HomeHome AutomationAlmost the fastest PIR sensor you can buy

Almost the fastest PIR sensor you can buy

This is new! And it's fast!

I’m later than usual to the new Sonoff device party, but I have been sitting on Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) for some time now. After the unexpected release of the new Sonoff ZigBee line and the introduction of the radar-based presence sensor, I was expecting a new PIR sensor to join the ranks – and when it got shipped to me, I completely missed it – assuming it was yet another presence sensor sent my way (they look alike). You can watch me mislabel it in this short! There was a new contact sensor too, but they are still working on it, and I promised to tell you more once the release is near!

Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P)

I teased this and a couple of upcoming products in my #TechDrop series a while back. So the existence of this sensor should come to you as no surprise. I hope you like these quick trailers of what’s going to be featured on my website/channel soon! In case you missed the sensor announcement and a sneak peek of other Sonoff products, I included the short for you here:

Even looking at the original packaging, the difference seems obvious now, but I can be forgiven for assuming otherwise. Except for the PIR dome (and missing USB-C port), the latest sensor resembles the Sonoff presence sensor I covered before.

Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) looks like a bullet and comes with a magnetic base that can be added to most surfaces through a 3M pad or a couple of screws. This system is pretty good, as long as you are not trying to position the sensor parallel to the surface the base is on. As for the sensor itself, it’s a ZigBee-enabled PIR-based motion detection. These monitor movement thanks to an infrared sensor inside that detects movement.

Just like the previous iteration (SNZB-03), the sensor is powered by a beefier coin cell battery (CR2477) that offers up to 3 years of service. Apart from the shell redesign, the biggest change comes in the time out. Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) improves the timeout over the old generation by 25 seconds and brings it down to 5 sec! The figure would be more impressive if not for the fact that Aqara has a PIR sensor with a 1-second timeout, although at the more expensive price point.

In addition to motion detection, the new PIR sensor can also tell if the environment is dim or bright.

How much?

Things are looking up in the world of Sonoff ZigBee as the pricing structure for their motion detection is as follows:

  • Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03) motion sensor – $9.49
  • Sonoff Presence Detection (SNZB-06P) – $14.90
  • Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) new motion sensor –$11.90

There is very little reason not to pay just over $2 extra to get a much faster timeout and longer battery life. And if you require unparallel detection, at the cost of having your sensor constantly wired, then Sonoff Presence Detection is the way to go, as long as you don’t mind paying just under $15.


I’d take this apart, but Sonoff was kind enough to reveal the ZigBee IC inside the product via their product page, so my usual internal exploring seems pointless. I like the sensor, so I’m not going to take it apart just to confirm that they are using the EFR32MG22 IC. The same chip found in the latest ZigBee product line from them.

In use

In line with other Sonoff sensors, Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) comes with a single button that if held for 5 sec, will enable pairing. To use it, you will need one of Sonoff ZigBee Bridges, Sonoff NSPanel Pro or iHost.

In my testing, I used iHost, as one is constantly connected to my network. After a brief update and some minutes, the menu in which I could set the custom timeout appeared to me. There I could configure the timeout from 5-60 sec. This will be responsible for how quickly you can trigger a new motion again. The action had to be confirmed with a physical button press on the device.

Once set, I tried it out. It was easy to see the timeout working as advertised based on the logs from the iHost.

You can see morning events taking significantly longer than evening logs, where Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) was set to 5 sec. Note that if the motion event gets re-triggered – changing the state to “No Motion” takes longer.

While the sensor can detect dim/bright environments (I could see the values in the debug log), the settings lack the threshold setting possibly making it a hit or miss in the dusk/dawn light conditions.

The detection range covers up to 6m and since my rooms are smaller, I was not able to confirm this. As this is IR-based product, pet detection is likely and any unwanted interference can be prevented with a smart positioning of the sensor.

Other ecosystems

As Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) is a ZigBee device after all, I decided to try it with my ZigBee-enabled Alexa and see if it performs just as well as with eWeLink-enabled hubs. Within a couple of minutes, I was able to pair the Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) with my Alexa Echo with ZigBee hub and the sensor appeared in my devices.

While the sensor worked as intended, it lost the ability to provide feedback about the light levels and the custom setting for the timeouts was nowhere to be seen. Judging by the response levels in the Alexa app, the sensor reverted to 30s.


Another way to enjoy your Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) is to use a custom ZigBee coordinator. I use Sonoff Dongle to manage my mesh and ZigBee2MQTT to communicate with my NodeRED server. If you want to know more about NodeRED – and why I think it rocks, I have a full tutorial about it.

As I’m covering it late, the sensor is already properly supported by ZigBee2MQTT including a slider in the sensor Exposed section to set the custom timeout. If your ZigBee2MQTT installation doesn’t support it, simply update the installation to add new devices. Both occupancy and illumination information are presented alongside other useful information in the following payload:

    "battery": 100,
    "illumination": "bright",
    "linkquality": 61,
    "motion_timeout": 5,
    "occupancy": true,
    "voltage": 3100

It’s pretty much ready to use with NodeRED and Home Assistant.

Final thoughts

As far as I remember, the biggest complaint about PIR sensors was a long timeout period. Aqara was quick to address it with their PIR, but these sensors were more expensive. With a more budget version in sight, we can all agree that Sonoff PIR (SNZB-03P) is a great suggestion as your battery-enabled motion motion sensor for both: eWeLink enabled and DIY automation. Let me know your thoughts in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.


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