Best Curtain Bot for your Smart Home!! [HomeKit Edition]

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today we're going to take a look at three curtain robots that you can use to make your curtains smart automatically have them open or close at certain times of the day when you leave or arrive home when it gets too hot too bright you get the idea we have here the switchbot curtain the brand new acara e1 curtain driver and the xemi smart curtain motor i'm a home kit user so we're going to get these into home kit we're going to test them out and i'm going to try to help you determine which might be the best for your smart home let's go yo what's up guys my name is shane if this is your first time here and this channel is all about building an easy smart home using apple's home kit with new videos published every sunday and live streams every wednesday so we're going to compare these three curtain bots today links are below in the description in case you want to pick one up for yourself i've also put time codes in the video as usual in case you want to skip around to any certain parts of the video because we do have a lot to cover we're going to talk about everything from the installation the apps and features compatibility and much more and as usual we're going to focus on the home kit integration today i remember not too long ago there were no options for something like this in home kit so i'm pretty excited to now have you know a few options to talk about but that said only two of these currently at the time of recording have native support for homekit and that is the acara and the zimmy smart the switchbot does not but i wanted to include it in today's video for a couple of reasons one switchbot has recently announced that they will be bringing home kit support to more of their products in the near future with the release of their new switchbot hub mini homekit version so eventually this switchbot curtain should gain home kit support whenever that new hub is released it does work right now through homebridge or hooves which is how i have mine integrated into homekit so that is an option for now if you have a similar setup and two switchbot is kind of the og when it comes to these curtain bots they were the first that i remember and i've just been doing this for a long time this rod version here that i have is in fact like the second rendition of this product so i figured it would be good to compare these others with this one because i do think they've got you know some things right here over time all of these products do require a hub there are numerous acara hubs that you can pair the e1 curtain driver to the zimmi smart products do require the zimmi smart home kit hub i've done videos on both of these that i'll link in the description if you're trying to figure out you know which hub is best for you both the ximi smart and the acara curtain motors connect to their hub via zigbee and the acara is actually claiming future support for matter as well once that rolls out and the switchbot connects via bluetooth low energy it is ble 5.0 which is sort of the best you know version of bluetooth and they say their bluetooth technology features proprietary power saving ble with mesh support so i don't know whatever that means i do have my switchbot connected to the switchbot hub mini and with that you can get access to cloud services like alexa and google assistant and siri shortcuts so this does support series shortcuts which is great and might be a good alternative for you since there's no home kit support but as i've said i do have mine connected to home bridge which does give me that you know uncertified home kit support each one can support both curtain rods and rails switchbot and akara have separate versions so you have to make sure you know you get the right one when you order whereas the zimmi smart one simply comes with different attachments to use based on whatever kind of curtain setup you have the acara costs 89.99 the switchbot costs 99.99 and the zimmi smart costs 100 and 150 at the time of recording it says it's normally 175 but i doubt that also beware shipping costs especially with the zimmi smart because that one is shipping most likely from china which probably costs a little bit to ship and will also probably take longer than two days both a car and switchbot you can get you know probably free shipping from amazon at least and i have seen discounts on both of these products both the car and switchbot run specials pretty often so you can probably find some good deals you know if you're shopping during the right time contents in the box of each are pretty similar especially with the akara and switchbot with switchbot you get your manual the curtain motor these clips and charging cord and then you get these little beaded clippy things more on this in a minute that's everything we get in the switchbot box and as you can see a car is very similar we have some clips charging cable motor itself manual here is uh some little plastic ropey thing which is uh kind of the equivalent to that switchbot beaded thing and we have the top part that wraps around the rod that the motor hooks into and that's everything in the acara box and the zimmy smart pretty similar except there's not any beaded or those little clippy rope thingies here we have the motor and all the different connectors uh you know you'll use the proper one depending on which type of rod or rail curtain setup you have and the zimmi smart actually comes with the remote so that's something that the others don't have and we put them together you can see the size difference is pretty obvious the switchbot is clearly the smallest here with this little compact design the akara is pretty huge now let's talk battery life akara boasts up to one year of battery power between charges with its onboard 6000 milliamp battery so that's pretty good i guess the car is utilizing that bulky size for that good battery this is the longest lasting battery of the three switchbot claims eight months of battery life and the xemi smart claims five months of battery life with only a 3 000 milliamp battery of course battery life will vary depending on your usage and conditions both the akara and the switchbot support usbc charging and the xemi smart uses micro usb both switchbot and xemi smart have a solar panel option that you can purchase if you want one solar panel from switchbot is 19.

