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Smart blinds are motorized, remote-controllable, and automatable versions of nearly any type of blinds, shades, or other window treatment, providing invaluable levels of convenience and control of your home's lighting and privacy. Most use an app, but many work with smart home platforms for automation (often with a hub) and voice commands. Along with smart home integration, important considerations include hardwiring versus battery- or solar-powered operation, window compatibility, and installation requirements.
"I've never met a homeowner that has regretted putting in smart blinds," says Giles Sutton, a smart home integrator and executive at the home technology industry association CEDIA. "Everyone has said it adds the most value of all the smart products they installed."
As part of our research, we consulted with Sutton and considered smart blinds ranging from fully customized professional installations to self-install products and retrofit solutions for existing blinds. Among the DIY solutions, the SmarterHome Tilt MySmartRollerShades was our favorite for its fabric and style options, solar power source, and simplicity for homeowners to install.
Here are our picks for the best smart blinds and shades.
Best Overall: SmarterHome Tilt MySmartRollerShades
One price for all sizes
Hub needed for Alexa and SmartThings
No Google Assistant support
No remote control
SmarterHome, through their Tilt brand, offers the MySmartRollerShades, a motorized roller-style window shade that's straightforward to install on your own. A key step is ensuring you measure your windows accurately, especially if you opt for inside-mount blinds. You can order shades on the SmarterHome site to your exact measurements, from 21 to 73 1/8 inches wide and up to 120 inches tall. There's a decent selection of colors to choose from, including white, black, and gray blackout materials.
Built into the shade is a battery that charges via a solar panel that faces outside your window. In most cases, you'll get plenty of sunlight to keep the device efficiently powered without needing to plug into an outlet or recharge or replace the battery.
Once you install the MySmartRollerShades, the main control method is through the Tilt app via Bluetooth. Unlike most other motorized shades, unfortunately, no remote control is provided. However, the app lets you raise and lower one or multiple shades and set automated schedules based on time or sunrise/sunset.
Purchasing the additional SmarterHome Bridge allows you to connect through Wi-Fi to Amazon's Alexa and Samsung's SmartThings platforms. The bridge unlocks always-handy voice commands, plus advanced routines that, for example, could sync with motion or temperature sensors on other smart gadgets.
Best Splurge: Serena by Lutron Smart Roller Shades
Vast customization options
Nice control features through smart bridge
Wide compatibility and integration
Hub needed for smart features
Various accessories add to cost
If you're willing to spend up for attractive, high-quality blinds within a wide range of styles and mechanism choices, Serena Shades by Lutron won't disappoint. Contacting the company for professional installation allows you to work out essentially any treatment type or size you need, but even ordering online from the DIY catalog offers impressive customization options.
With the Smart Roller Shades, you can choose between three light-filtering fabric styles (sheer, translucent, or blackout) and dozens of colors and textures. You can add a fabric-wrapped or metallic fascia to cover the roll and opt for a battery-operated or wired power source (plug-in adapter required unless it's professionally hardwired). There are also Smart Honeycomb Shades and Smart Wood Blinds available.
The Lutron app does plenty, like setting multi-window scenes for ideal lighting and a Natural Light Optimization feature for blinds that change the tilt as the sun moves throughout the day. However, to take advantage of any smart extras like Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls, Apple HomeKit integration, or connections with smart thermostats, you need to buy the separate Lutron Smart Bridge—unless you already have one for Lutron Caseta smart dimmer switches around your house.
Best Budget: IKEA Fyrtur
Straightforward design and operation
Size/style not customizable
Hub needed for smart features
IKEA furniture is known for its affordability and minimalist style, and that's what it brings to its Fyrtur smart blinds. The roller blinds employ a dark gray blackout polyester fabric to block sunlight, but they're not customizable in any way. They come in set widths ranging from 23 to 48 inches, all with a max height of 76.75 inches. Unlike other hackable IKEA products, you can't cut the blinds, so you'll need to be able to work with one of the available sizes inside or outside your window frame.
The blinds come with a simple remote control and a rechargeable battery as a power source that should last months before needing a charge. Not included is IKEA's Tradfri smart gateway, a Zigbee-based wireless hub that's required to control your blinds through the mobile app and set timers and groupings.
While the app's functions are fairly basic, Tradfri's decently wide compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit allows for other useful automations and routines.
Best Vertical: Graywind Electric Vertical Blinds
Wide custom size range
No hub required
Plug-in power only
Limited app/voice controls
No Apple HomeKit
Graywind offers a full line of relatively affordable smart blinds available to order online, including the Graywind Customizable Vertical Blinds that are ideal for patio doors or tall windows. They run up to 150 inches tall and up to 157 inches wide, with costs increasing along with the size. The blackout blinds offer full shade and privacy when closed, and the company sells sheer and 50-percent blackout variations as well, with each style available in a handful of color options.
