So a while (couch) ago I posted on /r/homeautomation asking about Xiaomi Wall switches, I had a couple of questions before I was going to get them for my new house. Well… now it is 3 months later and I finally decided to report back on my findings! I will apologize for the delay because I definitely didn’t report back as quick as I’ve wanted. Now that’s out of the way, lets go!
*Safety Disclaimer: I’m by no means a professional but all the installment was done by friends who had knowledge about the topic, please don’t install a switch like this if you don’t know what you’re doing, stay safe!*
*Shill Disclaimer: I’m not sponsored by Gearbest to review this product. I’ve bought a lot of Xiaomi smart home stuff from Gearbest and in my opinion they’re the fastest and cheapest (I’ve heard a lot of different opinions tho). The links are referral links (clicks = I get points on their site) BUT the only reason for this is to buy more products to review!*
edit: For the switch to work you need the Xiaomi Gateway, this gateway has a Chinese/AU plug so you need a adapter if you don’t have this kind of plug at home. This gateway can support up to 30 devices and AFAIK you can’t use the switch directly without it.
I’ve ordered a Xiaomi Aqara Double Key Wall Switch (Phew what a mouthful) from Gearbest.com (is a reputable site which I’ve placed more than 15+ order), the switch is very interesting because it is a Zigbee switch that is compatible with a lot of home automation software for only 25 euro. It was delivered in about two weeks which I was pretty happy about. It was packaged very professionally (like every Xiaomi product) and the unboxing was pretty straightforward. It included:
- The actual switch
- 4 screws
- Manual (in Chinese)
For me it didn’t really matter the manual was in Chinese, they have an English manual online which provides all the information I needed. The real problem was that the switch is made for square wallboxes and in the Netherlands we use round boxes. The square that sticks out on the back is 5.7 by 5.7 cm and the depth is 2.7 cm, I’ve found some square wall boxes that are 6 by 6 so those would fit perfectly.
So I had to make ‘room’ for the square box to fit in the round box. First I had to remove my ‘ol trusty switch that was ugly as hell. You might ask: ‘why would I buy a double key switch if I only have a single key now?’ Because I thought (potential spoiler) that I could only connect the wires for a single key and the other key would just be programmable (for other automation’s), sadly enough I had to find this out the hard way.
After I made the space I took apart the switch and installed it on the wallbox.
After I connected it and turned the electricity back on, it made a ‘zip’ sound and the red light was blinking, apparently it overloaded and I’m lucky that the switch shut itself down. For some reason I just couldn’t get it working and after I few headaches I decided to stop fiddling with it and ask Gearbest. After contacting the Gearbest support (which I should’ve done way earlier) they told me that if I want to use a double key switch, it has to be actually connected to two switches. So I went to their site and this time I actually bought a single key switch (which, for some reason, costs more than the double key). The setup was exactly the same as the double key but after I had installed the single key switch it worked out of the box! After I paired it with the the Xiaomi Home app it was all set up and ready to go, it’s even compatible with Home Assistant 🙂 It has a very satisfying click whenever you push it, you can even hear the click when you toggle it via the app (maybe some people won’t like this).
So after a stupid decision with the double key switch and molesting my wall box, would I still recommend this product? I definitely would. The switch looks so damn clean, it works on Zigbee and the click is very very satisfying, the Xiaomi Home app is alright but so much stuff is still in Chinese even tho this is one of the biggest tech companies out there?! You can get the single key for 25 euro and the double key for 23 euro (sometimes even cheaper on sales @Gearbest), the only thing that holds me back on calling this the best bang for your buck switch is the fact that you need a square wall box to mount it. I made it ‘work’ for a round box, but not the way I would like. If for some reason Xiaomi would decide to make these for round wall boxes I would buy 15 of these and put them all over in my house, until that happens I can still recommend it to people with square wall boxes or people willing to sacrifice their wall box for it (or an alternative solution).