Last updated on June 29th, 2022
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Following on from my guide where I tested and reviewed this MasterCanopy pop up gazebo which is well worth a read or why not watch the video I filmed. It got me thinking, what other ways could I create extra shade in my garden whether it be from the blistering sun (I’d be so lucky living in Manchester) or provide some shelter from a few rain showers. Well, I’ve also tested this Cantilever parasol and I was very impressed with this Jarder 3m Cantilever Parasol.
This brings me to the best garden awning. Now, my thinking was that there might be a little bit more installation to do, having to bolt it to a wall but for an average DIY’er like me, this is easy enough. However, once it was up and bolted to the wall, it would only take seconds to open and would never be in the way.
Then this got me thinking, could you get an electric awning, one that you could simply open with a remote. Guess what, yes you can and it turned out to be more affordable than some of the manual models I compared it to. Not want to hassle of finding somewhere to plus an electric awning in? I also love this Greenbay 3 x 2.5m DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning which is worth a look.
This Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning was just what I needed and it came with a power lead ready to plug in, I just needed to get the plug but it basically works out the box. A true DIY style awning. My next question is, what if the remote broke or the electricity went off? well, you can still open and close it manually like any other awning too. Anyway, read on to see which garden awnings are the best and which you might want to consider buying. I also looked at a side opening one which is more of a screen.
Not want to hassle of finding somewhere to plus an electric awning in? I also love this Greenbay 3 x 2.5m DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning which is worth a look.
RUNNER UP – Electric Pick
Top 6 Best Garden Awnings Reviews
1. Greenbay Patio Retractable Manual Awning
The Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning is an awning that has many of the features that you need. (See my Buyer’s Guide). The awning I look at in this review is 3m by 2.5m, which is a standard size and provides cover for a large outdoor dining table and its chairs or a few sun loungers. Although there are other sizes available too, from 2m by 1.5m to 4m by 3m.
The Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning is a solid and durable manual awning. As with most other awnings the crank winding handle is on the left side. This awning comes with two brackets to attach to an outside wall and the larger versions have 3 brackets too. I only really recommend putting this onto a solid concrete or brick wall. However, if you’re putting the awning on a wall of Thermolite or lightweight block, make the hold stronger by using a chemical anchor or it may not hold.
The weight of the fabric of the canopy is 300g/m2 which is found on most other awnings. The polyester is UV coated for sun protection and will keep off light rain so the cloth is as waterproof as they come. All of these elements combine to make this canopy long-lasting. As well as the size of awning that I review here, you can choose from a variety of other sizes depending on the area you want to be shaded, as already mentioned.
And don’t worry if the multi-colour stripe of the review model doesn’t fit in with your patio or deck decor. You have a choice of stripes in other colours including this interesting yellow and white, blue and white, and green and white. Solid colour choices include cream, grey, and wine red so there is plenty of choice.
- Manually retractable awning with a crank handle on the left side.
- Comes with two brackets to attach the awning to a concrete or brick wall.
- The awning is 3m by 2.5m to provide a significant amount of shade.
- Additional sizes are available to fit your patio whatever it’s size.
- Wide choice of colours and stripes to fit in with your patio decor.
- The torsion bar and aluminium roller are already fitted making the awning more durable.
- UV-coated water-resistant 300g/m2 polyester fabric for summer sun and rain.
- One-year warranty for peace of mind.
- The canopy is not fully waterproof in heavy rain, although this is expected because most models have this issue. There designed more for providing shade a cover from light passing showers.
I’ve chosen the Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning as the best retractable awning for these all its features, especially for its choice of sizes and colours, and its affordable price plus it’s just a good quality product from a trusted manufacturer. This is most certainly one of the best which is why it was named my best pick. A good quality model which is well worth considering and probably the best manual option for most people. Looking for something similar but electric? My next pick has you covered!
2. Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning
Unlike the other awnings in this review, the Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning
is not a manual awning. It’s powered by electricity and you just press a button
to open or close it. Or you can use the remote control which is super handy
(included). The cassette/canopy box contains the internal electric control box
already so you don’t have to worry about the electrics when you install the
awning. Just run the cable to an inside plug socket or outdoor waterproof
socket, plug it in and you’re ready to go. Couldn’t be easier, much easier than
they used to be to install. It’s a true DIY style awning.
The awning is 3.0m by 2.5m which is a standard size for most awnings. The
canopy is made of 300g/m2 polyester. This fabric is coated with a UV
finish for a sun protection factor of 50+ that blocks 98% of the sunlight. You
won’t have to worry about being sunburned under this awning and for an electric
awning the fabric is as thick as they come at 300g/m2.
