There are hundreds of retractable awnings on the market, so what makes one better than another. Most of the selection is based on quality and the combination of features and options available.
In this blog post you’ll find:
- A description of the best retractable awnings of 2020,
- What makes each selection the best awning,
- Information about the awning mechanism,
- Characteristics about the fabric cover,
- Special features.
Additionally, you’ll also learn some pros and cons about the different products. This article is aimed at both residential and commercial buyers looking for the best product for their property.
The 6 Best Retractable Awnings for 2020
Retractable awnings are either manually operated or motorized. They usually extend over a deck or patio, but some shade only windows, sliding doors and French doors. Some canopies are water resistant, others only offer shade, and a few withstand strong winds. Some feature adjustable pitch for rising or setting sun, and there’s a selection that disappear or semi disappear into a protective cassette.
Awnings that retract and operate in similar ways, can use different methods to support them as they extend or retract. There are articulated lateral arms, vertical drop arms, pneumatic pop-out arms, and still others operate like with a scissor like appearance. Many look like a spring roller window shade, some like a roman fold shade when retracted, and others have horizontal panels or vanes like a blind.
When thinking of awnings, we may visualize those that extend horizontally overhead and provide shade or protection from light rain. However, there are awnings similar to screens that provide vertical shade, rain protection and privacy too. No matter how similar awnings of different brands may look, they are not identical. So how do you decide which is better and what will suit your needs best?
To help make choosing an awning easier, here’s a list of the 6 best retractable awnings for 2020. Additionally, a buyer’s guide is provided to help you decide which meets your needs best.
- RetractableAwnings.com Palermo Plus
- Diensweek retractable commercial grade (M100 series)
- Advaning 12’ SG series
- Awntech LX manual retractable
- Advaning Classic C series semi-cassette electric
- XtremepowerUS Retractable Sun Shade Awning
The best quality awnings are more expensive than others. Many are manufactured offshore and you get what you pay for. The Palermo Plus is the best motorized retractable awning. Made from quality 6063 aluminum which is Qualicoat® powder coated for protection, the commercial grade arms and front bar actually look lighter.
Palermo Plus is a great addition to either home or business. The crank adjustable pitch is one of the greatest on the market, going from horizontal at 0-degrees to a steep 70 degree angle. The more versatile angle means protecting your patio or deck from the sun, and damaging UV rays but also indoors. It comes with your choice of wall, roof, soffit/eave, beam or fascia mounting brackets.
Components, engineering and design of the awning are Italian. The Palermo model awning uses overlapping lateral arms to allow for projections greater than its width. The Plus version can be fabricated to fit a small 7’ x 5’ deck or one up to 52’ 6” wide x 13’’-2” projection, using one motor and from one piece of solution dyed acrylic fabric! The Plus can be customized to your personal or name brand colors, stripes and textures from over 400 styles of solution dyed acrylic fabric. All of which are sun blocking, light filtering and water resistant. Should the power go out, there is a manual override motor option available.
RetractableAwnings.com retractable awnings come with a long list of optional upgrades that will take an electric awning to an automated outdoor room extender. They can be operated by a crank, wall switch, key switch, remote control, wind and motion sensors, rain and sun sensors or even from your cell phone or tablet.
- Qualicoat® powder coated aluminum frame
- Customizable width to ⅛ of an inch and projections up to 16 foot
- Overlapping lateral arms
- Multiple solutions dyed acrylic canvas choices
- Lots of available options
- Manual override option available
- 6063 non rusting aluminum frame
- 316li marine grade stainless steel components
- Easy to maintain and clean
- 25-year no pro-rated warranty
- Available direct from the fabricator/assembler RetractableAwnings.com thus saving the customer money
$1,900 – $10,000
A manually operated awning made in China that is often considered as one of the best patio awnings for residential purposes since it won’t get as much use as a commercial product would. The M100 series is available in only two sizes, 10’ wide by 7’ projection, and 12’ wide x 8’ projection. They have a 15-45 degree adjustable pitch which allows for easy adjustment depending on the angle of the sun. It’s recommended that the pitch is raised before closing; it makes it easier to retract.
It comes with the mounting hardware for wall and soffit, plus instructions. The quality of installation depends upon your skill set and the material attaching the brackets to. Brick is more difficult than wood. It’s a good practice to have an extra set of hands available and to watch some videos on how to install one first.
The frame is made of T5 aluminum, and the material is a rugged 280g/m² for durability. Available in stripes or solid colors, the acrylic fabric is water resistant, but it is best to retract during heavy rains. The frame material and durable fabric make these the best awnings for windy areas that experience winds up to 20mph. It’s best, however, to retract the cover when not in use to protect it from potential medium to high wind damage.
