Thanks to advancements in technology, we are now privy to additional conveniences that make our homes and offices remote controllable. Smart blinds are a type of window treatment that have a built-in motor that can be controlled or programmed based on a schedule or “triggers.” Smart blinds add a sense of luxury to your home by allowing you to take a nap without having to shut the blinds yourself or the option to program all blinds to lower just as you’re about to go to bed. This level of convenience is also handy in the workplace. Meeting rooms can be instantly made dim with blackout smart window blinds to ensure a clearer picture from the projector. For confidential meetings, privacy via the internal window blinds is only one tap away. If you’re looking to get smart blinds or shades for your home or office, you may be overwhelmed by choices. To help you choose the best one, here are our picks for the top smart blinds of 2020.
What Distinguishes Top-Notch Smart Window Blinds
There are four main characteristics that make top-notch smart window blinds stand out. Though it’s rare for one product to excel across the board, this helps us to find the smart blinds with the most benefits.
Privacy and Light Options
These two fundamental traits are why anyone buys window blinds or shades - whether they are smart or not. The material and design of the blinds need to be able to obstruct light just enough and provide maximum privacy.
When it comes to providing extra insulation, cellular shades with their honeycomb-like cells are a clear winner. This type of window treatment can reduce lost heat during winter and keep out solar heat during the summer. Though thicker fabrics or materials can also help with insulation, none can compare to the R-value of cellular shades.
So far, rechargeable batteries (through electricity or solar power) are the best power source for smart window blinds and shades. Some can also derive power via an AC adapter or through ethernet cables but these latter two options are more clunky since special provisions would need to be made.
Ease of Control
Smart window blinds need to have a communications protocol in place so that they can be controlled remotely. This can be set up through wireless solutions (such as apps and other proprietary technology) or through ethernet cabling systems. There are two choices you can make after deciding to get smart blinds or shades for your home: choosing between our top 5 smart blinds of 2020 or retrofitting your existing blinds into smart blinds.
The Top 5 Smart Blinds of 2020
1. Yoolax Motorized Smart Shades | Best Overall
The Yoolax Motorized Smart Shades are made-to-order blackout shades that can be customized to your exact size preferences (within a maximum of 138 inches in height and 98 inches in width). Another distinguishing feature that puts this product at the top of our list is its battery life. These shades come with a built-in rechargeable battery that can last four to six months before recharging. The material used for these shades is a thick polyester fabric that is durable, easy to clean, and comes in various colours such as coffee, white, gray, blue, and so on. These smart window blinds are compatible with Alexa, Siri, and Google Home.
2. Graywind Motorized Blackout Shade | Best Blackout Shades
If your top concern is being able to block out sunlight in the ‘smartest’ way possible, then you will love the custom-fit 100% blackout vinyl-linen fabric and waterproof back layer that these smart window blinds are made with. This fabric mixture allows the Graywind Motorized Blackout Shade to effectively repel sunlight and solar heat while also being highly durable and very easy to clean.The motor in these shades has a built-in battery and is fully wireless. After being fully recharged, the batteries can provide power for three to six months. These shades can be controlled using its remote control, via the Smart Life app, or through Alexa or Google Assistant.
3. Lutron’s Serena | Best Cellular Shades
If you’re looking for smart cellular window shades that are easy to install and require very little maintenance, then Lutron’s Serena is the perfect choice for you. These wireless, battery-operated blinds have a honeycomb design that allows you to get great insulation as well as additional noise reduction. Lutron’s Serena comes with a remote control but can also be controlled using the Lutron app from anywhere in the world. These smart window blinds are also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit.
4. IKEA FYRTUR | Best Value Shades
These blackout shades are relatively affordable considering their many convenient features. IKEA FYRTUR shades are equipped with a timer feature for opening and closing the blinds. Additionally, these smart window shades are completely cordless, battery-operated, and come with a wireless remote and signal repeater. This product is also seamlessly compatible with the IKEA Home app. One downside, however, is that IKEA FYRTUR needs a TRADFRI gateway (which is sold separately) in order to connect with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit.
5. VELUX Solar Power Skylight Blinds | Best Skylight Blinds
These wireless skylight blinds allow you to have control over the light pouring in from harder-to-reach places! Installation is incredibly easy and the blinds come in a wide variety of colours that will blend with your interiors. These smart skylight blinds come with batteries that are recharged by the sun and can be controlled using the VELUX ACTIVE smartphone app or through HomeKit.
Products to Retrofit Existing Blinds or Shades
This second option allows you to retrofit your existing blinds or shades to make them smart window blinds. This way, you will be able to save money and keep your current blinds or shades that are still in good shape.
This product can convert 2 to 2.5-inch horizontal shades into motorized smart window shades that can connect with Google Assistant and Alexa via Smart Bridge. MySmartBlinds Automation Kit is easy to install and is solar-powered, meaning you won’t need to worry about the battery dying. This product also has built-in sensors for temperature so that the blinds can be programmed accordingly.
2. AXIS Gear Smart Blinds
This product can convert any kind of shades with looped cords or chains. The material, size, or design of the shade does not matter, making this product one of the most versatile ones out there. AXIS Gear Smart Blinds can be battery or solar-powered and are controlled using the AXIS Gear app.
Similar to the AXIS Gear Smart Blinds, the material, size, or design of your existing shades does not matter for Soma Smart Shades. What matters is that the existing blinds have a plastic or metal beaded chain. Soma Smart Shades 2 can be solar-powered or charged via USB. The Soma app then allows you to control your blinds and set “triggers” for the blinds to open/close.
Choosing the Right Windows for Your Shades
Thinking of starting from scratch? Clera Windows + Doors can assist you with all your window needs - from the initial consultation to determining the best design, to helping you choose the right smart window blinds for your home. Contact us today for more information!