Science

Best smart blinds for 2022


Published Aug 30, 2022 11:00 AM

Window coverings can play a huge role in the look and feel of your home, and smart blinds can make your space more appealing and convenient. Having to stand up from your seat to fiddle with the cord every time the light shifts can be a major hassle, especially if you have large windows that face east or west. Smart blinds that you can control from your phone might seem like mansion-only accessories, but they’ve become much more affordable in recent years. There are a lot of options in the space, from automating your existing blinds to custom-building your own labyrinth of smart blinds, and we’re here to tell you about the best smart blinds for any home.

How we picked the best smart blinds

As an experienced tech writer who has written for outlets such as Input and Ars Technica, I know how to spot the difference between a great buy and a waste of money. I’ve also handled and reviewed my fair share of smart tech products, such as 3D printers, smart hubs, and many video game consoles. To determine these recommendations, we consulted expert opinions, technical specs, consumer reviews, and tests conducted by independent specialists to determine what smart blinds are best for you based on your price point and desired features.

Things to consider before buying smart blinds

There’s a surprising amount of variance in the smart blind market, so it’s important to have a basic idea of the set-up you want before you go shopping. First off, you obviously need to measure the dimensions of the window space you plan to cover, as that will have a big impact on your price point. If it’s a non-standard size, you’ll need to look for a brand that supports custom sizing, which will cost a bit more than the budget options. All of our below picks offer fully customized sizing.

Additionally, if you’re attached to your existing blinds—or your lease won’t let you change them—you’ll need to look at conversion kits that are compatible with your set-up. That’ll save you a ton of hassle in the long run. Also, smarting up your dumb blinds will likely end up being a lot less expensive than buying new ones altogether, but they might not work quite as well as the alternative.

Blinds vs. shades—know the difference

This might seem obvious to some, but it’s important to go over the difference between the two major kinds of window coverings before we go any further. Blinds are slats that are tilted open or closed, or raised altogether. They can be vertical or horizontal, but most consumers prefer horizontal. They are generally made of hardy materials like wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Shades are a single-piece window covering that can be raised or lowered. Generally speaking, electric blinds allow a better degree of light control than shades, but shades are much better at darkening a room completely. 

You’ve got the power

One of the biggest differences between smart blind options is their power source. These days, most smart blinds use rechargeable battery packs. While remembering to charge these batteries can be a hassle, they remove the need for tangled cords.

For those who prefer hardwired options, there are plenty of corded smart blinds out there on the market, and they’re usually a little bit cheaper than the wireless alternative. In addition to this, many of the cordless battery options can be recharged with solar power, which is convenient if your windows get a lot of sun. There are also smart blinds that work exclusively with motors that work off solar energy alone, which means no removable batteries or cords at all.

How smart is smart?

The term “smart blind” is actually fairly new terminology. (Motorized blinds, also called automatic blinds, were common industry terms until recently.) Generally, all of the smart blinds we recommend can be controlled with your phone (usually via Bluetooth), but some also come with dedicated remote controls for that truly tactile feel. Most offer support for voice commands like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri, but you may need to purchase a separate smart home hub in order to enjoy that functionality. Some play nicer with specific smart devices, so make sure to do your research before buying one if you’ve already invested in a larger smart home setup.

The best smart blinds: Reviews & Recommendations

After that breakdown, you hopefully have a fairly good idea of what you’re looking for in smart blinds. Below, we’ve selected the best smart blinds in a variety of areas. Whether you’re determined to stick with your existing blinds, or shell out for a fancy new set, we have a good option for you.

Best overall: Lutron Serena Smart Wood Blinds

Why it made the cut: Lutron Serena Smart Wood Blinds offer the best overall package in the smart blind space, from smart features to quality, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for them.

Specs

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Size: Between 20 to 72 inches wide, as tall as 72 inches
  • Material: Wood slats
  • Control options: App, remote, voice commands
  • Power options: Battery-operated, hardwired, or manual cordless
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant (requires bridge)
  • Other features: Automatic natural light optimization
  • Price: From $641

Pros

  • Great aesthetics and materials
  • Good voice command support
  • Robust power options

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Some may prefer shades

If you’re not price-conscious, there’s a clear winner in the smart blind space, and it’s the Lutron Serena Smart Wood Blinds. Featuring four stained finishes and four painted finishes, as well as fully customizable size support, it’s almost guaranteed that you can find a style of these modern blinds that works for your window size and decor preferences. They’re also easy to install, as long as you’re comfortable spending 15-20 minutes on a stepladder. (If not, you can also get expert installation, of course.)

