Recommendations for ZWave and Zigbee modules

I am experienced with Linux for many years and HA to a lesser degree, maybe five years. My HA has outgrown the limitations of cloud-based solutions like SmartThings and I want to leverage my Linux experience into a on-site system. So that makes me a newbie with openHAB.

I’ve ordered an Odroid N2 4GB SBC that should have plenty of horsepower for the application and I intend to equip that with a 64GB UHS-1 microSD card to start. I may decide to upgrade to an eMMC module later.

My existing HA has both Z-Wave and Zigbee devices and I want to replace as few of the endpoints as possible. If I were only supporting Z-Wave, I would just make the safe and simple decision and buy an Aeotech 5th-Gen Z-Wave Stick.

But AFAIK, the Aeotech Z-Wave stick doesn’t support Zigbee. What recommendations are there for Zigbee-capable devices, either Zigbee-only or combination Zigbee and Z-Wave? I need US-compatible radios.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

Ken Morley

The Nortek HUSBZB-1 is a combo device with an Ember zigbee coordinator and the same zwave hardware and software as the Aeotec gen5. I’ve been using mine for a couple years now without issue. It’s pretty cool to be able to pick up a combo device for half the price you’d spend when buying each stick separately!

The HUSBZB-1 is the only combo device I’m aware of. I have this device too but I’ve not yet branched out into Zigbee devices. The Zwave works very well though and from what I’ve read on the forum, the Zigbee support is getting better. You will want to run at least 2.5 M1 or a snapshot version of the Zigbee binding.

I own and have been using the linear HUSBZ-1 and use it for both zigbee and zwave devices and it works good. Was about $30 usd

You can look into zigbee2mqtt, cheap and wide device support.

Welcome to the rabbit hole! Good choice in the N2. Yes, should run OH2 quite nicely.

One option worth considering is to go with a Vera Plus and connect it to openHAB using the excellent MIOS binding.


Vera Plus was my first HA platform and I still have the box. I got tired of waiting for bug fixes and updates and that’s why I “upgraded” to SmartThings. I found ST too limiting and thought that with my Linux experience, openHAB might be a better fit. And that’s how I got here. Lots of great devices but no great controllers - yet.

Getting back to the pertinent issue, how would I use a Vera Plus as a ZigBee radio and connect it to openHAB? I assume that the Vera would be “neutered” so that it no longer controls any devices, but just acts as a communications gateway between openHAB and the ZigBee endpoints. Can you please point me in the right direction so I can learn more?

Thanks very much for your response - I appreciate it!

Ken Morley

If you consider this route, make sure the Vera supports every device you are contemplating using. I got tired of waiting for support of multi-tap for switch scene control. They were recently acquired by a new company. Time will tell how they do.

I think the Z-wave binding in openHAB is superior and the support from Chris is amazing.


That’s a great suggestion and I was not aware that was even an alternative. I had a look at the wiki and was a little put-off by the fact that I would have to buy tools for flashing the custom firmware to the CC2531 ZigBee stick. I don’t mind buying tools, but I don’t like to buy them to use only once.

I see there is a seller on eBay who flashes CC2531 sticks with the CC2531ZNP-Prod.hex firmware for a nominal price and I’m more inclined to do that.

The seller mentions the CC2531ZNP-Prod.hex firmware works with NodeJS and Home-Assistant. Is that the same firmware I would need to make the CC2531 work with openHAB? How stable is that custom firmware - meaning how often does it change and need to be re-flashed?

Thanks for the suggestions!

I think you’ll find many vera users here from the same situation. For me, it became too unstable and complicated to run rules on vera, and that’s how i found openHAB many years ago.

Using openHAB with Vera is the best of both worlds as you can leverage the strengths of each platform: Vera’s zwave antenna is great, but rules are messy and limited. openHAB has no built-in transport, but the rules engine is amazing and the most flexible by far. Moreover, it can all be processed locally with no cloud requirement.

With the mios binding, openHAB can read and update the status of all devices on your vera. This means you would use openHAB to process all actions and send/read commands to/from the vera or any other device you have a binding for. You have the choice of deciding how much processing you want to keep on the vera (if any). So yes, you have the right idea, except the vera doesn’t have to be neutered in any way if you don’t want it to be.

The most exciting part of all this is openHAB’s ability to act as the central engine and glue all the platforms together. For instance, if you have a DSC alarm/smarthings hub/nest thermostat/mqtt/hue hub/logitech harmony/etc, you can have them all interact with the vera and each other.

Vera Plus supports ZigBee out of the box. I have about 30 zwave devices on my Vera Plus, but only 1 ZigBee, so I can’t vouch for ZigBee performance, but it does work.

Sounds like the same firmware. I would buy the debugger though, I bought mine on ebay for 15 euro. Or wait and buy it when you need to reflash.

Not sure how stable the firmware is. I have just stared with some bulbs and sensors, looks like new firmware is released every month or so. Maybe.someone else here knows. I do know plenty of ppls here are.using it for openhab. It can basically be used with anything that supports mqtt though only homeassistant and domoticz are.mentioned in the.documentation.

Regards S

It should be noted that zigbee2mqtt does not work with the HUSBZ-1. I think it only works with CC2531 coordinators and the HUSBZ-1 uses the Ember chipset.

Chris is also the developer of the Zigbee binding. This binding is newer so less robust but it’s getting better every day.

The coordinator would be interfacing with zigbee2mqtt which is a separate service you would run. It exposes the devices through MQTT, a messaging protocol. So the integration with OH will be through MQTT. As with the Vera approach, OH will be communicating to the devices through zigbee2mqtt.

Lots of people use zigbee2mqtt on this forum.