The Best HomeKit Supported Smart Blinds in 2021

The Best HomeKit Supported Smart Blinds in 2021

The Best HomeKit Supported Smart Blinds in 2021

Smart blinds Savannah Feder 28 Nov 2021

Smart blinds are benefits-packed devices that let you control your home’s blinds without the need to get up and operate them manually — offering many benefits including convenience, accessibility, energy savings, health benefits, and more.

This relatively new category of smart home tech can be controlled in various ways — from handheld remotes to native apps created by the smart blinds’ manufacturers themselves, to all-in-one home automation platforms like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

One home automation platform that’s been picking up steam in recent years is Apple HomeKit. HomeKit is an Apple framework for conveniently managing all of your smart devices from one single centralized app on your iOS device. With its easy setup, convenient automations and elegant interface, the iOS application has garnered many loyal followers who use it to manage all of their smart home devices.

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But HomeKit comes with a pretty substantial drawback: the framework isn’t compatible with many smart home devices, so users of the platform need to be more diligent when making smart home purchases to ensure they don’t get stuck with incompatible products.

Luckily, more and more manufacturers are continually adding HomeKit support to their offerings, and there are a resulting quickly growing number of compatible devices for just about any smart home use you can think of.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of the top HomeKit supported smart blinds available today, along with some of the pros and cons of each.

Why smart blinds?

Smart blinds come with a host of various benefits — some you may not even have considered.

Energy savings. Roughly 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through its windows, so many smart blinds have implemented AI functionality to optimize the position of the blinds to save energy throughout the day. This has been estimated to save up to 30% of a home’s heating and cooling costs, which quickly nets a positive return on investment after only about two years of usage.

Time savings and convenience. Living in a three-story house, it takes roughly four minutes to operate the blinds manually each day. Controlling your smart blinds via voice, app, or with preset schedules amounts to over 24 hours of saved time opening and closing window blinds each year.

Increased productivity. A study by Eco Business found that sufficient daylight in office spaces increases an individual’s productivity by 5 - 40%, and another study found that 75% of residential window coverings remain in the same position every day. With their presents and active sunlight monitoring functionality, smart blinds ensure you get sufficient exposure to sunlight each day.

Accessibility. 26% of the US population deals with a physical or cognitive disability, yet only 2% - 6% of households are sufficiently accessible for People with Disabilities (PWDs). As a result, many People with Disabilities (PWDs) living independently leave their blinds closed due to the difficulties they face opening and closing them. Smart blinds make it easier for individuals to control their blinds, removing a challenging element of independent living for PWDs.

Privacy and security. Privacy is a large concern for windows that you may forget to close at times. Smart blinds allow you to close your blinds at night with just a few words, and even close them from across the globe with the HomeKit app.

Wake up to the sun naturally. Most of us go to sleep with our blinds shut for privacy, which stops much of the morning daylight from entering our rooms. As a result, many of us wake up feeling groggier than we’d like to in the mornings. Smart blinds can be set to slowly open in the mornings, letting you wake up to the sun — which has been shown to boost energy and help with your circadian rhythm.

The Best HomeKit Compatible Blinds Available in 2021

With their many benefits, it may seem like a no-brainer to bring smart blinds into your home. But with all the available options, which one should you choose? The ideal model varies for everyone — depending on your price range, preferred feature set, window size, and more.

Below, we’ve curated a list of our top five picks, broken down by their pros, cons, pricing and what makes them unique, so that you can find the perfect set for you.

  1. Lutron Serena
  2. Soma Tilt
  3. Ikea Fytur
  4. Soma Smart Shades 2
  5. Hunter Douglas Powerview 2

The Luxury Option: Lutron Serena

Price: Starting at $600 + $80 Hub

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Lutron Serena’s smart shades are a luxurious, quality choice if you’re willing to spend a pretty penny on your window coverings. Serena’s smart shades are popular among consumers and offer highly customizable coverings that come in different shade types — honeycomb or roller — with various opacities, fabrics, and colors. They also offer a choice between their battery-powered option or a corded option that plugs into the wall. However, you can quickly find the price of these shades going up as you tack on more specialized customizations.

With their app, you’ll be able to create your own customized scenes, set schedules for controlling your blinds, and operate them with your voice or Lutron’s mobile app. But if you’d like to connect to wi-fi or home automation platforms like Apple HomeKit, you’ll have to purchase their $80 Lutron Caseta pairing hub.

The Pros
✅ Well-reviewed by customers
✅ Cordless, eye-appealing presentation
✅ Highly customizable
✅ Under 30-minute installation
✅ Option to purchase a $25 remote for controlling blinds
✅ Uses natural light optimization technology to optimize the amount of natural light in your home throughout the day

The Cons
❌ Requires replacement of old blinds with new ones
❌ Requires the $80 Lutron Caseta hub to connect to HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other home automation platforms
❌ Installation involves drilling holes into window frame
❌ Relatively expensive, especially if you purchase several units

The Budget-Friendly Pick: Soma Tilt

Price: $150 + $49 Hub

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The Soma Tilt is a budget-friendly add-on device that can automate your existing blinds. After a simple 3-minute installation that involves swapping out your blind’s control rod with Soma Tilt’s cord, you’ll be able to control this device fully via the mobile app — and the Apple HomeKit app if you purchase their SOMA Connect Hub. This battery-powered device also comes with a solar panel that can be attached to your window to replenish the battery — an especially useful feature for those who don’t have a wall socket near their window.

