How to Find the Perfect Awning

Whether you are looking for some shade at your next tailgating party or a permanent shelter for our backyard, the reality is most people only buy a few canopies in their entire life.

One thing that stood out to me when we were shopping is that every company seemed to recommend their products with a one size fits all approach.

I created this site to be an independent source that would evaluate the various types of canopies, tents, umbrellas, awnings and gazebos.
I’ll honestly share my thoughts on any benefits and drawbacks of each item to help you make the best decision.

We are completely independent so we don’t receive any paid product placement by any manufacturer. We are part of the Amazon affiliate program so I will earn a commission if you purchase through one of our links. The wide selection on Amazon allows us to provide the best possible matches to share your specific area.

We keep track of all the products recommended on this site, and if we get complaints from customers or then we’ll remove them as a recommendation. Our ultimate goal is to be a filter so that you feel confident purchasing any shade structure online.

If you’d like our suggestion, please answer the 5 questions below when you contact us via twitter at @newAwning.

How will it be attached?

  • Portable – Something that can easily be moved or taken with you. These are great for tailgating or for the pool areas.

  • Stationary and attached – These awnings are permanent affixed to your home. These include retractable awnings, fixed awnings, and sail shades. The fabric can be easily removed, but the brackets will stay up year-around.

  • Stationary and freestanding – These would be gazebos or pergolas. They serve to create a focal gathering point away from the home. They are great for large backyards as they create a secondary point for people to congregate.

What is your budget?

  • Budget friendly – These are the base models with minimal features. Even at the low price point, we still only recommend items that have some lifespan. No one wins if you get something that you’re not happy with.

  • Editor’s Pick – This is our number one choice. If we were choosing right now, it’s the one we would pick. These will change from time to time as companies release new models or update their prices.

  • Quality Focused – This would be the Cadillac of the category. We choose something that will last for years, and it will have the top end features.

What size area do you need to cover?

  • Tiny – These shade structures are less than 10 square feet. The most common options at this size are patio umbrellas and window awnings.

  • Small – Less than 24 square feet our size range for these. Some sail shades fit and retractable awnings mainly fit here.

  • Medium – This category will go up to 50 square feet, and there are many options in this size range. The 6′ x 8′ shape is available for nearly every shade structure.

  • Large – This category goes up to 120 square feet. Anything this large will need support poles.

  • Huge – Anything over 120 feet should be done by professionals. They may require additional support poles.

Any extreme weather?

We’re just average homeowners who write a lot on awnings and shade structures. With that background, we will share our opinions to our readers.

If you live in an area and have extreme weather, we’d love to hear from you. You can let us know where you live and what you’re concerned about, and we’ll share our thoughts.

We had some many people ask about the topic, we created a complete guide on wind resistant awnings if you’d like to check that out.

Does it need lighting?

Over the last few years, the DIY patio lighting category has really become trendy. This is because there are now so many low cost options that are both easy for the average homeowner to install and durable products with a much longer lifespan than a few years ago.

Today’s option are a far cry from the old string of Christmas lights that always seemed to break a fuse or burnout with a few days. Most are now LED bulbs which fair better in the temperature changes, and they are ran in parallel. This means that a single bulb going out won’t take down the entire string. We’ve created an exhaustive guide on awning and patio lighting.
If you send us the answer to the four questions above, we’ll comb our database of products and provide a specific recommendation. Ultimately, it’s your decision whether you go with the product we pick or not, and you may need approval from your Home Owner Association or neighborhood board before attaching anything to your home. We absolutely recommend getting all approvals and necessary permits before purchasing any type of permanent structure.

Last Updated:May 31, 2024