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Here Comes the Sun: The Best Smart Blinds Let the Light Shine in

In our modern world, it’s becoming less labor-intensive to run your own home. At one point, regular chores would have included doing the dishes, washing your clothes (at one point by hand! in a river!), vacuuming the floors and a whole lot more. However, as technology has evolved and having a “smart home” has become more affordable, the list of household activities you physically need to do has shrunk. And, it’s time to add opening and closing your blinds to that list by adding smart blinds and smart shades to your home.

Smart homes, which are full of internet-connected devices capable of being controlled remotely and performing tasks on-demand or at scheduled times, are now the norm. From a robot vacuum to your heating system, if you can’t control it with a remote control or your smartphone, you’re getting left behind. Now that the list of smart home devices includes your blinds, you may be wondering: what are the best smart blinds and smart shades to install in your home?

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Smart blinds, like normal blinds, perform a number of handy functions. In addition to letting in or blocking out light, they can prevent the loss of heat, block UV rays and provide privacy from the outside world at the push of a button. Throw in smart technology, and your blinds will open and close when you tell them to or, in some cases, when the temperature in your home falls outside a desired range.

There’s a lot to consider when investing in your first set of smart blinds. Continue reading and we’ll break down everything you need to know and think about before making this type of purchase.

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Smart Device Compatibility Is Key

There are generally two types of smart blinds. The first type is motorized blinds that can be controlled by a smartphone app or your smart home speaker, like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. These blinds connect to your WiFi and communicate with your devices through the internet, so you can control them with the sound of your voice or a remote control. These devices sometimes also have special functionalities, like closing the blinds when the temperature in the house reaches a certain level or opening them when you’re close to home. 

The second type of smart blinds is also motorized but can only be controlled through a remote control. Sometimes, the remote control might be voice-activated, and often these blinds boast a timer function, allowing you to open and close the blinds several times a day automatically. While remote control blinds cannot be controlled by Alexa or Google Home, they are fairly easy to convert using smart plugs or smart switches. They also tend to be cheaper than fully smart device-capable blinds.

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Ikea smart blinds in a bedroom Courtesy of IKEA
  

Do You Want To Motorize New or Existing Blinds?

The next thing to think about before purchasing smart blinds is whether you want to keep your existing blinds, shades or curtains or whether you want to purchase a new set. Some smart blind devices are essentially motors that can be connected to the window coverings you already have. Others come with completely new blinds, which may be better if you’re fitting out a new house or need a change in style.

Keep in mind that if you’re buying a device to make your existing blinds “smart,” you’ll need to take the opening mechanism of your current blinds into account. Most devices only work with one type of blinds, whether that’s Venetian blinds, blinds with a chain for lowering and lifting or curtains that open horizontally. Shop carefully in order to get a device that works best for your home.

On a very basic level, you’ll first need to decide whether you want blinds, shades or curtains to cover your windows. 

  • Blinds, which range from Venetian style to vertical, are usually made up of slats that can be opened and closed to let in a minimal amount of light. They can also be raised or lowered in a group to allow for a full view out the window or a complete blockage of light.
  • Shades, however, are similar to sheets of fabric that are most often rolled up and down. These aren’t as multifunctional as blinds as they don’t have a middle option. They are either opened or closed. Nevertheless, this type of window covering is the best at blocking out light completely when lowered.
  • Blackout shades are made from thick fabric that will keep your rooms completely dark until the shades are open.
  • Curtains are the most decorative of the three as they are usually available in a number of colors and patterns. These pieces of fabric usually attach to a rod or track at the top of a window and are opened horizontally. Like shades, they don’t offer any half-light solutions, but they can be used in conjunction with shades or blinds if necessary.

The type of window covering you choose is completely dependent on how much light you need to block out and which style matches your home decor the best.

  

1. Serena by Lutron

BEST OVERALL

Lutron makes some of the best smart blinds available, and they’ve got a wide variety of models in their Serena line designed to fit a variety of needs. Our favorite is the Motorized Room Darkening Roller Shades from the brand that are battery-operated and remote-controlled. The motor on them is made super quiet, easy to install, and can be controlled via a mobile device as well as the remote. The blackout shades keep all light from entering the space and you can adjust the shades from anywhere in the room easily.

