If you live in an area that frequently gets hit by major storms, hurricane shutters are essential to protecting your home from damage. There are many styles of hurricane shutters available. We evaluated options based on their material, installation requirements, applications, and durability.
Ratings other than consumer reviews are key to selecting the shutters that can protect your home for the best value, says Dr. Anne Cope, chief engineer for the Institute for Business & Home Safety. “Homeowners should choose products with the proper approval rating for impact resistance and not rely on the label ‘hurricane tested’ alone,” she says.
Here are the best hurricane shutters.
Alutech Barracuda Roll Shutter
Manual or motorized options available
Custom colors available
No storm bars needed
Similar products can cost less
Alutech Barracuda Roll Shutters are made from durable extruded aluminum, and they exceed the standards required by international and domestic building codes, complying with Florida Building Code (FBC), International Residency Code (IRC), Dade County (Florida), and Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) requirements. Unless your home's openings are all standard size, you need to order custom-size shutters to fit them. The Barracuda Shutters can be up to 15 feet wide and 20 feet tall, allowing them to be fitted to garage doors, balconies, and more.
These shutters come with end retention bolts that eliminate the need for storm bars. You can choose manual or motorized options; either are easy to deploy when a storm is going to hit. There are several locking options, as well. You can even have the shutters customized with light slits to prevent your home from feeling like a cave when the shutters are closed.
Barracuda Roll Shutters have an efficient roll diameter that helps minimize the size of their housing, reducing any possible eyesore effect on your home's exterior. They come in several standard colors, including white, gray, and brown, but you can also have them made in a custom color to match your home’s exterior.
Price at time of publish: Dealer-specified
Material: Extruded aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Roll-down | Warranty: 5 years
Polymershapes Clear Polycarbonate Hurricane Storm Shutter
Lighter than plywood
Lets light through windows
If you’re looking for an affordable option to protect your home during storms, these polycarbonate storm panels from Polymershapes are one of the most budget-friendly solutions. Each panel measures 36 x 48 inches, making them large enough to cover most standard-sized windows, and they’re made from durable 16-millimeter clear polycarbonate, with a three-wall construction. These panels are certified by the National Accreditation & Management Institute, Inc. (NAMI), and they also meet Florida’s High-Velocity Hurricane Zones requirements. Because the panels are clear, they let light into your home, making it more comfortable for your family.
One of these panels' major benefits is that they’re extremely lightweight, weighing just 4 pounds, making them much easier to install than traditional plywood. But each panel needs to be individually installed, which can be time-consuming if you have a lot of windows and doors.
Price at time of publish: $87
Material: Polycarbonate | Dimensions: 36 x 48 in. | Shutter Style: Storm panel | Warranty: Not listed
Ekena Millwork Lifetime Vinyl LL1S14X04800BL Standard Cathedral Top Center Mullion, Open Louver Vinyl Shutters
Vast variety of sizes and colors
Could benefit from internal frame
Not only do Bahama shutters keep rain out, but their louvered design adds a tropical appearance to homes. We like the Lifetime Vinyl LL1S14X04800BL from Ekena Millwork because they are waterproof, lightweight yet protective, easy to install, and have a lifetime warranty. The shutters are available in 15 colors (there's also a you-paint-them option), and the manufacturer guarantees them for 40 years against chipping, flaking, and discoloration. The pre-painted options are designed to stand up to the elements, and the wood-grained vinyl adds a credible natural look.
To fit most standard windows, the manufacturer makes these 1-inch-thick shutters, which can be installed in stucco, brick, or siding, in 28 sizes: 14 in 12-inch widths, and another 14 in 14.5-inch widths, with heights ranging from 25 to 80 inches. The quarter-inch-diameter fasteners are included with the two-to-a-pack shutters, which take minutes to install, requiring no other tools than a power screwdriver or drill. (Some users have reported warping if they failed to install the required number of fasteners for shutter sizes; we strongly recommend following the simple directions in the single-page installation guide.)
Price at time of publish: $57
Material: Vinyl | Dimensions: 1 x 14.5 x 48 inches | Shutter Style: Bahama | Warranty: 10 years
Best Storm Panels
Bertha 2-inch Clear Storm Panel
Custom sizes fit doors and windows
Admits light through windows
The Bertha Clear Storm Panels offer affordability and protection. They’re made from heavy-duty polycarbonate and can be installed over your home’s windows and doors for protection against heavy winds, rain, and debris. These panels are approved for use under the FBC, TDI, IRC, and International Building Code (IBC), and their clear design allows light into your home, so you don’t feel as if you are sitting in a cave.
