What is a Window Actuator

Also known as electric window openers, window actuators are systems that are attached to sensors to help open and close the windows remotely. They usually come in different types I clouding chains and racks. The sensors enable the windows to open and close automatically when there’s a need like when it starts to rain or when the room gets filled with smoke. These smart windows ease the work for you, so you don’t have to use a lot of energy. Different types of window actuators make it easier for you to choose a suitable one for your needs because they are built for different buildings and institutions.

How it works

The functionality of a window actuator depends on the type. But they are all activated by a sensor and motor movement. The type of window actuator you choose will also depend on the type of window itself. If you have louvre windows, then the chain actuator will work for you. If you have installed skylight window ventilators, then rack or rod actuators will be most helpful.

Rod actuators

With this window actuator, a rod is attached on a track to a casing. The external casing also has an electric motor. The power from that motor will extend the rod, in which case the window will open.

Chain actuators

This type of window actuator is usually found in a vertical window. If the window is too large, then you’ll have a double chain actuator. If the window is smaller, you can use a single chain version, but they work similarly. The window will be fitted with chains and pinions with the pinions attached to a drive shaft enclosed in an external casing. When the pinions spin, the chain rotates but at a 90° angle. As the rotation continues, the chain becomes more rigid until it becomes straight. Since the chain is attached to the window, the window will open as the chain straightens. The window will close when the chain starts to retract back into the casing.

Folding actuators

If you like side hung windows, then this is the type of window actuator for you. As the name suggests, they operate by folding and unfolding either on one side or both sides. A folding arm is attached to a window and a motor. When the arm is in a resting position (folded), the window will be closed. When the motor is turned on, the folding arm begins to unfold, leading to the window opening.

Rack actuators

These actuators are built with pinions, and they operate similarly to chain actuators. A rack that is linear but fitted with teeth is attached to this pinion. When the pinion is activated, it starts to move, causing the rack to move with it. This movement causes the rack, which is also attached to the window, forces the window to open.


If you’re not sure about the type of window actuator you want, then you can ask your installer for advice. Other factors that may help you make a choice include the reason for the installation, the type of window, durability, and safety. You may also want to consider the amount you want to spend.


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