The Ultimate Buyers Guide For Outdoor Blinds 2018

What Outdoor Blinds Should I Buy?

This post should be read by anyone looking to get outdoor blinds for their home or workplace.

It covers the best outdoor blinds, all the different types of outdoor blinds available, answers common questions, and helps you make a confident decision on what is the best blind system for your windows or outdoor area.

As you read through this post keep in mind your specific blinds needs such as:

  • Blocking out the sun
  • Blocking out the wind
  • Blocking out the rain
  • Keeping bugs out
  • The quality of product you’re after
  • Insulating your outdoor space
  • Your budget
  • Level of maintenance/ cleaning needed

The goal is that by the end of this post you will have a much better understanding of what your best option is.

Without any further introduction, let’s get into all the different types of outdoor blinds available in the market.


Spring Awnings

Retractable Awnings MelbourneRetractable Awnings Melbourne

Spring awnings retract up and down guided by a rail attached to the wall or post. They are typically made from canvas and aluminium and are operated from the outside.

Alternate names: Retractable outdoor blinds, retractable awnings, straight drop awnings, side awnings

Common places they’re installed: Locations that don’t allow much horizontal room such as narrow walkways. Mainly installed on windows but are occasionally installed in outdoor areas for extra shade.


Pivot Arm Awnings

Pivot arm awnings look similar to spring awnings but can typically extend further out and have a slightly different functionality.

They roll up and down guided by a pivoting arm fixed to a wall or post. Pivot arm awnings can be locked in various positions acting as an overhead awning or a full window shade.

They come in a wide range of styles and colours.

Alternate names: Retractable drop arm awning, convertible awning

Common places they’re installed: Suitable for windows to block out the sun and circulate the flow of air.


Fold Arm Awnings

retractable awningsRetractable Awnings melbourne

Fold arm awnings act as a shade from the sun. When the awning isn’t needed it can be folded back allowing the sun to shine through.

You can choose from many different modern styles and colours.

Alternate names: Retractable awnings, foldable awnings, extendable awnings

Common places they’re installed: Any outdoor area that requires temporary shade.


External Window Roller Blinds

external roller blindsexternal roller blinds

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External window blinds are blinds that cover your windows from the outside providing shade from the sun.

External window blinds can be motorised and positioned to roll-up inside your wall for a less obtrusive look.

Alternate names: Sunshade blinds, outdoor window blinds, external window roller blinds

Common places they’re installed: Over windows.


Ziptrak Blinds

Ziptrak melbourneFrankston Ziptrak Blinds

Ziptrak blinds are one of the more common outdoor blinds solutions. With their modern look and feel they effortlessly glide up and down on a track guided design without any cords or zips.

These outdoor blinds will not only block out the sun and wind but keep pesky bugs out of your outdoor area.

You can buy cheaper versions at stores such as Bunnings Warehouse but their quality and durability lack in comparison to Ziptrak blinds.

Alternate names: Cafe blinds, cafe curtains, PVC blinds, patio blinds, verandah blinds, pergola blinds, bistro blinds, alfresco blinds, track blinds, porch blinds

Common places they’re installed: Outdoor living & entertainment areas.


Zipscreen Blinds

Zipscreen blindsZipscreen Blinds Melbourne

Zipscreen blinds can often be confused with Ziptrak blinds. Although they are very similar there are a few key differences:

  • Zipscreen blinds lock all the way down with a latch while Ziptrak blinds have a centre release mechanism.
  • Zipscreen blinds are attached to the side channel by a small zip, Ziptrak binds are attached by their patented track guided design.
  • Zipscreen blinds can be slightly more expensive compared to Ziptrak Blinds.

Alternate names: Cafe blinds, cafe curtains, PVC blinds, patio blinds, verandah blinds, pergola blinds, bistro blinds, alfresco blinds, track blinds, porch blinds

Common places they’re installed: Outdoor living & entertainment areas.


Clear External Roller Blinds


The external roller blinds I’m referring to here are an alternate roller blinds system similar to Ziptrak or Zipscreen blinds, but normally of a lower quality.

These roller blinds are for outdoor living areas. Some just block out the sun, rain and wind while others can offer a complete lockout system like Ziptrak & Ziptraceen blinds.

Alternate names: Bistro blinds, alfresco blinds, outdoor shade blinds, outdoor roll-up blinds, shade cloth blinds, cafe blinds, cafe curtains, PVC blinds, patio blinds, verandah blinds, pergola blinds, bistro blinds, alfresco blinds, track blinds, porch blinds, deck blinds

Common places they’re installed: Outdoor living & entertainment areas.

External Plantation Shutters


Great for controlling the level of wind entering into your outdoor space and also good for privacy from your neighbours.

Alternate names: Patio shutters, exterior shutters

Common places they’re installed: Outdoor living spaces.


External Venetian Blinds

Outdoor Venetian BlindsExternal Timber Blinds

External Venetian blinds are often fitted to windows with 100% block out. They are generally motorised and can be mounted to the wall in multiple different ways including in-wall mounting.

They are great for controlling the amount of light entering your indoor room and also good for privacy.

Alternate names: External timber blinds

Common places they’re installed: Windows.

Roller Shutters

roller shutters Melbourne

roller shutters Melbourne

Roller shutters provide a high level of security. They can be used outdoors on windows or on Door openings.

Roller shutters can be motorised and are good insulators saving on your power bill.

Common places they’re installed: Windows & Door openings.


Common Questions

What are the cheapest outdoor blinds to buy for outdoor living areas?

Blinds and shutters are normally the cheaper options over awnings.

What are the most popular outdoor blinds for outdoor living areas?

Currently, Ziptrak Blinds are trending and are the most popular outdoor blind solution for outdoor living areas such as pergolas.

Which outdoor blinds are the most reliable for outdoor living areas?

This depends on your individual needs. All of the blinds above are highly reliable as long as you purchase high-quality products.

What are the most popular outdoor blinds for windows?

Roller blinds are the most popular external window blinds on the market. They provide a modern feel and can be customised to compliment or match many different styles.

What external blinds are best for security?

Roller shutters are by far the most secure external blinds for security purposes. Second are Ziptrak blinds and Zipscreen blinds with their ability to completely enclose an area and lock at the bottom.

What outside blinds are best for privacy?

Most blinds are great for privacy. As long as the blinds are made from a fabric that isn’t see through you can maintain full privacy when they are fully rolled down.

What outdoor blinds are best for insulating my outdoor area?

Ziptrak and Zipscreen blinds provide a barrier from the heat or cold due to their complete lockout system stopping the cold or warmth from leaking into your outdoor area.

What are the cheapest outdoor blinds to buy for windows?

Lower quality plantation shutters and Venetian blinds are the cheapest options on the market for windows.



You now know your options and have a good understanding of what is best for your situation.

One thing to keep in mind is that while some blinds might be cheaper they may also lack in quality. It’s best to pay that little bit extra for blinds that won’t fade or break shortly after installation.

As for the installation. You can get a professional to do it for you or you can you try it yourself. Most go with a trusted professional so they know they are choosing the right blinds and so its installed hassle free.

I give my clients a 5-year warranty on all products I install so they have extra peace of mind knowing that it’s done right.

If you have any further questions or would like a quote for blinds or awnings on your Melbourne property you can contact me here.