The Best Smart Blinds
Updated 23 November 2020
As smart homes become more mainstream, we take a look at how you can use your preferred smart technology to control your window blinds.
Whether you want to be able to control the light visibility to ensure a much-needed lie-in or you are looking for a climate-controlled option to help you manage the temperature of your room, smart blinds can be highly intuitive.
Let’s take a look at some of our favourite options:
Here in the WikiJob office, we’re huge fans of Swedish furniture giant IKEA. And the company has knocked it out of the park with its new range of IKEA FYRTUR electric blinds.
Sizing for the blinds range from a small 60 x 195 cm up to 140 x 195 cm, giving you plenty of options for a variety of windows.
At the moment the blinds are only available in grey, but we anticipate that, as with many of IKEA’s other products, other colour options could emerge in the future.
As an introduction to smart blind technology, FYRTUR and KAHRILJ are essentially battery operated blinds.
Controlled by remote control, the blinds are cordless – making them a great safety option for a child’s bedroom (not to mention the blackout functionality of the blind itself).
Buyers can choose to operate the blinds solely via remote control or they can choose to connect to wider smart technology.
We liked the ease of use with this product – it’s easy to understand exactly what you are purchasing via the IKEA website and you don’t need a skilled professional for installation. What’s more, if you have bought the TRÅDFRI gateway, you can integrate the smart home functionality with other IKEA products.
As you would expect from IKEA, the pricing is affordable and a good introduction to smart blinds. If you’re keen to try something new or you want to dip your toe into smart home technology, these are a fantastic option.
Somfy Smart Blinds
A close second choice
Somfy is a specialist in smart blind technology and it’s not hard to see why so many customers rave about its extensive range of smart blinds. The company excels in motors and has collaborated with a range of suppliers to be able to develop a huge product portfolio.Prices start at £119 from poweredblinds.co.uk
We like the Somfy Simplicity range.
Prices start from £119 for a blind and buyers can choose between 47 different colour options. This is hugely beneficial for those who are considering the style and aesthetic of the blind as well as its smart functionality.
You can also benefit from an extremely large size variation – from W65 x H30 cm up to a staggering W200 x 240 cm drop.
In comparison to the IKEA FYRTUR and KAHRILJ options, the Somfy Simplicity blinds are a no-brainer if you have large windows.
But what about the all-important smart technology?
Well, with a choice of controls and accessories, you can control everything through full Alexa integration.
Somfy smart blinds have a variety of controls available. You can choose the speed of the motor rotation and you can even control up to five separate blinds at the same time depending on your choice of handset.
Even more impressively, with the Alexa integration you can programme automated settings, so you could easily say “Alexa, I’m off to bed” and the blinds will close in your bedroom ready for when you walk into the room.
For those who aspire to have an entirely smart house, the Somfy range is a perfect combination of style and substance.
SOMA Smart Shades 2
The best option for converting your existing blinds into smart blinds
If you’ve already splashed out on expensive blinds for your home, or you simply like the look and style of your existing blinds, it can be easy to dismiss smart blinds. But what if we told you that there was a way to easily convert your existing blinds into smart blinds?£99 from SOMA smart home
The SOMA Smart Shades is a convertible adaptor that allows you to automate your window blinds in just a few minutes. The battery-operated adaptor fits onto your existing blind cords and is compatible with any blind that has a beaded chain or cord loop.
If you have Venetian blinds, you can also benefit from the SOMA Tilt.
Once you’ve installed the adaptor and downloaded the SOMA app you will benefit from full automation including simultaneous control of multiple windows and rooms, light sense AI and scheduled programming.
You can easily integrate the SOMA to your chosen virtual assistant.
We believe that the features of this adaptor are fully comparable to many expensive smart blinds, such as the Somfy range, and it’s incredible to see how quick and easy it is to install.
One aspect we welcomed was the quiet morning mode. This allows the motor to run slowly, keeping the volume as low as possible. It’s an absolute must for those who want to be able to wake gently to natural light. The sound volume is comparable to the volume of a fridge – it’s a low hum.
Whilst the pricing of the SOMA Smart Shades 2 adaptor is comparable to the IKEA FYRTUR and KAHRILJ, we think that it’s great to be able to convert existing blinds into smart blinds.
It’s a great go-between option for those who are keen to implement smart home connectivity whilst retaining existing soft furnishings. We highly recommend it.
