For a long time, curtains were considered the only respectable form of window dressing. Drapes are popular too, although they’re longer, heavier, and they block more light. But contemporary residents are drawn to window blinds, pun intended. They offer versatility.
Blinds can dampen noise and block off dust. They’re easier to clean than curtains, and they generally have a longer lifespan. And there are lots of different types, from bamboo shades to vertical shutters. So how do you identify the best window blinds for your home or office? Let’s start with a list of popular options and find out together.
Mini blinds are often made of aluminum because it’s lightweight and easy to cut into small shapes. Delta Blinds are no different. These 1-inch horizontal slats are ideal for a 45-inch window. But they’re custom-fit blinds, so you can pick a different size depending on your needs. It’s easy to install Delta Minis. And it takes 5 to 15 minutes, so it’s a quick job.
The main disadvantage of metal blinds is their tendency to slice unsuspecting fingers (ouch!) Delta resolves this by rounding the corners and edges on their blinds, making them safer for homes with sticky hands, both literally and figuratively. These blinds are safe for homes with kids, pets, and clumsy adults prone to paper cuts (and other types of cuts).
These mini blinds work well. They come in 8 colors and are fully fireproof. The shipping box comes with clear instructions and all the hardware you require to mount your blinds.
The edges are rounded to avoid accidental cuts.
They’re fire-resistant and ISO certified.
The blinds are colored with long-lasting heat-treated polyester enamel.
The blinds require assembly and have small bits and pieces that your kids or pets might try to swallow, so keep an eye on them during installation.
We’ve just looked at the potential advantages of mini blinds, but Skotz makes mini blinds with a twist. The version we’re reviewing is designed for metal doors and has magnetic slats. The upside here is you need no special skills, and that alone makes these the best window blinds. The downside is they only work on metal surfaces with magnetic properties.
This means in essence, you can install them unless your window trim is made of conductive metal. They won’t cling to the standard metal or plastic window casings. That said, only the top and bottom slats are fitted with magnets. The middle slats are just ordinary aluminum. These blinds weigh 2 pounds in total and individual slats are 1.5 inches thick.
While the idea of magnets it cool, it narrows your window options. They only work on metal doors and windows, but the metal strips are great for reflecting excess heat from outside.
The blinds are magnetic, so they simply clip into place.
The magnets prevent the blinds from swinging in the wind.
Metallic slats that are secured to the window help you control heat better.
Although they attach to the door using magnets, these blinds still have cords that connect the slats. These cords could potentially hurt kids and pets, so be careful.
Acronyms can be confusing, even after they’re spelled out. These TDPU shades are a good example. They’re described as ‘top-down-bottom-up to explain how they work. Because these pleated fabric shades are purchased for light control, they’re designed to be multidirectional. This means you can raise or lower the shades from the top, bottom, or both.
The fabric accordions horizontally and pleat is 9/16 inches, a little wider than half an inch. The top and bottom slats snap into place for easy installation. And because the shades have no cords, they’re less likely to trigger accidents. Linen Avenue shades are suitable inside or outside because they’re waterproof and weatherproof with honeycomb insulation.
The terms ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ are used here. That’s not about indoors or outdoors. It’s about installing shades inside or outside the window trim. Outside mounting lets the sides of the shades extend past the window frame. With inside installation, there’s no overlap. The slats sit snug inside your window trim, so you have to cut them to the exact size.
Each pleat on these shades has a central opening. This hollow partially absorbs light, heat, and sound, making these blinds excellent insulators. And they come in six colors.
Cellular shades like this are good for heat and sound control.
The shades need minimal effort – you can raise or lower them with a soft tap.
They’re energy-efficient so they’ll reduce your utility expenses.
Outdoor blinds tend to be hardy and rugged. They might come in neutrals to hide dust better and are thicker and harder to help them resist harsh weather. But some blinds allow for both indoor and outdoor installation. Bali corded blinds don’t fall into this category. Yes, you can mount them inside the frame or let them overhang the window’s width.
But because they’re low-end vinyl blinds, they won’t last if you mount them outdoors. These blinds are waterproof though, so you can install them in your bathroom, kitchen, or next to your humidifier without worrying about moisture damage.
These lightweight blinds are easily cut to size.
You can install them inside or outside your window frame.
The blinds are approved for child safety by CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
The stated dimensions are half an inch shorter. This is deliberate, to make indoor mounting easier, but can easily lead to buying the wrong fit.
Window treatments intended for the outside of your home are – by necessity – tougher than indoor ones. And these shades are no exception. As their name suggests, Coolaroo shades are primarily aimed at heat control. And the shades won’t invite condensation or cause stuffiness because the knitted fabric is fully breathable. And it has a cute cranking mechanism.
