Where to start with ZigBee?

I would echo most of @Tinkerer’s thoughts with a couple of differences.

I would add as point zero - GET STARTED. The FUD goes away pretty quickly once you’ve worked though it.

@Tinkerer’s first point was decide on ZHA vs Zigbee2MQTT. I strongly suggest trying them both out. I like z2m best overall, but it is subjective. My basic thoughts on the two are here: ZHA Vs Zigbee2Mqtt - #3 by jerrm.

I agree on starting with a CC2652P stick. The work great with both ZHA and z2m. (Amazon.com, CC2652P2 Zigbee to Ethernet Serial Coordinator | TubesZB Store, Sonoff Zb Dongle-p Zigbee 3.0 Usb Dongle Plus Wireless Zigbee Gateway Analyzer Zigbee2mqtt Usb Interface Capture With Antenna - Automation Modules - AliExpress).

NOTE: with Sonoff you want the ZBDongle-P. The “-E” is a different chip (EFR32MG21), very good, but z2m support is still beta.

Don’t let the the potential Thread compatibility add to the FUD. If you later decide on the SkyConnect or other EFR32MG21 chip, the cc2652p can be flashed to be a great router for your zigbee net.

Then get one each of each type of sensor - that should be pretty cheap. As @Tinkerer suggests, avoid Tuya to start. I have several Tuya products, but it’s variable you don’t want in the mix to start. Sensors are pretty inexpensive. If you can devote a few more dollars to testing, pick up a switch.

I wouldn’t look to get bottom dollar on the test devices. Save that for when your going to buy 15 door sensors for every door in the house.

If you purchase wisely, you may have extended return periods over the holiday if you decide zigbee isn’t for you.

First setup ZHA, it is easiest to get started with. Add devices, create automations, give it a good testing, but don’t get too attached as this is just a test.

If thoroughly pleased with ZHA, you could stop there, but I encourage testing out z2m as well. Just disable ZHA and then install z2m using the same USB stick. You’ll need to re-pair everything, but since we are still in the testing phase with just a few devices, it’s not a big deal. Again, add devices, create automations, etc. Note the differences in how things present, exposed to automations, etc.

Then choose your integration and start building things out for real.

But again, most importantly, GET STARTED !


Don’t wait. There is no evidence it will ever be “readily available.” There are the pre-order batches, but no mention I’ve seen how much “stock,” if any, they will maintain beyond the pre-orders.

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I’ll echo the don’t wait cries. There’s always going to be something newer/better/faster/cheaper on the horizon.

When you wait for that, another one will come along. I started with objectively the worst Zigbee coordinator on the market - the CC2531, but it got me going. I bought a bunch of devices, and I learned a lot along the way.

Not all my choices were good. Sometimes I ignored warnings and bought stuff I later regretted. Sometimes I bought stuff that wasn’t yet known to be bad, but was able to warn others.

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I see your CC2531, and raise you a Sonoff Bridge - a device so crap, that even after the effort of flashing two different uP via hand-soldered ICSP, it still can’t maintain a stable connection to HASS in normal operation with four devices! :smiley: :rofl:

The best part of owning a Sonoff Bridge is smashing it into small pieces with a large hammer! :boom: :hammer:

Even after such an inauspicious start, I still use Zigbee. As you suggest, just get some kit and play!

(PS If you do find a Sonoff Bridge, flash it with a different firmware to create a Zigbee mesh repeater to reduce landfill.)


I’m in a “starting from scratch” situation…sorta. I’ve got:

  • Latest HA containerized and installed on a Rpi4 running latest Debian Linux and 1TB local Sata SSD storage
  • The Nortek USB zigbee/z-wave dongle installed and it seems to work
  • Google Wifi Mesh connecting a bunch of Amazon Echo 4th gen orbs that all act as zigbee repeaters

What I’m hoping to accomplish is to toss all my old Smartthings kit. It’s all 6 years old and the hub is EOL. I’d like to buy all new door/window sensors, some motion sensors, garage door opener, smoke alarms, integrate with Nest thermostats, doorbell, etc. And I like the idea of being able to operate everything locally without the need for internet connectivity if my net connection temporarily drops.

I don’t mind spending some $$$ to get stuff that just plain works with HA without a lot of hair pulling.

Is there a solid brand of gear that has a record of little/no drama to integrate? :slight_smile:

I asked a similar question about a year ago and then had to shelve things due to work priorities. Now I’m on a sabbatical and ready to rock and roll. :slight_smile:


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They will not repeat for a zigbee network they are not part of - and they don’t join other networks. :wink: Count them out as repeaters. Sorry.

Also - edit.

any of your old ST gear is bog standard Zigbee - keep it.

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I started with that stick. Seemed like a good idea at the time. As I built up the network, I had issues with devices going offline. Replaced it with the Sonoff ZBDongle-P, and things have been solid since.

Another issue with the Nortek, is if you ever do want to use the migration tools and move to another zigbee stick, you may not be able to keep the zwave side up on the Nortek. Zigbee migration clones the ieee address to the new stick, and the old stick can’t be powered up while still using the same zigbee ieee, even if not actively using the zigbee side of the stick.

Luckily I had not started using zwave at the time of my migration and was able to return the Nortek.

Unfortunately, a lot of it depends on the device mix. Expect some issues. Add devices methodically, especially anything mains powered that acts as a router, and give it some time before adding a new variable.

