Try Zigbee switch if Zwave not working

I thought I’d let others know an experience I just went through with an exterior pool light switch.

I have over 30 Zwave Plus wall switches through my home and 1 in my detached garage. All of these switches are within 10 feet of one another. They all work great with occasional issues only in the detached garage. The detached garage is 8 feet away from the house with a switch next to the sliding glass door leading out to the detached garage. The switch in the detached garage is right next to the door (interior).

I installed another Zwave Plus switch to control my pool Lights. It is in a metal exterior box right outside the opposite wall of the detached garage.

The pool light switch would not work until I installed a Zwave plug with repeater inside the garage between the garage switch and the pool light switch (also did Zwave repair). It worked, but was inconsistent and very slow responding.

I have a few Sylvania smart plugs throughout my house that have the fastest response time out of any other device. They have been the most reliable. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if a Zigbee switch would be better for the outdoor pool light. I purchased a GE Zigbee wall switch and installed.

It works flawlessly in that metal box and the response time is lightning speed just like the plugs. No issues whatsoever. And that is without any Zigbee repeaters in the garage and only a few plugs inside the house.

It seems very strange considering how many Zwave switches I have all over my house and in the garage. From my understanding, Zwave is supposed to be a longer range than Zigbee. In my experience, this is absolutely not true.

Makes me wonder if I should have gone with all Zigbee wall switches instead of the Zwave.

I have similar experiences with zwave vs. zigbee. In fact, I’m replacing as many zwave devices as possible with zigbee ones where I can. Those GE ones are excellent. If I had to do it over again, I’d use those zigbee switches over the same GE zwave devices in a heartbeat.

The range measurements are based on transmission through clear dry air. And zwave plus is definitely capable of a longer range in those conditions.

That said, there are many things that can affect transmission range, and one of the most significant is rain and humidity. Zigbee does better than zwave in those conditions for some technical reasons having to do with how dispersal is handled. This is why most outdoor devices in the low price range are zigbee rather than Z wave.

I’m assuming the pool light switch is within eyesight of the pool. If so, it’s quite likely that humidity in that area is pretty significant. And that would make it not at all surprising that zigbee would perform better in that area then Z wave.

There are other possibilities as well, of course. :sunglasses: It may just be that the antenna in the zigbee switch is oriented in a slightly different position than the one inside of the zwave switch, and that’s Happening to find a small gap in the metal box where it’s easier to get signal through. (I’m assuming the box is not airtight, that would be somewhat unusual)

It’s also possible you tested the zigbee switch on a day when there wasn’t a car in the garage, And that affected signal.

There are all kinds of local conditions that can affect signal, and it’s quite often true that Zigbee will work better in one location than zwave – – or vice versa. Sometimes you just have to try it and see.

As a general rule, when you are talking about typical US single-family home construction, zwave will be a little easier for indoor fixed location switches, just because you don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi interference. That’s probably why you will see many more choices of zwave devices for that particular device class. But for outdoor switches, The weather issues do often tip the balance in favor of Zigbee.

Sometimes you just have to try and see what works best for any one particular location. :sunglasses:


I don’t park vehicles in this garage.

Dry hot weather. Low humidity.

The switch is actually 20 feet away from the pool, so I highly doubt the issue is with humidity.

Don’t get me wrong, the Zwave switches in the house work great. The detached garage is the furthest from the hub and gives Z wave the most problems, even with a large sliding glass door next to the Zwave Switch nearest the garage.

Zigbee is the furthest device from the hub and performs better, even in a metal box.