I’ve been using the extremely versatile original Shelly 1 for years. It is by far my favorite smart home device. I use it to automate my light switches, my garage doors, and even my fireplace! Recently, Shelly released the Shelly Plus 1, which is supposed to be a significant upgrade to the original Shelly 1. How much has it changed? What has it improved? Should you get the Shelly Plus 1 over the original Shelly 1, even though it costs more? Let’s answer these questions and more!
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What is the Shelly Plus 1?
The Shelly 1 Plus is a smart relay. It can be powered by mains AC voltage (110-240V) or DC (12V, and 24-240V) voltage. The relay uses a dry contact, meaning it doesn’t pass the input voltage onto the relay. Instead, it simply completes the circuit of the wires connected to the relay. It is really small, as you can see from the picture below comparing it to a quarter:
A couple of things make the Shelly relay special. (1) You can control it locally and through the cloud, without any additional hub, and (2) it easily integrates with all the major smart home hubs out there, including Home Assistant, OpenHab, Google Home, HomeKit, Alexa, and more, should you want to use a hub. It has BlueTooth capabilities in addition to Wi-Fi. It can control a wide range of devices such as:
- Garage door openers
- Light switches
- Air conditioners
- Pretty much anything that can be controlled with a simple relay
Shelly 1 Plus vs Shelly 1: specs & price
For those of you familiar with the original Shelly 1, here’s how they stack up, spec for spec:
|Shelly Plus 1||Shelly 1|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 b/g/n||802.11 b/g/n|
|DC Input Voltage||12V, 24-240V||12V, 24-60V|
|AC Input Voltage||110-240V||110-240V|
|Maximum Load||16 amps||15 amps|
|MQTT||Yes, with SSL||Yes, without SSL|
|Cloud + MQTT||Yes||One or the other|
|Scripting On Device||Yes||No|
|Dimensions||41 x 36 x 16 mm||41 x 36 x 17 mm|
Prices can change from time to time on the official Shelly website. At the time of writing this article the Shelly Plus 1 is $18.90 and the original Shelly 1 is $13.90 ($19.90 if you want the UL listed version). You can save money by buying them in packs of four.
What are the key differences?
From the chart above and from playing with these I’d say the key differences for me are:
- The Shelly Plus 1 has more processing power and RAM. This probably helps it to be able to have additional capabilities like on-device scripting, MQTT + SSL, and cloud and MQTT at the same time.
- Bluetooth capability in the Plus 1 gives you more options for control.
- The wiring for the Shelly Plus 1 works a little differently and is better in my opinion. You don’t need to move a jumper to use a DC voltage input like you have to in the original Shelly. It has dedicated inputs for that.
- Over-temperature protection and having a higher maximum load (16 amps to 15 amps) make it slightly safer than the original Shelly.
- The Shelly Plus 1 is a little thinner and a better shape than the original
Should you get the Shelly Plus 1 or the original Shelly 1?
Honestly, unless you really need to save money, as inexpensive as these are you should just buy the Shelly Plus 1. It has many additional capabilities (BlueTooth, more horsepower, better wiring, higher load capability, etc.) and will probably have a longer support window because it is newer.
One particular reason to stick with the original Shelly is that you can buy a UL-listed version if the comfort of that certification is important to you. I would guess the Shelly Plus 1 will eventually have a UL-listed version too.
Where to buy the Shelly Plus 1
Other Shelly devices you might be interested in
Here are some other Shelly devices you might be interested in:
- Shelly Plus 1 PM — Like the Shelly Plus 1, but also has power monitoring capabilities. Careful, though — it does not have dry contacts.
- The original Shelly 1 PM — Like the original Shelly 1 but has power monitoring, and again, no dry contacts.
- Shelly Dimmer 2 — This is a feature-packed dimming microcontroller that works great in my house.
- Shelly RGBW2 — This can control LED strips.
Another winner from Shelly! The Shelly 1 Plus is a worthy successor to the successful and popular original Shelly 1. You shouldn’t hesitate to buy it. But, if you want to save a few dollars, the original Shelly 1 is still a great device!