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The best smart blinds for 2020

In just a few short years, we’ve gone from scratching our heads over how in the heck these Alexa things even work, to controlling our lights and vacuums with our voices. It was only a matter of time before we could open and close our window blinds the same exact way. Smart blinds are an awesome investment, adding convenience, security, and comfort to the smallest single bedroom or largest lakeside abode.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite smart blind products, from simple DIY operations to some of the most cutting-edge tech from the leading shade-makers.

Further reading

Somfy Sonesse Ultra 30 WireFree RTS

The Sonesse Ultra 30 uses Somfy’s trademarked WireFree tech, a rechargeable lithium-ion pack mounted inside of the motor body. The Sonesse can last almost a full year on just one charge, and when it’s time to juice it up again, a set of embedded LEDs on the motor will light up, indicating low battery.

You can control the Sonesse blinds using one of Somfy’s many different handheld remotes, easy-install 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. All controllers and hubs sold separately.

Download the MyLink app to easily control your blinds with your phone or tablet. The MyLink unit also allows integration with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as various If This Then That channels; letting you program your blinds to react to voice commands, weather conditions, and your personal routines.

Axis Gear Solar-Powered Smart Blinds

Looking to get into smart blinds but don’t want the hassle of a full motorized upgrade? The Axis Gear system is a perfect option for retrofitting your older window coverings for a quick do-it-yourself smart upgrade. The Gear pack works with any type of blind or shade that has a looped beaded-chain (plastic or metal). Once you feed the chain through the pack, your install is essentially complete. The pack itself is powered by solar energy and comes with two backup AA batteries, so no corded connections required.

Download the Gear app (iOS and Android) to control your blinds from your living room couch or halfway across the country. You can also create customized schedules and routines, with options including time, day of the week, and how opened or closed your blinds can be.

Outfitted with ZigBee, the gear works with most smart hubs but will require additional integration to enable ZigBee protocols within the hubs themselves. For help with setup, Axis offers a step-by-step guide on how to get your smart hubs synced up with your new Gear.

Lutron Serena

Serena motorized shades are an extremely popular pick for smart blinds. This time around, there are actual shades to choose from, too. Serena coverings come in either honeycomb or roller styles with over 150 fabric, color, and opacity options. Lutron’s award-winning engineering is at the peak of its powers with the Serena lineup. Shades raise and lower into perfect alignment each time, and the motors run nearly silent.

The free Lutron app lets you create customized “mood” scenes with your blinds, set schedules for opening and closing, as well as geofencing, where the blinds will remember how you normally set them and automate based on your 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.

The best part is buying Serena coverings can be as easy as ordering Domino’s. Just go to Serena Shades, hover over Design and Shop, and click Design a Shade. Plug in some measurements, your power preferences, choice of material, and then have your finished blinds sent directly to your home.

Ikea Fyrtur

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 are blackout blinds, which makes them ideal for bedrooms, nurseries, or any place that you’d like total protection from sunlight. The Fyrtur lineup is available in 10 different sizes, with widths as small and large as 23-48 inches. All heights are a standard 76 inches at full extension.

The brains of the blinds are in the tiny Braunit battery-pack that come with each shade, charger and backup battery included. Controls are executed with the included remote control, Ikea Home app (iOS and Android), and 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’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 blinds 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

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

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 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

If you’re DIY-or-die, this is the best bet for you. The My SmartBlinds kit can only be used to retrofit 2-to 2.5-inch corded horizontal blinds, but adding the motor and battery is such a cinch that it felt silly not to include this huge bargain-buy.

After install, download the SmartBlinds app (iOS and Android) to raise and lower your blinds, as well as set routines. Voice commands through Alexa and Google Assistant are also available, but yeah, you guessed it, just make sure to buy the Aeotec Nano hub to get your voice assistants integrated.

The icing on the SmartBlinds cake? The bundle comes with an attachable solar monitor and temperature sensor that automatically opens and closes the blinds, helping you save on energy costs for your home.

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