When considering what kind of retractable awning to buy, most people eventually come to the question: should I buy a manual or automatic retractable awning? Even though each has its pros and cons, it is important to find the one that best suits your individual needs.
A manual retractable awning is defined as one that has a crank to open it. Unlike older designs, many of the newer models can be turned easily and do not require a lot of strength.
A motorized awning runs on electricity. The motor is what retracts it (as opposed to your hand.) These kinds can also retract themselves if wind speeds go above a certain level or rain starts to fall, and can often also be controlled with your smartphone at the touch of a button.
Before beginning the process of purchasing a retractable awning, it is vital to ask yourself questions about how you plan to use it and what is important to you when purchasing one. Will it only be extended in the spring-summer, or the fall and winter also? Do you want to have to go outside to extend it? How much do awnings cost as compared to your price point? How much time do you want to spend opening it? What environmental elements around your house could affect it, such as leaves falling from trees, animals, etc.?
These questions will help you better understand if a manual or motorized retractable awning is right for you.
While it may not seem it at first glance, a manual retractable awning has many pros.
For one, it can be extended without the use of electricity. That means that if the power goes out, you will still be able to use it.
A second pro is you will never have to worry about a battery or another electrical part deteriorating and not functioning correctly, and therefore, not being able to open it. Over time (and usually after the warranty), certain parts on electrical retractable awnings will need to be replaced. With good upkeep, they will generally last at least 10 years.
A third advantage is that manual retractable awnings contain vertical support rods in the back of the awning that folds down when it is opened, which provides greater support and stability than motorized versions.
The biggest advantage of a manual retractable awning is cost. Manual awnings are significantly cheaper to buy and install than motorized ones. This could result in a savings of hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, for your budget. One of the reasons is that a motorized awning has to be connected to a home’s electrical grid, meaning that wires need to be run from it to your home, which requires more initial manpower, and thus, more money to install.
As for disadvantages, even though manual models do not require a lot of strength, the age of the person who will be using it may be a factor in this case. For example, if you are buying an awning so that your elderly mother can have a way to get more fresh air in the summer and keep her house cooler, you may want to consider one that she does not have to worry about trying to open herself.
Another disadvantage is that because manual awnings have to be opened by hand, you will always have to leave your house to open it as opposed to just pushing a button and letting it open by itself.
On the other hand, a motorized retractable awning can save you time and energy. Some studies have shown that motorized retractable awnings are used up to four times more than their manual counterparts. They are easier to open and if you are the kind of person who wants your home to function at the touch of a button through your smartphone, then they can easily be connected to it.
In addition, some even have sensors that cause an awning to retract if it feels the presence of rain or high winds, which means that you do not have to worry about forgetting to close it when it gets windy or open it when it gets sunny to cool your home.
The second plus of a motorized retractable awning is its appearance. Motorized versions have arms that extend and retract when the awning is opened or closed. This makes them more attractive to a house as they more easily blend into a home’s design.
One disadvantage, however, is cost. Motorized retractable awnings are significantly more expensive, even though they are undoubtedly more convenient and add greater value to your home. And because they have movable parts, they can become worn down over time. It is important, therefore, to check the warranty on your retractable awning to find out what may be covered in the future and what you may need to fork out-of-pocket.
Regardless of what you choose, all retractable awnings, whether manual or motorized, are a beautiful addition to your home. They not only add value to it but also give you a quality place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.