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Courtesy of Home Depot

  

2. Yoolax Motorized Blinds

RUNNER UP

The Yoolax Motorized Blinds are well-reviewed by users and create an effective barrier for your doors and windows to keep light out and cool air in. Each blind is custom made to the exact size you specify and comes with a mounting kit and full instructions on how the blinds work. The polyester blinds deliver 100% blackout conditions and come in a range of different colors, including dark grey, white and lake blue, ensuring there’s a color to suit your home interiors. In addition, these high-quality blinds can be controlled using your voice through smart home devices, with the remote control or through the smartphone app.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

3. IKEA FYRTUR

QUALITY PICK

With these IKEA FYRTUR smart blinds installed in your home, you’ll be able to control the light in your room with the touch of a button. Each blind is capable of blocking out external light to create a dark and private environment for you to enjoy. If you install more than one blind, it’s possible to use the TRADFRI gateway and IKEA Home smart app to create groups for your blinds and control them all at once. The gray smart blinds are available in a range of different sizes and come with a rechargeable battery, a charger and a remote control.

If you’re looking for the best smart blinds that come from a trusted brand, then IKEA’s line of FYRTUR blinds are the right product for you. Right now, these Ikea smart blinds can only be controlled via the remote control or with Google Home, although IKEA plans to add integration for Apple and Amazon smart home setups soon. The installation for these smart blinds aren’t too complicated, but you will need a moderate level of DIY skill.

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Image courtesy of IKEA

  

4. Springblinds Blackout Roller Shades

EASIEST TO INSTALL

If complicated installation isn’t really your thing and you just want a quick and easy way to blackout your bedroom, then the Springblinds Blackout Roller Shades are definitely the answer for you. Installing this simple device only requires two brackets and a quick push. These battery-operated smart blinds are controlled via a remote control, so they don’t have as many smart home features as some other options. However, they come in a huge range of sizes and colors so they can be matched to your home decor. If you’re looking for cordless blackout shades, then this is a solid pick.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

5. LoraTap WiFi Curtain Switch

BEST SMART SWITCH FOR BLINDS

If you already have motorized curtains in your home, the good news is that you don’t need to replace them to make them “smart.” The LoraTap WiFi Curtain Switch can attach to any four-wire curtain motor, giving you the ability to control the motor by touch, with the sound of your voice, with a timer, from your smartphone or with Google Home or Amazon Alexa. While it might seem intimidating to install a new smart switch, reviewers write that this LoraTap product is simple to add to your existing set up. In addition, this curtain switch is CE and RoHS certified, meaning it’s completely safe to use.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

6. Home Decorators Collection Cordless Blackout Motorized Shades

GREAT RATINGS

This set of motorized blinds has a near five-star rating on The Home Depot after 1,800 reviews and is designed to provide both privacy and insulation to windows in your home. The motor can be managed via an app and 1/4 inch deduction can be taken at the factory to ensure a proper fit. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and the shades have an energy-efficient design for optimal room darkening and savings on your HVAC bills. The shades have honeycomb-shaped cells and a durable, spun lace design for clean pleats so your windows look good. What’s more, the shade is completely cordless making it safe to have around children and pets.

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Courtesy of Home Depot

  

7. SOMA Tilt

BEST FOR VENETIAN BLINDS

Like its sister product below, the SOMA Tilt is designed to motorize and automate your pre-existing blinds. This device replaces the tilt rod on Venetian blinds, allowing you to control whether your blinds are open or closed using your favorite voice assistant or the included smartphone app. You’ll also be able to set schedules for your blinds as well as IFTTT triggers. Like man of our picks for the best smart blinds, the SOMA Tilt takes only three minutes to install and requires no screws, drills or wires.

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Image courtesy of SOMA

  

8. SOMA Smart Shades 2

BEST FOR EXISTING BLINDS

These SOMA Home Smart Shades can connect with Alexa, Apple Home Kits and Google Homes. Unfortunately, a separate controller is needed for full smart home integration. However, if you want to turn existing window treatments into smart shades, this is a great option. SOMA Smart Shades connect to any window shades with a beaded chain or cord and can be automated in three minutes. The cord feeds through the Soma Smart Shades device, which will automatically open and close the shades at your command. The discreet smart shades device attaches to the wall and blends in unobtrusively with your home decor. You can automate the blinds to move based on the time of day, sunset or sunrise or even the light conditions in your place.

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Courtesy of Soma Smart Home

  

9. Graywind Motorized Roller Blackout Shade

BEST BATTERY OPERATED

This blackout smart shade from Graywind is motor-operated and can be controlled via smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home, as well as a remote control. The shade itself is 100% linen polyester and is made to blackout light for peaceful sleep and energy-saving. The shade is fade-resistant, durable and easy to clean. A single remote can control nine different shades if need be, and you can sync the blinds up with your virtual assistant to control them with your voice.

