HomeHome AutomationSwitchBot Curtain 3 is silent, but there is a catch

SwitchBot Curtain 3 is silent, but there is a catch

As quiet as my 3D printer!

SwitchBot just released the 3rd generation SwitchBot Curtain 3 (AmazonUS|AmazonUK)- a device to move your curtains automatically. It’s advertised as the quietest and most powerful way to move window dressings. A bold claim, but considering the company’s track record, I’m willing to believe it. Fortunately, I don’t have to take their word for it I have them here to automate my (Michael) bay window. It’s a sound plan, as long as you don’t expect any explosions!

Get extra 10% off, use code XMCURTAIN3 until the end of November 2023. Shop on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Why v3 is better

As I own all three generations of the SwitchBot Curtain, I’ll be able to see how things have improved and why the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is the best one yet. You are expected to part with £89.99 per bot, but discounts apply for bundle purchases and using promotional codes. I’d strongly recommend you get a Matter-compatible SwitchBot Hub 2 that will enable cloud functionality on otherwise Bluetooth-enabled SwitchBot Curtain 3. If you don’t care about extra features, the first-generation SwitchBot Hub will work just as well.

I’m a big fan of SwitchBot, as the ecosystem aims to deliver non-invasive automation to your household. This is something that I appreciate even more since I moved to a rented apartment.

SwitchBot Curtain 3 comes in a couple of flavours, to increase the compatibility with the most common curtain fittings. The curtains I’m going to automate, use wooden eyelets and are hung on a very long, supported in the middle, rod. It is a perfect job for a pair of SwitchBot Curtain 3 devices.

SwitchBot Curtain 3 is much bigger than previous generations. It features the same clamp design as SwitchBot Curtain 2 and comes with a little comb-shaped attachment to smoothly glide over telescopic poles. Apart from that, inside the box I found a USB-C charging cable, clips to drag your curtains evenly and a magnetic sticker – this is new.

Unfortunately, the light sensor has moved from the SwitchBot Curtain to the solar panel. SwitchBot Curtain 2 has the sensor built-in, to get the same functionality for SwitchBot Curtain 3, you must purchase the SwitchBot Solar Panel 3.

Solar Panel £25.99

SwitchBot also included their new solar panels. I was very sceptical about the panels and how well they would work in the forever cloudy UK, but my experience with solar-powered SwitchBot Blinds – assured me that there is enough sunlight in the UK, to never worry about charging. It still features a light sensor to tell the SwitchBot ecosystem how bright it is outside (which can be used as a trigger for automation – once firmware is updated).

The back side of the panel changed a lot. Instead of a coiled cable under the plastic cover (old solar panel), the back features a foldable pole with a USB-C connector. The panel will hang down from the SwitchBot Curtain 3 and travel with the robot. While the design is new, the area of the solar panel has not changed, it will deliver the same charge as its predecessor.

Installation

Once again, the installation of the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is minimal and takes only a couple of seconds. Clip your SwitchBot Curtain 3 around the rod in the last eyelet of the curtain and you are almost ready to go. New magnetic strips can be added to aid the calibration and deal with possible wheel slips while dragging heavier drapes. As my pole has a divider in the middle, clear on-screen instructions told me to add magnetic strips around the middle divider. They will act as stop sensors and prevent SwitchBot Curtain 3 from driving further than it should.

Just as before, SwitchBot Curtain 3 robots can be linked together to work in parallel for windows which require curtains to be drawn from both sides. Whatever the configuration, SwitchBot has got you covered.

SwitchBot Curtain 3 is silent, but there is a catch

It almost feels like cheating. SwitchBot Curtain 3 can be virtually silent. There is a catch. Selecting QuietDrift operating mode will slow down the curtains significantly and it will use more power in the process. It’s hard to convey how quiet the latest curtain driver is fully. As a person who made my 3D printer completely silent (28dB), I know that filming it resembles the production of silent movies.

SwitchBot Curtain 3 is so quiet in this mode, that everything else associated with the movement makes more noise. The curtains, fittings and the friction on the wooden loops on my wooden rod. All are the source of the louder noise.

The action will be significantly slower. It will take just over 2 minutes to move the SwitchBot Curtain 3 by one meter. The action is intended for morning automation. A slowly opening curtain just before your alarm goes off is how you want this to happen. This is what the QuetDrift is available with scheduled actions (and scenes) but not with voice commands (without linking them specifically through scenes).

Unlimited power

SwitchBot Curtain 3 comes with a new solar panel design that permanently latches to the robot and travels with it, dangling from the bottom. It will deliver enough juice to keep your robot operational for longer, or (if your solar situation is good) remove the need for traditional charging permanently.

To aid the solar charging, the app comes with charge schedules. Separate timers will move the SwitchBot Curtain 3 and its associated solar panel to the ideal position to charge the robot. It’s a fantastic feature if the default position (closed/open) does not expose the solar panels to full sunlight.

While battery % can’t be used (for now) as an additional trigger, the schedules allow you to set the start and the end position for the robot to be in during the charge, allowing it to essentially track the sun.

Fun times with SwitchBot Curtain 3

Once everything is set, you are ready to enjoy your automation. Schedules and timers can be set, SwitchBot can link to Alexa and Google Home via respective skills, and if you already own SwitchBot Hub 2, you can also take advantage of Matter.

If you are near the drapes, and you don’t want to whip out your phone to control your blinds, the good old-fashioned curtain pull, activates the bots too.

If this is your first time with the SwitchBot ecosystem, you should know that it comes with SwitchBot API – a really cool interface that you can leverage in NodeRED. Setting SwitchBot Curtain 3 on a schedule could be fun, but if your wake-up times are more random, you could take advantage of my Android Alarms in NodeRed and make the curtains slowly open based on the alarms set on your Android phone. I’m sorry iPhone owners, this uses Tasker, and you are out of luck.

Shop for Switchbot

Get Switchbot devices in the following stores:

Final thoughts

For the last 2 generations of the SwitchBot Curtain, I encouraged everyone keen on using curtain automation in the bedroom to get a motorised rail instead. It was always a better and quieter option. SwitchBot Curtain 3 (AmazonUS|AmazonUK) leaves me no choice – it’s the quietest option to move your curtains and you should get one yourself. It took 3 iterations to get there, but we are here with fantastic curtain movers that take moments to install and won’t break the bank. Got questions? Let me know in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.

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