For the past two years I’ve been looking for a solution to automate my blinds without having to replace them with new ones. I would love to have Serena blinds by Lutron to integrate into my existing system, but those would set me back anywhere from $500-$800 a window. I just can’t justify that. Luckily now I don’t have to. I stumbled upon the MySmartBlinds Automation kit. MySmartBlinds allows you to automate your existing traditional horizontal blinds. I have 24 windows with these blinds already installed. No need to replace the blinds. I can just pick and choose which windows I want to automate and install the MySmartBlinds kit.
How hard are they to install?
It takes about 10-20 minutes to install the kit on one set of blinds. I can do it pretty quickly now that I’ve done about 10 of my windows. Here’s a video of how the installation and setup in the app works:
How can the blinds be controlled once the MySmartBlinds kit is installed?
Out of the box there are two ways to control the blinds. You can control them manually at anytime using your smartphone or tablet device such as an iPad. The MySmartBlinds app uses the “room” concept. You create rooms in the app and then add blinds to each room. While you can control individual blinds in a room, it’s much easier to tap the icon for the room to open or close the blinds. If you don’t want more control you can tap on a room and then uncheck the blinds you don’t want to control so that you can control the one’s that you want. You can drag the slider up or down to set the blinds to whatever level of opening you want.
The second way to control the blinds is to use schedules. This is my favorite. With a schedule for each room I can set the blinds to open at sunrise and close at sunset. For my bedroom I can have them open at the same time as my alarm. Since the schedule can be set differently for each day of the week I can have the blinds open later on the weekends. Because of the scheduling feature I almost never control them manually because I just don’t have to.
They are also Eco smart
In addition to manual control from your smart device and room scheduling you can also set your rooms to monitor the temperature in the room and if it gets too hot the blinds will close automatically to help cool things down and open again once the room cools off.
There are add-ons
Everything I’ve said above comes with the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit. However, they sell additional accessories to give you more control options. Out of the box the blinds can be controlled from your smart device via bluetooth. That means that you don’t need any additional hardware to open or close your blinds unless you want to control blinds in a room that’s out of range. They sell a hub that connects to your blinds via bluetooth, but also connects to your WiFi so that you can control the blinds even if you’re away from home. The hub also enables control via Amazon Echo. I haven’t gotten the hub yet because I’m holding out for HomeKit support. They are working to add HomeKit support and they will do it via the hub. With HomeKit support I’d be able to add blind automation into my existing HomeKit routines. They also sell a wall bluetooth remote. This allows you to put physical buttons on a wall to open/close the blinds.
The Bottom Line
I’ve got 10 of these installed so far and so far I love them. It’s great to be able to leave the house and not have to think about closing the blinds because I’ll be back after dark. This will also be useful when I’m on vacation out of town. The house will continue to look occupied. They were a fraction of the price of replacing the blinds with ones that come automated. I do wish that MySmartBlinds would give a multiple unit discount. You would think it would be cheaper to do 6 windows all at once. However, since there is no cost advantage to doing more at once I can spread the cost out over time and do the windows as needed/wanted. I have 24 windows with blinds. Not all of them need to be automated. I’ll at least do two more and then re-evaluate the rest. The one little thing I’d like to see added to the app is the ability to simply set a schedule for “sunset” and “sunrise”. I can manually enter the time for my area and it will adjust using the Sun Tracking feature, but why not just let me choose “sunset/sunrise”. It knows my location. It should be able to figure out the times and keep them updated.
I hope that we see HomeKit support added sooner rather than later. I’d buy the hub on the spot once they add HomeKit support to it.
You can get the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit here.