New to HA - Hardware List/Recommended Devices?

Starting off my foray into HA. Is there a helpful list somewhere of helpful hardware components or cookbooks? One of the first projects I’d like to do is turn on a smart plug when my kitchen exhaust fan is turned on. That’s hard wired though so I’d need something to tap the feed or something.

Besides asking the question, any good wikis to start with or a running list of known good devices?


That’s a really broad question to which there is no good answer. It’s like asking for recommendations on a “good car to get”.

The real answer is that “it depends”.

It depends on your budget, your desires, your abilities, your existing wiring in your house. etc, etc.

Just for the basics tho.

ZWave is generally good quality but can be expensive. and you will need a controller. a good USB controller can be found cheaply, works well and is all local. You can get battery powered sensors and some switches/buttons that last a long time on a battery but obviously any “power” components (real switches and outlets) need a hot & neutral at the box. Not normally a problem for outlets but might be for switches.

Zigbee also works pretty well and is a bit cheaper. It will also need a controller and there are a few offered that also are USB and local. the same limitations apply for zwave as far as the hardware is concerned.

Wifi can be cheap but they will all need a neutral in the box for anything since wifi radio’s are pretty power hungry and using battery powered devices don’t work too well. But you don’t need a controller since your router works for that. But be aware that not all wifi devices are all local control. A lot of them will “phone home” and either open you up to outages if the remote server goes down or your internet goes down or if the company switches to a “subscription only” business model or…etc, etc. Just beware of those types of systems.

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If you use a Caseta or Shelly switch, it can be monitored by HA, or even control the plug directly.

The Caseta switch replaces a light switch or fan control switch that fits in a wall box, and that may not work for your kitchen exhaust fan.

A Shelly 1PM is a hidden switch that can passively monitor the power draw of a variable speed fan, and is powered by the mains voltage into a rotary switch.

Shelly is wifi, Caseta is 433mhz and requires a hub

+1 for Lutron Caseta. You’ll need the hub (Smart Bridge), so the initial cost is higher than some other solutions.

I have these (wall switches, wall dimmers, and lamp modules), and they’re all dead-reliable. I never have to mess with them once I set them up and configure them. The hub is cloud-connected for integration with Google/Alexa/etc., but the devices themselves all have local control (at the physical device) AND local network control (HA talks to the hub, which talks to the device). They work when the internet is down, and they even work when your LAN is down if you physically tapp the switches on the wall.

They’re expensive, but time not spent figuring our why device X isn’t working today is more time I can do other fun things. I’m about 6mo into using HA, and I’m really seeing the value of reliable devices now - to the point that I’m replacing some of my cheaper, less-reliable devices that I got earlier in my quest for home automation. Not as much of an issue when you only have a handful of devices, but once you go down the rabbit hole and have devices everywhere, I see it as a big factor.

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The other thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that where in the world you are will shape your choices. Those recommendations for Lutron are great if you’re in North America, and not so great if you’re anywhere else in the world (for example).

There’s also a large range of options like Shelly and Sonoff, and many things that can be built around the ESP platform and controlled with ESPHome or Tasmota.

Oh, and you don’t need to be “loyal” to one thing. You can absolutely mix WiFi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. It just takes a little care and planning since WiFi and Zigbee share radio frequency ranges (so you need to avoid interference), and both Zigbee and Z-Wave use the mains powered nodes to build the mesh.


  • Relatively expensive, region specific, but any Z-Wave Plus device will work. Mesh based, using the mains powered nodes to extend the mesh. Limited to 4 hops from the controller and 242 devices, and slower than Zigbee.


  • Relatively cheap, global standard. Zigbee 3.0 brings a full standard, but most devices are 1.2 (which is more a set of guidelines) so some research is required. Mains powered devices build the mesh (though some bulbs may not). No practical limit on the size of the mesh, and faster than Z-Wave.


  • All bets are off. May work, may not work. Caveat emptor as the saying goes.

You can also use the integrations list to get an idea of what works (for some value of works) to narrow down questions.

All that said, my standard response on Discord is:

Looking for advice about a device to buy? Remember to provide guidance on:

  • Which country you’re in
  • What your budget is
  • What protocols you prefer (eg Zigbee, WiFi, Z-Wave)
  • Any features you want (such as power monitoring, dimming, etc)

These are the kind of things that really help people make useful recommendations for you.


Thanks everyone. This is all helpful for a starter. I expect there are so many devices out that there a practical inventory or database is virtually impossible (unless it was an opt-in phone-home feature of HA). these suggestions get me going in the right direction.

I’m starting to realize this as well… ordered a couple of teckin smart dimmers (tuya based) and went to set up automations only to discover there’s about a minute lag between HA and Tuya cloud :confused:

I’m not sure I want to venture into flashing with tasmota. It’s tempting but I’m in the same boat I don’t want to spend hours tinkering when I have 100 other things on the go…

I would look into zwave or something that has native local control via HA, since any of those options would bypass a cloud and therefore, the lag.

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