solar shades vs roller shades

Solar Shades Vs Roller Shades: What Is The Difference

10 minutes, 54 seconds Read

Blinds and shades come in countless variations. To the untrained eye, solar shades and roller shades may not seem that different. After all, both use a roller and tube mechanism to operate and both cover a window with a single, straightforward sheet of material. But today, we’re here to clarify the differences.

Although solar shades are technically a subset of roller shades, each one has its own purposes and advantages.

How are they similar? How are they different? Why should you choose one over the other? Keep reading to find out.

Solar Shades

Solar shades are another kind of basic window treatment. They operate similarly to roller shades in that they lack slats and veins and, when pulled down, a sheet of material covers the window thanks to a roller and tube mechanism.

Not because they have more bells and whistles on the shade itself, but rather because of the shade’s material, solar shades are slightly more expensive than roller shades. Solar shades are made primarily of woven, screen-like material. The screen is somewhat transparent due to the loose weave of the material. The weave of the material is an important aspect of solar shades… and in fact, is the reason they get the name “solar.”

Solar Shades

The main purpose of solar shades is to reduce the amount of harmful UV rays that enter your home. In the end, this feature aims to give you the ability to control the temperature in your house. Solar shades are priced according to how many UV rays they let into your house.

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Roller Shades

In their simplest form, roller shades are just plain window coverings that are lowered using a roller function rather than having slats or veins like blinds. The middle tube turns and the material lengthens as you pull down, just like a paper towel roll does. The substance re-wraps the tube and is shortened when pulled in the opposing direction.

Simple, economical, and stylish are all qualities of roller shades. They can be made from any fashionable fabric or material because of their simple design, which offers limitless possibilities. We offer vinyl and fabric materials for our roller shades. Customers can either make the shade an accent to the room and select a bold, attention-grabbing color or pattern, or they can make the shade a neutral, solid color and fabric to tie the space together. Roller shades are made of a dense material that is opaque.

Solar Shades Vs Roller Shades

We acknowledge that reading about them might not have resolved any confusion, so let’s discuss the similarities and differences between roller and solar shades.


  • Both blinds can be rolled up.
  • Unlike roman and pleated shades, both of these shades are entirely smooth.
  • Both hues maintain a discrete appearance.
  • Customers can select the level of light control for either shade.
  • Both shades are precisely measured for and installed in the same manner.
  • Both shades have the ability to roll back and have options for cassette valences, cordless spring rollers, metal chain lifts, nylon chain lifts, and reverse rolls.
  • There are blackout options for both shades.


  • Roller shades only block the light coming in; solar shades specifically block UV rays.
  • Solar shades are offered in neutral colors, whereas roller shades come in vibrant hues.
  • Roller shades are opaque; solar shades allow for visibility in and out.
  • Solar shades are made of a screen-like material, while roller shades are available in fabric and vinyl.

Why Are Solar Shades Only Available as Roller Shades?

For three very good reasons, we don’t produce solar shades in other designs like sheer or cellular shades. Here they are:

Reason 1: It’s More Effective

Complete window coverage is necessary for effective UV-ray filtration. Those harmful rays can still enter your home if your window treatment has gaps, as is the case with traditional blinds and zebra shades. Installing solar shades serves no purpose if that happens!

Reason 2: It Looks Better

Compared to other window-covering fabrics, the materials we use to create our solar shades are heavier and stiffer. With UV-rated fabric, it would be impossible to achieve the gauzy, translucent appearance of a sheer shade. To make the air pockets that resemble honeycombs in a cellular shade, a more flexible fabric is needed. A more malleable fabric works best for Roman and pleated shades.

In relation to that thick, stiff fabric, they require a strong framework to keep them from sagging and hanging straight across your window. This is especially true for areas that are wider than usual, such as picture windows and walls that are lined with windows in sunrooms and porches. It is simple to reinforce the roller mechanism to provide support where it is needed without bulking up your window covering.

Reason 3: It Lasts Longer

Solar shades can be installed both inside and outside. However, outdoor installation needs a weather-resistant component that can withstand the elements. Simple mechanisms enable roller shades to work. They are also quite long-lasting and durable, even in harsh weather conditions, because they have a few moving parts.

Your furniture, flooring, and artwork will not fade thanks to a solar shade’s ability to filter sunlight and heat. In order to keep out harmful UV rays, the roller style offers the tightest seal against the window frame.

Our goal at Factory Direct Blinds is to create window treatments that will last much longer than a season. We carefully match the ideal components and mechanisms for each of our diverse product styles as a result.

Why Should You Choose Roller Shades Or Solar Shades for Your Home?

The best advantage of solar shades and roller shades is their adaptability, which is a simple answer. They’re available in so many colors, fabrics, levels of light filtration and mounting styles that we’re certain every homeowner can find a shade to suit both their window covering needs and their personal style.

