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Discussion Starter #1
Need help, I'm building a new home and trying to make most everything smart. So far I have or plan to get:
Google home display (Lenovo)
Google home minis (lots)
Swann security cameras
Pioneer receiver
Elite roller shades (automated)
Endless pool
Wifi garage door openers
Wifi thermostats
Wifi sprinkler controller
Smart LED lights (holiday rgbw lights)
Elite projector screen
Right now I need to order 53 smart switches for the house and I'm stuck. I need a lot of motion sensor switches, 3 way switches, and a lot of normal on/off smart switches. What should I go with?

At the moment I have no hub or server set up besides Google. But I'm totally open to setting one up. Because my other question is how do I best control everything together? Google assistant seems to be able to control everything just fine by voice command. But what's a good route for me to be able to use some devices to trigger others? I'd like to turn on certain lights when my camera detects movement. Or turn off lights when my garage door closes. Any advice or help is much appreciated!
 

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I use a Rachio sprinkler controller.
My system is based on Alexa, echo dots to voice control things.
I use Lutron switches. Have about 26 or so.
IFTTT may allow you to setup some actions which the devices or hubs don’t natively do.
I’m not familiar with google hub but Alexa let’s you create routines. For example, when the alarm clock goes off and you stop it turn on bedroom lights, then tell me the weather for the day.
I also use harmony hub to control my home theater room. I tell Alexa ask harmony to watch TV. I have it programmed to turn on theater sign, dim main lights and turn on runner lights, start projector, receiver and cable.
 
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Thanks Phillihp23. Are you pretty happy with the Lutrons? I have been considering those quite a bit.

Are you paying for the IFTTT subscription? That was a big turnoff for me when I found out they recently started charging a monthly fee.

Google allows for routines but at the moment, they can only be triggered by voice commands or a timer.
 

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Z-Wave.

That's the word you need IMHO. Many years ago I researched the various options available and Z-Wave was the most open-source and widely used for smart home automation. You'll find more manufacturers making devices using this protocol than any other. Competition breeds innovation and lowers prices. You find sales on various types of devices from various manufacturers pretty regularly. For instance, my current favorite for light switches is Zooz. They make a dimmer switch that will go into multi-switch circuits w/o needing to buy additional "dummy" switches. Neutral wire is required (pretty standard for most of this stuff) but other than that you need only wire in one switch. The previous option was from GE/Jasco and it was expensive. You'd pay like $50ish for the primary switch and then you had to buy a "slave" or "dummy" switch for every other switched location on that circuit which could add up quickly since they were still like $35-$40 as I recall. The Zooz ones are like $35ish and you need only one for 2-way, 3-way, 4-way, etc. These have been more reliable for me as well. I have had a GE 3-way switch (made specifically for ceiling fans) fail on me a month or two outside of warranty multiple times now.

Then get a controller with Z-Wave that is 100% local with the ability to manage remotely as a bonus but doesn't require someone else's service to function. This also means no monthly service fees to utilize. Based on all of this, it's mobile app, user friendly GUI and customer service I opted for the Vera Lite 7 or 8 years ago. It has since been replaced with the Vera Plus which is newer better hardware with more wireless protocols than just Z-Wave. It now includes Zigbee, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. The Vera Plus can be had for about $100 and the best part is that all of the controls and scenes are stored locally and function 100% locally. No "calling home" required to work unlike most other controllers and, no matter who "reliable" they seemed left owners with expensive paperweights after they shuttered their servers.

There's other options out there but some have some pretty crazy quirks or omissions from their features. I've got somewhere around 100 devices in my array now and I'm quite content with it and the scene setup gives me LOTS of control over what all of my devices do and has allowed me to automate lots of regular tasks as well as less regular tasks for safety and security. The space is getting more competitive and while I thought it would be bring more innovation and advancement in the segment all I've discovered is that my setup was apparently way ahead of it's time. I'm quite happy with it which is relatively inexpensive and every bit as feature-rich as the more expensive and bigger name options out there.

Just my two cents worth exactly what you paid for whatever it's worth to you.
 
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Thanks @Ostrichsak that's very helpful. Z-wave does sound awesome and thanks for the lights switch recommendation for it too. Because I have a lot of devices already that are not z-wave, does that mean they just won't work in concert with any z-wave products if I were to start going down that route? Or are there good apps that help with that? I assume Google Assistant works with most z-wave products?
 

