Aqara Roller Shade driver E1. Are we that lazy? Yes (home automation review)

The Aqara Roller Shade driver E1 easily lifts and lowers roller blinds using an App, voice control, or on-device buttons. It is a straightforward DIY retrofit. There is a model for curtains too.

It is akin to using a remote to change the TV channels. Are we that lazy? Bet your boots we are. OK, Google controls most lighting, TVs, fans/heaters/AC, Arlo security cameras, smart switches, and my home’s Sonos whole-of-home speaker system. When the internet goes down, we are screwed😒.

But back to the Aqara Roller Shade Driver E1. Long story short, we have been suffering a year of major renovations, including replacing all the roller blinds. Two face due east to the Pacific Ocean and walking into the lounge room in the morning can burn your retinas.

These are not small roller blinds – the two cover about five metres and require more than a little effort to raise and lower. Now it is simple, “OK Google, open (or close) the blinds”, and they majestically raise or lower. And we have set it up, so Blind Left and Blind Right can open independently.

Australian Review – Aqara Roller Shade driver E1

WebsiteCompany, or Product, and Manual
Price$119.99 (note that a Zigbee hub is also required)
FromAqara Shop, JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee, Amazon AU
Warranty1-year ACL
Made inChina
CompanyContrary to what you read, Aqara (Est 2016) is not a Xiaomi subsidiary – unlike Roborock (robovacs), Ninebot Segway, Viomi, and Yeelight (among many others). Aqara has been a long-time partner of Xiaomi and manufactures many of Xiaomi’s smart home devices.
It is active in the USA (since 2019) and sells via CE retailers and 45 online Aqara Home stores in more than 192 countries.
The name “Aqara” originated from the Latin words “acutulus” (smart) and “ara”(home). Aqara's vision is to provide customers with comprehensive smart home products and solutions that are beautifully designed, affordable and easy to use.
MoreCyberShack Aqara news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First Impression – Pass+

These are heavy little units containing a motor, rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, and a drive cog – different ones to handle 3-4.5mm and 4.5-6mm plastic or metal roller beads. It is 175mm (H) x 43 x 38.5mm and has fitting hardware. It can also handle beaded Venetian blinds.

They install on the wall replacing any existing lower ‘wheel’. You can then program them with the Up/Down buttons for the fully open and fully closed height, although the App makes this much easier.

Energy use – Pass+

The 7.V/1A/7.4W battery (2S/1P) is charged via a USB-C cable (1.8m USB-A to USB-C cable supplied) with at least a 5V/1A/5W supply. You can use any PD charger as well. A portable power bank is simple and easy to use if the location is not near a power point.

Battery life depends on the use. You should get 60 days and one up/down daily on a 1.8 x 1.8m roller blind. It is too early to give a more accurate battery life, but it uses about 10-15% a week. USB-C charging takes about 2.5 hours.

You can run the driver with a permanent USB-C connection. If you can get one, the battery pack looks replaceable – or use a battery repacking company.

Use with an App or voice control

We used the Aqara G3 Wi-Fi camera as a Zigbee 3 hub. You download the Aqara Home App, initialise the Hub, and then add the roller shade drivers. It was easy.

Users have reported that it works with any Universal Zigbee 3.0 hub and have tested it with Sonoff and Zigbee2Mqtt.

We will later test on other Zigbee 3 hubs, but for now, assume that an Aqara hub work with the Aqara app. The E1 portable hub is $49.99, the M2 Hub is $99.99, the G2H Pro camera Hub is $119.99, and the G3 Camera Hub is $194.99.

App privacy – Pass+

You select the location on app Installation. There are clouds in China, the USA, Europe, Russia, South Korea, and Oceania (likely Singapore).

The Privacy policy is GDPR EU and California CCPA compliant (excellent). Aqara undertakes not to sell or disclose data to third parties. If you link to voice assistants, you are subject to those policies. In all, the policy seems benign.

The Camera Hub G3 is certified by Apple, Google, Amazon< Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT and more to meet security standards and work with all. Matter compatibility is coming.

Speed – Pass

It takes about 40 seconds on 2m blinds (technically 1m per 18 seconds) and has a low-noise operation. That is a little slow, but it does look after the blinds/cog well.

Robust – Pass+

The maximum weight is 5kg (.45Nm torque) with a typical 38mm blind tube diameter. Length limits are those imposed by the weight. We use them with 3m and 2m, semi-opaque, full-height blinds with no issues.

You should weigh the existing blinds first. While that may sound hard, you can call your roller blind supplier, bathroom scales may work, or get a low-cost luggage scale. Or ask if you can return them for a refund if they don’t handle your blinds.

The gearbox uses a mix of Nylon and metal gears (nylon on the worm screw) and metal (for torque). Aqara does not offer spare parts, but we are following up with them.

Manual use – Pass+

The up/down buttons will work for manual use if the battery has a charge.

Wi-Fi is required for Voice assistance and to access the Aqara hub and App.

CyberShack’s view – Aqara Roller Shade driver E1 is for everyone

It is not just for lazy types but for use as part of a smart home for controlling ambient light (and heat). I will experiment with daylight and temperature sensors soon.

I love telling Google to open/close blinds, what percentage I want open/closed, and asking it to open/close the right or left blind.

And it is far kinder to roller blinds than manual use.


Most of the competition comes from motors fitted inside the roller blind top tube. The upside is no chain anymore. The downside is that these generally require permanent 240V power and have no manual way to open/close the blinds.

As far as a retrofit option, it is well supported locally by Aqara.


We have not reviewed roller shade drivers before and have no benchmarks. The ratings below are subjective.

  • Features: 90 – On-device buttons, App and voice use. It seems to have everything.
  • Value: 90- I don’t doubt there are cheaper options, but this seems very well made and a keeper from a company with good local support.
  • Performance: 90 – It has been flawless over the past few weeks. I see no reason that it won’t continue to be.
  • Ease of Use: 85 – It is easy to set up manually and via the App. But the need to spend more on an Aqara Zigbee 3 hub (it may work with other hubs – stay tuned) and
  • Design: 75 – It is functional and bland and could use some fashion makeover for a more modern look.


  • Google, Alexa and Apple HomeKit support
  • Works with existing beaded-cable blinds, and there are models for track curtains
  • Easy to install
  • Reliable performance and decent battery life
  • Physical controls


  • Requires Aqara hub from $49.99
  • Requires regular recharging (easy with USB-C or a power bank)
  • Bland design