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The Easiest Way to Automate Window Shades Can Be Yours for $49

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View of blinds with SwitchBot Blind Tilt

A preview of the SwitchBot Blind Tilt after installation.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

SwitchBot has found its place in retrofitting existing household appliances and products, such as door locks, to make them smart. Today, the company makes a blind tilting mechanism with an included solar panel that automates the blinds for you.

Clever SwitchBot Blind Tilt is a small device that attaches to the vertical twist wand of horizontal blinds and turns it to open or close them, all controlled by you from your mobile device or via voice command to Alexa or Google Home.

Your phone communicates with the SwitchBot Blind Tilt via Bluetooth, but it can also connect to Wi-Fi if you add a SwitchBot Hub.

The Blind Tilt comes with its solar panel, making it a simple, plug-and-play option. You’ll never have to worry about climbing onto a chair to charge it or finding a long enough charging cable; I found it to be a simple and hassle-free solution to my blind woes.

Why would you need a smart blind tilt system?

Upgrading your current blinds to make them smart may seem unnecessary for most windows, but if you have hard-to-reach windows or have always wanted to wake up to morning light and don’t have a butler to Open your blinds like you’re royalty, then Smart Blind Tilts were created with you in mind.

Also: Best Smart Blinds: Set a Real Sunrise Alarm Yourself

Of all the things we had to immediately fix in my home of 24 years, do you know what wasn’t on my priority list? Replacement of window treatments. I would love to have crisp, new, smart window coverings in every room, but when you’re talking at least $200 to $300 for each window, the cost adds up very quickly.

Since spending thousands of dollars on new blinds isn’t my priority right now, it was easy to let it go. Anyway, how hard is it to turn a wand to open your blinds every morning? Well, let me introduce you to my bathroom blinds.

Blinds with SwitchBot Blind Tilt installed

These are the offending blinds above the bathtub: you can see the SwitchBot blind tilts installed.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

We have corner windows in the master bathroom that let in plenty of light during the day and allow everyone outside to see our shower at night. The problem? These blinds are located above a large bathtub, so every time we want to open them we have to step into the bathtub to reach them. We would do this in the morning, only to forget to close them until one of us was already in the separate shower each evening, frantically calling for someone else to close them so the neighbors wouldn’t have right to a free show.

Also: Best soundproof curtains: cancel noise and block light

We had decided to keep them closed at all times to avoid this hassle and just turn the lights on when we were in the bathroom during the day. That’s why, as soon as the SwitchBot Blind Tilt arrived, I knew exactly where it was going: the main blinds in the bathroom.

So I set out to install it that evening, thinking it would be the answer to my prayers: I would watch the blinds open to let in the morning light while a choir of angels sang in the background. I was so excited.

Close-up view of blind tilt

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

You see, I’ve done some pretty extensive research on blind tilts in the past. I have tested automatic blinds in different homes. When I looked into replacing ours with smart models and was faced with the overwhelming cost of it all, I decided to look into retrofit options.

What I found is that there are very few options for automating existing blinds. And it’s not for lack of trying; I found countless small businesses trying to sell their blind renovation options at different times during my research. From wand attachments to replacing the entire tilt mechanism at the top, two things stood out to me among the various upgrade options: The reviews are terrible for their reliability, and the ones that work cost upwards of $170 $.

So I was happy to see SwitchBot, with all its upgrade experience, try its hand at the blind tilt market, especially at 20% off right now.

Installation process

Hands installing a blind tilt

SwitchBot

I received two units, one for each window above my bathtub. When I unboxed the first one, I quickly pulled out the instructions and began the installation, which was sure to change my life. The box includes the shade tilt mechanism, charging cable, solar panel and installation guide.

Compatibility:

  • Diameter of the blind rod: 15mm – 40mm
  • Circumference of the wand: 47mm – 125mm
  • Size of blinds: Blinds must be less than 9.8 feet wide
  • Loading: The device can be charged with the supplied cable if the solar panel does not receive enough sunlight to charge the battery.

The SwitchBot Blind Tilt is essentially a little robot that turns your blind wand for you, powered by a battery charged by the included solar panel. Because of this mechanism, the unit must grip your wand quite firmly to work, so you need to attach an adapter and coupling to your blind’s wand, but SwitchBot includes several adapters in the box to ensure you get the right fit .

Also: Blink’s Outdoor Floodlight Camera 4 is incredibly bright, battery-operated, and has solid security and AI features.

After that, you need to connect the unit to the solar panel and stick the panel to your window with the 3M mount, where it will receive enough sunlight to keep the battery charged and the smart shade tilt running.

SwitchBot Blind Tilt

Most SwitchBot parts that need to be attached come with a 3M mount.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

It took me about 10 minutes and no tools to install the first one, and the other took less than five minutes. Since I now knew what to do and what to expect, it was a very simple process.

Once the Blind Tilt is installed, open the SwitchBot app on your phone, add a new device and your phone will pair with the Blind Tilt via Bluetooth. If you have a SwitchBot hub or Mini hub, you can use it to control the tilt of the blind via Wi-Fi from anywhere and add automations. It can also be added to Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri shortcuts for voice control.

We have the Hub Mini as well as a SwitchBot Remote. And, although I was initially disappointed to learn that I couldn’t group my two shade tilts together to control them simultaneously with the remote, SwitchBot just added the functionality in the app. This means I can control both blinds simultaneously via app or voice command and with one of those little wall-mounted remote controls.

A horror or a revelation?

Blind tilt on a window

While it’s not a “seamless” fit, I don’t mind the addition of the rotating wand.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Yeah, you can see it. It doesn’t blend in perfectly with your blinds or replace a blind wand, but it’s not very noticeable or anything that bothers me personally. One: my blinds are white, as is the blind rod. Second: I don’t think anyone would notice the engine, because who would look for it? However, if anyone noticed, it would be a great opportunity to take out my phone and demonstrate the blind tilt mechanism.

Also read: This $2,500 robot lawn mower is so impressive that my neighbors come to watch it mow.

Could it be the intelligent blind tilt that changes everything? SwitchBot wants this to be the case. The company is also known for its SwitchBot Curtainwhich automatically opens and closes existing curtains, doing the same for blinds seems like a natural step.

ZDNET’s purchasing advice

I admit to being pleasantly surprised by SwitchBot Blind Tilt. It has been responsive and consistent every time we have used it, and it works pretty well on a schedule: our blinds are always open in the morning and close quickly at 6:00 p.m., rain or shine – and it continues to be reliable. and consistent now, almost four months after installation.

It’s not a noisy device, although you may hear a slight whirring sound if you’re a few feet away. I will admit though that one day I was bathing my toddler in the large tub right below and I didn’t even hear the blinds close until I looked up and realized it was the case. Life is so busy that we don’t even hear it most of the time.

In the end, I never heard the chorus of angels as my blinds unfolded for me in the morning light. Instead, it has become an invisible part of my daily life – something I don’t even notice. And with a modernization effort like this, I think that’s probably the biggest win: It’s so reliable that you never have to worry about it. It works.



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