Blinds and shades are often overlooked as the crucial interior decor they are. They are designed to frame the window, and if done properly, can bring a new energy to any room. On the other hand, anyone who’s experienced the “joy” of wrestling entangled cords in a attempt to get the blinds to stay in the perfect position knows that sometimes the hassle isn’t worth the reward. Now, it’s 2017 and it’s time to walk out of that desert and into the promised land that is motorized blinds and shades.
In our search for the best, we found that Graber’s Somfy motorized blinds were the number one choice around. From the system’s ease of use to its modern design options, Somfy powers the shades with incredible automation and control — the company has its finger on the pulse of the emerging smart home market. Here’s our full review and breakdown of the Somfy Z-Wave enabled motorized blinds.
Before the days of home automation, Graber made fantastic shades, blinds, and window treatments. Catering to all styles and preferences, the company has been on top of the luxury window treatment game for most of its existence. Now, with the emerging market of motorized blinds and shades, Graber has partnered with the best motor and automation control specialists at Somfy. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Each set of shades or blinds comes with uses Z-Wave technology to communicate with the blinds. Z-Wave is just a simple name for the radio frequency mesh network that smart home-enabled companies use to communicate with the user. The control itself has an in-built antenna, giving it an extended field of communication, but not messing with the sleek design of the remote. With the single-channel option enabled, the remote control allows the user to orient the blinds from up to 65 feet away — virtually from any spot in the common home.
Installation of the blinds themselves can be a bit tricky, but not very time consuming if done correctly. Plenty of resources for making the installation process as simple as possible are available. The motor that does all of the heavy lifting runs off of 8 AA lithium batteries in an integrated battery case, or can be directly plugged into an outlet if one is handy. Once the motor is installed above the window, the shades can be controlled by the remote control, or, even better, integrated into a home automation hub like Wink or SmartThings.
The Somfy shades glide up and down quietly and very smoothly at a consistent speed, and they are even quieter than the previous generation Somfy motors which is a welcome improvement.
When compared to some of the top-name competitors on the market, Graber’s shades hold up pretty well. For example, head-to-head against the Lutron Shades, the Graber option is more affordable by around $100 a set. Taking that financial cut isn’t without its downsides however. The Lutron shades are a slightly simpler install and boast a quieter motor, but in the end Lutron’s advantages never overcame the price gap between them. Graber’s history of sleek and modern design, paired with their Somfy partnership that doesn’t require a connective bridge make the Graber blinds an overall better than the leading competition in our eyes.
This should go without saying, but motorized blinds are most definitely a luxury item, though they should not be an afterthought when doing new construction or renovations. If you’re able to take the financial plunge into converting your home into a smart home, these Somfy powered Graber blinds and shades are the best around. Combining the engineering that’s at work in Somfy’s complex motors and the modernist design work from Graber on both the shades and the Virtual Cord control, these shades and blinds make a stylish and fitting addition into any home.
Somfy’s Z-Wave-enabled solution is the best option we found on the market, and comes highly recommended with a BGR Award for 2017.