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Awnings vs Canopies

Awnings vs Canopies

residential sunbrella striped fabric retractable awning soffit mounted

What is an awning? What’s a canopy? Always thought they were two words for the same thing? Nope! They’re not the same thing!

In this blog post you’ll find:

  • that awnings and canopies have different purposes;
  • how canopies and awnings differ;
  • the shady advantages of awnings vs canopies or the disadvantages.

Additionally, you’ll find out how to have shade when and where you want it. Also, how a canopy or awning can improve your outdoor area and provide protection from the sun’s glare and heat.

This review will help home and business owners determine if they need an awning or a canopy, and to understand the differences so that they can make the best choice for their outdoor needs.

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An awning is permanent or retractable sun protection product attached to a home, building, or structure – like a trellis, pergola or RV. It is always securely fastened to the structure but can be removed without destroying the building. It provides shade to a window, door, or outdoor area attached to the building. Retractable awnings can be motorized or manually operated fabric on aluminum or steel frames that offer temporary shade to an outdoor area, window, or door with the push of a button or turn of a crank. Or, they can be a more structural extension, like a sunroom, to permanently provide shade indoors and out. The key is that they are attached to a structure.

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10 Differences Between Awnings and Canopies | RetractableAwningsReviews


A canopy is a structure that provides shade to an outdoor area. It is freestanding and is not attached to a building or structure. A canopy can be a permanent pergola or gazebo style structure shading patio furniture. They can even have motorized or manual retractable parts that adjust for protection from the sun or precipitation.

Alternatively, it can be a portable, pop-up affair that can be transported to a beach or sports field to shade people and furniture. They can provide shade to small areas, or can be large enough to shelter a full wedding dinner and dance area. Like awnings, they can have motorized or manually operated components.

Awnings vs Canopies: What are the Differences?

Canopies and awnings have similarities, but there are 10 significant differences.


  • An awning is attached to a structure.
  • It provides shade or protection from precipitation to a window, door, or attached patio; it also shades the inside the building.
  • They can extend the indoor living space.
  • Not portable.
  • One purpose – to shade a window or door.
  • Smaller to fit above a window or door, to cover a smaller area.
  • Can retract and store in or under a housing against the house or building.
  • Fixed – so, in most cases heavier frames and fabric.
  • Often more durable.
  • Hundreds of available fabric types, colors and patterns.


  • A canopy is not attached to a structure – it is a freestanding structure.
  • It provides shade or protection from precipitation to an outdoor area.
  • They create an outdoor living space.
  • In many cases, portable or easily disassembled.
  • Flexible purpose – can be moved from location to location.
  • Can be very large to cover a large outdoor space for gatherings, weddings or BBQs
  • When collapsed or disassembled, must find a dry storage area away from rodents.
  • Portable – so, in most cases, lighter weight frames and fabric.
  • Often less durable.
  • Limited selection of fabric colors or patterns.

The list of differences should help you decide which type of product is best for your home or business. There are exceptions to everything, and an unlimited budget can have custom creations crafted which can alter the differences. Determine the purpose you want the awning or canopy to perform. And don’t forget to read the reviews and testimonials for different products at, and then make your choice.