Awning vs. Pergola vs. Canopy:  Differences & Which One To Choose

Like many of our Rollac customers, you enjoy spending time in your backyard when the weather is warm and beautiful. Whether it’s on your deck, patio, or elsewhere in your yard, it’s great to be with family and friends. But as you know, the hot sun or occasional rain shower can put a damper on being outside. To solve this problem, you may be deciding between an awning vs pergola or perhaps a canopy vs pergola. 

To help you better understand the differences among these three outdoor structures and decide which would work best for you, here is our guide with everything you need to remember.

Retractable Awning at Open Position

Awning vs. Pergola vs. Canopy


An awning is a canvas cover that will extend from your home, usually screening an area below either a door or window. For more and more people, a retractable awning is preferred, since it can be easily stored away when not in use by simply clicking a button or even by tapping your smartphone.


Rarely connected to a house, a pergola is an outdoor structure featuring columns that support a “roof,” although the roof is actually composed of a grid of rafters or beams. Often has a cover draped over it to provide better protection against the sun, and can also be used to grow various plants or vines.


Very similar to an awning, a canopy does not attach to a house, but instead rests on columns. Due to having a more extensive support structure, a canopy can be extended further than most awnings.

Yellow awning

Which One Should You Choose?

Now that you have a better idea of what each of these outdoor structures is, here are some factors to consider when making your choice between the three.

Maximum Shade

If you want an outdoor structure that will provide you with maximum levels of shade, it’s hard to beat an awning. When comparing an awning vs pergola, remember that a pergola won’t block much sun at all, even if it has a cover draped on its top. Conversely, awnings are made specifically for sun protection.

Ease of Use

When you want an outdoor structure in your backyard that is easy to use, awnings and pergolas tend to beat out canopies. With a pergola, once you have it in place on your patio or elsewhere, it’s not going anywhere. When you have a retractable awning, it can be quickly and effortlessly stored away with the touch of a button. As for a canopy, it is usually heavy, bulky, and requires several people to break it down and store it away.

Wind Protection

When comparing an awning vs pergola or a canopy vs pergola on the topic of wind protection, the awning usually emerges victorious in this three-way battle, primarily because it is anchored to a house. Pergolas are very open and offer little in the form of wind protection, while a canopy has a likelihood of falling over when big wind gusts arrive.

Extending Your Home’s Interior

Of the three outdoor structures mentioned here, the pergola is best if you wish to create an extension of your home’s interior onto your patio or deck. Available in many styles and colors, it’s very easy to have a modern pergola that matches the exterior of your home, while also customizing it to accentuate your home’s interior as well. 

Cooler Interior

When a retractable awning is attached to a home, it can easily help keep the home’s interior much cooler on the hottest days among other benefits. Able to keep sunlight away from windows, it can help protect furniture and flooring from being exposed to harmful UV rays that lead to severe fading over time. In addition, the cooler interior temperatures means a home’s A/C is running less and less, resulting in lower utility bills. 

Awning, Pergola or Canopy, The Choice is Yours

Since each of these three outdoor structures offers various benefits, the choice is yours as to which one you select for your home or business. Whether you think a retractable awning will be best, are fascinated by the thought of your very own pergola, or even have questions about canopies, contact Rollac today to compare an awning vs pergola or a canopy vs pergola.