Red vs Blue Switches

Sorry if it’s been asked before but what are the pros and cons with having zigbee vs zwave switches? I currently have 15 or so red series switches in a 2700 SQ ft single story house. Hub is in a central location. And while I love the red series switches, they are tad slow for my liking. Would zigbee be better? Is there a technical reason why there are a ton of zwave switches on the market but not many zigbee?

Let’s fix this before we get into that.

What is “slow” about them?


I think the zigbee vs zwave debate is as old as the protocols themselves. There is no right or wrong answer.

Zigbee is definitely faster than Zwave. There is no debating that point. It’s actually somewhere around twice as fast as Zwave. But we’re talking differences in a miliseconds here so it’s likely not something any of us will perceive. Both should be “near instant” enough.

Zwave will have better range than Zigbee. This is because of the lower frequency and it’s ability to pass through solid surfaces better. This is my theory as to why you see a ton of Zwave switches. For the user who just wants to put a hub in the basement and a single switch on the opposite end of the house to turn on the outside lights… Zwave will likely be their best hope.

Realistically, with a solid well built mesh, there should be no issues with either.

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I use home assistant and let’s say double tap down on my red switch turns off all the other lights controlled by red switches in the room. On average it is pretty fast…maybe half a second for it to go to the hub and then send the off signals to all the other red switches. But at times it is inconsistent and may take 2 seconds or even longer sometimes to turn off all the lights.

Overall I am still happy with my system but was just wondering if the blue switches might make my experience even better. My zwave hub/dongle is right in the center of the house and I have a ton of powered zwave devices so I feel like the mesh should be strong enough.

I do have some Hue devices, I guess if controlling lights via the Hue app is faster than controlling lights controlled by red switches via Home Assistant will give me a good idea if the blue switches will work well for me?

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That may just come down to the automation itself also depending on how many endpoints you’re sending the off signal to as well as how that’s set up.

Do you have the device count for what’s being turned off and are you using Home Assistant for the automation or Node-Red with it?

I would agree with @MRobi that with a good mesh you shouldn’t see issues with either. Ultimately if I had no devices and was starting fresh, I’d lean towards the Blues because they’re really nice, going to be easier to get and most smart bulbs out there are also Zigbee and are going to be able to be bound to those switches. I’d likely lean more towards Zwave and the Reds if I had a lot of Zwave devices already whether that be bulbs or sensors, etc.

You’re not going wrong with either product, the Reds got voted both Product of the Year and Most Popular Dimmers and Switches over on the Hubitat forums for 2021, and I would consider the Blues to be a serious contender for 2022.

If one automation is controlling multiple same devices then using multicast would likely speed that up significantly.

Now Red vs Blue, in theory the Blue will have better features, but if the Red has the features you need then it should work fine.

Another way to speed up automations is to only turn off lights that are actually on if you use groups. I do this on my end by first getting the current status of all lights within the group, and if light = on then turn off the light. Otherwise skip lights which are already off.

I only use node red for my automations, but if you would like an example this is what I use below. I believe I got this automation from someone else on this forum a little while ago, so credit to them of course:

[{"id":"2270276227cbdf9c","type":"ha-get-entities","z":"f1e1b905.e9a56","name":"Which Lights?","server":"497693ef.d5e6bc","version":0,"rules":[{"property":"entity_id","logic":"in_group","value":"group.all_lights_no_outside","valueType":"str"},{"property":"state","logic":"is","value":"on","valueType":"str"}],"output_type":"split","output_empty_results":false,"output_location_type":"msg","output_location":"payload","output_results_count":1,"x":900,"y":2120,"wires":[["f6939e13e0f1342e"]]},{"id":"f6939e13e0f1342e","type":"template","z":"f1e1b905.e9a56","name":"Format Msg","field":"payload","fieldType":"msg","format":"handlebars","syntax":"mustache","template":"{{payload.entity_id}}","output":"str","x":1090,"y":2120,"wires":[["8cf1f3c5643cdf4b"]]},{"id":"8cf1f3c5643cdf4b","type":"join","z":"f1e1b905.e9a56","name":"","mode":"custom","build":"string","property":"payload","propertyType":"msg","key":"topic","joiner":", ","joinerType":"str","accumulate":false,"timeout":"","count":"","reduceRight":false,"reduceExp":"","reduceInit":"","reduceInitType":"","reduceFixup":"","x":1250,"y":2120,"wires":[["cd31e826b0c9f8fd"]]},{"id":"cd31e826b0c9f8fd","type":"api-call-service","z":"f1e1b905.e9a56","name":"Turn Off All Lights","server":"497693ef.d5e6bc","version":5,"debugenabled":false,"domain":"light","service":"turn_off","areaId":[],"deviceId":[],"entityId":[],"data":"{\"entity_id\":\"{{payload}}\",\"transition\":1}","dataType":"json","mergeContext":"","mustacheAltTags":false,"outputProperties":[],"queue":"none","x":1430,"y":2120,"wires":[[]]},{"id":"497693ef.d5e6bc","type":"server","name":"Home Assistant","version":2,"addon":true,"rejectUnauthorizedCerts":true,"ha_boolean":"y|yes|true|on|home|open","connectionDelay":true,"cacheJson":true,"heartbeat":false,"heartbeatInterval":30}]
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This is exactly what I had in mind :slight_smile:

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A combination of filtering by “on” then multicasting to the applicable switches (or using parallel commands which are new to HA, easier but not preferred) should VASTLY improve your experience. Right now the following commands are occuring.

Turn off light 1…
Waiting to confirm light 1 is off…
Light 1 is off…
Turn off light 2…
Waiting to confirm light 2 is off…
Light 2 is off…
Turn off light 3…
Waiting to confirm light 3 is off…
Light 3 is off…
Turn off light 4…
Waiting to confirm light 4 is off…
Light 4 is off…


New version will be:
Turn off light 1 and 4 please (2 and 3 already off)
Lights 1, 4 off.

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When were parallel commands added?

2022.5 2022.5: Streamlining settings - Home Assistant

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I’m not sure parallel would be any good for this, I would believe the inconsistent lag is zwave related, not HA related. Multicasting should work better though and I would think without even filtering for “on” devices.

I was also going to note that ZWaveJS also made improvements on parallelizing their own commands to multiple devices. They are no longer waiting for responses from each device before sending the command to the next device on the list:

  • Parallelized service calls - Up until this release, we iterated through all nodes when making service calls and awaited the results. If you wanted to target multiple devices (assuming you couldn’t use multicast to do it) to perform an action, the service would issue a command to a node and then wait for its response before issuing the command to the next node. With these changes, we immediately issue the commands to all nodes and let zwave-js handle traffic management.
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Yes, that is all good but the commands are still issued to every device. If you can send a single command for all devices at once then the zwave network has less traffic and is less likely to be slowed down.

Something not mentioned is possible issues with a 700 series zwave stick. That might be part of the speed issue.

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