Fold Arm Awnings vs Retractable Awnings: Which One to Choose for Your Home or Business?

12 May 2023
Daniel Brits

Are you desperately trying to figure out which type of awning is best for your home or business? Awnings are an excellent addition and can give you protection from harsh weather, and privacy and add some style that you want. But – which type of awnings should you choose? Fold-arm awnings and retractable awnings both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s break down some details to make sure that you get the right one!

What Are Fold Arm Awnings?

Folding arm awnings are a popular choice for their simplicity and affordability. They consist of a canvas or fabric panel that is attached to a metal frame, with arms that fold out to support the awning when it is extended. Fold-arm awnings are either operated manually, using a hand crank and a gear system, or they can be motorized using an electric motor

Fold Arm Awnings

Advantages of Fold Arm Awnings:

  • Affordable
  • Simple to operate
  • Available in a range of materials and colours
  • Can provide ample shade for outdoor spaces

Disadvantages of Fold Arm Awnings:

  • Limited mobility – once extended, fold arm awnings cannot be adjusted or repositioned
  • Can be difficult to clean and maintain
  • May not provide adequate protection from the elements in windy or rainy conditions

Why Folding Arm Awnings Remain Evergreen

Add a touch of luxury and refinement to your outdoor entertaining area with Awning Warehouse’s sophisticated folding arm awnings (available in South Africa). Crafted from the finest French-made Dickson canvas, these stylish sun shields provide up to 24 square meters of extra space that is both heat resistant and water repellent – making them perfect for a patio, deck, balcony, or any other outdoor area in need of some shade. We have an array of colours available to choose from, so you can customize it just the way you like! 

Fold-Arm Awnings for Your Outdoor Entertainment Space

Create a grand and inviting atmosphere with folding arm awnings from Awning Warehouse. Enjoy the best of both worlds – keep cool in your tree-lined patio or deck on hot summer days, without compromising style indoors through our Dickson-designed collection. Best yet? Our locally manufactured parts are readily available for cost-effective repairs anytime!

What is a Retractable Awning?

A retractable awning is a more sophisticated option that offers greater versatility and convenience. Retractable awnings are mounted on a motorized mechanism that allows you to extend or retract them with just the push of a button. They can be made from different materials such as fabric, metal, and pvc.

Retractable awnings for decks and pool areas

Advantages of Retractable Awnings:

  • Can be extended and retracted as needed
  • Available in a wide range of colours and materials
  • They are operated with a motor 
  • Provide greater protection from the elements, such as wind and rain

Retractable Awning Disadvantages:

  • Typically more expensive than folding arm awnings
  • May require more maintenance and upkeep

Retractable Awnings for Your Outdoor Entertainment Space

Make your outdoor entertainment space the envy of all by adding a touch of luxury with our retractable awnings! Featuring two encased aluminium powder-coated arms that extend and retract, creating shade when desired. Since they are water-resistant, you don’t have to worry about any inclement weather ruining this perfect addition for your home or business – whether it is located on land or sea! With colour options to match every need, these eye-catching designs can give you peace of mind in knowing they will last a long time.


  1. How large an area can be covered by folding arm awnings?

The max-width is 6m with a max projection of 4m.

  1. How large an area can be covered by a retractable awning?

Any width can be made up and the max projection is 9m. However, with beams and gutter systems, this can be extended to any required depth.

  1. Can fold arm awnings withstand high winds?


  1. Can a retractable awning withstand high winds?


  1. What material is used for folding arm awnings?


  1. What material is used for retractable awnings?

Specialised PVC Canvas.

  1. What areas does Awning Warehouse recommend for folding arm awnings? 

Folding Arm awnings are used in areas, such as decks and patios, where shade is required with no poles in the front.

  1. What areas does Awning Warehouse recommend for retractable awnings? 

A retractable awning provides shade and waterproofing. Apart from residential use, a retractable awning is ideal to extend the entertainment areas of commercial enterprises such as restaurants and pubs.

  1. Are fold-arm awnings cheaper than retractable awnings?


  1. What warranties are offered on a folding arm awning and a retractable awning?

Both have three-year warranties.


With so many options out there, choosing the right awning can feel overwhelming. We are here to help! Keep these two points in mind to help you with your decision:

  • Fold arm awnings are a popular, affordable option that are simple to operate and provide ample shade, but may not be the best choice for windy or rainy conditions. 
  • A retractable awning, on the other hand, offers greater versatility and protection from the elements but can be more expensive and complex to operate. 

Get in touch with us to get started or request a free quote!

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