Do You Need Smart Blinds (And 4 Best Motorized Blinds)

Feb 21, 2019Opinions

Are you planning to buy a motorized blind to keep your home protected from sunlight and from watchful eyes? Well, the choices for motorized blinds are large in number which could leave you confused on what to install on your home. We’ve made a list of the best motorized blinds you can get based on their blind type. We made our choices after thoroughly testing each and every one of them. We also looked into multiple user inputs to see if other users had any issues with the products.

Somfy Sonesse ST30 is our number 1 choice as it checks all our conditions. Good price, efficient features, easy to install and little flaws to speak of. Our other choices are not in any way disappointing either. We’re sure you’ll find the right kind of blinds with this detailed list.

CategorySpecsPros / Cons

Best Motorised Roller : Somfy Sonesse ST30

Remote controlled Somfi motorised blinds
  • Works with Roller blinds
  • 11 x 4 x 4 inches
  • Works with Google Home, Alexa, Samsung Smartthings; includes wireless wall switches
  • Very slow updates; Not many features on controlling the blinds

Best Horizontal: MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Bundle

Best Horizontal Blinds
  • Works with horisontal blinds
  • 2-2 1/2″
  • Works with Google Home, Alexa; easy installation
  • Unreliable online support

Best Retrofit Motorized: E-Wand Starter Motorized Blinds Kit

White (3 E Wands and 1 Remote) to Motorize and Automate Existing Blinds- Retrofit Motorized Blinds
  • Works with roller blinds
  • 5 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Easy installation; Good App
  • Expensive; Limited functionality

Best DIY: Rechargeable Wireless Tubular

Rechargeable Wireless Tubular Roller Shade Motor Kit with Remote Control for Motorized Electric Roller Blind Shades, 1.5 inch Tube
  • Works with roller blinds
  • 1.5 inch tube
  • Powerful motor; Rechargeable battery with solar-powered charging
  • Difficult to install

What Are Motorized Blinds?

Motorized blinds can offer privacy and protection indoors and outdoors with a shading system that will be able to respond to your every command. Best Motorized blinds are much more efficient than the standard blinds used in homes. Without any strings or cables to suspend them, there isn’t any reason to worry about the blinds getting tangled up. Connecting with your phones give you the option of opening and closing these best smart blinds with just a click of a button. The best smart blinds for outdoors can protect you from the radiations of the sun. It will be able to reduce heat, glare, wind, insects, and pollen from entering your home. With this system in place, your outdoors will be a more controlled environment for your family members. You can also use these blinds in offices and other professional spaces to grant yourself privacy during meetings or conferences. A lot of these products, that is electric blinds cost is not much when advantages are considered. have light sensors and object detection to determine when it is appropriate to open or close the blinds. This leaves you not having to think about them at all.

These products can be controlled in many ways like handheld remotes, wireless wall switches or connection with any of your device like iPhone, Android phones, etc. They can even be integrated with your home automation systems like Google Home or Alexa to gain maximum control over the blinds. Best Motorized blinds don’t just allow opening and closing, and you can schedule opening time, give access to multiple users, even geolocate so that it opens when you reach home. We’ve tried and tested several of these motorized blinds to see which one delivers what it promises and how well they hold up in a home. Below we explain in detail, the top 5 best-motorized blinds. First, let’s explore the various options of motorized shades and what to consider when you’re choosing one for your home.

What Types of Best Motorized Shades exists

Custom Made Blinds

Custom made blinds require a constant power source to function and are designed to suit particular home needs. They are typically quite expensive but will offer several features to benefit your home environment. Some of these motorized blinds cost relatively high and come in various forms like a mounting device which can control blinds. Custom made products usually are quite innovative in its approach.

Battery Operated Blinds

Battery operated best motorized blinds are perfect if you want to cover places without a power source and you want it to be a bit cheaper. A lot of the battery operated products offer rechargeable batteries and even solar powering.

DIY Blinds

Do-It-Yourself best motorized shades are the least expensive products you can buy, but you will have to spend a considerable amount of time setting the product up. A lot of these products are only provided with what is essential to function so many other accessories that you need will have to be purchased separately. You also shouldn’t expect much software support or quality with DIY products since that will also be pretty bare bone.

