An awning, or overhang as they are often referred to are a great feature for your home.
The primary purpose of them is to help give you more control of how the weather affects your patio or garden area by providing you with ample cover from the elements.
By giving you this control, it helps control the temperature in your home massively during the hot summer months by keeping the sunlight from coming through your windows.
It will make a visual statement to anyone visiting your home, they’ll be in AWE-ning. Sorry, I had to…
So if you’re looking for the best retractable awnings, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve taken the time to check out many different awnings that are available on the market and have provided you with a breakdown of the top 4, so you don’t waste your money on a substandard product.
The Best Awning for Houses, Patios & Free Standing Awnings
First up is the 3m awning by primrose, check out the review and features below.
What you’re getting is a decent canopy that can be securely attached to your house.
With lots of great features as mentioned below, this really is a good value for money awning.
It really is convenient to have this canopy attached to your home above your patio and it stretches out to a total reach of 9ft 8inches.
One downside is that it doesn’t come in its own bag to cover it.
- Drop Angle Can Be Adjusted
- Easy To Hang
- Very Stylish Look
- Great For Spring / Summer Months
- Well Made
- Easy To Maintain
- Fairly Heavy
The cover is made from 300gsm1 polyester fabric and is therefore especially effective at keeping the rain out, is rot proof and also PU and UV stabilised.
Elliptical Arms – These specially designed elliptical arms are adjustable to ensure that you can easily adjust the slope of the awning cover. This means that you can adjust your cover from horizontal to a steeper slope of 35 degrees.
UV Protection – As mentioned above, the fabric is made from 300gsm1 polyester. The fabric has been tested by leading company Intertek, they specialise in testing fabrics for their UV protection level and various other factors.
This particular fabric ensures that only 2% of all the sun’s harmful UV rays pass through the material.
Best Retractable Awnings – Buyers Guide
So, you’re looking for your first awning, the last thing you want is to spend a lot of money on something that just isn’t adequate.
We’ve written this guide for you.
As homeowners ourselves, we had a bad experience with our first awning, this was many years ago and as a result of that, we wanted to write this comprehensive guide so nobody else makes the same mistakes we did.
First, let’s get the basics out of the way…
What is a Retractable Awning?
It’s some form of material that overhangs above an entryway, porch or windows.
The key part about it being a retractable awning is that it can easily be hidden away or extended, through a mechanism that can be either electronic or manual.
Why Do You Need a Retractable Awning?
If your building is exposed to a large amount of sunlight throughout the day or even heavy rainfall, then these are ideal for you.
By providing shade on warmer days, it stops the heat radiating through your windows and helps keep your home cooler. If you have air-conditioned buildings then this can help reduce your electricity bills by a significant amount.
Another reason is that it can increase the value of your home. So if you plan on selling in the near future then this can be an investment worth making.
So now we’ve got them out the way, let’s get into what you’re looking for in a retractable awning….
There are two different types of mechanisms that you can get with your awning, manual and electronic.
At the end of the day, it’s down to preference and budget for which option you end up going for, with the manual version being much cheaper.
It’s not too difficult to manually wind in your canopy anyway but for those of you who would like it to be effortless then the electric option is for you.
This is definitely a feature for convenience, it just takes away that effort of having to wind your awning away after each use. So, rather than having to use a fair amount of force to crank away the canopy, you simply need to click a button and you can watch your canopy retract.
Having an electronic mechanism can increase the lifespan of your retractable awning by quite a significant amount as it will give it a smooth operation and will reduce the strain that’s put on it.
Another huge benefit to this mechanism, wind sensors. Whilst you’ll be out of pocket a bit more, it’ll save you much more in the long run.
They are able to detect when the wind is becoming too strong for the canopy and will automatically retract it, preventing you from wasting money on repairs.
Also, some senors come equipped with water monitoring devices, retracting the canopy once the material is starting to become saturated.
For those of you who don’t mind a bit of extra effort (and saving a few pennies), the manual mechanism.
It’s not difficult at all and it is a much cheaper option, it just lacks the convenience of its electrical counterpart.
It’s quite satisfying to retract your awning manually but it definitely becomes a chore after a while.
Personally, I’d try and avoid the manual crank if you can. Imagine having to run out in a thunderstorm because you’ve forgot to retract your canopy, it’s not nice.
But not all hope is lost, it does come with a few benefits.
You don’t need to worry as much about it suffering a mechanical fault as they are much less likely to fail compared to the electric version. Even if it happens to break, it will be much easier on your pocket getting it fixed.
It definitely should be avoided if the user is elderly, pregnant or suffers from any ailment that means manual labour is not recommended.
We recommend looking that you look at this first as it will be a huge focal point for your home so you want to make sure that you’re happy with how it looks whilst also ensuring it’s high quality.
The support structures tend to only be made from a few different materials:
- Plastic: the Cheapest option of the 4 but the least durable, ideal if you are on a budget and don’t endure strong winds too often.
