Door/Window BLE sensors vs zwave/wifi/zigbee

I’m getting ready to order a bunch of door/window sensors, partly for internal use (e.g. turning lights on and off) but partly for a HA version of an alarm.

While recognizing that a real, certified, monitored alarm has all sorts of better reliability…

Are the BLE sensors, like Shelly BLU, proving to be reliable? They sure seem both less expensive and less intrusive (smaller). I have two and they work great so far.

Is there any real advantage to zwave, wifi or zigbee? (Other than needing a proxy nearby, which generally I have already or their $15 stick is really cheap).

None are continuously active, so all have the possibility of falling offline without you knowing without a test. But running hardwired sensors’ wire is a royal pain so that is not happening for me.

How have people’s experience been?

Any alternatives to consider other than the Shelly BLU? (Which at the moment are not on amazon any more - out of stock?).


Well, i’ve had shelly blu door/window installed on my door for a while. I received it’s signal with esphome btproxy. Sadly i must say that it prooved unreliable, occasionally i didn’t get “door opened” message, so in order to be more reliable i’ve had to enable sending beacon every 30 seconds (and thus massively reducing battery life) to ensure that when module missed to send info at least i’ve got a message after 30 seconds.
I must say that btproxy is NOT the culprit, since when message didn’t come into ha also didn’t come into shelly app.
Later i bought tuya (compatible?) wifi sensor from aliexpress (for a quarter of a shelly price) and so far it’s 100% reliable, it didn’t miss a single action yet. Only “down” side is small lag: information comes into HA after appr. 5 seconds, which is normal, since module must wake up, connect to wifi and send signal. But then again… shelly blu was also a bit laggy(when it worked).

just reporting my experience with Aqara windows sensors (zigbee)
never fell offline, reporting almost instantly, i use them for “a HA version of an alarm” but mostly for automations (for example changing heating mode of the room the window is opened)
honestly i’m totally satisfied.
Let’s see battery duration :slight_smile: (over 6 months, i’ve still 70s of battery… seems good)

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Well, @Protoncek 's response is a bit concerning. Anyone else?

I have only z-wave sensors on every window and some doors.

Not the cheapest setup but works like a charm, no lags, super reliable.

I guess, z-wave and zigbee are made and designed for those use cases but BLE and WiFi not necessarily. Obviously it‘s possible (anyhow) but from my point of view I would go for technologies which are prepared for the use case.

I’ve been doing more reading, and notice the relative dearth of z-wave door/window sensors, and it appears (or at least people speculate) it is the poorer power management in zwave vs zigbee. They are also much more expensive. Wifi as well.

BLE seems to solve that, with small batteries and long life.

So I’m not sure about the design aspect, is there some aspect of BLE as a protocol that says “not for this use case”?

Though this reading has opened my eyes that maybe I need to reconsider zigbee (or aqara’s flavor of it even). Though I guess I’ll then need range extenders all over for those as I already have for zwave, which is not pleasant - wall warts all over the house.

Hm…regarding BLE vs. Wifi: i paid over 15€ for BLE shelly door/window, and only around 5€ on aliexpress for tuya clone wifi module. First one has cr2032, replceed every 2 months (since 30sec beacon must be enabled to be reliable), second one uses 2xAAA batteries, according to users they last over 6 months. Ok, second one is somewhat bigger than shelly.

Yeah… source for things (like aliexpress) can have a huge difference in cost. I’m not sure that is really a fair comparison though, as that price is more about aliexpress than the device.

But the battery aspect is interesting. I’m not understanding the need for a beacon change (in fact I am not sure how to even do that – with the Shelly app?). My only experience at the moment is my office door where it turns a light on and off. So far it hasn’t missed once. Under what circumstances is it unreliable? (And are you specifically talking about the Shelly Blu window/door sensor?)

Yes, you enable beacon in shelly app. Basically, with this enabled device sends status every 30 seconds, no matter what. This causes that you have always at most 30s old info, but also drains battery like crazy.
An additional info regarding my BT door/window: yes, i did have esphome btproxy, but i also have shelly plus plug S, which acts as BT proxy, too. And when module missed to send info i checked shelly app and info abkut state change weren’t there as well. And another thing: battery info is totally useless. When it was empty it still showed 100% (in shelly app, too).
Yes, perhaps comparing with aliexpress is not exactly fair, but it shows how “pumped up” are prices of known brands… and so far i didn’t have any problems with aliexpress clones…

Right. I agree, and almost didn’t post that comment, but there are a lot of people who won’t buy Aliexpress for a variety of reasons (in my case the long delivery times, I am a next-day, instant gratification type). The real point was I THINK that zigbee hardware should be cheaper to build, but so should BLE hardware, zwave a bit more expensive, and battery efficient wifi also more expensive, at least with all other aspects being the same.

But yes, brands pump up their prices when they get well known, just because they can - and control their channels.

I think that zigbee is expensive because of licensing purposes…
EDIT: sorry, i missed that: yes, i’m talking about shelly blu door/window (official). Not-reporting is totally random…mostly it did report, but at times it didn’t… i could never rely on it…

I’m currently using an Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2 for my front door to control the light switch via the matter intergration on my skyconnect which I got in January and its still showing 100% on the battery level at this time.

Been pretty reliable so far with the only time I had issues was re-adding it via the companion app after I had to restore my HA instance to a previous state; which was solved when I just restarted the phone and network after deleting it from the snapshot image.

I have a new product which is a door/window sensor beacon (link below). You can configure it different ways according to your needs, but the most common is to broadcast one uuid when closed and a different uuid when open.

You will then need to figure out how to get that data into HA. I think there are quite a few different ways, but I am definitely not an HA expert.

For my recent automatic garage door opening/closing project, I use a BLE scanning gateway to scan for my car’s beacon and also for the garage door beacon (to know the current status of the door). Then the BLE gateway publishes this scan data to an MQTT integration on the HA. Any HA automation can pick up the beacon scan results and trigger actions by subscribing to the proper MQTT topic.

For an HA-version of a home alarm, you could have one BLE gateway in some central-ish location, scanning for all of the door/window beacons installed around the house. It would then report all of that data, once per second if you use my example settings, to the HA. The BLE gateway would not need to be near the HA; just on the same wifi network. If you live in a mansion (congrats!) or have super thick walls, you might need to place more than one gateway in different locations to cover the entire property.

Blue Charm BC-S1 Door/Window Beacon

Blue Charm Beacon Scanner Gateway BCG04