If you want to expand your smart home today or even set it up in the first place, you have the choice between a large number of manufacturers and systems. The prices are partly beyond good and evil, especially if you want to rely on Apple’s HomeKit solution. But there are alternatives from Asia that don’t quite go for the money, including the Aqara. That offers a lot of Zigbee sensors for different purposes and also a HomeKit hub, which I looked at for you next to a few sensors.
Let’s get to the smart hub first, because without it you can’t integrate Aqara sensors into HomeKit. There are two different versions, one under the Mi brand that works with both Mi sensors and Aqara accessories, and one Aqara hub that works only with Aqara sensors. I have the latter in use.
The setup is quickly explained and HomeKit-typical. You put the device into a box of your choice, wait a while, open the Home App and scan the QR code or enter the HomeKit code. That’s it. A total of two different devices will land directly in your HomeKit: A lamp, because the hub can also be used as a night light and a security system with a really loud siren.
So that you can use the full potential of the hub, you also need the Aqara Home app to set up the security system. Because only there you can do the firmware update, which is needed to activate the siren, but more about that. You can control the night light like a normal lamp in the home app. Color and brightness can be set, time related you can activate the light via the night scenes.
Door and window sensor
As with other window and door sensors, this is a two-part sensor. The small part is attached to the window or door frame and the larger part is glued right next to it. So that you don’t do anything wrong here, there is a mark on the side that helps you with the alignment. Both markings must be at the same height.
If you have glued the sensor(s), you can now connect each sensor to the hub bit by bit. The process is quickly done via the Aqara Home app. You select the hub to which the sensor should be connected, press the small button on the sensor until the small LED flashes blue, wait a little and the process is finished. The sensor can then also be found in the home app and can be reused there in scenes.
Aqara also offers a water leak sensor. Why do I need it? Anyone who has ever had a hose burst at the dishwasher or washing machine will know what can happen if the leak is not noticed in time. That’s exactly what this part is for, it detects flooding and notifies you.
Also here the installation is simple. Add an accessory in the Aqara Home app, press in the middle of the sensor until the LED starts flashing, wait, done. Now you can see the status of the sensor in the home app and activate a notification if there is a leak.
If water is detected, you will get an info about it and can inform your neighbour directly or rush into the apartment yourself if you are not at home.
Temperature and humidity sensor
Let’s get to the last sensor I bought. Aqara temperature humidity sensor measures temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure and is especially useful if you want to use Siri to query things in certain rooms. Eve Room is a similar product at a multiple of the price, but comes with a display. It’s up to you to decide whether you need it or not. I think it’s enough to give Siri some information or look in the home app.
The setup works in the same way as the other sensors via the app. Right after that you can see the corresponding values in the home app or ask Siri.
Setting up the security system
In addition to the night light, the hub also contains a siren that you can activate via scenes. First you create an automation that activates the system when the last person has left the house. Alternatively, you can do this on a scheduled basis or manually.
So that the siren also goes off when a window or a door is opened, you still have to go to the hub settings in the Aqara Home app and set the alert trigger devices there. Here you select the doors or sensors that are critical, i.e. balcony and front doors and windows that could be potential entrance hatches. Once this is done and the system is activated, the siren goes off as soon as a sensor detects an unauthorised opening.
Aqara Hub and Sensors – A Conclusion
Since I have the Aqara gadgets in operation, I personally cannot say anything negative about it. I especially like the fact that these things are really small and don’t work with bulky sensors like Devolo, for example. Since you use Zigbee as a transmission path, you can also use the sensors well with other systems. They also react quickly and send the status quickly to the HomeKit control center.
The fact that the hub not only offers a hub, but also a night light and a safety system is a nice gimmick that can be used for scenes or automation. You can’t do anything wrong with the price anyway, you save a lot compared to its competitor products.
Do you have any questions or are you already using Aqara products? Leave a comment here.