- UV protected, fade and mildew resistant, water resistant acrylic fabric
- Heavy gauge steel roller tube
- Rust resistant aluminum frame
- Beaufort scale 4 tested (16 – 20mph)
- Includes mounting hardware
- 5-year warranty
- Motorized not available
- The fabric is prone to sag when wet and pools water which will cause the retractable awning to collapse
- Instructions are not clear
- Premade in China in two standard sizes only
$400 – $600
The SG is a slim profile model and one of the top-rated retractable awnings in China but not in the US. Although more expensive, the Advaning 12’ SG series uses a manual mechanism to extend or retract. An electric, motorized version is not an option. It is available in either 12-foot wide by 10-foot projection or 14’ wide x 10’ projection. The canopy fabric comes in burgundy or grey UV protected acrylic fiber only that is mildew, water, and fade resistant.
The frame, lateral arms, and front bar are gray powder coated corrosion resistant T5 aluminum. Springs in the arms help to keep the cover taut, and also assist with retracting the arms. The Advaning SG arrives assembled and ready to install with wood and masonry hardware for the wall mounts. It also has instructions plus an installation video.
The SG is one of the best deck awnings in Asia and provides wide shade coverage when needed. It’s difficult to extend or retract, and also has an adjustable pitch for low angle sun protection. It uses the same crank to operate as to extend or retract. Returning the unit to the pre-set angle before retracting it makes cranking easier.
- Durable acrylic fabric
- Mildew and fade resistant
- Powder coated aluminum frame
- Mounting hardware included
- Only wall mounting. No soffit/eave or roof mounting options
- No wind rating so the customer does not know how much wind it can handle when extended
- Fabric fibers are known to pill
- One frame color and only two fabric colors available
- Difficult to extend and retract by hand crank and no motor option available
$750 – $900
The LX is a manually operated retractable model that can be motorized on the left or right side for a modest $200. One of the best rated retractable awnings it retracts into an aluminum cassette like housing that protects all components from the weather. It also keeps birds, insects, and other critters away from the fabric.
The LX comes small enough to do a window at 5’ wide and projecting 3’, up to patio sized 24’ wide and projecting 11’. It is available with one of 4 valance profiles, or none at all. The awning comes with wall mounting brackets, but roof mount brackets can be purchased. The instruction booklet and a measuring guide are included.
The canopy is as versatile as the rest of the product. It is designed to provide a wide variety of material choices to give the consumer the best value. With more than 50 selections of acrylic, plastic or polyester canopies in solids or stripes, making it one of the most customizable production awnings. The materials are UV treated and water, mildew and fade resistant. They aren’t waterproof though.
The powder coated frame and lateral arms can withstand gusts up to 30 mph but are not designed or rated for inclement weather. The pitch is adjustable (0 – 15 degrees) to provide extended protection from the sun. With the variety of sizes, the LX will cover almost any space and is one of the best awnings for patios.
- Wide selection of fabric choices
- An adaptable range of sizes
- A full protective aluminum cassette housing
- Manual or electric
- More expensive than some
- Can be difficult to install
- Fabric sags when wet
$700 – $3,000
The Advaning C series is designed to be user-friendly. It has a manual pitch adjustment, and high strength 1½” x 1½” steel frame with a 2¾” diameter aluminum roller tube. The aluminum semi-cassette housing partially protects the canopy fabric when it is fully retracted. All metal work is painted gray. It arrives fully assembled with instructions and an installation video. The Classic series is available from 8-foot wide with a 7-foot projection, up to 16-foot with a 10-foot shade reach.
The canopy is acrylic (not solution dyed acrylic which is better) fabric with UV protection and is fade and mildew resistant. Acrylic is more durable than plastic or polyester. The material is breathable which helps to diffuse heat under the canopy, so it isn’t waterproof or water resistant. The textile is available in a limited selection of stripes or solid color options.
The motorized unit comes with wall and soffit brackets, plus stainless steel hardware. The power cord is 16-feet long, and it includes a remote. Should the power go out, there is a hand crank included, so the awning can still be opened or closed. The material extends easily to cover any deck or patio.
- Selection of standard widths and projections
- Motorized with remote
- Durable acrylic fabric shade
- Aluminum semi-cassette for protection
- The fabric fibers pill
- Canopy tends to sag
- The steel frame can scratch and rust
- Maximum width is only 16 foot and maximum projection is only 10 foot
$1,000 – $1,700
The best price on retractable awnings in the top 6 is the XtrempowerUS retractable sun shade awning. The manufacturer states the white aluminum frame is powder coated against oxidation or rust. and that it is solid and durable for home or commercial use. The manual crank opens or closes the polyester cover without much effort.
The polyester material is water and mildew resistant and rated to block 95% of UV rays to protect you while relaxing in its shade. It is breathable making it cooler to sit under, which means it isn’t water resistant or waterproof. When partially or fully extended, it will provide shade to the deck and windows, helping to keep everyone cool.
The awnings are available in several different sizes from 8’ x 6’ to 12’ x 10’, and a limited choice of canopy colors. The lateral arms extend to support the front bar and to provide some tautness to the fabric. To give it a more elegant look there is a removable scalloped valance.