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Thanks @Ostrichsak that's very helpful. Z-wave does sound awesome and thanks for the lights switch recommendation for it too. Because I have a lot of devices already that are not z-wave, does that mean they just won't work in concert with any z-wave products if I were to start going down that route? Or are there good apps that help with that? I assume Google Assistant works with most z-wave products?
You'll need:

Hub or controller (example: Vera Plus)
Devices (Example: Zoos, GE, etc.)

This is an independent ecosystem of any voice assistant you add. Those will have apps (verify on the front end during the decision portion) to integrate them with your controller choice.

If you want to manually activate devices with your voice you'll need something like Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices. As much as we prefer Google products generally I found the Alexa devices to be better for our needs. Either though should work with your controller choice & therefore your devices.

If your other devices are WiFi I'd move on from them. WiFi seems more universal but it's a mess for smart home automation. The mesh nature of Z-Wave, scalability, battery life & different frequency space (read: less congestion on an already crowded 2.4GGhz band) are all well worth the effort to transition.

If your current devices utilize an actual smart home protocol you be able to find a hub to bring them into the same controller.

What you don't want is several ecosystems that you try to manage separately. This is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Thanks Phillihp23. Are you pretty happy with the Lutrons? I have been considering those quite a bit.

Are you paying for the IFTTT subscription? That was a big turnoff for me when I found out they recently started charging a monthly fee.

Google allows for routines but at the moment, they can only be triggered by voice commands or a timer.
The Lutrons are solid. They do cost but have been 100% pleased. They actually operate on there own clear
Connect network hub, only talking with network WiFi when commands sent. You can control them from app on device anywhere or by voice with Alexa etc. same goes for the Rachio sprinklers.
I was not aware IFTTT was subscription now. I had only used it for a few commands I don’t use frequently.
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What I don't like about Lutron is 1) cost, they're among the most expensive on a per-device basis which adds up quickly and 2) now you're basically forced to have a different app/program/dashboard/interface for all of your smart home devices since the device type is somewhat limited. Meanwhile, there's more than a dozen different manufacturers who make the same device (light switch as an example) that will work on ANY manufacturers Z-Wave controller/hub. You're also committed to depending on Lutron specifically to build devices you want. It also makes it difficult to build complex scenes with various device types working together seamlessly.
 

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FWIW, I recently installed the Zooz Z27 dimmer switches. I picked Zooz because of their cost, and because you can use an existing companion switch for 3 way circuits, made it even cheaper. Also the way Zooz connects worked with my existing wiring.
Like them so far, the seem to respond quickly. The one thing you might not like is you can hear them click when you change the companion switch. There must be a relay in them that changes state for the companion. But there is no click if you push the zooz or change thru zwave.
Only think I don't know is their long term reliability.

I also have some Leviton zwave switches. Some of them are when I first used zwave, almost 15 years ago, and they are still working fine. The old ones are slower, but they are zwave not zwave+.
I bought other brand zwave switches at the time, but they broke, the Levitons just keep working.
So, based on my small sample size, Levitons are reliable.

I also have stuff on wifi, and have had no problem using both wifi and zwave devices. My setup is custom and took a fair amount of time to setup, running Home Assistant on a pi.

One thing to consider, do you really need to automate all of your switches?
I still want to do some more, but there are lots of switches I won't do because no one would use them wirelessly.
 

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Zoos sounds interesting but I’ll add a Lutron vote. Lutron can do multi way circuits with regular switches with their pro dimmers (has blue wire for slaves) or with the regular switches (if you buy switches buy the 6 amp, the 5 amp cause led tubes to flash when turning on). Home assistant works well with them, tinkering required of course, also Roomie Remote. I’ve been playing with voice control and Siri turns out to be fast and seems to understand better, although you have to look at your phone. It can figure out stuff like “close both garage doors” that Alexa loops out about.
 

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Zoos sounds interesting but I’ll add a Lutron vote. Lutron can do multi way circuits with regular switches with their pro dimmers (has blue wire for slaves) or with the regular switches (if you buy switches buy the 6 amp, the 5 amp cause led tubes to flash when turning on). Home assistant works well with them, tinkering required of course, also Roomie Remote. I’ve been playing with voice control and Siri turns out to be fast and seems to understand better, although you have to look at your phone. It can figure out stuff like “close both garage doors” that Alexa loops out about.
So your vote is for Lutron who offers a switch that for only $70 does the same thing as the $30 Zooz dimmer switch I suggested. Makes sense. Especially when you scale that up over ten or twenty units. Not to seem snarky but I never understand posts like this. What specific benefits will the end user experience for paying over 2x more on the front end to justify the cost premium?
 