Retrofit

Retrofit blinds are products with upgraded features that you can use on your previously existing automated blinds. Retrofit products will have upgraded power, hardware or even features or extended compatibility. They will be pretty expensive depending on what it offers, but retrofit products are a great choice if you want to replace your current system with something better.

How Much Do Motorized Shades Cost

Motorized shades cost anywhere between $90 to $400 depending on what features you are going for and the quality of the product. DIY products are usually the cheapest, starting from around $90. The custom made products of popular brands are the most expensive ranging from $250 to $400. Cheaper options will have fewer features, harder installation setup, and even lower quality hardware. Choosing products carefully is key, and our list will help you make that choice.

How To Choose Best Motorized Blinds

When choosing motorized blinds for your home use, you need to consider the specifications that you need. Our list will help you determine quality products, but there are many other things to consider when purchasing your blinds.

The type of blinds

The best smart blinds come in horizontal, vertical and roller versions. Depending on how your windows and blinds are, you can choose which will suit you best. You can find other versions too like Pleated, Venetian and Roman blinds but we haven’t listed them on our guide.

Motorized blinds Size

Size is another huge issue to consider. Your different windows will have different dimensions, so you need to pay attention to the size of the blind if you don’t want your product to be too short.

Available Integration

Do you want your system to be effortlessly compatible with all forms of smart hubs like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung Smartthings, etc. Then you will need to search for exactly that. There are plenty of products that offer little to no compatibility with automated home systems.

Best Motorised Roller Blinds: Somfy Sonesse ST30

Amazon Reviews:

  • Works with: Roller blinds
  • Sizes:11 x 4 x 4 inches
  • Integration: Google Home, Alexa, Samsung Smart things and more
  • Hub required: No
  • Manufacturers page
  • Manuals

Pros:

  • Wired and wire-free motors
  • Hand-held remote
  • Timers and Sensors
  • Wireless wall switches

Cons:

  • Very slow updates
  • Not many features on controlling the blinds
  • Very expensive

Summary

The Somfy Sonesse 30 is the all-around best choice if you are willing to spend some money. It offers all the standard features a product like this should have. Sensors, flexible configurations, easy integration with home automation systems, etc. Timer settings will allow you to schedule opening and closing the blinds as you please. RTS technology will provide more convenience with voice command integration for your smart home. You can also control the blinds using Z-wave technology. You can use Somfy’s reloadable battery wand to switch battery power. The blinds are fully silent too, you will not even know when it opens until the light hits your face.

The Somfy is limited with its features for controlling your blinds compared to other products. There aren’t many programming options available. You can try to use IFTTT with your android phone to get more customization options. The hardware is very good and can open and close blinds without any noise or effort. These electric blinds cost quite decent, they aren’t overpriced.

Most common questions

Installation and Use

  1. Fit the crown and drive wheel to the motor.
  2. Cut the tube to the required length.
  3. Deburr the tube and remove the debris
  4. Slide the motor into the tube and fix the tube to the motor with self-tapping screws
  5. Mounting the motorized tube on the brackets

User feedback

“Although we did receive the product, I had to make several follow up phone calls to get status updates. When ordering on the web page, there was no indication that products were back on order. This promotes missed deadlines and extra work”- Cory Reistad

Best Horizontal Blinds: MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Bundle

Amazon Reviews:

  • Works with: Horizontal blinds
  • Sizes-2-2 1/2″ horizontal blinds.
  • Integration: Smart bridge to connect with Google Home and Alexa
  • Hub required: No
  • Manufacturer
  • Manuals

Pros:

  • Easy installation
  • Fairly easy app setup and control

Cons:

  • Unreliable online support
  • Scheduling the blinds based on day/night cycle doesn’t work well
  • No proper Alexa integration

Summary

When it comes to horizontal best smart blinds, mySmartblinds is a great option. It has problems like a lack of effective Alexa integration and very problematic online support. Many configuration features are not as efficient as it claims. However, the price is right, and the blinds work well. The hardware is good, and installation is fairly simple. The Bridge used for integration with smart hubs is not bad, but it isn’t an effective replacement for apps.

Most common questions regarding best motorized shades

Does this only work with the wand open/shut system? My blinds tilt with a two-cord system. Can this work with cords?

You remove the two cord mechanism in the headrail and replace it with the switch that comes in the kit. The switch is intended to be used with the pole that you turn so you end up with a little hook. I took on of the old cords and tied it to the little hook. Every time you pull down on the cord, the blinds open or close 1/4 of the way.