While the ‘cloth’ is weatherproof, the crank isn’t, so you may need to replace it after a while. But the crank makes your shades safer since it eliminates cords and strings. The fabric cuts off 80% of potentially harmful UV rays so the shades won’t fade or disintegrate over time. And they won’t get damp, moldy, or mildewy because the shades are waterproof.
These shades seem simple but a lot of thought went into their design. From the anti-moisture features to the aluminum top slat, these shades are built to last.
The shades are extra-large and can drop 6 feet down.
They’re made of breathable knitted fabric.
The neutral color selections work with any exterior décor choices.
Coolaroo’s wands and crank aren’t waterproof, so they might get rusty and stick, disrupting the smooth raising or lowering of your window shades.
How do you describe wood? I mean, all forms of lumber are essentially brown, so you sometimes have to name them based on the tree they came from, or develop an artsy sounding label. In this case, Luxr blinds are available in five … shades … pun intended.
These are white, golden oak, red oak, butter cream, and pecan. And all the slats are pure wood (as opposed to veneers and MDF). Luxr blinds come in both standard sizes and custom sizes. Dimensions shift in increments of half an inch. The smallest fit is 16 inches but they can get as big as 96 inches. Like other forms of timber, these blinds are high maintenance.
That said, while wood does badly around water, these blinds are good at fending off dust. They provide complete privacy by blocking out 99% of sunlight. And you can order them in both ‘portrait’ and ‘landscape selections since their length is 36 inches to 96 inches.
If you’re looking for blinds that are organic, reliable, and US-made, look for Luxr. They’re sturdy but light, pretty but rugged. And they have strong insulating properties.
They come in 5 colors to match any decorative style.
They’re made of authentic basswood.
These blinds have two cords – one for raising/lowering and the other for tilting.
Because these blinds are made of genuine 100% real wood, they need extra attention and maintenance.
Polyester doesn’t seem like an exciting construction material for the best window blinds on the market. But polyester takes color well, so these blinds are offered in 13 colors. From a distance, they could pass for timber window panels, so they’re quite the eye-balm.
And you can use them in unexpected ways for dramatic effect. For example, instead of making the obvious choice and buying brightly-colored blinds, you could purchase them in white or off-white and install them on an attention-grabbing loudly-colored wall. For best results, use a bold shade like teal, fuchsia, or hot blue rather than a tamer palette.
You can wash your blinds in cold water or vacuum them with a sock around your hose. You can also use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to maintain your slats. But although these blinds have dual layers, they can only offer partial blockage. So they’ll make your room dim, not dark. But they’re not locally made, so allow extra time for shipping.
These zebra roller blinds are nice to look at and easy to operate. But they ship from South Korea so you’re in for a wait. Standard sizes are faster though, especially drop-shipped ones.
These polyester blinds are available in over a dozen shades.
Twin layers make these blinds more effective.
The sheer back and opaque front offer additional options for light control.
If your order these blinds online, you have to double-check the order instructions. If you select Amazon Fulfilment, you’ll only get standard sizes, but if your order directly from Foiresoft, you can request your preferred dimensions.
We call them Roman blinds, but if we’re completely accurate, they’re actually Roman shades. This is because they fold and pleat as a single unit rather than having separate slates. Yes, they can still have individual strips, and that’s the case with these Arlo Java shades. But the strips are mounted close together, combining them into a ‘single sheet’ of window dressing.
The combination is why they’re sometimes referred to as blind shades – the best of both window worlds. These Arlo blinds are made of variegated bamboo, so they contain seemingly endless shades of brown that are visually arrested. It’s a child-safe, pet-safe, cordless design, but the bamboo slats can be heavy. The slates are gapped though, so they let in diffuse light.
These shade blinds come with a beautiful valance. But while bamboo is lovely and green, it’s still susceptible to moisture, so don’t install these blinds outside (or in the bathroom).
They’re made of organic biodegradable bamboo.
The pretty mix of browns makes this a good piece for a monochrome theme.’
They’re stain-friendly because the brown shades don’t easily show dirt.
Because the blind shades have little gaps between each slat, unwanted but determined eyes can still peek through. So these are not a good choice for privacy.
For homes with children and jittery pets, safety is the most important factor. So when you’re buying shades or blinds, you don’t want anything hanging down. Those swaying cords are a temptation for young minds and limbs, whether they’re on two legs or four. Meaning shades are a better choice for this type of home, and Windows and Gardens makes a pretty set.
The pleated shades come in 9 colors. They don’t need WiFi, electricity, or even a motor. If you want to adjust them, just tug the bottom slat or gently push it up. These shades are cellular, meaning each pleat has an open space between. These honeycomb hollows create an air pocket that improves insulation levels, both for light and heat. The fabric is polyester.
These custom shades have a bottom-up design, so you can only adjust them from their lowest slat. As you measure, round up your dimensions to the nearest inch.
Being pleated shades, they’re cordless and safe.
