The Best Outdoor Shades for Privacy and Temperature Control

Create a relaxing outdoor retreat with the top outdoor shades that can help improve lighting, control temperature, and provide privacy.

Best Overall

The Coolaroo Outdoor Roller Shade on a white background.

Coolaroo Outdoor Roller Shade

See It

Best Bang For The Buck

The Radiance Roll-Up Outdoor PVC Shade on a white background.

Radiance Roll-Up Outdoor PVC Shade

See It

Best Bamboo

The Radiance Bamboo Outdoor Cordless Roll-Up Shade on a white background.

Radiance Bamboo Outdoor Cordless Roll-Up Shade

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Outdoor shades can provide welcome coverage in areas such as balconies, porches, sunrooms, or patios. Depending on the shade type, they can protect users from the sun’s rays, wind, or prying eyes. Beyond function, the right one can add a decorative element to an outdoor space as well.

Good outdoor shades fit the space and deliver what users need. According to Kelly Simpson, senior director of design and innovation at Budget Blinds, a national custom window and blind franchise, “Exterior shades for your patio can be installed on the outside of your existing windows, patios, and porches, and there are many important considerations to keep in mind when buying outdoor shades. Two major factors to consider are energy efficiency and UV protection.”

She goes on to say that because window glass often amplifies the sun’s heat, indoor window treatments aren’t always sufficient to keep the temperature down. “Some outdoor roller shades are crafted from exterior solar shade materials that can block the sun’s rays before they reach your window or outdoor space, making a significant difference in hot weather. Additionally, solar shades can protect furniture from harmful UV rays.”

All outdoor shades will provide some level of sun and heat protection, but these factors can vary depending on the shade material and size. In addition to the ease of use, privacy is another factor to consider. Outdoor shades also come in manual or motorized versions, and the best pick for each user will depend on budget needs and desired convenience features. Keep reading to find out more about key features of outdoor shades and check out some of the best outdoor shades listed below that are designed to cover patio or entertaining spaces.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Coolaroo Outdoor Roller Shade
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Radiance Roll-Up Outdoor PVC Shade
  3. BEST BAMBOO: Radiance Bamboo Outdoor Cordless Roll-Up Shade
  4. BEST SIZE OPTIONS: Patio Paradise Customizable Roll-Up Shades
  5. BEST FOR BREEZY AREAS: Phi Villa Outdoor Roller Shade
  6. BEST MOTORIZED: SeaSun Rechargeable Motorized Shade With Valance
  7. BEST REMOVABLE: Shatex Shade Panel With Ready-Tie Up Ribbon
The Best Outdoor Shade installed between an outdoor patio table and swimming pool.
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Outdoor Shades

The best outdoor shades on our list are made from durable materials designed to withstand the outdoors, but they’re also balanced with style (these are meant to be an eye-catching feature, after all). We chose shades made from materials such as HPDE (high-density polyethylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and bamboo, with each offering its own benefits in terms of price, appearance, or durability. Simpson mentions that “another consideration is the level of privacy you’re seeking. Roller shades come in various opacities, allowing you to either see through the shades or block everything out for increased privacy.” We included shades on our list ranging from fairly opaque to semi-sheer.

Outdoor sun shades are relatively straightforward; choosing and installing them is the most difficult part of the buying process. Using them is often easy, and the best are simple to roll up or down as needed. For that reason, we included a range of manual choices and a motorized model. We also included plenty of cordless options on this list, as cords can pose a hazard to pets and young children. For the corded options we did include, safety features make the cord more difficult for pets or little ones to mess with.

Our Top Picks

Take advantage of coverage from the sun and nosy neighbors with one of the following best outdoor shades. These top picks can turn an outdoor space into a shady oasis.

Best Overall

Coolaroo Outdoor Roller Shade

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: HDPE
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, hand crank
  • UV protective: Up to 90 percent UV protection

Pros

  • Knitted HDPE material performs beautifully in outdoor settings and is easy to clean
  • Shade material blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays but is still breathable, promoting air circulation
  • Can be wall- or ceiling-mounted, and both configurations are straightforward to install

Cons

  • Hand crank is not weather-resistant and should be stored out of the elements when not in use

The Coolaroo outdoor roller shade is an excellent choice for many homes. The brand sells this shade in a range of sizes and colors (shoppers have the option to choose the color and size at many retailers). The shade itself is made of knitted HDPE fabric that looks nice and is weather-, -fade, mold-, and mildew-resistant.

The fabric blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays, but it’s still breathable to reduce the temperature in covered areas. It won’t completely block the light, so it won’t darken an area too much. To add to installation flexibility, this unit can be wall- or ceiling-mounted. The blinds are operated using the hand crank, which is a safer option than corded shades for homes with kids and pets.

Get the Coolaroo outdoor shades at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Coolaroo.

Best Bang For The Buck

Radiance Roll-Up Outdoor PVC Shade

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: PVC
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, roll-up
  • UV protective: Up to 80 percent UV protection

Pros

  • Includes mounting hardware and is easy to put up; no additional cost for installation
  • PVC material is waterproof so it won’t get damaged by rain and is very easy to clean
  • Semi-sheer sun protection lets ambient light through

Cons

  • Users have to manually roll up the blind and fasten in place (fasteners are included)
  • Not very sturdy and not suitable for windy areas; tubes bend easily

The Radiance roll-up outdoor PVC shade is a good choice for shoppers looking for very basic outdoor blinds at a budget-friendly price. They’re made of PVC; essentially a bunch of thin PVC tubes tied together to create a sun-blocking sheet. These blinds are cordless, and to roll them up, the user needs to manually roll the blind from the bottom up and use the included fasteners.

The PVC tubing construction makes these blinds more delicate (the tubes don’t break easily, but they can bend, which affects the appearance of the blinds). We don’t recommend them for windy areas, though even if they do get damaged, they’re very affordable to replace. Radiance sells this shade in a few different sizes, each with the included mounting hardware. These shades also block up to 80 percent of UV light, so they do offer great protection for an economical price.

Get the Radiance roll-up outdoor shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Target.

Best Bamboo

Radiance Bamboo Outdoor Cordless Roll-Up Shade

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: Bamboo
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, roll-up
  • UV protective: Yes, percentage not specified

Pros

  • Natural bamboo reed material offers a relaxed and rustic appearance
  • Cordless, so it’s safer for pets and kids
  • Lack of closing mechanism lends to an unfussy appearance
  • Includes mounting hardware and is straightforward to install

Cons

  • Harder to open and close; has to be manually rolled or unrolled and fastened into place

Bamboo outdoor shades can add a lovely rustic and breezy look that plastic blinds just can’t create. The Radiance bamboo shades capture that feeling nicely with naturally colored bamboo reed strips, fashioned into blinds of several sizes. This is another cordless shade option; users manually roll the shades up to adjust them and keep them in place with the included fastener.

The shade softly filters light and will block some UV rays, though Radiance doesn’t specify a UV protection percentage. Mounting hardware is included, and the shade is simple to install, offering a tropical and summery look once it’s set up.

Get the Radiance bamboo outdoor shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Target.

Best Size Options

Patio Paradise Customizable Roll-Up Shades

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: HDPE
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, cord
  • UV protective: Up to 90 percent UV protection

Pros

  • Lots of size options ranging from 4 to 8 feet wide and 5 to 15 feet tall
  • HDPE material blocks 90 percent of UV rays while letting a breeze through
  • Cord opening-and-closing mechanism is easy to use, with a rope holder to improve safety

Cons

  • Some shoppers may prefer to opt for cordless options for use around pets and young children

Suitable for shading areas big and small, this shade from Patio Paradise comes in a variety of sizes. Shoppers can choose among a range of sizes from retailers or order direct from Patio Paradise to choose a width (4, 6, 7, or 8 feet) and a customizable height between 5 to 15 feet. A handful of color options are also available.

This shade option is made of HDPE material with a breathable, knitted weave that lets air flow through but offers 90 percent UV protection. It has a cord opening-and-closing mechanism, but it does come with a cord holder to improve safety.

Get the Patio Paradise outdoor shades at Amazon or Patio Paradise.

Best For Breezy Areas

Phi Villa Outdoor Roller Shade

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: HDPE
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, cord
  • UV protective: Up to 95 percent UV protection

Pros

  • Shade includes rings along the bottom edge to aid in anchoring on windy days
  • Great sun protection; offers up to 95 percent UV protection due to knitted fabric
  • Corded (chain) opening-and-closing mechanism rolls smoothly
  • Includes a tension holder device to improve safety

Cons

  • Besides the rings, anchoring accessories (such as weights or hooks) aren’t included
  • Tension device is not completely failproof, so some may prefer cordless options

On really windy days, outdoor shades need to be rolled up to prevent damage. But if it’s just a bit breezy, the Phi Villa outdoor roller shade is up to the task. This shade features rings on the bottom that make it easier to keep the shade in place. Though anchoring accessories aren’t included, it’s possible to use weights, hooks, bungee balls, or rope to anchor the shade and prevent it from blowing about in light winds.

Otherwise, this is a pretty standard but high-quality shade, which is made using resilient and easy-to-clean HDPE material that offers up to 95 percent UV protection. It has a cord opening-and-closing mechanism and comes with a tension device to improve safety.

Get the Phi Villa outdoor shades at Amazon.

Best Motorised

SeaSun Rechargeable Motorized Shade With Valance

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: PVC
  • Closing mechanism: Motorized
  • UV protective: Up to 90 percent UV protection

Pros

  • Remote-controlled motorized opening-and-closing system is very easy to use
  • When rolled up, shade stays well protected in an aluminum valance
  • Woven PVC fabric is durable, long lasting, and looks nice

Cons

  • Requires a nearby outlet, which may limit installation location options

Motorized outdoor shades make opening and closing the blinds much easier. With the SeaSun rechargeable motorized shade, users can control the shade with the included remote to roll it up or down from the aluminum protective cassette valance. The valance includes easy mount brackets, which can be installed on a wall or ceiling.

