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Best Shade Sails and Shade Installers in Australia

Australia is no stranger to the sun, and in summer our backyards can become overbearingly hot. For many of us, the answer to this is a dip in the pool, but for gardeners with smaller spaces without water to cool down in, parasols, shade sails, and awnings are a great way to take the edge of the summer sun.

We’re going to take a look at the best shade sails to buy in 2022 and explore how they work. Because, unlike awnings and parasols, shade sails are designed to protect us without smothering us from the sunlight.

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1. Nakamory 3x4m Sun Shade Sail

Nakamory Sun Shade Sail
Top Rated Best Shade Sail in Australia

2. Coolaroo 5.4m Square Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Coolaroo 5.4m Square Shade Sail
Premium Choice Shade Sail in Australia

3. Neween 2m x 3m Water Resistant Sun Shade Sail

Neween Water Resistant Sun Shade Sail
Best Value Shade Sail in Australia

4. Augienb 290x290cm Sun Shade Sail Canopy

Augienb Sun Shade Sail Canopy

5. Coolaroo 5m Triangle Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Coolaroo Triangle Commercial Grade Shade Sail

6. Coolaroo 300081 Shade Fabric

Coolaroo Shade Fabric

7. AsterOutdoor 16' x 20' Rectangle Sun Shade Sail

AsterOutdoor Rectangle Sun Shade Sail

8. Instahut 2.5x3m Shade Sail Sun

Instahut Shade Sail Sun

9. LVAND 3.6x4.8m Rectangle Shade Sails

LVAND Rectangle Shade Sails

10. Coolaroo 90% UV Protection Shade Fabric

Coolaroo 90% UV Protection Shade

Shade Sails Buyers' Guide

Best Shade Sails in Australia

What are Shade Sails?

Shading sails are, as they sound, canopies designed to shade us from sunlight. They’re designed to look like main sheets and jibs from dinghies and racing boats, and provide a gorgeous beach vibe wherever you live in the country.

While shade sails are primarily designed to reduce sunlight over a patio, they also help protect from rainfall, and the best shade sails are built to withstand winds too.

As we’ll explore in this article, shading sails are versatile and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes (not just the classic triangle) which means they can be used as horizontal screening, as well as overhead garden shades.

Garden shade sails are an excellent addition to any outdoor space and can be much more cost-effective than awnings or outdoor blinds. Like many people, we use our shade sail on a bit of a jaunty angle, which helps keep the wind out of the outdoor kitchen but also gives us some privacy from onlooking neighbours. 

Whatever way you use yours, the buyer’s guide to shade sails below covers how to install it, and the best fittings for shading sails that you’ll need to set a new shade up in your garden.

What to Look for When Buying Shade Sails

Shade sails vary massively in quality. For some gardeners, that’s not a huge concern because you might have a very sheltered spot, with low rainfall, where your only concern is shade but, for others, you need to consider how easy it’s going to be to install, how weatherproof it is, and (the boring bit) how easy your shade sail is to clean.

The four most important factors for buying shading sails are:

  • Fittings
  • Size
  • Maintenance
  • Budget

By which, we mean, does your shade sail come with fittings included? Good quality fittings aren’t expensive but can set you back an extra $30 for the best fixtures.

Once you’ve installed it, is it simple to dismantle and clean? In coastal areas or rainy climates, it’s important to be able to stick your sail in the washing machine, or at least hose it down to remove algae and mildew.

And obviously, consider your budget. Shade sails can cost anywhere between $50 and $500 depending on the size and quality. Before you buy a shade sail, sit in the sunniest spot of your garden, or the patio where you plan to use it, and think about how the sun moves throughout the day. 

If you follow the sun and work out that a smaller shade would give you enough protection it could save you hundreds of dollars.

Different Types of Shade Sails

Different Types of Shade Sails

Source: amazon.com.au

Because shade sails are based on boat sails, most of them are triangular, but if you prefer more formal angles in the garden there are plenty of square shade sails available online, which give more cover but are just too formal for most buyers.

As well as pre-made shade sails, you can buy weather-resistant fabric directly from manufacturers like Coolaroo and make your own custom shade sail too.

You’ll need to spend a bit more on fixtures and fittings, but it’s a great way to add unique shade to the garden, without going for bog standard off the shelf shade sails.

How to Install a Shade Sail

Shade sails are really easy to install. Unlike awnings or patio blinds they can be installed at jaunty angles, and often look better for it. The only real consideration when installing a shade sail is to make sure it’s got a deep enough angle for water to drain off – especially if it’s waterproof, otherwise you’ll end up with a pool in the centre of the sail.

