A hand-operated crank is the least expensive option. It can be ordered to a desired length and works in a winding motion as it moves the awning out or in. While this is a perfectly effective method, it is much slower than motorization.
If greater ease (and less elbow grease!) is more your speed, we recommend motorization. The best motors use the popular Somfy radio frequency technology (RTS), which gives you the ability to easily open and close the awning with the flick of a button. Beyond this, there are some are different add-on options which you should consider. For example, we recommend having an override motor, it is a little more expensive but allows manual operation of the awning in the event of a power outage. You can choose to operate the awning with a radio frequency-operated remote control or a control switch that can be mounted to a wall in or outside the home. (Hard wiring the control can also be done by your electrician for a nominal fee.)
With motorization, you can take advantage of new weather and light sensitive technology that can increase comfort and promote energy-efficiency. For example, an inexpensive wind-sensor, mounted inconspicuously near the awning, can retract an open awning in heavy wind or rainstorms. Another exciting optimization is a sun sensor, which detects intense sun and draws the awning outward or inward, depending on whether you want to heat or cool your home, helping you live more comfortably. This feature also allows you to operate the awning on a timer when you’re away from home or to retract it when the sun sets each day. These features are easy to add on and a breeze to use, with very minimal added cost.
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See more common questions about awnings.