This blind is made of PVC, but instead of PVC strips or tubes (like some cheaper outdoor shades), the PVC is woven into an outdoor-ready fabric that’s weather-resistant and easy to keep clean. It’s a rather heavy material, so it stays in place and isn’t prone to wrinkling. This shade blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays, which means great sun protection for an outdoor space.

Get the SeaSun outdoor shades at The Home Depot or DK Hardware.

Best Removable

Shatex Shade Panel With Ready-Tie Up Ribbon

See It

Product Specs

  • Material: HDPE
  • Closing mechanism: Manual, ties
  • UV protective: Up to 90 percent UV protection

Pros

  • No mounting required; comes with ribbon ties
  • Easy to uninstall; ideal for renters or those who just want a summer sun shade
  • Available in a variety of sizes to help shade small and large areas
  • Versatile; can be installed as shading walls or as a roof canopy for a pergola

Cons

  • Some reviewers note that the ties aren’t very long; may be too short for some columns

A removable shade is a better choice for some situations, such as for renters or for those who only need a temporary shade. The Shatex shade panel is an excellent solution that comes ready to install, without the need to insert any screws for mounting. Instead, this shade panel comes with ribbons along its reinforced edges, spaced 1.5 feet apart, and it is easy to tie to patio or pergola columns.

The shade is made of knitted HDPE material that blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays. The knit makes it breathable, allowing fresh air in. This shade is also available in various sizes to fit different outdoor spaces.

Get the Shatex outdoor shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Bed Bath & Beyond

.

Jump to Our Top Picks

The Best Outdoor Shade installed over a seating area.
Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Shades

Outdoor shades can make a space much more comfortable, but choosing the right ones for a space depends on a few factors. As for indoor shades, the main considerations include the shade’s material, opening mechanism, and the planned installation location. These features can affect the overall performance of outdoor shades, so we expand upon them ahead.

Material

When it comes to outdoor shades, common materials include polyethylene, PVC, vinyl, bamboo, and outdoor fabrics. These materials are weather-resistant and are either naturally resistant or treated to prevent UV fading, mold, mildew, and water damage. Synthetic materials come in a range of colors and opacity levels, while bamboo offers a rustic look (but may be less durable).

Materials can range from completely opaque to quite sheer, and along this range, shades have varied benefits for sun protection and privacy control. Some patio shades are UV protective, which means they block UV light even if they aren’t totally opaque. More opaque shades offer better privacy.

Manual vs. Motorized

Outdoor shades come in manual or motorized versions. The simplest manual options have ties, and users roll up the shades and then tie them up. Others have a roll-up or opening mechanism, similar to indoor blinds. Manual blinds tend to be much cheaper than motorized blinds, but they take more effort to use. In homes with pets or young children, look for an option without dangling cords or strings, which can pose a hazard.

Motorized outdoor shades have a mechanism that opens or closes the shades at the press of a button or switch. These outdoor retractable shades tend to come at a higher price tag, but the automated feature makes them very convenient to use.

Location

Consider where the outdoor roll-up shades are desired. Options include between porch columns, over exterior sunroom windows, or around a small patio. Consider how the location affects light control (and therefore heat control), as well as privacy. Covering an open space on all sides can also keep bugs at bay. The right installation location allows users to enjoy an outdoor space, but with a bit more protection.

Depending on the weather in a location, there might be other considerations to keep in mind. In areas with lots of sunlight, look for outdoor shades that block a high percentage of UV rays. In very windy areas, consider shades that are easy to pull up; shades should be pulled up in windy weather to protect them from damage.

FAQs  

Looking for more tips for choosing the right outdoor shade for porch, pergola, or other outdoor usage? Read on for some answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Q. What is the best window treatment to block sun and heat?

Outdoor shades are an excellent choice, but anything that provides shade will help. Outdoor shades block up to 95 percent of UV rays, which means blocking a lot of the damaging effects of the sun and the subsequent heat that comes with it.

An outdoor curtain is also a great option. Of course, instead of using outdoor window shades, indoor window coverings can help too. For additional shade overhead while outside, consider a shade sail or even a pop-up canopy for temporary use.

Q. How do you clean outdoor shades?

Since outdoor shades are weather-resistant, most of them can be cleaned with water. Check the manufacturer’s directions for the best way to clean outdoor shades.

Q. What color is best for outdoor shades?

The best color for outdoor shades comes down to personal preference. These shades can take up a lot of space on the outside of your home, so choose a color that looks nice with the home’s exterior. Lighter colors tend to be more sheer and let in more light, while darker shades tend to block more light.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Share

WHY YOU CAN TRUST BOB VILA