Ikea smart blinds review
Following my initial hands-on review of the Ikea FYRTUR blinds last month, I was critical of the setup and performance. Since then I now have added the KADRILJ shades to my home setup. So in this in-depth Ikea Smart blinds review, I now look at both versions and give you my opinion on setup, performance and build quality.
Over the last month I have been testing both versions of the blinds and other than the fabric, they work in the same way. For the Ikea Smart blinds review; I have everything setup in the following way;
- 2 IKEA FYRTUR blinds 80cm
- 4 Ikea KADRILJ shades 80cm wide
- 1 remote paired to the 2 FYRTUR blinds
- Then, 1 remote paired to the 4 KADRILJ shades
- All 6 Ikea smart blinds paired to one Signal repeater
- 1 Tradfri gateway
- Using the Ikea Home Smart app
Just to be transparent with all the reviews, I purchased both the FYRTUR blinds & KADRILJ shades with no discounts or support from Ikea for this review. So I have reviewed these from the eyes as a regular consumer and smart home enthusiast.
Ikea smart blinds review video
If you don’t want to read through this article, you can always watch the Ikea smart blind review over at the Active JR YouTube channel.
Ikea Smart blinds review quick facts
- Pricing ranges from £90/$129
- FYRTUR which is a blackout blind available in the US, Canda, EU and UK
- KADRILJ which is a shade version – Not available in the US and Canada
- Battery operated, cannot be charged when the battery is in place
- Zigbee protocol
- EU sizing
- US sizing
- 23×76 3⁄4″
- 27×76 3⁄4″
- 30×76 3⁄4″
- 32×76 3⁄4″
- 34×76 3⁄4″
- 36×76 3⁄4″
- 38×76 3⁄4″
- 48×76 3⁄4″
In the box
As I previously unboxed the FYRTUR I won’t go into much detail as nothing really changes for the KADRILJ shades other than the material used. The KADRILJ is a shade version that allows light through and the FYRTUR is a blackout version that blocks out the light.
- IKEA FYRTUR blackout blind or Ikea KADRILJ shade version
- Mounting brackets
- USB charging cable
- Signal repeater
- Remote control
- Power point for charging and Signal repeater.
Firmware during the review
Ikea released a new firmware during the testing of the blinds, remote, Signal repeater and the Gateway. below is the firmware that was used to complete this review as of 1st October 2019.
- Tradfri Gateway
- Current version: 1.9.27
- FYRTUR & KADRILJ Smart blinds
- Current version: 2.2.009
- Open/Close Remote
- Current version: 2.2.008
- Signal repeater
- Current version: 2.2.005
- Ikea Home Smart App
- Current version: 1.11.0
Ikea smart blinds review: Design and build
- FYRTUR blackout blind
- KADRILJ shade version
- 100% polyester, 100% polyethylene blind
- Battery powered
Both the FYRTUR blinds & KADRILJ shades share the same design, other than the different material used for the window coverings. Both feature an aluminium casing that holds the blind spindle and motor. Around the front of the smart blinds you find the battery compartment, along with 2 buttons which can also operate them.
Along the top of the casing is a mounting rail that you attach the mounting brackets when you install them.
Ikea has made the FYRTUR blind from a blackout woven material that only comes in grey. I would not say they look overly premium, but what do you expect from smart blinds at this price point.
The KADRILJ is a shade version which allows light through and comes in a lighter grey colour. The shade version allows a fair amount of visibility through the blinds.
While grey seems to a “in” colour at the moment, it would be nice to see Ikea release a bigger choice of colours to match room styles.
In terms of the included accessories, You get a signal repeater which has an USB port to charge the battery. You also get a physical remote that attaches to the wall mount via a magnetic plate.
Ikea smart blinds review: Install and setup
- Physical install is easy enough
- Setting up with the IKEA Home smart app is troublesome, even after the updates.
