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Considering Motorized Shades? Read This First!

Motorized shades are among the most convenient features of our extensive smart home system. Today we’re breaking down all of the varying ordering options to keep in mind prior to finalizing your motorized shade order!

This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly.

We’ve written about our love of motorized shades in the past and we still stand by the fact that they’re one of our favorite smart home additions! Raising or lowering a whole home worth of shades with the tap of one button is an absolute game-changer! We’ve also curated smart home ‘scenes’ that integrate specific light and blind settings to set a perfect mood for dusk, evening, or movie-watching from the couch. If you’re in the market for new window coverings, we’d highly recommend considering motorized options. But first, there are a lots of options to consider!

Power Sources

Did you know that motorized shades can be ordered with any of three different power source options? They can be configured as plug-in, battery powered or even with a new rechargeable battery pack! Each power source has pros and cons, so keep these considerations in mind prior to ordering your custom shades.

Battery Power

  • Pros: No wires to hide, extra batteries can be kept on hand for instant replacement.
  • Cons: High quality lithium-ion batteries aren’t cheap! Replacement depends on frequency of use.

Plug-In

  • Pros: Plug it in and forget about it! Unlimited power! Nothing to recharge.
  • Cons: Cable management can be a challenge depending on outlet placement.

Rechargeable Battery Pack

  • Pros: Best of both worlds! No cables to manage, no batteries to purchase or replace.
  • Cons: Battery packs still need to be removed and recharged from time to time. Frequency will depend on usage.

We’ve used both battery-powered and plug-in power sources in our spaces and see the benefits of both. The rechargeable battery pack is an amazing innovation and the next time we order motorized shades, we’ll likely move in that direction! However, if there is a conveniently located power outlet nearby, nothing beats the unlimited power of a plug-in model.

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Motorized Shades with Remote Control

Z-Wave Technology

Bali’s motorized shades utilize Z-Wave, which is among the most widely used smart home technologies available. They’ve also recently introduced a new Z-Wave motor that is 30% quieter than the previous model! There are also more than 2400 additional Z-Wave products on the market, so it serves as a solid background for any smart home.

We prefer to future proof when we make investments in home systems, so the fact that Bali selected Z-Wave as their motorization platform allowed us to build a robust system that is cross-compatible with many other products (Think lighting, thermostats, locks and sensors). Z-Wave’s near-universal compatibility makes it an obvious choice. However, if your home is already filled with smart home devices, it’s not a bad idea to ensure that they’re all compatible.

Do I Need a Hub?

The short answer is no. ​​​​​​​By utilizing the remote(s), tethered wand control or the Bali Motorization app, you can control all of your shades, set up routines and even connect to Google or Amazon Alexa for voice control. If you don’t intend on programming your motorized shades with your home automation system, you’re likely all set.

The slightly longer answer is maybe. If the intention is to build a smart home system from scratch or to add motorized shades to an existing system, a hub can be a useful tool to put control of all smart products into one place. Bali’s Z-Wave products can be integrated into the following smart systems:

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • SmartThings
  • Wink

We currently control our system through a Wink hub 2, but Wink has had quite a few issues as of late, so we’re considering moving over to SmartThings-compatible hub when we have the energy to make the transition.

How Do I Control the Shades?

With a remote control? An app? My voice? YES! You can choose how your motorized bali shades will be controlled- with a motorized wand that you can’t lose, a remote control, or an android or ios app which can also be paired with smart home tech. The costs of each control style varies, so it’s a good idea to figure out which is best for your home and/or smart home system before diving into the ordering process.

And as a friendly reminder, swatch samples from Bali are always free, so don’t delay in getting your project started!

We hope these tips are helpful in getting the motorization process rolling! Please let us know if you have any additional questions, and we’ll do our best to offer guidance.

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  • Jennifer Laura Living4.28.21 - 9:06 AM

    Great info!! We haven’t gone the motorized route just yet, but maybe someday! ReplyCancel

  • Sarah4.28.21 - 9:06 AM

    This is kinda funny timing, I recently bought a home and had just consulted your old posts and looked into Wink when I bought my first motorized shade. I remember wondering whether you guys would still recommend it with their new payment model and dying consumer base. I ended up opting for smartthings with the hub you linked and it’s been perfect- highly recommend if you do want to make the change!ReplyCancel

    • Scott4.28.21 - 10:14 AM

      Thanks Sarah! This is great to hear. We’ll be moving over to the Smartthings compatible hub as soon as we can find the time and/or motivation to do it!ReplyCancel

  • Shauna Betz4.29.21 - 9:39 AM

    I’ve been waiting for this post! For some reason the motorized blinds always seem daunting, but are also something that I want so much. Question on the hub: if you decide you need one, do you need only one? Can one be used for the entire house? For one floor? Or for each blind? Thanks a bunch!ReplyCancel

    • Scott4.29.21 - 1:20 PM

      Motorized shades are the absolute best! In almost every case, you’ll only need one hub for the whole house. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Emily4.29.21 - 10:19 PM

    Thanks for the post! Any chance you know if any tool/product that allows you to convert regular shades (Roman shades in this case) into motorized shades? I invested in nice shades from The Shade Store and love them, but would be even happier if they were motorized!ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.30.21 - 12:10 PM

      Oh, that’s a great question! Since I’ve never purchased from The Shade Store, I’d first reach out to them to see if they have a specific retrofit product for motorization. I also found a whole bunch of kits on Amazon here!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie6.29.21 - 7:42 PM

    I love my Bali smart blinds and should have a few more coming in the next few days.  I too had wink hub but when they hijacked it and demanded a ransom to use my products, I moved to SmartThings and while it isn’t as straight forward, it’s still worth the change.  What I wish I could find is an IFTTT which would close my blinds if the outside temperature reaches a certain temperature.ReplyCancel

    • Scott6.30.21 - 8:28 AM

      Love the idea of temperature controlled blinds!ReplyCancel

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