2020 Switchbot Review ( robot button pusher), integration through IFTTT or SmartThings app

Sometimes all you need is a button push. :wink: Whether it’s to eject a DVD, open a microwave door, start a dumb air purifier, or start an otherwise really smart television, there are some devices that require a button push.

There are even some smart devices, like the aforementioned televisions, which are really smart once they’re turned on but don’t have a good way to turn them on.

For those of us who really need or really want this, the solution is simple: a tiny actuator like a robot finger.

RIP Microbot Push

As mentioned elsewhere, sadly I can no longer recommend the Naran microbot push as the company seems to be going through a lot of problems, And they have now dropped their IFTTT channel all together. The push was a beautifully engineered little device with a lot of extra features, but I think just too complex to set up and operate for a mass market, whether here or in Asia. I got my own money’s worth out of them since it’s now three years since I bought mine, but I am still sad to see them go.

2019: the mildly improved Switchbot

The best replacement on the market now is the new generation Japanese SwitchBot. This is made to be cheap, and pretty cheaply made. No real features to speak of except a button push or a button hold. It has less force strength than the Microbot. The SwitchBot is rated at 1 kg, but I have found it to be closer to 0.8.

They have re-designed it so now instead of telling you to use a sticker and a bit of fishing line, they give you a nicer looking sticker with a loop and there is a little slot in the SwitchBot “finger“ so it’s easy to attach.

This is still a clunky little device, about 3 inches Square, And you may have to get creative with Sugru to get it to fit where you want it to be.

But it does do what it supposed to: push a button. I think the best use case is for smart TVs which are really smart once they’re turned on, but don’t have a good way to turn on except an IR device like harmony hub. Stick a SwitchBot on the back where the on button is and you solve that problem. :sunglasses:

It’s OK for some of the other things that I use it for, like operating a blender button. It is not strong enough, for example, to flush a toilet even a button operated one. It’s not even strong enough to open some microwave doors.

Also, unlike the microbot, this will not work on capacitive touchscreens. It’s only good for pressing a button that requires a physical press.

SmartThings Integration

Smartthings Integration is pretty good. You do need to have their hub or mini hub to make it work. And you will need to go into the switchbot app and individually approve each device for cloud services to get it to show up in smartthings.

An IR Bonus with the second generation “SwitchBot hub plus”

On the other hand, Speaking of IR, the hub that you need to get for it which will allow you to Integrate it with Google assistant, echo, IFTTT, or the new V3 SmartThings app, now has its own IR blaster, which can be useful for some things like some window air conditioners or other devices that have an IR remote. So that’s a plus if you happen to need that.

The price on the hub has also come down since it was first introduced, although “Cheap” for this device class still doesn’t mean really cheap. Typically the buttons sell for $29 each and the bridge sells for $49. It occasionally goes on sale for about 20% off, or sometimes in a kit from their own website.

Verdict: A solid B

I’m not unhappy with this device, I just don’t love it the way I did the microbot. But it does solve a use case, that can be hard to solve otherwise. in my house, two use cases: The blender and the eject button on the DVD player, which can’t easily be solved any other way without voiding the appliance warranty.

This one requires no wiring, no soldering, no damage to the dumb device. You’re just adding a tiny actuator to push the button.

I give it a solid “B,” especially if you get it on sale.

The following video review is great, and really shows you what it looks like around the house.

would it work for you?

Also, if you’re not sure how much force the buttons around your house would require, see the following FAQ:

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I am using just the Switchbot hub, not the button pusher, to turn on my otherwise smart TV. My TV is one of those models were once it’s turned on you can use voice control with it, but there’s no way to turn it on except by IR or physical button press.

Hi. Is there anyway to use the switchbot JUST with the Logitech Harmony Hub? I dont want to buy the Switchbot Hub as I already have the Harmony Hub. I just want to be able to buy 1 switchbot and connect it with my harmony to be able use to it with Alexa on the internet. Thanks

unfortunately no. :disappointed_relieved: You have to use their hub and their app. I don’t know of any comparable device that would work just with Harmony.

I have seen there are 2 hub. The switchbot hub plus and the switchbot hub mini. Can I use any of them to use the switchbot with Alexa or does it have to be the plus version? Thanks.

You can use either of those two. :sunglasses: The Hub plus also acts as a nightlight, but the home automation features are the same.

WIll the SwitchBot work just with my SmartThings V3 Hub?

or do you need the SwitchBot Hub for any type of 3rd party integration?

I have a ST hub and don’t want to be getting hubs for other devices.

you don’t need the ST hub, but you do need the SwitchBot bridge.

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You need the switchbot hub for any Switchbot third party integration, including IFTTT or SmartThings. It can be either the cloud shaped hub or the mini hub.

As @Automated_House said, you don’t need a smartthings hub because this is a cloud to cloud integration. But the SwitchBots themselves need their own hub in order to reach their own cloud. :sunglasses:

Hi @JDRoberts and @Automated_House, sorry I did a search around the site but couldn’t find anything to help me.
Is there a known way to get switchbot devices to display as momentary buttons in smartthings?
I have all the control I need, however everything displays as an on/off switch, which isn’t great for pressing a volume up button for example.
Thank you if you’re able to point me in the right direction.

Duration is tricky.

Volume Control works well with Alexa for IR deviceS defined as “televisions“ in the Switchbot app, so if you’re in the US you could use an Alexa custom action In an Alexa routine, but that’s a long way around the barn.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GLXY7RFX3L5GH2VR

On a couple of my switchbots I have used the global setting to change them to Long press mode, which means when they are turned on, they press for 10 seconds and then turn off. That works fine for the blender, but it’s actually a really long time for most momentary buttons. It’s probably too long for volume control.

I don’t know if there any other ways, these days I control volume with fire TV and voice, I only use the switchbot hub to turn the TV on or off.

Thank you for your reply. Sorry I should’ve been clearer, I’m talking specifically about IR commands. I’m trying to figure out whether I can get a ‘stereo volume up’ ir command in smartthings to be a stateless button rather than an on off switch.
I don’t use alexa or any voice integration particularly.

I’m going to try installing the Virtual Device Creator smartapp via the IDE and see if I can create some buttons that way. If that doesn’t work I think I should be able to do something using sharptools. Thanks again

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You can use Alexa routines (not SmartThings routines) as automations, you don’t even have to have an echo device. Just an Amazon account and the Alexa app.

It used to work great to have Alexa stand as an intermediary this way, but since the new smartthings skill was introduced in April, it’s been kind of glitchy. But it might be worth a try.

FAQ: Can I trigger an Echo Action without Speaking to It?

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Thank you. I ended up bodging a button out of an ide created virtual switch that webcore automatically resets to off as soon as it’s turned on. That works for my use case! :slight_smile:
I don’t know why I didn’t already try it, as I already had a similar thing set up with the physical switchbot bot that presses the heating boost on my boiler, albeit resets the status to off after an hour (which is the length of my heating boost).
Switchbot is almost such a great device, its 90% of the way there, just needs a tiny bit of dev work when it comes to smartthings integration.

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