These smart blinds really come into their own in the extra features department. They support both Alexa and Google Assistant (but not Siri) for smart home setups. They also come hardwired or battery-operated depending on your preference, which is a rarity in the smart blind space. They also have a natural light optimization feature, which automatically adjusts the blinds to maximize the amount of sunshine as the day goes on. The only disadvantage of these blinds is that you have to manually adjust them if you want to raise or lower them directly. If that’s a problem for you, you may prefer shades.

Lutron Serena Smart Wood Blinds certainly aren’t the most budget-friendly option in the smart blind space but if you want the best, they’re it.

Best solar-powered: MySmartRollerShades

Why it made the cut: SmarterHome’s MySmartRollerShades are smart shades that carry the whole package at an affordable price.

Specs

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Size: Between 21 to 73 inches wide, as tall as 120 inches
  • Material: Fabric
  • Control options: App, voice commands
  • Power options: Solar-powered cordless
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings (requires bridge)
  • Other features: None
  • Price: From $328

Pros

  • Great features for price
  • Good voice command support with scheduling
  • Nice materials

Cons

  • Limited color options
  • Doesn’t work with Google Assistant or Siri

Save energy and feel more secure with these shades, which are always ready for use thanks to solar charging. And smart shades have a few key advantages over blinds, and SmarterHome’s MySmartRollerShades are a great mid-range offering in the space. Like Lutron’s Serena offerings, you can control these roller shades from your phone or your voice. SmarterHome’s app allows you to schedule the shades’ position throughout the day. It supports two of the more popular smart home platforms in Samsung SmartThings and Amazon Alexa, though it does require a $100 bridge in order to take advantage of this functionality. 

The shades come in at least 11 different options, though most of them tend to be on the simpler side. If you have a smart home setup that relies on Google Assistant, these probably aren’t a good pick for you, as the bridge isn’t compatible with it. And the lack of a remote control might rub some people the wrong way, but the app works just fine.  

If you prefer the binary options offered by a shade rather than blinds, we highly recommend MySmartRollerShades as a great entry-level buy.

Best roller shades: Lutron Serena Smart Roller Shades

Why it made the cut: Lutron Serena Smart Roller Shades justify their high cost with 200+ fabric choices and outstanding smart home integration.

Specs

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Size: Between 19 to 96 inches wide, as tall as 120 inches
  • Material: Fabric
  • Control options: App, remote, voice commands
  • Power options: Battery-operated, hardwired, or manual cordless
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings (requires bridge)
  • Other features: None
  • Price: From $636

Pros

  • Ridiculously customizable
  • Supports nearly all smart home platforms
  • Excellent materials

Cons

  • Extremely expensive for roller shades

If you’re building a top-of-the-line smart home setup and you don’t want blinds, Lutron Serena Smart Roller Shades are probably the right product for you. Lutron offers more than 200 fabric choices to suit your ideal home decor, as well as support for almost any window dimension you can imagine. With support for four major smart home platforms and their voice assistants, this is the most versatile pick for those who have already bought into a smart home setup, too.

Unlike many of our picks, these roller shades have no real significant downsides—besides the cost, of course. However, given that you’re paying at least double the price of the also-excellent MySmartRollerShades, it’s up to you to decide if the premium features are truly worth it. Either way, they’re quite snazzy.

Lutron Serena Smart Roller Shades are the best smart roller shades on the market for smart home enthusiasts. It’s really that simple.

Best conversion kit: Soma Smart Shades 2

Why it made the cut: Soma Smart Shades 2 is by far the best conversion kit aimed at conventional shades on the market.

Specs

  • Customizable: N/A
  • Size: Any shade with a beaded chain
  • Material: Any
  • Control options: App, voice commands
  • Power options: Solar-powered cordless (optional USB charging)
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Samsung SmartThings (requires hub)
  • Other features: Supports conventional shades
  • Price: $149

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent smart home support (with hub)
  • Trivial installation

Cons

  • Only works with certain types of shades
  • May not work as well as dedicated smart shades

If you’re attached to your existing shades for sentimental reasons—or perhaps due to a rental agreement—don’t fret. Soma Smart Shades 2 is a conversion kit that works on any shades that have a beaded chain. After installing the small motor, you can manipulate your conventional shades via an app, or any smart home assistant you can think of. While this requires the purchase of a separate hub, it supports far more smart home platforms than many of the actual smart blinds out there, which is pretty impressive in its own right.

