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Ask the experts: motorised vs chain operated blinds

Date: February 2020

ARTICLE TYPE: Ask The Experts

At Shades in Hawthorn, many of our blinds come with the option of a motorised or manual mechanism. But what’s the difference? We sat down with one of our resident experts to share everything you need to know when making the right choice for your home.

What are motorised blinds? How do they work?

Motorised blinds are automated and controlled by remote control or switch.

They can be hard wired or battery operated, and offer a great solution for those looking for greater comfort and ease in using their blinds.

What are chain operated blinds? How do they work?

Chain operated blinds are manually-driven blinds controlled by the consumer and operate through pulling a chain to raise or release down.

Can all of Shades’ blinds be motorised?

All window furnishings in our range have some sort or motorised option. Some blinds, like roller blinds, have numerous motorisation options.

Are some types of blinds better suited to being chain operated? And some motorised?

Motorisation is usually a lifestyle choice as they are much easier to operate and neater in appearance because there are no chains. They’re a great choice if you want something that’s easy to use and looks sleek.

However, some blinds need to be motorised for such reasons as size, weight or hard-to-access areas that make manual operation impractical.

Can exterior blinds be motorised, or just interior?

The majority of exterior blinds are motorised as these blinds are usually larger in size, heavy to operate and in difficult-to-access areas.

Most exterior motorised blinds will come with some type of wind sensor connected to the remote which will automatically retract the blind in case of sudden high winds. This makes them even more efficient and appealing for customers after full weather protection.

Why do you use Somfy mechanisms for your motorised blinds?

We have used Somfy motorisation for 10 years or more. We find it incredibly reliable and simple to install.

They are slightly dearer than Chinese versions but are far superior, smoother and quieter. Consumers find Somfy products very easy to operate.

Are motorised blinds noisy? Can the mechanics be hidden?

Almost all motorised blinds can be wired inconspicuously.

Due to the growing popularity, most electricians know how to wire motorised blinds.

Motors are mainly quiet but can be louder with larger products such as Folding Arm Awnings or External Venetian Blinds.

Will motorised blinds last as well as chain operated blinds? Do they require more maintenance?

We expect all our products to last 20 years or more, regardless of mechanism. Our motorised and chain-operated blinds all come with a 5 year warranty.

Motors in blinds are not overly complex and we expect them to fare just as well, if not better, than manually-operated blinds.

Are motorised blinds suitable for the home as well as commercial properties?

Motorised blinds are very suitable for both homes and commercial properties, but they do particularly well with commercial builds. Large offices can have timers and settings so the blinds all operate at the same time for a neater appearance.

Chain-operated blinds can be used independently, which can result in an untidy appearance when installed on a large scale.

What is the process for having motorised blinds installed? How long does it take?

Motorised blinds take a little bit longer to install than chain operated.

When they are installed they will usually require electrical work (if not done prior) and then limits will need to be set so the blinds go up and down to exactly the right position.

Whether you’re interested in motorised, manual, exterior or interior blinds, Shades in Hawthorn have a full range to suit your needs and exact taste. Browse our external blinds and awnings, or take a look at our interior blinds options.