What Is a Smart Blind?
Smart blinds (also known as motorised blinds, automatic blinds or smart shades) are window blinds that can be automated to raise or lower depending on your personal preferences.
Thanks to a motorised engine, the blinds can sync with your smartphone via an app to allow you to pre-set specific timings for when you want your blinds to open or close.
For those with an interest in smart home technology, you can sync your smart blinds with your chosen smart home hub (such as an Amazon Alexa or Google Home) to integrate voice technology.
What’s more, you can programme your smart blinds to adapt to the exterior lighting so that they will automatically change position, providing you with your desired ambience whatever the time of day.
What Are the Benefits of Smart Blinds?
Smart blinds may seem like a luxury – after all, it’s not exactly difficult to open or close a blind. But in today’s increasingly technological world, installing smart blinds is now increasingly mainstream.
Thanks to the affordability of smart home technology, it’s never been easier to turn your home or office into a futuristic experience.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but smart blinds can be beneficial in helping you to save money in the long-term.
Whilst there is a set-up fee involved, having automated blinds which adapt to exterior lighting can allow you to take advantage of natural light. This means that you can avoid having unnecessary lights on during the day, potentially reducing your electricity bill.
For those who struggle with insomnia or to wake up in the morning, having smart blinds can help regulate your sleep patterns.
You can set your blinds to open/close at predetermined times, allowing you to wake up naturally.
Your body will quickly get used to the new routine, and you may find yourself feeling much healthier and more alert.
You can even choose to predetermine your settings to take weekends into account.
If you dream of a long lie-in on a Sunday morning, then smart blind technology can keep your bedroom as dark as you need it to be.
What Should You Consider When Choosing Your Preferred Smart Blind?
When it comes to smart blinds, you may need to undertake due diligence to ensure that you’re purchasing the right option for your needs.
Here are a few considerations that you may need to think about before making that all-important purchase:
When it comes to smart blinds, functionality is key.
Some people may be happy to stick with remote controls (ideal for those who don’t want to get out of bed in the morning), whilst others may prefer to have voice-assisted technology to open/close their smart blinds.
Others may be looking for a fully automated option that takes the light outside into consideration and will adapt the ambience of the room to your preferences.
Many smart blinds are integrated with a specific mobile app which can be linked to smart home hubs.
You may need to research to ensure that your chosen blind can connect with your preferred virtual assistant.
You may also wish to consider the volume of the motor. Different motors operate at different speeds, and with that comes noise.
If you’re relying on smart blind technology to allow you to wake up gently in the morning, will the noise of the motor overcome that gentle light?
Style vs Substance
Blinds and curtains can play a huge role in the décor of your room. Getting the right look and style can be difficult so you must think about what you want your room to look like.
Some smart blind manufacturers focus solely on the technology, whilst others (like Somfy) have collaborated with partners to ensure a wide range of furnishing options.
You will need to think about the style of your window and its location. You may want to be in control of the colour and fabric of the blind you choose.
You may also need to consider whether you are looking for something which offers mild sun-blocking properties, or something with full black-out features.
Whilst the technology of the item is of importance, you shouldn’t forget that smart blinds should still function in the same way as traditional blinds. Therefore, you may wish to consider the capabilities of the fabric choice.
Are you planning to install the smart blinds yourself or will you need a professional to come in and handle the installation?
If you’re making a significant financial investment into your smart blinds, you need to feel confident that they are installed correctly. After all, the slightest error could have big implications on how they work.
But having a professional come into your home and install the smart blinds may come at a price.
You may prefer a simpler option that you can install yourself at your leisure.
This is where an option such as the IKEA smart blinds or the Brunt Blind Engine comes in handy. They are designed with easily-installation in mind.
Some smart blinds can be purchased directly online, whilst others may require a face-to-face conversation with a licenced dealer.
You may find the perfect smart blind for your home or office, but is there a showroom or dealer located nearby?
Even if you can purchase online, are you confident that you’ve ordered everything that you need?
There are plenty of choices available when it comes to motors, controls, handsets and smart home hubs – and with that choice, comes confusion.
You will want to feel confident that you’re purchasing the right items, so you may feel that a visit to a smart blind showroom will be beneficial, where you can see the blind working in action.
Alternatively, you may be looking for something relatively simple in which case you may prefer to be able to purchase everything in one place, with no hard-sell from a pushy salesman.
