Consider the size of the awning. While larger awnings cover more area, the extra material needed will increase the cost. In order to get the most accurate pricing estimate, measure the area you want to cover and look for awnings in the size you need.
Determine whether you want a retractable awning with an adjustable pitch. A retractable awning works well in areas with high winds, heavy snow, heavy rain or hail, because you can retract it to prevent damage. A motorized retractable awning will cost more than a manual one, but you can usually retract an electric one at a faster pace than a manual one.
Choose which type of panel option you want. The more bends a panel has the stronger the panel will be. Flat panel awnings tend to cost less than awnings using a v-pan style, which has one bend, or a w-pan style, which has two bends. Because each bend requires more metal for the construction, w-pans tend to cost the most.
Evaluate the thickness of the aluminum panels. The thicker the material, the more durable the awning will be, but it will increase the cost. Standard thicknesses range from .018 to .036 inches. The thickness of the material is also a factor in the load capacity of an awning.
Look at your local required specifications for aluminum awnings including the live load, which indicates the amount of pounds the awning can hold per square foot, and the wind factor, which indicates the miles per hour of wind an awning can withstand. If you live in the Northern part of the U.S., you might want to price awnings with a live load factor between 20 to 60 pounds, while areas with high winds require a wind factor of 90 miles per hour.
Compare support options for patio awnings. Even free-standing awnings may need support beams in order to pass your city's building codes. You'll also want to determine the types of posts as various styles provide different architectural looks.
Decide what type of finish you want to have on your awning. Manufacturers use a variety of styles from painted surfaces to powder coating to anodized surfaces. While each style has different benefits, you may prefer one over the other. With a painted awning, you can often customize the color of the awning's paint to match the exterior paint of your home, while powder coatings and anodized awnings often come in a limited color selection.
Factor in the cost of installation. If you plan to install the awning yourself, you can sometimes reduce the total cost of the project, but you'll have to put the time into installing it correctly. Some local companies may offer free installation as an incentive to purchase from their stores, but others will charge an installation fee.