I have one SmartThings outlet that came with my kit, but now I want more and BestBuy is out of stock (online and in-store). So, what other plug-in outlet options are there and what are the best? I’m looking for something I can go grab at BestBuy today, if possible. They have their Insignia brand version of the smart plug, but I’m not sure if they work with SmartThings.
OK, well the main point is that zwave repeats only for Z wave and zigbee repeats only for zigbee.
Repeating is important because both Z wave and zigbee are mesh protocols, which means messages get passed around the network before they get to the hub. That effectively gives you a longer range.
They’re both good protocols, there are some pluses and minuses with each, but the main thing to understand is that with smart things you are essentially setting up two separate networks. One for Z wave and one for zigbee. So in order to keep your network “efficient” and make sure the messages flow smoothly, you want to have a repeating device about every 50 feet.
Pretty much any mains powered device can repeat, so these are typically wall switches, in wall outlets, plug in sensors, in the wall modules, and plug in pocket sockets. Battery powered devices do not repeat because it would use up too much battery life.
But again, Z wave can repeat only for Z wave. So if you plug-in as zigbee pocket socket near your Z wave doorlock it’s not going to help the doorlock get its messages through.
The iris plug is very popular not only because it’s inexpensive, but also because it’s the only device on the market that has both a zwave repeater and a zigbee repeater. However, some community members have reported that the zwave repeater inside this pocket socket doesn’t seem to work consistently. Zigbee seems to work fine.
So… Having said all of that, that can shape the decision of what pocket socket you buy. You could have some of each, that’s not a problem, but you want to make sure that there is a pathway of zwave repeaters to the hub for any of your Z wave devices, and a separate pathway of zigbee devices to the hub for any of your zigbee devices. And pocket sockets are good repeaters.
(WiFi Devices are yet a third protocol, so they don’t help your Z wave doorlock or your zigbee sensors in any Way when it comes to repeating. Another reason why most people don’t use Wi-Fi pocket sockets – – they’d rather stick a repeater in there for the mesh networks and strengthen the mesh.)
GE makes a pocket socket which looks identical but comes in either zwave or zigbee, so it’s helpful to decide in advance which network you’re trying to strengthen. It’s widely available, including at Home Depot and Lowe’s. I know Best Buy carries it online, not sure if they carry it in store.
GoControl only makes zwave devices, but they are also widely available, cost about the same, and in my opinion are engineered a little better than the GE versions.
As was already mentioned, the DragonTech are very popular Z wave devices because they are zwave plus ( The newest generation, with a longer range) and are inexpensive. $20. But you have to buy those online.
All of which is to say it’s good to decide whether you were looking for is a zigbee or a Z wave device. If you only want to shop locally, you’re probably going to be limited to smart things, GE, Leviton, and go control at most stores, although Best Buy carries a few additional brands and Lowe’s carries their own iris brand which is a good choice for both value and features.
If you’re willing to shop online, there are a number of good specialty retailers who are typically lower cost than Amazon, although the return policies may not be quite as good.
One more note about the iris brand: the first generation Iris devices were mostly not compatible with smartthings except for the Z wave, which did work. The second generation Iris devices mostly do work with smartthings, although you can check in the forums for any specific model before buying.*
Great, thanks for the thorough info! I’ll be sure to target z-wave because it should help with my door lock, which is not always 100% reliable. My house is small, so I don’t have too much issue with connectivity but is coincidentally the farthest ‘thing’ from my hub.
I’ve avoided Iris because I read they weren’t easily compatible, but it sounds like the newer versions are so I will give it a try.
Sorry for resurrecting this older thread. I have the exact same question as the OP. The Dragontech looks great (other than appearing to be huge, but at least it’s cheaper).
My only question…can anyone confirm whether the Dragontech PA-100 support energy consumption monitoring? I’ve searched high and low, and I can’t find any mention of it.
If it doesn’t, I’ll just pay extra money for the Iris plug, since I would rather pay a little more now and have extra functionality for the future, even if I don’t “need” energy monitoring right now. My primary use at the moment is turning off my son’s nightlight after he goes to sleep, so not exactly needing energy consumption tracking now, but I’m sure I’ll re-purpose this plug at some point in the future.
Oh and if any other “cheap” smart plugs have come out since this thread was started, I’d love to hear about them. I wish there were some “basic” plugs that were $10-$15, then it would be a no-brainer.
@michaelahess That energy tracking looks amazing. Could you provide any details of your setup? I’m assuming you must have a device on 24/7 to monitor your network and create the graphs? I would love to get something like that going at my house.
PS. @JDRoberts, you are my hero. I only got my ST hub about a month ago, and I have learned so much from your posts. Your posts are always such a wealth of knowledge, always well written, and always respectful and kind. Do you have any system for accepting donations? When I was first considering which smart home system I wanted to go with, your posts are what convinced me to choose ST.
Thanks for the shout, but the best way you can help me is to pay it forward. In particular, the community – created wiki is really difficult for me to edit, so I really appreciate anything that gets added there.
We’re trying to start a new page which does nothing but list the names and models of devices which community members have verified work with smartthings, plus, if known, a link to either the wiki page about it or to the custom device type Handler for it. If you can add even one device to that page, even without links, that would be super helpful.
( Also, I tried to start it and I can’t even get the headings right so edit as much as you like, it’s kind of a mess right now. )