Motorised vs Manual Retractable Awnings – What Are The Differences?

Residential Retractable Awning Melbourne Helioscreen

Retractable awnings are the pinnacle of outdoor entertaining. Extend them to protect your guests from the sun or rain, or retract them when not in use. If you are considering purchasing one, you’re probably asking yourself the question – manual or motorised? 

Retractable awnings can be operated manually or via a motor – but what are the main differences between the two? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of motorised and manually operated awnings and determine which one is best for your home. 

The Differences Between Manual And Motorised Retractable Awnings

Manual and motorised awnings both serve as fantastic options to shelter your home from the harsh sun during summer, however there are notable differences that set them apart. 

On one hand, manually operated awnings may require a bit of manpower to open or close them using a crank handle. Motorised awnings, on the other hand, are operated by a motor. This means you can extend or retract the awning at your convenience with the touch of a button.  

While motorised awnings are generally more popular, manual awnings still provide equally durable protection from the elements. No matter your decision, a quality retractable awning will add value to your home. They look great, provide shelter and give you a place to enjoy the great outdoors all year round.  

What Is A Motorised Retractable Awning?

It’s fairly simple: a motorised awning is a retractable awning fitted with a motor that can extend or retract without the need for manual labour. This means you can easily operate your awning with either a wireless remote control, wall switch or button. They provide you with full control of the elements, allowing you to open or close the awning easily and conveniently.  

Helioscreen’s motorised awning range will enhance your outdoor space with their innovative design and dynamic sun control at the touch of a button. Helioscreen’s range also includes additional accessories such as light sensors, timers and sun and wind sensors that will add that extra convenience to your awning.  

Pros and Cons Of Motorised Retractable Awnings 


  • Convenience: Achieve dynamic sun control at the touch of a button. 
  • Durability: Prolong the life of your awning by easily retracting it when not in use or when conditions become unsuitable.  
  • Usage: Open or close your awning at the touch of a button. This allows you to use your awning to its full potential. 
  • Added extras: Most motorised awnings have the option to add additional sun and wind sensors that automatically extend or retract your awning based on the weather. 
  • Visually appealing: The folding arms of motorised awnings conveniently retract when the awning is closed, this means they easily blend into your home’s exterior when not in use.   


  • Price: Features such as motorisation and automation will likely incur additional costs. However, the added convenience and functionality this brings is well worth the investment.  

What Is A Manual Retractable Awning?

A manual retractable awning requires the manual turning of a detachable crank to open it. They operate via a winch system that extends or retracts the fabric. Unlike many older designs, newer models are often operated easily and don’t require a lot of strength. They are great for those looking for a cost-effective option while still achieving a practical outdoor shade solution.

Pros and Cons Of Manual Retractable Awnings


  • Budget friendly: Manually operated awnings tend to be a more budget-friendly option than motorised models. 
  • Simplicity: The absence of complex moving parts make manual awnings easier to install as they do not require the work of an electrician. As they don’t rely on electricity, they are still operational in power outages.  


  • Manual operation: The most obvious disadvantage of manually retractable awnings is they require operation by hand from outside.  
  • Age restrictive: Although operation is generally easy, manually operated awnings are not ideal for the elderly as they still require physical labour. 

What Awning Is Best For Your Home?

The best awning for your home will depend on your requirements and desired use. Ask yourself these three questions when choosing your awning: 

  • Will the awning be extended all year round, or just in summer? 
  • Do you want to go outside to extend it? 
  • What is your budget? 

The answer to these questions will help determine if a manual or motorised awning is best suited to your needs.  

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Manual Or Motorised Retractable Awning?

It is important to note there is no set price for an awning. Awning price will vary depending on several factors such as size, motorisation, materials and optional extras. 

For more information on the price of a Helioscreen retractable awning, use our free awning price estimator tool. 

Choose Australia’s Quality Awning Supplier

The right retractable awning for your home makes a more comfortable experience for your family and brings life and functionality to your property’s exterior.  

When choosing an awning for your home, it’s important to prioritise a durable and functional retractable awning that will provide a long-lasting shade solution custom made to your outdoor area.  Helioscreen is Australia’s leading supplier of retractable awnings for a variety of residential buildings. Contact us for more information.  

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