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You pay for reliability and longevity.
I have both. And there is a difference.
But if you really want good, then use RadioRa2. And yes, that will cost 5x a Zooz. If it has to work, then it's worth the money.

I mean they all go On / Off / Dim....certainly there are differences on Homework / Vantage home run very expensive systems and the 100 or so different wireless brands.
Might not be worth that to you but certainly is for someone else.

I jumped on Insteon V1 about 20 years ago purchased at the EHX show back in the day when they launched. Then 5 years later they all started to fail. Switch contacts wore out. Known issue. Then Smarthome refused to offer any recourse. So I haven't purchased anything Insteon since and don't sell any Insteon since. Our automation system still supports Insteon as it remains popular. I haven't had a single RadioRa2 (or Caseta for that matter) switch go bad. Not quite as old as the Insteon.
 

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You pay for reliability and longevity.
I have both. And there is a difference.
But if you really want good, then use RadioRa2. And yes, that will cost 5x a Zooz. If it has to work, then it's worth the money.

I mean they all go On / Off / Dim....certainly there are differences on Homework / Vantage home run very expensive systems and the 100 or so different wireless brands.
Might not be worth that to you but certainly is for someone else.

I jumped on Insteon V1 about 20 years ago purchased at the EHX show back in the day when they launched. Then 5 years later they all started to fail. Switch contacts wore out. Known issue. Then Smarthome refused to offer any recourse. So I haven't purchased anything Insteon since and don't sell any Insteon since. Our automation system still supports Insteon as it remains popular. I haven't had a single RadioRa2 (or Caseta for that matter) switch go bad. Not quite as old as the Insteon.
As a blanket statement I disagree with "You pay for reliability and longevity" based on my personal anecdotal experience even though it's admittedly a small sample size.

My GE/Jasco switches were much more expensive than my Zooz switches and I've had multiple failures. All intuition is that the device with the known name brand on it (GE is a pretty big brand name in this space) is the better choice. The fact that it costs more should have guaranteed my investment premium. Instead, every time I have a switch fail when I pull it out of the wall I see that GE/Jasco label on it. I've yet to replace a single failed Zooz even in higher load situations than they specify they're capable of. Every GE/Jasco switch I've had fail has done is being used within the specifications they lay out.

Until Zooz gives me a reason to post something negative I have nothing but positive experiences to report on. When you consider the price and the rate at which they're innovating new items it won't be long before they're the go-to name brand in this segment at this pace. I also prefer the open Z-Wave communication standard and all of it's benefits over the more proprietary standard of other offerings in the segment.
 

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I also have had / tested GE / Jasco. I put them into the same class as Zooz. And they were essentially the same price class too. They are all in the "Home Depot" price class (good enough but not great). The reliability is also the RF side. They all essentially use the same Z-Wave chipset. Lutron uses their own proprietary (and patented) RF signal that works much better.
 

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Another vote for Lutron here. For me, it's worth the extra cost.
 

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New home here. Went from a Zwave house to Lutron. Not even close.. Lutron is just so reliable!
 

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I'm still having a hard time quantifying "better" in my mind as I simply haven't had issues with Z-Wave that I envision being cleared up by paying more for Lutron. If I was having issues I could see where there could be room for improvement but my system has been stable for nearly a decade now. I just don't see where noticeable "reliability" improvements can be had.
 

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I'm still having a hard time quantifying "better" in my mind as I simply haven't had issues with Z-Wave that I envision being cleared up by paying more for Lutron. If I was having issues I could see where there could be room for improvement but my system has been stable for nearly a decade now. I just don't see where noticeable "reliability" improvements can be had.
Way faster feedback than ZWave, better looking, higher quality switches and room to grow. Like many said, Z-Wave is a lesser technology and it shows. Slow to activate, mesh network not always reliable. I had 30-40 Zwave devices in my old home run by a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch controller - never was 100% reliable. Dimming LEDs is not as precise and ZWave switches don't go as dim as Lutron switches. Every now again and again, switches fell off mesh network. Hassle.

I use Lutron Shades, garage door opener, thermostats, and 80 switches and Grafik Eyes - just awesome reliability and esthetics. If you're building a house, it's really the only choice (if you can budget). Glad we did.

We hid many switches in closets and equipment room so all you see is a nice looking keypad and no walls with 3-4 ugly paddle switchers. Slick and clean.

