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Best Buy Guides Find the Best Smart Blinds & Curtain Motors for Your Smart Home in 2022
Find the Best Smart Blinds & Curtain Motors for Your Smart Home in 2022
Best Buy Guide

Find the Best Smart Blinds & Curtain Motors for Your Smart Home in 2022

Your home can ensure complete privacy on command. It can also provide adequate light at any time of day. You're asking how? With smart window coverings and your Homey! And that's not the only thing these devices can achieve. In this guide, we’ve taken a look at the six best smart window coverings that are currently available on the market.

How Smart Blinds Work

Smart window coverings work like their "dumb" counterparts, but they can be opened, closed, or adjusted remotely without you having to lift a finger.

On top of that, they pack in lots of functionality. They often include light sensors to detect the ambient light, ensuring your home is filled with light during the day and perfectly private at night. Another common feature is a small solar panel that can recharge the batteries, reducing the need for wall outlet charging.

Moreover, smart blinds and curtain motors reduce your utility bills. They're able to warm up your house with sunlight in the winter. In the summer, they protect you from excessive heat by providing shade.

Through protocols like Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, and 433MHz, smart blinds and curtain motors connect to a smart home hub like Homey and thus integrate with other devices in your household. Your smart blinds and curtains can be controlled by any remote control connected to your Homey, and their position can also be adjusted directly in the Homey mobile or web app.

And if you want to unlock extra functionality, Homey offers complete control with customization and automation options with Homey Flows.

Smart Blinds & Smart Shades

Smart blinds or shades feature a motor that raises and lowers their textile panels. In the case of tilt blinds, the motor also controls the rotation of all slats. These smart devices either come with their textile parts or metal slats pre-installed, or you can use them to retrofit your existing window coverings.

Smart Curtain Motors

Smart curtain motors control a curtain track or a curtain rod. Some come with the track, and some can retrofit your existing curtain solution. Both types allow you to customize your interior design as you would with regular equipment.

Roller Shutter Modules

Another popular solution is retrofitting an existing dumb motored blind / curtain with a roller shutter module. These are available from various smart home manufacturers like Qubino or Fibaro.

The Most Popular Smart Window Coverings

We’ve had a look at some of the most popular smart devices in the smart window covering market. These include Ikea, Soma, Somfy, Xiaomi Aqara, Forest, Switchbot, and Slide by IIM.

BrandModelPriceLight SensorProtocolBattery PoweredSolar Panel OperationBattery LifetimeHomey Pro SupportHomey Beta Support
IKEA Fyrtur / Kadrilj€119+NoZigbeeYesNo3 monthsYesYes
Soma Smart Shades 2€139YesBluetoothYesYes1 monthYesNo
SomfyClever DIY Blind Motor Kit€143No433 MHzYesYes3 monthsYesYes
Aqara B1 Curtain Controller€150No ZigbeeYesYes6 monthsYesYes
Forest Shuttle Ion Curtain Motor€545Yes Z-WaveYesNo6 monthsYesYes
SwitchBotCurtain€75YesBluetoothYesYes8 MonthsYesYes
IIMSlide€299NoWi-FiNoNoN/AYesYes

We’ve reviewed these devices in-depth – take a look below to find the perfect smart blind or curtain motor for your home.

IKEA Kadrilj & Fyrtur Blinds

Available at EUR 119

IKEA Kadrilj & Fyrtur Blinds
  • Price
  • Modern minimalist design
  • Only one color option
  • No solar panel powering
  • Slow operation

If you’re looking to equip a new home with smart blinds, both the Kadrilj and Fyrtur blinds from IKEA are amazing picks. Paired with IKEA’s elegant Scandinavian minimalism, these smart blinds will look great in any modern interior.

They allow you to start from scratch without having to pick the textile panels separately. Your choices are limited to dark gray, but the color is neutral enough to work in most spaces. The difference between IKEA’s two models is simple – the Kadrilj is semi-transparent while Fyrtur blocks out light completely. Aside from this detail, both blind models are identical in shape and functions.