These shutters come in either full- or half-panel widths, and you can order custom lengths from 12 to 150 inches long. They can be installed vertically or horizontally, and they can sit on a track or attach directly to your home’s walls. It takes time to install each panel, but they’re much lighter than plywood, allowing one person to put them up. Plus, these panels stack nicely, making them compact to store when not in use.
Price at time of publish: $12
Material: Polycarbonate | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Storm panel | Warranty: Not listed
Palm Coast Shutters Colonial Shutters
Classic shutter design
Several styles available
Shutter hardware included
For stylish hurricane shutters, one of your best options is Palm Coast Shutters Colonial Shutters. These shutters are designed to resemble traditional house shutters, but their aluminum construction provides a sturdy barrier that protects windows during hurricanes. We like that these shutters come in a wide range of styles and colors to match your home’s exterior. You can select from board and batten or louvered style, and there are options with arched or curved tops for specialty windows. Plus, the manufacturer matches any color from major paint manufacturers, allowing you to match your existing trim.
These shutters are designed to resist fading, cracking, rusting, and mildewing, and they meet Dade County (Florida) and Florida building codes. If you’re located in the Palm Coast area, the manufacturer offers installation, but they ship anywhere in the U.S., and the shutters come with the necessary hardware. These shutters' main shortcoming is that they carry only a 1-year warranty, which is fairly short compared with other manufacturers' offerings.
Price at time of publish: Dealer-specified
Material: Extruded aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Colonial | Warranty: 1 year
Maximum Shutters Rolling Hurricane Shutter System
Approved for Category 5 hurricane protection
Maximum width of 24 feet
Manual or automatic control
Large housing unit
Limited color options
The Maximum Shutters Rolling Hurricane Shutter System operates similarly to a garage door, rolling down to cover your home’s doors or windows. This popular shutter system is ideal for areas that are hit hard by hurricanes, as it’s Miami-Dade, FBC HVHZ, and Texas TDI approved for Category 5 hurricane protection—heavy-duty locking mechanisms protect against winds up to 185 MPH. These shutters can be used on doors, windows, and other enclosures, and they can be custom made up to 24 feet wide for large openings such as balconies, and you can choose manual or motorized controls for opening and shutting them.
You can choose from four basic colors—the manufacturer doesn’t offer color matching—and the shutters are backed by an impressive 10-year warranty. One major drawback is that while these shutters are extremely durable and provide a high level of protection, they have sizable housing units that have to be mounted above each window. They also block out the light when deployed.
Price at time of publish: $471
Material: Extruded aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Roll-down | Warranty: 10 years
AstroGuard Hybrid Hurricane Fabric
Not as durable as metal shutters
AstroGuard Hurricane Fabric Panels are an affordable option for covering your home's doors and windows. While obviously not as durable as metal shutters, the resin-coated hybrid fabric can still help block wind, rain, and debris, and it’s approved by the IBC, TDI, and FBC. The material is UV-resistant so it's designed to not break down over time, and because it’s translucent, it doesn't totally block out all light. Plus, it provides full-envelope protection, preventing rapid pressurization.
One of AstroGuard Fabric Panels' main benefits is they’re extremely lightweight, making them easy for anyone to put up. However, you have to put up each panel individually, which can take quite some time. The fabric comes in four colors, and you can purchase it with or without mounting hardware.
Price at time of publish: $109
Material: Resin-coated hybrid fabric | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Fabric | Warranty: Not listed
Best for Large Openings
Alutech Storm Tex Retractable Hurricane Screen
Covers openings up to 24 feet wide
Manual or motorized options available
Doubles as privacy screen
Not as durable as metal shutters
If you have a large opening, such as a lanai or balcony, traditional hurricane shutters probably don’t fit. However, the Alutech Storm Tex Retractable Hurricane Screen can be made up to 24 feet wide and 20 feet high, allowing you to cover virtually any opening. It’s made from a durable vinyl-coated fabric that can double as a privacy screen or insect shield, and it meets IBC, TDI, FBC, and Miami-Dade County standards.
Because it’s made from fabric, these shutters roll up very compactly, allowing them to fit inside a compact housing. You can choose from a manual or motorized opening mechanism, and the fabric is designed to resist wrinkles, so it always looks neat on your home. You can choose from a few standard housing colors, including white, gray, or beige, and you’ll likely find that the hurricane screen is a more attractive option than metal shutters.