If you're building, it's really the time to do it. You'll be happier if you take the leap of faith as I did...

Highly recommended!
IMG_8551.jpeg
 

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Way faster feedback than ZWave, better looking, higher quality switches and room to grow. Like many said, Z-Wave is a lesser technology and it shows. Slow to activate, mesh network not always reliable. I had 30-40 Zwave devices in my old home run by a Honeywell Tuxedo Touch controller - never was 100% reliable. Dimming LEDs is not as precise and ZWave switches don't go as dim as Lutron switches. Every now again and again, switches fell off mesh network. Hassle.

I use Lutron Shades, garage door opener, thermostats, and 80 switches and Grafik Eyes - just awesome reliability and esthetics. If you're building a house, it's really the only choice (if you can budget). Glad we did.

We hid many switches in closets and equipment room so all you see is a nice looking keypad and no walls with 3-4 ugly paddle switchers. Slick and clean.

If you're building, it's really the time to do it. You'll be happier if you take the leap of faith as I did...

Highly recommended! View attachment 3052550
"Looks" are subjective. To me, those switches are too busy. I don't want a lot to have to stop and read and think about. I much prefer just a decora switch that looks like a decora switch and functions like a standard decora light switch with all of the added benefits of smart home automation on the back end. I can agree that having more controllability at the switch might be nice but I tend to prefer not needing to leave a "how to" for a house sitter or guests who want to use the bathroom. If I set my scenes properly and leverage the voice assistant devices we have all over the house I can't imagine a scenario where that will be very beneficial.

As for "way faster" I'm not sure how much faster it can be. My installation is pretty much instant with commands and all scenes function exactly as designed. When I tell Alexa to manually send a command it happens immediately and that's even with Alexa as a intermediary. For me, if Lutron is indeed faster, it's only by tenths of a second given how fast my system operates so I'm not really sure it's worth the premium.

As for the "Mesh network not always reliable" I couldn't disagree with this more. Even man years back when all I had was a few devices I didn't have connection issues. Now that I've got somewhere around triple digits worth of devices my mesh network is super strong and I notice the the battery powered devices last noticeably longer and I never really felt like battery life was an issue previously. The regular "self-heal" functionality of my Vera controller optimizes my mesh network regularly so whenever I add a new device it automatically figures out the best way to mesh everything for the best reception of every individual device. I've got a ranch style with a fairly wide footprint and even have devices outside located away from the house on gates and such and everything just works. I add a random flood sensor or window sensor and it just works. I love that I've got devices from all brands that are Z-Wave that I can buy when they go on sale for fractions of what the same Lutron device would cost. I can also pair with any Z-Wave controller if I want & I even have one now that melds several communication options (Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, etc.) into a single device. I still mostly just use Z-Wave especially since the newer Z-Wave+ protocol is so good but it's nice to know that if there's some random device from another manufacturer I want I can probably add it.

A lot of your pros/cons favoring Lutron may have been more accurate when Z-Wave was newer and still maturing as a technology but I think that gap has been narrowed to a more difficult to define difference. I've been quite content with my Z-Wave network and have just about every type of device you can imagine and it all just works and didn't cost me much at all. My thermostat was on sale at Lowe's for $12 and works flawlessly with my scenes and controls perfectly w/o any issues. The cheapest Lutron option you'll find with similar features will be 10x the price if you're lucky. Like I said already, if the performance was really that much better I would have opted for it long ago but my experience just hasn't been that Z-Wave leaves me wanting for anything really. With as much as I have tied up into my system I just couldn't imagine how much more the investment would have been and I can't see anywhere where I could justify that premium based on my experience thus far in all of the areas you mention.

Also, if Lutron shutters their doors you're left with a bunch of dumb devices. Even if the manufacturer of my controller goes under my smart home network will function exactly as it does right now. No need to access "the cloud" to run scenes and function exactly as it does right now. Just no new updates and it's forever stuck in time the way it is right now but it works fine so I don't see that as a problem. I've seen far too many of these proprietary Smart home Automation systems tap out and then leave their users out in the cold to take a chance with an ecosystem that requires "calling home" to the mothership to function. Many companies MUCH larger than Lutron have exited the segment in this exact manner for me to make an investment into an ecosystem that would be a bunch of paperweights and dumb switches overnight.

If I'm behind in my info I'd like to be corrected but from where I stand I still don't see how Lutron is so much more advanced than what I'm running in actual day-to-day performance and capability.
 
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