Should I use Zigbee or wifi


I have set up basic home automation(only lights and fan) in one of my house with openHab and sonoff mini (Tasmota flashed). Now due to working from home I have relocated to a new place where I am building a new house. I want to set up basic home automation(only lights and fan) in my new house should I go with Sonoff zigbee mini or Sonoff R2 mini which uses wifi.

I will install openhab in raspberrypi and control it locally and use my private VPN running on rasberrypi to connect to the local network from the internet when I am away from home.

Please suggest should I go for Zigbee or wifi protocol. I am used openhab so wont change the platform .

Thanks for the response I read it before posting here but it does not talk about opesource platform and flshing of devices to use local network. So asked in the forum

My 2ct…
wifi is almost always proprietary to a specific vendor.
If you start, I would always choose a platform that allows multiple vendor products to work together.
Hence I would in that case choose zigbee over wifi as the main ‘backbone’.

Thanks, I made a note for your advice. Any idea with respect to controlling with wifi or zigbee dongle in openhab which would be more reliable?

If you have an ISP-provided router (like me from ZIGGO the connectbox) it might not work too smoothly with too many wifi-clients. One of my observations is that even an IPad (2018) has now two IP-addresses for some reason and likely only a factory reset will solve that (where is the DHCP refresh button?)

An additional good ZigBee USB stick on the same PI where your OpenHabian is running on will cost you round €40 with the benefit a better integration compared to an outside dedicated Zigbee Hub / Gateway. This stick will also likely accept more Zigbee products.

Why not a mix? With a rule you can use a Zigbee remote to control your wifi product.
Keep in mind; Keep it partner friendly with alternatives to switch for examples your lights.

To be honest my zigbee experience is limited but so far I like it. Some smart wifi plugs have limited use due to a bad wifi reception.

wifi… that would depend on the specific brand you implement & wifi reach of your network… nothing sensible I can say about that.

For zigbee, as long as you have sufficient devices (as it creates a mesh network) it is rather reliable.
Personally I use zwave for all the ‘build-in-the wall’ switches & contacts and zigbee for most ‘plug-in’ powerplugs, sensors and hue lights.

For integration to OH I use zigbee2mqtt, but I think there is also a oh native zigbee binding. (I just used mqtt prior OH, did not feel the need to change)

I had the same question 2 years ago. I decided for wifi.
If you already have wifi available as it normally comes with your internet router and maybe you already installed a 2nd wifi access point for the rooms upstairs, why setting up an infrastructure in parallel? You also need additionally a zigbee dongle, which is an additional point of failure.
I have chosen shelly wifi devices. Inexpensive, reliable and there is an excellent binding available for openhab. Furthermore they support mqtt just in case you want to go for a standard protocol

The above statement is not clear to me. Is it possible to clarify? I agree with you about the ISP-provided router and yes I have the same. Seems like you are voting for zigbee.

I too prefer it but reason to post in the forum is to get some expert comment as to controlling and reliability with respect to openhab which one is better

In other words: every product must be able to communicate with OpenHAB
Avoid any Tuya product unless they can be easily converted to Tasmota.


I was planning to buy

Are you saying I need an extra zigbee usb stick or Zigbee hub?


That one will work fine.
I have the same, I needed to update the firmware to the latest, but been working without issues since.

Thanks can I know how old is your setup and is it reliable meaning do they need frequent fixing. I am asking this as I may move out of this house and my parents may not be able to fix them

The previous zwave stick was running for about 2-3 years…but did not survive my son stepping on it :slight_smile: . (you can see why… it was from before there were nice usb versions everywhere available)
The sonoff is the much nicer replacement (might even survive my son stepping on it, as it has a sturdy metal housing)

  • Just a good Zigbee USB-stick (on your same device as your Openhab) is enough
  • I have myself only experience so far with the Conbee II Zigbee product (and started just this year)
  • If you have already WiFi products (you mentioned already Sonoff just keep using them, for new product look if you can use them see remark Marcel
  • You likely use Tasmota; I would use this as your main sketch on wifi products (but have no experience with anything else).
  • So if convertion to Tasmota not possible do not buy it unless already supported in Openhab.
  • e.g. have one Shelly device; for devices like this I think it is not required to overwrite with Tasmota (but you can) because integration inside Openhab is already good.

My sonoff wifi are in a different house I will not unplug them from the old house to the new house. I will buy an entire new setup for my new house so it’s a fresh installation

So thinking which is better investment

My reasons for preferring ZigBee:

  1. Open standard and vendor independent
  2. Lower energy consumption at a device level
  3. Zigbee mash network


For me a mix depending on situation with in mind price, fallback, partner friendly and quality.
Ask yourself the question can I still operate my lights when WiFi or Openhab is down? As example Light Bulbs?

  • WiFi: without WiFi your other fallback will a lot of wifi networks, If Openhab is down your fallback is each individual IP-address. power off/on might turn light on (no experience). not possible to dim?
  • Zigbee If Openhab is down your fallback is a dedicated remote (which can handle up to 10 lights) or power off/on. Possible to dim.

So I likely will not buy WiFi light bulbs but a WiFi dimmer (like Shelly) might be an option price-wise to turn on multiple light bulbs (provided this lights are compatible with the Shelly). For other products I would advice a version with a push button (for Zigbee less required because you can use the dedicated remote). You donot want to turn on the kitchen light with a telephone.

I would prefer for LED lights (with a separate power adapter) to place the dimmer behind this adapter because the end result is better to dim and here I choose Zigbee to control it.

Hope this was a bit helpful. BTW I am also in the process for new lights (in the kitchen).
Agree with @Matze0211 and the benefit of Zigbee mesh network.