What to Consider When Buying an Awning?

What to Consider When Buying a Retractable AwningThere are many reasons why retractable awnings are growing rapidly in popularity. And people’s reasons vary  – some buy awnings because it is the environmentally responsible thing to do, while others buy an awning because it transforms the backyard into an awesome place to hang out. But regardless of the specific reason, installing a retractable awning on your home will not only save you money, it will add fantastic comfort and style to your home.

How do awning brands differ?

Companies that manufacturer retractable awnings try to provide the features and functionality that will make their product stand out against the competition. Each offers a “flavor” of awning that is unique and special in its own right. And interestingly, most of the awning models are great in their own way. The good news is that there truly is something for everyone. The bad news is that it is difficult to wade through these choices and to know the best awning. However, the best question to ask and have answered is what awning model, size and fabric style is going to be best for you and your home. The secret to figuring this out is finding the right salesperson to help. You’ll want someone who is knowledgeable and honest to really help you figure this out. Starting with your local dealer who has a long history of serving customers well is the best place to start.

Quality, Price and/or Style

Many retractable awning companies are fighting over your business. They do this by trying to develop better products at varying price points. Awnings can typically be classified into three buckets: Quality, Price and Style. For example, Sunsetter awnings are a great entry-level awning. They are low cost yet are a good quality awning. They lack options in size and color choices. Yet while they are low priced, they may provide a good fit for someone with a constrained budget. On the other side, companies like Eclipse, Nuimage, Alutex, Sunesta, and Sunair provide many more choices. Be very careful not to shop on price alone, there are many more things to consider than just a price. Awnings aren’t different than other classes of service or products — you still will get what you pay for. Discuss your needs with your salesperson and make sure you get the very best materials and product that fits within your budget and meets your needs.

Where are awnings manufactured?

Retractable awnings are primarily produced in three countries: Europe, United States and China. You will typically find the best quality retractable awnings come from Europe. Good quality awnings come out of the United States and low budget awnings most often come out of China. Many US awning companies import components from Europe or China and locally assemble the awnings in the USA.

Because Europeans have enjoyed awnings for do long, they’ve figured them out the best. The European standards and product innovation are very high.

High standards
Tough testing
Innovation in design and capabilities

Beware of The Very Low End

Some companies are selling residential awnings for low prices. Most often these products come from China and typically end up costing consumers a lot more than they expected; both in money and frustration. Your awning must be well-built and strong regardless of the awning size. But the strength is vitally important for the larger sizes needed to cover the larger decks commonly found in the USA. Would you feel comfortable sitting under a several hundred pound awning with your friends and family if its strength was suspect? You definitely want to ensure any awning you install is constructed of strong, well-built components and that it is installed properly.

Low standards
Thinner and weaker materials
Minimal testing
Limited choices
Price is only issue

Which Retractable Awning Model Will Be the Best for You

It isn’t always required to purchase highest-end retractable awning. There are many times when a low-priced entry awning will do; and if it is all you can afford then you don’t have much choice anyway. But just make sure that even if it is an entry-level awning that it is still good quality and well constructed and installed properly. One great way to ensure this is to get your awning from a dealer and manufacturer with a long-standing quality reputation. This will ensure that you will have help resolving any issues later on if necessary.

Think about how long you expect to own your awning. A lower priced retractable awning may be less money up front, but if it doesn’t last as long or it doesn’t perform well while you own it, then the higher-priced awning might cost you less money and provide more enjoyment over the term of ownership.

Higher-end retractable awnings can have 10 year or longer warranties and lower-end awnings will have warranties of only 5 years or less.

The bigger the awning, the stronger the components and frame need to be. That is why heavier duty awnings will come in a much bigger size offering. The super heavy duty awnings can range from 60′ in width to 18′ feet in projection (that’s a monster-sized awning). Lower prices awnings will normally only go to 18′ wide and project a maximum of 10-feet.

Sunbrella awning fabrics are made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic that breathes and doesn’t trap heat yet is also blocks light rain which keeps you dry. Plastics are used on cheap awnings – this cheap material traps the heat under the awning. The colors, patterns, look and feel of these plastics are also not as stylish as the Sunbrella fabric colors and patterns.

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Common awning terms

Retractable awnings
Retractable awning
Patio awnings
Deck awnings
Metal residential awnings
Metal awnings
Aluminum awnings
Fixed awings
Solar Shades

Top awning brands

Alutex awnings
NuImage awnings
Aristocrat awnings
Craft-Bilt awnings
Durasol awnings
Sunsetter awnings
Eclipse awnings
Sunesta awnings
Sunair awnings

See more common questions about awnings.