Motorized shades can make window treatments an even better investment, allowing you to control them from an app or a virtual assistant like Josh AI. 

But how do you choose motorized shades? What factors should you consider? 

As experts in assisting clients in the Tampa Bay area with choosing and installing motorized window treatments, Hive is uniquely qualified to offer advice on selecting motorized shades. However, we understand that you may also wish to explore other options, and we are here to help guide you through the process.

In this article, we'll share our knowledge on choosing between battery-powered and hardwired motorized shades, as well as provide insights on smart controls, so that you can make an informed decision.

Choosing motorized shades can be split into two major categories:

  1. Battery-powered vs. hardwired
  2. Smart controls

Let's talk about each of the categories.

Battery-powered vs. hardwired shades

First, consider how your shades will be powered – with a battery or hardwiring. Both have their pros and cons. 

Battery-powered shades 

One way to power shades is to use regular alkaline AA batteries. The Hunter-Douglas "Power View" model has used this method for many years. It requires 12 AA batteries which fit in a battery pack and can be changed when they go out. The drawback of this type of controller is you have to change batteries whenever the old ones fail.

Newer methods use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery wand that takes up an inch of space. This option allows you to recharge the battery in place or remove the entire battery pack and sit it in a charger for 3-4 hours to recharge. Either option will work with your motorized shades. 

Batteries for automated shades should last for about two years. However, this depends on how much heat they're exposed to. If the shade is in a very sunny window, for example, that battery may need charging sooner compared to those in a less sunny location.

Hardwired shades

When it comes to hardwiring your shades, one option is a low-voltage pre-wired shade. Many low-voltage motors can lift shades up to seventeen pounds or drapery weighing up to a hundred and thirty pounds, depending on the motor's manufacturer. 

Hardwired choices can power heavier shades without needing to change batteries, giving them a naturally longer lifespan. 

Hardwired motorized window treatments offer whisper-quiet operation. They're also perfect for heavy window treatments and can be controlled through radio frequency communication, infrared, and other alternatives, like Zigbee.

Hardwired solutions require the help of a low-voltage integrator or an electrician. They're especially important if you want to work your motorized window treatments from a power distribution board or centralized controller. 

For this, wires are connected from the motorized window treatment to a pre-existing AC source. Little to no maintenance is needed with this power source as the periodic changing or recharging of batteries is not required.

Hardwired choices run on the same electricity as the rest of the house or business. If you experience frequent power outages, your shades won't work without power.

When in doubt, most experts recommend wiring for high-voltage, in case your window treatments will need more power to lift or move them. And you can always run DC motors on high-voltage wiring, whereas you can't operate AC motors on low-voltage.

Smart Controls

Once you have installed your shades, you can control them in various ways: 

If your shades are connected to a larger automation system, you can access them through the same smart hub as your other devices. Whether it's an app on your phone or a Control4 system, this method allows you to control your shades from anywhere in your home. 

A voice assistant like Alexa, Google Home, or Josh A.I. can also connect to your overall smart system. A simple voice command can control every shade in your home or just the shades in the room you are in. Using these smart methods, you can also set timers on your shades, creating scenes for any moment of the day. 

Know you'll be out of the house on a certain day? Pre-set a time for your shades to rise and bathe your plants in the sun without worrying about your home heating up. 

Not looking for a big system? No worries! Automated shades can be controlled via a remote, allowing you the comfort of automation without connecting every device. Control shades in your room with the touch of a button without having to get off the couch!

Are you ready for motorized shades?

If you feel that motorized shades are right for you, but aren’t sure about the fabric of the shades you’re interested in, check out our article on shade openness. Knowing your shade openness will tell you how much light and privacy you can expect from your new window treatment.

When you are ready to decide which shades you want to install, consult your Hive Design Team and figure out what will work best in your home. Have any questions? You can reach Hive by calling at 813-575-HIVE or reaching us through our contact page.