Gone are the days of struggling with cords and pulleys; automatic curtain openers offer a seamless and modern solution to the age-old task of manually adjusting curtains. They leverage advanced motorized systems to effortlessly open and close curtains with just a touch of a button or even through voice commands. This not only eliminates the physical effort required in manual operation but also allows for precise control over natural light and privacy. Whether adjusting curtains in a bedroom, living room, children’s room, or office space, these openers provide a customizable and automated solution that adapts to the diverse needs of users.
Moreover, automatic curtain openers contribute to energy efficiency by allowing users to program schedules for curtain movements. This feature enables homeowners to optimize natural light entry during specific times of the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting and lowering energy consumption. With compatibility with smart home systems, users can seamlessly integrate these openers into a broader ecosystem, offering them the ability to manage their curtains remotely through smartphones or other smart devices.
We recently came across one such interesting price of kit from SwitchBot, a brand with expanding portfolio in the space of smart home devices. The product in discussion is the SwitchBot Curtain 3, an Automatic Curtain Opener that can make the job of opening and closing the curtains exciting. It is their third-generation automatic curtain opener with a lot of improvements over the previous two, especially in terms of noise and power.
This is the review SwitchBot Curtain 3 Automatic Curtain Opener. We are writing this review after installing and using the kit for more than 2 weeks. In this review, we will look at our experience of the ease of installation, different types of controls, a bunch of accessories, and many more. If you are looking to automate the process of opening and closing your curtains, then continue reading the review to know more about one of the useful products for such a job.
Before unboxing, we would like to say that we got the combo package i.e., the SwitchBot Curtain 3 along with the Solar Panel, Hub, and the Remote Control. So, the unboxing experience and the further review will reflect on these accessories as well. That said, let us look at the contents of all the packages one-by-one starting with the Curtain 3.
The first thing in the box is the Main Unit that contains the motor (and battery). Next, we have the Hook Pair that attaches to either side of the Main Unit. There is a USB-C Cable to charge the unit, a reset pin/tool, beads fixer, clip, and a wet wipe. We also get a user manual in the package.
The SwitchBot Solar Panel is the first accessory. Its package contains just the Solar Panel Module, an instructions label, and a user manual. The next accessory is the SwitchBot Hub 2 and its package contains the Hub 2 unit, a USB cable with temperature and humidity sensors, couple of 3M-branded adhesive tapes, a 5V-2A USB Adapter, an after-sales card, and a user manual.
Last but not least, we have the SwitchBot Remote with two keys. This package contains the main remote control, a remote holder, adhesive tape, a CR2450 button cell (which is already installed in the remote), and a user manual. That’s it for the unboxing. Let us proceed with the design of the SwitchBot Curtain 3 Automatic Curtain Opener.
First of all, the SwitchBot Curtain 3 comes in three different styles of mounting mechanisms; Rod, U-Rail, and I-Rail. The internal components of these three configurations are identical. How you hang it or attach it to your curtains/curtain rod is the only difference. In our case, we got the Rod style curtain opener. Coming to the design of the Curtain 3, We can divide the whole SwitchBot Curtain 3 into three parts. The main central unit houses the brains and the mechanics of the device (this is common to all the configurations). Then we have the spring-loaded hook pair that attach to the either side of the main unit.
The main unit has a rubber roller on the top that touches the curtain rod and provides friction for movement. There is an “Add Device” button in the middle of the main unit as well as a USB-C port at the bottom to either charge the device or connect the solar panel, if you have one.
Speaking of which, the SwitchBot Solar Panel 3 is an improved version of the previous SwitchBot Solar Panel that can more efficiently capture and convert the solar energy. Just above the solar panel (the actual panel), there is a small light sensor that helps in controlling the Curtain 3 in a more intuitive way. The folding hanging rod is strong and, on its end, there is a USB-C connector with a clip mechanism that holds on to the SwitchBot Curtain 3.
There are two more accessories; the SwitchBot Hub 2 and the SwitchBot Remote. These are relatively simple devices and we will talk about in the later sections.
Setting up the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is really as simple as it gets. The Rod style curtain opener that we have here can be used with a variety of curtain styles. We have the grommet-style curtains in our home but you can use this on ring top curtains, tab top curtains, and back tab curtains. Depending on the curtain style, the installation steps might slightly vary but if you follow the instructions in the user manual, then you don’t have to worry too much.
One important thing you have to be cautious of is the size of the curtain rod. For a proper contact and grip, SwitchBot recommends the diameter of the curtain rod in the range of 15mm to 40mm.
After installing the Curtain 3 on the rod, pairing the unit with the smartphone app is the next step. If you follow all the on-screen instructions, then even this process is just a breeze. To get an accurate control of the Curtain 3 device and know its stop positions, we can use the magnet attachment that came in the package. While this is a very useful feature, we got mixed results in the real-time. The actual position of the Curtain 3 and the position it shows on the screen are slightly off. But a couple of calibrations solved this issue.
SwitchBot Curtain 3 Calibration is a crucial step after installing the SwitchBot Curtain 3. To ensure optimal performance, you have to calibrate the device by following the provided instructions in the SwitchBot app. The calibration process ensures that the actual movement of the curtain aligns with the animated representation in the app. You can recalibrate the device or change its opening direction at any time by accessing the Curtain Settings Calibration feature in the app.
There is an option to group two SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 units together for synchronized curtain opening from the middle and before initiating the calibration process, you have to ensure that the positions of both devices match the reference shown in the app. This is very useful if you have a supporting rod in the middle and you have two curtains that open from the middle.