They come in 9 colors are 100% polyester.
You can find both US-made and imported options.
The 8-step online ordering process is cumbersome, so you may be better off just going to the store. Especially is your dimensions aren’t standard.
Remote controllers are convenient – as long as you know where you left them. The remote on these shades is tiny, cute … and easy to lose. You may have to stitch a little pouch beside the shades to hold your remote, though if you have to walk up to the shades to use the remote, it kind of beats the purpose … Either way, these motorized shades are impressive.
You can buy the shades in light brown, black, or gray, though the colors aren’t defined that way. (Instead, you’ll see, bahama, kona, and Caribbean respectively.) The shades measure 4 feet by 8 feet and are built for the outdoors. The fabric is woven from PVC strips and it comes with a valance made of aluminum. Plus, you can run multiple shades with the same remote.
Outdoor shades are sometimes affected by strong winds. This set has a tie-down so in high-speed air currents, it will flex rather than rattling against the window and possibly breaking.
You can operate the shades by remote.
The shades cut off 85% of sunlight and ‘dance’ in the wind.
All the installation hardware is included in the shipping box.
The motor is A/C powered, so if the lights go out, you may be stuck with half-open shades. And since these are exterior shades, that leaves you vulnerable.
If you’re unfamiliar with the technology of window blinds, it can be overwhelming trying to find a set that suits you. So let’s explore the features you should look out for when you’re shopping for the best window blinds. We’ll consider both practical and aesthetic tips.
Shades or Blinds
Many people use these terms interchangeably, but there’s a slight difference. Blinds are made of individual strips or slats that are linked by wire, cord, or string. Shades are made from a single piece of fabric that could be smooth or pleated to resemble window blinds.
Deciding between blinds and shades is a matter of style and preference. Some manufacturers even combine the two window dressings to make hybrid shade blinds. And many interior design stores have both blinds and shades in stock, so it helps to know the difference. Our list of best window blinds contains both shades and blinds, so choose carefully.
Size and Direction
While window blinds have the same basic structure, they do come in multiple styles. They can be vertical or horizontal, wooden or synthetic, unidirectional or multidirectional. Most blinds have slats that move as a single unit when you press a button or yank a cord. But some blinds – like panel track blinds – have slats that can move individually.
Size comes into it as well. Venetian blinds are horizontal, largely wooden, and have 2-inch slats. Mini blinds are an inch wide and are generally made from lightweight metals such as aluminum. Micro blinds hover at half an inch. You could also order smart blinds that are linked to an app via Bluetooth or WiFi so they can be monitored and managed remotely.
From the earlier point, you can already see wood and metal and options for blinds. But they can also be manufactured from fabric, plastic, alloys, or reeds. Faux wood is a popular option is you like the feel of timber but can’t be bothered to maintain it. Also, if you like the convenience of metal but not its aesthetics, you can get painted metal panels instead.
Aside from visual appeal, the different materials have varying benefits and drawbacks. Metal is light but sharp, so it’s not advisable for kids and pets. It’s good for extreme climates though because it reflects heat and light. Plastic is cheap and versatile, but not as sturdy as the other options. Faux wood is waterproof but heavy due to the insulation between the slats.
Opacity and Maintenance
Window blinds are largely used for privacy and light control, though they can also soften outside sounds, so they’re partial noise dampeners. But while some people want a total blackout, other buyers prefer translucence. Check how much light (and heat and sound) the blinds let through. If you can’t shop in person, check out demos and reviews.
As for maintenance, some blinds need to be washed, rinsed, and dried regularly. Others can be hoovered with a sock or brushed with a feather duster. Wood warps in humid weather and metal can sometimes rust or corrode, so those materials need extra care. Fabric blinds attract dust and sometimes mold, so you need extra attention to keep them dry.
We’ve already hinted that blinds can be automated. They usually have a pull cord to raise or lower them. They might also have a cord to adjust the angle and direction of the blinds. This cord can be linked to a small motor that can be battery-powered or AC-powered. In some control units, you can link your buttons to internet connection or apps. Others have remotes.
Electrical control systems are quick and convenient, though they cost more than manual ones. But be sure to have a back-up in case there’s an electrical failure or bad weather. Every motorized box should have a manual override or physical cord you can yank when needed. Also, ensure your cords have a safety catch or stays concealed to avoid accidents.
Given all the information we’ve reviewed, we recommend the Foiresoft. Here’s why:
They have double layers so they last longer than average blinds.
Their unique two-layer style is why they’re called zebra shades.
The outer layer is opaque while their inner layer is sheer mesh.
If you prefer dim to dark, these are a good selection.
The blinds have a pretty wood aesthetic with none of the maintenance drama.
Width ranges from 20 inches to 110 inches while height is 47 inches to 115 inches.
Do you have window blinds installed at home? Show us photos in the comments!