Zigbee Dongle: ConBee II or SONOFF

I am just before the decision whether I should buy a “Combee II” or a “Sonoff” to equip my HomeAssistant with Zigbee. I am running HomeAssistant on a RaspberryPi 4, which is in a Argon One metal case with SSD.

I would like to first control Blitzwolf SHP-15 sockets with it. Consumption measurement included. Later also Aqara window sensors. There I am not sure yet whether the cheap older 11 version or the newer expensive 14 version.

When deciding which Zigbee dongle is the best for me, I am quite unsure and confused. Maybe someone has some tips on what exactly works best, and what the differences are, or advantages and disadvantages.

So far I have seen the following products as potentially suitable. If I am forgetting a product that would also fit well, please feel free to add:

  1. ConBee II
  2. SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus
  3. SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus Model -E
  4. SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus Model -P

I’m also really puzzled about the different SONOFF versions. It doesn’t really make sense to me what the differences are. Also the ConBee seems to have a different integration for usage, than the SONOFF.

I would be very happy about any thoughts, hints or further information. Gladly also links to comparisons of the different dongles.

Many thanks in advance!

i wouldn’t bother with the conbee. It’s getting long in the tooth now, I use one and it’s fine, but I’d buy something newer.

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Ok, thats a good hint. How old is the ConBee II and what are the newer options?

I have both a Conbee II (for ZHA) and a SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus (for ZigBee2MQTT). Both are working well for me.

I’m not sure what the model P is. I don’t know much about the model E.

I’d go for the SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus. I agree with @eggman .

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On the Sonoff-Webpage I found this table:

So the model E seems to be the newer version than the model P. And I can’t find a model without P or E on the sonoff-webpage. Maybe it is not existing.

And I made another search and found this in a forum:

P Version: Texas Instruments, CC2652P
E version: Silicon Labs, EFR32MG21

The Texas Instruments, CC2652P is currently marked as stable in use with Zigbee2MQTT, while the Silicon Labs, EFR32MG21 is considered experimental and is more suitable for early adopters.

With HA (HomeAssistant), the whole thing looks a bit different. There, both are very well supported and the Silicon Labs, EFR32MG21 is even the same chipset / the same base, which is used in the Yellow/SkyConnect from HA. So this chipset will surely get a lot of “love” from HA developers in the long run.

So maybe the model E is the better choice then…?

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The “P” is the original Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 Dongle Plus based on the TI CC2652P chip. Calling it the “ZBDongle-P” is a bit of a ret-con. Before the “E” came out it there wasn’t any need to differentiate it.

I think the box for the “E” is labeled as such, but the device itself.

If you plan on using ZHA, I’d probably go with the “E,” with the hopes that the dual protocol Zigbee/Thread support promised for the SkyConnect makes it’s way to the Sonoff dongle. I think it likely will since they are based on the same chipset, but it’s a wait and see vaporware kind of prospect at this moment.

If undecided between z2m and ZHA, I would go with the P. ZHA and z2m support are both great. I use the “P” for both ZHA and z2m, but I purchased before the “E” was released. Both nets have been rock solid.

I’m curious - do you run one on ZHA and one on Z2M because it’s not possible to run two Zigbee networks with the same integration?

Most of my ZigBee devices are on ZHA. I added a Z2M network because I wanted to expose some entities that ZHA didn’t make available.

Specifically, I wanted access to the battery levels in my Aqara blind motors.

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I have 3 aqara blinds motors working with SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus for ZigBee2MQTT. But every 2 or 3 days this blinds leave the network for no reason and a must to configure these again. Anyone having this problem?

You can get the battery levels for them in ZHA, I have alerts for when they need charging.