Curtain Rail: Review & Recommendations

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Curtain rails are a modern and simple alternative to the conventional curtain rail. Whether classically operated by hand, with cord or electronically, the curtain rail sets your curtains perfectly in scene. Multi-running curtain rails allow you to combine different fabrics and colours. So you can easily control the light incidence in your home and make your window a real eye-catcher.

With our big curtain rail test 2020 we want to help you to find the best curtain rail for you. We have compared different systems of curtain rails and show you all the advantages and disadvantages. With our detailed explanation of important purchase criteria, we make the purchase decision easier for you.

The most important facts in brief

  • Curtain rails are a simple alternative to the conventional curtain rail.  The curtains are unobtrusively attached to rollers that slide in the curtain rail.
  • Different operating systems differ in how the curtains are pulled. So you can pull the curtains classically by hand, move them with the help of a cord or operate them comfortably by electronic control.
  • Since curtain rods are very inconspicuous, the focus is on your curtains and sets them in scene as part of the interior design. Due to the possibility of multi-running curtain rails, different fabrics can be combined.

Curtain rail test: Favourites of the editors

  • The best single track curtain rail
  • The best double curtain rail
  • The best electric rail

The best single track curtain rail

The simple aluminium curtain rail from Rollmayer is available in 10 colours and different lengths. The rail is supplied with end caps and suspension and can be ordered with sliders and hooks. Customers appreciate the easy fixing of this product with easy-to-mount clips, in which the rail can be easily clicked in.

If you are looking for a single track curtain rail that is easy to handle, this product is for you.

The best double curtain rail

This curtain rail by iso-design made of aluminium in white is characterised by the fact that it is double track, but can also be used as a single track when reversed. The rail is very simple, as it is less than 1 cm high. The rail has pre-drilled holes for mounting in the ceiling and is supplied with plugs and screws.

If you are looking for a simple multifunctional curtain rail, this simple model will certainly fit into your home.

The best electric rail

This electrically operated curtain rail from zemismart is a comfortable suspension for your curtains, which you can control at the touch of a button. The rail can be controlled by remote control, App, Alexa or Google Home. Furthermore the system has the possibility of a timer control. Customers praise the easy installation of this system.

This electric curtain rail system offers you many possibilities of comfortable operation and is the perfect gadget for your beautiful curtains.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a curtain rail

What is a curtain rail?

A curtain rail is a guide system for curtains and drapes that offers a modern alternative to the traditional curtain rail. The curtain rail is a simple strip that is attached to the ceiling. Rollers run in the rail, to which you can attach your curtains and drapes unobtrusively.

Curtain rails are inconspicuous and often hardly visible. They can make a big difference in interior design compared to curtain rails, because the focus is on your curtains.

The curtain rail is suitable when there is not much space above the window to mount a curtain rail.

You can install curtain rails at home in the living room, bedroom or dining room. However, they are also used in vehicles. Especially in caravans, trucks or boats they can be very useful if you want privacy.

Besides the classic use in front of windows you can also use curtains as room dividers.

Curtain rails are available in single or multi-track, so you can design your window area with different curtains in several layers. Curtain rails are particularly suitable for panel curtains.

Where can I buy a curtain rail?

You can find curtain rails in the hardware store or in the furnishing shop. Of course there are also specialist shops that specialise in curtains and drapes. There you can get detailed advice.
Alternatively you can find a large selection of curtain rails online. You can buy curtain rails in the following online shops:

amazon.com
schlafwelt.de
curtain rails shop.com
iso-design.com
otto.com
obi.de
hornbach.de
construction.com
swab.com

How much is a curtain rail?

The prices for simple single or multiple curtain rails without special accessories are between 15 € and 35 €. Some products are available from 5 €, whereas noble models can cost up to 130 €.

The various systems for operating the curtain rail differ greatly in price. Sling rails, where the operation is regularly moved by hand, are the cheapest. Cord pull rails cost between 60 € and 100 €. Electric rails, where the curtains are controlled by pressing a button, cost between 200 € and 1500 €.

What are the alternatives to curtain rails?

If curtain rails are not the right thing for you, there are various alternatives, which we present to you below.

The following video shows how you can easily weave a macramé curtain on a wooden pole.

Decision: What types of curtain rails are there and which one is right for you?

There are three different guide systems for curtain rails. In the inner run of the curtain rail run rollers to which the curtains are attached. The systems differ in how the rollers are moved in the inner run of the rail. The three types include:

  • Flinger rail
  • Curtain rail with cord
  • Electric rail

In the following we will show you all the advantages and disadvantages of skidding rails, curtain rails with cord and electric rails, so that you can make the right decision when buying.

What distinguishes a centrifugal rail and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A flinger rail is the regular shape of the curtain rail. With a flinger rail, the curtains can usually be moved back and forth by hand.

Advantages

Affordable
Stable

Disadvantages

Operation by hand
Uneven distribution of the curtain

Thus, the flinger rail is the simplest system of the curtain rail and in contrast to the two following systems it is the most robust. A disadvantage of pulling the curtains by hand is that the curtains can be unevenly distributed on the rail.

What distinguishes a curtain rail with cord and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In a curtain rail with cord pull, the rollers to which the curtains are attached are moved by means of a cord pull. The cord is attached to the end of the curtain rail and can be operated manually.

Advantages

Comfortable operation
Pulling the curtain evenly

Disadvantages

More expensive
More prone to defects

Curtains can be moved evenly with the drawstring. This enables a balanced appearance of the curtains. A disadvantage in contrast to the simple flinger rail is that the mechanism of the cord pull is more susceptible to defects and also more expensive.

What distinguishes an electric rail and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With electric curtain rails, the curtains are moved automatically by means of electrically driven cord pull. The mechanism is conveniently controlled by a switch on the wall or by remote control.

Some electric curtain rails can be connected to your home automation system. So you can open and close your curtains even when you are not at home. This can be helpful to regulate the room temperature by avoiding strong sunlight. It also allows you to simulate your presence at home to prevent a break-in.

Advantages

Most comfortable operation
Pulling the curtain evenly
Connection with home automation system

Disadvantages

Very expensive
 Hard to repair

The electric rail is the most luxurious and also the most expensive of all variants. A disadvantage of the expensive electric rails is that they are more difficult to repair when defective than the purely mechanical systems.

Purchase criteria: With these factors you can compare and rate curtain rails

In the following we will show you on the basis of which aspects you can decide between the multitude of curtain rails.

The criteria that you can use to compare different curtain rails include

  • Single or multi-turn
  • Wall or ceiling mounting
  • flush- or surface-mounted
  • Blende
  • Material
  • Mass and shape

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important for the individual criteria.

Single or multi-turn

Multi-track curtain rails are suitable for combining different curtains.

In contrast to curtain rods, curtain rails are characterized by the fact that they are often not only single, but multi-track with up to 5 rails. So you can combine different curtains with each other.

You can hang a layer of curtains on single track curtain rails just like a normal curtain rail. Alternatively, there is the possibility of multi-track curtain rails, which have several rails. You can run different layers of different curtains on these rails.

For example, you can install light curtains in one track, which give some privacy but let in a lot of light. In another rail, you can then attach curtains made of a heavier, lightproof fabric. This gives you the perfect combination of curtains and drapes for day and night.

By using different fabrics and colours of different curtains, you can create real eye-catchers in your interior design with multi-running curtain rails.

Wall or ceiling mounting

Curtain rails are available in various designs. They can either be attached to the ceiling in the classic way or they can be mounted on the wall.

By mounting on the wall you can place your curtain rail directly above the window. When mounted on the ceiling, the curtain starts at the upper edge of the room, which gives a different visual effect.

By choosing the installation location you can influence the interior design. For example, using long curtains that start at the ceiling can make a room appear higher.

flush- or surface-mounted

Curtain rails can be attached to the ceiling in different ways. A distinction is made between flush-mounted and surface-mounted rails.

Flush-mounted curtain rails – or curtain rails for recessing – are embedded in the ceiling. They are flush with the ceiling and hardly visible. This is a very elegant and simple solution to install your curtains. For this variant, however, the curtain rail must be installed before the ceiling is plastered.

Surface-mounted curtain rails are conventionally mounted on the wall or ceiling. There are very thin curtain rails that hardly protrude from the wall. You can achieve almost the same result as with a flush-mounted curtain rail.

To hide surface-mounted rails, you can attach a screen in front of the curtain rail. You can read more about this in the following section.

Blende

If you have decided on a surface-mounted curtain rail, you can cover it with a screen. The cover is placed in front of the curtain rail and extends slightly beyond the beginning of the curtain to hide the rail and the upper part of the curtain.

Some curtain rails already have a cover. However, you can also buy panels separately and use any

Aperture panels are usually plain white plastic or metal. However, they are also available in a wood look or with decorations and stucco work. So you can include your fascia in the design of the room and the look of your curtains.

Material

Curtain rails are available in wood, plastic or metal. Metal rails are very robust and therefore durable. When choosing the material, pay attention to the fabric of your curtains or drapes. Heavy fabrics require a robust rail.

Think about what fits in with your interior design. Rails made of aluminium can look very elegant in a modern apartment, for example. In an apartment in an old building, you could use a curtain rail with a stuccoed fascia.

Mass and shape

Measure the length of the curtain rail you need. Add about 30 cm to the width of your window for each side. The overhang will allow you to slide the curtains completely to the side to open the windows later. For heavy curtains and drapes you should use a wider rail that is strong enough to bear the weight of the fabric.

Curtain rails are available in different shapes. The classic curtain rail is straight. But there are also solutions over the corner or u-shaped rails for use in round arches. Furthermore, bendable curtain rails offer the possibility to adapt the rail flexibly to any room.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about curtain rails

How do I hang a curtain rail?

Curtains should always have sufficient distance to the wall.

When hanging your curtains, make sure that there is enough distance to the wall. This is important to prevent moisture build-up and to be able to tilt your windows without any problems. It also makes the curtain fall more beautifully. The distance between wall and curtain should be at least 10 cm. If you want to install folding curtains at a later date, you should allow for a distance of up to 15 cm.

Fix your curtain rail not only on the left and right edge, but also in the middle. This will ensure that your curtain rail can withstand heavy fabrics and the additional strain of opening and closing the curtains.

You can attach LED strips to your curtain rail. This makes your curtains look their best as part of your interior design and gives them a noble effect.

To hang your curtain rail it is helpful to have someone to help you. This is how you drill your curtain rail into the ceiling:

  • Drill a hole in the wall: To drill a curtain rail in the ceiling or wall, you should pre-drill a hole.
  • Pre-drill hole in rail: If the curtain rail does not already have holes in it, you must also pre-drill your curtain rail. Make sure to drill the holes in the web between the tracks. Otherwise, the screws in the track may cause problems when the curtains slide later.
  • Dowels: In the pre-drilled hole you place dowels. Place them on the hole and hammer them in lightly with a hammer.
  • Screw on curtain rail: Hold the curtain rail at the intended place and screw it on.

In the following video you can watch in detail how to mount a curtain rail.

If you do not want to drill through your curtain rail, there are special fixtures that you can attach to the wall or ceiling. The curtain rail can be easily attached to this fixture.

How do I shorten a curtain rail?

Too long curtain rails could be shortened easily. For wooden or plastic rails a normal handsaw is sufficient. For metal rails you need a metal saw.

It is best to clamp the rail for sawing. Place a cloth over the clamped area to protect the bar. After shortening, you should sand the sawn edge.

What do I do if my curtain rail jams or squeaks?

If your curtains do not slide properly in the rail, you can simply lubricate them. Run a bar of soap or a candle through the rail. Alternatively, you can put a little oil on a kitchen roll and run it through the rail. Do not use too much oil and dry with kitchen paper.

Other reasons for clamping a curtain rail may be that the curtain fabric is caught in the rail or that you are using rollers that are not suitable for the rail. To find the cause, it is helpful to push the scooters back and forth in the rail without the curtain in place.

What accessories are available for curtain rails?

  • Roll: For curtain rail there are many rollers, which offer different possibilities to fix your curtains. The most common types are hooks and clamps.
  • Panel carrier: There are also panel carriers that you can attach to the running track. Panel carriers are wide pieces to which you can attach panel curtains, usually with Velcro. Roman blinds can also be attached to panel carriers.
  • Stoppers: Stoppers are small plastic parts that you attach to the end of the curtain rail to prevent the scooters from falling out of the track. Rollers and stoppers are usually included in the set when you buy a curtain rail.
  • Connectors: Connectors are intermediate pieces that you can place between two curtain rails to ensure easy sliding between the rails. There are also curved pieces that you can place between curtain rails. So you can easily pull your curtains over the corner.

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