix and match?

Hello, new user here, hope you all don’t mind a basic question. I’ve spent a long time looking at the various options trying to figure out whats going to be the most reliable, have the most features and devices, etc. Best case I’d like everything to be from one manufacturer so all the devices match each other and, I assume, will be more likely to work well together. I’ve finally settled on Leviton as they have a wide range of products including lts of non-smart options so my switches can match each other even if I mix smart and non-smart switches. I bought a couple of the dimmer plugs, a non-dimmer plug (15 amp), and a couple of the in-wall outlets. So far I’m really pleased but as I dig in further I see there are lots and lots of options - GE seems to make a pretty broad line of devices too.

So, to my questions:

  1. Which manfucturer has the best z-wave products?
  2. Does it matter if you get everything from one company, or is it really OK to mix and match?

BTW one of my big requirements is actual in-wall outlets - there are multiple locations where I don’t want to have to have a wall-wart plug hanging out of the outlet to get the smart things functionality.

Thanks for any thoughts!


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First, it’s really OK to mix and match. :sunglasses:

Second, there’s no one “best” because different people have different preferences, different models have different features, and of course different projects have different budgets.

The device class features FAQ list how some of the features will vary and why that matters to different people. So it’s a good place to start. (This is a clickable link) The light switch discussion starts around post 40 in that thread.

We should also note the different manufacturers specialize in different things. Leviton doesn’t make any zwave sensors, so if you wanted to have opening the closet door turn on a light, or just have a motion sensor detect movement on the stairway and turn on a light, and you wanted to use Leviton switches and outlets, you would still have to go to another brand for the sensors.

So again, mix-and-match is fine. :sunglasses:


Thanks for all the info, I did notice that Leviton doesn’t make smart sensors. Actually debating about just using their IR switches in closets and maybe bathrooms. Not convinced I need these to be smart. Any thoughts on that, based on your experience? What’s the advantage of a smart switch with smart sensor, vs. a dumb switch with sensor?

We use some of the dumb sensor switches in our house. I like the Lutron brand, and have some of their $18 versions, one in our laundry room and one in our utility closet.

The biggest advantage of a smart sensor over a dumb sensor is being able to change the rules that apply for different situations.

For example, there is a smart motion sensor in my bedroom. During the day, if the sensor triggers, it is ignored. In the evening, if the sensor triggers, the overhead light comes on. But once I go to bed, I set a condition so that if the sensor is triggered, The overhead light does not come on – – instead, a soft night light on the wall comes on. In the morning, everything gets reset and the motion sensor is again ignored.

You might also want to have a sensor or light which works differently if you have guests over, or on the weekends, or on a holiday, or depending on who is home, etc

In our laundry room, things are really simple. Somebody walks in when it’s dark, the light comes on. It’s an area where whoever is there is moving around and they aren’t there for very long and everyone appreciates not having to work the light switch while they’re carrying a basket of laundry.

But for other areas of the house, it makes more sense to have smart lights and sensors so we can change up the rules as needed. :sunglasses:

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For a closet or laundry room, and probably a bathroom, dumb motion sensors make a lot of sense to me. I noticed the Leviton model actually a heat sensor, not a motion sensor. Is there a difference?

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For low-cost home automation, pretty much all of the “motion” sensors are actually PIR (passive infrared) Sensors which measure very small changes in heat moving across the detection field. These are inexpensive and work well indoors.

The next level up you will find built into some cameras actually looks at visual field changes, but those devices tend to be a lot more expensive and you don’t see them in standalone sensors for home use. But if you’re already buying a Camera or a video doorbell, there are some brands that will allow you to trigger smartthings events off of the motion sensor detection in the camera. :sunglasses:

I do know families with young children who like to change up the closet light rules so that once the child has gone to bed opening the closet door turns on a much softer light hopefully so the child doesn’t wake up. But as always, different things work for different people, and many people wouldn’t find that worth paying the extra cost for. :sunglasses:

Sorry for revitalizing a dead thread but I am really confused regarding some of this. If i were to get the SmartThings Multi Purpose sensor (the one that you can put on a door), would i be able to do the same things that JDRoberts did and make it so it only works some of the time? And would all of this be doable through the SmartThings app?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Yes, as long as you also have a smartthings hub (which was also necessary for what I was describing).

When you use the Samsung smartThings home automation platform (any of the hub models), Each device that you buy has “capabilities.” That is, things that it can do, like a binary light switch can turn on or off While a multi level light switch Can dim through a range of values.

You set up the rules for which capabilities will be used at any one time as “automations” in your account. They aren’t stored in the device itself. So the smartthings platform Knows when the rule is supposed to apply and then sends the appropriate commands to the individual devices at that time.

So if you want a rule which only applies between sunset and sunrise, or a different rule which only applies on weekends, you can have that. And then the commands for that rule will only be sent based on restrictions you define as part of the rule. I hope that’s clear.

All of which means that any device which can be controlled by smartthings can be controlled by rules that you create. :sunglasses:

The following FAQ might also help (this is a clickable link)

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That was incredibly fast. Last thing, does the hub take care of time changes? like daylight savings and such or does the user need to go in and change the times based on the time of year?

It’s not the hub, it’s the SmartThings cloud, but, yes, it takes care of time changes. Eventually. :scream: (SmartThings has been historically bad at handling daylight savings time, it usually takes them two or three days to get it right. sigh. But it does happen automatically. )

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Hey JDRobers, I have another question. If i were to get the SmartThings Button to turn on the lights in the room and i use it, would it turn off the formula i have set for the room? like times it does and does not turn stuff on? (i plan on having the multipurpose sensor (magnetic one) do that kind of stuff but if i am already in the room, i may need to turn it on from in the room) if all this makes sense

It just depends on how you set up the rules. But we are getting pretty far off topic for this thread, so why don’t you start your own thread in the schedules and automations section of the forum and then people can show you how it would be done. :sunglasses:

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