Red 2-1 or Blue 2-1 for my setup?

I’m looking to add a quantity of 32 switches Red or Blue (2-1) hard wired into a 3,600 square foot home.

I will add 8 wall outlets either Zwave or Zigbee. Additionally, I will have 2 battery powered door locks and 4 battery powered motion sensors.

These will connect to my Samsung gen 3 hub for the foreseeable future.

In this setup, is it best to go Red (Z-Wave) or Blue (Zigbee)? From the Inovelli product specs it appears the Blue series offers ‘open/ close’ and ‘small/big’ but I have no clue what those mean and if I would I use them?

Will you be using any smart bulbs? That really will determine which radio you go with, otherwise they will behave identically.

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I do not foresee adding smart bulbs, although if I were, what switch would you prefer?

Almost all (non-wifi / BT) smart bulbs are ZigBee, and Blues can be directly bound to them. Direct-binding is not a requirement, but it’s a pretty awesome capability.

Direct-binding means the Blue can still control its bound smart bulbs even if the primary controller (ST, HA, Hubitat etc) is totally offline.

What protocol are the battery powered door locks and the motion sensors using? Both of those devices (especially the locks) will benefit from the repeater ability of the switches.

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Very cool. I was unware of Blue’s ability to perform this function. Thank you for educating me.

I have yet to finalize the door locks. Do you prefer Zigbee or Zwave for these?

My only concern using Zigbee is the distance from the front door to my hub and the other hard wired blue or red switches.

Binding is crazy cool, and it’s wicked fast. I don’t use very many smart bulbs these days, but the one place it’s clutch for us is our bathroom (small house!)… Wife likes a warmer white in there and I prefer aa cooler white, so Hue bulbs are a great fit.

Although we’re blessed to very rarely have unexpected interruptions (power, internet etc), it always made me a little nervous knowing my bathroom would be dark if something went sideways with my hub – thanks to direct-binding, that’s now a non-issue!

About locks, ZW or ZB should be fine, I’ve used both with no issues. Locks like having a good repeater nearby, but that doesn’t need to be a switch – any recent-generation mains-powered ZB (ZB3.0 preferable) or ZW (700 or 800 series preferable) device is a perfectly fine repeater – ZB or ZW wall plugs are a popular & relatively cheap option to accomplish that.


I don’t have experience with both, so I can’t express a preference. I chose a lock based on the manufacturer, as I trusted the brand and needed to match the keyway.

Very cool. As it relates to binding. Where can I locate how to perform that function?

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Overall my perception is that zwave is more secure, more expensive, and slightly more reliable.

Zigbee is more available, cheaper, and hit and miss with reliability and communication with every different hub.

Pick your poison!


Now I know why Inovelli makes both ZWave and Zigbee. :joy: Seems like it’s all personal preference.

In my initial research at the end of last year I was 100% sold on ZWave over Zigbee. A lot of what I read praised ZWave for being more reliable which seemed to come from ZWaves longer range.

In my few hours of research over the past 2 days I’ve read many articles saying ZWave is more reliable over Zigbee and then I read a separate article saying Zigbee all the way for reliability over ZWave.

A lot of the articles praising Zigbee, point out that Apple, Google and Amazon have adopted Zigbee over ZWave and by doing so will advance Zigbee’s technology and create an ecosystem of products built around the tech. Some articles hint that they opted for Zigbee so they don’t have pay royalties to ZWave but regardless Zigbee is the tech they decided on. Would it be foolish not to stay in the Zigbee ecosphere knowing the juggernaut companies will adopt that tech into their current and new products?

So I’d like to pose my question again with some added details for anyone to respond.

I’m hoping someone who has a ZWave or Zigbee setup now and loves or hates it can reply to this question: If they could start from scratch with owning ABSOLUTELY NO DEVICES and was going to fork out $5K is home automation devices would they build it on ZWave or Zigbee?

At this point I’ve put more time in determining Red or Blue than selecting my homes window manufacturer which is 10 times the cost. :crazy_face:

Thank you in advance

Both - no way I’d ever use just one or the other. These days, there’s more parity between the 2 in terms of product depth, but there are still some things that are easier to find in ZW or ZB. For instance, there’s still a much wider variety of battery-powered ZB sensors vs ZW. OTOH, there seem to be more ZW relay devices than ZB.

Not to say you can’t use just one or other, but using both really gives you a ton more flexibility.

It does mean you need to invest in building and maintaining a strong mesh for each, but there are pretty cheap ways to do that – wall plugs make good repeaters, don’t involve wiring, and don’t break the bank too bad.

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Hydro311 - Thank you for your reply.

Can you please assist me in answering this question, with the premise you don’t own any automated devices in your home today.

To start your journey, you are going to place an order today for 35 (2-1) switches. Are they going to be Red or Blue?

If I were starting from scratch today (and it sounds like you are) I would get the Blues. Simply for the upgrade path to matter. We don’t know yet if matter will change the smarthome as we know it, or if it will be a total flop. But with the blues you’ll be able to upgrade to it if you choose.

This would mean locks, motion sensors, bulbs, etc… all zigbee.

Now in my personal experience, I will echo exactly what @kreene1987 has already said. My Zwave network has been rock solid for years. Sometimes I’ll get a second or 2 delay, but it works 100% of the time. My Zigbee network, never has any delays. It’s blazing fast. But even with a strong network I’ll get devices that occasionally miss a command or others that just randomly drop off the network completely. Usually it’s the cheaper devices that do this so I can’t say for certain it’s the protocol or just cheap hardware.

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Great useful feedback. I do like fast.

My home has a massive dead spot in the middle, likely due to the large HVAC unit. I had to install a mesh WIFI network to get a strong WIFI signal from my main router located just around the corner of the room housing the HVAC unit. Literally my WFI signal would drop 40% just being 15 feet from the router. Its rock solid since adding the mesh WIFI network.

If I opt for Blue series I assume this won’t be an issue as I will have plenty of wired Blue switches throughout the home, creating a mesh Zigbee network.

You WiFi issue was probably less of a power output issue and more of an antenna pattern issue.

WiFi adds a layer of complexity to Zigbee. Both operate on the 2.4ghz spectrum and can interfere with each other. So make sure you can change channels on your mesh system and put them as far away from your zigbee channels as you can get. Look up zigbee/wifi channel graphs to see.

I’ve only got a couple blues in my setup since the other 50 or so are the older reds. But right from the initial beta unit I’ve not had a single issue with them dropping off the network or missing commands. I think they’d definitely make a good starting point for a very strong zigbee mesh.

I’d agree with @hydro311 unless there was a specific use-case where you needed to go all-in on one or the other. So an order of 35 today, maybe 20 Blue/15 Red or the reverse would be my preference.

My reasoning is that because the switches themselves are going to contribute to building the mesh you need for your other devices (both are repeater or equivalent for their respective protocols), it would give you more flexibility in terms of other endpoints you may or may not decide on later.

I never thought of this and to me it makes great sense. As you mentioned, having 2 mesh networks of both ZWave and Zigbee will not pigeon hole me to a single technology. Thank you all for your terrific input. Its invaluable.

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