Tools you will need:

  • 1x Masonry drill bit (6mm)
  • 1x Masonry drill
  • 3-4x Masonry wall plugs (6mm)
  • 3-4 Threaded wall hooks
  • Fittings (included with shade sail)
How to Install a Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

Method:

  1. Measure out your shade sail when stretched, and make sure you have at least two corners attaching to a solid surface (either a wall, pergola, or fence posts).
  2. Drill a hole that goes right into brick, through any render if you’re attaching to a wall. For timber, screen at least 40m into the post, or use nuts and bolts to attach through the post.
  3. Insert a wall plug (for masonry fixtures).
  4. Screw in the hooks, or looped fittings.
  5. Attach the first two corners to the wall or posts using the fittings provided (use wire to extend from the wall if needed).
  6. Pull your shade sail out and attach the final corner(s) to posts or masonry so it tilts at least 20 degrees down, away from the seating area (this allows water to drain off).
  7. Done.

Best Fittings for Shade Sails

Most shade sails come with their fixtures and fittings, but budget brands tend to sell budget fittings. It’s often worth buying better quality stainless steel fittings with a shade sail, even if it comes with some included. You can always keep the others as spares but the whole thing will last longer that way.

Stainless steel wire rope is incredibly useful, not just for longevity, and weatherproofing your shade sail fittings, but also for strength. Large rolls of shade sail wires are available online

Once you’ve got your wire ready, and your sail rolled out, you need to find a good supporting surface to mount to sail and wire to. Use flexible fittings that can be tightened, like these turnbuckles, which are easy to adjust if your sail sags slightly over time, or is stretched by the weight of rain.

Shade Sails Safety Guide

Shade sails aren’t dangerous in themselves, but you must consider the structures you attach them to before you install them. Wind adds to the pressure of the sail and can be enough to pull fence posts out of place, or even mortar off walls.

Always use the appropriate fittings, and ensure any buckles and loops are attached right into brick, rather than mortar.

Best Shade Sails Reviews

1. Nakamory 3x4m Sun Shade Sail

Nakamory 3x4m Sun Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

Nakamory are really good at manufacturing quality on a budget. This waterproof shade sail comes in a massive range of colours and is a really good budget choice.

As with all budget shade sails, fittings aren’t included, but for the saving, it’s worth buying some good quality fittings to get the installation just right.

As well as a range of colours, Nakamory makes these shade sails in twenty different sizes, and with fast shipping, you can have them installed in the garden by the end of the week.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Good size (up to 4x6m)
  • Waterproof
  • 95% UV protection
  • Great range of colours

Cons

  • Fittings not included
  • Poor quality rope included

2. Coolaroo 5.4m Square Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Coolaroo 5.4m Square Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Source: catch.com.au

Shade sails are still quite a niche product so there aren’t many dedicated manufacturers. For a trusted product that you know is going to be great quality, look no further than Coolaroo, which has been building garden shades for decades, and knows exactly how to put together these wind-resistant, rainproof garden shades.

Their commercial-grade shade sail is a huge 5.4m square but is well worth it if you’re after the best shade sail you can buy.

Pros

  • Incredibly well manufactured
  • Trusted brand
  • 95% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • High-quality fittings included
  • Mould and mildew resistant
  • Elegant

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Neween 2m x 3m Water Resistant Sun Shade Sail

Neween 2m x 3m Water Resistant Sun Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

I love the richness of Neween’s colour pallet. The warm oranges and deep blues set their shade sails apart from other brands, using long-lasting dyes that can withstand washing down with the hose, and don’t mind being brushed either.

The 98% UV blocking is a brilliant feature too, beating out even the best shade sail brands, who typically only manufacture 95% UV block fabric.

The lightweight sails are waterproof but aren’t great for windier areas, but thanks to their simplicity can easily be installed from posts, rather than masonry fittings, making them more versatile for use in seating areas around the garden – not just by the house.

Pros

  • Very well manufactured
  • Great value
  • 98% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful range of colours

Cons

  • Not good in high winds
  • Fittings not included

4. Augienb 290x290cm Sun Shade Sail Canopy

Augienb 290x290cm Sun Shade Sail Canopy

Source: catch.com.au

This shade sail comes with budget fittings, but you can pick them up pretty cheaply if you want a better quality installation. But the money you save on the sail could buy a whole new set of patio furniture.

Really, what’s great about this shade sail is the colour. The pale green blends really nicely into the garden, and helps give a more casual look than some of the slate grey, or black canopies.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Waterproof
  • 95% UV protection
  • Looks casual

Cons

  • Fittings not included
  • Poor quality rope included

5. Coolaroo 5m Triangle Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Coolaroo 5m Triangle Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Source: catch.com.au

Coolaroos classic slate grey triangular shade sails are unbeatable on quality. Their square shade sails might have the edge on size, but triangular shades are much better looking in our humble opinion.

