SwitchBot Blind Tilt Review: Automate Your Existing Blinds

switchbot blind tilt installed with a title pinterest pin

One of the things I really wish I had done when I moved into this house was install blinds that could be automated. Alas, with so many things to think of when building an in-progress new construction home, I missed out at the time. Blinds are expensive, and I don’t want to replace them just for automation. Enter the SwitchBot Blind Tilt. It’s relatively affordable, doesn’t require special wiring, and can integrate with Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri Shortcuts, and Home Assistant. But how well does it work?

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item using an affiliate link I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Affiliates do not influence my recommendations. Read my disclosures for more information.

Editor’s Note: SwitchBot provided me with the Blind Tilt and SwitchBot Hub Mini free of charge. However, this in no way affects my review. These are my honest opinions.

Description and specifications

SwitchBot Blind Tilt Motorized Blinds – Smart Electric Blinds with Bluetooth Remote Control, Solar Powered, Light Sensing Control, Add Hub Mini to Make it Compatible with Alexa & Google Home
  • Makes Retrofitting Blinds Easy: SwitchBot Blind Tilt removes the need to replace existing louvers, and with simple installation, you can make your blinds smart instantly.
  • Endless Solar Battery Life: Our smart blinds feature a built-in 2000mAh lithium battery, and includes a solar panel for endless environmentally-friendly charging.
  • Precise Alignment Control: SwitchBot Blind Tilt uses a customized high-precision motor to allow for blind adjustments to the closest 2°. It also includes a built-in light sensor to automatically adjust to help you maintain a constant light intensity depending on the light outside.

The SwitchBot Blind Tilt works with the blinds you already have. If you have the kind of slat blinds that open and close using a hanging rod (see pictures of mine later in this article) then this will work for you.

Note that my blinds tilt using a hanging rod. Meaning they can close up or down and open anywhere in between. The rod doesn’t raise or lower the entire blind, it just opens the slats.

Editor’s Note: You can purchase any of the SwitchBot devices in this article from Amazon or directly from SwitchBot. If you purchase directly from SwitchBot, use the code 10UPAH6B6ZMVFK for a 10% discount.

Specifications

Here are some key specs about the Blind Tilt:

Size:48.8 × 29.2 × 144.2 mm (1.9 × 1.1 × 5.7 in.)
Weight:130 g (4.6 oz.)
Material:ABS with Anti-UV coating
Humidity Range: 10% to 95% RH
Temperature Range: −10 ºC to 45 ºC (14 ºF to 113 ºF)
Power:Type-C, DC 5V ⎓ 1A; 2000 mAh lithium battery
Battery Life:Approx. 10 months or almost unlimited with the Solar Panel
Mobile Compatibility:Android 5.0+, iOS 11.0+, watchOS 2.2+
Bluetooth:Proprietary power-saving BLE (> 5.0) with mesh support
Third-Party Services:Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts, IFTTT, SmartThings, Line Clova, Home Assistant, Matter (via SwitchBot Hub 2)
Modes:Silent Mode / Performance Mode
SwitchBot Blind Tilt Specifications

A few things I’d like to point out about the specs:

  • This is a Bluetooth device. The phone controlling the blinds will need to be in Bluetooth range. However, if you buy the SwitchBot Hub Mini or SwitchBot Hub 2, you can control it from anywhere. But, the hub will need to be in Bluetooth range of the Blind Tilt.
  • It uses USB-C (yay!) for its power connection. SwitchBot provides you with a USB-C solar charger, or you can just plug it in every 10 months or so and recharge it with the provided USB-C cable (you’ll need your own power brick, though).
  • I mentioned in the introduction that it works with Home Assistant, but I didn’t list Home Assistant in the third-party services. More on how to get it to work with Home Assistant later. It works with Home Assistant as of release 2023.3. You can also add it to Home Assistant via the SwitchBot Hub 2 Matter bridge.
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My blinds are large and heavy. Using the rod to open and close them by hand is sometimes difficult. I was concerned about this device working with my blinds, but as you’ll read below, it works!

Installation

Things that came with the Blind Tilt

App set up

Installation may look a little daunting at first, but it is actually straightforward. The first thing to do is download the SwitchBot app and create an account if you haven’t already. You’ll need this to calibrate the Blind Tilt and control it. Use the app instructions to add the Blind Tilt to your SwitchBot account.

The app provides instructions for installing it both in written and in video form. The written instructions are the same as the printed instructions that come with the device. The video looked promising, but it often froze when I tried to fast-forward and rewind, so I gave up on using the video. Fortunately, the written instructions work fine.