- Mounting screws not supplied in the package
As I had previously mentioned when installing the FYRTUR blinds for the hands-on review, installing the KADRILJ shades is just as easy. You first install the two mounting brackets, but you need to provide your own screws. While some will see this as an inconvenience. I think it makes sense as you will need to use different screw fittings For instance; I used heavy duty plasterboard cavity expanding screws to ensure a solid and secure fix.
Once you fixed the mounting brackets in place, the next step is to mount the smart blind to the brackets. You do this by pressing a button on the brackets and pushing up. It’s that simple to get them installed.
Installing the remote is also simple enough. You can either attach the magnetic backplate to a wall or use screws (not supplied.) Once you have everything in place, you then install the battery, plug in the signal repeater. If you don’t want to use the app, then you good to use the blinds with the included remote.
However, if you want to use the app, then you will need a Tradfri gateway and follow a few more setup steps.
Connecting FYRTUR blinds & KADRILJ shades
First, you need to have the signal repeater plugged in and within 5 meters of the smart blinds. As I already have 2 FYRTUR blinds paired with the app and gateway, I used the existing repeater. Ikea say you can have 10 blinds connected to one signal repeater, I have connected 6.
As with the Ikea Tradfri smart lighting product, the remote (steering device) is the centre of the smart blind setup. Each blind requires a connection to a remote and you can pair up to 4 blinds per remote.
Connecting the smart blinds to the Tradfri gateway requires 3 steps. Pair the remote with the gateway, pair the remote with the signal repeater, then pair the remote with the blinds again. However, if you are connecting multiple blinds with one remote, then you only have to do the final step for subsequent blinds after the first.
When I first installed the FYRTUR blinds and as reported in my first impressions, the setup process for the app and the gateway was painful. This does not change when installing the KADRILJ shades, which I didn’t think it would. Like the first install, it took several attempts to get the smart blinds connected. In fact, because I had 4 blinds to install this time, it took me over 1 and half hours to get the KADRILJ shades connected to the Tradfri gateway and app.
The final step in the setup of the blinds is setting the drop. The online instructions say that you can use the remote to set the length. However, I had zero luck using the remote, and it was only until I eventually paired them with the app I could set the custom length.
At the end of the install and setup, I was left with a surprising amount of “spare parts” This was because I was installing 6 blinds which all come with its own remote, charger, cable and repeater. While this is unique to my setup and would not be the case with a signal install situation. It reminded me of the early days of flat-pack when you had the odd screw left over, which left me worried I had built it right.
To improve this, Ikea could sell the blinds in a module setup. Sell the blinds, remote and Signal repeater separate. This way it would reduce the amount of waste and help simplify things for customers as I could imagine customers trying to use everything and getting into a mess.
Note – Half way through testing, Ikea released a firmware update for the blinds, version 2.2.009. To be as fair as possible for the review, I installed everything from scratch with the latest firmware on all devices and sadly this update had no impact on setup.
Ikea smart blinds review: App and features
- Google Home supported
- HomeKit coming soon
- Control them via the blinds, remote, app or voice
Looking at the Tradfri app, on the main page, you get a layout which displays the devices you have connected, separated into rooms. However, as I have other Tradfri devices setup already, I already have several rooms created. But despite several attempts, I could not add the remote and the blinds to an existing room. Which meant I had to create duplicate rooms to use the blinds in my setup. So if you running the Ikea Home smart app as your primary means of control, it could get a little messy.
To control the blinds you have either use the up and down arrows to open or close, but for more precise control, you use the Slider that will let you set your desired position. If you have multiple blinds connected as in the case for this review. You can press an arrow to expand the control window to reveal individual controls for each blind.
When the blinds are in operation, the app as a nice animation which shows the progress of the blind when it’s moving up or down. The slider has had a percentage indicator that also tells you how far the blinds will drop based on the slider position.
The side menu on the left lets set timers for the Ikea smart blinds. On the right, there’s another menu for adding additional Ikea Tradfri devices, updates and various help menus.