Is there an ETA for the amazon echo app control? The app is nice, but I want Alexa to control them for me.

Alexa connectivity has been enabled in the app as of 2018. You will need to purchase MySmartBlinds Smart Bridge  to connect to your Echo.

Will you guys be making a Z-Wave option?

No. However, the product is in the process of having Bluetooth mesh network be implemented which will give customers access to Z-wave.

Installation and Use

Step 1: Plug your Bridge into an outlet that is central to all blinds you would like to control.

Step 2: Download and open the MySmartBlinds app and create an account if you don’t already have one.

Step 3: Select the menu button in the app.

Step 4: Select the “Bridge” button in the app.

Step 5: Select “Add Bridge.”

Step 6: Select “Setup.”

Step 7: Follow the instructions given in the app to finish connecting to your Bridge.

User feedback

“Very simple to install. Familiarize yourself with parts before beginning and watch my smart blinds installation video on YouTube. Please be certain that the adapter that’s locked into motor fits snuggly onto your rod as there are no do-overs. I have ordered two more.”- Jrob

“The product worked with my Android 8.0 smartphone and sorta with my smart switch. Then it advised me to update the firmware, and now the only way the blinds work is with the manual switch. I have had no response from tech support.”- Tom Tolstead

Amazon Reviews:

  • Works with: Horizontal
  • Sizes: 5 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Integration: Brunt App
  • Hub required: Google Home and Alexa

Pros:

  • Easy installation
  • Good app
  • Share control with multiple people
  • Compatible with many types of roll binds

Cons:

  • If you want to adjust the fully opened and closed setting, you have to remove and re-add the device.
  • Alexa integration may be a little difficult
  • Quite expensive for what it offers

Summary

The Brunt Blind engine has one of the best apps for controlling your blinds. It is also compatible with most roller blinds available. There’s a couple of issues with the product like multiple tries required to properly connect with Alexa and having to remove and reset the device to adjust the open and close settings.  While the system has the best software, it is a bit expensive for what it offers. The product is very intuitive, and you can hang it near the blinds and control it remotely.

Most common questions

Does it need to be plugged in all the time? Or can it use batteries?

You need to use a standard power source (power adapter included in the package).

Will this work with Samsung smartthings?

The product is currently preparing for integration with Samsung Smartthings, but there is no estimate on the exact schedule. If we officially integrate with Samsung Smartthings, then we will update.

Are you coming out with a battery operated unit?

The product does not currently use a separate battery because of the battery’s stability and capability shortage. Moving the blind steadily requires a lot of motor power.

Installation and Use

  1. Remove the cover
  2. Select the gear and mounting spot
  3. Mount the Blind engine
  4. Adjust height
  5. Attach cover
  6. Connect adapter
  7. Connect to app

User feedback

“Just received it today and hooked it up in a few minutes. App worked great. About to order a couple more. Still, have to test with Alexa but very happy.”- Lisa Newman

“Doesn’t work as advertised. My blinds are 7′ x 7′ and listed at 8lbs. The blind engine says it is compatible with blinds up to 8’x8′ and 15lbs. It doesn’t raise the blinds at all and struggles to lower them. Do not buy this product. Waste of time and money..”- Gabriel

Best Retrofit Motorized Roller Blinds: E-Wand Starter Motorized Blinds Kit

Amazon Reviews:

    • Works with: Roller blinds
    • Sizes: 27.2 x 7.5 x 2.8 inches
    • Integration: RF
    • Hub required: Yes
    • Manufacturers
    • Manuals

 

Pros:

  • Works well
  • Integrates with its system easily
  • Protects privacy and saves energy using light sensors

Cons:

  • The assembly instruction is confusing when it comes to placing the self-adhesive portion of the wand on the blind.
  • You’ll need to be careful not to use such force that you wriggle the horizontal mount away from the top of the blinds
  • No Alexa integration
  • No scheduling features

Summary

The E-Wand is a good product with some minor drawbacks. The lack of options to connect it with home automation systems like Alexa makes it very unattractive for many customers, but for those whose homes aren’t automated, this may be of help. The system does its job well, no effort in opening or closing the blinds. It does not have any option to set a time of opening or closing the blinds and instead uses sensors to determine the appropriate moments. Our test has concluded that the blinds do function at appropriate moments. If you don’t want to constantly change the settings and instead want to leave it up with the machine, then this product will be of interest.