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

10. Graywind Motorized Zebra Sheer Shade

BEST FOR ZEBRA BLINDS

With several customizable elements, you know you’re getting the product you want when you order a Graywind Motorized Zebra Sheer Shade. You can pick the width, height, inside or outside mount and the number of remotes required. The shades are made from a double-layer polyester that provides privacy, blocks UV rays, keeps heat in and ensures light stays out. The accompanying Smart Life app lets you control your shades from anywhere, set up timers and schedule opening and closing times.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

11. American Homesupplier Smart Curtain Rod

BEST FOR CURTAINS

The American Homesupplier Smart Curtain Rod shows that more than just blinds can be automated. This mains-powered curtain rod is constructed from metal and plastic to deliver a durable and attractive home fixture. It’s easily assembled and comes in three different rod sizes, depending on the size of your window. The rod then provides numerous ways to control your curtains, including the remote control, the accompanying smartphone app or with any number of smart home devices. In addition, should you ever wish to close your curtains manually, a small tug will start the automatic closing process.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

12. XINGXUN High Precision Window Blinds

TONS OF COLORS

Made of 100% polyester, Xingxun’s High Precision Shades effectively block out noise and light and are easy to clean. They are a great option if you’re looking to experiment with a little color. Offered in 30 different hues, these smart home blinds work effortlessly with Alexa, Google Assistant, remote or via the app. 

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Courtesy of Amazon

  

13. VELUX Solar Power Skylight Blinds

BEST FOR SKYLIGHTS

Home Depot has a huge selection of motorized skylight blinds from VELUX. These skylight blinds come in a wide range of both sizes and colors to better match your home’s decor. A remote control is included so that you can easily retract your skylight blinds with the push of a button. And with the VELUX Climate Control Kit, you can fully automate your home’s smart blinds and skylight shades to get precise control over the temperature and light inside your home.

The Climate Control kit features sensors that automatically adjust to changing light and weather, helping you save energy. This isn’t a particularly budget-friendly option, but if you want to fully automate your smart blinds, this is a fantastic full-home system. Plus, VELUX is one of the only brands with smart shades for skylights. Their solar-powered smart shades for skylights are an elegant smart home solution.

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Image courtesy of Home Depot

  

14. Taiwan Present Godear Design Roller Window Shades

MOST ECONOMICAL

For 100% cordless blinds, the Taiwan Present Godear Design Roller Window Shades will do the trick. These affordable roller shades are designed without strings, cords or pulleys. Instead, they are completely controlled by the motor and the included remote controls. The shades themselves are built using fabric that blocks 99.6% of all light, and they’re available in both white and brown. While these roller shades are certainly smarter than non-motorized ones, they cannot be controlled by a smart speaker. However, their price point means that you can purchase these roller shades and a smart switch (like the one above) for less than many setups that are smart out of the box.

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Image courtesy of Amazon

  

15. MySmartRollerShades by Tilt

BEST FOR FAMILIES

These automated shades from Tilt are child and pet safe, so they’re safe to use in a house filled with toddlers, cats or other young beings. They’ve got stellar reviews on their site and can be automated via the Tilt app on your smartphone. They can also sync easily with Amazon Alexa. They don’t currently sync with Google Home, but they’re working on bringing that capability soon. They’ve also got an energy savings mode available and they come with a solar panel that charges the battery so it never runs low. They come in a variety of colors and styles from blackout to woven so you can match your current home decor.

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Courtesy of Tilt

  

Finally, A Note on Smart Blinds Pricing …

The final thing to consider before making your purchase is price. The smarter the blinds are, the more expensive they will be. For some, sacrificing the ability for the blinds to communicate with a smart speaker is worth a cheaper price tag. For others, investing in smart blinds means they want the top of the line with the most functionality.

Other factors that can impact the price include how complete the set is (does it include just a motor or the blinds themselves too), how customized the blinds are, and the type of window coverings included. The latter tend to be the most expensive.

When shopping for the best smart blinds, be careful. There are a lot of low quality motorized shades and blinds for sale right now, and a lot of so-called smart blinds are anything but.

We know that picking the right smart home solution can be a challenge, so we went looking for the best products you can install on your own. In the guide above, you’ll find 15 of the best smart blinds available for your home. These include complete sets as well as kits to turn your existing blinds into smart or motorized ones. 

  

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