I’ve written several times about the benefits of motorized window coverings and SwitchBot, a company that has been in business since 2016 with a focus on manufacturing products that make the certain items in your home (like window coverings) smarter.
The SwitchBot Curtain, originally launched on Kickstarter in 2019, is an economical and easy-to-install solution for automating the operation of existing curtains. It is installed onto an existing curtain rod and is mostly hidden, out of site, behind the curtain. Two SwitchBot Curtains can even be linked to automate the operation of center open curtain pairs.
Now SwitchBot has released a new and improved third generation of this product, called the SwitchBot Curtain 3.
The new SwitchBot Curtain 3 offers some significant improvements over the prior versions of the product. The first difference is a reduction in noise.
The SwitchBot Curtain 3 will generate 45dB of noise at a distance of 1 meter during normal operation compared to 52dB for the Curtain 2. 45dB is between the noise produced by a typical refrigerator in a home and the noise level in a quiet library. However, when using the new QuietDrift mode, which slows operation to approximately a quarter inch per second, noise is reduced to only 25 dB. That’s the equivalent noise level of someone whispering.
Battery life has also been improved. Based on laboratory tests, where a curtain was opened/closed once per day, the SwitchBot Curtain 3’s internal Lithium-ion battery can now power the device for up to eight months without recharging. When the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is coupled with the SwitchBot Solar Panel 3 (sold separately), the need to manually recharge the battery is eliminated (under normal operation). The improved SwitchBot Solar Panel 3 requires only three hours of daily sun exposure to keep SwitchBot Curtain 3 continuously powered.
The motor in the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is now twice as powerful as the prior model. It can move curtains weighing up to 36 pounds.
Finally, the price of the SwtichBot Curtain 3 is exactly the same as the Curtain 2.
Compatibility is a very important consideration when purchasing a retrofit product for motorizing window coverings. According to SwitchBot, the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is “is able to adapt to 99% of curtain tracks found around the world, including telescopic rods.”
The SwitchBot Curtain 3 can be used with curtain rods (extendable rods, grommet curtains, ring top curtains, back tab curtains, and tab-top curtains), U Rails, and I Rails.
Additional information on compatibility can be found on the SwitchBot website here.
SwitchBot also offers a wide range of options for controlling the SwitchBot Curtain 3. The primary way SwitchBot offers for controlling curtains that are motorized using the SwitchBot Curtain 3 is through the SwitchBot app. The app offers a user the most options for automating the operation of their curtains. However, while the SwitchBot Curtain 3 can be controlled using the smart phone app locally (using a direct Bluetooth connection from your smart phone/tablet to the SwitchBot Curtain 3), if a user wants to remotely control their curtains, they will need to purchase a SwitchBot Hub 2.
The app allows users to open/close their curtains, setup schedules to control the curtains at different times of the day, and to create scenes that can trigger multiple curtains. SwitchBot offers multiple options for triggering scenes including time-based triggers and sunrise/sunset triggers (sunrise/sunset triggers require a SwitchBot Hub 2). They can even be triggered by other SwitchBot devices, such as the ability to trigger the curtains to close when a SwitchBot thermometer and hygrometer detects that the temperature in a room has risen above a predetermined threshold due to solar gain from the sun shining through a window.
Other options for controlling curtains motorized with the SwitchBot Curtain 3 include voice control (requires the SwitchBot Hub 2), SwitchBot Remote (sold separately), SwitchBot NFC Tag (sold separately), Touch & Go (a light tug on the curtain is detected by the SwitchBot Curtain 3 and, depending on the direction of the tug, will open, or close, the curtain), Apple Watch, and light-sensor control (requires pairing with SwitchBot Solar Panel 3).
The SwitchBot Curtain 3 offers a wide range of integration options, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit (via Matter compatibility built into the SwitchBot Hub 2), IFTTT, SmartThings, and Crestron (via the free driver that I’ve written and can be downloaded from my GitHub here.
It is important to know that these integration options all require the purchase of the SwitchBot Hub 2 and that SwitchBot only offers third party integration through their cloud service API.
SwitchBot provided me with an early version of the SwitchBot Curtain 3 to test for this article. There are different versions of the product depending on the type of curtain rod you have. In my case SwitchBot provided me with the model for a basic curtain rod.
The new SwitchBot Curtain 3, like previous versions of the product, comes with everything you need for installation including the main motor unit, a pair of hooks for connecting it to a curtain rod, a USB type C cable for charging, clips for installing on tabbed curtains, a reset tool, bead chain and clips for installing on grommet curtains, a self-adhesive magnet used to mark the fully closed position of the curtain, and a wet wipe for cleaning the curtain rod before installation of the magnet.
SwitchBot claims that installation only takes 30 seconds. This is a bit on the optimistic side; especially for someone who has never worked with the product before. That being said, the process isn’t complicated and is well documented on the included instructions.
The first step is to charge the SwitchBot Curtain 3; which, according to the instructions, can take up to 6-1/2 hours. While the unit is charging, you can download the SwitchBot app, create an account, and read through the instructions so you are familiar with the installation process. There are different steps outline in the instructions depending on the type of curtain you have.
I had a couple of challenges setting up the SwitchBot Curtain 3; all of which can be attributed to software issues. These issues were all quickly fixed by the developers at SwitchBot in time for the official release of the product.
I found that the use of a magnet that sticks onto the curtain rod to mark the fully closed travel position of the curtain is a nice improvement over the prior version of the product. For example, in a bedroom it is especially important that a curtain fully closes to block out all light for sleeping. The magnet assures that the SwitchBot Curtain 3 consistently travels to the proper, fully closed position. My one suggestion is that during installation you first hold the magnet in place with tape instead of sticking it to your curtain rod. In this way you can make minor adjustments to the position of the magnet to make sure all the light is blocked out at the fully closed position of the curtain before adhering it in place. The adhesive on the magnet is very sticky and you don’t want to be peeling it away from your curtain rod multiple times before being satisfied with the closing operation of the SwitchBot Curtain 3.
During operation the SwitchBot 3 performed perfectly. It consistently opened and closed my curtain without any difficulty.
The SwitchBot Curtain 3 is the third generation of the product and SwitchBot has done a good job of improving this new model over its predecessors. The ability to work with heavier curtains, the amazingly quiet operation when using QuietDrift mode, and the use of a magnet to mark the fully closed position of the curtain are notable improvements to an already good product.