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The best smart blinds for 2021

Imagine the perfect morning: You step out of bed, stretch, and say, “Good morning, Alexa.” Within seconds, your nightstand Echo Dot illuminates and responds with a pleasant greeting while raising the smart shades in your master bedroom. Smart shades may not be the first smart product we think of when envisioning automation for the home, but they’re one of the most innovative.

Having blinds that raise and lower with voice commands or on a set schedule is one of the best ways to create the illusion of people being home, even if you’re away. Smart blinds are also a great way to save on your energy bill. Let in more light, keep the heat turned down, and let the sun save you some dough.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite smart blinds you can buy right now, from simple do-it-yourself innovations to flagship offerings from some of the leading shade-makers.

Further reading

Tilt MySmartRollerShades

Tilt My Smart Roller Shades

Available in several colors and material types (including blackout options), the Tilt MySmartRollerShades are an ideal option for those looking to dive into the world of smart shades without the burden of overly-complicated tech. The shade motors are powered by solar-charged battery packs, which means no worrying about recharging your power source throughout the year.

Once installed (compatible with windows 23 inches to 74 inches wide), all of your main controls are handled by the Tilt MySmartRollerShades app. Available on iOS and Android devices, the app runs off Bluetooth. Set schedules, enable sunrise/sunset functions for raising and lowering your blinds, and make adjustments, all from your preferred mobile device. Keep in mind, though, that because the app is powered by Bluetooth (not Wi-Fi), you’ll need to operate your shades while at home. If you want on-the-go controls, there are several options below.

If you’re using an Amazon Alexa or a Samsung SmartThings smart device, you can also control your Tilt shades with voice commands. Doing so does require the additional purchase of the rather expensive Tilt Bridge ($89.99), but it’s beyond convenient to automate your shades with simple raise and lower prompts.

Lutron Serena

Lutron Serena

Serena motorized shades are one of the most popular brands for smart blinds. Lutron’s totally customizable coverings come in either honeycomb or roller styles with over 150 fabric, color, and opacity options. The free Lutron app (iOS and Android) lets you create customized mood scenes with your blinds, set schedules for opening and closing, as well as geofencing, where the blinds will automate based on your daily routines. Serena shades are also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and Logitech Harmony. Do note that the Lutron Smart Bridge is required for all Wi-Fi features.

Buying the Lutron Serena or other Serena coverings is as easy as ordering Domino’s for dinner. Just go to Serena Shades, hover over Design and Shop, and click Design a Shade. Plug in your measurements, power preferences, and choice of material, and then have your finished blinds sent directly to your home.

Graywind Motorized Roller Shades

Graywind Corded Blinds

One of our favorite hardwired options of this roundup, Graywind shades are customizable blackout curtains that can be controlled with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT programming. The best part? There’s no need to purchase an additional bridge. After you’ve installed the shades, download the Graywind app (for iOS and Android devices) and get to work creating schedules and automation routines for your new smart shades. If you’d prefer to keep things simple, you can use the included remote to control up to nine different pairs of Graywind shades. Better yet, you can purchase additional Graywind remotes and copy your settings from one remote to the other.

Initial programming of the motors can be a bit tricky. If you have any issues with setup though, Graywind offers exceptional customer support for any install glitches you may run into.

Ikea Fyrtur

Ikea Fyr

The Fyrtur is a perfect addition to the Ikea catalog and a great choice for smart blinds, combining sleek design, easy controls, and affordability. These work as blackout curtains, which makes them ideal for bedrooms, nurseries, or any place that you’d like utmost privacy and minimized sunlight. The Fyrtur lineup is available in 10 different sizes, with widths ranging from 23 to 48 inches. All heights are a standard 76 inches at full extension.

The brains of the Ikea Fyrtur are in the tiny Braunit battery-pack that comes with each shade. (Charger and backup battery included.) Controls are executed with the included remote control, Ikea Home app (iOS and Android), and/or voice commands through Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. App and hub control does require Ikea’s Tradfri gateway, which is sold separately.

