While people often use the terms interchangeably, awnings and canopies are actually quite different. Before explaining the difference between the two, ask yourself these questions:
Do you enjoy socializing with your guests outside or inside?
Do you have a patio attached to your home?
If not, are you looking for a way to create a seating area outside?
Is storage space limited?
Are you looking for a portable source of shade?
Does too much sunlight come in through your windows?
Has this sunlight also increased your energy bills?
The 3 Differences
1. Where they are used
The most important difference between awnings and canopies is the way that people use them. Usually, awnings are either mounted above an outside window or patio while canopies are freestanding.
Window awnings prevent harsh light and shadows from entering a home, keeping temperatures low and protecting furniture from sun damage.
Retractable awnings are often used on patios to keep you and your guests cool and comfortable in the outside heat. Both retractable awnings an window awnings can add style to your home by complimenting its architectural design and coloring.
Canopies are often freestanding, used to provide shade over a seating area separated from the building or home. If you live in Arizona, you may be wondering why you rarely see canopies. There are two explanations: First, most Arizona homes are built with patios and pools which not only eliminate the need for a canopy, but also take up a lot of the available space in the average backyard. Secondly, the soaring temperatures in Arizona rarely inspire families to “hang out” outside.
2. Disassembly and storage
Awnings are meant to be installed as a permanent structure on your home for shade year-round; something Arizona residents need anyway. Canopies, on the other hand, often have to be disassembled when not in use. A plus side for the more outdoorsy type is that many canopies are portable for taking to events or parks (but how many months out of the year can you do that? Unfortunately, only a few in the Arizona heat).
3. Interior influence
The last main difference between awnings and canopies is the way they influence your home’s temperature—something Arizonan’s are frequently concerned with. Because awnings provide shade around your windows, the amount of the heat resulting from that sunlight is greatly reduced. They also decrease the amount of sun damage on your furniture, flooring, and artwork; while canopies only provide shade to those sitting under them.
If you do not live in Arizona, canopies can be great for trips to the beach and provide comfortable seating in your backyard if you don’t have a patio. But in the “Valley Of The Sun,” awnings are clearly the better choice for year-round energy savings and comfort.