C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

In the summertime of 2022, I moved throughout the US from Connecticut to California. I landed in a small, two-bedroom rental home. The home itself was constructed by the proprietor as a pandemic-era undertaking. Since it’s model new building and I’m his first tenant, he’s (understandably) fairly protecting of the home in terms of modifications, care, and cleanliness.

Whereas this isn’t actually an issue for me, it does damper my sensible dwelling ambitions a bit. Due to how the home is designed — mixed with the owner’s watchful eye — I can’t modify a lot about it. Even hanging up artwork requires a particular set of instruments and nails to attenuate wall harm. Granted, most sensible dwelling stuff doesn’t require in depth family modifications, however some merchandise do. Moreover, investing in merchandise particular to this home is a waste of cash as a result of I doubtless wouldn’t want them wherever I find yourself subsequent.

Fortunately, there are corporations specializing in retrofitting sensible merchandise into current houses. Amongst these, SwitchBot helps renters like me make a sensible dwelling that may be quickly put in after which simply uninstalled and repurposed in some unspecified time in the future later. I gave the merchandise a shot on a whim and have been more than happy with the outcomes.

About this text: I examined the SwitchBot Hub, Bot, Meter Plus, and LED Gentle Strip for one month. The models had been supplied by SwitchBot, however SwitchBot had no say within the route or revealed content material.

Do you retrofit your rented dwelling with sensible dwelling gadgets?

3 votes

Sure, I’ve retrofit gadgets.


No, I do not do any retrofitting.


What’s retrofitting?

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

For renters seeking to construct a sensible dwelling, retrofitting is crucial. As a easy instance, putting in a sensible oven in a house you personal is a good way to smarten up your kitchen. Nonetheless, doing this in a rented dwelling in all probability wouldn’t be sensible. On this case, retrofitting the present oven is a neater, cheaper, and extra landlord-friendly method of getting the sensible dwelling options you need.

You would not set up a sensible oven in a rented dwelling. Retrofitting the present oven makes far more sense.

The additional benefit of retrofitting for renters is that you could take the merchandise with you if you go and apply them to your subsequent spot. Going again to the sensible oven instance, why would you make investments tons of and even hundreds of {dollars} in putting in a sensible oven in a house that you simply don’t personal? As a substitute, it’s best to spend money on a reasonable retrofit software after which, if you transfer, take the software with you to your subsequent home or condo.

Retrofitting is SwitchBot’s bread and butter. Right here’s how I’ve included its merchandise into my home.

The SwitchBot instruments I exploit in my home

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

SwitchBot got here on the scene with the SwitchBot Bot, a small mechanical arm that may bodily press a button on an current machine. The Bot connects wirelessly to a hub, permitting you to subject the command from anyplace in or out of your property.

Whereas this appears foolish, I’ve three of those in my dwelling now: one on my printer, one on my gaming PC, and one on my espresso machine. Now I can say, “Hey Google, activate the Gaming PC,” and the hub will inform the little Bot to push the ability button on my PC tower. This works in a similar way for the printer and the espresso machine, each of which aren’t sensible merchandise.

The SwitchBot Bot makes use of a mechanized ‘finger’ to push any button remotely or by way of a sensible dwelling voice command.

I may put a Bot on all manners of gadgets all through my dwelling if I had been so inclined. My oven is already sensible, but when it wasn’t, I may set up a Bot there to show it on and get it pre-heated. Likewise, I may stick one on my washer and dryer, gentle switches, small home equipment, gaming consoles, televisions — just about something with a button on it.

SwitchBot additionally makes a digital temperature and humidity sensor referred to as the Meter Plus, as seen on the high of this text. This machine screens situations inside my dwelling and routinely adjusts my mini-split HVAC unit accordingly utilizing infrared (IR) blasts from the identical hub that controls my Bots. That is terrific as a result of my mini-split is extremely dumb — you may’t even have it activate/off at sure instances! Fortunately, the Meter Plus — which is battery-powered and may be put anyplace in my dwelling and even moved from room to room — automates it while not having to vary the thermostat and even contact the mini-split.

I additionally examined some sensible gentle strips from SwitchBot. As a result of my house is fairly small, placing in lamps takes up an excessive amount of ground house. Likewise, the ceiling lights are all recessed and don’t use conventional bulbs, so turning these into sensible lights could be fairly troublesome and costly. SwitchBot’s gentle strips can go anyplace, comparable to round my full-length mirror. Now the mirror is a brilliant gentle with zero ground house used, no instruments, no wall holes, and solely $20 spent.

See additionally: The very best funds gadgets for constructing a starter sensible dwelling

Sadly, the character of retrofitting signifies that not every part can work in my present dwelling. For instance, I’d like to have the SwitchBot Lock, which makes use of a mechanized motor that manually turns your door’s deadbolt, supplying you with a retrofitted sensible door lock. Nonetheless, my entrance door is a bizarre design that requires the deal with to be pulled upwards to lock, so SwitchBot’s answer isn’t appropriate with it. I’d even be everywhere in the SwitchBot Curtain Rod 2, which opens and closes your horizontal curtains by rolling alongside the bar. Nonetheless, my dwelling doesn’t have curtains, so that is one other product I can’t use.

There are two new SwitchBot merchandise coming quickly, although, that I’ve my eye on.

SwitchBot at CES 2023: Extra retrofit options

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

At CES 2023, the SwitchBot sales space had two new merchandise, each of which I’m excited to get.

The primary is the SwitchBot Blind Tilt. This sensible software connects to the rod that you simply flip to tilt your blinds. It turns it for you and helps all the opposite SwitchBot smarts. This may allow me to open or shut the blinds with a voice command or have them routinely open/shut based mostly on the temperature in the home, the time of day, or many different variables.

The SwitchBot Hub 2 will mix three gadgets into one, and the Blind Tilt will make my ‘dumb’ blinds into sensible blinds.

The opposite new product is the SwitchBot Hub 2. This Matter-capable hub is definitely three merchandise in a single. It replaces the hub I already use in addition to the Meter Plus. It additionally incorporates a sensible button, which I may program to carry out any variety of features or routines. Plus, because it’s Matter-capable, I can even use it to manage different non-SwitchBot merchandise — as soon as Matter turns into extra ubiquitous, anyway.

When you’re a renter, I extremely suggest maintaining a tally of what SwitchBot is doing. Changing your property’s blinds, curtains, lights, door locks, home equipment, and many others., with sensible merchandise may be nice for householders, however renters want cheaper and fewer everlasting options. A retrofit machine may make your life simpler and even prevent some money.


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