Do I Need an Aqara M3 (or similar) IF I have a HomePod mini?

My first Smart Home experience was anything but Smart.

I purchased a whole bunch of WiFi bulbs, put them all over the place, then watched my already so so WiFi network bog down and the bulbs work horribly.

I later learned that you really want a hub that run on a different frequency.

And recently, I’ve been hearing about Thread, which sounds like it works a bit differently. If I’m understanding correctly, it is still the same wifi frequency (2.4GHz) but the more devices you add, the better the network and stability, since it’s a mesh network. Is that about right?

So I’ve been considering buying an Aqara M3, which is Matter and Thread border router. But it sounds like the HomePod mini is also a Thread border router and supports Matter? If so, does it do all that a third party border router like Aqara will do, so no need?

I want to put a lot of bulbs up, smart plugs, etc., but don’t want to constantly have to reset them, have them fail, etc. Hoping Thread is the answer!

I’ve also got a mixed environment of Amazon Echo devices and HomePods. Some of the Echos are Thread devices too. I’m hoping they’ll all talk to one another over Matter and “just work” thanks to the new Thread network I’m enabling.

Also, my family will no doubt turn off switches with smart bulbs attached. The old bulbs would need to be re-added to the system after being offline a while. Do Thread devices reconnect? I hope so…

Your advice please!

I’ve got a homepod mini, has Thread, works great!


Thanks Astro! Are you using bulbs?

I get errors with Apple TV which should work as Thread router…

I would say you probably don’t want to get the M3 at this point. But I would also think about getting smart wall switches instead of bulbs, so that when your family wants to turn the lights off, they don’t disable all those smart bulbs. But that’s quite a bit bigger expense. But it is no good for your system to have the devices have their power cut. Save yourself headaches by using smart switches instead of hoping the bulbs hoping they will come back on the network once ther’s power.

You might try some buttons you can have around the house and have them push those instead of wall switches to operate lights. The M3 is very capable, but it’s Matter/Thread support is very, very poor at this point. Not very many devices supported so far, especially the kind you’ve probably bought.

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Thanks leicaman! Will stick with the other M3 (a double stroke with Summicron DR) in my life and skip the Aqara for now.

I’m in an apartment, so those cool Lutron Caseta switches aren’t possible for us, sadly.


I shot with Leica M and R cameras/lenses professionally for 21 years. Finally went digital long before Leica did.

One thing to keep in mind, if you want reliable switches, go Eve Energy (preferably that sell with Matter support). They are 100 percent rock solid. And stick with one brand of lightbulbs. I’m settled on Nanoleaf with Matter and they work great. Especially with Home Assistant.

Get a WIFI 6e router, now that they are dirt cheap, and you won’t have any issues with the network bogging down. Some even offer a separate iOT network to keep all those devices on their own subnet. I alway end up back with Netgear routers. I hate their pushing their proprietary security software, but the hardware is fast and reliable. My smart home has settled down and is very reliable, and I use Home Assistant to push all my devices into HomeKit so I can do everything I want with Siri. Even my garage door.

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Thanks! Nanoleaf is what I’ve just gotten and so far, so good!

I’m sticking to Thread and Matter devices. The options are still pretty slim, but that’s okay. I’ll add slowly.

Much appreciated!

BTW, what are you using to run Home Assistant? I’m not familiar with Raspberry Pi or Linux so probably would be rough for me, although I am intrigued by Home Assistant.