Our clients love motorized shades. They help decrease energy costs, increase privacy, protect home finishes from the sun, all at the press of a button. Most of our shades are hardwired for power and control, but Lutron offers a variety of battery powered solutions. SoundVision loves Lutron’s battery powered smart shades because they have nearly all the benefits of hardwired shades at a lower price point and don’t require the walls to be opened.
Motorized Shades: Everything You Love About Wired Shades
There are pros and cons to choosing battery powered motorized shades. Lutron worked really hard to make their battery shades as good as their wired shades.
Intelligent Hembar Alignment
Just like the wired shades, Lutron’s battery powered shades all have Intelligent Hembar Alignment (IHA). The hembar is at the bottom of the shade. When you have multiple shades to cover all the windows in a single room, Lutron’s patented IHA makes sure all your shades move at the same speed. When you lower your shades but stop them part of the way down, all your shades are at the same height.
Same Customizability With Fabrics and Finishes
Battery powered shades are just about as customizable as the hardwired shades. Customize the finish of the exterior-mounted Palladiom shades to accent your space. Or pick a Lutron Sivoia QS shade and build a valance that perfectly complements your room.
New Easy Hang-and-Go Shade
Lutron also offers Triathlon shade, which is a shade with a pre-made valance, making it the most accessible shade Lutron makes. All you have to do is mount it; no other construction work is necessary!
Less Expensive Installation
Wireless shades are less expensive to install than traditional hardwire shades. There’s no hardwire labor required, and the shades are more affordable. The Lutron Sivoia QS shades still require you to have a build partner make a valance. On the other hand, Lutron’s Triathlon shades have the valance pre-installed, making them the most accessible form of motorized shades.
A Few Drawbacks to Battery-Powered Motorized Shades
Although there are many reasons to go with battery powered shades, they do have a few compromises compared to their wired counterparts.
Regular Battery Service
The necessary evil behind battery powered shades is that the day will come when the batteries will have to be replaced. The shades are designed with battery replacement in mind, so the replacement itself is relatively easy, but it could become difficult depending on where your shades are. Thankfully you won’t have to replace them often, not even annually! Lutron rates most of their shades at around three years, assuming the shade gets used twice a day every day.
Shade Size Limitations
Because the motors are battery powered, their performance gets poor as the size of the shade gets larger. If you have a large window you want to cover, we recommend using a series of smaller shades separated at each window mullion. However, if you have large uninterrupted pieces of glass that you want to be covered by one shade, we would recommend hardwired shades.
Triathlon Shades Have Limitations
Triathlon shades are fantastic for their built-in valance and easy installs, but there are limitations with picking this style. The fabric choices are more limited, and there are more size restrictions. Since Lutron makes and provides the valance, it is not as customizable as building one in your home. Nonetheless, Triathlon shades have plenty of valance options and offer a cost-effective alternative to building your own.
Wired Shades or Battery Powered Shades?
So which do we recommend? It depends on your project and budget. We’d recommend battery powered shades if you have a finished home and want to add motorized shades to a few windows and don’t want to open up the walls. If you want a better bang for your buck, battery powered shades are a no-brainer.
For those doing a full home renovation and have the walls open, we’d recommend wired shades. We believe shades should be simple to use. For the marginal increase in cost, you never have to touch your shades again or even think about their battery life. If your home has large or wide windows, we would also recommend hardwired shades. A battery powered unit will struggle, be slow and need to be serviced more often. Chances are if the window is large, it’s probably too difficult to access for battery replacements.
The final reason we’d suggest hardwired shades is for those who want a more inconspicuous feel. Wired shades allow you to recess-mount shades in the ceiling, leaving virtually no trace that you have shades when they are in the raised position. Because the roller for these shades sit in your ceiling, they are inaccessible for battery replacements.
You can mix and match wired and battery powered shades. Talk with one of our SoundVision designers and we’ll help you decide where to best mount wired and battery powered shades. We’ll work with your existing design team to make sure they complement your space. Give us a call at 415-456-7000 or reach out to us here.