Soma Smart Shades 2

Soma Smart Shades 2

Soma’s latest Smart Shades 2 motor pack is another stellar retrofitting option for your existing blinds. Like the Axis Gear, just make sure your coverings have a beaded chain (plastic or metal). Once your install is finished, just download the Soma app (iOS and Android) to easily automate your shades. The app lets you create “triggers” for the pack to respond to, including the time of day, sunrise/sunset, and general lighting conditions. The pack is solar-powered and comes with a USB charging cable for quick battery re-juicing.

Intelligent voice commands are available through Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri once you add the Soma Connect to your smart home. Once enabled, you can ask Alexa to do things like open your Soma Smart Shades 2 halfway or create routines where your blinds will always close at 7 p.m. — just in time for your smart lights to turn on.

Soma Tilt

Soma Tilt

Got old wand-turning blinds you want to automate? Soma’s got you covered with the Soma Tilt for only around $120. It’s an inexpensive Bluetooth solution that lets you raise and lower your old Venetians with the Soma app (cannot be paired with smart hubs).

Yoolax Blackout Motor Shades

Yoolax

What we love about Yoolax is their entire catalog is entirely custom-fit to match your exact window dimensions. Just plug in your sizes and order online. Install is painless and the low-noise motor keeps the shades operating smoothly. Like most of our picks, the Yoolax motor runs off of an easy-to-recharge battery pack.

You can control the Yoolax Blackout Motor Shades with the provided remote or Yoolax app. Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri can join the fun, too — just make sure to purchase the Yoolax hub to unlock the additional voice command features.

My SmartBlinds Automation Kit

MySmartBlinds

If you happen to be handy and don’t mind a little DIY, the MySmartBlinds kit might be your best bet. The kit can only be used to retrofit 2- to 2.5-inch corded horizontal blinds, but adding the low-profile motor and battery is such a cinch that it felt silly not to include My SmartBlinds on our list.

Once you install your motors and batteries, you’ll need to download the SmartBlinds app to your phone or tablet. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices. You can use the SmartBlinds app to raise and lower your blinds or set daily and weekly schedules that work with your routines, so you never have to worry about remembering to close your blinds again. Users easily deviate from their schedule by using the manual-override option.

You can also automate your blinds using the solar monitor and temperature sensors. These sensors will operate your blinds automatically by monitoring the sun rays as well as your home’s indoor temperature. The battery is also solar-powered, so if you’re looking for ways to save on energy costs, the My SmartBlinds Automation Kit is an ideal option for you.

What are smart blinds?

Smart blinds are versatile window treatments that can be controlled and managed through a mobile app, computer software, or voice commands via smart speakers from major brands like Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung, and more.

How do smart blinds work?

Smart blinds are powered and operated in several ways. When shopping for these specialized window treatments, you’ll find a number of different power options. Battery-powered motors are at the top of the list when it comes to aesthetics and easy installation. The battery packs themselves are simple to conceal and quick to replace, although you’ll have to worry about servicing the shades once in a while (depending on how much you use the shades through the year).

Hardwired smart blinds require an existing electrical outlet to power the shade motors but negate the need to service replaceable batteries. Many brands also offer solar-powered motors that work in conjunction with battery-powered motors.

Regardless of what power source you’re using, the motors themselves are typically paired to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for smart controls through a mobile app or voice assistant. Z-Wave, Zigbee, and proprietary radio controls are less common options.

Are smart blinds worth it?

Yes. Smart blinds can help you save money on your electric bill by allowing more sunlight into your home during peak heating hours. This means you’ll be running your thermostat less. Smart blinds are also a great way to improve home security. Automated schedules (paired with smart lighting) can create the illusion of someone being home, even if you and yours are on vacation. There’s also the pure convenience of operating shades without needing to pull cords and/or twist wands. Popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant allow you to raise and lower shades with simple voice commands, allowing you to walk into a room and adjust your blinds with ease.

Can I make my existing blinds smart?

You sure can. Products like the My Smart Blinds Automation Kit and Soma Tilt (both featured in the above roundup) can be retrofitted with existing blinds, adding smart controls to those designer shades you simply can’t part with.

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