IKEA's smart blinds come in a variety of widths from 60 to 140 cm, while all models are 195 cm long by default. The length can be adjusted only by smart positioning.

Kadrilj and Fyrtur are powered by a rechargeable battery pack included in the box. The battery should last about 3 months on a single charge, which is nothing to write home about, but it's still an acceptable performance. While they lack a light sensor and solar panel, IKEA's blinds are a great value pick overall.

Somfy Clever DIY Blind Motor Kit

Available at EUR 139

Somfy Clever DIY Blind Motor Kit
  • Easy to use
  • Supports AA-battery operation

Somfy's Clever DIY Blind Motor Kit is an easy-to-use motorization upgrade for your existing blinds. It works with any manually adjustable horizontal blinds, so if you have older tilt blinds or skylight coverings you’d like to keep, this is the solution you’re looking for.

With this device, your smart blinds and shades can be controlled by Somfy’s remote controls or any other wireless controller that you pair with Homey, for example, an IKEA button or a Philips Hue dimmer. The Clever DIY Blind Motor Kit runs off a rechargeable battery tube or 8 AA batteries, and it can last up to 3 months. The installation is pretty straightforward and takes about 30 minutes.

The Clever DIY Blind Motor Kit talks with your Homey via Somfy’s proprietary RTS protocol, and there's no need for an additional hub. 

Aqara B1 Curtain Controller

Available at EUR 150

Aqara B1 Curtain Controller
  • Silent operation
  • Price
  • Adds visible bulk to a curtain rail

If you're looking for a quiet and affordable curtain motor, the Aqara B1 Curtain Controller provides a great option. As always, the company maintains the minimalist aesthetic of its product range and offers excellent performance for the price.

On the plus side, operating on the Zigbee standard, the B1 talks with Homey Pro or Homey Bridge and provides mesh networking with other devices running on this protocol. Moreover, the B1 has a near-silent operation and IP40 water resistance.

The device is powered by a battery with a 3 to 6-month lifetime, and you can also keep it plugged into the charger with or without the battery installed. The former case will result in battery operation being used only when the power supply is turned off. There's no solar panel included in the box, but it can be bought separately and used instead of the regular power supply.

When it comes to cons, the device is quite bulky, and hiding it requires some thought.

Forest Shuttle Ion Curtain Motor

Available at EUR 545

Forest Shuttle Ion Curtain Motor
  • Premium functionality
  • Outstanding design
  • Manual control
  • Custom-built
  • Not very budget-friendly

At the higher end of the curtain controller market, there's the Forest Shuttle family of curtain motors. They're high quality, reliable, and silent, offering a luxurious experience. Forest Shuttle is custom-built to exact measurements so it will fit your window precisely.

The Ion Curtain Motor is the company's battery-powered option, and it's available in multiple color options, unlike the competing devices. It uses the Z-Wave protocol for communication with Homey Pro and Homey Bridge, letting you control the curtains using Homey and all the devices connected to it.

If you'd rather open the curtains manually from time to time, this device features Touch Control Technology – gently pulling the curtain by hand will activate the motor, opening or closing the curtains. You can even program in intermediate positions for perfect customization. The Shuttle Curtain Motor integrates emergency control to allow for manual operation in case the power goes out.

Unfortunately, there's no solar panel available for this curtain motor, but its battery can last up to 6 months on a single charge, so charging won't be a frequent nuisance. All in all, the Ion is an excellent premium device.

As an alternative, Forest also sells a mains-powered option, however, they require a wall plug located near the window.

SwitchBot Curtain

Available at EUR 75

SwitchBot Curtain
  • Great for retrofitting
  • Solar panel available
  • Adds visible bulk to a curtain rod or rail
  • Slower response time

As a recipient of the Good Design Award 2020, SwitchBot’s unique selling point is its quirky design present across the entire product line. The SwitchBot Curtain is a small Bluetooth robot that makes any curtains motorized and smart with a simple 30-second installation.

