A beginner's guide to living in a Xiaomi smart home

The best Xiaomi smart home devices you can buy right now

Living in a Xiaomi smart home
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Way back in 2018, Xiaomi announced that it was bringing its smart home tech to the western world, when it revealed that three devices would be landing at international stores – the Mi Bedside Lamp, the Mi LED Smart Bulb and the Mi Smart Plug.

Those devices, and a few new additions, are now available through Xiaomi's dedicated Amazon store front. With Alexa and Google Assistant in the mix ,it's clear that Xiaomi has plans to be a major smart home player outside of China.

However, you'd be a fool to think that Xiaomi is a newcomer to the smart home party. A damned fool. Over in China there's an absolute mountain of connected Xiaomi gadgetry on sale.

And by mountain, we mean mountain: there are more than 30 security cameras, five smart fridge models, four smart speakers, a couple of connected washing machines, ten robot vacuum cleaners… you get the idea.

Xiaomi has even teamed up with big western names – Philips and Honeywell to name a few – for co-branded smart home devices.

And its former subsidiaries and big name brands it is involved with - think Roborock and Yeelight - all play nicely within the Xiaomi Mi Home ecosystem, as well.

Buying Xiaomi tech direct from China

The good news is that you don't have to wait for Xiaomi to drip feed us these goodies – you can order them directly from China right now, using dedicated retailers like Gearbest, who make it easy to import stuff, with local currencies, worldwide shipping costs and delivery times all clearly stated.

Now, there are a couple of caveats here. Often the instruction manuals in the box will be in Chinese and you'll also have to do a bit of faffing in the Mi app to get things up and running.

The flip side to that is saving a ton of money. Xiaomi products are ever increasing in quality, and devices are often less than half the price of – and better performing than – their bigger name rivals.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

The Xiaomi Mi Home app

The Mi Home app is a strange and curious beast. When signing in, you have to select your region. And what you choose here really impacts on what devices you can sync with the app. Our advice – choose 'Mainland China' here and any device you buy should be available for selection when you attempt to add a device to the mix.

You could play it safe here and choose 'Europe' or 'US', and be guaranteed a 100% English language experience… but where's the fun in that? The chances are that you'll also struggle to find your newly imported Xiaomi device listed for addition.

If you take our advice and go with 'Mainland China' you might find the odd screen or menu in Chinese but, on the whole (with the English version of the Mi Home app, at least), you shouldn't have too many issues.

Like any good smart home ecosystem, the app also lets you set rules and routines, although getting stuff to work outside of the Mi platform (even if Alexa compatibility is stated) is often more hassle than it's worth.

Anyways, enough build up – let's get onto the main event. Here's our pick of the best Xiaomi smart home devices to buy now…

The best Xiaomi smart home devicesLiving in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Mi Home Security Camera

$39.99, Amazon

This is the version of the Mi Home camera that's been made available to westerners. There are heavier spec'd versions (more than 20 of them, as we mentioned above) on sale but, for simplicity and for an absolute bargain, look no further than this sub-$40 security cam.

Boasting Full HD recording, a 130° ultra-wide angle lens, a 10m infrared range, night vision, intelligent detection and two-way voice communication, it really is a heck of a lot of bang for your buck.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Yeelight WiFi LED Bulb

$19.99, Amazon

In collaboration with Yi Technology, Xiaomi's Philips Hue rival is officially available outside of China now and is available for E27 or E26 sockets.

With a colour temperature range of 1700K to 6500K, these lights – like Lifx – don't require a separate hub and can be controlled using Alexa and Google Assistant. There's a dedicated Yeelight app for controls, although they work just fine in the Mi Home app too.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Mi Smart Home Gateway 2

$29.99, Gearbest

You'll need this smart home hub in order to control the vast array of Xiaomi smart home sensors. It plugs straight into the mains (you'll need an adapter), and doesn't need to be connected via Ethernet, so is about as hassle free a hub as you could hope for.

It also doubles up as a radio, an alarm, a speaker, a doorbell notifier and a night light… but good luck making use of those features unless you can read Chinese.

A beginner's guide to living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Roborock S4

$399.99, Amazon

Roborock is a Xiaomi-backed company, with an ever-increasing army of great robot vacuum cleaners. The entry-level Roborock S4 brings a select collection of features from higher-tier models, such as the flagship Roborock S6, but at a more affordable price point.

Guide: Roborock robot vacuum cleaners compared

Roborock's most inexpensive smart robot vacuum is anything but cheap, however, offering unmatched value with a performance that belies its price tag. For those who just want the best automated clean without any navigation faff, there's simply nothing at this price point that comes close.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Smart Bluetooth Switch


If you've got a bunch of Xiaomi smart home tech and you're finding the app a bit too fiddly, then you can simplify quite a lot by splashing out(!) for this smart home button.

This Zigbee button doesn't have the multi-platform skills of some of its pricier rivals but does give you one-tap controls for your Xiaomi smart plugs, switches and lamps.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Mijia Honeywell Fire Alarm Detector


One of, if not the, cheapest smart smoke alarms available, but the Honeywell branding should give you the reassurance you need that it's up to the task.

That task, obviously, is detecting smoke and raising an alarm. That alarm is on the device itself – as per any dumb smoke alarm – but it's when paired with the app (via the Smart Home Gateway) that things become smart. You can get alerts on your phone and you can also perform health checks from within the app.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Mijia Philips Eyecare Smart Lamp 2


Xiaomi's second collaboration with Philips resulted in the funky looking Lamp 2, which offers gesture as well as smartphone controls.

The lamp has a built-in sensor and uses a light calibration algorithm, so when it starts to get dark it automatically enters Smart Night Light mode. Annoyingly though, it won't show up in the Hue app.

Living in a Xiaomi smart home

Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier Pro

$249, Gearbest

Almost inaudible, the Xiaomi purifier works in spaces up to 60 square metres. There's an OLED display that shows the current air quality reading, with Xiaomi showing a PM2.5 concentration scale for particulate matter, along with both temperature and humidity readings.

It has a triple layer 360-degree filter, with a PET pre-filter, an EPA filter and an activated carbon filter, and its makers state it can clean 500 cubic metres in an hour. It also features a laser particle sensor that's capable of spotting particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter.

A beginner's guide to living in a Xiaomi smart home

Aqara Smart Home Starter Kit

$69.99, Amazon

Aqara is a spin off of the Mi brand for the US market. Self-owned, but under the Xiaomi company Lumi Technology, Aqara recently started selling its excellent collection of smart home sensors and gadgets through Amazon.

A Zigbee-powered system, Aqara relies on a central hub that works with Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant, and can expose all of Aqara's battery-powered sensors and smart gadgets (up to 32 per hub) to your voice-controlled smart home system of choice.

The hardware on the other hand is top notch and follows Xiaomi's ethos of selling devices with top-of-the-line specs and hardware for rock bottom prices. Simple and sturdy, all white and nicely made, Aqara's sensors and switches aren't showy devices, they're designed to blend in while still being functional, and by and large they are simple to set up and install.

Check out our comprehensive Aqara smart home review for more information.

TAGGED    smart home

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