Is there a difference between shades and blinds? Understanding the difference between these two everyday terms must be frustrating. To find the right match for your window you will need to understand this difference. Read on as this article discusses the 10 best motorized window shades.
Smart phone technology has brought a lot of convenience to our lives. You can now raise and lower your curtains just at the click of a button, all this is thanks to technology. This tedious task can now be done from the comfort of your couch. Automated curtains also promise you more security and privacy.
Motorized window shades are the new real deal. You can now control blinds and shades remotely. Motorized window shades and blinds are also compatible with voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Automated blinds can lower and raise automatically at a certain time.
Not so long ago, motorized window shades were a preserve for luxury hotels. They were expensive to install and very few options were available to choose from. With the increased penetration and adoption of smartphone technology, there are now many affordable options to choose from.
If you want to improve the feel and look of your house, then you should contemplate replacing those manual blinds with motorized window coverings.
What is the Difference Between Shades and Blinds?
Although the words blinds and shades are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two. These two types of window treatments have remarkable differences. The only thing they have in common is that they both cover your windows.
A blind has louvers that rotate back and forth to control the light and privacy of your room. With individual horizontal slats, blinds can be raised or lowered to fine-tune the amount of light that you let in the room. The most common blind materials are wood, metal and Vinyl. This is the reason why blinds are often considered as ‘hard’ window treatment.
A shade does not have moveable slats. It is just one piece of material that raises and lowers. Unlike blinds, shades cannot be tilted. Shades must be fully raised or lowered to meet your desired level of light and privacy. Shades are considered as soft window treatment because the fabric and feeling of the shade is warm and flowing.
Are you torn between blinds and shades? To best answer this question, you need to consider how you want to control your privacy and at the same time block light. If your house is in a high traffic area or you have kids or pets which make a mess then you will be better off choosing blinds. Compared to shades, blinds are easy to clean. If durability is what you seek, then go for blinds as they are made from hard materials that have a longer service life.
Whether you prefer shades over blinds or vice versa, we all agree shades and blinds are a great improvement to your house. They give you that desired privacy while letting in just the right amount of light into your room.
Smart Device Compatibility
Smart blinds are categorized into two. The first category of smart blinds is controlled by a smartphone app like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. When connected to your WiFi these blinds will communicate with your devices through the internet. This way, they can be controlled by remote control or the sound of your voice. These devices may come with unique features like being able to close the blinds when the temperature of the house reaches a certain level.
The second category of motorized smart blinds is the one that can only be controlled by a remote control. Remote control blinds are a much cheaper option than all smart device-capable blinds. Voice-activated remote controls have a timer function, therefore you can automatically open and close the blinds several times a day. Remote control blinds are not controlled by either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. They are, however, easily converted using smart plugs or switches.
Benefits of Using Motorized Shades
Although this piece of home technology has often been overlooked, it has several benefits. When properly selected and installed, motorized window shades will take your home’s comfort, protection, and convenience to the next level.
Here are the 8reasons why should consider investing in motorized window covering:
Control the Security of Your Home While You are Away
Your home looks ‘lived in’ even when you are miles away. Using an app on your phone you can open and close the coverings on your window. Combined with automatic lights, this can be a big deterrent to burglars.
Every single window covering in your house can be adjusted with the single touch of a button. Amazing, isn’t it? It can also be time saving if your house has many large picture windows. Motorized window coverings are also a good choice for hard-to-reach places.
Increase the Value of Your House
Motorized window coverings not only serve a functional purpose but also increase the aesthetic appeal of your house. This is will give your house a competitive edge in the market and attract more prospective buyers.
You can set your blinds on timer so that specific windows are covered as soon as the sun goes down. Also, in the market there are window coverings that give you privacy while still letting in light.
Motorized window coverings control the flow of heat into and out of your house. If the temperature becomes too cold, the window coverings traps the heat in the room. This reduces the amount of money that you spend on energy bills.
They Improve the Quality of Your Sleep
With motorized shades, you are assured of sleeping in a completely dark room. Complete darkness increases melatonin and improves your sleep cycle. You can also set the window covering to open at the specific time that you want to wake up. This way, you wake up to natural light and not that annoying alarm.
Perfect for Hard to Reach Windows
All you need to open or close a window shade is to press a button. In hard-to-reach skylights, it can be hard to manually adjust the shades. This is where motorized window coverings come in handy.
Modern motor systems work quietly saving you and your family from cranks and other sounds. These motors are also installed to be out of sight, meaning you will never see them working. These motors work without attracting attention.
10 Best Motorized Window Shades
We understand picking the right window covering can be a bit challenging. We took it upon ourselves to compile a list of the 10 best-motorized window shades of 2021. In this section, we discuss the 10 best smart window shades of 2021 as was published in this article in the New York Times. Read on.
To be considered for testing a shade must have possessed the following features:
- The option of DIY installation
- Do not need third-party smart hub for smart features with the exception of Amazon Alexa
- Must have voice control and scheduling features
- A range of fabric, style, and sizing options to fit into most homes
You must be wondering how these shades were tested and picked. The analysis mainly focused on DIY new shades only. The test did not focus on Retrofit devices as they are generally difficult to install, comparatively expensive and unattractive to buyers.The shades were tested based on the following criteria:
- Ease of installation of the shades
- How the shade is controlled
- How fast and quiet the shade was in operation
- How seamless the purchase and delivery process is
- How the shade was powered.
In order of their performance, the 10 best motorized window shades of 2021 are listed below:
They were found to have the most useful smart home integrations. They do not only have the easiest control options but also boast of the quietest motor. Lutron Serena shades have a fully customizable design and lightweight construction making them easy to install. Although they were the most expensive of the shades tested, they are truly a value for money.
Relatively affordable and solar powered. These shades are also custom made to fit your window. What stood out about Tilt MySmartRollerShades was their simple pricing and delivery process. Theirs is a price-fits-all strategy. Every shade cost $399 no matter their size or fabric. They fell behind serena shades because they are not as quiet and have fewer fabric options.
They are considered as a budget pick. Compared to Serena and Tilt MySmartRollerShades, they cost less. Their quality may not match those of Serena and Tilt shades, but they are equally good.
This is a wireless system by Hunter Douglas used to control Window shades. It can also be operated by a companion mobile app or voice commands over Alexa or Google Assistant. The pricing is available on request.
This model is made from polyester fabric and boasts of a thermal insulate with valence. Its advantage is that it offers fully customizable options and is water and oil proof.
They offer a line of $99 smart shades in three style options and fixed sizes. They are plain and have a utilitarian look. Another of their disadvantage is that they need to be plugged into an outlet. Finally, they are not as quiet as the above-mentioned window shades.
This is a retrofit device that works only with existing chain-pull shades. This model is too large and attracts a lot of attention as it needs to be plugged into power. Compared to the above top picks, this model has a low response time as it relies on Bluetooth.
Has about the same functionality and features as Axis but is smaller in size and costs $100 less. It is not well designed or easy to set up and requires a $99 Soma Connect bridge to pair with Alexa and Google. Like the Axis model, it needs to be plugged into power or a giant solar panel resulting into lots of wires hanging around your window.
It is easy to install and has a battery that only requires charging four to five times a year, and is operated by a remote control. It can also be custom cut to fit any size of your window. The major limitation of this model is that it is relatively highly priced ranging from $53 on Amazon
It measures 35 inches in width and 72 inches maximum in length and is powered by regular alkaline batteries. It therefore doesn’t require a mains connection. It allows a certain amount of light to pass thus not the best option if you desire total darkness.
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