The Pros
✅ Easy, 3-minute installation
✅ Add-on device that works with old blinds, with no need to install new ones
✅ Comes with a solar panel for sustainable, cordless charging
✅ Highly affordable

The Cons
❌ Requires a $49 SOMA Connect Hub to communicate with HomeKit or other home automation platforms
❌ Some reviews report several design flaws and quality issues
❌ Installation requires double-sided taping of walls, which may leave visible damage on the walls when it comes time to remove the device

The Best Value: Ikea Fyrtur

Price: $129 + $35 Gateway

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Ikea’s well-rated, inexpensive Fyrtur roller shades are an ideal choice for those looking to get the best bang for their buck. But with their low price, these sleek-looking blackout blinds understandably aren’t as customizable as some of the pricier alternatives on this list. They only come in black and offer only 10 sizes ranging from widths of 23 to 48 inches — all with a standard length of 76 inches. And being blackout blinds, the Fytrur model either lets in no light or plenty of light — which may not be ideal for some rooms. Ikea does also offer a grey model, Kadrilj, that lets in a bit more light when closed, but it’s not currently available in many countries.

As with the other options we’ve listed, these smart shades require an additional Tradfri Gateway hub to connect to HomeKit. Some reviews have mentioned that it’s relatively frustrating and time-consuming to connect to the blinds to the Trafri Gateway, but Ikea’s frequently pushing out software updates that will hopefully improve this pairing process.

The Pros
✅ Great value for the price
✅ Battery-powered, which means there are no distracting cords
✅ Sleek, minimalistic appearance

The Cons
❌ Less customizable than alternatives
❌ Requires the $30 Tradfri Gateway to connect to HomeKit
❌ Can be difficult to connect the blinds to the Tradfri Gateway
❌ No AI outdoor light or temperature sensors

The Budget-Friendly Roller Blinds: Soma Smart Shades 2

Price: $150 + $49 Hub

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Soma Smart Shades 2 is SOMA’s retrofitting option for roller blinds. Like the Soma Tilt, this model is a solid choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly kit to automate your existing blinds. They boast an easy, 3-minute installation, and provide a solar panel that can power the shades if you don’t have an outlet nearby to charge it with a cable. To set up, all it takes is sticking the device near your window and inserting your blinds’ cord into the device. Your newly upgraded blinds will offer custom automations and routines, as well as app and voice control.

The updated SOMA Smart Shades 2 model offers several benefits over its predecessor, including a 4x faster motor, a quieter sound in the mornings, sunrise and sunset mode, and more. This retrofit kit is compatible with HomeKit and other home automation systems if you purchase the SOMA Connect Hub — or alternatively can be controlled by SOMA’s app without the need to purchase a hub.

The Pros
✅ Easy, 3-minute installation
✅ Add-on device that works with old blinds, with no need to install new ones
✅ Comes with a solar panel for sustainable, cord-free charging
✅ Highly affordable

The Cons
❌ Requires a $49 SOMA Connect Hub to communicate with HomeKit or other home automation platforms
❌ Some reviews report several design flaws and quality issues
❌ Installation requires double-sided taping of walls

The Ultimate Luxury: Hunter Douglas PowerView 2

Price: Starting at $500 + $250 Hub

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The Hunter Douglas PowerView 2 blinds have been referred to as the most luxurious HomeKit compatible blinds out there — and for good reason. This custom-order product is highly reviewed and comes with plenty of customizability, including: customizable colors, styles, sizes, and finishes; a choice between battery-operated or hardwired, roller shades or blinds; a selection of operating systems, and more. However, the pricing is a little hard to find on their website and requires a consultation for exact estimates.

These Hunter Douglas PowerView 2 blinds are able to open and close at sunrise and sunset, change positions at preset times, and offer voice and app control. When it comes to installation, they offer the option to install it yourself, or a service where they handle everything for you — from the measurements of your blinds to getting the blinds installed themselves.

The Pros
✅ Well reviewed by customers
✅ Aesthetic, luxurious appearance
✅ Battery-powered
✅ Their honeycomb style shades insulate the room and reduce unwanted energy loss
✅ They offer various add-ons sold separately, like the PowerView Repeater which extends the signal of the PowerView hub to more locations in your home

The Cons
❌ Custom order only
❌ Requires a separate hub to connect to HomeKit
❌ Somewhat time-consuming installation if you choose to do it yourself
❌ Non-transparent pricing on website, with the need to contact their distributors for estimates
❌ Requires the $250 PowerView hub to connect to HomeKit