Motorised or automatic blinds often fall out of favour, not because of the cost but because of the peripheral hassles: wiring, switching, chasing, controls. They are nice but unless the provision has already been made within the building, to retro-fit them can be a not-insignificant task.

Obviously, a blind powered by batteries… doesn’t need wiring up! Technology has been around for some years to allow this, but predominantly the roller blind field is advancing to try to develop the concept further.

The batteries sit either within a separate ‘power-pack’ that is installed up near the blind roller, or some products locate the batteries actually within the roller tube. This is the neatest way of hiding them. Some products use traditional cells, but some manufacturers are going for rechargeable units with a lead to plug them in overnight. Like your mobile phone.

The blinds can then be operated either by means of a radio-linked switch or remote control handset, or the more advanced products incorporate App technology for SmartPhone control.

So are battery blinds the future of motorised blinds? Perhaps, but we think not in every situation. We consider there to be three main drawbacks: 

Size limitations

Because of limited power [or torque] associated with a battery motor, blind sizes are currently more limited. The most capable claim up to 3 metres wide by 3 metres high, but typically products are limited to be smaller than this.

Maintenance

Non-rechargeable batteries need changing when they run out. If the blinds are in an awkward place, the user could become tired of the task. Likewise, rechargeable batteries… need recharging. This is another task on the list.

Confidence

The market is still a little way from full acceptance of such products into commercial situations. The residential market is the prime growth area on the basis of convenience relative to minimal disturbance. The next few years could be a significant growth time for the emerging technology, but there is unlikely to be a substitute for the performance, power and flexibility of a 240v installation with good designed-in, thought-through capability.

So, battery blinds? Likely to fulfil a niche, great for some situations but in the right place, that’s all!