Price at time of publish: Dealer-specified
Material: Vinyl-coated polymer fabric | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Fabric | Warranty: 5 years
Best for Sliding Doors
Maximum Shutters HV Bertha Accordion Hurricane Shutter
Easy to open and close
Provides forced-entry resistance
Available with or without rain guard
Not the most attractive
You can protect sliding glass doors, as well as other doors and windows, with the HV Bertha Accordion Hurricane Shutter. The accordion-style design slides side-to-side along a track mounted to the door, and the extruded aluminum construction protects against rain, strong wind, and debris. These shutters meet or exceed Miami-Dade County notice-of-acceptance and FBC standards, and they come in four finishes: white, ivory, beige, and bronze.
The HV Bertha Shutters are easy to open and close, thanks to their smooth-gliding design, and when they’re not in use, they stack neatly on the side of the door. (However, you can still see the slats, which some might consider unsightly.) These shutters also offer security if you aren't home during the storm, as they meet code for forced-entry resistance. Also, you can order them with a rain guard to help prevent water from getting into your home.
Price at time of publish: $151
Material: Extruded aluminum | Dimensions: Custom | Shutter Style: Accordion | Warranty: 10 years
For heavy-duty protection against hurricanes, the Alutech Barracuda Roll Shutter is extremely durable and easy to open and close. It has a smaller-than-average housing that isn't noticeable, and it can be customized in any color to match your home. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option to protect your doors and windows, the Polymershapes Clear Polycarbonate Hurricane Storm Shutter comes in 36 x 48-inch panels and is much lighter to carry around than plywood.
What to Look for in Hurricane Shutters
Naturally, the material that hurricane shutters are made of determines how well they can stand up to strong winds, rain, and flying debris. The most heavy-duty option available is aluminum, which can typically withstand high wind speeds and resists corrosion. Other options include polycarbonate—a type of heavy-duty plastic—as well as certain fabrics and meshes. Your selection depends on a balance of protection, appearance, and, of course, budget.
Aluminum shutters protect well, are lighter than other metals, and shouldn't corrode.
Polycarbonate shutters are lightweight and high-impact; they also are clear, so they allow light to enter when they are closed.
Fabric shutters generally are not as strong as aluminum or polycarbonate, but some fabrics, such as Kevlar, are more durable.
There are several styles of hurricane shutters available, including permanent and temporary solutions. “Probably the most efficient and practical option is the rolling shutters that almost act like a blind for the outside of your window,” says Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions. “This is a wholly effective option, and you don’t need to sacrifice on the aesthetic side."
If you don’t want shutters on your house all the time, you can use panel-style shutters, which you simply put up when a storm is approaching. The National Weather Service has the following timelines for storm alerts: 48 hours for tropical storm and hurricane watches, and 36 hours for tropical storm and hurricane warnings.
Some shutters are DIY-friendly and can be installed by homeowners, while others, such as roll-down shutters, often need to be installed by professionals, increasing the initial cost.
There’s also the matter of how challenging it is to deploy the shutters when a storm is approaching. Roll-down or colonial shutters can often be shut in a matter of minutes, while storm panels must be individually hung on doors and windows. “[Permanent shutters] are far less work-intensive than moving metal shutters out of a storage location and attaching them to the walls,” explains Dr. Anne Cope, chief engineer for the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
What are the main benefits of hurricane shutters?
"Hurricane shutters reduce the chance that the glass will break and that wind-driven rain will soak the interior of your house," says Dr. Cope. "The shutters also can keep wind pressure from building up inside your room, which often leads to the loss of your roof."
When do hurricane shutters need replacing?
Upon taking any sort of damage, from a storm or otherwise, your shutters should be replaced; one faulty element can compromise the entire unit. Make sure to keep a regular eye on them to make sure that they're not missing any pieces or showing signs of corrosion.
How difficult is it to install hurricane shutters?
While the best hurricane shutters (rolling and accordion styles) take less time to secure the property than individual hurricane panels or plywood, they can still require extensive installation. Metal or rollaway-style shutters, which can require header and bottom tracks, as well as frames, housing, base slat, and side rails, generally require professional installation. Colonial-style hurricane shutters need to be mounted on either side of your window. DIYers should be able to install Colonial-style and Bahama-style shutters, which generally require only fasteners and other hardware (which is often included) and a level, plus a power screwdriver or drill.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer for The Spruce. To get a better understanding of hurricane shutters, she interviewed Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions, who has more than 20 years of experience in the contracting business and ample experience installing shutters, as well as Dr. Anne Cope, chief engineer for the Institute for Business & Home Safety, who offered insights on the benefits of hurricane shutters, as well as building code requirements.
As she selected products for this list, Rabideau considered the materials, sizes, and ease of installation for each shutter, as well as whether the shutters were stylish or at least discreet. She prioritized options that meet code for a variety of hurricane-prone locations, including Florida and Texas.