You may be looking for something in a time-limited fashion, where you can benefit from a priority delivery. In which case, online delivery options could work around your lifestyle.
Fit is imperative when it comes to selecting your blinds. Unlike some traditional blinds which can be cut to size, you can’t as easily adapt a smart blind to the size of your window.
You must be confident that you’re choosing the right size – therefore, you may benefit from a home visit from a dealer who can take accurate measurements.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Blinds Online
As with many important purchases, you will likely start the purchasing process by looking online.
However, we noted that it was sometimes difficult to find the required information about the products when researching purchase options online.
This is another reason why we loved the IKEA FYRTUR and KAHRILJ so much – the purchasing process was quick and simple and we knew instantly what we needed and why.
There are so many variables involved in smart blinds that we can see how an individual may struggle to purchase the right product for their needs.
After all, if you’re new to smart home technology, how confident are you that you know the difference between the hubs, the remotes and the apps? Not to mention the choice of motors available.
Many manufacturers rely on licenced dealers to make the sale rather than e-commerce.
Whilst it is highly recommended that you speak to a professional about your specific needs, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, then this may be out of your reach.
It is also important to make sure that you get all the information you need when you are researching to allow you to effectively compare each of your preferred blinds.
For example – we’ve mentioned within this article that you may like the SOMA Smart Shades 2 because of the quiet morning mode. SOMA was one of only two products that made clear reference to the volume decibel of the motor. If you’re investing in smart blind technology for your bedroom, then this is something that you’ll want to know.
You may find that using forums and reading customer reviews could be a good way of finding out thoughts of specific products from the end-users.
Other Smart Blinds We Reviewed
Although we’ve already listed our three favourite smart blinds at the top of this article, there are many more options available.
Here are a few more smart blind options that you may wish to consider purchasing:
As a luxury manufacturer of smart blinds, Luxaflex has built its reputation on its PowerView® technology.
This is a smart blind in every sense of the term – users can create customisable settings that allow you to control all of the blinds in your home or choose specific combinations of blinds.
Thanks to the PowerView® app, you can create settings that allow the blinds to open/close without you having to do anything at all. You can choose to operate each room independently and create specific schedules for different rooms all via your smartphone.
We love these blinds because they have everything that you would want from a smart blind. Fully compatible with home systems like Nest, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, you can choose to make the most of voice technology in a way that suits your home.
As you would expect from a luxury smart blind manufacturer, the Luxaflex smart blinds look as good as you would expect. There is a choice for every style of blind, from Roman to Plisse, from Twist Roller to Venetian. You can even choose to automate your wooden shutters and awnings.
This means that you can find the right style of blind, whatever your room.
We love the look and style of each blind; they combine high-end style with luxury, and you can feel confident that the fit and feel of the blind will be just as effective as the PowerView® technology.
As an online retailer, Blinds2Go has gained a reputation for delivering high-quality blinds and curtains at affordable prices. It’s, therefore, interesting to note that they are now branching out into electric blinds.
Like the rest of Blind2Go’s range, buyers can choose between a wide range of colour choices designed to match your home décor. With 31 options available, it’s easy for you to find the right swatch for you.
They’ve thought about the aesthetic of the blind – our favourites are the Twinkling Stars Blackout Cloud and the Starry Skies options (designed as part of the Emma Bridgewater collection).
There are also stripes, sheer and blackout options available, making them a good option for both homes and offices.
But what about the technology? As an affordable choice, will they offer the same functionality as other manufacturers?
Well, they are quick and easy to install and are powered by a rechargeable, battery-powered remote control.
The 15-channel remote (which is fully programmable) will allow you to control all of your blinds in one go.
Whether you have a large house or you’re looking for an affordable option for your business premises, there are plenty of options available.
However, the Blinds2Go electric roller blinds don’t have the same smart blind functionality that other products have. You cannot integrate them into a smartphone app or sync to voice control. But at such a low price, that should be expected.
These are good alternatives for someone who is looking for a product that allows them to raise/lower multiple blinds at once with pre-programmable settings but aren’t necessarily worried about having additional smart capabilities.
Thanks to the Brunt Blind Engine, you can convert your existing blinds into a motorised blind. All you have to do is install the engine and attach it to your blind cords.
In just one minute, you can have ready-installed smart blinds that integrate with your smartphone and are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Samsung SmartThings.
We promise, this isn’t just wishful thinking – the Brunt Blind Engine really does install that quickly.
