Now that we’re bringing so much smart home technology into our lives, it’s no wonder that the best smart blinds are making our must-have lists this year. Incorporating smart blinds can make your life easier, especially if you’re using other smart technologies like Alexa or Google home hubs.
Here, we’ve put together some of our favourite motorised blinds to go into your home. From affordable smart blinds by Ikea to high-end bespoke blinds, there’s sure to be a smart blind option that’s right for you.
And whether you want the professionals to come in and measure it all up or if you’re more inclined towards a DIY kit for your smart blinds, our guide will help you find the best option. But before you decide which smart blinds you want to install, let’s take a look at what smart blinds are and how they can improve the way you live…
What are smart blinds?
Smart blinds use smart home technology to let you control them from afar for an easier life. Most smart blinds will enable you to roll them up or down at the push of a button – from a remote control, keypad on the wall or a phone app.
Certain smart blinds will even be compatible with voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hub, so that you can roll down your blinds without lifting a finger. You could tell Alexa to roll up your blinds in the morning, giving you a gentler wake up call than standing up and doing it yourself does!
Smart blinds often consist of a motorised roller that will usually be battery-powered. You’ll need to keep this charged, as this is what controls the movement of the smart blinds. Normally, your smart blind provider will give you a remote control associated with the product – this will enable you to roll up and roll down the blinds at the touch of a button.
Some smart blinds will be compatible with a smartphone app too. This is particularly useful if you’re not close to the blinds, but still want to be able to control them. For example, if you’re on holiday and want to make sure your house looks ‘lived in’ while you’re away. An automated schedule for your smart blinds, especially combined with other technologies such as the best smart bulbs or best smart plugs for controlling lighting, can help create the illusion of an occupied house.
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The best smart blinds: our picks
1. Ikea Kadrilj/Fyrtur
The best smart blinds for most people
Reasons to buy
Leading the way as frontrunner of the DIY ethos, Ikea has two styles of smart blinds on offer for those keen to add smart technology magic to their homes on a budget - Kadrilj (a sheer blind) and Fyrtur (a blackout blind).
The easy-to-follow guide means that you can install the blinds yourself and be confident in their quality.
They can be controlled via remote right from the off, but if you add Ikea’s Tradfri gateway to your home’s Wi-Fi network, you can control it with Ikea's Home smart app, enabling you to do things like program the blinds to open/close at set times. You can then also control it via Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, and with Apple HomeKit.
2. DotCom Blinds
The best budget smart blinds
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
No frills, no fuss, these remote-control blinds can be ordered online, installed yourself and controlled via a remote – though the company is UK only, we're afraid. The website has detailed instructions on how to properly measure, fit and program the product, so it’s easy to do yourself.
However, there is no integration or compatibility with smartphone apps or voice assistants, so they're only 'smart' in the sense that you don't have to use your muscle to operate them. So, as long as you’re confident you can keep the remote control safe from getting lost, this is a great option if you’re not planning to create a fully integrated smart home, but would like to be able to control the blinds from bed.
The best smart blinds for sheer range and selection
Reasons to buy
Somfy has a huge variety of motorised blinds that will help you achieve that extra level of control in your home. Somfy has regular electric roller blinds, electric roman blinds, electric venetian blinds, and even electric curtain rails.
You can combine your electric blinds with whole-home smart technology, from lights to doors, all controllable with the Somfy TaHoma hub and app – though its products also work with Apple HomeKit, Alexa and Google Assistant.
You can create ‘scenarios’ to suit you, like an ‘entertainment’ mode with dim lights and rolled down blinds, or a ‘holiday’ mode to give the house a ‘lived-in’ effect while you’re away. However, this cohesion is limited to only Somfy products.
The best premium smart blinds
Reasons to buy
Lutron’s smart home technology is synonymous with high-end complete smart home control. It offers quality products that you can control through the app, and set up schedules for. The app can be used across its comprehensive board of installed smart home technology to give you seamless control over everything.
Lutron has a huge range of shading products, such the Serena blinds which incorporate Natural Light Optimization – the shades tilt automatically depending on how much sunlight is present, to allow in as much natural light as possible while also protecting you from glare or your furnishings from fading. Perfect for sunny living rooms.
5. Axis Gear
Turn your current blinds into smart blinds
Reasons to buy
So far, our list has focused on installing brand new blinds with smart control, but what if you’ve already splashed out on beautiful, but not smart, blinds? Enter Axis.
This clever gadget will attach to the existing chain on your blinds (as long as it’s looped) and motorises it for you. So, instead of pulling the cord, you press a button on the side, or on your smartphone. The Axis Gear app is where the magic happens – create schedules so that your blinds automatically roll up and down according to the timers you set, or trigger as and when.
It also integrates with Alexa and Google Assistant, and with Zigbee hubs – Samsung SmartThings is a great home control setup it has support for.
How to choose the best smart blinds for you
Selecting the best smart blinds for your home will depend on a few things: your aesthetic, the compatibility levels you need, and your budget. With this all in mind, consider first what you need your blinds to do.
Are they going to help prevent glare while you’re watching TV? Are they going to give you a gentle wake-up call in the mornings by letting in the daylight? These uses will determine the type of control you need, as well as the range. For example, getting up to press a button on a keypad would interrupt your film, so a set of smart blinds that can be controlled via voice would be perfect. But not everyone wants to keep Alexa or Google Home in their bedroom, so perhaps an app or a remote control on the nightstand will do perfectly well.
Look out for the different ways your smart blinds can be controlled: remote control, smartphone app or voice assistant. Make sure to check the range and limitations of that control too – if you want to create a ‘lived-in’ effect while you’re on holiday, you’ll need smart blinds that you can either set on a timer or control from afar.
Bear in mind that even if you don't feel that you want lots of smart app/voice functionality immediately, you may change your mind later. It’s worth knowing if you’ll be able to activate extra levels of control later on, should you change your mind.
It’s also worth confirming how exactly your smart blinds will work. If they’re battery-powered, will you place the charger nearby? Or do they need to be wired directly into the electrics (which is a bigger job)? And how much can you do yourself? Most of the ones we’ve included you should be able to install at home yourself, as long as you’ve measured the windows right! Many will have the option of installation by a professional, anyway. Have a look through our guide to the best smart blinds of 2020 to find an option that works for you.