The Top Differences Between Awnings and Canopies

Awning Sun Protection

Although the terms canopy and awning are often used interchangeably, technically they’re different. Here are some characteristics that distinguish awnings from canopies.

What is an Awning?

An awning is an external shading structure for your home and is designed to protect you from UV rays and extreme heat. Awnings prevent bright sunlight from entering your home’s interior and shading area. Typically, awnings are permanently attached to the exterior part of your home like a patio. This helps to keep your home cool and protects your valuable furnishings from fading. An awning can even provide a dry outdoor living space for bikes or shoes. Awnings can also be attached to campers and motorhomes, allowing travelers to enjoy an outdoor shaded space next to their vehicles.

Often used on outdoor spaces and patios, a retractable awning temporarily helps to keep you cool while you’re relaxing outside your home. Retractable awnings can be operated either manually by the turn of a crank or by remote control for your home or business.

Canopies on the other hand are usually freestanding and provide shade to an outside space. Some canopies are portable and can provide shade to areas ranging in size from small to large.

Awnings vs. Canopies

Both are used to provide protection from the sun, but how they do so is different. Awnings have an edge over canopies in key important areas. Learn about these key factors to help you decide which is right for you.

Temperature Control

One of the most popular reasons for installing an awning is that it keeps your home cool and brings in big energy savings, and that’s certainly important in Arizona. It also protects your home’s interior by shielding your furnishings from the sun and rain. A canopy, however, only shades whatever sits under it.


An awning’s size can be customized to cover areas of your home and even a family deck. A canopy can be as large as 30 feet wide by over 20 feet long, making them commonly used at tailgates and events.


An awning investment can last you for years and are customizable. Canopies typically consist of lower quality materials to help lower costs, but the permanent structure and sturdiness of an awning help it to last longer with no need for replacement.


Because awnings are constructed to be permanently attached to a house or building, there are a wide variety of fabrics, patterns, and colors available to complement your home’s architectural design. Canopies, however, are meant to be temporary, so there’s no need to be concerned about aesthetics.


Because awnings are permanently attached to your home, you don’t need to worry about storing them. Canopies, however, must be disassembled when they’re not in use and need to be stored in a place protected from the elements and pests. When you want to use the canopy again, you need to reassemble it and repeat the process each time you put it up and take it down.

Awning or Canopy: Which is Best?

Awnings and canopies both serve a purpose. Living in Arizona, however, you’d benefit more from a permanent structure attached to your home such as an awning that keeps the interior cool and protects your furnishings from damaging UV rays. Unless you spend some time outdoors, you’ll probably never need to use a canopy.

Let us at Superior Sun Solutions help you choose the finest sun protection option for your home. Contact our experienced professionals online or call us at (480) 631-9678  today for an estimate.


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