NewB seeking help please - set up for new house - Zigbee, Zwave, dimmers, hardware, thank you!

First rule of Home automation: the model number matters.

Different smart switches are wired differently. Some have physical traveler wires, some don’t. So there’s no one answer to your question, it depends on the specific model switches being used. :sunglasses:

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You can’t add a second hub to the same network in the smartthings platform unless they are the Wi-Fi mesh models. For all the other models, you have one hub per network.

You could have multiple “locations“ on the same account and each location have its own hub, like one in the main house and one in an outbuilding, but then each owns its own devices so there’s no question about routing.

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Local architecture, weather, and other devices always affects home automation. Some people will find Z wave works better at their house, some will find Zigbee works better, most often it just means they need to follow the tips in the wireless range and repeaters FAQ and strengthen the mesh for whichever one is problematic.

There are two exceptions.

Zigbee is better at sending signal through high humidity, rain, or snow. This is counterintuitive, because normally lower bands are better, but This has to do with the specifics of how the two protocols handle signal dispersion. Very technical, but real impact.

On the other hand, Z wave does not have any issues with Wi-Fi interference, and zigbee definitely does. This is why historically in multiprotocol platforms zwave has been chosen for fixed position devices like door locks and wall switches. Then you don’t have to worry about boosted Wi-Fi in those areas. (This was covered in detail in the zigbee versus Zwave FAQ in the community wiki.)

So small details make a big difference.

Outside of the smartthings platform it is not true that Zwave is less reliable. It is true that On the smartthings platform they have been making a lot of backend changes to the Z wave deployment over the last year and that has led to a lot of craziness and devices failing which previously worked just fine. :disappointed_relieved: But you will still find, for example, that Z wave light switches are much more popular in the community than Zigbee ones.

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I’m starting to look at hubitat - it looks amazing. i MAY continue with smartthings, and use both (i think i can do that) but if seems like hubitat is more robust, and it seems that it has “snares” for the lutron controllers, so that may be yet another option - and more research. THANK YOU!

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Thanks again for all your help and suggestions. I know this is a smartthings community and i’d prefer to keep one “grouping” - i.e. hub - and though i’d PREFER zigbee OR zwave plus, i think it can make a lot of sense to have both networks going so i have more flexibility. maybe. I’m wondering, since I have smartthings, does it pay to consider hubitat instead? it seems more powerful. though, i think smartthings can do most if not all that i want - and if i want to go the lutron route (i am SO confused) it looks like i can add a lutron “hook?” i’m also at least THINKING about insteon (buddy swears by it) and i love my nest cameras and thermostats - so i may have 3 or 4 different platforms, interfaces, etc. - is that sort of the norm, or am i overthinking this?
i also found site, smartest home i think, that has zooz switches that seem very low cost - some zooz switches and i may be in business!
i’m also looking for labor day sales.
if there is a quick start guide on the site somewhere i’d be grateful. i read the zigbee/zwave article - it was helpful, but it seems overall it shouldn’t make a difference which protocol i go with - zigbee better for concrete, zwave better to avoid wifi interference, and lutron better for overall lighting - but i don’t know if it will reach the corners of my house. sigh. Thanks again for any and all help - it is appreciated!

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That’s a lot of questions in one post, let me see if I can answer a few of them at least :sunglasses:

  1. Zooz. Zooz is the house brand for The SmartestHouse. They are a retailer who carry other zwave brands as well. Zooz devices are well engineered, well reviewed, and priced as a budget brand, so they are very popular. You can also contact the company if you’re going to be buying a lot of devices and see if they can offer you a quantity discount. @thesmartesthouse is on their staff and participate regularly in this community if you have any specific questions.
  1. multiple protocols. Smartthings is a multi protocol cloud-based system. A few things run locally, but most don’t. Just as one example, you can’t even change the mode from home to away without the cloud. And their app always requires the cloud even if your phone is on the same Wi-Fi as your hub. They didn’t have to design it that way, but they did.

If you want to only use zwave or only Zigbee, to be honest, you would be better off getting one of the hubs that does just that particular protocol. For example, if somebody only wants to use zwave and they have a good technical background, I would probably recommend they look at homeseer. Or Vera. If they don’t have a strong technical background, depending on the exact devices they want, the ring protect system is worth considering. But there are other options as well.

  1. Lutron. Smart things has an official Lutron integration which works fine for Caseta light switches but appears to have been orphaned by the transition to the new platform. Their fan switch has been out for over a year, but still doesn’t work with the smartthings integration. Lutron says it’s up to smartthings, smartthings says it’s up to Lutron, it appears no one is working on it. The integration also does not support pico remotes.

There are many people who are using Lutron Caseta switches with smartthings and are perfectly happy, but they are certainly competing systems including Apple HomeKit and Hubitat which have much deeper integration with Lutron.

  1. Hubitat. “Powerful” is a word that can mean very different things to different people. The habitat radios are notably weaker than those in smartthings, so some people end up getting several hubs to cover even a medium size house: but then it’s a system that can work with multiple hubs. So is that more or less powerful?

