The different smart home devices

, 5 minutes to read, 35 views

Yes, I’m back on my smart home stuff. I have further built some more stuff into my smart home, and I’d like to share some of my findings.

Shelly

Shelly devices are pretty spectacular. You can build them behind a light switch and then operate this light switch using your smart home, or they also have a device for temperature and humidity measuring.

I have two devices that I regularly use. I have a Shelly 1 Mini Gen3 that is behind a light switch. It works, it actually works well, and I use it to simplify the usage of my Zigbee light. If I turn off the light with a smart control, it simply turns it off via ZigBee. But if I use the button, then Zigbee is of course not available anymore. So I leave it off for the moment and then when I’m not home, I have an automation that turns on the light and turns it off again using Zigbee when I’m not at home. Not the best solution, but works well enough1.

The second Shelly device is one that measure humidity and temperature. It is especially nice, since it has a nice e ink display that also displays the current temperature. Here the setup was a bit more complicated, since the device has to broadcast its values via Wi-Fi when they change. As a battery-powered device, it only turns on when there is a change in temperature or at regular intervals. I think this, especially since it is optimised for low battery usage, would be much better with Zigbee, but Shelly doesn’t really do Zigbee, as far as I know.

Tuya

While I don’t genuinely understand, how the Tuya brand works, I have two temperature and humidity sensors for both bathrooms. I haven’t had them long to truly be able to judge their accuracy, but with how cheap they are, I might not really expect the best. I think one of them is only transmitting the humidity in whole percent steps, while the other one doesn’t. It was also much harder than needed to set up, since the support in Home Assistant is not that good2.

Both of these are battery-powered. One of them included a battery (one of the button ones) which currently reports 100% battery, while the other one needed two AAA batteries. As soon as the sensor turned on, it reported only having 50%, which was a bit disappointing. At least I should be able to replace the AAA batteries with reachable ones.

And unfortunately, I haven’t really figured out how to run a software update on the devices. Let’s say overall these devices are working, but their quality might leave something to be wished for.

IKEA

When it comes to ZigBee devices, the IKEA ones are basically the gold standard. They work, they work well and even though I’m using ZHA and not an Ikea Zigbee hub, I get official firmware updates. It’s basically just awesome. And I hope they keep making such good devices.

I have numerous lamps, they just work, not much too it. They also act as routing devices, so they improve my ZigBee network further by just being there. I also have a big Jetstrom panel, which has ZigBee and is so bright I mostly just run it at 50%. They also have quite some cool buttons. Generally, I control all my lights from my phone, but sometimes (especially when it’s not me operating) a button is nice to have.

I also have a temperature, humidity and PM2.5 measurement device from IKEA. It works, and it being battery powered also extends my network, but it’s a bit of a shame that it only transmits the data rounded to full degrees or percentages. Especially since the sensor inside has a precision much higher, it is a bit of a shame.

And finally, my newest addition is a window sensor. It works really well, paired super easily with my existing network, and so far, has very dutifully reported whether my window is open or not. I think it would be great to add this at some more places, for example, to just remember if the door to the roof terrace is closed or not.

What is really missing in Ikea’s lineup is a good, cheap temperature and humidity only setup. Basically, a battery-powered device, that I can put in almost any room and just dutifully reports the temperature. I’m sure they’ll get around to it. And while they are at it, ensure it has firmware to report degrees with a bit more specificity.


Am I missing any cool Zigbee/Smart Home devices? Just hit me up on Mastodon. Happy to hear about any and all smart home ideas (well, as long as they integrate into Home Assistant).


  1. Generally ZigBee devices should not drop out of the network often, this is not good for the meshing. However, in this specific room there are that many ZigBee devices, that one dropping out works really well. And using Home Assistant, the Zigbee button to control this light still works, even if the ZigBee is turned off. ↩︎

  2. From my preliminary research, it seems to be that the lack of proper support in Home Assistant is more because Tuya refuses to follow the Zigbee standards, but that is not well researched. ↩︎

Tags: Home Assistant, Smart Home, ZigBee