For many types and brands of window treatments, it really pays to shop around. The table below shows you the kind of price variation you’ll probably find. It reports costs quoted to Checkbook’s undercover shoppers when they sought prices for window treatments for four windows—including cellular shades, blinds, and Roman shades—at a sampling of local stores and online outlets.

For the cellular shades, we specified that we wanted four 3/8-inch single-cell, white, light-filtering cellular shades, 30 inches wide by 68 inches long. For blinds, we checked prices for four two-inch wood blinds (not faux wood) with regular cord lifts in any oak color (with no cloth tape). For the Roman shades, we again asked for four treatments, in white fabric. We also checked installation charges (for the local stores) and shipping charges (for online outlets).

We asked each outlet for prices for its least expensive brand that met our specifications and for several specific brands of cellular shades, if it offered them. Keep in mind that there may be big quality differences among the various brands offered by the surveyed stores.

The table reports the quoted prices for the window coverings, not including installation costs. The last column reports stores’ installation fees.

We indicate with bold-italic type the best prices we were quoted. For local stores, when selecting low prices to highlight, we considered stores’ installation fees. For the online retailers, which largely don’t offer installation services, we indicate with bold-italic type the lowest prices just for each window treatment option, plus shipping.

Here are some of our findings:

  • Different brands tend to be sold through different channels. For example, Hunter Douglas is sold mostly through local independent stores, Graber at independent local stores and online outlets, and Bali and Levolor products are available at mostly just big chains and online retailers.
  • For the name-brand cellular shades we shopped for (Bali, Graber, Hunter Douglas, and Levolor), the more expensive outlets offered prices that were hundreds of dollars more than those at the least expensive stores.
  • When we asked sellers to provide prices for any brand that met our specifications, we found even larger differences—the most expensive local stores offered prices that were more than three times higher than their lower-priced competitors. For the least expensive brand available at each local store (not including installation), prices for the four cellular shades we shopped ranged from $288 to $1,212—a difference of $924. For the two-inch wood blinds, prices at local stores ranged from $336 to $1,100—a difference of $764.
  • Among local stores, price winners include the big-box operations (Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s) that you’d expect to offer low prices. But we also found very low prices at some of the independent stores.
  • For Home Depot and Lowe’s, we were surprised to find considerably lower prices available on their websites, compared to the price quotes we got from their local stores.
  • But don’t assume buying online will always save you a lot of money. We found that some online sellers charge low prices and some charge high prices. Plus, a few of the pricey internet retailers were more expensive than local options. Among the websites we shopped, for the least expensive brand offered for our four cellular shades, prices ranged from $160 to $652. For the two-inch wood blinds, prices including shipping at internet sellers ranged from $213 to $1,432. And for the Roman shades, prices at websites ranged from $250 to $1,822.
  • When using our price table and doing your own shopping, factor in installation costs. (On our table, we added installation costs when deciding which prices to highlight as lowest.) At some stores, installation costs are embedded into the price of the window treatments; at others, installation charges are extra, and at a few, they’re substantially extra.
  • Keep in mind that if you do your own installation work, you probably won’t get the kind of generous guarantee you’d get from a top store that does installations.
  • Depending on the seller, adding special features can substantially increase prices. If you are considering things like fancy trims or top-down and bottom-up operation, be sure to account for the possible extra charges.

Illustrative Prices for
Blinds and Shades

Prices were quoted by stores in response to Checkbook's undercover shoppers. Prices do not include installation fees. For each job, stores were given additional, detailed specifications.

Prices for coverings for four windows measuring 30" x 68". For local
stores, bold-italic type indicates the lowest prices when we factored
in installation fees, which are reported in the last column. For online
retailers, bold-italic type indicates the lowest prices among online stores.
Installation fee for four sets of blinds or shades
Least expensive brand of 3/8" cellular shades Bali “Cosmo-politan” 3/8" cellular shades Graber “Crystal-Pleat Garden Retreat” 3/8" cellular shades Hunter Douglas “Applause Legends” 3/8" cellular shades Levolor “Accordia Designer Textures” 3/8" cellular shades Least expensive brand of 2" oak blinds Least expensive brand of Roman shades in white fabric

