Are smart blinds worth it? Here’s what you should know

Many smart blinds work with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit.

Credit: Getty
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What if you could wake up every morning and open the blinds before you crawl out from underneath the covers? Well, thanks to smart blinds, you can. Motorized shades are nothing new to the world of home design. But the light-blocking treatments have undergone a convenient—and smart—update in recent years.

What are smart blinds?

Like regular window treatments, smart blinds offer privacy, allow you to control the amount of outdoor light coming into your home, and may provide some relief to your energy bill by blocking out heat from the sun. And, just like typical window coverings, smart blinds come in a variety of styles, fabrics, and designs. What sets smart blinds apart from run-of-the-mill curtains and shades is how you control them. You don’t have to pull on a cord or twirl a wand to open and close smart blinds—just let Alexa (or another home automation platform) handle that for you.

Read more: 16 smart home gadgets with a cult following that are actually good

Controlling your blinds and shades with these voice-activated technologies might make you feel like you’re living in an episode of The Jetsons, but the futuristic technology is becoming more and more popular. Several major smart home and window treatment design companies such as Lutron, Somfy, and Pella sell automated smart blinds that integrate with home automation systems. Ikea is also planning to release their own version of smart blinds later this year.

How do smart blinds work?

Smart shades operate in either one of two ways. You can buy motorized smart blinds, or you can retrofit your current window treatments and turn them into smart shades. Many of the smart blind systems on the market are compatible with either Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. Some smart blind systems are sold with a remote that can also be used to control the window coverings.

Smart shades
Credit: Getty

Smart blinds come in more than just vinyl—you can get smart shades, too.

Want to turn your current shades into smart blinds? Several companies sell small, battery-operated devices that connect to the cord or chain on your existing window treatments. Sounds easy enough, right? That’s because it is. We haven’t put this smart blind system to the test yet, but the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Bundle promises an easy setup without breaking the bank. The MySmartBlinds kit is compatible with Amazon voice assistants, but you’ll need to purchase a MySmartBlinds bridge to integrate Alexa. However, these blinds can still be controlled without the bridge via your smartphone.

The other option is to purchase motorized smart blinds. For example, the Serena Shades by Lutron offers geofencing technology, meaning that the shades will automatically adjust based on your location. Do you close the blinds as you leave in the morning? Or maybe you like for them to be up when you come home from work? Lutron's smart home system can automatically alter the smart blinds based on your preferences.

Most DIY and motorized smart blinds on the market can be set to an automated schedule.

Pella offers smart blinds between the glass panes of new windows. This may be a good option if you’re considering purchasing both anyway. The window coverings can be controlled with Pella's Insynctive technology via remote control or via a hub that connects to Google Home and your smartphone.

Want the shades to open once the sun comes up? Or maybe you want to make sure your blinds close once it’s dark outside? Smart blinds can help with that. Keep reading to learn some of the other benefits of smart blinds.

How much do smart blinds cost?

Another factor to consider when determining if smart blinds are right for you is the cost. Motorized smart blinds tend to be pricier than retrofit options, costing several hundred dollars per window. The cost of the shade is largely dictated by the size of the window. You can expect to pay less for smaller smart window coverings and more for larger smart blinds.

It’s also worth noting that professional installation may be recommended by the manufacturer for motorized smart blinds. However, you should be able to install retrofit treatments yourself. Oh, and keep in mind that a hub may be required for certain smart window treatments. So, consider these extra costs as you form your budget and price out options.

Do you need smart blinds?

Need is a strong word. But, the modern convenience of being able to control your blinds and shades without having to lift a finger may be enough to sway you.

Kitchen blinds
Credit: Getty

Smart blinds can be set to a schedule to open or close when you're home or away.

Smart blinds can be set to an automated schedule. This feature can be helpful if you travel frequently and want to give the appearance that you’re home by opening and closing the blinds each day. The functionality is also useful so you never have to remember to adjust the blinds again in the morning or at night. Blocking outside light will help you sleep better, and letting in the sunshine will help you wake up in the mornings.

Electronic smart window treatments are also ideal for those nights when you want more privacy but you don’t want to get off the couch or crawl out of bed. Or, when you’re relaxing on the couch on a weekend morning and want to let some light in. You can simply reach over and use your mobile device or tablet to open and close the blinds, or just call out for Alexa, Google, or Siri to get the job done.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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