Best window shade

Windows & Window Care

The ideal window shade is the one that provides the levels of privacy and light filtering you want for your rooms while complementing your decor.

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Which window shades are best?

Window shades are made to provide privacy while enhancing the look of your windows and rooms. All window shades are designed to keep people from seeing inside your home when you want privacy. Modern window shades are now designed to keep UV rays from fading your furniture and carpets.

If you are looking for a window shade with an energy-efficient thermal foam backing that adds a room darkening effect for privacy, you will want to take a look at the Madison Park Galen Cordless Roman Shade.

What to know before you buy a window shade

Before you begin shopping for window shades, it is a good idea to re-familiarize yourself with the different types of window shades.

Roller shades

When most people think of window shades, traditional roller shades are the first thing that comes to mind. Roller shades are made of fabric wrapped around a hollow tube. As you pull down a roller shade, the fabric unrolls from the tube and the shade locks into place at whatever position you choose.  

Cellular shades

Cellular shades are made up of many small pockets arranged in a honeycomb fashion. By trapping air inside, window shades are more energy-efficient and block harmful UV rays, too. In addition, honeycombed cell construction means cellular shades fold up into pleats and not into one long continuous roll. Cellular shades come in two versions: single-cell and double-cell. 

Single-cell shades have larger honeycombed cells than double-cell shades. They are appropriate for larger windows, like picture windows in living rooms. They provide some insulation from outside light and noise.

Double-cell shades have two layers of honeycombed cells, providing greater insulation from outside noise and light. Double-cell shades are recommended for smaller windows or windows in rooms where privacy is a premium, like bedrooms and bathrooms.

Pleated shades

Pleated shades may look like honeycomb shades, but they do not provide any insulation. Pleated shades filter some light, but not much because the fabric is very thin.

Shade blinds

Shade blinds are related to regular window blinds that have adjustable slats. The difference with shade blinds is that they have no spaces between the slats because they are made from a single piece of fabric. Like regular window blinds, shade blinds have cords built in as mechanisms to raise or lower the shade.

What to look for in a quality window shade

Light control

The primary purpose of a window shade is to provide privacy. The type of material the shade is made of determines how much light is filtered and allowed to pass through. 

Opaque shades block almost all of the light. They are used to darken a room and provide maximum privacy. They are generally made of heavy materials and are used to protect a home’s content from the aging effects of UV rays.

Sheer shades allow the most amount of light into a room. They have a light, gauzy appearance. 

Semi-opaque shades keep most of the light out and only let a small amount in. As a result, they darken a room but not completely.

Semi-sheer shades allow most of the light in.


Wood shades give a natural look and feel to your house. Softwoods like cedar, pine and spruce are elegant, durable and easy to care for.

Metal shades are the most durable and block out the most light.  

Aluminum shades are strong, lightweight and easy to maintain.

Plastic shades are inexpensive ways to keep out light and keep rooms cool.  

Vinyl shades are inexpensive, lightweight, long-lasting and easy to maintain.  

Fabric shades admit light according to the type and thickness of the fabric used in their construction. They are used in rooms where privacy is less a concern than filtering the light and allowing people indoors to see outside easily. 

How much you can expect to spend on A window shade

Price is determined by the materials the shade is made of and its overall size. From $10-$25, you will find simple, basic shades. From $25-$50, you will find cellular and light-filtering shades. Over $50 is where you find window shades made with the highest quality materials.

Window shade FAQ

Which are the best window shades for small windows?

A. Roller window shades are good choices for places like front and back doors with small glass areas because they are easily customized to fit small spaces.

How can I use shades to make my windows appear larger?

A. Use shades with exterior mounts and buy sizes that are taller and wider than the windows themselves.

What ARE the best window shadeS to buy?

Top window shade

Madison Park Galen Cordless Roman Shades

Madison Park Galen Cordless Roman Shades

What you need to know: This is a high-quality shade with a high end textured appearance.

What you’ll love: This window shade is made of woven polyester and rayon with an energy-efficient thermal foam backing that adds a room darkening effect for privacy. The cordless retraction mechanism is very user friendly. This shade mounts on the inside of the window frame for a clean, flush look.

What you should consider: A few consumers wish this shade made the room even darker.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top window shade for the money

Redi Shade Original Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Shade

Redi Shade Original Light Filtering Pleated Fabric Shade

What you need to know: Get the benefits of sun filtering at a budget price with this soft polyester shade.

What you’ll love: This shade creates instant privacy, softly filters light and blocks sunlight and UV rays. The no-tool installation is easy to cut and fit. The no cord operation uses clips to raise and lower the shade, making it an ideal window shade for homes with kids and pets. 

What you should consider: This shade could be a bit more substantial.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Radiance Cord-Free Roll-Up Reed Shade

Radiance Cord-Free Roll-Up Reed Shade

What you need to know: The woven bamboo reed design allows small amounts of light in to give a soft, natural feel to the room.

What you’ll love: This shade is certified as Best for Kids by the Window Covering Safety Council. No tools are needed to hang this shade quickly on simple hooks.​​ An adjustable fastener that sets the shade at the desired height has replaced the traditional cord on this roll-up shade.

What you should consider: This shade can be used outdoors but should be taken down in windy weather. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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