ZigBee/Thread/Matter sensors


I am currently using a couple of senzors around my house for checking motion, open windows, water leak and smoke detectors.they are all rf and they are pretty dumb. They run out of battery by the end of the month and I don’t even know about it. I would like to put some in the yard, but they are out of the range. I had a few attempts of making a new rf gateway, but I failed every time. I am currently using an old sonof bridge rf.

As far as I can understand, the ZigBee ones need a gateway and they can form a mesh to relay the messages to the gateway through each other. Am I right?

Apart from range, it would be nice if they could get recharged, but it is nore important to be able to monitor the battery remotely. So something rechargable that can also tell me the battery capacity would be ideal.

What devices are you using and you are also proud of?

Can someone recommend me a few sensors?
I gess I’ll need a ZigBee gateway too. It would be ideal if it had a detachable antena so I can pull it out of the cabin rack.


Unfortunately, your questions are very wide ranging so specific answers (other than “it depends”) are difficult.

Here’s a discussion of the characteristics of different protocols in the market:

And a Zigbee guide:

If this helps, :heart: this post!

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As said make your post more specific.

Regarding extenders in Zigbee, then usually the devices running on mains are extenders, but it is not a rule and sometimes certain brands will not extend for some other brands, so research it a bit before buying.
Z-Wave do not have these issues, because Z-Wave require a certification of the device, which means they are pretty sure to just work. This comes at the cost of price, because a certification cost money.

Regarding range, then the lower frequency the better penetration and therefore also the better range.
Ordinary Zigbee is 2.4Ghz and Z-Wave is 868/915 Mhz, so Z-wave generally have the better range.
There is also something called Zigbee Pro that use the 868/915 Mhz frequency, but those devices are harder to find.

In general Smart devices use more power than dumb RF devices, so your batteries will not last as long, but the benefit is that you might know that they are out of battery or close to.
If you have an outlet close by your sensors, then connecting them to the mains might be an option too.

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Only mains powered Zigbee devices form a mesh. They have a very short range, and not much penetrating power, so you need a lot of them - say one every 10-15 feet. Also, a mesh is more than just a line of devices - each one needs to be able to connect to three or four others.

Zigbee sensors (which communicate with the co-ordinator through the mesh of mains-powered devices) are usually battery powered and in many devices batteries last a year or more. There is usually a battery level sensor, but you need to do your research - every manufacturer’s devices are different and a lot of them are… well… a bit rubbish.

Not many Zigbee devices are waterproof. Because of the range issues they are mostly used indoors.

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The new range of IKEA sensors are not rechargeable, but they need rechargeable batteries. And the motion sensor is IP44 rated, so can be used outside. They do report battery state. But a Zigbee dongle is needed to use them.

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Sorry about that. English is not my mother’s language and I might not express myself clear enough. I will go through the information provided by you and by everyone else.

I just have these rf sensors

  • water flood sensors
  • smoke detectors
  • indoor motion sensor
  • outdoor motion sensor

and I am looking to replace them with:

  • something that’s battery powered (all of them)
  • the extenders can be plugged into the mains. I also have mesh wifi + Ethernet from the wifi AP. I have esphome devices in most of the rooms. I guess I can replace at least the lightswitches with something that can also work as an extender. Maybe?
  • something that would decrease the effort of replacing the batteries periodically and reduce the waste of the batteries by using something rechargeable( the ikea ones seems to be using replaceable rechargable batteeries, so the device sees abd lets you know when the batteries get low, and you can quickly replace them with ones that are already fully charged)
  • be able to extend the range on 2 floors and the yard
  • help me prevent the situations where the batteries are dying for weeks without me knowing about it(unless I test them individually)

After a quick look, the ikea ones seem like a good option for start. The ikea extenders are kinda expensive, but I might get away with just 2 of them for the entire house. Would the home assistant dongle be fine for integrating them into home assistant? Would everything be compatible with hardware from sonoff for example?

