Zigbee - Really mature or rather beta?

I now have about 5 months of experience in smart home with iobroker.
Zigbee always causes problems… Starting with the Lidl RGB Bulbs (HG07834C), which behave incorrectly if you repeatedly set Brightness to 0 or want to set Colortemp when switched off.

Or the Lidl button (HG08164), which just plays dead every now and then, or a clone of a Tuya plug, which returns a value of 0 every 20 minutes during the power measurement. Lots of little bugs that always require pull-ups to use the stuff properly. Other Zigbee devices in my network (e.g. HG08008), on the other hand, run flawlessly for months and all features are usable.

The question arises whether the hardware is the problem or the implementation of the “drivers” in the form of the Zigbee adapter. Git issues on these detailed problems are not dealt with particularly passionately and often remain without a response.

Hence my thought of switching to Home Assistant. Does HASS bring any other Zigbee-(Herdsmann) software than iobroker?

Thx for response!

Zigbee is around since about 2005 and is very mature. It’s a communication protocol, it just facilitates the movement of values/commands around a network of low power devices.
Lidl/clone buttons/lights are a low cost implementation of a hardware device over Zigbee. If you buying from low-cost vendors then you have to expect that the level of testing, development, assembly, supply-chain control and ongoing support be less than that of a branded provider. You unfortunately have to expect some interoperability issues at that level.
Personal opinion, but that’s how I see it.


Yes, i have no doubt thats its mature as its designed. Just asking myself how reliable it is in real life usage i.e. in a neigbourhood with a jam-full 2.4Ghz which can change every day…

I agree - what costs nothing is worth nothing :wink: And the silvercrest stuff is really cheap… But on the other hand I disagree to say “what costs much is worth much” I would like to get facts - is the hardware bad or the software? Would be helpful to find someone here who has a RGB bulb from Lidl so we can verify…

Would it change anything if you would know that? From my understanding you can’t “own” zigbee devices completly and therfor have no to :zero: control over the software part. Even if you would know that you bought hardware with buggy firm/software on it there is little change you can do anything about.

On the other hand I only deploy esp based hardware with esphome on it because that gives me full control and ownership. I actually don’t even care what bugs are included are in the stock firmware as first thing I do when I have a new device is to “free” it. :star2:

Many people expect full compatibility with Z-Stuff but if you browse the forum you see that the reality is indeed slightly different. :man_shrugging:

ESP based devices are still a bit more expensive than nothing but probably still the cheapest ones. In the past they were certainly cheaper than comparable Z-Stuff (you can’t own, repair, change, …) while (for me) they are definitely worth it (by the looks more than the devices you got for more :see_no_evil:)

Here’s some thoughs and comparisons of Zigbee and a few other protocols to give you some context:

Cheap = less testing regardless of protocol. Even IKEA kit has issues, although ZHA seems to have more issues than Z2MQTT with battery remotes (my current nemesis).



Yes, It would make sense to try Home Assistant or other, if there a different software stack is used.

And yes - I always expect full (software) compatibility or say “works as advertised”. Who not?
Okay, we skip the producers gateways and using our own. This can lead to problems… But on the othrer hand Zigbee has a protocol standard… Therefore it is important to identify the cause of fail - is it the bad Lidl bulb which maybe doesn’t follow the protocol or is it a buggy Zigbee driver?
Thats the simple question I ask - Does the Lidl bulb controlled with iobroker has the same bugs with Home Assistant? Who is the guy I need to beg to fix it?

My experiences are that out of 10 Zigbee devices, 4 have easy reproducible bugs, and 3 of the 10 are severely limited in terms of power saving, making it hard to find a useful application (many motion detectors I’ve tried).

An ESP solution would be really fine. I prefer to have full control over the hardware even when it gets more complicated. So I am excited to the announced ESP with zigbee and matter support. Currently a Wifi connection is fine, but quite limited due to the high current needs, which makes a battery powered solution only work for days. Hopefully someone creates an arduino API for the ESP32-C6 :slightly_smiling_face:

You’ re right, I should make a test and buy a Phillips HUE Bulb…

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
  • Automate
  • 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?


Thx Phil for your detailed response!
ioBroker allows choosing the channel i am on 20 and this works fine for me. I decided to order a second stick for testing Home Assistant with zigbee. Lets see how it works and if the Zigbee support is more stable.
I use as IDE for my ESPs Visual Studio with the plugin VisualMicro and the arduino esp apis. Works really fine, has a huge knowledge base in the web and I have full control. I took a look on espHome and got my ESP32 flashed in just 3 minutes after install. Nice! Will now take a look if there are any hints out there if the Arduino-ESP-community will support the ESP32-C. :slight_smile:

1 Like

That kind of sums it up for me. I don’t want to beg or hope that stuff I bought gets fixed or (new) functions/configurations included. What I want to have is full control so I can fix and extend stuff by myself. That’s why I stay away from Zigbee, Z-Wave and all that other proprietary stuff that one can’t own but only hold the hardware in his hands :open_hands:

I do buy hardware that I can completely own by rolling my own *ware on it: namely wifi based esp(home) stuff. :money_with_wings:

Actually I also avoid battery powered devices were possible as despite they (obviously) using much less energy the costs are mostly higher because the most expensive energy you can buy are batteries :battery: (better don’t try to calculate the kWh price for a battery and compare it with the own you get on your wall outlets as you might gonna cry :wink:)

Also the impact for the environment (batteries not only need charge but they need to be produced and transported which typically consumes huge magnitudes more energy than the little which is inside). At last battery powered devices can’t easily make use of renewable energies one might produce at home :sunny:

That said I do have a few battery devices (BLE hygrometers, RF remotes) and for most (the ones I own already a couple of years) I spend already more on batteries than for the devices itself :face_vomiting:

esphome magic :mage:

For WPA2 you only need to activate “protected management frames” (PMF) to don’t be a target for de-auth attacks (which a esp can do very nicely btw :wink:). To my knowledge WPA3 is not affected as it should protect the management frames by design.

But in general running stuff with vulnerabilities is not a good idea from the very beginning. If the manufacture calls a hardware you can’t own EOL/EOS and serious bugs get found afterwards they essentially render your device mostly useless for it’s original task :brick:

Another good reason to buy stuff you can fully control - like routers/ap which are openwrt compatible or esp based devices which can run esphome :rocket: