Best Window Shades in 2020

The best window shade is a perfect accessory for your living room and bedroom windows, allowing you to control the amount of light shining through. Our evaluation focused on design, customization, ease of installation, child safety, and corded vs. cordless window shades.

After more than 13 hours of research and testing, our top pick goes to the Windowsandgarden Custom Cordless Single Cell Window Shade. This window shade features a cordless instruction and a textured, pleated honeycomb design with many of color options. An easy to use head and bottom rail also allows it to expand and retract smoothly with no snags. Keep reading to learn more about the Windowsandgarden Custom Cordless Single Cell Window Shade and five others that met our strict grading criteria.

Top 5 Best Window Shades

 #1  Windowsandgarden Custom Cordless Single Cell Window Shade

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: This window shade comes in a pleated, honeycomb design and offers custom sizing from 21 to 72 inches wide and 24 to 72 inches high. It is a great choice for families who need a fit for not-so-common window dimensions.

Pros
  • Best for non-standard window sizes
  • Easy to use
  • Child-safe & made in the USA
Cons
  • Large hard to remove sticker on the bottom
  • Pleats may wrinkle

We love this window shade’s honeycomb design. A semi-glossy PVC head and bottom rail also match your curtain’s tone, making it look as if it were all one piece. It is also kid-friendly, with no cords that can tangle and become a choking hazard. Our favorite feature is its customization down to one eighth of an inch, which serves well for non traditionally sized windows.

Pulling this window shade up and down is a breeze. Simply grab the bottom rail, pull down gently, and expand or retract. Though it is easy to use, it can only be opened from the bottom up. Bonus points for filtering out the light really well. It works well with the best window air conditioner.

 #2  Original Blackout Pleated Window Shade

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: This offers the best blackout shades behind blinds, blocking 99% of light. It is a perfect choice for anyone looking for blackout shades that could fit inside or outside your window frame.

Pros
  • Great blackout effect
  • Very easy to install
  • No cords
Cons
  • Not moisture-resistant
  • Some users reported non-sticky adhesive
  • Do not include clips

This window shade, which blocks out 99% of sunlight, is made using 100 percent polyester that has an insulating effect, preventing heat from coming in. Instead of cords, it uses clips to lower and raise the shade to any height. We really like pairing this with actual window curtains to alternate easily between prioritizing sleep and window decorating.

Our favorite feature with this window shade is how easy it is to install. Simply trim it to match your window’s width, peel off a liner, and stick it to your window. No drills, screws, or any type of modification is needed. Plus, it is child-safe with no cords. Its child-friendliness and easy installation makes it a winner in our book. Don’t forget the best window cleaning kit to keep them looking nice.

 #3  Achim Home Furnishings Top-Down Cordless Honeycomb Window Shade

Award: Best for Kids

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is one of the best roller shades, comingin a cordless honeycomb design with top down and bottom up rails. It is a great choice for people who want to let in natural light from the top of the window and cover the middle and bottom for privacy.

Pros
  • Great
  • Lots of available sizes
  • Soft fabric
Cons
  • Tricky to install
  • Flimsy plastic tab
  • Does not insulate well

This window shade is very easy to use. Simply drop and release the bottom rail to retract it back into the headrail. The bottom rail can lock in any vertical position, controlling the amount of natural light. Its top down and bottom up design allows you to cover most of the window while allowing natural light to come in from the top. Kudos to its cordless design, which makes it safe around children and pets.

We love the fact this window shade comes in a variety of colors, including mocha, white and dove grey. It looks equally good in living rooms and bedrooms with more than ten sizes available. Shades help keep you cool just like the best ceiling fans.

 #4  Redi Shade Original Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Window Shade

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: This pleated window shade takes less than a minute to install. It is a great choice if you are looking for a fast and cheaper option to furnish your home windows.

Pros
  • Quickest & easy install
  • Child-friendly
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Only two sizes available
  • Easily wrinkled

This window shade looks great in dorm rooms, apartments, and large homes that receive plenty of natural light. It is more transparent than our first three picks, filtering in a lot less light. Kudos for not including cords, but a set of clips to raise and lower the shade to any vertical position.

