Last updated: August 5, 2021

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The main purpose of a sun awning is to protect you from the sun and provide shade. However, it can also serve as weather protection for a terrace. Unlike a parasol, the sail is attached to the house using various mounting parts and must have a certain tension. Sun sails come in different variations.

The size and material varies between manufacturers. Some models even contain a UV filter and thus protect against the sun’s rays. We have compiled all the important facts about awnings in this guide. So you can find out exactly what you need to know before you buy a sail.

The most important facts in brief

  • A sun sail is usually made of polyester and can be coated so that no UV radiation penetrates. So if you want more than just weather protection for your patio and garden furniture, you can look for such a coating when buying. In addition, the sails are water-repellent and tear-resistant.
  • The assembly differs between the individual manufacturers, but is generally not very demanding. However, the individual sails come with sufficient fastening materials so that you can attach the product to trees, poles or your house.
  • There are also special sun sails that can be attached to a camping car. This way you can spend time in the shade even when you’re on the road.

The Best Sun Sail: Our Choices

Buying and review criteria for sun sails

There are some buying criteria you should look for when choosing a sun sail to find the best product for you. The most important criteria are:

We explain these three criteria to you in the next section so that no ambiguities remain.

Material

The canvas of the individual sun sails is usually made of polyester. The fabric is called HDP or HDPA and is also available with a double coating. To ensure that you not only get shade, but also UV protection, you should look for a corresponding UV protection label. Furthermore, it is important that the sail is weatherproof and, above all, waterproof to a certain degree.

However, above a certain amount of water that remains on the sail, there should be a certain degree of permeability so that the sail does not tear. Tear resistance, e.g. due to wind, should always be guaranteed, however. It is also extremely practical if the sail can be easily cleaned with washing-up liquid, or even better, if it is washable.

You should also make sure that the edges are reinforced. This can be done, for example, with a double seam. The rings at the corners should also make a quality impression and be well fastened.

Mounting parts

Particularly good awnings often come with the appropriate accessories for mounting. You can use various ropes and hooks to attach the sail to any object and tension it. All parts that are made of metal should be rustproof so that you also have a long-lasting product for outdoor use. This makes the sail resistant to all weather conditions and therefore safe.

Location

When choosing your sail, it depends on where you want to hang it. The sun sails for the home, i.e. those that serve as sun protection on a terrace or balcony, have a different type of fastening than those for a conservatory, for example. There are also special awnings for travelling.

These can be attached to a vehicle or include ground spikes as an accessory so that it can be easily installed on a campsite. So make sure you know what the awning is designed for. The enclosed mounting parts provide a hint.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about awnings answered in detail

We would like to answer the following questions on the subject of sun sails in the best possible way so that you know whether such a product is suitable for you.

What is a sun sail?

A sun sail is usually a rectangular or triangular canvas that primarily provides shade. In order to fulfil this purpose, the polyester fabric is quite opaque and also has a UV filter. In order to cover a terrace or similar area with it, there is the so-called rope tensioning technique. This is used to tension the sail and align it so that it serves as a sun, weather or privacy screen.

What types of sun sails are there?

As you have already seen in our product recommendations, there are many different types of sun sails. First and foremost, they differ in shape. Most sails are rectangular, but there are also some triangular models. The next difference is in the material. There are sails that are made of a breathable fabric and thus ensure a pleasant temperature below, especially in summer.

Sonnensegel

A triangular sun sail that has been stretched with the help of a frame. There are also sails that are only mounted with ropes. (Image source: Manfred Antranias Zimmer / pixabay)

Otherwise, the type of sail depends on how it is attached. The classic ones are tensioned from a house or a pole. But there are also models that are mounted like a tent with earth spikes.

What does a sun sail cost?

Most sun sails are already available at a low price and also score well in terms of quality. Of course, some more special products also have a higher price. You can find a small overview here:
Price range Available products
Low-priced (15 – 35 €) Rectangular or triangular sails for the terrace, usually mounting accessories included, robust and valuable materials
Medium-priced (35 – 85 €) Sun sails with ground spikes, water-repellent impregnation, some with somewhat higher UV protection
High-priced (85 € and above) Sun sails for attachment to mobile homes or campers

You can use our table to get a rough idea of the budget for a sun sail that meets your needs.

Is it difficult to install a sun sail?

With the enclosed assembly parts and instructions, the installation of a sun sail is easy. All it takes is a little skill and time. If you have someone to give you a hand, this is of course an advantage.

What alternatives are there for a sun sail?

If you don’t have enough space to stretch a sail or if you don’t have the possibility to fix the ropes, you can fall back on one of the following alternatives:

  • Parasol
  • Awning
  • Pergola
  • Arbour

Probably the simplest variant is a sunshade. All you need is an umbrella stand and you have shade. Moreover, parasols are available in different sizes and can thus also be used on small balconies. An awning or pergola, on the other hand, requires the effort of assembly.

This is usually more difficult than with a sun awning, as it requires drilling in order to obtain a stable attachment. An arbour that is overgrown with plants naturally needs time for the plants to grow. It usually takes a few years until an arbour is completely watertight.

Conclusion

A sun sail is ideal for providing sun, weather or privacy protection. Due to the different shapes and colours, such a sail can make any garden an eye-catcher. It filters light and UV radiation and thus protects our sensitive skin. Garden furniture is also protected from radiation and rain.

Because it is so easy to assemble, there is no need for excessive manual skill and the awning can be stretched by anyone. So if you are looking for a shade for at home or on the road, then such a sail is exactly the right thing for you.

(Image source: Erwin Drews / pixabay)

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