The thick fabric is wind, rain, and UV resistant, and fully breathable, so on those hot sunny days, you’re not stuck under a sweaty plastic canopy that holds humidity.

Pros

  • Incredibly well manufactured
  • Trusted brand
  • 95% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • High-quality fittings included
  • Mould and mildew resistant
  • Elegant

Cons

  • Expensive

6. Coolaroo 300081 Shade Fabric

Coolaroo 300081 Shade Fabric

Source: amazon.com.au

If you’re a bit more of a garden maverick, and prefer things to be unique, you can actually buy Coolaroos fabric direct from the manufacturer, and build your own shade sail in whatever shape you like. 

Of course, you’ll need to stitch the edge for longevity, but the world of shapes that buying your own fabric opens up is great fun and means you can cover pergolas, or create hexagonal shade sails that suit your patio exactly.

Despite the extra work though, you’re still paying for premium fabric, so consider the cost of fittings and stitching before buying.

Pros

  • Better value than pre-made sails from the same brand
  • Trusted brand
  • 95% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • Mould and mildew resistant

Cons

  • Self-build
  • Expensive
  • Requires some manufacturing skill
  • Fittings not included

7. AsterOutdoor 16' x 20' Rectangle Sun Shade Sail

AsterOutdoor 16' x 20' Rectangle Sun Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

AsterOutdoor’s sun shade sails have a really neat weave to their fabric sheets, adding a touch of class and even a little luxury to any patio. 

They’re in the mid-price range, so are a great choice for gardeners looking for quality without wanting to pay premium prices, but still have all the advantages of the best quality sun shades.

What’s really nice about square shades (particularly these lightweight sails) is that they make beautifully informal tent canopies, so are perfect for garden parties, and outdoor dining.

Pros

  • Well manufactured
  • 95% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful fabric

Cons

  • Not good in high winds
  • Fittings not included
  • Mid-priced

8. Instahut 2.5x3m Shade Sail Sun

Instahut 2.5x3m Shade Sail Sun

Source: amazon.com.au

Instahut’s fabric might not look as nice as some of its competitors, but they produce reliable, waterproof, windproof, and UV resistant fabric that's easy to install.

The heavier fabric is great for more changeable climates but should be installed with really good quality fittings to keep it steady. These polythene sheets are heavier than fabrics with waterproof membranes, so need slightly more consideration.

Pros

  • Good range of sizes
  • Choice of material
  • Good value
  • Easy to install
  • Fittings included

Cons

  • Heavy

9. LVAND 3.6x4.8m Rectangle Shade Sails

LVAND 3.6x4.8m Rectangle Shade Sails

Source: amazon.com.au

LVAND is a completely unknown brand, but their shade sails are actually pretty decent. I know it goes against most of our advice, but these shade sails are actually not waterproof. That might put some people off, but for a lot of Australia, that’s not that important. 

By manufacturing shade sails out of permeable fabric, they become more breathable and help create cooler spaces to sit during the hottest days of summer.

So, if you’re looking to save some money and your priority is summer comfort, these breathable, permeable shade sails might just be the perfect fit for you.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Full breathable
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight
  • Stainless steel loops

Cons

  • Fittings not included
  • Not waterproof

10. Coolaroo 90% UV Protection Shade Fabric

Coolaroo 90% UV Protection Shade Fabric

Source: amazon.com.au

Coolaroo shade fabric is so popular now that you can actually buy it from other brands. Gale Pacific sell-on excess fabric in small sections, so for a small shade sail without paying full price for Coolaroo fabrics, you can buy the same stuff for less.

You get less choice, but that’s the cost of buying a budget. Honestly, though, for most small patios, these smaller fabric sections would be more than enough, and thanks to their premium quality, you know it’ll last too.

Pros

  • Better value than pre-made sails from the same brand
  • 95% UV blocking
  • Breathable
  • Rainproof
  • Mould and mildew resistant

Cons

  • Small
  • Not much choice
  • Needs manufacturing skills

Shade Sails Top Picks for 2022

Best Shade Sail - Our Top Pick 

Top Rated Best Shade Sail in Australia
Nakamory 3x4m Sun Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

I really love the choice you get from Nakamory, with eleven different colours, and twenty sizes and shapes to choose from, there’s just no other brand with that range.

Their shade sails are great quality too, with stainless steel loops for easy installation, and a big saving to be made by going for a slightly more budget brand. 

There are no fixtures and fittings with these shade sails, so you’ll need to source your own, but we’ve got links in this article to all the standard fittings you’ll need.

Thanks to the fast delivery, you could have this setup and ready to chill under by the weekend. 

