Lighting Recommendations

I have used Home Assistant for several years. When I started I had Wink GE LED lights and later added WEMO on/off, 3-way and dimmer switches. All has been well. However Wink has recently been dropped from integrations and I am trying to find one or more good alternatives.

I am hoping to find lights that do not require a hub or intermediate interface (Wink requires a hub and has also recently started requiring a subscription of around five dollars a month). I am interested in both white and RGB.

It seems that there are too many options for me to get a good sense of direction. Zigbee, WiFi, bluetooth, …

I would very much appreciate suggestions regarding where to go with new lighting.

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I can recommend Philips Hue.
They might be a bit more expensive, but the support with firmware updates are worth it.
You can use it with or without hub or even in a combination, since they are essentially Zigbee bulbs.
The advantage of the hub is that it can be used to control the lights when the HA is down.

A hub as such is not a bad thing, as long as it has an open and well-supported local interface.
Philips Hue hubs have a well-documented and well-supported interface that is local only, and you can have the added option of a free online service too, but everything will work without this online service.

Dimmable dumb LED lights (with >90 CRI) in your choice of warm or cool white and smart switches is a much better option unless you are renting and can’t mess with the switches. This allows for physical control by Luddites, and if Home Assistant is off-line.

A smart bulb in a table lamp can be used for colour accents or colour alerts if you really need it.

I can recommend Shelly wifi switch modules but you may need to upgrade your wifi access point(s) for good coverage of lots of switches.

Most Zigbee switches / dimmers are also excellent and create their own network. A reliable coordinator like the Ethernet options from Tubes (join the list, the wait is not long) is a must, as you can place it anywhere you have a wired network connection.

Thanks for the replies! This is greatly appreciated and will hopefully get me on track with this.

Historically I’ve used wifi and zigbee from a range of vendors (although to be fair most wifi stuff is just rebranded tuya or sonoff in my experience).

More recently I’ve decommissioned all but three of my wifi lights and switched to zigbee only predominantly using IKEA bulbs with a couple of INNR exceptions. As soon as I can source zigbee versions of the wifi bulbs (e27 eddisons bulbs that aren’t old mans piss yellow) I’ll dump those as well.

Although this can limit the types of bulb you can get (see above) this just keeps it simple IMO - same brand, same quality, same setup, consistent troubleshooting approach. This also means that via binding I don’t loose control of lights if I have wifi issues or whilst HA is down/rebooting.

I am still running into confusion. In the specs, I have been looking specifically for the keyword ‘zigbee’. Instead, I am finding ‘works with Amazon Alexa, Hue, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit’. I get the feeling that ‘zigbee’ is implied in there somewhere, but just have not been able yet to pin that down.

  1. What keywords should I look for to know that a bulb supports zigbee protocol?

  2. Can you give me a short list of specific bulbs that absolutely will work with a zigbee coordinator?

Thanks!

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most of the time those things typically haver nothing to do with the protocol used, simply means it integrates (typically via cloud) the native app with those respective control systems.

A couple of useful resources:

Database of Zigbee devices compatible with ZHA, Tasmota, Zigbee2MQTT, deCONZ, ZiGate and ioBroker (blakadder.com)

Home | Zigbee2MQTT

ZHA is easy to use but has far less device support although it is growing all the time.
Z2M can be more complex but supports a far greater number of devices.

I have used both. I started with Z2M. More recently I had heard ZHA had improved and switched to ZHA and if you a novice I’d maybe stick with that. Personally I’m switching back to Z2M in the very near future. My own ZHA experience, despite the considerable improvements, has not been as positive as my Z2M one was.

If you go ZHA and you are a novice DO NOT try and use any device that is not on the support list on the blackadder site or is confirmed as working be someone here.

As far as zigbee coordinators go check here: Supported Adapters | Zigbee2MQTT and use the “USB connected (easiest)” only. Note: be aware that some people are experiencing issues with customer support/orders on the Slaesh’s CC2652RB stick.

The SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus is popular because its one of the most readily available.

Here’s a couple of tutorials that I hope will help:

Hope that helps? Happy to chat more.

From that list it is only Hue that indicate it is a ZigBee device.
Hue itself Is a ZigBee product line, al though with a few extra options if you use a Hue bridge, but a ZigBee gateway can handle Hue products.