Sunesta vs Sunsetter

If you have begun the search for a new retractable awning, you may be trying to compare the differences between the Sunesta vs Sunsetter. In this blog, we will help prospective retractable awning owners by providing a comparison of the Sunesta and Sunsetter awning products.

These products appeal to quite different buyers. The Sunsetter is a much lower cost product that targets users that plan on doing an installation on their own and are willing to trade a lower price for a shorter lifespan.

The Sunesta in comparison has a higher price point but is sold and installed by dealers. Buyers of this product pay a higher price to get a more “full-service” experience and in general, a longer lifespan for the product.

Table of Contents

  • Is There A Quality Difference Between Sunsetter And Sunesta Products
  • Company Overview
  • Sunsetter
  • Sunesta
  • Width of Sunesta and Sunsetter Awnings
  • Awnings Projection
  • Fabric and color
  • Installation Awnings
  • Conclusion

Is There A Quality Difference Between Sunsetter And Sunesta Products

One important thing to note in any discussion of whether to choose Sunesta or Sunsetter is why they differ in price. The reason that the Sunsetter can be offered at a budget price point is that most of the Sunsetter parts are lower-cost components produced in China with low labor costs. 

The durability of the Sunesta is due to its being built with higher-quality components that are produced in St. Augustine FL and assembled in Jacksonville, FL. 

What that means for awning buyers is that while a Sunsetter product is usually offered at a lower price, the lower quality of their product may mean that you may actually end up paying more over the life of the product. This is due to the occurrence of low-quality parts breaking down and a Sunsetter pro-rated warranty that covers none of the costs of repairs.

In contrast, some awning buyers may balk at the Sunesta’s higher price. As such, prospective awning owners need to assess both how and for how long they will use their awning.

Company Overview

Both Sunsetter and Sunesta feature a long history in the retractable awning industry. Given this long track, they each have similar brand recognition in the retractable awning market.

This longevity, combined with the large number of customers each have, means that they both have a substantial portion of the retractable awning market share.

Sunsetter

Sunsetter is a company that is based in Massachusetts. From this corporate location, they distribute their products to both dealers and directly to customers through online sales.

Sunsetter claims that they are America’s largest manufacturer of patio and deck awnings. With over 500,000 customers to their credit, it is easy to see why they are an industry leader.

Their simple mission is to provide awnings at very affordable prices. Since they work in such high volume, they are able to pass substantial savings onto customers.

Although it may seem that with this approach your design choices may be limited, they offer a reasonable selection of fabric color choices. If your goal is to install a quality awning that is easy to use at an affordable price, Sunsetter is a good option.

Sunesta

Sunesta is based in St. Augustine Fl., and they have a network of dealers that sell their products. Those dealers then handle the sale and installation of the product to customers.

Sunesta has been in business for over thirty years and claims they were the first North American manufacturing company to offer a line of ready-to-install retractable awnings. In that time they have expanded their production facilities extensively to meet their ever-growing customer demand.

Sunesta was one of the first awning manufacturers to incorporate Computer-Aided Awning Manufacturing Software into their design process. This not only meant an increased ability to meet growing customer demand, it also met more uniform high quality in every awning produced.

Sunesta prides themselves on designing and manufacturing awnings that are built to last. They offer a wide array of options and by offering a maximum width of 40 feet, they sell one of the widest retractable awnings in the industry.

Width of Sunesta and Sunsetter Awnings

Sunsetter helps to keep their costs low by only offering a somewhat limited choice of widths. Their product line comes in preset sizes that range between 8 and 20 feet.

This may seem to be a limiting factor when selecting an awning, but most users will find that one of the preset sizes can be made to fit a specific size area in your outdoor living space without too much trouble.

The Sunesta awning is custom built to your exact specifications. In addition to providing users a custom size, the awnings can be made to a total width of 40 feet, which is one of the widest retractable awnings on the market today.

This means that you can have an awning that will fit exactly in the outdoor space you are looking to protect and enhance with a retractable awning.

Awnings Projection

Sunsetter offers larger projections as you choose wider products. The choices include 7, 9, and 10 feet 2 inches. For an additional cost, you can get a different length of projection. The maximum awning projection for all Sunsetter products is 11 feet 8 inches.

Sunesta offers larger choice of projections from as little as 5 feet to as long as 14 feet 8 inches. This means the Sunesta offers on of the longest retractable awning projections in the industry.

Fabric and color

Sunsetter offers one frame color and a total of 28 fabric choices. The range of color choices means you should be able to find something that will blend quite nicely with your current decor. While the single frame color may seem limiting, the simple fact is that most people do not notice the frame color and are usually are far more interested in the fabric color of the awning.

A five-year limited, pro-rated warranty backs the awnings themselves.

The Sunesta offers a vast assortment of fabric colors but in addition provides frames in white, clay, brown, or beige. They offer a choice of roughly 193 colorfast stripe and solid color schemes to choose from.

All the styles are backed by a ten-year warranty for the fabrics, a ten to fifteen-year warranty for the frame depending on the model you choose, and a five-year warranty for the motor. 

Installation Awnings

Installing the Sunsetter is actually quite easy according to some. If you buy the product directly through an online reseller, you can do your own installation or if you prefer you can contract the work out to a Sunsetter dealer. When you buy directly from Sunsetter, they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee on their product.

Sunsetter has built their entire brand on offering awnings that owners can install themselves so most users should find the installation process quite simple.

All Sunesta awnings are installed by factory-trained installers that are employees of Sunesta dealers. That means for you as an awning buyer that you are getting an installation job that is done quickly and correctly.

In addition, the installation work is being done by a company that is normally fully insured thus reducing any potential risk for you.

Here is a table that sums up the differences between the Sunsetter versus Sunesta. I think that while you will see that the Sunsetter pales in deference to the Sunesta in terms of design choices, the higher price of the Sunesta brand may have some customers leaning towards the Sunsetter.

Awning ProductSunestaSunsetter
Component Manufacturing LocationUSA and EuropeanChina and other Asian countries
Width AvailableAny custom size up to 40 ft.Limited standard sizes up to 20 ft.
ProjectionAnywhere between 5 ft. and 14 ft. 8 in.Three standard sizes with a maximum of 11 ft. 8 in.
Fabric and Color Choices4 frame colors and 196 fabric colors1 frame color and 28 fabric colors
InstallationProfessional measuring and installationSelf-install or use of third-party

Conclusion

There are a number of factors to consider when buying a retractable awning. In general, the more options you want in terms of color, construction, and installation, the higher the price you will pay. Both the Sunsetter and Sunesta do a decent job of creating a product that is specifically designed with their target customer in mind.

In today’s marketplace, consumers often do not like to make purchases without hearing what other real-world users think of a product. Take a look at my retractable awnings review page to see an in-depth discussion of a host of retractable awning products and see what actual owners think of how they rate.