Whether it's to provide shade from the sun or shelter from the
wind, a revenue stream for your business or a splash of colour
above your patio - any outdoor area will benefit from shade
solutions. The classic options are large parasol umbrellas or
(retractable) awnings. But which product is better? We have put
together a list of pros and cons on important points to consider to
help you easily make a well-informed decision.
For protection from the elements, parasol umbrellas like the Summit
Umbrella are winners due to their versatility. While
retractable awnings offer great sun protection as well as some
shelter from rain and wind, an outdoor umbrella can be transformed
into an entire outdoor room. Add retractable outdoor walls to the
sides and you have a cosy area that is entirely sun-, wind- and
One of the most important factors to consider in an umbrella vs
awning comparison is price. While domestic outdoor umbrellas are
cheaper than a retractable awning, prices for top-of-the-range
commercial parasols such as the Summit (which can be used in
domestic areas as well) are very similar to those of quality
awnings. It all depends on your needs and size of shade
If cared for properly, both our awnings and umbrellas will last
many, many years due to their superior materials and manufacturing.
However, even though our Summit Umbrella is one of NZ's strongest
parasols, retractable awnings hold up better in storms and rough
weather due to the simple fact that they are retracted when the
weather turns nasty. Our Cabriolet Awning even retracts
into a fully enclosed housing to protect your investment. On the
other hand, our Summit Umbrellas are made with PVC which lasts
longer than the canvas used for awnings. That said, both products
can be re-covered.
Want to bask in the evening sun or enjoy partial shade? In that
case retractable awnings are the clear winners. Of course outdoor
umbrellas can be closed, but as soon as you choose a more permanent
structure with walls this isn't really an option. With a
retractable awning you have control over sun and shade at the touch
of a button.
It's obvious: a retractable awning needs to be mounted to a
building (unless you choose our exclusive Plaza
Awning), while an outdoor umbrella can be put up pretty much
anywhere you like. However, a substantial outdoor umbrella like the
Summit needs to be concreted in.
If you like a traditional look, a retractable awning would be
the clear winner when it comes to curb appeal. They're simply more
'historic' looking. On the other hand, if you are needing
sign-written shade options, an umbrella is the more popular choice.
They offer a more permanent space to sport your business logo. That
said, fixed frame awnings offer the same great advertising
potential. When it comes to colour and design, you have almost
unlimited options for both products. How about a stripy awning or a
If you think you'll only use your awning in summer, think again!
A retractable awning can help keep blinding winter sun out of your
house even if you're not outside and it will offer some wind
protection as well. A parasol umbrella, on the other hand, can be
used 365 days a year. Paired with PVC outdoor walls and outdoor
heaters you can dine alfresco all year round.
We hope that our awnings vs umbrellas comparison has helped you
make a decision. If you still need help determining what's best for
your individual outdoor space, simply give us a call to organise a
free measure and
quote. One of our experienced shade team will come out to meet
you at your property and talk you through your options and