Zigbee vs Z-Wave vs WiFi

I have all three. They all have different advantages and disadvantages.

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Actually I would recommend wifi. TP-Link bulbs and plugs have been really solid and offer local control. I have plenty of Zigbee sensors and bulbs that lose connection over time. Honestly I stopped caring about sticking to one ecosystem since I’ve made it work with all devices and at low cost.

Z-wave is not nearly as reliable as Zigbee 3.0. Z-wave also takes continuous management. Zigbee 3.0 is set it up and forget it.

Good for you, but for others, see Alert above;

Be sure to take that in mind before coming to the forum because you did a TPlink firmware upgrade and everything stopped working :wink:

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Maybe your mesh is not strong enough. I never have lost a sensor, unless the battery died.

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Again, too much generalization. I have all my lights controlled by wifi relays mounted behind physical switches. this way my lighting is still controllable without ha or wifi. wifi bulbs are different story though.

BTW 433MHz is completely insecure

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Agree, you can find same functionality of acting as a dumb switch independent of communication technology. So, this is a valid case for all wifi/zigbee/z wave devices.

Adding my experiences here. Got HUE (zigbee), zwave , bluetooth and wifi stuff here. Preference is independent of cloud access
With my multipoint wifi, the wifi devices are not always good in reconnecting. Depends very much of wifi implementation seemingly. Tplink plugs can disappear from the network and dont return on their own. Slide curtain only fails reconnect when a wifi acces point is rebooted, but seems very stable.
pretty stable, had some channel interference with wifi, but got that sorted now i think. 2 outside devices sometimes show unavailble, but thats really occasional.
plugs , door sensors and motion detectors. Been reliable quite long, until i accidentally repositioned the zwave stick. Took me some time to figure that out. plugs are definitely more reliable then the wifi’s.
some sensors i tried, dont like the stability on raspberry i used for it.

bottom line from my side, dont try to use too much 2.4Ghz networks in an area, but thats been explained before.

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WiFi for all the ESPHome devices here, and Zigbee/ZHA for several Xiaomi battery-powered sensors.

The scenario is when you have remote switches controlling a light that is not hardwired to the switch. Like a wireless three-way setup. Or connected a switch with a (or perhaps multiple) wireless bulb(s). This is a very common scenario, especially when people rent a place and can’t modify the electricals.

The frequency doesn’t make something insecure, the protocol does. I’m using an encrypted two-way mesh protocol for my DIY devices (based on these) that happens to operate in the 433MHz band, because it’s a free band with good RF penetration. And even if you use those cheap unidirectional 433MHz devices you can find all over Ali, someone parking a car outside your home with an SDR to play around with your lights all night is hardly a realistic or threatening scenario. In terms of security I would be much more concerned about internet connected wifi IoT devices.

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I’m not sure what you mean by this?

I have zwave and I don’t need to “continously manage” anything. Once devices are included then it is set and forget.


Not in my experience. If you have a failed device or move something around you will have issues unless every device can talk directly to the hub.

you must be moving your switches, outlets, lights, sensors around way more often than I do then. :man_shrugging:

once I have a device installed I don’t see a reason to move it around. And it seems like the zwave part is the least labor intensive part of that process.

and if you are dealing with failed devices that often then I would stop buying those devices and buy something a bit more reliable.

My point still stands. If your hardware is so unreliable or constantly in flux that you have to keep messing with it then yours is not the typical users experience.

I do a lot of commercial and custom homes. Usually when there is a failure I have problems with Z-wave but sometimes customers will disconnect a lamp module and a bunch of Z-wave devices stop working. When I went exclusively to Zigbee these problems disappeared.


This problem isn’t specific to ZWave. It’s the nature of any mesh repeating network. Zigbee does this too, take out a few repeating bulbs and poof. YMMV depending on what the RF spectrum looks like in your part of the world.

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I think the issue is route memory. Zigbee broadcasts and all repeater Zigbee devices just resend it along. Z-wave has route memory and keeps trying the bad route even though it has failed. I like my life simple so Zigbee is just better for me and my business.

I think it’s just the quality of the zigbee light bulb. My house isn’t that big and there are zigbee smart plugs that are only 25 ft away from the light bulb. Also, if you’re using a Wi-fi mesh system, that interferes with Zigbee signals pretty often. I have to keep my Zigbee devices around 10ft away from any AP.

That’s fine with me, I bought a Kasa smart plug for $3 and a color light bulb for $1 a few weeks ago and it works locally with Home Assistant. That’s why I don’t recommend locking yourself down to just Zigbee or Z-Wave or Wifi since not every person’s use case is different. I also read that Home Assistant Warning and warned other users about it, but seems like that alert doesn’t apply to US since I updated that firmware and all the devices still work.

I stumbled across a lot of websites praising Wi-fi 6 / 802.11ax as the new go-to standard for IoT devices.
However, I was not able to find a single device which would explicitly state that it is 802.11ax… Some devices specify they work with 802.11ax but they are still “regular” wifi devices and I don’t think they benefit from an 802.11ax access point.
There are voices saying that 802.11ax chips are just too expensive (right now) and with the additional money you would spend on new wifi gear as well, nobody would buy it.
But is this really the case? If 802.11ax is the gamechanger but just too expensive, there should at least be some devices on the market - even expensive ones - but the lack of them makes me wonder if 802.11ax is a gamechanger at all and ZigBee and Z-Wave will still survive (of course they will, no one will throw out a working setup just to get the new wifi stuff… and they work perfectly fine as they are). Or is there anything I’m missing here? Where are all the praised low energy wifi devices?

Lets start here. Wifi devices are wifi devices.

The magic that makes WiFi6 better for IoT is thr fact that THE ROUTER handles a ton of low bandwidth highly chatty devices better. Thats the secret sauce. Get a good router that supports AX.

So you won’t find ‘new devices’

If you want WiFi devices (Personally o do not) WiFi6 is absolutely the way to go, but you wont find specific devices.