While many of the products we review here are readily available to purchase and operate without a license, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician to install and demonstrate their use.
In some cases, improper use and installation may result in a breach of insurance. Even worse, you could be putting yourself or your family at risk as an incorrectly installed electrical device could start a fire. So, don’t risk it - seek the services of a fully licensed electrician instead.
An outdoor social space is a lovely addition to a property, giving you and your guests a spot to relax, get some fresh air, and take in the lovely scenery, but when you’re hit with an absolute scorcher of a day, hanging out on your patio isn’t quite as appealing.
The glare is giving you a furious squint, the heat has you sweating through your shirt, and your guests have made up some bogus excuses to leave before they melt.
What’s worse, the sunlight entering through your 1st-floor windows has transformed your living space into an oven, so when you head inside for shelter, you’re met with unrelenting heat.
It’s a sticky situation (especially if you have leather couches), but a quality retractable awning can be your saving grace, providing shade on your patio and preventing the summer sunlight from worming its way into your home.
Best Retractable Awnings: Reviews
OUR TOP PICK
Initially, what drew me to this Diensweek awning was the fabric.
The navy blue coloring is both visually arresting and practical, appearing clean for much longer than lighter hues.
But during my tests, I came to love it for so many more reasons.
The frame is forged from T5-grade aluminum, making it lightweight - a big help during installation - and incredibly strong, ensuring a long, long service life!
What’s more, the edges of the frame are capped with robust plastic covers, ensuring rust can’t eat away at the awning from the inside out.
Made entirely of PU-coated polyester, the synthetic roof is resistant to all weathers, mildew, mold, and rot, so don’t sweat it if you live in a drizzly or humid climate — This thing will stand the test of time!
It also offers tons of UV protection, so you can enjoy some shade on a sunny day in safety.
The one drawback for me is that it’s only designed to handle winds up to 4 on the Beaufort scale, which equates to a moderate breeze.
- Dark fabric — Looks clean for longer
- PU-coated polyester — Resistant to mildew, mold, rot, and tears.
- T5 aluminum frame — Strong and lightweight
- Wind resistance — Needs to be retracted in high winds
This 13’ x 10’ Aecojoy awning is the perfect shade-maker for a sizable patio area.
Not only will it protect your patio doors from the sun, but the entire square footage of the space, ensuring you, your family, and your guests can enjoy the summer months in comfort and safety.
The cover is made from high-quality polyester, resistant to mold, mildew, rot… all the bad stuff, and thanks to the light color, it doesn’t just block heat, it reflects it, meaning less heat radiates down towards you in the shade.
Crafted from stainless steel and aluminum alloy, the frame is also a triumph.
Both strong and lightweight, it’s easy to install and braves blustery weather like it’s nothing, so it really doesn’t matter if you forget to retract it every now and again.
During my tests, the manual hand crank worked wonderfully, but due to the size of this beast, I’d have preferred motorized operation.
That said, the benefit of doing things yourself is that sweet, sweet price tag!
- Light fabric — Reflects heat, keeping you cooler
- Size — Comprehensive protection for large patio areas
- Steel & aluminum frame — Durable for long service life, light for easy installation
- Polyester cover — Blocks UV and resists all manner of weather-derived degradation
- Manual — A motorized version of this awning would be perfect!
Also available from Walmart
To shade a small patio area, there’s really no substitute for the Outsunny 8’ x 7’ retractable awning.
It’s a simple product, but it gets the job done, and you can pick it up for an absolute steal!
As you’d expect at this price range, it’s a manual awning, but during my tests, I found it to be remarkably smooth in action and incredibly easy to use.
Plus, it’s made of all the same stuff as the more expensive options on my list — We have the steel/aluminum frame for longevity and ease of installation, and the polyester cover for steadfast weather resistance.
So, though it may be cheap, it’s not scared of a rumble with a dynamic climate.
But where this awning managed to distance itself from the rest is the sheer volume of color options available.
With eight to choose from, you’re bound to find something that compliments your exterior aesthetic.
- Price — It’s an absolute bargain.