I had added a Sonoff plug. I was happy with it and things seem fine for a while, then started having some weird issues popping up with a few devices. I found the problem devices were all routing via the Sonoff plug. Swapped the Sonoff plug out with a Sengled plug and all was well again (and remains well).


Good to know about the 4th gen Echo devices. I’ve also got a bunch of zigbee smart plugs that are supposed to be repeaters. I have at least one of these in every room and in the garage:

Hopefully, these will play nice. I’ll also order one of the Sonoff ZBDongles. Thanks for the heads up.


Is there a good giude that walks thru the process of migrating?

I’ve been using the Nortek zigbee/zwave stick (not actually using the zwave side - I use an Aeotec stick for that) since I started with HA 5+ years ago. It’s been fairly solid for me in that time.

I recently bought the Sonoff Zigbee stick but it’s been sitting in the box waiting for me to take the migration plunge.

And since the Nortek stick works so good I haven’t been too motivated to do it yet.

If there was an easy guide I might finally get it done. :slightly_smiling_face:

ZHA or z2m?

ZHA has it pretty much built in now with the migrate radio functionality.


I didn’t even know there was a “migrate” function.

Has anybody used it to know if it works as advertised?

Brand single, no. Brands pural… mostly yes.

  • Door/window: I’ve had folks (in North America) recommend the Linkind sensors, but I’ve had zero issues with Xiaomi Aqara (original and E1) and the Terncy DC-01 sensors.

  • Motion: Linkind again, plus Aqara (original and P1) and the mmWave FP1. If you want more than just motion the Develco “mini” is great - motion, light levels, and temperature.

  • Garage: I’d suggest looking at OpenGarage to hook up your existing opener.

  • Smoke alarms: Many smart smoke alarms are great at being smart, and terrible at detecting smoke. The only one I know of that’s actually good (based on actual testing) is Nest, or if you live somewhere that FireAngel sells their kit maybe try a hacked WiFi bridge.

  • Thermostat: Nest works

  • Doorbell: DIY it


This is all incredibally valuable information, thank you all.

So like you say @jerrm, I just need to jump in so I’ll start with the Sonoff ZBDongle P to try out first ZHA and then Zigbee2MQTT.

Sonoff seems reasonably priced but not the cheapest (looking on Aliexpress) so for testing should I also get one each of the Sonoff humidity, motion and door/window sensors or something more specific for each one?

I’ll also get a Sonoff ZBMINI or two for lights.

  • mains powered so does this also perform as a router?
  • would I be able to use the humidity sensor with a ZBMIMI to control a bathroom extraction fan or is the mini only for lights?

Thanks again

Yes it routes. Right now assume mains powered devices do unless it’s a Sengled bulb.

The ZBMini max amperage is 10a and it’s not a dimmer so you can absolutely switch an extraction fan - as long as the fan’s draw does not exceed the ratings of the switch. (This is where you get very good at pulling down product documentation for your devices and start checking load ratings, you’re the only one who has the model of that fan to look it up on the manufacturer’s website)

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I used the ZHA migration from a Sonoff 3 USB radio/coordinator to a NabuCasa Yellow and found it mostly worked (just not the way you might expect…):



Wiping the old radio to factory default before the new radio is confirmed to be running doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Do you know if a zigbee backup made from the integration can be used to do the migration with the old zigbee stick dead? IOW, is the old stick required to be active when starting the migration process?

in your other thread you sdeem to be saying they both need to be accessible.

Short answer - I don’t know for sure, the other post has my ZHA upgrade experience written up in detail.

Longer answer - After restoring the RPi4 backup to the Yellow, and installing a “new” Zigbee integration, the ZHA migration tool seemed to kick in.
The trouble is, details matter. My experience was with ZHA not Z2MQTT. Apparently, not all Zigbee coordinator radios operate the same, meaning migrations may not work. The integrations have different drivers for different chipsets, and these have complex dependencies. No, I don’t know what these are, sorry.

EDIT: Found the lost discussion thread, with lots of technical detail on the pitfalls of migration:

If you start the ZHA coordinator migration tool manually, it appears to assume both the old and new coordinator are both accessible so the details can be transferred directly (i.e. not via a HASS backup). This is why it wiped the old coordinator (no, I don’t remember it giving any warnings).


Are you saying that the Skyconnect stick won’t be available in December?

If you haven’t pre-ordered by now then you would be in the second batch estimated for Jan/Feb delivery. I assumed the OP had not pre-ordered.

The batch for “Nov/Dec” is closed out for pre-order. Other than generic skepticism, I have no basis to think they won’t ship in the proper window, but presumably all of the batch is spoken for.

The second preorder batch for Jan/Feb is still open - but that is “two months or so.” I don’t see why anyone would wait that long with alternatives readily available.

Whether there will be any non-preordered stock available beyond he second batch pre-orders is unknown.


Good basic knowledge about Zigbee regardless if read it before or after starting is also to try to follow all the advice here → Guide for Zigbee interference avoidance and network range/coverage optimization

In addition, check out the read the best practices to avoid Zigbee pairing/joining/connection difficulties

There are all in all many simple actions that can and should take to workaround known Zigbee issues.

Most problems are not specific Zigbee gateway solutions so most tips apply to all setups/environments.

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