Motorized Vs. Manual Window Shades: Pros & Cons

A room with a window seat and motorized roller shades.

Motorized or manual? We’re not talking about easy chairs or can openers, but the window treatments you’re considering for your home.

Each type has its pros and cons — and the cons may not be obvious until they hit you in the face. Have you ever tried to operate a motorized shade during a blackout?

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of both options so you can make an informed choice for your budget and lifestyle.

Motorized Window Shades


1. Convenience at Your Fingertips

Motorized window shades offer unparalleled convenience. You can adjust the shades with a button push or voice command — no need to lift yourself out of bed or off the couch. No more wrestling with cords or struggling to reach high windows.

Plus, they’re fun. You may spend an entire afternoon raising and lowering your shades remotely for sport.

2. Enhanced Security

You can program motorized shades to open and close at specific times, creating the illusion of an occupied home even when you’re away. This added security can deter potential intruders.

3. Energy Efficiency

Some motorized shades can be integrated with smart home systems, allowing you to automate them based on sunlight and temperature. In other words, they’ll close automatically whenever the hot sunlight and UV radiation blasts through.

This automation optimizes your heating and cooling and can significantly reduce your energy bills. It also protects your furniture.

4. Quiet Operation

Motorized shades operate with near silence. Thanks to advanced motors and control systems, you won’t hear the loud clanking of manual shades or blinds.

5. Better Accessibility

For people with mobility issues, motorized window shades can be a game-changer. They eliminate the need for reaching, pulling, or tugging on cords that may be difficult for those with physical limitations.


1. Upfront Cost

Motorized shades can be a substantial upfront investment. Their cost includes the shades, the motorization components, and professional installation.

While prices vary depending on features, you can expect to pay at least triple the cost of manual shades.

2. Potential Technical Issues

Like any electronic device, motorized shades are vulnerable to technical problems. Batteries die, systems need updates, and motors may fail. If you’re not tech-savvy or don’t have a reliable service provider in your area, these issues can be a hassle to resolve.

3. Limited Options

You may have fewer customization options with motorized shades versus manual ones. For example, some fabrics or styles may not accommodate the motorization system, limiting your choices.

4. Power Source Dependence

Motorized shades need a power source to operate. In case of a blackout, you’ll need to manually open or close them, which can be tricky oversized windows.

If your shades are battery-operated, you’ll have to replace the batteries periodically, adding to the long-term cost.

Manual Window Shades


1. Budget-Friendly

Manual shades are usually less expensive than their motorized counterparts. You save money upfront because they don’t require a motor or professional installation.

2. Easy Installation & Maintenance

You don’t need technical knowledge or professional experience to install manual shades. Plus, if any components fail, they’re generally easy and inexpensive to replace.

3. Greater Variety

Manual shades come in a wide range of styles, materials, and colors, giving you more options to match your home decor and personal taste.


1. Difficult to Operate for Some Individuals

Operating manual window shades can be challenging for people with limited mobility or strength. This may also be the case for oversized or hard-to-reach windows.

2. Inconvenient in Certain Situations

Manual shades may be inconvenient in certain situations, like when you’re sick or injured, carrying something heavy, or have your hands full.

3. Limited Energy Efficiency

Manual shades rely on your actions to adjust them. This may result in more energy consumption and higher bills unless you tweak their position all day long.

4. Safety Concerns for Children & Pets

Cords on manual shades can pose a strangulation threat if not properly secured. This should be particularly concerning for families with toddlers or curious pets. Fortunately, cordless options are available.

Motorized Vs. Manual Window Shades: The Cliff Notes

Pros of Motorized Shades

  • Unmatched convenience
  • Enhanced security features
  • Energy efficiency
  • Modern and sleek aesthetics
  • Quiet operation
  • Better accessibility

Cons of Motorized Shades

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Dependence on a power source
  • Potential maintenance needs
  • Fewer style options

Pros of Manual Shades

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Easy installation
  • Traditional and classic look
  • No power source dependency

Cons of Manual Shades

  • Limited convenience
  • Manual adjustments required
  • Potentially hazardous to toddlers and pets


Which window treatment is better — manual or motorized shades? We’re going to weasel out an answer and say the decision comes down to your personal preference, budget, and lifestyle.

If you want convenience and enhanced security with the added cost, motorized shades may be the way to go. However, if you don’t mind adjusting shades manually and want more style choices, manual shades could be your better option.

Still Not Sure? Call Aero Shade for Help

It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide which type of shade best suits your needs. But if you’d like a more detailed breakdown of the benefits and downsides of window shades, we invite you to visit our showroom in Los Angeles.

Aero Shade is LA’s most trusted dealer of window treatments, with well over half a century in business. Our showroom contains working models of manual and motorized window shades so you can see which solution is right for you.

We offer free in-home, no-obligation estimates. A technician will arrive at your home with fabric samples and measure the dimensions of your windows for an accurate quote.

Call Aero Shade today at (323) 655-3180 to get started.

FAQs: More about Motorized Window Shades

Q: Are motorized shades compatible with all window types?

Motorized shades can be customized to fit most windows, including standard windows, skylights, and even arches.

Q:. Can I install motorized shades myself?

Yes,but we recommend professional installation to ensure a proper fit and functionality.

Q: Do manual shades require regular maintenance?

Manual shades are generally low-maintenance, but they’ll need periodic cleaning, and you may have to make minor adjustments over time.

Q: Are motorized shades noisy when in operation?

Modern motorized shades are designed to operate quietly, ensuring minimal disturbance.

Q: Can manual shades be retrofitted with motorization?

In many cases, you can retrofit manual shades with motorized systems.

Q: Can I control my motorized shades with a smartphone app?

Most modern motorized shades have smartphone compatibility, allowing you to operate them from an app.

Q: What are some common materials used in manual shades?

Manual shades can be made from various materials, including fabric, vinyl, bamboo, and even wood.

Q: Is it possible to set a schedule for my motorized shades?

Many motorized shade systems let you set a schedule so your shades automatically open and close at specific times.