But that’s not the only reason roller and solar shades are great options for your house. Let’s take a look at the long list of checks in the “pro” column for these two types of window shades:

Child-safe Cordless Option

All of our roller shades come with a free cordless design option that can be used to customize the shade. For kids and even small animals like dogs and cats, corded blinds and shades pose a known risk of strangulation. They are listed as one of the top five hazards in homes for infants and young children by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Additionally, we offer motorization control as an option on all of our roller shades. If you want the ease of opening and closing your shades with the touch of a button or if you have windows that are difficult to reach, this is a great option.

The final option is to add a cornice to your roller shade for a more polished appearance. The top mechanism of the shade is covered by a cornice, which can be made of wood or upholstered material. It gives the space more extra style and sophistication.

You can risk-free smoothly raise and lower your roller shades with our cordless option’s sturdy, spring-loaded mechanism.

HOA-friendly Lining

With a white backing, our shades automatically abide by any guidelines for street-facing decor that your neighborhood’s homeowner’s association may have. This also applies to roller shades that block out light and darken a room.

Are you concerned that the roller shade’s white backing will show when it is open? You can select a roll direction in the form of a waterfall to make the backing virtually undetectable in your interior, so don’t be. You can also ask us to make a cassette valance, which will completely enclose the roll-up mechanism and the rolled fabric.

Energy Bill Saving

You can reduce your energy costs without switching to solar power. In fact, adding window coverings of any kind can reduce solar gain from direct sunlight and insulate your window against leaks and drafts, both of which can cost you money.

Compared to most window coverings, roller and solar shades are better at this. You can create a partition between your windowpanes and your room with an inside-mount roller shade or an outside-mount with lots of trim and wall overlap. Consequently, you keep more of your conditioned air inside of your house. Additionally, it keeps the climate inside your home from being impacted by extreme outdoor temperatures.

Increased Sound Insulation

Homeowners are doing what they can to lessen the impact of outsiders on their comfort at home as lot sizes are getting smaller and there are more people living in apartments and condos. A properly installed roller shade can do a lot to reduce outside noise from neighbors, street traffic, and construction. No longer do I hear the garbage truck as I awaken? That’s a win.

Easy to Care for and Maintain

Roller shades are simple to clean because they don’t have any draping or pleating. The care instructions will vary depending on the fabric you select, but you can clean the majority of roller and solar shades with a damp sponge or a quick pass with a vacuum. You can even use surface sprays to help them repel dust!

Endless Decorating Possibilities

Roller shades and solar shades have the advantage of making other home design options more practical, which is something that homeowners adore. These window coverings can be installed behind drapes, curtains, or even decorative Roman shades due to their sleek appearance and slim profile.

Tips to Maintain Your Shades

Once you’ve chosen the ideal window treatments for your house, it’s crucial to take care of them so they stay beautiful and functional. When your shades are neglected, they are more likely to become stained, damaged, or otherwise need to be replaced earlier than is necessary. Here are some tips for cleaning and caring for your shades:

1. Vacuum them regularly: To clean your shades of dirt, dust, and other debris, use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum. Once a week, or as often as necessary, perform this to keep them looking tidy.

2. Spot-clean when necessary: Clean any spills or other stains on your shades immediately with a mild soap and water solution. To protect the fabric of your shades, avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too vigorously.

3. Be careful when opening and closing: To prevent ripping or tearing, be cautious and slow when opening and closing your shades. In order to avoid accidental damage, make sure to keep any pets and young children away from them.

4. Store them properly: If not in use, roller shades should be kept in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. This will aid in avoiding fading and other damage brought on by the elements.

5. Have them professionally cleaned: Have your roller shades cleaned by a pro once a year or as necessary. Any accumulated dirt and grime that can’t be reached by regular vacuuming and spot cleaning will be eliminated by doing this.

Final Thoughts

You can see that these colors are very similar to one another rather than being dissimilar. People frequently confuse the two, which is understandable given that they each serve a different purpose from other shades. The primary difference between these shades, as you’ll see, is the material.

In fact, the type of material might determine which one you select from the two. A solar shade might be the best option if you need something to shade your windows while saving you money on energy. A roller shade can be the affordable, fashionable option you’re looking for.

Read More: What Are Solar Nails?


What Color Solar Shades Work Best?

Although there are many different color options for solar shades, neutral hues are frequently the best option. These hues reflect UV rays more effectively than darker tones, keeping your home cooler in the summer. They also won’t clash with the decor of your house as much as a brighter shade might.

Do Solar Shades Offer Privacy at Night?

UV rays are still blocked by solar shades, which are made of a material that lets light through but does so. They are therefore the perfect window treatment for people who want privacy during the day but don’t want to have to shut their shades at night. But you’ll need to combine solar shades with drapery if you want total seclusion.

Do Solar Shades Block Heat?

Solar shades can help reduce heat in a window, but they will not block cold. By reducing the amount of sunlight that enters a space and improving the energy efficiency of the windows, they reduce heat.

Are Solar Shades Worth It?

Solar shades are unquestionably worthwhile! They help keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer in addition to guarding against fading of your floors and furniture.

Are Solar Shades See-through at Night?

When the lights are on inside your house at night, they are visible from the outside. To achieve complete privacy, pair them with room-darkening shades, or go with a more opaque material for greater privacy.

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