For the price, the Soma 2 has a pretty impressive array of features in its app, including sunrise and sunset mode, quiet wakeup, and daily scheduling. Its power source is primarily charged by solar but it can also be directly connected via USB. Given that the Soma 2 is a small motor, it may not be as powerful as a dedicated pair of smart shades, but it can more than hold its own.

Overall, if you want to smarten up your existing shades, the Soma Smart Shades 2 is the way to go.

Best corded: Graywind Motorized Shades

Why it made the cut: Graywind Motorized Shades combine a great price with a stress-free hardwired setup.

Specs

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Size: Between 23 to 99 inches wide, as tall as 120 inches
  • Material: Fabric
  • Control options: App, remote, voice commands
  • Power options: Hardwired or cordless battery
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant
  • Other features: None
  • Price: From $148

Pros

  • Surprisingly affordable
  • Decent feature-set
  • Can opt for cordless setup if you so desire

Cons

  • App isn’t the best
  • Less color options than some

If you want a basic smart blind that’s easy to set up and works well out of the box, you should consider Graywind Motorized Shades. Of the hardwired smart roller shades out there, they have some of the highest review scores from consumers and experts alike. They’re also one of the most affordable picks on our list, with even the biggest shades coming in cheaper than the starting price of the Lutron Serena line. 

Graywind shades support three of the biggest smart home voice control systems with no hub needed. This is achieved through either the Tuya or the Smart Life app. However, some users have reported issues getting Alexa to sync with the shades, so if you’ve bought into the Amazon ecosystem, these might not be the best smart shades for you. Graywind also offers fewer color options than higher-end brands like Lutron Serena, but 20 is nothing to sneeze at. Also, as a quick note, you can get Graywind Motorized Shades in a cordless configuration as well if you don’t want the hardwired look.

Graywind Motorized Shades are a great buy for consumers who want an uncomplicated smart shade that doesn’t break the bank or require fiddly configuration.

Best budget: Yoolax Motorized Solar Shades

Why it made the cut: Yoolax Motorized Solar Shades offer the best overall value for price of any smart shade out there.

Specs

  • Customizable: Yes
  • Size: Between 22 to 99 inches wide, as tall as 116 inches
  • Material: Fabric
  • Control options: App, remote, voice commands
  • Power options: Cordless battery (solar-powered optional)
  • Voice support: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant
  • Other features: None
  • Price: From $179

Pros

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Supports most popular smart home platforms
  • Extremely high ratings from customers

Cons

  • Limited color options
  • Slightly more expensive than ultra-budget options

We’ve highlighted a number of products that are aimed at customers who are willing to pay high prices for extreme quality. But if you’re an average person looking to cover five or six windows with smart shades for a reasonable cost, Yoolax Motorized Solar Shades are a very good bang-for-your-buck product. They offer the essential features of a cordless smart shade—customizability, voice assistant support, and app control—for a price that begins at less than $200. 

While Yoolax shades are actually slightly more expensive than the above Graywind shades, their excellent consumer reviews on shops like Amazon give them the edge as our overall budget option. There are other ultra-budget smart shades out there with cheaper prices, such as the ones offered by IKEA, but their quality and review scores leave a lot to be desired. As such, we recommend Yoolax. The only real downside here is the limited fabric choices.

If you want a simple cordless smart shade and you don’t mind basic color options, you should definitely consider Yoolax.

FAQs

Q: Are automated blinds the same as smart blinds?

Sort of. Automated blinds have existed in some form or fashion since the 1990s. The key difference between automated and smart blinds is that the latter allows you to control them via your phone or voice commands. Most smart blinds are designed for an existing smart home setup.

Q: How reliable are solar-powered smart blinds?

While it depends on the brand, most solar-powered smart blinds are very reliable. They’re capable of storing charge from even a small amount of sun exposure. If your window faces a particularly shady area, it might be best to ensure that they have a USB backup charging option.

Q: How do I install smart blinds?

Most smart blinds require nothing more than a stepladder and the ability to hang an object (such as a picture frame or poster) at a straight level. However, before you purchase any smart blinds, you should familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s recommended self-install procedure and decide if you’re comfortable enough to do it yourself.

Q: How long do smart blinds last?

This depends on your pattern of use and the brand itself. Most reviews suggest that smart blinds themselves last three to five years with average use. If your blinds are battery-powered, you may need to replace the batteries more often than that, however.

Final thoughts about the best smart blinds

If you’re looking for a quick, unobtrusive way to upgrade your smart home, the best smart blinds could be exactly what you’re looking for. You can replace your current window coverings with brand new remote control blinds or convert your current setup. Either way, it will add a level of comfort and customizability that your manual blinds can’t match.



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