I run zigbee, Z-wave, wifi. No bluetooth yet.
Z-wave is by far the most reliable for me in North America. I use the Jwave JS UI integration which means popping the QR code in HA, installing the device, and boom presto.
Configuration variables are handled in a rather human-friendly UI without needing to know a bunch of code. Since it is a licenses protocol, manufacturers are required to provide certain documentation including exactly what controls are exposed. There is no guessing of “I wonder if I can sent this zigbee command and if it will have any impact.” Much like zigbee pairing, there are z-wave associations.
Most everything is backwards compatible. Got a 700 series device but a 500 series stick? no problem. 800 series stick and a mix of 300, 500, and 700 series devices? No problem. Also manufacturer’s aren;t going to push out a bunch of garbage firmware (or false promises) about some magical update for a standard which is basically a re-badged older standard.
ESPHome is also nice. There is certainly something satisfying about it, but if you want to make a product which is just as professional/polished as a big name… you will pay more to do it. You can get basic functionality very cheaply with ESPHome but you will be at the mercy of wifi congestion. AP capability, or if some prankster thinks it might be funny to use enterprise-restricted access points set to rogue elimination mode…
Some old Avaya WAPs with unpatched firmware will let unscrupulous folks forcibly de-auth wifi clients on other WLANs. Is it illegal? Absolutely. Does that stop people? Ymmv. But it’s easy to do.
I think a lot of zigbee implementation is just poor. It’s cheap for manufacturers to make; and while the former CSA (Zigbee Alliance) has rebranded into the Matter/Thread alliance with some big names attached, it’s easy to sell at slightly less than a z-wave device while raking in much more profit. I find the Zigbee options in HA to be really awful to customize unless you love MQTT and only buy TI coordinators and then only buy certain endpoints because the TI coordinators don’t play well with some clients. It’s messy. ZHA is easy if you don’t want to use any ‘enhanced’ features of the endpoint (set dimming rate, one-button operation, smart bulb mode, etc) but starts to suck once you want the extra features.
My (heavily Zooz) Z-wave experience looks like this:
- Take a photo of the QR code for pairing
- Put the QR in Z-wave JS UI
- Install device in wall / fixture / whatever
- Stop thinking about it
ESP and Z-wave have the best UX. I hate battery powered things. I actually dislike MQTT (unpopular, I know). Thinking in terms of cluster, attribute, value, mfg_override, and quirks is awful UX. Zigbee is not immature or beta. It’s just a standard that is so non-standardized you may as well just call them 802.15.4 devices or whatever the decimal values are. But it’s cheap for manufacturers to make so they can get higher profit margins from consumers who buy into lofty marketing promises.
Also, if iobroker does not allow you to choose a Zigbee channel then it’s probably defaulting to 11-14 which overlaps with Wifi channel 1 which means your network likely has some interference from both Wifi AND BLE.
Z-wave gives you an entire spectrum.
Also if your stuff doesn’t work right now, new software is highly unlikely to fix it unless you can get on magical zigbee channels 15 or 20. But then there’s no guarantee all your endpoints will even function on those channels. Good luck! Zigbee kind of sucks, but it IS better than it was five years ago for whatever that’s worth.
The ESP32-C6 did launch last month. It has Zigbee. Maybe with a more accessible development environment it will get better?