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Comparing Manual and Motorized Awnings: Which Is Best for Your Patio?

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If you’re considering installing a motorized awning for a patio or a manual patio awning, there are a few key factors to weigh. Both motorized and manual retractable awnings have pros and cons regarding functionality, convenience, costs, and aesthetics. This guide covers each type’s benefits and tips for choosing the best option for your home.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use

One of the most significant differences between manual and motorized awnings is how they operate. Manual awnings require physical effort to extend and retract the awning fabric. A hand crank or pull strap opens and closes the awning. Motorized awnings can be opened and closed with the simple push of a button using a remote control or wall switch. This lets you easily open and close the awning from inside your home. Those with physical limitations may find motorized awnings much more convenient to use.


Both patio awnings provide valuable sun protection and help control indoor temperatures. Manual awnings only offer full extension or complete retraction as options. With motorized awnings, you have more flexibility. Motorized units allow you to extend the awning to the desired position partially. This allows you to customize sun coverage and airflow as needed.

Weather Resistance

Well-built patio awnings are designed to be weather-resistant and hold up to wind, rain, and UV rays. Some motorized options have sensors that automatically retract the awning if high winds are detected. This safety feature prevents damage to the awning. However, manual awnings require human intervention to close during inclement weather.

Energy Efficiency

A patio awning can provide energy-saving benefits by blocking and reflecting sunlight before it hits your home. Studies show awnings can reduce heat gain from the sun by up to 77% on windows and up to 65% on walls. The cooling effects make your patio more comfortable and can lower indoor temperatures and air conditioning costs. Both motorized and manual awnings provide these advantages.


Regarding awning designs, materials, and customization, manual and motorized awnings offer numerous options. You can choose from metal, aluminum, acrylic fabrics, and more in various colors and patterns. The ability to add logos or embroidery is also available. Motorized awnings may provide access to higher-end materials and styles. Work with your awning professional to explore customizable features for your perfect patio awning.

Cost Comparison

Motorized awnings tend to cost more upfront than manual awnings. You’ll need to have them hardwired to a power source. Labor and installation costs are also higher. However, with customizable sun protection, motorized awnings will save on energy costs over the long run. Manual awnings are more budget-friendly and simple to install and operate. But they do require physical effort to operate.

Ongoing Maintenance

With proper care, quality patio awnings can last for many years. Basic maintenance tasks include cleaning off debris, periodically retracting the fabric, and having a professional inspect extension arms, seams, and hardware. Motorized units also require electrical component maintenance. Awnings with sensors and automatic retraction features may need less frequent fabric maintenance.

Key Takeaways

  • Motorized awnings provide push-button convenience, while manual awnings require physical effort.
  • Motorized options allow customizable sun coverage, automatic wind sensors, and easier use for those with mobility challenges.
  • Manual awnings are more affordable to purchase and install.
  • Both styles provide UV protection, temperature control, and energy savings when used properly.
  • Work with an awning professional to choose the best type, features, materials, and size for your patio needs and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions about Manual and Motorized Awnings

Manual awnings can be installed in 1-2 hours. Motorized awnings typically take 4-6 hours for professional hardwired installation.

Motorized awnings can be plugged into an outdoor outlet, hardwired into a home’s electrical system, or powered by a battery pack for portable use.

Quality manual and motorized awnings can last 10-15 years with proper installation and maintenance. Awning lifespan also depends on weathering, frequency of use, and materials.

Which awning is best for your patio?

When deciding between manual and motorized patio awnings, there are a few key factors to consider. Consider your budget constraints, as motorized awnings often cost more upfront. However, the long-term convenience and customizable shading of motorized awnings can save energy over time.

Also, think about your physical abilities to operate a manual awning. For those with mobility challenges, the simplicity of push-button operation makes motorized awnings an easier choice.
Reflect on how often you plan to use the awning. If you want the coverage daily, the hassle-free motorized operation is ideal. For a weekend patio you use occasionally, a budget-friendly manual awning gets the job done.

By weighing these factors against your specific needs, you can determine if splurging on a motorized awning is worthwhile or if a manual awning will suffice.

The patio experts at AAA Awnings can guide you through the selection process to ensure you get the perfect awning solution for your home. Contact us today at (714) 373-5918 for help choosing and installing the ideal patio awning for your needs and budget.

Picture of Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

An expert in the window treatment business. I oversee every job from sale to installation, ensuring smooth execution of commercial projects with a hands-on approach.

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