You can remainin the shade by adjusting the angle of the canopy. The front of the canopy lowers by up to 30° and while this makes the area of shade a little smaller,
you are still covered wherever the sun is.
The Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning has a two-year warranty which is a good
warranty for an awning because most awnings come with only one year warranty so this is something to consider.
You also have to provide a plug to fit on the power cable. It would be nice
for it to come with one, but I assume this is in case you connect directly to a
fused spur rather than using a plug. Installation would be easier if the font
used in the instructions was larger too. A plus cheap enough from B&Q or Wicks or even just order one online.
If stripes aren’t in your patio decor plan, choose from solid colours including ivory and green.
What’s it like after 3 years, watch the video by dereton33 below to find out!
- A Retractable electric awning comes with an internal control box so the control box is well protected.
- Fully remote controlled to operate the awning from a distance.
- Easy electric installation; just run the power cord to a suitable socket and plug it in.
- Crank the handle to open it manually if the motor has problems.
- The awning is 3.0m by 2.5m and provides more than enough shade for a garden dining set.
- The canopy is made from 300g/m2 UV 50+ polyester to block out 98% of UV rays.
- Adjustable canopy lowers up to 30° for providing shade anytime.
- Cleans easily with sponge and soapy water.
- Comes with wall brackets and expansion bolts.
- Comes with two-years warranty for full peace of mind.
- Could do with better bolts as the ones supplied are a little debatable, however, most people have not had issues.
- The instructions are a little hard to read.
- Comes without a plug.
The Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning is my Runner-up in this review of the Best Electric Awning. Personally I would go electric but I know this is not always possible. I chose it for its convenience and features, including the UV 50+ protection it gives. I like the remote control that comes with it although this is going to create a ‘are you sat on the remote situation’. You can stay comfortably seated while adjusting the awning for more shade.
I recommend this awning if you like the convenience and minimal effort along with your shade. While this is electric, it’s worth noting you can still open and close it manually just like any other awning.
3. vidaXL Retractable Awning 200 x 150cm
The vidaXL Retractable Awning 200 x 150cm is a manual awning that’s suitable for smaller windows, doors or just to provide a little shade. If even the 2m by 1.5m size is too large for you, it’s worthing noting with a little DIY, you could cut it down easily with a hacksaw as it’s a bit like a roller blind design.
This is a retractable manual awning so you wind it open and closed with the long steel handle. The frame is white powered-coated aluminium that’s lightweight and weather resistant. You wind the awning open and close by pulling the attached chain.
The weight of the canopy reflects the light weight of this awning. Made of 180g/m2 polyester, it’s much lighter than the fabric weight for some of the other models in this review. Notice also that this vidaXL model comes out from the building less far than the usual 2.5m distance.
However, it’s still water resistant and protects you from harmful UV rays. Plus this is an awning that’s much easier to assemble and install.
If a dark anthracite colour for your awning is not your style, consider the blue and white stripe unit available in this size. Other colours are available in a wide range of additional sizes, ranging from 1m by 1.5m all the way up to 4m by 1.5m.
- Retractable manual awning comes with a steel winding handle for easy operation.
- The size is 2m by 1.5 metres to provide you with plenty of cool shade.
- The frame is white powder coated aluminium for a lightweight and durable awning.
- The canopy is of 180g/m2 polyester that’s 100% water-resistant and UV-coated to keep most of the sun out.
- Tiltable to an unknown angle.
- All fittings included.
- Easy to assemble and install.
- Doesn’t have a cassette/box
The vidaXL Retractable Awning is a good awning if you have a small and narrow patio or deck to plunge into shade. A wide variety of sizes is available in an assortment of colours. However, you can cut down the awning if the size you need falls between two of the offered sizes. This is a light weight awning for a small space and it’s very affordable, much cheaper than any other type of awning.
4. VOUNOT Side Awning Retractable Outdoor Privacy Screen (3m wide)
The VOUNOT Side Awning which is more of a Privacy Screen is not technically an awning. It’s more a large roller blind that serves as a screen. You pull it out horizontally from a vertical pole and secure it to another pole the length of the blind away. The handle to do this by is easily accessible on the side of the awning.
This model reminds me of a friend I have with a garden that backs onto the canal. He has stunning views but always has nosy walkers looking onto his patio area as they walk past. This type of awning would be great for him to install at the edge of his patio to give him a little privacy while eating in the garden on his patio. Anyone more about this awning.
