Last updated: August 5, 2021

Who doesn't know this? In the evening, when it gets dusky or when the sun shines too much into the flat during the day, you want to close the shutters. In the morning, you want to open the shutters so that you can ventilate and let the daylight into the flat. But then, once again, the roller shutter hangs.

If you have had enough of hanging roller shutters and manually raising and lowering them, a roller shutter motor will help you. In our large roller shutter motor test 2021 we show you what roller shutter motors are available and what makes them stand out. We give you the criteria with which you can find the right roller shutter motor for you.




Summary

  • The electrical control of your roller shutters is possible with the help of a roller shutter motor. Thanks to the integrated anti-lift protection, the shutters cannot be lifted by potential burglars.
  • When buying, you can choose between tubular motors with radio, tubular motors with timer, electric belt winders with radio and electric belt winders with sun sensor.
  • Depending on the roller shutter and window, you should consider important criteria such as weight, dimensions, tractive force, cable length, supply voltage, torque and duty cycle.

The Best Roller Shutter Motor: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a roller shutter motor

We would like to explain the advantages briefly mentioned in the above section in more detail, but you will also find the disadvantages here, so that choosing the right roller shutter motor will not be a torture afterwards.

What are the advantages of roller shutter motors?

Roller shutters that run with tubular motors have the advantage that they have an anti-lift device. Burglars cannot easily lever up the roller shutters and climb into the flat because the tubular motor blocks the shutter as soon as it is lowered.

Due to the direct power transmission from the tubular motor to the roller shutter shaft, a greater force is generated, which means that a larger roller shutter armour area can be operated.

Furthermore, the tubular motor runs with a minimal noise level that is barely audible. In addition, this drive variant also offers a visual plus point, as nothing but the control panel is visible due to the flush-mounted design.

If the tubular motor is equipped with radio control, there are additional advantages. These include the fact that the system can be controlled in the home with the help of a remote control and you don't have to run to the control panel next to the window. Fully automated, it goes up or down at the touch of a button. The additional equipment with a timer has the advantage that the shutters adapt to the individual time schedule.

They go up or down at the set times. This setting is a good deterrent to burglars, as the shutters are operated automatically even without anyone being present in the household, provided that the desired times have been set. In addition to the purchase costs of the roller shutter drive, you must also consider that there are costs for the remaining roller shutter components, unless you already own them.

The installation of such a motor is also somewhat more difficult and for this reason you should also consider the costs of installation by a professional. Especially with defective parts that need to be replaced, it is complicated because the engine box is plastered. As a rule, however, this should not happen often or at all.

Advantages
  • High-slide protection
  • Direct power transmission
  • Low noise
  • Visual plus point, due to flush-mounted
Disadvantages
  • Possible installation costs
  • Cable laying
  • Replaceability

What does a roller shutter motor cost?

Roller shutter motors can be purchased in various price categories, ranging from 30-90 euros. However, most motors are in the lower part of this range at 30-40 euros and are therefore very affordable. Of course, a roller shutter motor with a higher function can also be somewhat more expensive.

What alternatives are there to roller shutter belts?

These have the advantage that they also run automatically at the push of a button. You no longer have to pull on the roller shutter belt to raise your roller shutters. Another point is that they are easier to install and can be replaced on their own if they are defective, because the electric belt winder and the roller shutter belt are mounted on the wall.

In addition, modern devices run very quietly and thus offer the owner a high level of comfort.

Here, too, there is the additional option of radio control and a timer. These offer the same advantages as the tubular motors. In addition, some manufacturers offer a sun sensor. This depends on the sun, because the sun and twilight sensors allow the electric belt winder to function independently.

The disadvantages of the electric belt winder variant are that it runs on electricity. If you want to equip your normal, manually operated roller shutter with this drive, you have to lay cables for the power supply. There are two ways to do this: Either the cables are laid in the plaster or along the wall. This circumstance, among others, can cause a lot of work if you decide on this variant of a roller shutter motor.

Advantages
  • Automated at the touch of a button
  • Easier installation, compared to tubular motors
  • Quieter operation
Disadvantages
  • Cable laying for power supply

Hausfront mit Rolladen

A roller shutter can be conveniently controlled with a roller shutter motor. This can be an advantage, especially for roller shutters that are difficult to access. (Photo: Anelka / pixabay.com)

Decision: What types of roller shutter motors are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, there are two different types of drives for your roller shutters. With additional accessories, you have the option of adapting the roller shutter drives to your needs. Tubular motor

  • Tubular motor with radio
  • Tubular motor with timer

Electric belt winder

  • Electric belt winder with radio
  • Electric belt winder with sun sensor

There are many types of roller shutter motors on the market. In the following, we want to help you find a roller shutter drive that best suits your ideas, requirements and needs. For this reason, we will go into the above-mentioned types and their additional functions in more detail and clearly present the advantages and disadvantages.

