Hubs, ZHA, Zigbee2mqtt

Hi so I’m preparing a blueprint for my smart home and I need some help understanding & deciding which hub & interface I should use. Im going to start with simple automations, but I will want the most advanced features in the future as my knowledge of it grows.

I’m familiar that Zigbee2MQTT has more device compatibility and features for automating, but ZHA seems to be more user friendly interface. Im leaning more towards the Zigbee2MQTT side; unless the development of ZHA going to over shadow the former over time.

Also as far as dongles are concerned I ordered the Skyconnect, and I’m still trying to understand would I still need to buy other hubs to use devices such as Aqara, kasa, etc.? Or is there a better dongle out there, in which I wouldn’t need to buy any hubs?

Lastly, I want to keep everything as local as possible, but I think some products require wifi. Could you guys recommend which products should absolutely be controlled locally, and which can get by on wifi. In the sense that if my internet goes down I can still control the important stuff.

I realize this is probably intuitive, but learning through your guys’ experience will save me some future headaches I’m sure!

That’s not the best dongle for Zigbee2MQTT - for that you want something CC2652 based (other than the Sonoff P which has some known quality control problems).

With ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT you don’t need any hubs.

That’d be anything Zigbee, and Zigbee2MQTT has a list of supported devices.


what if i want to use phillips hue products or something of that nature. Would I need to buy their hub to access all the features?

Likewise with Aqara do i need to purchase their M2 hub in order to use all the features. Im planning on buying a lot of aqara products

ZHA now wins for ease of migrating between coordinators, and channel change capability. Still, two years later, z2m still maintains the same advantages over ZHA that made me switch. The way I see it - ZHA is easier to get started, z2m is easier to live with.

I actually run both, but ZHA is little more than a test platform.

Fine for ZHA/Thread. Mostly OK for z2m, but a CC2652 coordinator is still preferred for z2m. EZSP support works well in z2m at this point, but is still missing some key backup/restore functionality.

Not usually. New zigbee devices will usually see support in both ZHA and z2m, just don’t expect it to work the day they are announced.

Many “WiFi” devices can be local. They are dependent on your router or other WiFi access point being functional, but not necessarily on the internet being connected.

For instance, most HomeKit wifi devices are compatible with HA and are generally 100% local. Some, like the Aqara FP2 sensor may need the manufacturers app for setup, but once setup function locally.

Before purchasing, check any needed integration to make sure it is local, not cloud based. For instance a quick google “home assistant kasa integration” wil take you straight to the HA Integration Docs:

Personally I use zigbee for anything battery operated, a few zigbee mains devices, Lutron Caseta for most smart switches, several homekit devices, a few ESPHome devices, a few Wiz bulbs. All are locally controlled. The only cloud integrations I have left is my Moen Flo water shutoff valve and Nexia Thermostat, both of which pre-date my HA relationship.


Do you think ZHA will eventually get the deeper device support that Z2M has?

Also what features does the skyconnect lack that a CC2652 dongle would have?

Thanks for the throrough answer by the way much appreciated!

Nope (as already said)

Not for the Zigbee stuff, no

Any Zigbee stuff works with ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT (though Z2M does publish a list of what’s already supported, vs you having to add support).


Z2M has a bigger user base and usually gets new device support faster. However, any Zigbee compliant device will “just work” with ZHA (not that there’s many of those), and sometimes ZHA gets support faster.

None, they’re just different chipsets. ZHA has good support for both, Z2M only has good support for the TI chips (like the CC2652) right now.


@Tinkerer answered before I did. 100% concur.

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Last question how can i check whether a product also acts as a zigbee router?

The rough rule of thumb is mains powered and:

  1. Not a Sengled bulb
  2. Not a two-wire (no-neutral) switch or dimmer

No battery device is a router. Most USB powered devices won’t be routers either.

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so the switch needs to have the neutral wire in order to be a router?

Generally yes. There’s bound to be some exceptions, because Zigbee is a standard in the loosest possible sense of the word (I tend to half jokingly refer to it as more some suggestions really).

Need to relook the Hue stuff. Search HA community. They want all of your info!

Any suggestions for smart light bulbs that are rgbw or white ambiance warm to cool? That are local controlled and work as zigbee routers as well?

  • Hue
  • Tradfri (Ikea)
  • Innr
  • Gledopto

Just FYI, Sengled bulbs are NOT routers.

How are Wiz products? home assistant gave them a platinum quality score

They are wifi, not zigbee. You need their app and internet for setup, but control afterwards is local.

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The newest Wiz bulbs are Matter over wifi. (and if you are going wiz the type you want not the old proprietary type) which means you’ll need to ensure your install is configured to support Matter devices.

Read: that’s a whole different ball of wax…

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I hadn’t touched mine in so long I didn’t realize matter support had been added.

I now have my first matter devices.

But… the Wiz integration is more functional.