Motorized shades are an attractive convenience, especially in modern homes that emphasize a contemporary interior design style. Of all the companies that manufacture motors for shades, there are two that stand tall: Somfy and Lutron. If you’re considering Somfy or Lutron motorized shades, chances are you’re wondering about the relative merits of each brand name. They both enjoy a sizeable worldwide following, so taking a closer look at each company can help you understand which might be a better choice.
Somfy Motorized Shades
France-based Somfy first entered the motorized residential shading market in 1967, when it launched its first line of motorized awning shades, and it is still the worldwide leader in residential awning motors to this day. Its first motorized interior window shades hit the market in the mid-1990s, and the brand has garnered much acclaim for simplifying its technologies so that they could be understood and explained by dealers who had much stronger backgrounds in interior design than they did in mechanized electronics.
Lutron Motorized Shades
Lutron is the company that invented lighting dimmers. A few years after Somfy made its foray into the world of motorized interior window shades, Lutron followed suit by acquiring a small company named Vimco, which had created a well-reviewed “quiet electronic drive” or QED for the smooth and convenient operation of shades. Initially, Lutron motorized shades outperformed Somfy, given their much quieter operation, but Somfy wasn’t to be outdone and improved its mechanical technologies.
Somfy vs. Lutron Motorized Shades Today
One of the major differences between Somfy motors and Lutron motors is that Somfy uses an open wiring architecture while Lutron utilizes a closed architecture. Essentially, this creates a stark difference in how their respective products are wired. Somfy motors can be retrofit into existing wiring architecture, while Lutron uses proprietary technology that is best installed during the home construction phase. From a product positioning standpoint, Lutron’s strategy allows for homes to be wired for its other electrical products at the outset, increasing the possibility of earning future business.
Both companies work with a wide range of attractive, stylish motorized window treatments. Lutron offers superior cross-product compatibility and makes a good choice in homes in which other automated lighting technologies will be used. Somfy motors, on the other hand, are more convenient to install and may be a better choice if motorized shades are the only automated feature you’re planning for your home.