Smart Blinds/Shades

Hello,

I’m very interested in getting some smart blinds in my home. I understand programming and creating automations very well, but not very informed on connecting devices.

What are the best or recommend blinds to work with Home Assistant? I do have a large 105 inch wide window to cover as well. Not sure if that’ll limit options.

I’d also need it to work with Google Home if possible. I don’t have anything Apple or Amazon. A remote would be ideal too for times the wife wants physical control.

My concern is my lack of knowledge on what is needed to connect everything properly. I know nothing about zwave or ziggby or matter. If another hub is needed? I have zero clue. Watching YouTube videos assumes I already have knowledge about these connections so I just feel dumb lol.

I own Home Assistant Green and Google Speakers.

Thanks for the help.

Generally smart shades come in several connectivity options. Many use RF 433Mhz because it’s cheap and low power, adding a separate WiFi bridge for connecting (via the Internet) to Google Home. These often lack precise positioning control as they might only have a receiver (i.e. no transmitter) in the motor. Very few “WiFi” shades are true in-motor WiFi, and those that are usually require hardwiring (no battery) because of WiFi’s higher power. For any WiFi device, cloud connectivity (and associated lock-in, privacy & availability concerns) is usually required so caution is advised unless the new Matter (local) control protocol is supported. If you’re feeling DIY, Zemismart makes hardwired WiFi motors with Matter, that can be installed inside many standard-diameter 3rd-party roller tubes.

Perhaps the most popular option is Zigbee, which covers most mid-range Amazon (i.e. Yoolax) or IKEA (Fyrtur) offerings. For these you just need to add a SkyConnect dongle o your Green box. Once you connect to the shades they will be directly and locally controlled with precise positioning, but note if your server is more than 30-50 feet from the shades, you will need to add repeaters to boost the signal.

Less common but more “high end” are control via Z-wave (e.g. Bali Blinds) or Thread (Eve MotionBlinds) which are going to cost a bit more but have more color and fabric choices. Z-wave can be added to your Green via a USB stick, but Thread uses IP so you might already have a Thread Border Router in your house.

Lutron is a popular option that uses a (seemingly) proprietary communications interface, and can be very pricey, but offers almost unlimited design choices and has very high customer satisfaction.

Most manufacturers choose a protocol for their complete product line. SmartWings is somewhat unique in that their website lets you choose any of five motor options for any shade/blinds configuration, so they might be worth checking out, and they have sales every few months.

Thanks for the info. I was looking at SmartWings but wasn’t sure on which motor type. Is getting the SkyConnect to use Zigbee a better solution to their Matter/Thread version? I like the idea of having precision options instead of generic open/closed.

Is anything required (dongle or hub) to use Matter or is that built into the Green?

Thanks

Matter support is “built-in” to Home Assistant but it is still in BETA, and since it’s a fledgling technology it only has limited devices and scope right now. Some are betting on it being the next big thing, others more cynical. Note that Matter is an application protocol, like HomeKit or MQTT, that controls devices already connected (“provisioned”) by either WiFi or Thread (in other words: IP). In contrast — Zigbee and Z-wave are proprietary full-stack home automation standards so you need special hardware and specific software to communicate with those (non-IP) devices.

Your choice of Zigbee, Z-wave or Thread might hinge on what else you want to do in your smart home, Certainly Zigbee has the broadest selection of devices at the lowest cost, but maybe has the murkiest future since Thread (with the same exact radio chips) and Matter are trending. Z-wave is popular with “prosumers” and alarm systems (Ring, Alarmdotcom) but has some gaps in product offerings. Personally I use mostly Z-wave, including shades from Bali, with WiFi devices like lightbulbs and touch dimmers (local/cloud-less only!) that have no Z-wave equivalent. But I also have some HomePod minis so I am ready for Thread devices whenever I feel like it.

I have been using smartwings for quite a few months with the radio motor and a smart link pro integrated into home assistant using motionblinds integration.
It was great when it worked, but for some reason every few weeks/months a blind or two would go offline from the integration (and sometimes from the remote as well). And I would end up having to reset them, pair them again, set limits etc, so huge PITA… I will say when they worked, the radio motor still had precise position control, not just open/close.
However I just installed some matter controllers for smartwings this weekend, and so far so good. Will have to see how they work out, but they are pricey… almost $100 a shade to upgrade from radio to matter controllers.