August 7th, 2020

Retractable Awning Models: Which Is Best for Your Backyard or Patio?

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a severe damper on our social lives, we’re all sticking closer to home these days. This fact has led to a booming home improvement market, with sales up by more than 33 percent. 

What’s the most effective improvement you can make to your backyard or patio? A retractable awning. Not only do retractable awning models reduce cooling costs for homes, but they add value to your property.

What’s more, their versatility comes with many advantages. For example, in the winter, you can retract your awning to let in more sunlight. And no matter the time of the year, you can make adjustments to enjoy an unimpeded view from your backyard or patio.

Keep reading to learn more about retractable awning models and to find out which one is best for your patio or backyard.


Retractable awnings block direct sunlight and glare in the afternoon. They reduce heat gain in homes by upwards of 77 percent. They can also eliminate sun-faded upholstery, drapes, and curtains.

Retractable awning models come in a variety of different styles. Each one has unique pros and cons. That’s why you must understand your options before making a purchase.

Retractable awning types include:

  • Lateral arm retractable canopies
  • Fold-up retractable awnings
  • Roll-up retractable awnings
  • Drop arm awnings

Let’s explore these awning types more closely. That way, you’ll know what to look for as you craft a more comfortable backyard or patio. 


A lateral arm retractable canopy is a modernized version of a patio awning. The fabric canopy is retractable and creates a durable structure perfect for regions that see challenging weather.

Structures are custom constructed. They come in a variety of dimensions and can measure upwards of 30 feet wide by 15 feet deep. Because of the lateral arm design, you can adjust the projection and pitch as desired.


As the name suggests, fold up retractable awnings fold up when you’d like to retract them. When extended, they feature a taut canopy.

The advantage of this is that rain rolls off, and the area beneath stays protected from the weather.

Fold-up awnings pleat as they retract. As a result, take extra care with keeping the awning clean. Otherwise, debris and dirt can become trapped within the folds.

When this happens, cleaning the canopy can prove a time-consuming task.


Roll-up retractable awnings share many similarities with fold-up awnings. They also prove taut when extended for increased weather resistance. Instead of folding, however, they roll up.

How does this work?

They retract onto a roller tube stored within a metal housing. Because they roll instead of folding, you’ll deal with less buildup of debris and dirt. As a result, you can kiss painful cleaning goodbye. 

That said, a higher price tag usually accompanies their convenience and low maintenance. 


Drop arm awnings are typically housed on a roller tube. They consist of an awning frame, fabric, and an operator used to open and close the drop arm awning.

Drop arm awnings open and close via two methods, manual operation, and motorized operation. The manual operation works well for small windows, particularly if you’re trying to save money.

Of course, the motorized operation takes all of the work out of operating your awning. Just press a button, and the spring-loaded sidearms drop down, holding the awning taut from the side of the house.

Most models allow for pitch adjustment, and they feature a shed-style design. 


As you can see, you have a variety of options when it comes to finding the right retractable awning for your home. That said, there are specific makes and models of retractable awnings that outperform the competition every time.

Before purchasing a retractable awning, you’ll want to find a company that uses only the highest quality materials and puts pride into its work. For example, look for awning fabric stitched with Teflon for ultimate durability. 

You’ll also want to find a company that places a premium on esthetic. After all, why settle for one or two choices of fabric when you could work with a company that provides access to hundreds or even thousands of different colors and patterns?

Sunbrella-certified fabric remains the best way to go when it comes to material. It’s easy to clean and fade-resistant, which means you can rest assured your awning will look attractive for many years to come. And it comes in 1,500 different hues and patterns.

In terms of reliable awning motor systems, look for a trusted brand such as Somfy. They are the world’s leading manufacturer of electric retractable awning motors and other electrical components. 

You should also have choices when it comes to hardware colors and wireless operating choices. Additional options should include protective hoods and verticle drop valances. Other optional features to look for are sun/wind sensors, timers, manual override motors, and variable pitch. 

Besides looking for these indications of high quality, make sure the company has excellent online reviews. The best companies should also offer warranties for their products. Acceptable warranties usually fall within the five to ten-year mark for fabric/mesh and the five to 20-year mark for the arm. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at retractable awning models that fit all of these bills. 


The Elite Retractable Patio Awning is one of the best rollout awnings on the market. Built using the highest quality materials, it remains a top seller. Engineered for convenience, durability, and esthetic appeal, this model is easy to keep clean and debris-free.

It can span widths from six to 80 feet, and its projections range from five to 13 feet. 

The Elite comes with a 20-year limited warranty on the arm and a ten-year fabric/mesh warranty. That way, you know you’re purchasing a fully protected project that you’ll never need to worry about. 


The Elite Cassette is a unique retractable awning system. With this model, the fabric gets enclosed in a powder-coated aluminum designer housing.

The result? Better protection for awnings that may go long periods without being extended. 

Its two-part aluminum enclosure surrounds the roller tube and fabric. This setup keeps debris and dirt out of the system. The unique design also ensures a flush and even enclosure. 

This product is capable of spanning distances from six up to 19.75 feet, and it comes in four projections ranging from five feet up to ten feet. 


The Uni-Lux represents an intermediate-level retractable awning in an affordable price range. Yet, you’ll reap the benefit of these cost savings without any sacrifice of quality. 

Made with high-grade stainless steel hardware and sewn with Teflon thread like the other awnings mentioned above, it comes in a rich array of acrylic fabrics. 

Its retractable arm is constructed of a single cable/dual spring design. You can order this model in projections of five and ten feet. 

On a hot summer day, this model can help cool your home by as much as 20 degrees, and it allows you to recapture seldom-used balcony, deck, and patio space. 


What if you’re looking for shade protection for a specific window or series of windows in your house? The Robusta Retractable Window Awning provides a fantastic, affordable option. 

It can cover your entire window or parts of it, blocking out glare and the sun’s rays before they penetrate the glass. The awning also enhances privacy and can be used for applications that necessitate shading from low afternoon sunlight.

The Robusta’s unique 165-degree range of motion provides adjustable shade throughout the day. You gain control of exactly how much light you want to come in through each window.

At its lowest position, take advantage of optimal privacy and protection from late afternoon glare.


Armed with the tips above, you’ll be in an excellent position to select the right awning for your unique needs. Whether you’d like added privacy and relief from afternoon sun glare for a window or a retractable awning that covers your entire patio.

Ready to learn more about the best retractable awning models on the market? Contact us for information on pricing, installation, and warranties.

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