Steel/aluminum frame — Should last 20+ years
- Colors — Find something that suits your patio perfectly.
- PU-coated polyester cover — Rainy weather is not a problem.
- Instructions — The installation guide is terrible!
Also available from Walmart
This Advanin masterpiece is fully motorized, so operation is as easy as pushing a button, a definite boon if you’re a senior, differently abled, or - like me - just plain lazy.
But, should you wish to work those bis and tris, a manual hand crank is included as standard.
Everything about this retractable awning screams luxury, even if we disregard the motor for a second.
Take the 100% solution-dyed acrylic cover, for instance.
This is the number one premium weatherproof material, resistant to all the nasty things that come part and parcel with a life exposed to the elements.
As such, you can expect this fabric to last 10+ years if taken care of, providing UV80+ protection the entire time.
And the frame is insane too! Crafted from powder-coated steel, it’s the ultimate anti-rust structure.
But the thing that really put a smile on my face was the customizable tilt and pitch.
In seconds, you can modify both parameters in order to block the sun as it moves through the sky, ensuring you stay safe and those energy bills start crumbling away.
- Motorized — Effortless operation
- Powder-coated steel frame — Basically impervious to rusting
- Tilt/pitch adjustment — Keeps you in the shade no matter where the sun is positioned in the sky
- Acrylic cover — Ultimate weather and fade resistance
- Price — The only downside here is that this kind of luxury comes at a cost.
Also available from Millwork
This Vevor side awning may not be the best option for energy savings, but it’s a cost-effective solution to those summer scorchers in the backyard.
Full aluminum construction provides comprehensive rust protection, so it’s not a problem if it gets caught in a downpour or two, and the PU-coated polyester layer is just as hard wearing when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
I was a little concerned about it blowing over in the wind, but it can easily be mounted on a wall or floor.
Although it won’t protect against the sun if it’s directly above you, it serves another valuable purpose… privacy enhancer!
Yep, if you’ve got nosy neighbors or you feel the fence that separates your yards just isn’t big enough, this awning provides an opaque barrier, allowing you to chill out on your patio in peace.
- Price — You won’t find a traditional retractable awning at this price anywhere.
- PU-coated polyester sheet — Can survive bad weather without degrading
- Installation — A few drill holes are all you need to mount to the floor or a wall.
- Privacy — Can be used to block prying eyes
- Orientation — No overhead protection
Also available from Vevor
Retractable awnings seem like a simple enough concept, but there’s actually plenty to consider, so just to be sure you end up with the perfect awning for you, I’ve composed this handy buyer’s guide.
Manual Vs. Motorized
The biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you want an awning with motorized or manual operation.
Manual retractable awnings are typically operated with a hand crank, but they’re not difficult to use, and they tend to be a lot cheaper than their motorized counterparts.
Having said that, if you have achy bones or you’re a bit unsure on your feet, it might be best to play it safe and go with a motorized awning.
Motorized awnings are exactly what they sound like. You push a button, and voilà; the awning either extends or retracts — Easy!
They’re considered the premium option, and thus typically carry a higher price tag, but, as they say, convenience is king.
There’s also more scope for nice-to-have extras with motorized awnings.
For instance, some models may be outfitted with rain or sun sensors that trigger the mechanism and extend the awning when you’ll need it most.
Wind sensors are another possibility, performing the opposite duty of the aforementioned sensors, retracting the awning when the wind picks up to protect it from damage.
You may also find one that can be controlled remotely via a companion app, taking the convenience factor to a whole new level!
If you want your fancy auto-awning to stand the test of time, however, you will need to carry out motor maintenance every now and again.
Should you choose to take the motorized route, if possible, observe any prospective awnings in action either as they extend or retract, as the motor might be a little louder than you (or your neighbors) would like.
For the quietest operation, keep an eye out for awnings with Teflon-coated bushings.
Reach & Width
Once you’ve decided on a mechanism, it’s time to consider the reach of the awning.
How far do you want it to extend from your property? For example, do you like to luxuriate in outdoor recliners, or do you use standard yard chairs?