How do roller shutters with tube motors work?

In contrast to the manual operation of roller shutters, there are tube motors. This is installed in the roller shutter box as a flush-mounted unit.

The motor drives the roller shutter shaft and transmits its power to it, so that the rolling up and down of the roller shutter curtain is no longer done manually via the belt, but automatically by pressing a button. In a classic model, the control buttons are usually located next to the window.

If additional functions such as radio control are desired, the same principle applies, except that you can operate your roller shutters with a remote control from your couch. Another addition would be a roller shutter drive with a timer. With this equipment, you can control the raising and lowering of the roller shutters using your smartphone, tablet, etc.

An alternative to tubular motors: Electrically operated belt winders

You probably already have a better idea of what a belt winder is. The box in which the belt is wound up is also located next to your window. You have to pull on the belt when you want to roll up the blinds and give more of the belt when you want to let it down. The electric belt winder takes over the role of manual operation.

You can choose between surface-mounted and flush-mounted. With flush-mounted, the belt box is plastered and only the operating buttons are visible next to the window. The belt box with push-button is visible next to the window if you choose the surface-mounted variant. As with the tubular motor, you can also buy your electric belt winder equipped with radio control. In this case, you operate it by means of a remote control.

In the case of an electric belt winder with a sun sensor, this is based on the position of the sun and raises or lowers the blinds accordingly.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate roller shutter motors

In the following, we would like to give you a few points with which you can compare products. This will help you to decide which motor is best for you. In doing so, we will focus on the following characteristics:

  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Pulling force
  • Cable length
  • Supply voltage
  • Torque
  • Duty cycle
  • Equipment:
    • Manufacturer's warranty
    • Obstacle detection
    • Sun sensor
    • Day and week programme
    • Random generator

In the following sections, we will briefly discuss each factor and explain them if they require more detailed explanation.

Weight

The weight of a roller shutter drive is between 1 and 3 kilograms for tubular motors and a few grams for electric belt winders. This factor is only important in so far as you know what equipment you should use to install the roller shutter motor.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the roller shutter motors are somewhat more important. For tubular motors, it is important to know the exact dimensions so that you know whether it will fit into your (possibly) existing roller shutter box.

If not, you should arrange the roller shutter box to create enough space for the tube motor. In contrast to tubular motors, which are flush-mounted in the box, electric belt winders can also be mounted visibly, as surface-mounted devices. In this case, the dimensions of such a device play a greater role, because in surface-mounted versions they are visible to everyone.

Therefore, the size of the belt winder is important in order not to break the visual appearance in the house and not to disturb the observer, especially you.

The dimensions of the belt width are also important, as electric belt winders are only suitable for a certain width. You should pay particular attention to this specification, otherwise it will be impossible to install your desired electric belt winder.

Fensterrollo Nahaufnahme

In addition to the roller shutter motor, you can also install a time control or control according to light conditions. (Photo: strecosa / pixabay.com)

Traction

Not all windows have the same dimensions. For example, windows in old buildings have different dimensions than those in prefabricated buildings and again different dimensions than those in new buildings.

For this reason, the roller shutter armouring is different. In addition, the material you choose for your roller shutters is another factor in calculating the tractive force for your roller shutter drive. The force that the motor needs to pull up the roller shutter curtain must therefore not be underestimated under any circumstances, because otherwise a functioning roller shutter motor cannot be guaranteed.

The tractive force shows you what weight your roller shutter curtain may have so that everything can be automated smoothly. You can calculate this as follows: Multiply the height times the width of your roller shutter curtain. Once you have the result, multiply it by the weight per square metre, also known as density, of your material. Here are approximate guidelines for common materials for:

  • Plastic armour : 4,5 kg/sqm
  • Aluminium armour : 5,5 kg/sqm
  • Wooden armour : 11kg/sqm

Once you have calculated the weight and compared it with the tractive force of the motor, you should also take into account that (in some cases) 10 percent should be added due to friction loss.

Cable length

The length of the cable is important because most roller shutter motors can only be operated with a power supply. Therefore, a power source must be secured near the roller shutter drive, be it a tubular motor or an electric belt winder.

The cables are usually 1.5 to 2 metres long. If there are no sockets near the mounted roller shutter motors, you should set up a power source if possible. Otherwise, you can also consider roller shutter drives that run on batteries. However, the running time is then only limited and the batteries would have to be replaced regularly.

