Looking for advice on a hub platform (US)

I’m a relatively new user running HA via docker on ubuntu 18.04 server. This is the hardware I own: ASUS RT-AC88U, Google Home, (2) Google Home mini, (2) Nvidia Shield, Polk Magnifi Mini, (2) TP-Link HS100 switch, LIFX A19 Bulb, Nest thermostat, (2) Pixel 2 XL.

I’m currently living in an apartment, but looking to move into a house soon, and I’d like to get a head start on some other smart home devices. I’m interested in getting some more lights, and a couple door/window sensors. Currently, none of my hardware requires a hub, but I like the idea of hub, I just not sure which platform to get into. Ideally, it would work with google home and home assistant, as well as support future devices such as home security cameras, smart locks, motion sensors, etc. Does such a device exist?

I was looking at Aqara SHSK-T01 Smart Starter Kit, which advertises a zigbee connection. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WN3KR2Y/

However, I’m now seeing a lot of reports that the hub included ZHWG11LM will not work with home assistant. To be honest, I’m a little lost as to what protocol and device fits my needs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

The aqara sensors are quite good, but you are right, the hubs are subject to the whims of xiaomi’s firmware upgrades.

Buy the aqara sensors and use conbee or zigbee2mqtt :wink:

I’m looking at the Conbee II

It appears I can run a separate container, deCONZ, to work with home assistant. What is the range like considering it’s just a USB stick? My server isn’t exactly in the most central of locations and I have concerns about the range covering a whole house when I move.

Edit: After looking into it, I guess the range should be fine as long as it connects to at least one zigbee sensor considering zigbee is a mesh network.

The Aqara stuff is great but do go for an open ConBee stick rather than the closed Xiaomi hub. The HA deconz integration it top-notch, coverage is fine and powered devices (bulbs, smart plugs) will extend the mesh.

On that note, stop buying LIFX and HS100; go for ZigBee devices instead (maybe IKEA Trådfri).

Thanks, I pulled the trigger on the ConBee II. I’ll return the Aqara kit and get some individual sensors/devices. I understand the importance of having many zigbee devices to extend the mesh. On that note, are there any zigbee rgb bulbs you’d recommend?

Also, will conbee with zigbee devices work with google home? Or is that just dependent on the actual device / sensor?

Just for your info, only main powered devices extend the mesh. The ikea ones are a bit expensive but they are great, I have more than 10 of them for over 5 years and not a single one died yet. On the cheaper end are the Ikea Tradfri ones, don’t have a lot of experience, as I only use 2-3 white bulbs for about 6 months.

I don’t own any Google Home devices, but as far as I understood you just expose HA devices to it, so as long as the device is in HA you can use it with Google Home. However I don’t think every type of device is supported.

My advice is to stay away from bulbs except for very specific circumstances that don’t require user interaction to turn them off & on regularly. Stay with smart switches. that way you can still use the switch like usual but can also automate it to your needs. If you use smart bulbs and someone turns off the switch they become very dumb in a hurry. And if you don’t automate literally almost every use case someone will turn off the switch. And besides that to manually turn the light on you (or your SO) will always be pulling out the phone or yelling at your Google Home to switch the lights.

Not very user friendly.

I only use bulbs for my deck light that stays on from sunset till 1 am every night or if I open the door. Otherwise it’s off so that lends itself well to a bulb. Another one is the stove hood light (pretty much always on). And one more is my bedside lamp that is always powered and i control it using a dedicated pushbutton to toggle it on/off.

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