As we have the solar panel accessory, we attached it to the SwitchBot Curtain 3. There is a button on the panel that releases the joint to allows us to adjust the angle of the solar panel.
If you have Swish Track style curtains (which are more common in the UK), then you will find it difficult to use any of the mounting styles that the SwitchBot Curtain 3 comes in.
Is the SwitchBot Curtain 3 Automatic Curtain Opener as silent as they say? Is it really that powerful? We will talk about that in a moment but let us talk about the general performance of the device. After installation and calibration (we haven’t yet installed the Hub 2 and the Remote at this point), we pressed a button on the smartphone app and it worked without any glitches. You can fully open the curtains or fully close them with just the click of a button.
Additionally, the app also lets you open/close the curtains at any degree. One feature we really liked is if you pull the curtains manually by a couple of centimeters, the SwitchBot Curtain 3 detects this movement and automatically activates its motor to either open or close the curtains fully (depending on the direction you move the curtains). There are a couple of instances where we felt the device was struck or rather slightly struggling to move but it is not a deal breaker.
Coming to the big question, yes, the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is actually quiet but there is a catch. The Curtain 3 has two operating modes; Performance and QuietDrift. When you select the QuietDrift mode, the Curtain 3 moves swiftly at a pace of roughly 5mm per second. In this mode, there is virtually no noise from the motor or the roller. Although we haven’t measured, SwitchBot say it is less than 25dB. But as you would have gathered by now, it is really slow. In Performance Mode, both the speed and the noise are normal.
Apart from the noise, SwitchBot also improved the performance of the motor and the gears. It can now push or pull up to 16kg (or roughly 36 lbs.) of weights. This is more than enough for even larger or slightly heavier curtains.
Without any additional accessories, the app control is the only way and that too only local control is possible. But as we have the complete set (Solar Panel, Hub 2, and the Remote), it gave us a chance to explore all the different ways of controlling the SwitchBot Curtain 3. If you remember, we said the Solar Panel has a tiny light sensor just above the panel. Using this light sensor, we can automate the task of opening and closing the curtains based on the amount of sunlight it receives (sunset and sunrise). There is a delay function in the app where you can set a countdown timer for opening or closing and also set schedules with customizations for day, time, level of opening (or closing), and even the mode of operation.
If you pair the SwitchBot Curtain 3 with the SwitchBot Hub 2, then you will have a whole lot of additional functionalities and controls. The first and obvious feature of the Hub 2 is voice commands.
You can link third-party services such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri to your SwitchBot account and control the Curtain 3 with just voice commands. With the Hub2, you can also control the curtains remotely and set unlimited number of schedules (without the Hub, you only have a chance of creating just 5 schedules). The Hub 2 has a ton of features of its own (we know it came with a humidity sensor and temperature sensor on the USB Cable) such as humidity reading, temperature reading, a bunch of infrared sensors, etc. Apart from the App and Voice Commands, the SwitchBot Remote is another simple way to control the SwitchBot Curtains.
After pairing the Remote in the smartphone app, we can map the two buttons of the Remote to perform or trigger different actions (such as opening/closing the Curtain 3 or turning the SwitchBot K10+ Mini Robot Vacuum on/off).
We have to talk about the battery life and charging of the SwitchBot Curtain 3. It has a built-in 18650 Lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 3350mAh. After a full charge, the battery will last roughly 6-8 months, depending on the usage. This is very good as charging the device once every 6-months is not at all a bad thing. With a 5V-1A adapter, it will roughly take 6.5 to 7 hours to fully charge the battery.
But with SwitchBot Solar Panel, you don’t have to worry about charging at all. Just connect the Solar Panel to the Curtain 3, place the entire setup in an optimal position with ample (or even moderate) sunlight, and then forget about charging it for its entire lifetime.
The cost of a single SwitchBot Curtain 3 Automatic Curtain Opener is $89.99. This is sufficient if you only need to control a relatively small and single curtain. But if you have a slightly large setup with two curtains or if you have a support rod in the middle, then you will need a couple of these openers. Additionally, the cost of the Switch Solar Panel 3 is $25.99 (for one unit)while the SwitchBot Hub 2 costs $69.99. For a simple no nonsense control, you can add the SwitchBot Remote for $19.99. You can look for combo deals on these products as you might get a better price than buying individual ones.
Overall, the SwitchBot Curtain 3 Automatic Curtain Opener is a great way to open or close your curtains. It is very easy to install and simple to use and importantly, it can work with relatively large or heavy curtains. There is a significant different in its two operation modes (Performance and QuietDrift) both in terms of performance and noise.
Battery life is also decent and you don’t have to worry about charging it for a long time. Additionally, you can get the optional accessory, the SwitchBot Solar Panel to continuously charge the battery from Solar energy and never charge the device in its life time using a wall adapter. While the app is the main way to control the SwitchBot Curtain 3, the SwitchBot Solar Panel and SwitchBot Hub 2 allow you to control using voice, Sunrise, Sunset, Light Sensor control, etc. The SwitchBot Remote is also useful for a simple one-click control. Of course, all the accessories are optional and if you don’t need them, then you can use the SwitchBot Curtain 3 as a standalone unit as well.
If you are looking for a way to automate the job of opening and closing curtains, then SwitchBot Curtain 3 is a very decent choice. With a long usage life (10 years on motor, rubber roller, and battery) , you don’t have to worry about the automatic curtain opener for anytime soon.