Cost/Quality tradeoff of cellular shades?
February 23, 2014 7:54 PM   Subscribe

We're looking into getting cellular shades, but could use some advice on the cost/quality tradeoff. It's hard to find any reviews that directly compare the brands. Are you happy with the quality of your blinds?

We've gotten several quotes which range significantly in cost (Hunter Douglas being the highest). However, we haven't been able to find any good comparisons of the quality differences between the brands. We're especially interested in hearing if you're happy with your blinds from a different company, of if you chose to go with Hunter Douglas despite the price.

We're in colorado, so care some about insulating value.

Thanks for all your advice.
posted by lab.beetle to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We bought about 30 cellular shades from I did all the measuring and installation myself, and it was really pretty easy. One arrived sized incorrectly (cut and paste error on my part) and they replaced it for shipping costs. The quality is fine. We have had them for about ~18 months and nothing bad to report. We also looked at Hunter Douglas, but the quality difference wasn't particular noticeable but the price difference was. They will send free samples of materials you can use to compare with other samples. They have a variety of styles, including multiple layers of cells.
posted by procrastination at 8:20 PM on February 23, 2014

We have Hunter Douglas honeycomb shades from Lowe's installed in our home (about 3 years old). They've been great for us. In a previous home, we had Smith & Noble honeycomb shades. We purchased those, my husband installed them, and we had them in the house for about 4 years. They were also great. The reason we went with Hunter Douglas through Lowe's this time was because my husband didn't want to install them, in part because we have stairs with windows that would be difficult to reach.

Current house is in Austin; previous house was in Houston. Insulation to allow light in (except in the master bedroom, which we wanted darker) and keep summer heat out were our priorities.
posted by immlass at 8:23 PM on February 23, 2014

I had Hunter Douglas blinds professionally installed in a cold & drafty apartment in Boston. They looked great, and helped a bit with winter insulation (I used triple-cell honeycombs on regular windows and double-cells on skylights). But they did *not* block hot sun adequately in the summer, they were expensive ($6500 for 10 windows), and two of them broke within five years (on one, the pull-cord mechanism, and on another, the skylight track).

Now I live in the Bay Area. First I ordered some cheap blinds off of the Internet (Just Blinds) and they were horrible: cheap looking, with a too-large plastic rail at the top, and two came in the wrong size. Then I went with a professional installation company (locally-owned small biz) and they put in some Graber double-cell top-down bottom-up blinds. They look just like Hunter Douglas, but were a lot cheaper: about $2200 for 10 windows, all of which were different sizes that had to be custom-cut. I can't speak to their insulation value during cold winters, but they provide privacy and translucent light, pull smoothly, and look very elegant, both from the inside and outside. Have had them for two years with no problems. Check out Graber.
posted by Lettuce_Leaves at 10:03 PM on February 23, 2014

We got Hunter Douglas "Silhouettes" shades for a big picture window, and Levolor cellular shades we ordered online for the rest of the house. We like the Levolor shades just fine - had them about a year now and they've given us no trouble and still look great. The Silhouettes are also very nice - nobody who comes over has ever seen anything like them.
posted by town of cats at 10:25 PM on February 23, 2014

I bought cellular shades from, and I'm very happy with them. I don't remember the prices, but I've had them for 7 years and they still look great, as well as functioning perfectly. I hope the quality is still the same now I've recommended them!

I'm in CA so I don't need them to insulate, so I can't review them on that criteria.
posted by Joh at 10:53 PM on February 23, 2014

We got some "ecosmart" shades which have a track on the side for insulating value and are on the more expensive side; we also got some very inexpensive random cellular shades for some other windows, I don't even remember what they are.

All of our blinds are the child-safe sort with no cords at all so you just lift and lower them and there's a more expensive mechanism in the top that auto stops and starts. The biggest difference in quality I've noticed is that if you have the child-safe, no-cord version, the more expensive blinds' mechanism works better and longer and feels more sturdy. Otherwise I like my cheap-o ones fine. I have heard this makes less difference with blinds with a pull-cord for raising and lowering. If I put more in, I'll definitely use the more expensive ones on the blinds I raise and lower the most, but I'd be perfectly happy with the cheap-o ones on blinds I don't move as often.

I think the material on the more expensive ones looks a bit nicer, but the blinds are also in two different rooms and we got different material for each room, so it's not a direct comparison.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:51 AM on February 24, 2014

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