Best Overall Zigbee Stick

Are there any upsides of running a usb stick as a repeater vs any other router (say IKEA TRADFRI plug or an aliexpress type switch control module)?

I do have a few of these routers and sadly my zigbee network performance is miserable that’s why if this offers any real advantages I’d like to go this route.

Better control of firmware updates and radio power settings (at least with CC2652 based sticks). Likely a better antenna.

IKEA Trådfi Outlet Plug is known for having much worse reception than IKEA Trådfri Signal Repeater, and mentioned Zigbee USB dongles with external antennas are known to work better than those. Read:

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I bought a cheap CC2531 based usb stick off of ebay, it’s plugged in on a 30cm usb extension cable into my rpi 3 via ZHA and i have had zero pairing or reliability issues. I do have a fair few mains wired devices that are acting as zigbee routers. But i have stuff in my basement garage under a concrete floor and they all work reliably. Mix of hue lights,xiaomi sensor + plugs and tradfi button devices. I guess i could be lucky but i haven’t had ongoing issues like some have reported.

Hi which stick did you bought


Copy of my post here in this new thread → Zigbee buyer's guide

The best Zigbee Coordinator hardware radio adapter to buy in December 2023

Zigbee Coordinator adapter product purchase recommendation summary:

If you today want a Zigbee Coordinator that can work great with either Home Assistant’s ZHA integration (built-in Zigbee gateway implementation) or Zigbee2MQTT (third-party Zigbee gateway application that can run stand-alone) then currently the best purchase recommendation is to buy a Texas Instrument CC2652P based USB radio adapter dongle with external antenna, (like for example ITead’s Sonoff ZBDongle-P , flashed with the latest stable community build of TI’s Z-Stack Zigbee Coordinator NCP firmware). (The only downside with using CC2652-based USB radio adapters is that there are currently no built-in features to upgrade Z-Stack Zigbee Coordinator firmware so that has to be done using third-party add-ons and external tools).

If you are however sure that you will only be using Home Assistant’s ZHA integration (built-in Zigbee gateway implementation) (and not Zigbee2MQTT) then the better option is to instead buy the official Home Assistant SkyConnect (USB radio dongle) o get an excellent user experience and super easy lifecycle maintenance. Most other Silicon Labs EFR32MGxx based radio USB dongle with Silabs EmberZNet Zigbee NCP firmware (not RCP firmware) will also give you a similar ease-of-use user experince when sticking to the Home Assistant’s ZHA integration (built-in Zigbee gateway implementation) (and not Zigbee2MQTT).

The reasons for buying those specific Zigbee Coordinator hardware radio adapters are:

If you’re using Home Assistant Operating System (HASS), Supervised, or Container, it’s recommended to use an external USB radio dongle (i.e. USB stick format) rather than an internal GPIO module, because not only do you get better reception with an external USB radio dongle, but passing a serial module through Docker can sometimes be more complicated than passing a USB adapter through, (at least if not using the Silicon Labs based EFR32MG21 radio module that if built-into the Home Assistant Yellow appliance). Network-attached Zigbee Coordinator adapters like the ZigStar’s UGZ and TubeZB’s CC2652P Zigbee to Ethernet/USB Serial Coordinator is another alternative to solve remote connection of a radio adapter but note that it adds a little more complexity than simply using a very long USB extension cable.

While most Zigbee Coordinator adapter hardware of different radio types should work great if using Home Assistant’s ZHA integration (and setup according to best practises), it should be noted that currently only Texas Instruments CC2652 and CC1352 based Zigbee Coordinator adapter hardware radio types are commended if using Zigbee2MQTT (which is due to the adapter code for other radio types in Zigbee2MQTT not yet offering feature parity with the adapter code for Texas Instruments based adapters, and most notable full backup + restore functionality is not available in Zigbee2MQTT and therefore it list support for other adapters as “experimental”).

Also note that support for commissioning Zigbee 3.0 devices via “Install Code” or “QR Code” via has so far only been implemented for ‘ezsp’ (Silicon Labs EmberZNet) or ‘znp’ (Texas Instruments Z-Stack) radio type in Home Assistant’s ZHA integration and Zigbee2MQTT. Other radio types like deconz (ConBee/RaspBee) and ZiGate are still missing “InstallCode” support in their respective radio libraries and manufacturer’s firmware commands/APIs or their serial interface documentation (i.e. ConBee/RaspBee and ZiGate have not added support for it to their firmware and/or not published API documentation).

