Shade Sails or Shade Canopies – Which Is Better?

Shade sails between walls

It’s a hot summer day and you are hosting a biiiiig party. You need to find a solution to save yourself and your guests from that sweltering heat. So, you ask for recommendations. Some say shade sails are amazing. Others say shade canopies are the best. You’re confused. So, which one is the best? What works for you? Where should you invest your money?

To find the answer to that question, keep reading. We have compiled a brief comparison to help you find which shading option is the best for you.


After reading this, all you have to do is identify which option meets your needs and then invest your money, without regret.


When it comes to price, shade canopies are more expensive than shade sails. While both are permanent fixtures, shade sails come cheaper but are high quality, as good as, if not better than shade canopies.

With both being permanent, it is the amount of use that you get out of them that you should consider while looking at costs.

Once you install a canopy, it’s there, every part of it. Shade sails are also permanent in that the posts and fixings that you use to install shade sails are there to stay. Yet the fabric itself can be removed when not in use.

Experts from Series of Events Australia say, “While we do most of our events indoors, on the occasions we do it outdoors, we use shade sails to protect performers from the sweltering heat. As both canopies and shade sails are permanent, we need something flexible. We chose shade sails because while the outdoor posts and fixings remain, the shade itself can be removed when not needed. The posts and fixings are usually re-purposed until we need it again.”

Design and Style

The design of your shade sail or canopy is dependent on where you want to install them. You can either buy pre-made shade sails or canopy if you already know the type of shade you want to use. Or if you want to build your own custom sail or canopy; you will have free rein on the type of shade you want and the style of your shade.

You can take advantage of custom-made shade sails or canopies to match your residential décor or your business branding.

Interior designers from Gary Hamer say, “The ability to customise furniture, interior décor, exterior décor gives homeowners and businesses to stamp their own identity in everything. Be it balconies, kitchen, or shade sails.”

Shade Canopy

Protection Level

Just because Australia is a sunny nation, it doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing every day. In fact, it has a reputation of strong winds. While most shade solutions are built sturdy and are able to withstand winds, nothing can hold their ground against cyclones.

The shades might be marketed as permanent structures, but it is wise to invest in one that withstands strong wind and weather conditions.

While the shade canopies are built sturdier than shade sails, the shade canopies are permanent fixtures and can be destroyed during very strong winds. But shade sails can withstand winds and if the wind starts to get out of control, it can always be disassembled. Only the posts and poles fixed to the ground remain. This means, minimum resistance and minimum damage.

overlapping sun sails


In the end, the type of shade you want to get is dependent on your own needs and preferences. We have outlined and compared the differences between shade sails and canopies. Experts from design agency Poskitt say, “While canopies may seem like a better choice early on due to their sturdiness, in the long run they can outlive their usefulness. In our company, we design everything with the long term view in mind, and that is what everyone should be doing. Everyone must consider the long term needs and view before making any decision.”

It is time to do your own research based on the facts presented above. After all, everybody’s requirements are unique and different.


Since both shade canopies and shade sails are permanent fixtures, it really comes down to ability for customisations and your own needs. However, once shade canopies are install, every part of it remains and is susceptible to weather damage. In case of shade sails, they’re also permanent but the shade fabric itself can be removed when not in use.


So, make your shade decision depending on your needs and preferences, after considering what we discussed here.


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