Thanks to its trimmable fabric, this window shade is very easy to customize. Simply measure your window and trim your window shade to the desired width. From there, stick it to the top of your inner window and raise or lower it using the provided clips. While testing, this process took no more than 5 minutes. The best usb fan doesn’t keep you as cool as a good shade.

 #5  SUNFREE Blackout Window Shades Cordless Window Shade with Spring Lifting System

Award: Best Light Filtering

WHY WE LIKE IT: This window shade offers inside and outdoor mounting and comes with a UV blocking back silver coating. This is a great choice for anyone who wants to control light coming in from the top and sides and protect themselves from UV rays.

Pros
  • Silver coating
  • Cordless, spring load design for easy up and down
  • Does not wrinkle
Cons
  • Tricky to install
  • Plastic frame edging
  • Flimsy screws

These best window blinds do an excellent job of blocking sunlight and UV rays thanks to a black silver coating,. It also has an insulating effect, helping prevent excess heat and cold from entering the room. Our favorite feature is its ability to mount inside or outside of the window frame, allowing users to let light in from the top/side or block light altogether.

We like this window shade’s adjustable tension. When installing using an inside mount, pulling it from side to side is smooth without any jerking or snagging. It also retracts and lifts to the top frame with no issues. Bonus points for its smooth surface, which wrinkles less than cellular, pleated window shades.

How We Decided

In determining the best window shade to buy, we explored safety, design, customization, and ease of installation. We recommend cordless window shades, which eliminates the danger of tangled cords around children and pets. Cordless window shades retract and expand just as well as corded window shades by pressing a bottom tab or rail. Look for coated backings, which help block light and UV rays that can protect your home’s interior over time.

Our recommended window shades come in two styles – pleated cellular and smooth. Deciding on either is mainly a question of style preference.

Customization is also essential. Some picks, like our #2 pick Original Blackout Pleated Window Shade and the #4 pick Redishade Original Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Window Shade, are trimmable, which allows you to customize it to your window’s width. Bottom up and top down mounting is also privacy-friendly, allowing natural light to come in from the top while covering your middle and bottom windows.

Lastly, we considered ease of installation. Some window shades, such as the Redishade Original Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Window Shade, take less than five minutes to install with no tools required – only adhesive.

Best Window Shades Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Installation
    We like trimmable window shades with provided adhesive to match your window’s width and mount without the use of tricky brackets and tools.
  2. Customization
    Several of our window shade picks are trimmable, which allows you to match your window’s width. They are also very easy to install, taking less than five minutes using adhesive.
  3. Cordless Window Shades
    Cordless window shades allow you to expand and retract the shade using a bottom tab or rail, with the ability to lock it into any vertical position. It is much safer than corded window shades, which can easily get tangled around children’s necks.

Window Shades FAQs

What are the best window shades?

It depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for blackout shades to block up to 99% of all sunlight for deeper sleep, our #2 pick Original Blackout Pleated Window Shade and the #5 pick SUNFREE Blackout Window Shades Cordless Window Shade with Spring Lifting System are worthwhile options. If you want to control the amount of sunlight coming into a room, pleated/cellular window shades with cords or bottom rails to expand or retract them to a desired height can do the trick.

What type of blinds are easiest to clean?

We prefer cellular shades. The best blinds are very duster-friendly with dusters or a vacuum brush to glide in between with little effort. Some of them are also anti-static, which keeps them clean.

Are cellular shades worth it?

Yes, we feel cellular shades are worth it. They are very easy to pull up and down with cords, top and bottom rails and work great at controlling the amount of direct sunlight. They also work well as insulators, helping to trap excess heat and cold between the window and the room. Lastly, cellular shades offer varying levels of privacy , depending on how much they are lifted or lowered and locked into position.

What are better shades or blinds?

We prefer shades. They provide an insulating effect that helps counter extreme heat or cold. Some even block up to 99% of sunlight. They also offer top down bottom up options that allow natural light to come in from the top and keep the middle and bottom covered for privacy.

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Ray Prince

Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

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