6 Amazing Smart Windows & Drapes For Your Home – 2018

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Filling your rooms with natural light helps you be a more productive, less anxious, and all-around happier person. Opening and closing your window coverings on a regular basis can be a time-consuming process, however.

High-tech smart windows & drapes can take the work out of adjusting the light in your home, but only if you pick the right ones. As more of these products come on the market, it can be tricky to sort the good from the bad, but we're here to help you find the best smart curtains.

Add-a-Motor Drapery Motor installs on corded vertical blinds or curtains that open horizontally. The included timer allows you to program an automatic schedule for opening and closing the windows, and adding remotes or smart switches to the setup increases the options available to homeowners.

Electric Curtain Tracks is an electronic system that homeowners can pair with their curtains of choice. It is available in a variety of lengths to complement almost any windows. Users can control the system with a remote, a timer or a switch, or they can connect it to a smart-home system.

BEME International erod is a classy curtain rod that clips to the drapery that you already own. Its remote control pulls the drapery off to one side and closes it again. Tech-savvy DIYers can tie the system into a home-automation hub.

Godear Design Zebra Design Roller Window Shades are adjustable to let in full light, partial light or no light. Shoppers can choose between white and charcoal shades, and they come in a number of sizes. An included remote controls the system.

Curtain Call's Electric Remote-controlled Drapery System is a motorized rod with which you use the drapes that you already own. A remote is included. Homeowners who want the option for voice-controlling the curtain rod can add a cable and a smart plug to make it compatible with Amazon Alexa.

Link Shades are roller-style blackout shades that come in a variety of sizes. They plug into a standard wall outlet and can be installed by the average homeowner. Since they come in white only, they match with a variety of home decor schemes, but on the other hand, they don't add much to the design of a room.

Add-a-Motor Drapery Motor

For homeowners who want a simple approach to electronically opening and closing the drapes or vertical blinds that they already own, Add-a-Motor offers the Drapery Motor. The window covering's cord slips into the unit so you don't have to cut or adapt the cord in order to install it.

This system works with curtains that are up to 10 feet tall, and it can center-open the shades or pull them to one side or the other. For vertical blinds, it can rotate the slats or pull open the blinds, but it can't do both unless you install two separate Drapery Motor sets

Add-a-Motor's system is compatible with a remote, but one isn't included. Users must manually switch the system on or off. The company recommends plugging it into a light timer so that the curtains open or close automatically each day.

Although the system isn't specifically designed to work with smart hubs, some users have been able to rig the Drapery Motor to work that way by using smart switches and the switches' app.

Some users do complain about the noise of the motorized system, but in general, reviewers appreciate that this unit makes opening and closing their drapery an easier process.

What We Like

  • Works with window coverings that you already own
  • Doesn't require cutting cords

What We Don't Like

  • Uses corded window coverings, which can be hazardous to young children
  • Doesn't include a remote
  • Not specifically designed for smart-home integration

Electric Curtain Tracks

Windows of almost any size can have automatic curtains when you install Electric Curtain Tracks. This motorized rod is available in lengths from 2 to 7 meters; it comes as 1-meter sections that you join together.

A remote is included with the system. In fact, you can program up to eight of these curtain rods to work with one remote, so if you have a lot of windows, you don't have to juggle multiple remotes. Furthermore, remotes aren't your only option for operating the system. It can also be set up to work with a timer or a switch, or you can tie it into your automation system.

The Electric Curtain Tracks don't limit your ability to operate the drapes by hand. If the power goes out, you'll still be able to open or close the window coverings.

Homeowners with Electric Curtain Tracks note that installation can be tricky and that it can be challenging to join the 1-meter sections smoothly. However, they appreciate that the system can be set to open to the right or to the left and that the finished product is sturdy.

What We Like

  • Remote works for multiple windows
  • Windows can be opened even when the power goes out

What We Don't Like

  • Comes in 1-meter sections that must be joined
  • Installation is challenging

BEME International erod 

With the BEME International erod, you not only get an automated system for opening the curtains of your choice, but you also get a stylish rod that will complement your home decor. The dark brass curtain rod has sliding rings with clips that attach to your drapery or vertical blinds. Purchasing a set of pin hooks will allow you to use this setup with pleated curtains.

Because the rod is telescoping, it adjusts for use on many sizes of windows. It goes from 80 to 144 inches.

The unit can be set up so that the curtains open to the right or the left. It can also be configured to open from the center.

A remote control is included with this set. Making it compatible with your voice-activation system or other smart-home hub will take some DIY work since specific directions for this are not included. Some users install a remote app onto their smartphones that will communicate with the curtain's IR sensor.

Users note that the BEME International erod is a quiet system. Also, they like that they can use the remote from across the room because the signal will travel approximately 30 feet.

What We Like

  • Attractive and stylish brass rod with adjustable size
  • Versatile for use with vertical blinds, curtains and pleated drapes
  • Impressive range for the remote

What We Don't Like

  • Not specifically designed for use with smart-home systems

Godear Design Zebra Design Roller Window Shades

Godear's shades include not only the motor but also the window covering. They are roller-style shades that go up and down with the press of a button. The shades come in five sizes and two colors: white and charcoal gray.

Zebra Design shades get their name from their unique design. The fabric is double layered, so they can look like solid curtains, or they can have a striped appearance, with alternating rows of opaque and transparent material. This allows you to control the amount of light that comes into the room, even when the shades are all the way drawn.

The push of a remote button adjusts the position of the shades. One unit can control multiple shades, so you must aim it at the unit you are currently adjusting. However, these are not designed to work with smart-home systems, and since they run on battery power, you can't use a smart outlet to rig them for automation.

