Sunsetter vs Sunesta Comparison

Choosing The Best Retractable Awning


Having an awning of any kind outside your home provides you with an oasis of shade and shelter for your family, your friends, and even your pets. If you're living in a climate where having shade during the day is as important as having water you'll know just how much of a Godsend an awning can be. Having an awning fitted to your home can and does involve a commitment on your part in terms of money, time, and of course your trust in your awning performing flawlessly every single time it's used. The last thing you need is to be stuck in the middle of a heat wave, and have your awning simply stop working when you need it most.

The Most Important Factors to consider when choosing a Retractable Awning Are:

  • Durability -- The Retractable Awning industry has grades of product much like the automobile industry.  There are inexpensive, low-quality models that are meant to be used for a time and then replaced and there are very expensive, luxurious models that are filled with special features and built to last.  Generally, if an awning is built with materials and components from the Far East (Mainly China), it is meant to be used for a few years and then be replaced by a new unit.  If an awning is constructed of US and European components, the awning is built to last for decades with some standard maintenance required.
  • Custom Sizing vs Standard Sizing Selections -- Bargain and DIY awning manufacturers save money by only offering their awnings in specific sizes.  While all lateral-arm retractable awnings are limited to specific Projections (distance the awning extends from the wall when rolled-out), Better Quality retractable awnings will have more projection options and will offer long extensions up to nearly 15 feet.

    Additionally, bargain awnings are usually offered in widths on even numbers of feet.  If you need an awning that is 12ft 6in wide, you will be forced to choose between a 12ft or a 13 ft awning in this case.  Most better-quality retractable awnings are available in custom widths.  This means that if you need an awning to cover your deck, you can get exactly the width that performs ideally and looks correct for the width you need.  Again, a professional awning contractor can help you figure out the exact awning spec's that fit your situation.
  • Warranty/Service -- There are many warranty claims claims in the industry, but it is important to understand the fine print and who is responsible for the incidental charges (shipping, inspection, etc.).  If you choose a DIY solution, keep in mind that you will be learning how to properly install a retractable awning using trial and error.  This is fine if you don't mind a few extra holes drilled into your home's exterior and have a few friends that will help you lift the awning into place.  But more importantly, many DIY awnings have very restrictive warranty language that tends to blame all problems on "Improper Installation." Also, you will likely be responsible for any shipping costs to/from the awning manufacturer if a warranty claim is to be considered; Most DIY manufacturer's don't have local representatives to come to you and inspect a faulty awning. 

    We would recommend speaking with local awning contractors in your area to find someone who will honor the manufacturer's warranty and provide the labor necessary for any repairs free-of-charge.  It is important to specifically ask questions about the warranties and who is responsible for incidental costs.  A company that stands behind their product is a good indication of where the real quality awnings are.  While the cost of a professionally installed awning is more than a DIY awning, the benefits are well worth it if you find the right partner.
  • Color/Pattern Options -- Retractable awnings are an addition to the outside of your home that people will see and notice.  In order for the awning to blend into your home decor properly, you need a lot of choices in colors and patterns.  Most bargain awnings come in a dozen or so colors, which seems like a lot until you are trying to match or complement a specific color of your home's exterior.  You can get a reasonably priced, high-quality awning with nearly 200 colors and patterns if you avoid the big-box bargain models. Also, higher quality awnings provided by professional awning contractors come in a wide range of metal frame colors to accent other trim colors on your home.
  • Features and Options -- Every retractable awning application is a little different.  A One-size-Fits-All awning usually does not have the options necessary to solve a variety of specific problems well.  For example, if you have a Western exposure and the sun would shine under the awning later in the afternoon, you may need a way to adjust the pitch of the awning every afternoon quickly and easily.  The best retractable awning manufacturers provide a wide range of features and add-ons that can make your awning more effective at solving your specific sun-blocking problem.

Get Started with
West Coast Awnings!

Fill out the form below to connect to an awning expert NOW!

Who to Contact in Tampa Bay for Retractable Awnings

At West Coast Awnings we're extremely proud of what we do, and how long we've been doing it. We're not some newcomer to this industry. Located in the Sunshine State, we've been providing our residential and commercial customers across the United States with their awnings since 1957. We have the experience and the knowledge behind each of our products to successfully implement any of them to your home and enhance its value.

For all of our pride in our wide product range, how do we stack up against the competition? In the interest of fairness and offering all of our customers, both current and the ones we have yet to meet, full transparency when it comes to our awning products, we've put together a comparison of how we compare to the Sunsetter range of products point for point when compared against our popular Sunesta awnings.

Sunsetter Awnings vs. Sunesta Awnings

Where Are The Companies Based?


Our Sunesta awnings are manufactured in Jacksonville, Florida and supplied from our local business based in Clearwater, Florida. If you're in the area, stop on by and visit our retail location at 1424 S. Missouri Ave. We've been in the same location here in Tampa Bay since 1957 helping local families and businesses with their awning needs and installations.


Sunsetter's offices of operation are in Massachusetts where they distribute to both their dealer system and direct to customers online or over the phone. While the company is located in the United States, their product is only "Assembled" in the U.S.

Who Makes The Component Parts?


