Removable awnings are a great solution to shading your patio, deck, or windows. They provide protection from the sun’s glare and heat while adding aesthetic appeal. Retractable awnings come in two main varieties – motorized and manual. But which type of retractable awning is right for your needs?
An Overview of Motorized vs Manual Awnings
Motorized awnings operate with the touch of a button or flick of a switch. An electric motor smoothly extends or retracts the awning fabric at your desired speed. Manual awnings, on the other hand, rely on simple mechanics – a hand crank or pull strap – to open and close the awning. No motorization is involved. Below, we’ll explore the pros, cons, features, and costs of both styles to help you decide which is best for your home or business.
Motorized retractable awnings provide the ultimate in convenient operation and modern functionality. Let’s look at the key benefits and drawbacks:
Pros of Motorized Awnings
- Total convenience – With just a tap of a wireless remote or wall switch, your motorized awning will smoothly extend or retract with no physical effort required.
- Automation & Control – Motorized units can connect to home automation systems, allowing you to control your awnings remotely via a smartphone app or voice control.
- Advanced features – Higher-end motorized awnings allow you to adjust pitch, speed, and stop position. Some have wind sensors that will automatically retract the awning in gusty conditions.
- Sleek aesthetic – The smooth, quiet operation and minimalist casings give motorized awnings a very modern, upscale look. They are an excellent match for contemporary home designs.
Cons of Motorized Awnings
- Higher upfront cost – The convenience and functionality of motorized awnings come with a higher price.
- Power requirements – Motorized awnings require an outdoor electrical outlet, which might need to be installed if not already present.
- Potential motor failure – Though rare, electric motors can fail over time. Replacement or repair would be required.
Key Takeaways on Motorized Awnings
- Ideal for those wanting total convenience, full automation, and a contemporary aesthetic.
- Higher initial cost but allows push-button operation and high-tech features.
- Require electrical outlets, but provide the smoothest performance.
Manual Retractable Awnings
Manual retractable awnings provide a simpler, more classic shading solution for your home or business. Here are the main pros and cons:
Pros of Manual Awnings
- Lower cost – Manual units cost significantly less – a few hundred dollars on average – compared to motorized equivalents. Great budget-friendly option.
- Minimal setup – No electrical work needed. Manual awnings just need to be mounted and secured to operate.
- Reliability – With very few parts and no motor, manual awnings are extremely durable. They will provide years of reliable service.
Cons of Manual Awnings
- Physical effort – Extending and retracting the awning requires physically operating the crank or pull strap. Putting it up may be difficult for some people, especially ones with mobility issues.
- Limited features – Manual awnings only provide basic open/close functionality. There are no options for automation or pitch adjustment.
- Traditional look – Manual awnings look a bit dated compared to streamlined, contemporary motorized units.
Key Takeaways on Manual Awnings
- Excellent budget-friendly choice at a few hundred dollars less than motorized.
- Very reliable and durable, but requires physical effort to operate.
- Provide basic extend/retract function without automation.
Motorized vs. Manual Awnings - A Comparison
|Moderate Physical Effort
|Push Button/Remote Control
|Crank Handle or Pull Strap
|Full Automation Available
FAQs About Motorized and Manual Awnings
No, manual and motorized awnings require about the same level of installation effort. The main difference is that motorized awnings require a connection to an electrical power source, which manual units do not. Otherwise, the mounting and securing process is similar between both awning types.
On average, expect to pay $300-$600 more for a motorized awning compared to a similar-sized manual version. However, keep in mind you are paying for vastly increased convenience and functionality.
With proper care and maintenance, you can expect approximately 10-15 years of life from both motorized and manual awnings. Motorized units may require occasional motor repair/replacement, which could shorten lifespan slightly. But overall, both awning types are built to provide a decade or more of reliable shade.
The Right Retractable Awning Suited for Your Outdoor Space
When choosing between motorized vs manual operation for your retractable awnings, carefully consider your budget, needs for convenience and automation, and aesthetic preferences. Motorized awnings provide the ultimate smooth, effortless function but come at a higher price point. Manual awnings are an excellent choice for a simpler and more affordable option.
We hope this overview has provided valuable insights to guide your buying decision. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Shaded Window Coverings, your local awning experts, for help selecting the perfect retractable shading solution for your home or business!