For safety, the curtains are entirely cordless. They can be opened by hand if the batteries are out of power.

Reviews from current users say that the shades are an attractive addition to their homes. They say that installation is quick, and the units operate quietly.

What We Like

  • Interesting double-layer material offers customization
  • Available in two neutral colors
  • Entirely cordless

What We Don't Like

  • Works only with the supplied remote instead of smart-home systems

Curtain Call Electric Remote-controlled Drapery System

Curtain Call makes one of the more advanced systems for tying the curtains that you already own into your automated setup.

The Curtain Call unit includes a remote. It's also specifically designed for you to plug it into your wireless automation system. It has a six-pin RJ12 port, through which you can connect it to Z-wave, Cresteon and other network systems.

Straight out of the box, the Curtain Call system is not compatible with voice operation. However, if you want to tie yours into Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Siri, the company will let you know exactly what you need to add: an adapter cable that they manufacture and a smart plug from Wemo.

Keep in mind, the unit is available in only one length. However, if you contact the seller with specifics about the dimensions that you need, they will cut it before shipping it to you. They don't recommend that you try the cutting yourself, so it's important to measure before ordering.

Homeowners like this system because it operates smoothly and quietly. They also note that Curtain Call offers supportive customer service that will walk you through troubleshooting during the installation process.

What We Like

  • Includes a port for connection to smart-home hub
  • Provides specific directions about what is needed to tie the system to voice-activation systems
  • Comes with a remote

What We Don't Like

  • Comes in only one length and must be custom-cut for adjustments

Link Shades

Some of the best smart curtains on the market are Link Shades because they are specifically designed for smart-home integration. Instead of coming with a remote, there is a Link Shades App that you can put on your smartphone. If you have an Amazon Alexa device, you can download an app that allows you to pair your device to the shades. For other systems, such as Google Home and Samsung SmartThings, Link Shades connect through IFTTT technology.

A wall-mounted control panel provides another method for opening or closing the shades. If you're walking by the window, just press the button to move the shades.

These are blackout shades, so they do a good job of blocking out light. The shade design is basic, but if you want to dress up the look of your windows, you could always use curtains with them. The neutral white shades will match many rooms, and they provide an understated backdrop for your curtains of choice.

According to users, Link Shades go up quickly and can be mounted on the wall or the ceiling. Plus, customers have had good experiences when they have had to contact Link Shades' customer service team.

What We Like

  • Works with Link Shades App, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT technology
  • Cordless shade for safety
  • Can set up schedules for automatic opening or closing

What We Don't Like

  • Plain design that's available in white only
  • Doesn't include a remote so you must use another device to control it

Deciding Between Smart Drapes and Smart Glass

Homeowners can have smart windows in two different ways:

  • Install smart window coverings, whether smart shades or a motorized system added to standard blinds.
  • Forgo the shades entirely and install smart windows.

Which is better?

The advantage of smart windows is that they require no additional coverings to block light and provide privacy. A window without shades provides an unobstructed view and gives your room a modern appearance.

However, smart windows are quite expensive. Putting in high-tech glass is cost-prohibitive for many people, especially if you aren't in the market for new windows. Furthermore, you'd have to have smart glass professionally installed.

If you like the look of window coverings, you'll probably prefer smart drapes or blinds that you can open or close to control the amount of light in your home. Unlike smart glass, you can order curtain systems online and install them yourself.

The bottom line? If you already have perfectly good windows, it makes the most sense to go for smart curtains or shades. They're a budget-friendly way to add automation to your windows.

Technology Integration

Most smart windows include a remote control that you can use to control the window. Remotes are usually easy to use and are designed specifically to work with your system. However, remote-only operation limits how you can use the system. The best smart curtains are compatible with an app or voice controls so that you can adjust the windows even when the remote isn't nearby.

What sort of smart technology do you already use in your home? You probably don't want to reinvent your system from the ground up, so it's a good idea to select a smart window product that integrates with what you already use.

Depending on the product that you choose, you may be able to operate the windows through:

A proprietary app
A proprietary app - Some smart curtain manufacturers offer their own app that you can install on your phone or tablet.

Amazon Alexa
Amazon Alexa - In addition to manually controlling window treatments with an app, Alexa's voice commands allow you to adjust the windows just by speaking a few words.

Samsung SmartThings
Samsung SmartThings - Tie your windows into SmartThings, and you may be able to control them through a variety of interfaces, including Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri.

Even if a set of smart curtains doesn't come ready-to-use with Alexa or SmartThings, you may be able to hook it to your system by plugging it into a smart switch or smart outlet.

Smart Windows and Child Safety

Whether you install smart windows or add smart curtains, one of the biggest advantages for families is that these systems are often cordless.

From 1990 through 2015, around 2,000 American children became entangled in window cords. Over half of them died.

Cordless window systems eliminate that risk. For many parents, that peace of mind alone is enough to convince them to invest in smart windows & drapes.

Conclusion

Link Shades are hands-down the best smart curtains. Unlike many other smart windows, Link Shades' proprietary app makes it easy to control the windows and set a regular schedule for opening and closing them. Even better, it's extremely simple to pair Link Shades with Amazon Alexa. IFTTT technology means that you can also use Link Shades with other popular automation systems.

These shades are neutral in appearance, so you can use them in rooms throughout your home. Their white blackout material does a good job of darkening your room when the shade is down. When you're ready for light, a press of a button or a command delivered through your smart-home system will raise your Link Shades.