The mounting brackets are included, but you need to purchase the necessary hardware for the type of wall it will be mounted to. The instructions do detail the recommended sizes and kinds. A second set of hands is always a good idea when working overhead or on a ladder.
- Powder coated frame won’t rust according to the manufacturer
- Widely available
- Assembly required
- Doesn’t include mounting hardware
- Polyester fabric that usually rots and disintegrates very fast from the sun
$125 – $180
Best Retractable Awning Comparison Table
|RetractableAwnings.com Palermo Plus from Italy(Editor’s Choice)||Manual or motorized||7’x5’up to52½’x13’2″. Customized for client needs||400+ choices. Solution dyed acrylic||0° – 70°||Not this model. See the Venezia model for a full cassette||$1,900-$10,000|
|AdvaningSG series from China||Manual||12’x10’14’x10||Acrylic||5° – 45°||No||$750-$900|
|AdvaningC Series from China||Motorized||8’x7’Up to6’x10’||Acrylic||5° – 45°||Semi||$1,000-$1,700|
|AwntechLX Destinfrom China||Manual &|
|5’x3’up to24’x11’||Acrylic Polyester Plastic||15° – 45°||Full||$700-$3,000|
|DiensweekM100 seriesfrom China||Manual||10’x7’12’x8’||Acrylic||15° – 45°||No||$400-$600|
|XtremepowerUSSun Shadefrom China||Manual||8’x6’Up to12’x10’||Polyester||No||No||$125-$180|
There are many choices to make when choosing an awning for your home or business. The best has a few qualities in common, but each is unique too. This buyer’s guide is intended to highlight key components that make awnings different. It is the manufacturer’s attention to these detail that places them in the top 6 best awnings of 2020.
The best quality retractable awnings cover a wide price spectrum. The range is as low as $125.00 up to $10,000.00. There is something for everyone. All retractable awnings have a crank mechanism to open or close the fabric. Even electric or motorized awnings usually have a loop for a manual override crank. Many actually have additional loops. The extra loops on each arm are for the crank pitch adjustment.
The mechanism is like a roller shade. As the crank or motor turns a gear, the fabric is unrolled. Companies use different types of gears, but some use a worm gear for durability. The spring loaded arms help to pull it out and keep it taut. The lateral arms are almost always spring loaded, so as the front bar moves outward, the arms extend, helping to keep it at a set height. Many of the parts are aluminum, steel, and nylon or plastic.
The best awnings often use Qualicoat® brand powder coated aluminum for the arms and frames. The aluminum parts are lighter, and won’t rust, even if scratched. Some manufacturers are now using aluminum roller tubes instead of steel for the same reason. There is less chance of rust and connecting and movable parts failing. The semi and full cassette housing offered by some brands is often aluminum too.
Joints and connections use stainless steel parts with nylon couplings and sleeves to allow joints to move smoothly. Connections are also reinforced on the best retractable patio awnings such as the Palermo Plus model from RetractableAwnings.com to improve durability. The roller coupling is also sealed to prevent moisture damaging parts or the motor. Inside the arms is either steel cable with springs or stainless steel chain links with springs. Steel cables will rust whereas stainless steel chains will not rust and are in addition stainless steel chains are much stronger than steel cables. The springs help the arms open and also keep the canopy taut.
Solution dyed acrylic fabric is more durable than plastic, polyester, or cotton canvas. It holds color, shape, and repels moisture better, making it more resilient to mildew too. Some of the products have fewer choices while others have hundreds. The more fabric choices available, the more customized your order, the longer your order may take to deliver. You’re also more likely to find one to match your home or patio furniture, or your corporate brand colors.
Some fabrics are breathable, which means they are permeable to moisture. This type of material will permit better airflow and keep the shaded area cooler. Waterproof substances don’t permit the same cooling airflow. However, they will keep the patio dry in light rain. It is good to remember that light colors will reflect heat, while dark colors will absorb it. The fabric should be large enough to provide shade to the seating area of your outdoor space. Additionally, whatever windows or doors you need to shade to reduce heat penetrating your home or business should be protected too.
The list of potential options depends on the manufacturer. Certain fabrics, colors, and even valances are options, and an electric motor is an obvious option. Along with a motor come additional upgrades or option possibilities. There’s a remote control, sensors for sun, rain, wind, and motion, even timers. You can even get apps for your smartphone or tablet. Both iOS and Android versions are available.
Some companies offer heaters, stereo speakers, and lighting that can be built in or added on to different models. There are wireless wall switches to control your awning with and digitally programmable keypads that can be installed too. The list is as long as your wallet is deep.
With so many choices available, it’s easy to understand how difficult making an awning selection can be. Hopefully, you found the information in this Buyer’s Guide of value when deciding to purchase the best retractable awning for a deck or patio.
Of the 6 best retractable awnings of 2020 reviewed above, RetractableAwnings.com is the best value for the money. It is strong, well built, durable, will withstand most wind gusts, and comes with a 25-year non-prorated warranty. It can be used for residential or business and is easy to install and maintain.