Pros and Cons of Retractable Awnings vs. Umbrellas

Looking for shade solutions for your home can be a difficult task. The choice usually comes down to either a retractable awning or an umbrella, both of which have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for home shade solutions for the upcoming summer, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are the pros and cons of retractable awnings vs. umbrellas to help you make the best decision for your outdoor shading requirements.

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are becoming more and more popular in residential areas. This is because they offer great shelter, space, and shade. Retractable awnings tend to be quite larger and cover more space than umbrellas do which makes for more shade.

retractable awnings vs. umbrellas

Greater value added to your home

Due to the larger span and coverage, they are also able to offer sufficient protection for anything beneath it whether it’s people, pets, or furniture. In addition to this, retractable awnings tend to have longer lives than umbrellas, add value to the property, and offer more ground space as they do not require vertical poles. They are also safe for children and are extremely easy to use.

More upfront cost with the potential to earn more in the long run

One criticism that awnings usually receive is that they are very expensive. This is true—a retractable awning will cost more than an umbrella—however, it is important to realize that a household can save more money in the long term in exchange for dealing with a more costly investment upfront. Awnings block the sun’s heat before they enter your home, allowing the AC to cool your home more efficiently.

Awnings require specific placement that may not work with some homes

Many people do not choose retractable awnings for their homes because it is sometimes very difficult to find an appropriate space for them. Awnings need to be placed in spaces that support the awning’s entire length and in spaces that actually need shade cover (such as the front or back yard). Sometimes this is impossible due to the placement of windows.

If not placed in appropriate areas, awnings can either look strange or be useless to a household.

If the home is a rental property, you might not even be allowed to install a retractable awning and the investment itself would be wasted if you were to move. In addition to this, retractable awnings are unable to be relocated once they are installed, they can only be removed entirely.

They are also less convenient to clean and maintain than umbrellas.


Using a simple umbrella in your space can have many more immediate advantages than a retractable awning. Umbrellas provide excellent UV protection from the sun and other elements, cost less, are movable and customizable, and tend to last a decent amount of time.

Umbrellas also usually come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours to suit your needs and aesthetic choices. If you purchase a high-quality umbrella, they are easy to operate, are made from durable materials, and are easy to clean.

Here’s the Market Umbrella:

market umbrella vs. awning

And the cantilever umbrella:

cantilever umbrellas vs. awnings

Although this may sound like an easy option, one must also consider the disadvantages and weigh them against the retractable awning option. It may be true that umbrellas come in beautiful shapes, colours, and designs; however, they still might be an eyesore and an unwanted element in an otherwise tranquil area.

They also take up much more ground space because they require vertical poles, get in the way of free motion, and can be difficult at times to set up—especially if you are setting it up alone.

In the end, there are pros and cons to both retractable awnings and umbrellas. Consider the facts above and weigh your options in a way that is appropriate for your lifestyle and necessities. Everyone has their own idea of how to create the perfect outdoor living space.

If you are looking for a new patio umbrella or awning, drop by Canadian Home Leisure and check out our wide selection. Take advantage of our No Sales Tax offer going on right now! Call us at 905.430.9965 or 855.430.965, or email for more information.


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