Installation is simple; the Brunt Blind Engine comes with two different gears, for different types of chains. Brunt state that the Engine is compatible with a wide range of blind styles including Venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and roman blinds.
The affordable pricing structure of the engine means that you can easily convert your home into smart home functionality with minimum fuss.
An added feature of the Brunt Blind Engine is the safety feature. Blind cords can be extremely dangerous for children so the manufacturers have installed an emergency stop connection on the engine if the line catches or if there is an abnormal load.
For parents who may be considering installing this into their child’s bedroom, this can give additional peace of mind that safety is a key factor.
Lutron specialises in providing personalised smart lighting and blind control in your home.
In the US, the Serena Shades have proved to be extremely popular, and whilst the Serena isn’t yet available in Europe, the company does have SivoiaQS technology available.
This shading technology offers easy integration with a range of blinds including roller blinds and roman blinds.
You can choose between a wall-mounted handset or remote control and the technology doesn’t just allow you to raise/lower blinds, you can also determine the tilt of the blind. This is an ideal option if you are choosing to invest in wood blinds.
We would recommend Lutron as an option for smart blinds if you are preparing to invest heavily in your blinds. Installation isn’t easy – you would need to hire a professional to handle the installation and fit, which could add to your overall budget.
However, if you have a large foyer or skylights which are out of reach, you can have stunning blinds installed at the touch of a button.
Like other electric blinds, you can use your control to manage multiple blinds at the same time; however, it doesn’t have the virtual assistant compatibility like brands such as Somfy or Luxaflex.
Our view is that this is a high-end product that will allow you to invest in electric blinds, but if you’re looking for something which integrates closely with smart home technology, you may wish to invest elsewhere.
At a Glance Comparison
If all of the information so far within this article seems overwhelming, here’s a quick comparison at a glance:
|Smart Blind||Starting Price||Sizing||Colour Options||Required App||Additional Accessories||Smart Tech Integration|
|Blinds 2 Go electric roller blinds||From £69||W50 cm x H50 cm up to W220 cm x H180 cm||31 colours available||n/a||15 channel remote control||n/a|
|IKEA FYRTUR / IKEA KADRILJ||£90–165||W60 x H195 cm up to W140 x H195 cm||Grey||IKEA Home smart app – but can work solely via remote control||TRÅDFRI gateway||Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home|
|SOMA smart shades 2||£99|
Max weight: up to 5 kg
The recommended shade size is up to 2 m (7 ft) wide and 2 m (7 ft) high
|n/a||SOMA connect||n/a||Apple Siri, Google Home/Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings|
|VER.2 Brunt Blind Engine||$99 – international shipping options available via Amazon|
Max size: 2 m x 2 m
Max weight: 6 kgs
|n/a||Brunt||n/a||Amazon Alexa, Google Home/ Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings|
|Somfy Smart Blinds||Varies||W65 x H30 cm up to a W200 cm x 240 cm||47 colours available as part of the Simplicity range||Somfy Connexoon or TaHoma||Wide range of controls, handsets and wall switches available||Amazon Alexa|
|Luxaflex||Varies||PowerView®||Pebble remote or wall handset||Nest, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.|
|Lutron Sivoia QS||Varies||n/a||Remote or Wall handset||n/a|
As you can see, there is a huge difference between motorised and electric blinds and those that are truly smart blinds.
If a remote control is enough for you, then there is something for every budget. However, with the increasing capabilities from smart home technologies, you may feel that your investment is better placed with smart blinds which can offer so much more.
Our favourites are definitely the IKEA FYRTUR and KAHRILJ.
These are affordable entry-level smart blinds and both the purchase and installation processes are swift and easy to manage. The blinds look stylish and have all the features that you need.
However, if you are looking for a bit of added luxury, you shouldn’t discount the Somfy Simplicity range.
It’s important that a blind looks good whilst working hard, and this is where the Simplicity range doesn’t disappoint. With so many fabric options and colour choices, you can find the right result for your home or office.
A final shout-out should go to the SOMA Smart Shades 2. There’s something magical about being able to convert your existing blinds to smart home technology and it’s incredible to see how quickly and easily the adaptor can be installed.
The wide range of features and affordability means it should not be discounted.
As more updates are made to the software, we can expect to see it become an increasingly popular option and we would highly recommend it as an alternative to those who may be wary about the installation of smart blinds.