This side awning is made of a solid colour (grey in the review model), made of an unbroken fabric like all the other awnings in this review. The high-quality 180g/m2 polyester used protects you from the usual harmful UV light. But in this case, it also acts as a wind break. However, you’re not covered from above so you can obviously get rained on.
The awning is 3m long and 1.4m high. That’s high enough for privacy when you’re sitting on your garden chair or laying out on your sun lounger. The frame is made of steel, also of high quality. It won’t rust or corrode, and is very durable.
It comes with all the fixtures and fittings that you need to install this side awning and being a side awning it will be much easier to install.
If grey is a bit too gloomy for your garden décor scheme, choose instead from beige, black-anthracite or brown. These are all neutral colours that fit in anywhere. You also have an additional choice of sizes of 1.6m by 3m and 1.8m by 3m. Note that the difference in these models is in the height of the awning and not in its length.
- Manually retractable side awning.
- Dimensions are 3m long and 1.4m high (other sizes are available_.
- 100% polyester awning of 180g/m2
- Steel frame for durability.
- Includes all fittings and fixtures.
- Choice of alternate colours, all neutrals.
- Easy to install and use.
- Not free-standing.
The VOUNOT Side Awning Retractable Outdoor Privacy Screen protects you from stares, wind and some UV rays rather than rain. When fully extended, this manual side awning does through shade onto the ground if you’re sitting within its shadow area. It’s great to use as a wind break if you already have shade from above, maybe a tree, your gazebo or another awning. Use it also as a temporary fence to section off part of your garden from view.
5. Costway 3m x 2.5m Manual Awning
The Costway 3m x 2.5m Manual Awning is another retractable manual awning that has useful features. You operate it in the usual way by turning the beige winding handle that hangs down on the left side of the canopy. The canopy measures 3m by 2.5m, the standard size in awnings. This is large enough to provide shade for your outdoor lunch dining.
The 300g/m2 polyester canopy is UV resistant and that it’s 100% water-resistant. This means that little sun and no light rain make it through the canopy to you below. The only thing to note is that it’s water-resistant, not waterproof, so heavy rain will get through the fabric. You don’t need a dull dry day to sit out in your garden buts it is worth mentioning it will leak in heavy rain.
The canopy is adjustable to 45° below the horizontal position. This makes more of a slant than the other awnings I review here, maybe providing a little more shade. Slanting the canopy will keep out the sun when it’s lower in the sky as well as let the water runoff more easily. This Costway manual awning is delivered with the canopy adjusted to the optimal angle.
The Costway 3m x 2.5m Manual Awning has a white powder-coated frame made of aluminium for strength and durability. It won’t rust if the powder coating isn’t scratched which is a plus.
There isn’t a canopy box for the awning to roll into which some people may not like. When you close the canopy it rolls onto the pole and the last part of the roll sits in the open. The sun may fade the exposed part of the canopy and rain may cause mildew to form if it’s left closed for a long time.
- The retractable manual awning comes with a steel winding handle for easy operation (left side; beige).
- The size is 3m by 2.5 metres to provide you with plenty of cool shade.
- The frame is white powder aluminium coated for a lightweight and durable awning.
- Canopy is of 300g/m2 polyester that’s 100% water-resistant and UV-coated to keep most of the sun out.
- Adjustable canopy from horizontal to 45° for daylong shade.
- Doesn’t have a cassette/box to go into when retracted.
- Not easy to change the angle of the awning.
- Not enough instructions for some parts of the installation.
The Costway 3m x 2.5m Manual Awning is a standard size retractable awning. The canopy is a relatively thick 300g/m2 polyester that’s UV-ray and sun resistant. We recommend the Costway 3m x 2.5m Manual Awning if you like to be outdoors in any kind of weather and it’s well worth considering.
6. Outsunny 3m x 2.5m Manual Patio Awning
The Outsunny 3m x 2.5m DIY Manual Patio Awning is a manually retractable awning that handles all weathers. The 280g/m2 polyester canopy is showerproof and coated with UV protection but is slightly thinner than other models in this review that are 300g/m2.
This awning is the usual size of 3m by 2.5m which provides shade for a few sun loungers or a dining table. The canopy is easily removable for winter storage or if you go away. At an additional cost, you can buy a storage bag for this awning but I’m the type of person who would prefer to leave imine up all year round.