As a small remark, we have to say that in almost all cases the control unit or keypad is installed at waist height, i.e. at 1.20 - 1.40 metres. If the power lines were laid so that they are directly below the windows, no problems should arise.

Supply voltage

Since the mains voltage is 230 V throughout Europe, most manufacturers have configured their roller shutter motors so that they can run with a supply voltage of exactly 230 V. This means that if you decide to buy a foreign motor, you will have to use the same voltage.

If you decide to buy a foreign motor, make sure that the corresponding supply voltage is available locally. A brief explanation of the voltage: In order to use the current, the voltage must be transformed at a certain voltage level.

If this does not run over an ideal voltage level, energy losses occur accordingly, which the manufacturers want to prevent as far as possible. Therefore, the supply voltage of the motors is adapted to the mains voltage in Europe.

Torque

In order not to drift too much from the essentials, we would like to explain briefly what the torque can say about a motor, because, among other things, you can tell from this property how strong a motor is.

Basically, the higher the torque, the stronger the roller shutter motor. However, you should not disregard the voltage specification, as this also plays a decisive role in terms of strength. However, the torque does not have to assume maximum values, as only a certain amount of power is needed to raise the roller shutter panels.

Duty cycle

As the name suggests, you can see from the duty cycle how long you can operate the motor without taking a break. After that, a rest period must be taken in order not to damage the motor. These guide values prevent the roller shutter drive from overheating and save you from a possible complicated change of the motor. Many motors have a maximum duty cycle of 4 to 5 minutes, which is usually sufficient to raise or lower roller shutters.

Equipment

A further and final factor on this list that you can and should consider is the equipment. This includes the manufacturer's warranty. The products on our list usually come with a warranty that assures you that if there is a manufacturing defect, you will get the product repaired or even a new product.

However, you should know that user-related defects do not entitle you to a refund. In addition, there are features such as obstacle detection. You probably already know what obstacle detection is, so we won't go into it in detail.

Basically, the detection works with the help of lasers, which also work without touching. You will also find this principle in lifts or automatically opening doors.

If an object is in the way, the doors will not close. In this case, too, a roller shutter motor with obstacle detection works in the same way.

A laser scanner scans the defined path along which the roller shutter curtain will move and sends signals to the control unit if there is an obstacle, thus stopping the roller shutters from moving up or down.

The addition of a sun sensor does the work for you as soon as the sun rises and sets. Because these sensors, if they are switched on, start as soon as it gets dark. If desired, they lower the shutters at sunset and raise them again at sunrise. You can turn this setting on and off at any time. The day and week programmes work in a similar way.

You can set them so that they go up and down at a certain time of day and possibly only on certain days. This function deters many burglars while you are on holiday or on a business trip, for example. They pretend that someone is at home and discourage thieves from entering your home. Another feature designed to deter thieves from entering your home are random generators. When this mode is selected, the shutters go up and down randomly.

The computer calculates the time using an algorithm and operates the motor independently. The fully automated version leaves you free to think while you are at work or on holiday.

Interchangeability

The factor that follows now and that you should have dealt with is the retrofitting of the products. We have not included these in the list because the evaluation is very objective and because we have not tested all products and therefore do not want to present you with false information.

Nevertheless, we can say that surface-mounted motors are easier to replace than flush-mounted ones, as the motors that are flush-mounted are difficult to access.

Installation

The last factor, similar to the one just mentioned, is the installation of the roller shutter drive. This is also difficult to understand and depends, among other things, on the craftsmanship of each individual. Therefore, we recommend that you first read reviews from others who have already completed the installation.

If you are not sure, there are also videos that show you step by step how to install the roller shutter motors and make them ready for operation.

Facts worth knowing about roller shutter motors

If you decide to retrofit your roller shutter motor on your own, you should understand the basic structure of a manual belt winder.(For the tubular motor as well as the electric belt winder, only additional elements need to be attached. )

The elements that belong to it are: Roller shutter box, shutter curtain and shaft, belt pulley, belt and belt winder, guide rollers and belt guide (only required for the electric belt winder).

Here, the roller shutter box is fixed to the wall above the window and the drive lies inside it. So one end of the belt is wound up and the belt roller is fixed next to the window and the other end of the belt is fixed to the roller shutter curtain. If you pull the belt, you pull the roller shutter up and if you give more of the belt, you let it down.

The electric belt winder is basically designed in a similar way, except that it has control electronics, a motor and a gear. The three main steps are explained here. All you have to do is remove the manual belt drive, insert the electric belt drive and connect it to a power source. You will certainly find instructions on how best to do this in the user manual that comes with your purchase.

Image source: unsplash.com / Schuyler Dugle

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