Main Differences Between Awnings and Canopies


Even though many people use these two words interchangeably, there is a huge difference between them.

Whether you’re just thinking about getting one or you’re wondering what the main differences are, this post will be useful to you.

Before we even jump into the main differences, we need to clearly understand the definitions of awning vs canopy.

Awnings are the coverings that are attached to the exterior portion of your house or building (the exterior portion being the wall).

Canopies, on the other hand, make use of numerous posts to support its structure and can stand on its own like a normal tent.

So essentially, awnings need support and canopies have their own support.

That’s it!


However, when choosing which to use for your business or home you need to understand 4 different factors and which make more sense for your subjective needs.


When it comes to aesthetic appeal, awnings beat canopies.

If you want to get one for your hope, the posts may look obstructive or even intrusive of your space especially if they’re the type of canopies that are mounted on the ground.

If you still want a canopy, make sure that you craft a blueprint of your outside home and include the exact place you want to place your canopy. This is to make sure that the canopy you choose blends well with the surroundings.

However, if you want a retractable awning, they don’t look as intrusive and some have diagonal supporting arms that hide the lateral arm which makes them blend better.

Investment Cost

Canopies are way-way cheaper.

They usually range between $100 – $900 whereas awning is between $1,200 – $6,000.

Obviously, this is subjective to what your needs are but that range is fairly generous.

Usually, the size is a pretty important factor when it comes to price so the wider and longer it is… the higher the investment will be.


If you’re a DIY kind of person, retractable awnings are very tedious and difficult to set up.

Retractable canopies are usually pre-drilled and pre-cut so it’s way easier to install even though it might still be hard for complete beginners.

The only issue with canopies is that the posts are usually insanely heavy so one person can’t really carry them so you’d require the help of an assistant to share the heavy lifting.

When it comes to paying someone to install it for you, the prices are usually pretty cheap compared to the entire investment cost.

Protection Levels

This isn’t really a difference between the two but you should definitely keep it in mind.

Both awnings and canopies give protection from the sun’s UV rays and various other weather conditions that are usually pretty harmful.

You should keep in mind however that the quality of fabric that is used is super important.

If you’re getting an awning mainly for rain, make sure that you get a waterproof fabric like vinyl material.

If you want an awning for sun protection, make sure that you get a 90% block material instead of a 50% block material.

You really have to weigh your pros and cons when it comes to choosing your ideal fabric and I’m certain that the installer you decide to work with will give you his honest opinion about what is best for you when it comes to awning vs canopy.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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