Installing the hardware onto the blind

Next, you measure the thickness of the blind rod (the instructions call it a “blind wand”) by using the provided measurement tape. This will indicate which adapter you’ll need to attach to the rod to work with the coupling the Blind Tilt uses to turn the rod.

They provide a guide that helps you install the Blind Tilt. It helps you locate where the mounting base should be installed relative to the blind rod. It also shows you how far down you need to install the coupling. This is important because the spacing needs to be accurate for the Blind Tilt to properly clamp onto the rod. You could measure or eyeball it, but the guide makes it a snap.

You’ll have a few options for where to install the mounting base, depending on how your blinds are built and where the rod is located. In my case, I installed the Blind Tilt mounting base on the right side of the rod using the provided adhesive and had to rotate the USB-C power cord as it defaults to a left-side installation. You can see the result below:

SwitchBot Blind Tilt installed without solar charging panel.

My blinds have a sliding cover on the gearbox. After installing the solar charger on the window (using the provided adhesive again) I was able to slide the cover back over to cover the mounting bracket and charging cord to finish the install:

SwitchBot Blind Tilt final installation

If your blinds don’t have that type of cover, SwitchBot provides a base cover that makes the installation look clean. And, if the adhesive isn’t strong enough for your surface, mounting screws are provided.

Calibration and usage

Calibration with the app is a snap. The app prompts you manually turn the rod so the blinds close up, close down, and open fully. This is how the Blind Tilt knows how many times to twist the rod to get to different positions. You can recalibrate it at any time if you think it isn’t accurate.

See also  SwitchBot Outdoor Spotlight Camera Review

The Blind Tilt motor has a silent mode and a performance mode. The silent mode is, you guessed it, quieter but it takes longer to open and close the blinds. It seems to struggle a little with my blinds in quiet mode, so I use performance, and I don’t find it annoyingly loud. It is only for a couple of seconds anyway.

You can use the app to open the blinds as much as you’d like and to close the blinds up and down. In addition to shortcut buttons, there is a convenient slider that commands the app to move the blinds. It also shows you the status of the blinds. Additionally, the app status updates when you manually open and close the blinds with your hand. I found this to be really cool for some odd reason :).

SwitchBot App screen for controlling the Blind Tilt

SwitchBot Blind Tilt in action

The SwitchBot App has a powerful automation engine. You can schedule your blinds to open and close based on the time of day. You can also enable light sensing, whereby you can have the Blind Tilt open and close your blinds based on how much light it is sensing.

Remember, your mobile device needs to be in Bluetooth range to control the blinds. If you want to control the blinds using Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or outside of Bluetooth range then you need to get the SwitchBot Mini Hub or the Matter-enabled SwitchBot Hub 2.

SwitchBot Hub Mini Smart Remote – IR Blaster, Link SwitchBot to Wi-Fi (Support 2.4GHz), Control TV, Air Conditioner, Compatible with Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT
  • Easy to use – Easy to set up the Hub Mini in SwitchBot App. With “Smart learning” mode, it can mimic your existing remote control in 5s. 5V 1A/2A USB-powered and portable, you can take & place it everywhere. (*SwitchBot Hub Mini only support 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.)
  • One for all – Pair your air conditioner, TV, and other infrared appliances to the Hub Mini. All devices in ONE App. Enjoy the convenience at fingertips. To check compatible brands and models please see the Compatibility Guide (PDF) located under “Product Guides and Documents” at the bottom of this page.
  • Your “Mini” step to a smart home – It’s the gateway of SwitchBot ecosystem. Connect all SwitchBot devices and home appliances to the Internet, enable the Cloud Service of your SwitchBot devices. Start building up your own smart home with SwitchBot!

The Hubs can make other SwitchBot devices like the button pusher, curtain motor, and smart lock controllable via the cloud and your favorite smart assistants. Just remember that the hub needs to be in the Bluetooth range of the devices to control them.

Additionally, The Hub Mini is also an IR blaster, allowing it to control many appliances and other devices that are controlled by an IR remote. I already have a device for this, so I didn’t use this feature.

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Integrating with Google Assistant

I found the hub to work great for controlling the blinds remotely and integrating it with Google Assistant. Although Google doesn’t seem to be able to directly control the device (at the time of writing this article), you can set up scenes in the SwitchBot app to accomplish whatever you need.

