SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 Review: Small Improvements, Still Far From Perfect

Key Takeaways

  • The SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 offers minor improvements over its predecessor but still has some issues with unwanted noises and installation complexity.
  • The Curtain Rod 3 is part of a larger ecosystem of smart home devices that aim to simplify life and reduce energy costs.
  • While the Curtain Rod 3 excels when integrated with other SwitchBot devices and smart home automation, it may not be worth purchasing as a standalone piece of hardware unless you are excited by new technology.

SwitchBot’s Curtain Rod 3 offers minor improvements over its predecessor, but still surprisingly suffers in some of the same areas. While the automated curtain opener is quieter, components needed to work on a telescoping curtain rod add a whole new array of unwanted noises and potential hiccups.

As I press a button and watch the curtains on my window ten feet away open on their own, I question if I’ve reached the pinnacle of laziness. Then I remember companies like SwitchBot and devices like its Curtain Rod 3 aren’t about automating one thing in your home but creating ecosystems that simplify life. What that means is that something like an automated curtain opener isn’t solely intended to keep me from having to get up. It’s there to help me reduce energy costs or stabilize the environment in my home regardless of where I am. As part of a bigger plan, the Curtain Rod 3 excels.

Unfortunately, as a standalone piece of smart home tech and a supposed upgrade from the Curtain Rod 2, there are still a few kinks to work out. If you’ve never used a SwitchBot curtain opener before, you may enjoy the novelty of the device. If you’re upgrading from the Rod 2, you may question if the changes were enough to warrant switching.

SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 Tag
SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3

The SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 offers very small improvements over the Rod 2 and stumbles in some of the same ways. Despite being newer, some rod configurations still require inconvenient components that take away from the Rod 3’s upgrades.

Brand
SwitchBot

Dimensions
9.45 x 2.36 x 2.36 in

Compatible with
Alexa, Google, IFTTT, SmartThings, Sir Suggestions

Comptaible Rod Size
15 to 40 mm

Pros
  • Easily integrates with other SwitchBot devices
  • Long-lasting battery can be prolonged further with Solar Panel
  • Calibration and pairing is a quick process
  • Helps reduce energy costs when used properly
Cons
  • Installation is a little convoluted
  • Telescoping rods require noisy addition
  • Not a big improvement over the Rod 2

Installation: More Involved Than Ever Before

SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 Components including Curtain Opener and Beaded Strand
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

After moving the Curtain Rod 2 to a new window months after posting my review, I had stronger feelings about the complexity of the installation process. I became envious of the U Rail model, which seems easier to install and doesn’t have the same aesthetic issues that still exist with the Curtain Rod 3.

The Rod 3 is better than the Rod 2 in some ways, but the installation process is certainly not one of them. In fact, there’s an added step that I have a hard time justifying as it almost suggests that the opener can’t properly do as it’s intended. Much of the process was the same, starting with threading the same white beaded strand through the grommets of my stark black curtain to ensure it opened properly. Then I needed to add magnets where both Rod 3 devices were meant to stop.

I’m not sure of the purpose, especially since I had no issues with the Rod 2’s smart calibration stopping where it was supposed to. Like the pronged metal piece that prevents snags on telescoping curtain rods, the magnets are visible when the curtain is wide open. Between the beaded strand, the metal telescoping bridge, and the magnets, the visual appeal is lost.

Calibration and Pairing: Quick and Painless

SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 Installed
Mark LoProto / How-To Geek

SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 installed properly behind the curtain.

After installing the Rod 3, I was a little worried that maybe the calibration and pairing process would also still have some hiccups. However, everything worked as I hoped. Connecting the Rod 3 devices to SwitchBot’s app via Bluetooth took mere minutes, and was one of the smoothest smart home setups I’ve experienced.

The SwitchBot app (available on iPhone and Android) walks you through every step, clearly laying out what you should expect and quickly connecting to each opener within seconds.

So Close to Noise-Free Operation

When a SwitchBot rep pitched the Curtain Rod 3 to me at CES 2023, the big draw was virtually noiseless operation. The noise level of the Rod 2 was one of my biggest complaints. To combat this, the Rod 3 boasts a QuietDrift Mode that reduces the decibels to below 25dB. For reference, that’s quieter than a whisper.

Without QuietDrift Mode on, the Rod 3 still makes noise, but it’s better than the previous model. QuietDrift Mode does produce virtually no noise at the cost of speed. Opening and closing the curtain took about 47 seconds longer when using QuietDrift, which isn’t necessarily an issue. I can’t think of an instance where I’d need to open or close a curtain rapidly, save for dramatic effect.

For my setup, all of this is rendered moot by one thing—that telescoping rod. The piece that allows the Rod 3 to cross from the larger rod to the smaller one is taped into place using an aggressively crinkly tape. Every time the opener crosses that threshold, it amplifies the noise level. It’s not a deal breaker, at least not for me, but if you were hoping for a completely sound-free curtain opener, not even QuietDrift Mode can get past the tape in silence.

Smart Home Integration: As Easy As It Gets

While you can enjoy the Curtain Rod 3 as your only smart home device, you can also pair it with many of SwitchBot’s smart devices, including light bulbs and smart locks. In fact, I found that the real value of individual devices like the Rod 3 is in how you integrate these different SwitchBot tools to reduce energy costs or regulate your home environment.

For example, maybe you wake up very early, before the sun rises, and don’t like to leave your pet without light. So you leave your SwitchBot light bulb on, but you don’t want it on all day. Using the SwitchBot app, you can set a schedule so the bulb turns off just after sunrise and the Rod 3 opens your curtains to let natural light in. Are clouds rolling in? It’s a good thing you can close the curtains and power on the bulb even if you’re across the country.

I appreciate how connected SwitchBot’s devices are and that things like the Rod 3 can be linked to other smart home automation to create entire scenes with the press of a button. Though an automated curtain rod opener may not seem all that important in your home, if you approach it as part of something bigger or as a tool to help maximize sustainability, its usefulness is more apparent.

The Rod 3 is compatible with SwitchBot’s Hub 2, a Matter-supported central point that helps connect all of your smart home devices. Through the Hub 2, you can customize scenes and automation so that your curtains open or close when certain conditions are met. You can also use Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts, IFTTT, and SmartThings to remotely control the Rod 3.

Should You Buy the SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3?

The SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 may have its pitfalls, like instances of unwarranted noisiness due to how it’s installed, but it still gets the job done. It can automatically open and close your curtains even when you’re not home. As an upgrade to the Rod 2, it’s more disappointing than if you’re using the curtain opener for the first time.

You can make it part of a routine with other SwitchBot or smart home integrations or schedule it to open and close your curtains at specific times, and this is where the Rod 3 shines best. If you use it to try and reduce your energy bill costs or ensure there’s always a natural light source in your home, it’s a worthy purchase.

As a standalone piece of hardware, it remains a novelty that is admittedly fun to toy around with. SwitchBot sent me its two-button remote, and I did enjoy assigning the Rod 3’s functions to each button. The process was very simple, and now I get to feel like I have a true 21st-century office with curtains that open with the press of a button. Is that worth a purchase? That all depends on whether you’re excited by new technology.

SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 Tag
SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3

The SwitchBot Curtain Rod 3 offers very small improvements over the Rod 2 and stumbles in some of the same ways. Despite being newer, some rod configurations still require inconvenient components that take away from the Rod 3’s upgrades.


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