- Aluminium: Mid range option but very durable, it’s not as strong as stainless steel so it’s not ideal for heavier canopies
- Stainless Steel: Expensive option, very durable, ideal for areas which encounter strong winds regularly. Better supports heavy canopies.
- Fibreglass: Relatively cheap and easy to paint but can be prone to becoming brittle over time so they end up cracking.
Finding the right canopy can be a bit of a minefield, there are so many options available and all come with their own perks and flaws.
This material, if you were unaware, tends to be made from cotton or linen and is the traditional awning fabric.
You can get canvas material made from hemp, regardless, the canvas is the most natural and durable materials available.
It’s pretty optimal for retractable awnings due to its flexibility but it does come with a few drawbacks which is generally expected with more natural products, such as it’s highly susceptible to the weather.
You can expect it to leak a little when you first get it, this is due to it needing weathering, so nothing to worry about. Weathering is just a common process when the canvas first gets wet the fibres will expand and thus plug the small holes so it’s more waterproof in the future.
Mildew is an unfortunate problem that comes with canvas, this tends to occur if it’s not been properly treated whilst it was being manufactured.
You can treat the canvas yourself by treating it with a fluoropolymer-based waterproofing agent, it’s not too difficult but you must be meticulous when applying it.
A great tip if you’re quite artistic or have friends who are, the canvas is great for painting on. So if you want to have a custom design then this is the best material for you and all you will need is some waterproof paints (oil based).
It seems to be increasing daily with popularity, it’s a synthetic material that’s lightweight yet durable. But in simple terms, it’s plastic.
It’s a great option for retractable awnings due to its wide variety of properties such as UV protection.
The sun will have minimal effect on you when you’re under this canopy, meaning you can stay out for long periods during the summer months. On top of this, it will provide you with shade to keep the area coolers.
Another property is its water resistance, should there be any passing showers whilst you’re out relaxing under your awning, then you do not have to worry thanks to its hydrophobic properties.
Constantly retracting your awning will have minimal impact on this material as it retains its shape very well, whilst also being quite strong, so it’s unlikely to rip apart.
Polyester is easily dyed and coloured so there’s plenty of choices to suit your style and it retains its colour well thanks to its resistance to chemicals. So if it happens to get dirty, you can easily clean it without worrying about causing the colours to fade.
When spending this amount of money on a product, you want to know it’s going to last. Retractable awnings are constantly exposed to the outdoors so you need to be comfortable knowing that it will survive.
Products of this nature can often suffer from this exposure and will usually cost more to repair than to replace, check out our reviews for ones that you can be sure will be weatherproof with appropriate care.
The most prominent part of the product, the canopy, is also the most prone to mildew. As the canopy is the most essential part to awnings, you want to know that yours has some form of protection from mildew.
How big of a problem this can depend on what material your canopy is made from. Fabric canopies suffer from this the worst and once it sets in, it’s a nightmare to get out. You’ll end up replacing everything.
Mildew is essentially a form of fungus and is very similar in characteristics to damp/mould which is commonly found in homes in the UK.
It thrives in moist, warm environments (like a damp canopy during summer…) so it’s essential that you get some form of protective coating sprayed over the material.
If it so happens that you end up with mildew on your canopy, act fast. I personally recommend this Astonish Mildew/Mould Remover as it has worked wonders throughout my household.
There’s also many home solutions available to help combat mildew, there’s a few good examples of success stories online but I always prefer to buy solutions online.
With the canopy being sat outside all the time, it will be made vulnerable to UV rays. Again this will mainly affect the canopy but can be combated with protective coatings.
Every material is affected by this but each handles it in different ways and take differing amounts of time before it becomes a major problem.
The most obvious signs of sun damage tend to be the colouring of your canopy, it may begin to fade if it becomes exposed to too much UV radiation. This isn’t devastating but it’s certainly not ideal and will ruin the aesthetic appeal of your awning.
However, the major problem when it comes to sun exposure is the actual damage it does to the structural integrity of the materials. Canopies become frayed and there will be patches where you are able to see through the material more than when you bought it.
Plastic canopies tend to be worse for this problem but can occur in all materials.
Once your canopy begins to fray, they are highly prone to tearing and thus not being able to live up to their task anymore, so you end up with this pointless piece of material hanging from your wall.
This is obviously the worst case scenario and it’s unlikely you’ll ever encounter this if you look after your canopy properly. But, if get to this point, replace it.
Hopefully, you now feel more informed about retractable awnings and the primary things to be on the lookout for to ensure that you make the most informed purchase.
As you can tell, there’s a lot of factors with these products that purely come down to preference – with the main factor being convenience.
There will definitely be a product in our reviews that suits your needs and ticks every box in your mind.
If convenience is what you’re after then definitely check out the electric models but just bear in mind that this will come at a higher price than the manual option. So if you’re simply looking for the best value for money, stick to a manually retractable awning.