And xemismart actually has combo packs that you can get with the solar panel included and you can get even a double pack if you need like two motors for your curtain i didn't see anywhere that they sold the solar panels individually i'm not sure if i just missed that a car is the newest one here so far and there is no solar panel from acara but with that one-year battery life on the akara maybe having a solar panel really isn't that big of a deal i'll be using the rod version for each of mine i actually don't have curtains in my home so that's why you see this curtain testing rig set up in the corner of my studio here you might want to check the compatibility of your curtain rods before making a purchase acara only supports rods between 25 and 32 millimeters that is a very small range and the first rod that i tried to use the cara on was just too thin it simply would not work the switchbot has a much better range supporting rods between 15 and 40 millimeters and the ximi smart supports a range of 20 to 28 millimeters so still not as good as switchbot but definitely better than the acara i think that's probably the biggest downside to the akara motor it's just such a small range of sizes you know that the rod version supports they each have good documentation on the sizes that they support for eye rails and u-rails also it does appear that switchbot has the most compatibility here also just be sure to check this real closely before making your purchase you know regardless of which brand or style you go with now for the installation i've only done testing with the rod type so i can't speak on the rail type specifically again a car would not work on my thinner rods the switchbot and the zimmi smart had no issues here now if you're using a double rod you know where there's like a smaller part kind of inside the bigger part i really can't recommend any of these too freely i had issues with all of them trying to get over that little transition part now switchbot does show the curtain motor working fine with this type of setup on their website i did do some testing it did get hung up a few times so just be warned there is a good chance you may have issues if you have you know one of those longer double rods like this if you have a single rod with no transitions you shouldn't have any issues at all installation was pretty straightforward on all of them but the acara definitely takes the cake on this one again assuming you have a curtain rod you know that is the correct diameter to install it you just put the top part on and snap the little clips together you double tap the button on the motor and the hooks will raise hook them on the top part and then double tap again and the hooks will retract tightening the motor onto the rail super easy i really love the installation on this acara one switchbot recommends putting the two pieces on the rod separately and then just snapping them together by any means not a bad installation at all not quite as smooth and you know elegant as the car insulation but pretty easy installation here xemi smart recommends adding the rod hooks first and then you insert these little pins then you snap the motor and tighten it to the rod you want to get this as tight as you can now a car tells you to install these little rubber strips with the clips along the curtains and the switchbot also has something similar with those little beads but i really don't see the need for this personally i guess the idea here is so you can pull your curtains closed without having them like stretched all the way out again i don't really see the need for this in my little testing setup but i it is an option on both the car and switchbot if that's something you care about as you can see i tested out two different types of curtains the grommet curtains and these here with the little loops for this type of curtain you'll need some type of clip or something here so the curtain doesn't get wrapped up in the motor wheels switchbot has good documentation and provides clips for this type of curtain acara doesn't really mention this but you could probably use the little clips that were provided in the acara box to do the same thing with that motor of course it doesn't look near as good on a curtain like this because you can see the motor so easily whereas the grommet style curtains pretty much hide the motor completely acara has a maximum load of about 26 pounds or 12 kilograms switchbot has a maximum load of about 17 pounds and zimmy smart's right there in the middle with a maximum load of about 22 pounds or 10 kilograms so if you have huge bulky curtains akara might be the you know one you need again that larger size probably being utilized for a stronger motor but each can be added in their own app the akar app the switchbot app and the xemi smart actually uses the toya app a car and switchbot are probably the easiest to add with the best setup and configurations you know options and stuff like that in the app the toyota was a little more confusing but eventually i was able to get it added to that zimmy smart home kit hub and with the zimmi smart and acara since i already had those hubs paired and working in home kit once i added them in their app they automatically showed up in the home app which is awesome switchbot requires using a home bridge and the switchbot plugin in order to get those into homekit as of right now but you know that's a topic for another day i will put a link to the plugin that i use down below if you are using home bridge and want to check that out all three allow you to pair them with other curtain motors so if you have curtains that you know open and close from the middle you can use two motors in order to accomplish that i feel like the switchbot probably has the best app experience of the three the ui just really makes a lot of sense to me both configuring the curtains and controlling them is all very clear in the switchbot app they give you the option of a performance mode or a silence mode which is nice performance mode will be much faster but louder and the silent mode will be more quiet but a bit slower i didn't see any different modes like this in the acara or the zimmi smart or the toya apps all three will show you the battery levels in the app both the car and the switchbot have a touch and go feature which allows you to still open and close