Suggest buying a modern Zigbee Coordinator USB radio adapter and installing either the ZHA integration for Home Assistant (which is very easy to get started with as it fully embedded) or using the stand-alone Zigbee2MQTT (which is more flexible but not embedded and instead integrates via the generic MQTT integration so the experience it is a little more like running a separate hub/gateway/bridge like the Philips Hue Bridge):
Yes ConBee II will work (with the latest firmware), however, instead recommend getting either a Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 based radio adapter if planing to use Home Assistant’s own ZHA integration solution or get a Texas Instruments CC2652P based radio adapter if planning to use the third-party Zigbee2MQTT solution.
Regardless of which Zigbee solution go with or which Zigbee Coordinator radio be sure to read these:
Personally I would just like to generally recommend not getting any Tuya branded or rebranded/OEM Tuya devices that are mains-powered (note that a majority of cheap Chinese devices are made by Tuya), nor any Aqara or Xiaomi branded devices that are mains-powered, (however their battery-powered sensor devices are normally quite good so those are usually fine), as while very inexpensive they are usually not as compatible as mains-powered devices that are not manufactured by Tuya or Aqara/Xiaomi
What is the end user impact of these devices that are “not as compatible”? Also, are there any brands you would recommend for mains-powered zigbee devices? I have a whole bunch of Aqara or rebranded Tuya devices and I’m curious what their sub-optimal compatibility might be having on my overall experience. They work fine for the most part from what I can tell…
Very important to note that Zigbee devices have poor range and bad penetration (low RF propagation) + are relatively speaking extremely sensitive to EMF/EMI/RMI interference, so you need to place your Zigbee Coordinator properly to avoid all sources of EMF/EMI/RMI interference + add many mains-powered Zigbee Router devices that will act as range-extenders/signal-repeaters before you add any battery-powered Zigbee devices in a other room or far away from the Zigbee Coordinator → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage
That depends on how advanced you are as a user when getting started and how advanced you think you want to go with Zigbee devices. They both have different pros and cons, however, the built-in ZHA integration is still easier for a beginner to get started with as it is fully embedded as a native component inside Home Assistant core, while Zigbee2MQTT is still quicker to get support for brand new complex/odd/unusual/advanced products when they just come out however the learning curve is steeper if not already very experienced with Home Assistant, but the learning curve for configuring any complex/odd/unusual/advanced device is relatively high in both these Zigbee gateway solutions.
Zigbee2MQTT can be said to be more for “power users” who buy more Zigbee products for less common purposes, and the ZHA integration works great out-of-the-box for most users who buy more standard types of products for lights and home automation.
One could also argue that the odd/wired products should maybe in many cases not have been made as a Zigbee device because they usually do not follow the Zigbee specification (and therefore they will not work until a developer code a custom device handler as a converter/quirk/translator for that specific product, and most such products would probably have been made as a Wi-Fi based device instead using ESPHome or Tasmota firmware on an ESP32 SoC).
FYI; BeardedConti posted a new pros and cons video about ZHA versus Zigbee2MQTT for beginners:
Home Automation Guy posted a similar video about two years ago and parts in it is already outdated:
Development for these is going fast but today recommend you guys check out later posts in this thread: