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 comparing the Sunesta and Sunsetter awning products.
These products appeal to quite different buyers. The Sunsetter is a much lower-cost product that targets users who plan on installing 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
- Sunsetter and Sunesta: Is There a Quality Difference?
- Company Overview
- Width of Sunesta and Sunsetter Awnings
- Awnings Projection
- Fabric and Color
- Installation Awnings
Sunsetter and Sunesta: Is There a Quality Difference?
One important thing to note in any discussion reviewing Sunsetter and Sunesta awnings is why they differ in price. The Sunsetter can be offered at a budget price point because all of the Sunsetter parts, with the exception of the motor, are lower-cost components produced in China with low labor and raw material costs.
The durability of the Sunesta is due to its being built with higher-quality components, some of which are made 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 for components or labor.
In contrast, some awning buyers may balk at Sunesta’s higher prices. As such, prospective awning owners need to assess r how long they will use their retractable awning.
When comparing Sunesta vs Sunsetter, they both 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 many f customers, means they likely both have a substantial portion of the retractable awning market share.
A Sunsetter Awning Review
Sunsetter is a company based in Massachusetts and owned by Springs Window Fashions. 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 can be argued that they are an industry leader.
Their simple mission is to provide awnings at very affordable prices. They can pass substantial savings onto customers since they work in such a high volume. Although it may seem that with this approach, your design choices may be limited, they offer a reasonable selection of fabric color choices. If you want to install a quality awning that is easy to use at an affordable price, Sunsetter is a good option. Some (a small percentage) of Sunsetter awning user reviews are positive, but only a few.
A Review of Sunesta Awnings
Sunesta is based in Jacksonville, FL, and they have a dealer network that sells 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 also claims to be 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, but it also meant more uniform high quality in every awning produced.
As you read Sunesta awning reviews, you’ll typically hear about a company that prides itself on designing and manufacturing products 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 but not the widest. The widest at 52’6” using one piece of fabric and one motor can be found here and is from RetractableAwnings.com.
Width of Sunesta and Sunsetter Awnings
In the next part of this Sunsetter and Sunesta awning review comparison, you’ll learn about the width of each company’s awnings. Sunsetter helps keep its costs low by only offering a limited variety of widths in one-foot increments and nothing custom made. Their product line comes in preset sizes that range between 8 and 20 feet.
This is a limiting factor when selecting a retractable awning, but most users will find that they need a specific size for their outdoor living space. The Sunesta awning is custom-built to your exact specifications. In addition to providing users with custom sizes, these awnings can be made to a total maximum width of 40 feet.
This means you can have an awning that will fit exactly in the outdoor space you want to protect and enhance with a retractable awning.
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 larger projection. The maximum awning projection for all Sunsetter products is 11 feet 8 inches.
Sunesta offers a larger choice of projections from as little as 5 feet to as long as 14 feet 8 inches. This means that Sunesta offers one of the longest retractable awning projections in the industry but not the largest. The largest, at 16’0”, is here and is from RetractableAwnings.com
Fabric and Color
Sunsetter offers only one frame color and a total of only 28 fabric choices. The range of color choices means you may not be able to find something that blends nicely with your current decor. The single frame color is limiting because most people like to coordinate the awning frame color with the fabric color, window frame color, wall, roof or gutter colors.
A short five-year limited, pro-rated warranty backs the awnings themselves.
Sunesta offers a fairly large assortment of fabric colors and provides white, clay, brown, or beige frames. They offer a choice of roughly 193 colorfast stripes and solid color schemes to choose from, a positive attribute found in some Sunesta awning reviews.
All the styles are backed by a ten-year pro-rated 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.
Retractable Awning Installation
Installing a Sunsetter is easy, according to some Sunsetter awning reviewers. 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 its entire brand by offering awnings that owners can install, so users should find the installation process quite simple, although if you are not “handy,” I don’t recommend installing a Sunsetter.
All Sunesta awnings are installed by trained installers who are employees of Sunesta dealers. That means you, as an awning buyer, are getting an installation job done quickly and correctly. In addition, the installation work is being done by a fully insured company (in most cases), thus reducing any potential risk to you.
Here is a table summarizing the differences between the Sunsetter and 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 although I always recommend buying the best quality.
Component Manufacturing Location
USA and European
China and other Asian countries
Any custom size up to 40 ft.
Limited standard sizes up to 20 ft.
Anywhere between 5 ft. and 14 ft. 8 in.
Three standard sizes with a maximum of 11 ft. 8 in.
Fabric and Color Choices
4 frame colors and 196 fabric colors
1 frame color and 28 fabric colors
Professional measuring and installation
Self-install or use of a third-party
There are a number of factors to consider when comparing Sunesta vs Sunsetter’s retractable awnings. The more options you want in terms of color, construction, and installation, the higher the price you will pay. Sunsetter and Sunesta do a decent job of creating a product 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 have to say in their Sunesta and Sunsetter awning reviews.