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Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

Especially for homes in warm climates without air conditioning, summer months can become brutally hot. Solar blinds can provide relief from uncomfortable heat by acting as a window covering with added features, such as UV protection and light control. The best solar shades for blocking heat are constructed with longevity and mind and function to effectively keep out as many of the sun’s harmful rays as possible. Below, you’ll find our guide to sun blocking shades, with the top product options available today and factors to look for as you shop.

Top Recommendation

Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade (6′ X 6′)

The Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade measures six feet by six feet and offers 90% UV protection. With a knitted fabric in a light beige color, dubbed “southern sunset”, this solar shade may be a great choice for windows. The HDPE fabric is breathable, resistance to mold and mildew, blocks heat, and minimizes glare. It can also be used for patio areas, decks, porches, and gazebos. This shade is child-safe and operates without cords or chains; a crank is included.

Upgrade Option

Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade (8′ X 6′)

This roller shade is a higher-end option from Coolaroo, the same brand that offers our top product recommendation. This shade measures eight feet by six feet and features a breathable knitted fabric. It comes in the “southern sunset” beige tone and operates using a crank, without cords or chains. The fabric is resistant to mold and mildew, and the shade blocks out 90% of UV rays.

Gale Pacific, USA 302245 6X15 90% Uv Wheat Shade, (6' x 15')

Value Option

Gale Pacific Coolaroo Shade

Due to its omission of a crank or a rail for installation, this Coolaroo solar mesh window shade is very affordable. It measures six feet by 15 feet and comes in a beige “wheat” color. This shade is made from high-density polyethylene that can block out up to 90% of UV rays. Plus, the fabric facilitates the rising of heat and humidity, cutting down on ambient air temperatures as much as 30%. The fabric is also weather-resistant and can be cleaned just by rinsing with a hose.

Alternative Option

GoDear Design Cordless Roller Shade

For those looking for indoor thermal shades for windows, the GoDear Design Modern Free Stop Roller Shade may be a fitting choice. Measuring 27 inches by 72 inches, this silver-colored thermal shade is designed to be both attractive, contributing to your home decor, while also blocking out some of the light from outside. It allows some natural light to enter the room. This roller shade also has a free stop feature and is cordless.

GoDear Design Modern Free Stop Cordless Roller Shade with Cassette Valance, 27' x 72', Room Darkening, Silver, Thermal

How to Choose the Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

Solar shades for blocking heat come in a variety of forms. While many features, such as light ray protection and weather-resistant fabric, stay consistent across numerous products, these shades can vary in a few key ways. Read on to learn about the key features that distinguish solar window shades and how these factors can impact the quality of a product.

Material Color

Due to the effect of color on heat absorption, the lightness or darkness of the fabric of your solar shade will impact how it keeps out heat from the sun. Light-colored solar shades have different pros and cons than dark-colored shades, so it mainly comes down to your personal needs.

Light-colored shades can reflect heat well. This type of shade allows more light to seep into the room for those who prefer natural light in their homes. The best light-colored shades can block out approximately 80% to 90% of exterior light. This is less than dark-colored shades, so light options may be more fitting for common areas where you may gather socially during the day, as opposed to bedrooms.

Dark solar shades minimize visible light that comes into your home. These shades provide superior control over glare compared to their light-colored counterparts, and 94% to 96% of visible light can be blocked out with a dark shade. The darker the color is, the more heat it absorbs, so dark-colored shades are effective at absorbing heat from the sun’s rays and keeping it from entering your home (Source).

Openness

Home shades have a characteristic called “openness”, which refers to the volume of light that can shine through the shade. Generally, when you’re looking at sun screen shades, you want a low percentage of openness. That way, most of the sunlight is blocked out, keeping your home cool and protected against UV rays.

The average solar screen has 7% openness. This means that 7% of the shade’s fabric is permeable by the sun. The more open a shade is, the more natural light will enter the room, which may be a desired effect for some individuals. However, a higher openness percentage also makes for greater heat transfer, which diminishes the effectiveness of the shade at blocking heat (Source).

Protection Against UV Rays

UV rays are known to be harmful for our health. Skin cancer, skin damage, premature aging, eye conditions, and the weakening of our immune systems are the main issues that can arise from overexposure to UV rays (​Source). Solar sun shades are an accessible and convenient way to keep UV rays out of your home. Over time, the use of UV window shades will reduce your exposure to these rays and, in turn, your risk for the aforementioned conditions.

Solar sun shades that filter out UV rays present their protection level as a percentage. Most of the products included in this article block out 80% to 90% of UV rays. So, by consistently using these window solar shades, you’ll cut down on your exposure to UV rays by a significant margin.