Premium Choice Shade Sail

Premium Choice Shade Sail in Australia
Coolaroo 5.4m Square Commercial Grade Shade Sail

Source: catch.com.au

Coolaroo’s shade sails are unbeatable on quality, with specially manufactured fabric that’s breathable, waterproof, and UV resistant. The sails are slightly heavier than your average sheets, but that just helps make them more durable.

Coolaroo shade sails can withstand wind, rain, salts, and even being washed – though it’s best to wash them with the hose and a soft brush to stop the colours from fading.

Best Value Shade Sail

Best Value Shade Sail in Australia
Neween 2m x 3m Water Resistant Sun Shade Sail

Source: amazon.com.au

Budget shade sails do mean compromising on a couple of things, like the stitching on the Neween sails does leave a little to be desired, but honestly, for most gardens, that’s more than enough. Just keep an eye on the corners, and wash them carefully by hand if there’s ever any sign of mildew or mould building.

The fabric itself is top quality though, offering 98% UV protection, and remaining breathable. For a great quality sun sail on a budget, this is the best shade sail you can buy.

Best Shade Sail Installers in Australia

Most shade sails are lightweight and simple to install, but there are cases where it’s important to employ a good shade sail installer near you. In coastal or windy locations, shade sails may need extra support.

Equally, custom shade sails or elevated shade sails might require planning permission in some states, so it’s important to find a good shade sail installer who knows what they’re doing.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best shade sail installers in Australia to hopefully set you on the right track:

Brisbane Shade Sail Installer 

Northside Shade Sails manufacture and install custom shade sails for events, hospitality and domestic settings throughout Brisbane and Queensland. They’ve got years of experience and a team of highly qualified installers on hand to help get you set up.

Learn more about Northside Shade Sails here

Melbourne Shade Sail Installer 

SBD Shades, or Structures By Design, are one of the best shade sail installers in Melbourne, with a great reputation for quality workmanship.

They manufacture custom shade sails and install pre-fabricated sails for commercial and residential customers all year round. 

Contact Structures by Design (Australia) Pty Ltd here

Perth Shade Sail Installer 

Morley Canvas have over 35 years of experience, providing shades and canopies for residential customers across Perth, with two local bases in Bayswater and Binningup.

As well as full installation and fabrication, they offer free quotes and measuring services to local customers. 

Get to know about Morley Canvas here

Sydney Shade Sail Installer 

Brilliant Shade Sails are a dedicated team of shade sail installers in Sydney, offering free measurements and quotes with no commitment to buy. As well as shade sails they also offer more traditional shades, including retractable awnings and outdoor blinds.

Reach Brilliant Shade Sails Pty Ltd here

Adelaide Shade Sail Installer 

Quins Canvas Goods go above and beyond what you’d expect from most shade sails installers, offering free quotes, and way more choice than most.

Their commercial shades come fully fabricated, with complete installation services induced, as well as offering traditional and contemporary awnings for commercial properties too.

Find out more about Quins Canvas Goods here

Shade Sails FAQs

Can you use a boat sail as a shade sail?

Boat sails, either mainsails or jibs, make excellent shade canopies but are more expensive than shade sails. If you find a second-hand sail they make a great talking point over the patio and are a more authentic option for anyone passionate about water sports.

Are shade sails worth it?

Shade sails are well worth the money, as a far more cost-effective way of providing shade to a patio or outdoor kitchen than blinds, or awnings.

They take more planning, and installation is always unique to each garden, but if you’re looking for cost-effective ways to add privacy or shade to the garden, shade sails are a great option.

What’s the difference between a shade sail and an awning?

Awnings are solid structures, which retract from the wall of a house. Awnings have working mechanisms that either manually wind back in, so take up less space when not in use, but cost more than shade sails.

Do shade sails stop rain?

Most shade sails are manufactured from waterproof fabric or fabric with water-resistant membranes, so water rolls off the back of them rather than dripping through onto a seating area. Budget shade sails are often less effective at stopping rain.

Are shade sails good in the wind?

Shade sails are great wind barriers, but if you live in a particularly windy area, they will need to be installed properly using stainless steel wire and are likely to need their tension adjusting more regularly.

For more on ways to pump up your outdoor space, see our guides below:

Install the Best Shade Sails for 2022

Whatever your budget, there’s a shade sail for you. These brilliant garden screens are really effective at protecting you from the summer sun, and the worst of the winter weather, so if you’re looking for a modern twist on the classic awnings, we’d really recommend looking into a new shade sail.

Buying the best shade sails is all about planning ahead, so take your time; plan your space, and then go out and buy one.

Best Shade Sails and Shade Installers in Australia

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Author:

Gary Clarke

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