It’s a very interesting, tiny company, that was started by former smartthings users who really really wanted local operations. And there’s no question that it has that. It is not a cloud-based system. Also, the founder already had Lutron equipment and liked it, so it works very well with Lutron. But there are some other devices that smartthings works with that it doesn’t. So again, the details matter.

They have an excellent community and you can ask further questions over there.

  1. more expensive options. If you have the money and you want more than just lighting, then the two major candidates for Home Automation for a large home are Control4 and Crestron. You can expect to pay about 10% of the cost of the home plus an annual maintenance fee of a couple of thousand dollars. But these systems will combine security, Home Automation, and home theater, and do them all reliably and with a lot of features.

You probably won’t be able to do your own programming, so when you want to change things that means a call to the installers. There are a lot of people who find out to limiting, but there are also a lot of people who are happy to pay for a system that works.

I have mentioned previously that if I had the money, I would get a control4 system, but I don’t.

https://www.control4.com/

(Control4 users Zigbee, but it’s a proprietary profile so it can’t use the devices that work with smartthings and vice versa. It does have integration with some third-party systems, including Lutron.)

Crestron considers Control4 a budget alternative, which is probably all we need to say about them. :wink:

  1. Insteon. It’s a good system, been around for decades, many people are very happy with it. You just have to see what will meet your own preferences and priorities. As I mentioned above, the one thing they don’t have is smart locks so if you had in mind a bunch of rules based on those, Insteon will probably not make you happy.
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Also, I don’t know if this part was a comment or question, but there is a thread in the deals category of this forum for Labor Day sales. :sunglasses:

Labor Day Sales 2020

I’m not quite sure what the specific question is here. If your hub is centrally located, and your house is normal US residential construction, and it’s a cube, and you lay down a good backbone, then both Z wave plus and Zigbee should be able to cover it.

Lutron Caseta cannot, it’s generally only suited to homes of 2500 ft.² or smaller. But Lutron has multiple systems, and Lutron RA2 could definitely handle it.

https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/3682773_RA2_HWQS_comparison.pdf

and again, THANK YOU!
in no order:

  1. i have a buddy who is or at least was a control 4 rep - C4 seems to be top, and every expensive - and i don’t want to have to call someone every time i want a change, etc. -
  2. insteon - i prefer open source, though another buddy swears by it. i’m still considering adding it as well - since hubs are rougly $80 to $120 (insteon, smartthings v3, hubitat) it is not a deal breaker - the greater considering to me i guess is will the stuff work, and how many more megs do i have to get for my phone to install, operate, and frankly keep track of the different apps!
  3. i spoke to the electrician who will be doing some work in the house. i can run wires, etc. - so, installing a single switch? can do that in my sleep. 3 way switch? okay, NOW i need to slow down. he told me zooz was a decent brand, but the cheapie switches i bought on amazon (zigbee, almost no name) can be a concern - he wanted me to get UL switches only - so i may cancel that zigbee brood that is coming. he may also help me out with the more complicated wiring, so that is a major plus
    soooo i went from “deciding on zigbee” to deciding on both - i don’t care what kind of simple toggle switch i have - i care a bit more about the dimmers, as there seem to be some choices (i’d really like to see the LEDs like i can on some lutron switches) but not sure it’s worth hubitat or the hook just for that (but i might do it anyway) :slight_smile:
    I did buy a bunch of stuff from smarter house today i’m pretty excited about - mostly the motion sensors - i was going to pay an electrician to replace the floods with at least light sensors - now i don’t have to. ditto the garage lights - in the past i had these horrible motion sensing adapters that screwed into the socket - and didn’t work - now i think a sensor can get around that
    outdoor lights - on a simple (or 3 way) on-off switch (versus my current heathkit type of night sensor with ir for brighter) - i think i can emulate that with smart things - have it go on in a 50% or so brightness during dusk (via my home location - i love this stuff!), then have it go off at 10 or 11 at night, and if the motion sensor detects movement, it can brighten to 100% for X minutes
    this is getting a lot better than me just wanting to know the lights are all off over night
    truthfully with the cost of electricity, you could probably leave all the lights on for 10 years before you break even on the cost of a hub and a couple of switches.
    i’ll look more into the lutron stuff, but i think i’ll shy away from it. as long as the mesh holds up, i don’t see why these switches can’t get the job done.
    thanks again - i hope to be able to report success, as i continue to lurk and learn more.
    one thing i couldn’t find - any idea if the smartthings hub v2 can use the S2 zwave protocol - and either way is it a big deal?
    i do like that i think my hub can control my wifi tplink casa switches, i never enabled that, and have been using the kasa app, but i’d love to consolidate operations.
    THANK YOU AGAIN!
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I agree with this. UL or ETL for anything that will be wired into the mains. :sunglasses:

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Insteon is generally chosen instead of smartthings, not in addition to it. They are competing products and they don’t integrate. The only people I know who are using both are people who already had a significant Insteon lighting setup and then decided to add smartthings in order to get some specific devices. But again, they don’t work together very well.

Yes. That’s normal. Don’t go into this expecting everything you get will integrate cleanly together.

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