The canopy is adjustable to block out the sun at any time of day. Adjust the canopy by between 5° and an impressive 45°. Use the 45° angle if you’re still on the patio when the sun is becoming low in the sky.
Installation is straightforward if you have someone helping you. If you get confused, watch the video demo on the manufacturer’s website which is a nice idea if you don’t know where to start.
- Manually retractable awning with a 1.5m winding handle for ease of operation.
- The size is 3m by 2.5m for ample shade for your family or friends.
- Showerproof, sunproof and made from 280g/m2 polyester for sun and light rain.
- The awning is easily removable for storage during the winter.
- Installation can be done by two people so you don’t need to hire professional installers.
- The warranty is for two years for peace of mind.
- Mixed reviews about whether this awning is easy or difficult to install.
The Outsunny 3m x 2.5m DIY Manual Patio Awning is showerproof and has a UV protection coating. This manually retractable awning needs two people to install it as do most models but there’s an online video to help which most others don’t provide. The awning comes with a two-year warranty in case anything breaks or goes wrong which is another plus.
We recommend the Outsunny 3m x 2.5m DIY Manual Patio Awning for those who stay on their patio late in the day.
Buyer’s Guide for Garden Awnings
Watch the video below by Dereton33 where he shows how easy they are to install
This Buyer’s Guide contains information about awnings in general and explanations of their specific features to be aware of when deciding which one is best for you.
Awnings are usually folding devices with a roll of fabric as the canopy. Their main purpose is to shade parts of a building or the ground, perhaps on a patio. Awnings can protect you from the sun and keep you dry. If they’re installed outside a window, they shade that room. This helps the environment too because you may not need to use an air conditioner in that room. The shade they throw also protects your carpet and furniture from fading. Awnings also contribute to the outside décor of your home and of the exterior space.
Types of awnings
This review looks at retractable awnings. These are the ones that you roll up when not in use or in a high wind or storm.
The two main types of retractable awnings are standalone ones and those you attach to an outside wall of your home which our review focuses on. (There are also standalone models that attach to a built structure). Both kinds are retractable (open and close). You can place a standalone awning anywhere in your garden as long as the ground is reasonably flat. For attaching an awning to a wall, be sure that it’s strong enough to hold the weight of the awning. Brick or concrete walls will work.
Awnings attached to a wall can be manually expanded and retracted or you can purchase one that opens and closes electrically. You may be able to get a remote control with this awning so you can be farther away in the garden and still be able to operate the canopy. Manual awnings on your home need you to open and close them by turning a crank winding handle that hangs down the side, (usually on the left as you face your home).
Standalone awnings have manual controls to roll out the canopy. If the frame is shaped like an upside down V, you may be able to roll out the canopy on each side separately.
For all retractable awnings, the amount of drop is how far you can lower the canopy at the front. It’s measured in degrees and means that your shade can follow the sun.
The frame of an awning is usually made out of plastic, aluminium, or stainless steel. Aluminium and steel may be powder coated to protect the metal from the environment.
The most commonly used material for awnings is fabric. Here are the most commonly used materials.
Acrylic is mostly used as a protective coating for other fabrics. If acrylic is made into a full canopy, it’s easy to maintain and it holds its colour well. This fabric is “breathable” so it lets air through the canopy to make it cooler underneath.
Awning canopies can be made from aluminium, though this metal is usually found in standalone sail curtains. Aluminium provides weather resistance and the most durability, though it’s the least flexible material. It’s naturally resistant to mildew and UV.
Canvas is a classic fabric for an awning canopy and the only natural material used for canopies. It’s one of the more long-lasting fabrics but it tends to be affected by exposure to the environment. Canvas has more strength than everything except aluminium, but it’s much more flexible. Canvas canopies often have an acrylic coating on top.
Polyester has many advantages as it’s the least expensive material, other than PVC (which is not as good). It’s the most resistant fibrous material. Polyester is naturally water-resistant and naturally mildew-proof.
PVC was the first synthetic material to be used in canopies. As a plastic, it has the same qualities as other plastics but is the weakest fabric used. It’s flexible and waterproof and is naturally resistant to mildew.
Awning operating mechanisms are either manual or electric.
The usual manual operating mechanism is a crank handle. The handle is usually vertically situated (though horizontal ones can also be found) on one side (usually the left) of the canopy, hanging down from the frame. To extend and retract the canopy you just turn the handle, though this does take some effort. A manual awing is not prone to the technical problems sometimes found with electric models.
