ITEAD Unveils a Game-Changer: The $7 SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle

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ITEAD, renowned for its SONOFF series, has just upped the ante in the home automation arena with its latest offering: a Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle, available at the irresistible price of $6.99. Pre-equipped with the Silicon Labs Zigbee stack, this device is primed to act as a Zigbee coordinator for Home Assistant via the ZHA integration and openHAB, making it a plug-and-play solution for enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Image of a SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle version 1.3, dated 2020-12-07. The transparent green printed circuit board (PCB) showcases various electronic components including a microcontroller, PCB antenna, and other passive components. The dongle is partially encased in a white plastic shell with two metal USB contacts visible at the bottom.


Sleek Design Meets Robust Functionality

The ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle has been crafted for utmost convenience, sporting a size comparable to that of a standard USB flash drive, ensuring it fits seamlessly into your setup without hogging adjacent USB ports. At the heart of this compact powerhouse is the Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 SoC, which boasts superior capabilities in managing extensive networks, especially when contrasted with the older CC2531 chip.

Points to Ponder

Despite the undeniable allure of ITEAD's Zigbee 3.0 dongle due to its affordability and performance, there are a few considerations that potential purchasers should take into account.

A Sacrifice in Range for Compactness

One notable omission is the lack of an external antenna, with the dongle relying entirely on its PCB antenna for connectivity. While this decision contributes to its sleek profile, it does mean the dongle falls short in range compared to devices like the CC2652RB development stick from slaesh, known for its impressive connectivity span. The absence of an option for an external antenna attachment might leave some users wishing for a bit more flexibility in enhancing their device's reach.

Image showing a SONOFF Zigbee USB dongle with exposed circuitry. The dongle is partially angled, revealing its USB connector on one end and various electronic components mounted on the green circuit board. The image has areas of distorted digital artifacts with colorful stripes and glitched sections, obscuring parts of the text and components.

Tailored for Enthusiasts, Sans Protective Casing

It's evident that ITEAD's Zigbee 3.0 dongle caters primarily to the DIY crowd, especially those weaving their smart home systems with Home Assistant or similar platforms. This focus is underscored by the dongle's lack of a protective case, a choice that underscores its enthusiast-grade pedigree but might be considered a downside for users concerned about physical durability.

Nonetheless, for those diving into home automation, ITEAD's dongle represents a blend of affordability and capability that's difficult to overlook.

Zigbee2MQTT Compatibility on the Horizon

For now, the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle does not mesh with the stable release of Zigbee2MQTT, but hope glimmers on the horizon. Development efforts are underway to integrate EFR32 chips, including the EmberZNet v8, heralding future compatibility. The more intrepid among us can already experiment with this dongle by venturing into the dev branch of Zigbee2MQTT, though this path may come with the bumps and hiccups typical of pre-release software.

This blend of affordability, practicality, and forward-looking compatibility positions ITEAD's Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle as a compelling choice for anyone looking to enhance their smart home ecosystem without breaking the bank.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.


  1. Read that a lot of people who bought one is having problems connecting to it under Linux.

    Anyone that have issues with not being able to pair any Zigbee devices should really report it to ITead as well:

    I know ITead does not have their own Home Assistant, OpenHAB or Zigbee2MQTT developers but it will not get their attention otherwise. Suggest referring ITead engineers to the existing issue and ask them to help troubleshoot it.

    At the very least ITead’s should be able to work with Home Assistant developers by testing different firmware and faster to provide additional debug logs as they try to fix via firmware.


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