The motor has to be plugged into an outlet to operate, so you'll have to consider the placement and visibility of the power cord, but you can choose which side you want the motor to be on. You also choose which side the blinds start from when fully open unless your installation is wider than 102 inches, in which case they'll come from both sides and meet in the middle.
You don’t need a hub to use the app, and you can issue voice commands to Alexa and Google Assistant if you have a compatible device to talk to. You can set open/close schedules with the app, which is plenty of automation for vertical blinds. Unfortunately, the app and voice commands only let you slide the blinds open or closed—you need the remote to rotate the slats themselves.
Best Conversion Kit: Soma Smart Shades 2
Light sensor and other convenient features
Wide compatibility with hub
Limited to specific blind types
Fairly slow operation
Hub required for smart features
Retrofit solutions designed to convert your existing blinds into motorized, smart ones tend to include a variety of limitations, so they often end up being more costly or otherwise less appealing than buying brand new smart blinds. However, the Soma Smart Shades 2 can be a worthwhile upgrade to blinds or shades that use a beaded chain or cord.
The device works by feeding the chain into its motor, which you then attach to the window frame with adhesive or screws. Powering the motor is a battery that recharges via either USB or the included solar panel. The motor operates blinds four times faster than the previous model, but it's still a rather slow process to fully raise or lower your blinds. For that reason, pre-set schedules are all the more useful, as is the Morning Mode that intentionally opens your shades slowly and quietly. You can also automate them based on local sunrise and sunset, or the amount of sunlight sensed by the solar panel.
For voice controls and further integration, the Smart Shades 2 has nice compatibility with the biggest smart platforms, but only through the Soma Connect hub. It's essentially Soma's free software loaded onto a Raspberry Pi (a tiny but powerful computer), so you could save on that cost if you have your own.
Best for Customization: Bali Blackout Cellular Shades
Multiple power options
Can use third-party Z-Wave hubs
Hub needed for integration
Only for shades rather than blinds
Various big-name stores sell Bali blinds. Much of their large catalog includes the option to add motorization and smart features on shades specifically rather than slatted wood or vinyl traditional blinds. The Bali Blackout Cellular Shades are a prime example.
The specific choices depend on the type of shades, but each offers a wealth of customizability, from colors and fabric type (including sheer and blackout shades) to mounting and control hardware. For powering the motor, you can select from a battery case for traditional replaceable batteries (or two for larger windows), a rechargeable battery, or a plug-in power cord.
The motor utilizes Z-Wave wireless technology, with single- or multi-channel remotes as the default control option for one or more Bali shades. You can purchase it with a gateway for app control, but the motor will work with essentially any Z-Wave hub for other platforms you may already have or prefer to use, such as Samsung SmartThings, Wink, or Hubitat Elevation. This compatibility is excellent for integrating your window treatments with the devices or systems you want, as long as you're comfortable figuring out your custom setup.
Best for Professional Installation: Somfy Motorized Blinds
Fully custom design and installation
Quiet, high-quality motors
Various motor and sensor options
Hub needed for smart features
No Apple HomeKit
The French company Somfy has been manufacturing roller motors for window treatments since 1969, and now its extensive line of motorized blinds and shades, including the Somfy Motorized Blinds, have evolved to feature high-end wireless smart technology.
The company's focus on motorization means they don't produce the blinds themselves; you seek out a local Somfy-authorized dealer who can consult with you on the ideal designs and mechanisms for your home and then create your custom Somfy-powered blinds. If you prefer the do-it-yourself route, you might find dealers selling Somfy blinds for self-installation, but you'd risk issues with the fit or setup of your premium blinds.
The motors are noticeably fast and quiet, especially compared to retrofit smart-blind conversion products. The smart features all require the TaHoma hub, which has good third-party compatibility, though there is no Apple HomeKit support. But Alexa and Google voice commands are in play, as are detailed controls, schedules, and scenes through the TaHoma app. Somfy also offers sunlight or temperature sensors if you don't have devices with those features to integrate.
Best Speed: PowerShades TruePoE Roller Shades
Reduced power usage
No hub needed
No physical controls
Only available through dealer
If you're looking to truly embrace advanced technology with your blinds, the TruePoE PowerShades takes a unique, innovative approach with its power source. While the company does sell hardwired and battery-operated motorized blinds, the True PoE roller shades use Power over Ethernet (PoE) to transfer both power and data through a single Ethernet cable. That one cable, when plugged into a network switch that supports PoE, can deliver the mere 5 watts of power that the True PoE shades require for operation while keeping them wired to the internet at all times.
A noticeable result, compared to other motorized blinds, the TruePoE shades can fully open and close at a significantly faster speed. A hub is also unnecessary since you have an established internet connection through the Ethernet cable.
