HomeHome AutomationIs Aqara T1 ZigBee switch all I asked for?

Is Aqara T1 ZigBee switch all I asked for?

More Aqara ZigBee goodies on western markets

Before I could talk to you about the latest Aqara T1 switches, I wanted to cover Aqara G2H (review) – a camera and ZigBee hub in one which Aqara uses to talk to their ZigBee sensors and gadgets. These would include the latest Aqara switches that cater to western consumers and come in non-neutral and live & neutral configuration. A pretty sweet deal for anyone in the UK and EU, as the selection of no-neutral Zigbee switches, is next to none.

Aqara T1 ZigBee switch

These connected relays automate your lights while keeping your existing light switches in operation. I’ve used similar solutions from ITEAD: Sonoff Mini ZigBee (review) and Zemismart (review), but the Aqara T1 ZigBee switch is the first one I have in my hands that offers no-neutral operation. The main features of the switches are

  • ZigBee 3.0
  • switch control (live wire)
  • 2-way switching configuration
  • switch types: toggle, push
  • 10A & 5A resistive load
  • 100V-250V input

Aqara T1 ZigBee switches are nicely made and slightly thicker than Sonoff Mini, but there is a premium build quality to it and CE & RoHS certifications that will put many DIY automation enthusiasts at ease. As the latest Aqara products are available via AmazonUK and AmazonUS stores, you won’t have to wait forever to give it a go.

If you follow me for long enough, you know that these will end up linked to NodeRED at some point, but before I jump on that tutorial, let’s take a closer look at what the switches and Aqara cloud have to offer.

Aqara T1 ZigBee switch (neutral & live)

The relay inside is rated at 10A (resistive load) and it’s on par with all modern connected switches. One thing I don’t like is the number of terminals. Instead of 6 inputs, which is a logical number of terminals for a single gang solution, the switch has 5 terminals and an additional WAGO style connector should be used to splice 2 neutral wires. I’d rather take a slightly bigger form factor than try to fit another connector inside.

It goes without saying, that you should take extra care when wiring these as they link up to mains. In doubt consult professional.

The switch comes with energy monitoring, and the Aqara app will show you the device usage stats by day/week/month/year thanks to handy graphs. The metering tells you the current power use in Watts (W) and the total power consumption for the switch in kWh.

It’s nice to see the power use of your devices. If you ever wanted to learn how much smart lights would cost you per year, I have an entire article comparing various lighting solutions with a price breakdown.

Aqara T1 ZigBee switch (no-neutral)

Due to the no-neutral configuration, the max load of the switch is 5A only, but that’s more than enough to cover most of the light automation scenarios. Unlike the neutral twin, the unit comes with the right number of terminals which makes the installation easy.

It goes without saying, that you should take extra care when wiring these as they link up to mains. In doubt consult professional.

Unfortunately, a non-neutral configuration prevents the power monitoring features and this switch isn’t equipped with that option.

Both units

Each switch has a button that you can use to pair it up with a ZigBee hub or Aqara G2H camera. In addition to that, a triple press of the button will verify the link with the hub announcing the ZigBee link strength via the hub’s speaker. Thanks to included antennas, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Aqara T1 ZigBee switches can be used with 2 way switching and support 2 wiring standards. In both variants, the switch is using mains, so take care during installation. Once fitted, I found the lights to be responsive, with switch toggling the lights instantly and controls over the cloud to take about 0.5-1 second.

Inside

The units are glued, but I had a peek inside. Unfortunately, the ZigBee 3.0 add on board obscures the IC and I was not able to verify which IC had been used to handle the communication. For a consumer unit, both switches come with plenty of dev pads on the PCB which are well labelled.

While some of you would be tempted to tinker ahead with custom firmware, these switches use ZigBee, and that should be enough to integrate it in other ecosystems.

Aqara app

Aqara app already comes with Alexa and Google Home integration. While my Aqara G2H is bound with Mainland China, if you get the EU/US versions you will see the familiar integrations in the Aqara app. The app itself is simple, zen alike and clear.

The app supports power-on behaviour and 2 different switch types: toggle and push button. What’s surprising is the lack of schedules and timers baked into the switches menus, but these can be set in the automation panel should you need it.

There is one thing that I should mention. Aqara is probably aware that is hitting the market first and Aqara T1 ZigBee switches will cost you dearly. Each one is priced around £25 which is much more than I would personally like. On the positive side, you can get these on Amazon which could drop these at yours the next day.

Final thoughts

If you can get over the price, and you want to go full ZigBee, Aqara T1 ZigBee switches (AmazonUK, AmazonUS) are an interesting choice. Thanks to ZigBee 3.0, you don’t have to be locked into the Aqara cloud and think of integrating these in NodeRED or Home Assistant. If you want to know how just watch this space as I will be writing about it soon. As for now, let me know what do you think about these in this Reddit thread.

🆓📈 – for more details see the transparency page.

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