Unlike its competitors, SwitchBot lets you start using your smart curtains in no time. Its unique shape means it supports any type of curtain rail – simply clip it on, and off it goes.  

With its rechargeable battery, the SwitchBot lasts up to 8 months on a single charge. It’s also possible to buy a separate solar panel that will keep the SwitchBot running much longer. As another plus, this device features a sunlight sensor to dynamically detect when it needs to open and close the curtains.

Slide by IIM

Available at EUR 299

Slide by IIM
  • Pull-to-open
  • Mains-powered
  • Great for retrofitting
  • Expensive

The Slide by IIM is a similar product to the SwitchBot Curtain, with the exception of being mains-powered. It comes with a 5-meter cord so you never have to worry about charging the device.

This smart curtain motor supports horizontal curtains and drapes, and it can be attached to most straight curtain rails. Moreover, it's able to operate not only a single curtain, but also a double curtain if both of its layers are on the same track.

As for the range, Slide will fit any window that's between 0.5m to 6m wide. Once installed, the system will automatically calibrate to the length of the curtain track. The device supports up to 10kg of weight, and as a rule of thumb, if you can move the curtains by hand, Slide can move them too.

Compared to other options, Slide is quite pricey, but it integrates well with existing smart devices that talk with Homey. As a bonus, it has a pull mechanism similar to Forest devices – the motor detects when curtains are pulled manually, and it continues opening or closing the curtains for you.

Soma Smart Shades 2

Available at EUR 139

Soma Smart Shades 2
  • Suitable for retrofitting
  • Plasticky design
  • Short battery life
  • Requires a separate hub

If you’re a fan of retrofitting your existing equipment, the Soma Smart Shades 2 is a smart module that can connect to any "dumb" shades’ chain. The installation is simple – all you have to do is mount the motor near the window and thread the blind's chain around the motor's gear. The Soma motor will be able to raise and lower your blinds for you by rotating clockwise or counterclockwise.

This tiny belt winder has a built-in battery that has to be charged quite frequently unless you use the included solar panel or keep the battery charging via the included USB cable.

Soma offers a unique feature – with its light-sensing AI, the Soma Smart Shades 2 can automatically lower or raise window shades according to light conditions. Alternatively, the motor can simply follow a schedule you set up with a Homey Flow. 

The main disadvantage of this device is that it requires a Soma Connect Hub that will set you back another €85. All things considered, while Soma's blind motor is not the best-looking device, it's a handy option for existing blinds, and it's definitely worth trying out.

The Best Smart Blinds and Curtains for Your Smart Home

Deciding on which of these devices is the best comes down to your needs. Obviously, the IKEA Kadrilj and Fyrtur blinds are perfect for those on the lookout for budget blinds, and the Aqara B1 is a remarkable choice for those who prefer curtains. 

However, for the best combination of features, value, and look, the Soma Smart Shades 2 and the Slide by IIM are the best premium options for your existing blinds and curtains.

Whichever device you end up purchasing, Homey has your back to ensure complete compability across wireless standards – all of the smart blinds and curtains we’ve reviewed talk with Homey Pro, and all except Soma are also supported by Homey Bridge.

That’s one less thing to worry about when shopping for smart home products.

Conclusion

As you've seen, smart blinds and automated curtains can help you control the amount of ambient light in your home whilst also adding a wow factor to your living spaces. They also ensure privacy in spaces that need it.

Homey works with a diverse range of these devices, allowing them to communicate with each other, and with you. There are many ways to include them in home automation, and there are many reasons to do so. Homey will close the blinds when you're leaving home or whenever you need to conserve heat in the evening.

Vice versa, if there's a need for more natural light and its warmth, your blinds will magically open without you having to lift a finger.

All of the choices on our list will afford you a seamless, enjoyable smart home experience, so give Homey a try!

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