For example, you can set up scenes to close the blinds up and down, and open them a certain percentage. However, telling google to execute the commands is a little awkward with scenes. If you name a scene “Close Blinds” you have to tell Google “Turn on Close Blinds.”

Adding to Home Assistant

Editor’s Note. As of Home Assistant release 2023.3, the SwitchBot Blind Tilt is supported! Although the instructions below work, you can get a much more robust integration with the Blind Tilts using the SwitchBot Home Assistant integration. It keeps track of and allows you to set the position at a much more granular level, and even gives you battery status. Also, the SwitchBot Hub 2 can act as a Matter bridge, allowing you to add this to Home Assistant via Matter.

Everything smart in my home has to integrate with Home Assistant. Although this device doesn’t directly integrate with Home Assistant as of the time of writing this article, you do have a few options:

  • You can use an ESP32 chip and ESPHome to control the Blind Tilt locally via Bluetooth. See this post for details.
  • SwitchBot provides a cloud-based API. You can use Home Assistant’s REST capabilities to interact with the API. You’ll need to integrate this device with a SwitchBot Hub and turn on cloud capabilities.
  • If you get a SwitchBot hub and integrate it with Google Assistant, you can control it via the Google Assistant SDK.
  • You can wait for full direct integration with Home Assistant. Other SwitchBot devices integrate directly and this one is probably in the works. But, your Home Assistant device will need to have Bluetooth capabilities and be in proximity of the blinds.

For now, I chose to go with the Google Assistant SDK. I won’t go over the details of setting up this integration as you can find them in the article I linked above. Using the scripts and an input boolean entity I created a template cover in Home Assistant to represent the blinds. The details of what I did are below.

Open and close scripts

In order to use this method you need to create scenes in the SwitchBot App that open and close the blinds. In my case, I named the scenes “Open Blinds” and “Close Blinds” respectively.

open_office_blinds:
  alias: "Open Office Blinds"
  sequence:
    - service: google_assistant_sdk.send_text_command
      data:
        command: turn on Open Blinds
    - service: input_boolean.turn_on
      target:
        entity_id: input_boolean.office_blinds_open

close_office_blinds:
  alias: "Close Office Blinds"
  sequence:
    - service: google_assistant_sdk.send_text_command
      data:
        command: turn on Close Blinds
    - service: input_boolean.turn_off
      target:
        entity_id: input_boolean.office_blinds_open

The template cover uses the input boolean to indicate whether or not the blinds are open. Note, you can create more scenes in the SwitchBot app for opening halfway, closing different directions, etc., and associate them with Home Assistant scripts. These are just the ones I used for the template cover below:

- platform: template
  covers:
    office_blinds:
      device_class: blind
      friendly_name: "Office Blinds"
      value_template: "{{ is_state('input_boolean.office_blinds_open','on') }}"
      open_cover:
        service: script.turn_on
        data:
          entity_id: script.open_office_blinds
      close_cover:
        service: script.turn_on
        data:
          entity_id: script.close_office_blinds

Then it shows up as an entity in Home Assistant that looks like this:

Home Assistant Blinds Entity (cover)

I guess since I made the cover just open and close, I technically could have just used a template switch. Either will work!

The only downside to this way of integrating the Blinds into Home Assistant is that if you operate the blinds manually or via the app, Home Assistant has no way of knowing the status of the blinds has changed. But, it will update the status as soon as you use it in Home Assistant again.

Final thoughts

I first heard of SwitchBot when they created the SwitchBot Smart Switch button pusher, which was a simple but ingenuitive device that could press a button (like a light switch). I’ve written reviews of their remote, smart meter plus, button pusher (bot), outdoor spotlight camera, robot vacuum, and indoor/outdoor multisensor that you should check out.

The SwitchBot Blind Tilt is one of the first Matter-enabled devices available if you pair it with the SwitchBot Hub 2. They’ve come a long way with multiple products and an entire ecosystem including the SwitchBot Blind Tilt. Keep your eye on this company. They have been coming out with some great products.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this device. It will be nice to be able to automate my blinds, and in the summer it makes a huge difference. I thought I was going to have to manually (DIY) add motors to my blinds or replace them entirely to automate them, but the SwitchBot Blind Tilt rescued me (and is much less expensive). I probably need to buy a few more to automate the other blinds on this floor that face the sun most of the day.

Do you have the SwitchBot Blind Tilt or a similar device? Let me know about it on Twitter or in the comments.

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SwitchBot Blind Tilt Review: Automate Your Existing Blinds

by HomeTechHacker time to read: 9 min