Shutter drive buying guide

Shutter drive buying guide

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

192 guides

Automating your shutters can bring considerable comfort to your home. Whether they're rolling or hinged, in wood, PVC or aluminium, any type of shutters can be automated. With or without wires, remote-controlled or on a timer, here's the full lowdown! Now to measure your frame and estimate the weight of your shutters!

Important features

  • Rolling
  • Hinged
  • Materials
  • Shutter weight
  • Lifting force
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What types of shutters can be automated?


Rolling and hinged shutters can be automated, and there's nothing fancy about selecting the right type of motor: it's just a matter of shifting the weight!

Knowing the weight of your apron, i.e. all the slats of your roller shutter, is paramount when determining the necessary power of your motor.

Roller shutters

In addition to the weight, you'll also need to know the diameter of the shaft (or winding tube around which the shutter is rolled) to fit in your motor components.

Hinged shutters

Since the shutter drive is installed under the lintel of the window frame, its width must be appropriate to that of the window frame.

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Shutter drive

How to calculate the weight of your shutter?

The weight of the apron is decisive in choosing your drive motor and depending on the material, weight can vary widely:


Wood is the heaviest material - assume on average 11kg per m².


PVC weighs about 4kg per m² for typical slat thicknesses up to 8mm; assume 5.5kg for thicker slats up to 14mm thickness.


Aluminium is significantly heavier than PVC, at around 4.5kg for slats up to 8mm and 6kg up to 14mm thickness.

It is therefore necessary to measure the width of the window frame - from one side to the other - and multiply it by the height (adding 20cm to account for the extra slats going as far as the shaft inside the shutter housing).

Example of automating a PVC roller shutter (8mm slat thickness)

The window frame, where the shutter rollers will be fixed, is 1.15m high and 1.20m wide, i.e. [(1.15 + 0.20) X 1.20] = 1.62 m²

This area is then multiplied by the material weight per m², ie 1.62 X 4 = 6.48 Kg

The weight of the flap, rounded to the excess, is 6.5 kg.

How to determine the necessary lifting force?

Depending on the material, the force needed to lift your shutters will differ. This force is expressed in Newton metres (Nm) and is calculated very simply by multiplying the weight of the apron by 0.7!

Example of automating a 6.48kg PVC shutter (as above):

6.48kg X 0.7 = 4.53Nm

The minimum force required to lift the shutter is therefore 4.53Nm.

The range of power ratings available starts around 10Nm, or sometimes 6Nm, going up in units of 10Nm.

Characteristics of rolling shutters


Just like with roller shutters, the diameter of the shaft is important because this is where the drive motor is housed. The effective diameter of the motor must be smaller than that of the shaft.

Make sure you choose the right adaptor with your motor because shutter shafts can be round, hexagonal or splined.

Shafts are telescopic for greater flexibility.

Installation advice

Long roller shutters have a powerful return spring inside the shaft, which compensates for the weight of the apron. Watch your hands!

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Choosing a hinged shutter drive

Drives for hinged shutters come in the form of complete kits to be installed under the lintel.

Motor power depends on the size of the window. No calculations this time, it's all done for you!

These systems are highly flexible.
Re installation: just a little cutting to do!

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Complete kits

Shutter automation: wireless or not?


For optimum user comfort:go for remote control!
Radio-controlled motors allow remote opening and closing of the shutter and the most sophisticated models can even be operated from your Smartphone.
Remote controls can control one or more shutter drives via separate channels.

Wired installations require the passage of cables, and the shutters are opened by means of an inverter switch - up / down.

Shutter automation options


A timer will let you automatically open and close your shutters according to settings chosen in advance. Programming can be daily, weekly or monthly.

A brightness detection system can also be installed for an extra touch of efficiency.

Shutter automation is a good way ofsimulating your presence during prolonged absences such as holidays.
Generally - as explained above - drive motors are sold in the form of kits and the manufacturers just provide the essential information so you can make the right choice with ease: maximum shutter weight and area, minimum and maximum shutter width, minimum depth of window frame, etc.
Automation of entryways - such as a motorized gate - will enhance the comfort and security of your home.

Learn more about home security and automation systems...

To find out more about home security and automation systems, follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides:

How to choose your gate operator?
How to choose your smoke detectors?
How to choose your home security cameras?
How to choose your shutter drives?
How to choose your pool alarm?
How to choose your alarm?
How to choose your intercom and doorbell?

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 192 guides

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check. The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job! What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!

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