Electric mechanisms are generally found only on retractable awnings. You have the convenience of pushing a button to move the canopy. The electric motor takes care of all the effort. This easy opening may increase the lifetime of your awning. However, you may encounter technical problems and electric awnings are more expensive to repair than manual ones.
When selecting your awning make sure that it will cover the area you want to be in the shade. One way to do this is to measure the patch of sun at that place many times during the day until twilight. The furthest measurement that the edge of the sun is out from the way will be at least the depth of the canopy. The width of the canopy depends on you. The width of canopies can range from 3 inches to over 20 feet wide; the length of the canopy can be anywhere from 4 feet to over 13 feet. The size of awnings is usually written as length by depth.
Nice to haves
Your awning will usually come with the frame and the fittings, and the canopy. However, you don’t need to stop there as you can add features to your awning
Consider buying a storage bag to keep your awning clean and dust-free when you store it away. We recommend taking them down for winter, which is usually a fairly straightforward process.
Some awnings have integrated lighting on the cassette/canopy box for a warm and romantic glow at night. If your awning doesn’t have this feature, consider buying your own lighting and installing it yourself.
For the cooler days, or if you want to stay out longer into the evening, consider installing an infrared heater. The heater fits under the canopy to keep you toasty.
Check out our reviews of the best wall-mounted patio heaters, perfect for placing under an awning but not too close.
For those with electric awnings, a weather sensor, also known as a storm sensor or a wind sensor, is a great comfort. These sensors can tell if the wind is picking up or if the canopy is wet and they’ll close the canopy for you automatically. You don’t have to worry about leaving the awning open and not being at home to close it. Most domestic models do not have this advanced feature though.
Alternatively, you might want a sunshine sensor that opens the canopy when the weather becomes sunny.
Some electric awnings come with a remote control that lets you control the canopy from within the control’s range. For example, if it’s going to rain you can close the canopy from the shed.
Or you can go one step further and get a system with an app that remotely controls the canopy from your smartphone or other home automation device. You can set a timer for the canopy to open or close, turn the integrated lighting on or off, and set the weather sensor. All this with just a click. Bear in mind though that only the top-end awnings may have this functionality.
Warranties and Guarantees
It really goes without saying that you should check the guarantee and warranties associated with each awning. Look at which parts of the awning are guaranteed, for how long, and if the warranty is for repair and/or return. Most warranties are around 12 months but some come with 3 years and even a 30 day money-back guarantee.
How long do retractable awnings last?
If the frame part of the awning is made of metal, it can last 20 years or more, especially if it’s powder-coated. The lifetime of the canopy depends on what it’s made of. Aluminium is the most durable and PVC is the least. Not taking care of the awning will reduce its lifespan. We recommend taking the awning down for winter which will significantly increase the lifetime of the canopy.
Please go back to the Buyer’s Guide to see more details about canopy fabrics.
Can retractable awnings be used in the rain or the wind?
Awning manufacturers recommend that you retract the awnings in times of high wind or heavy rain. Many awnings are water resistant so they can handle a light rain shower. For any wind other than a light one, also retract your awning.
In the “Nice to Have” section of the Buyer’s Guide, we mention the types of weather sensors you can buy to automatically adjust your canopy. (But only if you have an electric canopy and one with advanced features which most domestic ones do not have.)
How long do fabric awnings last?
The most durable awning is made out of aluminium. Canopies made of specialist fabric (e.g. Sunbrella) are generally more suitable for outdoor use. They will last around 10 years. In order of durability (from the most to the least) the other common fabrics are canvas; polyester; acrylic, and PVC.
We’ve explained a bit about these in the “Materials” section of our Buyer’s Guide.
If your cantilever umbrella isn’t giving you enough shade in your garden or on your patio, consider a garden awning. With a retractable awning, you roll it up when bad weather is setting in or you’ve finished using it.
Operating an electric awning is as quick and easy as pushing a button (which is what you do). A manual awning takes a little more effort as you crank the winding handle around. For a luxurious experience staying in the shade of an awning, look at weather sensors, sun sensors, LED lighting, and heaters. You won’t want to go indoors ever again.
Our Best Pick is the Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning. Various sizes of this awning are available to suit your shade needs.
The Primrose 3.0m Electric Awning is the Runner-up choice and also the Best Electric Awning. Easily operate this retractable awning by pushing a button or using the remote control.
If an awning is too big for your garden and patio or it’s not what you want, check out my Best Garden Patio Umbrellas for an alternative way to provide shade in your garden, or perhaps consider a gazebo.
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API