Retractable patio awningshow do retractable awnings work are the most convenient way to provide shade for your outdoor living space. With two different types of retracting methods – manual and motorized – it’s important to understand how these types of patio awnings work so you can choose the best option for your outdoor space.

While these two forms of retractable patio awnings accomplish the same thing, they do it differently and are built with different parts. Take a look below to find out how these awnings work and the differences between them.

Manual Patio Awnings (Articulated Arms)

A manual retractable patio awning uses articulated arms that open and close in stages. The first arms are usually spring loaded, and the ones after those furl to retract the awning or unfurl to extend it. This process is completed by manually winding a shaft clockwise or counterclockwise to unroll or roll up your retractable patio awning. The cranking of the awning shaft allows the articulated arms to extend or retract along with the awning.

Motorized Patio Awnings (Telescopic Arms)

Motorized retractable patio awnings use telescopic awnings for efficient retracting or protracting. Unlike articulated arms, these telescopic arms use gas-filled cylinders to push or pull the awning in and out instead of folding in and out. Also unlike the manual retractable patio awnings, you don’t have to use a crank to roll them in or out. Motorized patio arms only require a push of button to wind the awning. Once the button is pushed, the motor inside of the patio awning spins quietly to open or close the awning by extending or retracting the telescopic arms.


retractable awningsA manual retractable patio awning is great because the crankshaft component doesn’t require much maintenance. You don’t have to rely on a motor to get the job done, which gives you all of the control.

On the other hand, a motorized retractable awning is conveniently built so it doesn’t require any physical labor to extend or contract. Simply by pushing a button, you can power your telescopic arms, letting you continue to relax and not worry about having to get up and crank your retractable patio awning closed. Telescopic arms also happen to be the strongest material for retractable patio awning arms.


While manual retractable awnings are easy to maintain, the continuing manual cranking to roll in or roll out your awning can be tiresome. There will be days when you don’t want to stand outside or get up from your relaxing position just to adjust your awning.

Motorized retractable patio awnings are the easiest to use, but the functionality of the motor and the telescopic arms may need more maintenance. The telescopic arms could experience a gas leak, requiring them to be refilled, or your awning could need a new motor, which could be a hassle.

Either way, a retractable patio awning is the best way to personalize your outdoor living space for supreme comfort.

If you’d like to learn more about how retractable patio awnings work and which option would be best for your house, you can contact Paul Construction LLC.