Add a remote control to your curtains for $89
With a sufficiently smart home, you might start to run out of things to automate. After you have a Ring doorbell and August door lock, Philips Hue lights in every room, a Nest thermostat and Alexa, where do you go from there? How about motorizing your curtains so you can open and close them from a mobile app or by asking Alexa? That’s the idea behind Switchbot’s Curtain, a little robot that lives on your curtain rod, waiting to spring into action. Usually $99, you can getright now if you apply promo code CNET10OFF at checkout. The code works on anything sitewide, so you can also use it to save 10% on the Curtain accessories I’ll mention later.
I’ve been testing Curtain for a few weeks, and I’m ready to declare it one of the coolest smart home gadgets I’ve tried in years. It reminds me of a motorized, remote control curtain I had decades ago — long before smart home tech was a thing — except Curtain actually works. And it does so superbly. It’s awesome to lie in bed on a lazy Saturday morning and say, “Alexa, open the curtains.” Then they open, like magic, with a quiet mechanical whirr as a robot lets sunlight into the room.
When you order your Curtain, there are three versions to choose from. You need to pick the one based on the kind of curtain rod hardware you have — a rod, I-rail or U-rail. Don’t worry, a quick glance at your curtains will tell you everything you need to know. If you have a single curtain that covers the whole window, you only need one gadget, but if your window has a two-piece curtain that opens in both directions, you’ll need a pair.
Setup is fast and fairly simple; you clamp the robot to the rail or rod between the first two rings that your curtain is hanging from. It sits on the window side of the curtain so depending upon the kind of curtain you have, it’s either mostly or completely invisible. And that’s pretty much it. You can use the app to open and close the curtains with a tap. Whichever direction the robot is moving — open or closed — it runs into one of the rings and pulls the curtain along with it. If you have a pair of Curtain robots, they synchronize, so both curtains open and close together.
If you like, you can also schedule the curtains to open and close automatically on a schedule or based on sunrise and sunset.
Like any good gadget, it has accessories. The robot ‘s belly is packed with a battery that lets it run for months on a single charge, but if you prefer to never have to plug it in to recharge it,(down from $25 if you apply promo code CNET10OFF at checkout) that you hang on the outer side of the curtain to keep the robot topped off at all times.
And that’s not all. If you want to be able to command the curtains to open and close by voice, you’ll need to add a— if you apply promo code CNET10OFF at checkout, saving you $4. This gadget lets you tell Alexa or Google Assistant to open and close the curtains. Honestly, I wish this capability was somehow baked into the Curtain robot without the need for yet another gadget. But it does work flawlessly.
Is a motorized curtain something you need? Of course not. But it’s pretty convenient, and after weeks of testing, I’m yet to encounter a glitch in which it fails to open or close the curtains properly. That’s actually a little surprising; mechanical systems are always more twitchy than software, and I set up Curtain fully expecting it to occasionally fail to work properly. I’m still waiting.
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