Local Stores

Albert’s Wallpaper
101 Black Horse Pike, Haddon Heights, NJ, 856-546-5655
$554   $554     $452 $900 $0
Allure Window Treatments
1714 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 215-463-0440
$986     $1091   $893 $2045 $175
Avalon Flooring
5510 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE, 302-757-7500
$816     $816   $692 $2160 $150
Blind & Drapery Showroom
1247 West Chester Pike, Havertown, PA, 610-853-0900
$736     $816   $704 $1600 $85
Blinds Brothers
1401 Surrey Ln, Wynnewood, PA, 610-285-1022
$680         $808 $1120 $0
Blinds 4U
1509 Willowbrook Ln, Villanova, PA, 610-246-3100
$716     $1212   $556 $1396 $0
Blinds To Go
651 W DeKalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA, 610-265-8646
$524         $576 $955 $60
Blinds To Go
1260 Nixon Dr, Mount Laurel, NJ, 856-802-1760
$524         $576 $955 $60
Bob Wagner’s Flooring America
4531 W Lincoln Hwy, Downingtown, PA, 610-269-7808
$900     $900   $1100 $1500 $300
Budget Blinds
535 Ridge Ave, Media, PA, 610-565-1000
$720     $960   $620 $1120 $0
Calico Corners
653 W Lancaster Ave, Radnor, PA, 610-688-1505
$894     $894   $717 $1255 $150
Castle Wallpaper & Blinds
8735 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA, 215-332-9300
$620   $620 $968   $580 $1320 $125
Costco
740 Upper State Rd, North Wales, PA, 215-353-4153
$464 $464           Does not install
DeLuca’s Custom Draperies
195 N Springfield Rd, Clifton Heights, PA, 610-544-7440
$678   $788     $692 $1524 $0
Ethan Allen
100 Ridge Rd #5, Chadds Ford, PA, 610-358-1111
$937     $1034   $904 $1728 $165
Home Depot
965 E Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA, 610-518-3330
$288 $484     $288 $336 $604 $137
Home Depot
400 Commerce Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA, 215-943-1900
$288 $484     $288 $336 $604 $137
J C Penney
1750 Deptford Center Rd, Woodbury, NJ, 856-845-6111
$528 $554     $528 $475 $718 $125
Jen-N-Josh Blind Company
1044 Industrial Dr, West Berlin, NJ, 856-753-0505
$476         $556 $796 $0
John’s Window Fashions
17 Paige Trl, Hilltown, PA, 215-257-5235
$652     $968   $732 $1800 $0
Kazanjian Floors
3109 W Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA, 610-356-1490
$604   $604     $540 $1200 $60
Lowe’s
2834 Rte 73, Maple Shade, NJ, 856-727-0990
$380 $468     $380 $352 $584 $99
Lowe’s
9701 Roosevelt Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, 215-776-9006
$380 $468     $380 $352 $584 $99
M C Weeks Window Fashions
183 W Main St, Trappe, PA, 610-489-7231
$1096     $1212   $872 $2272 $140
Pasquarello Interiors
408 N White Horse Pike, Stratford, NJ, 856-784-2864
$788     $908   $660 $1400 $0
Ricciardi Brothers
507 E Baltimore Pike, Media, PA, 610-566-8330
$597   $597 $812   $576 $2000 $150
Sciacca’s
504 3rd St, Riverside, NJ, 856-461-1248
$928     $1028   $840 $2356 $100
Walls & Windows of Bala Avenue
169 Bala Ave, Bala Cynwyd, PA, 610-664-7666
$900     $1096   $900 $1516 $0
Wholesale Window Fashions
95 S White Horse Pike, Berlin, NJ, 856-768-7380
$476     $592   $436 $1316 $35
Window Concepts
4653 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA, 610-325-2094
$1212     $1212   $992 $1960 $0
Yocum Shutters & Blinds
91 Nutt Rd, Phoenixville, PA, 610-935-8700
$656         $740 $1600 $0

Online Stores

AmericanBlinds.com $340 $480     $616 $376 $844 Does not install
Blinds.com $211 $477     $400 $284 $680 Does not install
BlindSaver.com $218 $526 $544   $322 $495   Does not install
BlindsExpress.com $230       $487 $305 $384 Does not install
BlindsGalore.com $231       $370 $400 $749 Does not install
HomeDepot.com $288       $605 $213   Does not install
JCPenney.com $320       $740 $740 $560 Does not install
JustBlinds.com $212         $276 $416 Does not install
Levolor.com $567       $567 $1432 $1093 Does not install
Lowes.com $173         $288   Does not install
Menards.com $470 $470     $573 $280 $857 Does not install
SelectBlinds.com $160         $322 $457 Does not install
SmithandNoble.com $652         $850 $1296 $99
StevesBlindsandWallpaper.com $171 $525 $539   $388 $250 $250 Does not install
TheShadeStore.com           $1036 $1822 Does not install