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The best smart blinds for 2020

Smart blinds are among the less obvious smart product choices, but there are so many benefits to investing in smart blinds for your house or apartment. For starters, who wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning, and by simply saying, “Alexa, good morning,” to your Echo Dot, your bedroom blinds automatically open? Then, there’s the built-in home security — having blinds that raise and lower 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 a few bucks during your next billing cycle.

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

Somfy Sonesse Ultra 30 WireFree RTS

Somfy Sonesse Ultra 30

The Sonesse Ultra 30 uses Somfy’s trademarked WireFree rechargeable lithium-ion pack, an easy-mount battery located inside of the motor body. The Ultra 30 can last almost a full year on a single charge, and when it’s time to juice them up again, a set of embedded LEDs on the motor will illuminate, indicating low battery. You can control the Sonesse blinds using one of Somfy’s many different handheld remotes, wall plates, or our favorite option, the Somfy MyLink, a powered hub that creates a handshake between your Wi-Fi and Somfy’s patented RTS (Radio Technology Somfy) bands.

Just download the MyLink app to control and automate the Somfy Sonesse Ultra 30 WireFree RTS with your phone or tablet. The MyLink hub also allows integration with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as various If This Then That channels (IFTTT). IFTTT coding lets you program your blinds to react to voice commands, weather conditions, and your personal routines. Do note that all controllers and hubs sold separately.

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.

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.

After you install the motor and battery, download the SmartBlinds app to your phone or tablet. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. Use the SmartBlinds app to raise and lower your blinds. You can even set daily and weekly schedules that work with your routines, so you never have to worry about remembering to close your blinds again. But, you can use the manual switch if you ever want to change things up.

Even better, the SmartBlinds app is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can issue voice commands. However, you’ll need to buy and install the Aeotec Nano hub to add this feature and use the voice commands with MySmartBlinds.

The kit comes with a solar monitor and temperature sensor that you can attach to the blinds. It’s an interesting feature because these sensors track sun rays and indoor temperature to raise or lower the blinds automatically. 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.

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