Shade Mechanism

Different shades operate using different mechanisms. Most solar shades are considered to be roller shades, meaning that it uses a cylinder and firm sections of fabric to roll down over the window. To operate a roller shade, you generally just pull it down manually. Many shade options have a locking feature to keep the shade securely in the desired position.

High-end window shades may operate electronically, powered by an external remote. These motorized shades may be great for homes with large windows, or with windows that are high up and out of reach.

One major consideration for window shade mechanisms today is child safety. Some shade models include chains or cords, which can present a hazard for both children and pets. Cordless, chainless shades are the safest options for households with young children and pets (Source).

Best Solar Shades for Blocking Heat Reviews

Quick Take: OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Solar Shades for Blocking Heat

Gale Pacific Coolaroo Shade


Value OptionGale Pacific Coolaroo Shade

Can install it with any mechanism that you want.

Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade (8' X 6')


Upgrade OptionCoolaroo Exterior Roller Shade (8′ X 6′)

The 8’ by 6’ dimensions provide enough length for large windows.

Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade (6’x 6′)

The 6 inch by 6 inch exterior Coolaroo shade is made with tan fabric that may stay in excellent condition for years and years. The material is designed to withstand the sun’s powerful rays to reduce fading. Also, this solar shade features a crank operation, free of cords or chains. This is safe for children or pets, but also manageable to operate if you’re older, disabled, or otherwise struggle with pull-down shades.

As opposed to a gray or cool-toned solar shade, this product from Coolaroo filters some natural light into your home. The light will be warm-toned, easy on the eyes, and may be quite pleasant at all times of the day.

The crank used to operate this shade is constructed entirely of plastic. With each part made of the same material, the crank may get stuck or otherwise malfunction. Also, the crank may take more time to operate than other varieties of shade mechanism. Although this solar shade blocks out up to 90% of UV light, it’s still a bit see-through. So, if you’re looking for a shade that provides complete privacy, this product may not be the perfect choice.

Pros
  • Fabric won’t fade, even after years of use
  • Crank operation is easy to operate
  • Tan color casts warm light into your home
Cons
  • Crank mechanism is made of plastic
  • Manual crank can be slow to operate
  • Shade is not completely opaque

Gale Pacific Coolaroo Shade Fabric

Gale Pacific Coolaroo Shade Fabric may be one of the best solar shades for blocking heat if you’re on a tight budget. It’s sturdy and designed to maintain good condition for many years. Even amidst the outdoor elements, this shade fabric may resist fraying and tears.

This shade option doesn’t include the hardware that’s needed to install it over your window, which may be inconvenient. But, this also gives you the option to hand-pick the hardware that you want; it’s a trade-off.

While budget-friendly, this shade fabric has an industrial look that may not be the most visually pleasing option that you can find. Also, the edges aren’t hemmed, which may give it a rough, unfinished look.

Pros
  • Can install it with any mechanism that you want
  • Fabric is resistant to tears, damage, and fraying
  • Highly affordable
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with hardware for installation
  • Isn’t hemmed at the edges
  • Not the most attractive option

GoDear Design Cordless Roller Shade

This GoDear product is a potentially viable option for homeowners seeking a window shade with nominal thermal capabilities. The material is durable and has a high-end look, and the silver tone of the material may contribute to a beautiful interior. Additionally, this shade offers the convenience of the capacity to be mounted on the ceiling.

This sun shade is more sheer that other options on this list. While it will let in natural light, which some homeowners may appreciate, it won’t block out as much heat as you may want, and it doesn’t offer complete privacy when it’s dark outside. Also, if the measurements of your windows don’t provide enough leeway, this shade may be tricky to install.

Pros
  • Can be mounted to the ceiling
  • Material is of a good quality
  • Silver color is attractive
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer complete sun protection
  • See-through; no privacy at night
  • Can be difficult to install if measurements are tight

Conclusion

The best solar shades for blocking heat offer a combination of sun protection and durability. Among the top solar shade options on the market today, the four products listed here are the best of the best. Between these top options, the Coolaroo Exterior Roller Shade, 6’x 6’ comes out as the winner. Despite its highly competitive price, it blocks out up to 90% of UV rays. Plus, it’s built to resist sun and weather damage. With an attractive design that lets in a small amount of natural light, this thermal shade may satisfy the needs of many different consumers.

Especially for homes in warm climates without air conditioning, summer months can become brutally hot. Solar blinds can provide relief from uncomfortable heat by acting as a window covering with added features, such as UV protection and light control. The best solar shades for blocking heat are constructed with longevity and mind and function to effectively keep out as many of the sun’s harmful rays as possible. Below, you’ll find our guide to sun blocking shades, with the top product options available today and factors to look for as you shop.