The best dedicated Zigbee Router (repeaters/extender) devices to buy

Zigbee Router (repeaters/extender) product purchase recommendation summary:

To get the “best-of-the” Zigbee Router devices today it is recommended to buy a few Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 based USB radio dongles with an external antenna (like for example ITead’s Sonoff ZBDongle-E (based on Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 radio SoC) and convert/repurpose them by flashing over USB with a Zigbee Router firmware image, after than you can simply power them via USB-changers and pair to have them work as stand-alone dedicated Zigbee Router devices. An alternative is ITead’s Sonoff ZBDongle-P (based on Texas Instruments CC2652P radio SoC) which also can be reflashed with Zigbee Router firmware and repurposed as a stand-alone dedicated Zigbee signal repeater and range extender devices.

For all-in-one dedicated Zigbee Router products that work very well out-of-the-box, it is recommended to buy a few of IKEA’s Trådfri Signal Repeater devices and/or Aeotec’s Range Extender Zi producs. Both of those devices are based on Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 radio SoC, and many people have reported that Silabs EFR32MG21 based products with slightly better as dedicated Zigbee Router devices than TI CC2652 based producs.

The reasons for buying and using those specific products as Zigbee Router devices are:

Having a few “great” Zigbee Routers (a.k.a. Zigbee signal repeaters / Zigbee range extenders) with better radios and antennas for better reception can affect in Zigbee network mesh range and coverage performance positively as communication signals in Zigbee do not have to be resent. Acting as a stable backbone in your Zigbee network mesh. Also, adding at least a few "know good"dedicated Zigbee Router devices between the Zigbee Coordinator and any devices having issues will normally make a huge difference.

You have to understand and remember that each Zigbee device by itself has very limited coverage, short range and their weak signals have poor wall penetration, so to workaround this a Zigbee network relies on mesh networking (a type of network topology/technology/architecture), which means that a Zigbee network heavily depends on having a swarm of mains-powered devices are a “Zigbee Router” that are always-on so they can act as a signal repeater and range extended by transmitting data over long distances by passing data messages through the Zigbee network mesh of intermediate devices to reach more distant Zigbee devices.

So while having a Zigbee Coordinator with good radio and antenna away from any EMF sources can have similar benefits, Zigbee signals have such poor range and bad wall penetration power so having good router devices is really a must.


What I would add here - is obviously the SLZB-06 adapters (POE+network/USB/WiFi)

Screenshot 2024-02-08 214438

Currently, I would suggest having a look at these models:

Some features:

  • Multilanguage
  • VPN included
  • OTA core and Zigbee updates, scheduled updates
    Screenshot 2024-02-08 215528

You can run multiple instances with the single HA setup, as described here.

Hi Maxym,
I have the same idea to decouple HA and both my Zigbee and Z-Wave gateway’s.

Did you actually went this path? And what are your experiences?

Do you also have Z-Wave devices? And do you have any tips for people wanting to go this way?

Kind regards, Bert

i got my hands on a starter pack for bums and kids who cant afford heroin , it included a Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus V2 , and i have to say everything i found with it works except the SONOFF-SNZB-02P thermometer (… temp sensor) which simply doesnt give the two-blink “i am in range” signal when pushing the id button, unlike the one-button button that was also in it from the same brand- generation so i assume that one is simply broken, its not a disneyland mansion but from the garage door to the back of the garden the 4 button remote reaches the receiver and the receiver commands HA, the only thing seems to be the smart plug which acts up and has range problems but i doubt that has to do with the controller (or whatever you call it)

(im pretty new to this and very low budget but someone told me z-wave needs a mininum number of appliances tho i found in info site it seems to have better penetration (walls etc) but since theres no tungsten in the walls here it looks like the zigbee thing works just fine

i AM more interested in continuing with ESP32 tho it seems the cheaper solution , more modular if you dont need out of the box solutions, suits my wallet better

I’ve actually not had a good experience thus far with these. Suspect there might be some bad batches out there in the wild. Smlight slzb-06

The support however has been very responsive and I am getting my 3rd replacement being sent out, hoping it finally works. I would still recommend them for the price they are at currently but just be wary that there is a chance of getting a dud.

I also have a Zigstar UZG-01. It is based on the P7 chipset to there are still some firmware bugs to iron out but Its one I can recommended as well. Good support as well on this one. One of the guys Radu is on the forums and tries his best to answer questions.