The shades themselves are available in a modest selection of colors and three styles of fabric: solar, light-filtering, and light-blocking, with the latter allowing the least amount of sunlight through. PowerShades are only available through specific dealers, so they can assist with customizing and installing your order. Even with the simpler power/data solution, it can help to have installers familiar with the new technology.
Among smart blinds you can order online and install yourself, the SmarterHome Tilt MySmartRollerShades offers simple setup, nice fabric and customization options, and convenient features through its smart hub. If you want an even broader selection of high-end styles and treatments for professional or self-installation, consider the Lutron Serena Smart Roller Shades.
What to Look for in Smart Blinds
Installation and power
With the importance of window treatments and natural light to interior design, smart blinds are a product that can benefit from a professional touch in choosing an ideal look and execution for your home. Companies like Lutron and Somfy can provide customized smart window solutions and assistance with choosing and installing them.
If you prefer to do it yourself, there are plenty of smart blinds that you can order online and install on your own. Self-installation options are usually relatively simple to mount and don't require hardwiring or electrical work. Many have a wireless power source, like a rechargeable or solar-powered battery. "This is one of those areas where the earlier you plan, the better," Sutton says. "To have the broadest range of options, you'd need the right power source."
"Typically, the heavier the fabric or material, or if there's wooden slats, the more likely you'll need something that's been pre-wired, or at least have a power source near the window," Sutton says. "So if you're remodeling or building a new home, the cost of putting in another cable at that point is very small, and will give you the most options later."
In addition to built-in controls on the motor, you can use a remote control to operate most motorized blinds and shades. The "smart" blinds we considered also connect to a mobile app so you can control them through your smartphone and set up schedules for when they should automatically raise or lower.
Additionally, many smart blinds support voice commands from virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri, making them essentially touch-free. This functionality requires a smart speaker or another compatible device to hear your commands, though, and in many cases a separate smart hub that links the blinds to your wireless network.
Smart home integration
As with voice commands, many smart blinds require you to purchase the manufacturer's smart hub or bridge to integrate with other smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings (depending on what the blinds are compatible with). This add-on can make your blinds even more intelligent about when to raise or lower—especially when connecting to devices with thermostats, motion sensors, or geofencing. But smart blinds can still provide plenty of convenience without these extras.
"You can integrate smart blinds with lighting systems to wake you up more naturally when your alarm goes off in the morning, or for security, to make it look like you're at home," Sutton says. "This is one of those technologies where automation is very helpful, because blinds can be completely touchless and operate almost independently if you want."
How do smart blinds work?
Smart blinds generally look and function like any other blinds or shade you would use on your windows, but with a motor that can raise or lower them without you doing it manually. They also feature technology that connects wirelessly to the motor and controls, allowing you to operate the blinds from an app on your phone and set schedules for when they open or close, among other things.
Sutton says many homeowners consider smart blinds a luxury they never realized they needed until they have them. "In the morning, you have to go around to every window and open every single blind, particularly if you have a lot of different windows," Sutton says. "The convenience of just pushing one button or saying 'open the blinds' is game-changing."
How do I install smart blinds?
Since blinds have to fit a particular window or set of windows in your home, the first step is measuring your windows very accurately and ordering the right size of custom-made blinds (or selecting a size that will fit your windows). If doing the installation yourself, the product often comes with what you need to mount the blinds and then sync them to the app, all of which should be a relatively straightforward process.
Most manufacturers offer professional assistance at various stages, from the important measurement stage to installation.
How can I make my blinds smart?
If you want to upgrade your existing window treatments rather than install new ones, conversion kits let you retrofit your blinds with a motor and add a full set of smart features. These solutions, though, often are on the bulky side, call for a certain type of cord or chain, and can add up to more cost and hassle than a new set of blinds.
"There are certainly a lot of retrofit options available, but you don't necessarily have the same range of options when it comes to the type of shading solution," Sutton warns. "There are often limitations around fabric choices, the size of the windows, and the amount of blackout. But retrofit solutions can be great if you're in rented properties, for example, or properties where the windows are a bit smaller and you're okay being limited by some of the choices of fabrics."
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article's author, Anton Galang, has been researching and writing about consumer technology since 2007 as a contributor to PC Magazine. He covers smart home and other tech-focused topics for The Spruce, as well as a broad range of hardware, software, gadgets, and games for Lifewire.
For this roundup, Anton researched the smart blinds and shades offered by over 20 different brands, factoring in third-party/user reviews and focusing on installation considerations, customization options, power sources, smart features, and compatibility. He also spoke with Giles Sutton, smart home integrator and Senior Vice President of Member Success and Sales at CEDIA, the global industry association for home technology, for insights on smart blind selection, installation, and position within the modern smart home landscape.