Unless you’re fine with your lower legs getting a bit sunburnt, if you use recliners, you’ll need an awning with extra reach, but if you sit in a normal chair, you can shoot for something a little more modest.
You’ll also need to settle on an appropriate width.
Some manufacturers may offer customizable specs, but for the most part, you’ll be looking at pre-measured units, so be sure to take some measurements in your yard.
My advice is to have your awning as wide as your patio doors at the very least, but a little bit of overhang will be nice, adding extra shade for you, your guests, and your home.
Stainless steel is the mark of a high-quality retractable awning frame, and a spot of aluminum alloy will help to keep things nice and light without sacrificing too much strength.
For ultimate longevity, keep an eye out for powdered finishes as well, as they repel corrosive materials.
If you live in a particularly drizzly climate, I’d say a powdered finish is absolutely imperative, as it will stave off rust for many years.
It’s tough life out there exposed to the elements, so the material of an awning needs to be incredibly robust to survive.
Not only does it need to be tear resistant to handle strong winds and the odd bit of air-bound debris, it needs to be resistant to mold, mildew, rot, and fading.
That’s a lot of things to handle for one material, but there is one that’s brave enough to hold its own against all odds… acrylic.
Other synthetics are effective too.
There are canvas awnings with synthetic coatings out there as well, but they’re not quite as long-lasting as fully synthetic awnings, so bear that in mind as you shop.
Fabric Color & Pattern
With the functional stuff out of the way, we get to the exciting part, picking out your colors and patterns.
As an awning is by and large a permanent installation, it’s important you find something that suits the aesthetic of your home and yard.
There are a number of wacky color combos and patterns on the market, but if you’d like something a little more low-key, there are lots of block color awnings out there too.
You also need to decide on a frame color. Typically, you’ll see frames in the natural metal finish, black, or white.
Simply choose the one that you feel looks nicest, but in the event you stumble across an awning that’s perfect for you in every way but for your ideal frame color, it might be worth accepting this one compromise.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Average Cost Of A Retractable Awning?
As there are both manual and motorized models as well as innumerable sizes of retractable awning, prices can differ significantly from one to the next, but generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $200 and $4000.
Those at the lower end of the price spectrum will ultimately pay for themselves quicker by shading your windows and reducing the burden of your air conditioning in the summer, but they won’t last as long as the up-scale models.
Is A Retractable Awning Worth It?
You likely won’t see an ROI for a while if you purchase a top-of-the-range retractable awning, but they’ll save you money in upfront costs when compared to alternatives.
For instance, installing a full-blown roof over your patio will cost significantly more than any awning and will take ten times longer to install.
An awning can be up in running in a matter of hours (minutes sometimes!), and from this moment on, you’ll be saving money on your energy bills, so yes, retractable awnings are absolutely worth it.
Not only will it improve your quality of life and facilitate tons of lovely experiences with your friends out in your yard, a high-quality, well-maintained retractable awning may even boost the resale of your property a little.
What Are The Cons Of Retractable Awnings?
Other than maintenance and repairs, there are absolutely no cons to owning a retractable awning.
The up-front fee of a top-of-the-range model could certainly be considered a con, but rarely are these little additions to your home a poor investment.
Granted, a full roof would give you a lot more shade, but once it’s there, it’s there to stay, giving shade even during the cold months when you want as much sun as possible.
How Long Do Retractable Awnings Last?
A solid steel retractable awning frame should last for 20+ years if you give it some TLC from time to time.
Understandably, the fabric section won’t last quite as long as that, especially if the climate in your area is particularly extreme. You can expect it to last roughly 10 years or so if well maintained.
How Much Clearance Is Needed For A Retractable Awning?
Building regulations stipulate that a retractable awning must be at least 8 feet from the ground, or, if installed on a raised platform, 8 feet from the floor.
A retractable awning is a fantastic investment, especially if you have a south-facing sun trap of a yard, as you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor area all day long! And then there are the energy savings to consider.
Over time, not only does an awning stand to pay for itself, but it may actually start paying back into your pocket by way of reduced energy bills. So, what are you waiting for? Pick one of the five beauties reviewed here and start saving now!