the curtains manually i just feel like if you did this a lot then it might eventually throw off the calibration a little bit you can create automations and schedules in all of these apps but the acara and the switchbot motors actually include an ambient light sensor on the device itself that you can utilize in automation so you'd face the sensor towards a window or something like that where you can have the shades automatically open and close based on the light levels so that's pretty awesome a nice little feature and know that a cara light sensor is not exposed to home kit unfortunately however the light sensor on the switchbot is actually exposed to home kit when using home bridge but it doesn't seem to be very reliable again that switchbot is not native home kit support so take that with a grain of salt once it does gain native home kit support maybe we can kind of revisit that and take another look in homekit they all function similarly to something like shades roller shades if you've ever used anything like that in home kit you can change the icon to a cool little curtain icon that opens and closes the akara curtains also show you the battery level and the charging status in home kit or the home app the xemi smart does not and they all work well as expected in home kit even the switchbot using homebridge that plug-in seems very reliable and should do just fine until there is native home kit support for switchbot curtains if that's the route you go performance in general is good for all of them again i experienced issues with all of them a little bit on those double rods so do keep that in mind the acara and the switchbot ones are definitely faster so they probably have better motors stronger faster motors the xemi smart one is noticeably slower i do like that i can change the mode of the switchbot to be slower and quieter if i want but otherwise it moves pretty fast which i kind of like so what are my final thoughts what are the pros what are the cons and which one is the best so i know the acara one is big but i really like the long battery life that they claim on this again they say up to a year between charges which is really good plus this one has the largest maximum load if that's something you need to consider so that's a good option if you have really big heavy curtains the acara motors do operate very smoothly and does probably seem to be the most secure one and stable on the rod while it's moving it definitely has the best installation process of the three but its lack of compatibility with many rods does make it hard to recommend unless you have the perfect setup for it that compatibility and the size are really my only issues with this acara curtain motor if you have a compatible rod and can hide the motor behind your curtains i do think it's a good option especially if you already have an akara hub of some sort it is a solid well-built product and it seems to operate very well and native homekit support is great of course they are claiming future support for matter which may be an important factor for some a solid product but this one is definitely not for everyone if you're not as concerned about native home kit support then it's hard not to recommend the switchbot curtain again they've been doing this for a while and seem to have really you know ironed out a lot of the kinks the product is built well and supports the largest range of rod and rail sizes it's definitely the smallest of the bunch a slightly weaker battery than the acara but eight months estimated battery life is not bad and still better than the xemi smart one plus you have the option to add solar panels which is nice i like the app setup and the controls the best in the switchbot app compared to the others i like the option to put the motors in performance or silence mode it does have the lowest max load of the three so that might be something to consider we can deduct some points also of course for lack of home kit support you know at the moment but it does integrate with siri shortcuts which might be enough for many um apple users and not to mention the switchbot homebridge plug-in is very good if that's something you have set up like i do and finally we have zimmy smart it has pretty good compatibility for rails and rods and it is cool that it comes with interchangeable parts depending on you know what type you need it has the lowest estimated battery life of all three so you'll probably have to charge this one a bit more and it uses micro usb versus the other two that use usbc that said they do offer solar panels so if i went with this one i'd probably go ahead and get those solar panel bundles setup and configuration was a little clunky using the toya app but once i got it all set up it does work well and of course native home kit support thanks to that zemi smart home kit hub is always a good thing it is slower than the other two and lack some of the extras you'll get with the others like the ambient light sensor and the ability to automate based on that it does feel a little bit cheaper than the others especially you know around the connections that attach to the rod i'd probably go with this one if native home kit support is an absolute must but your rods maybe aren't compatible with the akara curtain motors so as you can see we have some pros and cons for each of these but it's really nice to have the options you really need to consider i think your use case and setup and maybe also consider which brands you've already bought into or are considering buying two since they all do require a hub in order to use them like this for example if you already have an acara hub or a xemi smart hub might make the most sense to just go with that brand so you don't have to buy another hub i hope this video was helpful if you're considering acara check out this video right here where we discuss all the different hubs and which one you know might be best for your smart home and over here we have my video on the zimmi smart home kit hub that we discussed today and some of the accessories you can add to homekit with it subscribe and turn on notifications for new videos every sunday and live streams every wednesday feel free to bring any questions to the live stream and we can discuss thanks so much for watching and i'll see you in the next one

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