Speaking of timers, these are only time-based, so you can choose any day and time, set the desired position, and that’s it. While this will suit most people to open and close them at certain points, it would have been good to have options to open with sunrise for instance.
As previously mentioned the smart blinds come with a remote control that you can use to operate the blinds. During my use, I found the remote useful and would mainly operate the blinds using the remote. I also found the added benefit of being able to carry the remote with me useful.
It’s worth mentioning that I needed to re-pair the blinds as one blind disconnected and I could not add it back without resetting the entire setup. Which meant I had to go through the painful setup process!
Speed and battery
So how do they perform when opening and closing? Well, they operate quick. In fact, the KADRILJ shades took 29 seconds to close and 31 seconds to open for the full 195cm drop. Then the FYRTUR blinds took 17 seconds to close and 19 seconds to open for the 123cm drop. In terms of sound, I found them quiet to operate unlike the Soma smart blinds that I also recently reviewed.
Turning to the battery, You charge them via the USB port on the signal repeater or in fact any USB charger. But because of placing of the charging port and power contacts, you cannot charge the battery when inside the blinds nor does it have any option for permanent power feed or solar charging.
When using the blinds via the app there is no way of knowing how much charge the battery has left and this is the same for when you charge the battery. During my use, I ran down the battery on one blind to simulate lots of use and it gave a ‘low battery” warning, however this message is hidden in the settings menu. It would have been great if the app had pushed a notification or displayed it under the blind in the main part of the app. Charging the battery took 2 hours from what I ‘think” is flat and again no notification on the battery when it was complete.
I have been using the blinds for over a month now and not had to charge the battery since I installed them. While Ikea say they should last 3-4 months based on average use, I have not had enough time with them to determine if this is the case.
Smart home support – Google Home and HomeKit
When the FYRTUR & KADRILJ smart blinds was first announced, Ikea said they would support Google Assistant, HomeKit and Alexa. Unfortunately, the latter two are not yet supported, however Ikea has said HomeKit support should come later this year.
In terms of Google Assistant support, I have had no issues with the voice commands and everything has worked as expected. When saying “Hey Google, Lower the kitchen blinds” the blinds would spring into action and lower as commanded
As we get to the end of the Ikea FYRTUR & KADRILJ review, you may have already got a fair idea of how this is going, but as with any of my review’s it’s always good to present the good and bad points as objectively as possible to bring to a close.
Overall, I am impressed with the build quality for the price point. I was expecting them to feel and look cheap, but they are not. The FYRTUR blackout blind does a good job at blocking out light when they closed and the KADRILJ shade lets enough light in whilst giving you privacy.
The frame does not rattle or move around when they are in operation and the motor is quiet enough. The speed at which they open and close is superb and I like the fact if you have multiple blinds connected you can operate them independently. I also like the fact Ikea has included a remote to operate the blinds as this gives you an extra option along with control for visitors.
But, based on my experience with the IKEA smart blinds, they are let down by the software. The setup process is painful despite a firmware update, Ikea don’t appear to be close to fixing the issues. I have also found the software clunky and not user friendly, probably why I used the physical remote more.
It is also disappointing that despite the delays, HomeKit support is missing in action with no update other than the “fall” release. However, those of you that use Google Assistant will be in luck as it works without issue.
At the start of the review, I said I had bought them, so will I be keeping them? The answer is yes as I am a gadget geek and a smart home enthusiast that will persevere with products. I also have faith Ikea will fix the issues as they have done with other Tradfri products. However, I would not recommend them for the average user because of the amount of issues that exist. The product feels unfinished and not ready for market and being brutally honest Ikea need to wise up if they want to sell these in mass as it appears this is becoming a trend for Ikea with smart home products not working at launch.
So that’s a wrap on the Ikea Smart blinds review and I hope you have a good understanding of the FYRTUR & KADRILJ performance and how everything works. Don’t forget to subscribe to be first to find out when other Smart home reviews drop. If you have a question or a comment, then leave it below. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.