I’d read the posts we have linked above first. Answering the same question 50 times is not fun, so the community posts links to good answers.

The IKEA kit uses Zigbee, is widely available, but has several quirks (unusual behaviour requiring extra work to fix in software).

Their mains outlet switches make good Zigbee repeaters/ routers as they are cheap and work. You will need several MAINS POWERED devices to create a good radio mesh over an entire house. Battery devices act as sensors, but not as routers.

Ignore the size of an antenna - this is irrelevant with mesh networking. Just add more MAINS devices for more radio coverage.

You have not mentioned your HASS install type, not hardware, but most Zigbee USB coordinators work. Read the docs for the recommended tyes:
Zigbee Home Automation - Home Assistant.

If this helps, :heart: this post!


Both the Sonoff ZBMini and these

are good Zigbee repeaters, to be placed behind a normal wall switch.

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It rans in a vm hosted on a proxmox hypervisor. My quick research says the ha dongle should work fine.

Aaaaaargh! :confounded:

Zigbee works best when every light and every mains socket in the house is a router. In a small house, I have about 30. You need a dense mesh of them. Each mains device needs to be able to connect to three or four others (at least). Then you can think about adding sensors.

Zigbee is not wi-fi. The issue is not range, it’s the number of different routers a device can connect to. If you try to extend a line of devices you’re in for a really, really frustrating, and probably expensive experience.

To be honest, I don’t think Zigbee is suitable for what you want to do.

Actually that is exactly what it is.
Zigbee is supposedly just as good as WiFi in range, but that is in theory and on paper.
The problem with Zigbee is that most devices are small and that limits their antenna capabilities and therefore their range.
A shorter range on each device means they need to be close and are more prone to signal being blocked by objects.
You can survive easily with just one line of routers until you hit the coordinator, but you need to be sure that that line always works.
A mesh of routers provide alternative routes that go around those signal blocking objects, which might be hard to see physically and even harder to detect otherwise.

For long distance sensors Zigbee has issues though and that is why other options have been developed, like LoRa and ESP-Now. Some tinkering might be required with these setups, since it is not a standard for IoT specifically, but rather just a communication standard, like RF or IR.

I can only agree.

Sadly, many people think of radio networks in terms of mobile phone macrocell towers and the rather silly “gamer” WLAN routers with lots of large point aerials making it look like an armoured hedgehog. ONE antenna which is HUGE! :satellite:

Mesh networking is indeed the opposite - LOTS of SMALL devices. :magic_wand:

Ignore the small antenna on a SkyConnect coordinator or PCB antenna on a Yellow - just put several cheap IKEA mains switches (or similar mains light switches) nearby and let them route messages for you.

Tech folk used to point-to-point radio study LQI and EIRP when an extra £12 router device would make the problem go away.

For Z-Wave, Zigbee, and, Thread, the answer is always more small mains-powered devices (and only very occasionally a firmware update or frequency change).

Meanwhile, WLAN and GSM/LTE has also moved to mesh coverage with LOTS of SMALL(er) devices such as picocells, femtocells and features VoLTE WLAN calling.

Add more WLAN access points with mesh roaming (ideally with LAN backhaul), not an armoured hedgehog! :satellite:

Oh, and for a coordinator on a server a USB2.0 extension cable is good…

(And not a blue USB3.0 port.)


Oh, well, now you’re just confusing the poor chap. :roll_eyes:

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That might be true. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:


welp…I am quite dissapointed after seeing this video. If I were to use this, I would probably have to move it a few meters away from the cabin rack. I didn’t imagine they have such a poor range. I expected them to be about as powerfull as an esp32.

I first thought the DIRIGERA would work as an extender. I imagined placing one of them next to each one of the wifi AP and that would ensure optimal signal everywhere. I would have to dig more into this.

Even replacing the SONOFF MINIR2 I have hidden inside the walls for turning on the lights in each room, covered by 50 wires doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

I would probably still buy some devices eventually just to experiment with them and see where I can go with that.

Thanks everyone for the valuable information!