[quote=“professordave, post:1, topic:83349, full:true”]
For zwave, I am aware of different generations of hardware, zwave/zwave plus etc.
For zigbee, are all devices the same? Are there different generations of zigbee.[/quote]
Not different generations, but there are definitely different power levels. In particular, the US allows for “boosted” or “amplified” zigbee, which can transmit at a power level almost twice that of the level which is legally allowed in the EU. So it is possible to find zigbee devices sold in the US which are not legal to use in EU, and have significantly longer range.
Hypothetically/ theoretically/ which should have better range for battery powered devices, zwave plus or zigbee?
For a single hop through clear air, Z wave plus wins with a theoretical range of about 150 m when compared to zigbee.home automation, which is the profile that smart things uses.
But the indoor rule of thumb would be more like 60 m.
Zigbee range is more complicated to specify for a whole bunch of reasons, but while it can be longer than zwave in theory, in practice, in particular because of Wi-Fi interference, the usual rule of thumb is around 30 m indoors, although depending on the architecture that might drop down to 12 to 15 m.
That said, zigbee allows for more “hops” than Z wave, which means zigbee can cover a large house more easily than zwave even though each individual hop is shorter.
And in the US, you can use a zigbee pro device for outdoor use with a range of as much as a mile. ( for technical reasons, zigbee also does a little better outdoors through rain or humidity than Z wave does.)
Also, does a line powered device have a larger range than a battery powered device? So a zwave plus line powered switch, does it have a larger range than a battery powered zwave plus sensor?
Not at full power, but as the battery power drops for an individual device, its range typically drops as well. Remember also that for both zigbee and zwave, only mains powered devices typically act as repeaters. Battery powered devices don’t because it would use too much battery life.
So, as a practical rule of thumb, in typical US construction, we would plan for indoor range of zwave plus devices of up to about 150 feet per hop, with Zigbee home automation limited to around 50 feet per hop, although you might get lucky and get as much is 100 feet . But Z wave is limited to four hops total while zigbee home automation can do 15 hops into the hub and another 15 out. So it might be easier to reach all the corners of a property with zigbee because you have more hops to work with.
If you live in a house with brick, concrete, or adobe walls, though, the distance is going to be much shorter because the walls will block the signal.
I know that’s a lot of caveats, but it can be really hard to predict how well signal will travel in any one house.
If you’re looking at something like a light switch, you’ll probably get the best range with Z wave plus.