Philips Hue vs ZHA, Should I Swap?

Hi Guys,
I have been running the Philips Hue intergration and ZHA with the sonoff Zibee coordinator usb stick side by side for several years. All my Hue products are paired with the Hue bridge and various other zigbee devices are connected to ZHA.

I have found over the years that the Philips products generally work flawlessly and the other devices (mostly Aqara) on the ZHA network can sometimes drop off or stop working occasionally. I have a number of zigbee smart plugs and live in a relatively small house, so I cannot imagine that they are out of range. I assume its because mixing multiple brands on the ZHA network and maybe interference can cause issues. Although I have my zigbee coordinator on a USB extension cable.

I have a couple of Innr bulbs connected to ZHA in our Kitchen which sometimes fail to work normally when its dark and I’ve been considering replacing them with genuine Hue bulbs because they work so flawlessly. But this got me thinking should I be running two Zigbee networks? or would I bet better off moving everything over to ZHA?

I’d be interested to hear how other people have things setup??

People always say that Hue is over priced compared to other zigbee products, which I agree with, but in my personal experience the Hue products are more reliable, in my current setup.

I made the switch and I am only disappointed in one aspect. Since dumping the hue hub I have an issue with the hue bulbs, about 15 of them, always flash the previous color before switching on. For instance if you have all you lights set to white then turn them off and want to switch them all on red they will first flash white then go to the selected color. If that could be fixed I would be 100% happy with my decision. No need for extra hubs calling out to the internet.

for what its worth: i only have a hue bridge and used several brands of devices (plugs, bulbs and dimmer). Philips devices never give issues. Ikea devices are kind of weird in behavior, but do seem stable when paired. Innr plugs are fine too. Innr color bulb didnt last long and started to run warm and dropped off a lot and caused network issues. Same with an Osram bulb, causing the network be unstable when itself was droping off. Also after replacement with philips bulb, all issues gone.
So if your devices are hue acceptable, it could just run fine, but if devices itself are not behaving, it doesnt matter on what controller they are.

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I’ve had issues with both Sonoff and Hue devices, but the Hue seemed to have gone the longest before they both stopped working - but “longest” was only about 4 weeks!

Some of the Sonoff ones stopped working after about 5 days, but others are still working.

I have this hardware and software (not counting my motherboard and such):

  • Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle, running linux FC37
  • 2 failing Zigbee SNZB-02 and 2 failing Panasonic Hue. All worked for a while, and show one update if I try to reconfigure them but then nothing else.
  • 3 Zigbee SNZB-02 devices that still show up
  • HA 2022.12.0 via docker ghcr.io/home-assistant/home-assistant:stable
  • ZMA

If anyone has debug / workaround suggestions, let me know :frowning:

If I may revive this topic - I’m in the same situation that @mattpitts74 was/is, and am similarly keen to find out what the pros and cons are for both approaches, if any.

That is:
A) ZHA to Hue bridge (using Hue integration) in order to control my Hue bulbs
vs
B) ZHA to Hue bulbs directly.

My default choice is to go with Option B - one less unnecessary device with cloud connectivity - but am wondering whether I lose any functionality by dropping the Hue bridge.

I’m new to Home Assistant, would appreciate any advice/tips. Thanks!

Can you apply updates without the bridge? I ask because I am using the bridge and the Hue app to apply updates, but the Android app doesn’t seem to be available any more for Chromebook or indeed some phones.

Good point. I would guess no - so that would be one function that’s no longer possible once I drop the Hue bridge.

However, that brings up the question - is this a big deal? Do updates for Hue bulbs bring any enhancements? And how frequent are they in practice?

I seem to get an update every couple of months, but many of those are for the bridge itself - so maybe two or three a year (though not all devices are updated at the same time)?

With no updates, I imagine you would only get left behind if there was a major change to ZHA.

There a lots of improvements going with ZHA as I understand it - latency, removes the 1 second API limitation, fully local…

I personally have stuck with the hue bridge just for ease, although the 1 second API limitation really bugs me.

For what it’s worth, my setup works fine locally without internet. I haven’t looked into it but the hue integration must have a local fallback to talk to the bridge