While Bluetooth is the default mode for direct control, Wi-Fi and Infrared connectivity are possible with a SwitchBot Hub. The integration of the Matter standard further improves SwitchBot’s compatibility with other smart devices.
SwitchBot’s range of devices is great for budget-friendly home automation. But there’s a caveat; do they work with Wi-Fi and smart assistants like Google Home and Alexa?
I’ve seen users struggle to get them to work with Infrared (IR) too.
I’ve compiled this short guide on all of SwitchBot’s connectivity options. The short answer is: yes, they work with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and IR, but you’ll need a separate Hub to make them work their best. Plus, they now support Matter too, so keep reading.
Does SwitchBot Connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Infrared?
SwitchBot devices like the Bot, Meter, and Curtain Rod 2 connect to your phone via Bluetooth by default. However, with the help of a SwitchBot Hub, they can also connect via Wi-Fi. The Hub also supports Infrared devices like TVs and Air Cons.
This flexible approach lets you control your SwitchBot devices in various ways, depending on your specific needs and the setup of your smart home ecosystem.
A Detailed Breakdown of SwitchBot’s Connectivity Options
Understanding these various connectivity options will help you make the most of your SwitchBot devices, so let’s get right into it.
Bluetooth Connectivity with SwitchBot
The basic connection method for SwitchBot devices is Bluetooth. This is the default mode that comes with the SwitchBot app, and it allows you to control your devices directly.
SwitchBot’s reasoning behind having most of their devices with Bluetooth-only connection is that it is low energy, leading to longer battery life. Plus, it’s cheaper too.
One of the main advantages of Bluetooth is its simplicity. You don’t need much technical know-how to pair your SwitchBot device with your smartphone. Just open the SwitchBot app, press the add device button, and follow the instructions from the app.
Another benefit is that you don’t need any additional networking: even if your WiFi router is down, or your internet is facing issues, you can still control your devices with ease.
However, Bluetooth’s main drawback is its range. Generally, Bluetooth has a limited range, usually around 100 meters (330 feet) in open space. But in a typical home, with walls and other obstacles, the effective range can be much less.
So if you want to control your SwitchBot Bot or Curtain Rod using Bluetooth, you may need to be in the same room as the device.
Another downside of Bluetooth connectivity is that it doesn’t allow for internet remote control (outside the home) or integration with other smart home ecosystems. These features are only available through a Wi-Fi connection, which you need the SwitchBot Hub for.
Wi-Fi Connectivity with SwitchBot
Wi-Fi connectivity is the cornerstone of a smart home. The beauty of Wi-Fi lies in its ability to provide remote control over your SwitchBot devices.
However, Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t built directly into SwitchBot devices. Instead, you’ll need to buy the SwitchBot Hub, which acts as a bridge. It connects all your SwitchBot gadgets to the internet, giving you a lot more functionality.
With the Hub enabled and Wi-Fi connected, you can manage your Bots and Locks from anywhere in the world, as long as you have internet access.
It also allows you to integrate everything into your smart home ecosystem, so you can control everything with Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, or Google Home. So you can use voice commands, set up automation routines, and more.
But Wi-Fi connectivity does have its caveats. The first one is that you need to buy a SwitchBot Hub. Whether you need the Hub 2, or if the Hub Mini will work, depends on your needs. Nonetheless, it’s an extra expense.
Another concern is that it depends on the reliability of your Wi-Fi router and internet connection. If your network goes down, you won’t be able to use the Hub to control your devices. But you can still use Bluetooth in these cases.
There’s another slight issue: if you have a really large home, or a very open layout with rooms spread all across, then one Hub may not be enough. That’s because the Hub still connects to each device via Bluetooth, so it may fall short over long distances. So you may need to add 2 or more Hubs in this case.
Infrared Connectivity with SwitchBot
Infrared connectivity is a key feature that sets SwitchBot apart from many other smart home devices. Once you set up a SwitchBot Hub, you can control other devices in your home that use IR signals, such as your TV, air conditioner, or even an old stereo system.
The Hub acts as an IR blaster, receiving commands from your phone and then transmitting them as IR signals to the appliance. It’s just like a universal remote. So you can basically take your old, ‘dumb’ appliances and make them smart using the Hub!
You can also set up routines and automation scenes, like with other devices. The Hub really is true to its name: it becomes a central hub where you can control your entire home in one place.
For example: with the Hub 2’s in-built temperature sensor, you can use that as a trigger to turn your aircon on or off. Or just set up a time-based schedule for it.
However, the biggest challenge is that infrared signals require a clear line of sight to work. This means that the Hub must be placed in a position where it can ‘see’ the infrared receiver of the appliance it’s controlling. So it can’t penetrate any walls or obstacles.
Matter Connectivity with SwitchBot
Matter is an open-source, unified standard for smart home devices backed by industry giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon. It’s meant to increase compatibility between all smart gadgets.
SwitchBot has already started integrating the Matter standard with the Hub 2. They’re updating all their devices, even the old ones, to be Matter-compatible. This is good news if you want to build a better smart home ecosystem.
For instance, you can sync Bluetooth-only SwitchBot devices with Apple Home. Products like the Curtain, Lock, and Blind Tilt are officially supported by Hub 2 with Matter, and more are being updated.
We’re yet to see all the potential benefits of Matter as its adoption has been a bit slow, but hopefully, it’ll have increased privacy and security as well.
Other Important Features of the SwitchBot Hub 2
The SwitchBot Hub 2 isn’t just about connectivity and bridging the Bluetooth-only devices; it packs several other useful features that improve the usability of your SwitchBot devices and your overall smart home experience.
The Hub 2 comes with built-in humidity, temperature, and light sensors, all displayed on a big LED screen. So you can easily place it in a central location and monitor your home’s environment. You can even set up automations using these measurements.
It also has programmable buttons, so you can set up some scenes and use them quickly whenever you need to.
Can SwitchBot work without Wi-Fi?
Yes, SwitchBot can work without Wi-Fi. The devices use Bluetooth for direct control, allowing you to operate them even without a Wi-Fi network or internet connection. However, to control your SwitchBot devices outside your home or to integrate them with your smart home ecosystem, you will need the SwitchBot Hub, which uses Wi-Fi.
Can SwitchBot control non-smart devices?
Yes, the SwitchBot can control non-smart devices like TVs and air conditioners using the Hub. It packs an IR blaster that can send Infrared signals to these old appliances, but you can use your phone to control them from anywhere. Just make sure the Hub is placed in the direct line of sight of the devices.
What is Matter connectivity in SwitchBot?
Matter is a new universal standard for home automation. It allows for more seamless communication between different smart home systems, as well as more privacy and security. SwitchBot has started integrating this with the Hub 2, and eventually, it will work with all your devices.
Does SwitchBot work with Apple HomeKit?
Yes, SwitchBot does work with Apple HomeKit if you have the Hub 2. Since it supports Matter, you can connect it with HomeKit. If you run into any syncing issues, you may try using HomeBridge.
So, in a nutshell: SwitchBot devices normally use Bluetooth for direct connection with your phone. Most of their devices don’t have any Wi-Fi capability of their own. If you want to connect to them via Wi-Fi, you’ll need a SwitchBot Hub. This also adds Infrared support. Plus, you also get the benefits of the new Matter standard.
The choice of connectivity depends on your setup. For some, the Hub may seem like an unnecessary add-on. But for many, including me, it’s a handy gadget that makes it easy to control everything quickly and conveniently. Isn’t that what smart homes are about?