Most common questions

Is it compatible with Alexa?

The E-Wand is not compatible with Alexa at this time; however, they can be controlled in a variety of other ways, including remote control, manual (easy, short twist), in groups (when you twist one they all move), and via sensor-triggering events (sunset/sunrise and temperature near the window)

Is there a way to schedule the opening and closing of blinds using your product?

The E-Wand does not have a “scheduling” feature exactly, instead, there is an option to use the integrated light sensor to automate the opening of your blinds at sunrise and the closing of them at sunset. The automation feature via sensors has three modes: off, fully automatic, and semi-automatic. Fully automatic both opens and closes your blinds at sensor triggering events, while semi-automatic will only close your blinds, not open them.

If it is set to automatic, will they open only when they detect the sun, or is it open on first morning light and close when it gets dark?

There is a technology integrated into the E Wand that directs the sensors to track light patterns, so in fully automatic mode the E Wand will open the blinds when it detects several incremental light changes and close the blinds when it detects several incremental light decreases. This ensures the blinds open and closes with sunrise and sunset instead of other possible environmental factors. This also means that on cloudy mornings, these best smart blinds will still open.

Regarding sensor mode, there are two “automatic” modes: fully automatic and semi-automatic. In fully automatic, the E Wand will open and close the blinds, but in semi-automatic, it will only close the blinds. The semi-automatic mode allows users to open the E Wand manually when they choose to and have the E Wand still close the blinds when it detects sunset.

Installation and Use

  1. Install Batteries
  2. Attach the E-Wand
  3. Test Fit the Blind Mount
  4. Remove Twist Wand
  5. Install the Vertical Blind Mount
  6. Attach the E-Wand to the Vertical Blind

Afterward, you will have to program the E-wand to make the blinds function as you please.

User feedback

“Works great. Makes opening and closing of blinds effortless.” –Mark Griffis

“The only downside to the wand is the assembly/install instruction are confusing in regards to placing the self-adhesive portion of the wand on the blind. In an attempt to be too detailed, the instructions became confusing.” Tconey01

Best DIY Blinds: Best DIY motorized blinds

Amazon Reviews:

  • Works with: Multiple types of blinds
  • Sizes: 1.5 inch Tube
  • Integration: Alexa, Google Home
  • Hub required: Yes
  • Link to the manufacturer’s page
  • Link to manuals

Pros:

  • Integrates well with Google Home and Alexa
  • A very powerful motor
  • Rechargeable battery with solar-powered charging
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • You might have to purchase more accessories like mounting brackets
  • Being a DIY product, customers will have to be patient with installation and setup

Summary

When it comes to DIY best motorized shades, the Rollerhouse blinds are the best choices regarding prices and features. It integrates with home systems like Alexa and Google Home with some configuration required. However, the overall installation and setup process for it is relatively easy. The DIY aspect makes the installation of the hardware a much more daunting task. Certain components like mounting brackets are missing, so you might have to purchase them if you don’t have them already.

Most common questions

Can this be used with chicology free-stop cordless zebra roller shades/combi blind curtain drape, dual layer?

It can be used any roller shades, mainly depend on what’s the inside dimension of the tube.

Are the Li-ion battery’s removable from the motor tube? What is there lifespan?

Yes, it can take out from the tube, there are screws outside the motor tube, normally 9-12 months depending on the usage when motorized the blinds also the weight of your shades.

Will it work with a pull-down spring-based shade (Currently the spring is in the tube)?

Probably not! You’d need to remove the “spring end” apparatus from the tube, then insert the motor. The motor’s diameter is a bit larger than most tubes and thus most likely not fit into your existing tube. Check the diameter of your current shade tube and verify it is the same as in the motor specifications. The weight limit is good, and once the length settings are set, the remote is easy to use, and the speed up and down is perfect!

Installation and Use

User feedback

“Pro, Easy to install, took me a bit to figure out how to stop programming, but it was my fault. This is a good quality motor assy and is rechargeable (best). I had to trim down the rubber bushing, but it was too easy. Cons, price, cause I have too many shades!” –Javier

“I wish it came with mounting brackets.” –Blake