The aluminum used in Sunesta awnings is produced and formed right here in St. Augustine, Florida, and the important shoulder components are US manufactured as well. The Somfy wireless remote controlled motors used in our products originate in France and carry the longest warranty in the industry. The fabric we use is made in Austria from the finest acyllic materials and carries a 10-year warranty against fading! We strive only to produce the highest quality awnings for each of our loyal customers, and believe we've done exactly that with our strict quality guidelines.


A number of components in Sunsetter awnings are either manufactured or sourced from countires in Asia; China amongst others. While these components allow Sunsetter to offer a lower price, their compromise in quality limits their ability to offer long-term warranty coverage on their products. While cost is a very important factor in your awning decision, the cheapest option is not always the best value for your investment.

Who Actually Installs Your Awning?


We have our own dedicated team of awning installation experts, many of whom have been working in this industry for several decades now. West Coast Awnings is a Florida State Certified Specialty Structure Contractor, licensed to work anywhere in the State of Florida. Everything we put our hands on meets or exceed Florida Building Code and carries our personal guarantee of quality. To ensure complete customer confidence and security, our installers are also covered by a $3 million ($3,000,000) public liability insurance policy. This is an extra precaution in case there are any unforeseen accidents to protect your home or your business property by being fully covered at all times. We offer a complete installation service based on almost 60-years of trade experience which is something you're not going to hear from other awning companies.


When you order a Sunsetter awning it's usually through a registered Sunsetter dealer who then hires either a local handyman or another company to install the awning for them. They may or may not be a licensed contractor, and there is no guarantee that the person installing your Sunsetter awning is covered by any form of insurance at all. These are risks that the average home or business owner can not afford to take, and should not have to.

What Sizes Are Available?


We custom build each and every Sunesta awning to your exact specifications in widths up to 40 feet! We understand that every property is different, and each person has their own personal taste and style, so we offer 192 fabric selections and a wide range of frame color options.


Although the Sunsetter line products look good in their packaging, you're going to be restricted to awning widths of between 10ft and 20ft in preset sizes - there are few made-to-order options with Sunsetter so you might find yourself a bit limited here. By supplying only fixed sizes and one frame color, Sunsetter can limit the number of choices they offer a customer. This keeps their costs down and helps them maximize profits.

How Far Can Your Awnings Project Away from a Wall?


At West Coast Awnings we're familiar with our customer requirements, and we have refined our products based on their unique needs. The maximum projection we can offer with our Sunesta awnings range is 14 feet and 8 inches, the longest projection in the retractable awning industry. We also offer awnings in projections of as little as 5 feet if preferred. We'll work with you to decide on the perfect projection length for your unique requirements.


The Sunsetter awnings are available in 9ft, 10ft and 11 ft projections. If your awning projection needs are any higher than that, Sunsetter simply won't be able to offer you the range of shade that you need or want.

What Fabric and Color Choices Are Available?


The metal frame components for Sunesta awnings are available in white, clay, beige and brown. Our awnings come in a color scheme of your choice to suit any home or business. When it comes to the type of fabric we use in our awnings it's manufactured in Austria for the highest quality possible. There are over 193 colorfast solid and stripe patterns to choose from when deciding on the exact color of your new Sunesta awning. No matter what style of decor you're facing we'll have something to match your exact needs with our customizable Sunesta line.


If you choose a Sunsetter awning you'll only have a single color choice for the metal frame components of your awning. When it comes to fabric color there are only 16 fabric pattern choices to choose from when compared to the 193 that Sunesta offers. If you truly want a unique design and feel for the outside of your home or business, consider your options, and choose accordingly.

The Type of Warranty You'll Receive


We're delighted to offer our customers the best warranties in the awning industry today. Each part of your Sunesta awning will fall under a specific warranty to ensure a long lasting confidence in making the right decision. The metal framing for the awning is under full warranty for 10-15 years depending on exact make and model. All Sunesta fabrics are under warranty for 10 years, and the motors receive a complete 5 year warranty too! If anything ever goes wrong with any part of your awning, West Coast Awning provides free labor for any repairs or replacements of the parts. Since our operations are based right here in Florida, we have the ability to provide overnight delivery on replacement components so that you're not stuck waiting all summer long.


The frame, fabric and electronic components for Sunsetter awnings are covered by a 5-year pro-rated warranty. A pro-rated warranty will only cover a small portion of any repair costs, and the older your awning becomes, the less your warranty covers in terms of financial costs. Not only that, but customers are often forced to pay for the labor on all warranty repairs and the shipping costs as well! When you purchase a Sunsetter awning you're risking having to face a difficult time if anything goes wrong with your product.


In the above comparison we have done our best to provide a fair, impartial, and honest appraisal of our Sunesta awning line versus those produced by the Sunsetter brand. We believe the factual information stated above speaks loudly, and should have considerable effects on your decision to purchase an awning. At West Coast Awnings we strive to provide the highest level quality and service to each of our valued customers in the Florida area, and throughout the entire United States. Our Sunesta awnings offer everything you'll ever need in a retractable patio awning for your home or business. From the many options available for you to choose from, to our long-lasting warranties, we are here to help you enjoy the outdoors in style and comfort.

For more information on how you can order your custom Sunesta retractable patio awning today, fill out our contact form or call 1-727-447-3461. You can also come visit our showroom open from 8:00am - 4:30pm every Monday through Friday in Clearwater, Florida. We're always here to answer any questions you have about our products or installation.