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Hurricane shutters help protect your property from major storms, especially if you “live in a region where tropical storms or hurricanes are quite common,” says Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions.
We researched dozens of hurricane shutters, evaluating them on durability, effectiveness, and ease of assembly and operation. Based on our findings and advice from Brosnan, we recommend the QMI Rolling Shutters, which are fully customizable, easy to operate, and made to blend into your home’s architecture.
Here are the best hurricane shutters.
Best Overall: QMI Rolling Shutters
Small box housing
Five control options
Several colors/housing styles
Battery backup available
Not the best warranty
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked the QMI Rolling Shutters.
For quality hurricane shutters, Brosnan recommends QMI Rolling Shutters. They’re our favorite choice since they’re customizable, both in terms of aesthetic and protection, have a small housing box that won’t look out of place on your home's exterior, and are well-designed to protect your home from water damage during storms.
If you would like to rely on manual controls, these shutter give you four options, with manual strap, strap crank, pole crank, or manual push-up and pull-down designs available. If you want electrical controls, there’s a motor-operated system, which allows you to close or open the shutters by flipping a switch. There's also a battery-operated option, which can be especially handy in cases of a power outage. The main downside of these shutters is their warranty policy could be better.
The shutters are available in seven colors: white, ivory, beige, anodized, gray, brown, and bronze. And besides being small and unobtrusive, the housing boxes for these shutters are also available in curved, beveled, or square designs, so you can make sure your home’s exterior stays looking the way you want it to look.
Best Budget: Tarps Now Hurricane Mesh Tarp
Numerous sizes available
Made in the USA
Not the most heavy-duty
If you’re looking for a light-duty protection option that won’t break the bank, the Hurricane Mesh Tarp is a worthwhile option. These tarps come in a range of sizes, from as small as 5 x 5 feet up to 100 x 100 feet, and the black fabric can withstand extreme wind and debris.
These tarps offer 95% closure, but they have perforations that allow water and air to pass through. There are brass grommets on all four corners and every 12 inches around the perimeter, making them easy to hang up. They can be used to cover doors and windows during storms, but people also use them as privacy fencing, scaffolding covers, and more.
Best Fabric: AstroGuard Hybrid Hurricane Fabric
Can be cut to size
Clips and fasteners sold separately
Only one color
If you only experience occasional hurricanes, the AstroGuard Hybrid Hurricane Fabric is a budget-friendly alternative to heavy-duty hurricane shutters. These panels are made from a proprietary high-strength hybrid fabric that’s finished in a durable UV-resistant coating, and they can last for many years when properly maintained.
The fabric comes in 44 x 72 inch panels, which you can cut down to the perfect size to cover your home’s doors and windows. The tan fabric is slightly translucent, allowing some light into your home when deployed, and they’re designed for DIY installation using the brand’s patented clips and building anchors.
Best Polycarbonate: Stormlite Multiwall Polycarbonate Hurricane Shutters
Lets light into home
If you typically board up your windows with plywood when storms approach, you may want to consider using polycarbonate panels instead. The Stormlite Polycarbonate Hurricane Shutters are durable, lightweight panels that you install over doors and windows during hurricanes, and the 16mm triple-wall polycarbonate will provide protection, thanks to its high impact resistance.
These panels come in 4 x 8-foot sheets, and they’re five times lighter than plywood and just as strong—plus, they won’t decay over time. According to the manufacturer, the material blocks almost 100% of harmful UV rays, but it lets light through, preventing your home from being dark during storms.
Best Accordion: Supernova Accordion Hurricane Shutters
Lots of customization options
Easy to deploy
Not the most attractive option
Visible when not in use
The Supernova Accordion Hurricane Shutters have a zigzag design that slides out of the way while not in use, and the aluminum material protects against winds up to 185 MPH. The shutters are custom-made to fit your home, and they can be used on windows, doors, and other enclosures.
The Supernova Shutters come in several color options—white, ivory, beige, and bronze—and you have ample customization options when ordering. You can have rain guards included on the top and/or bottom tracks, as well as different lock options.
Best Colonial: Palm Coast Shutters Colonial Shutters
Attractive when not in use
Several styles available
Shutter hardware included
Many hurricane shutters have a utilitarian appearance, but if you’re hoping for something more stylish, these colonial shutters from Palm Coast Shutters will make an attractive addition to your home’s exterior. The aluminum shutters come in both board-and-batten and louvered styles, and the brand will match any color from major paint manufacturers, allowing you to get just the color you want.
These colonial-style shutters resist hurricane-force winds, as well as water, salt, and sun, and they won’t crack or grow mold over time. The shutters come with an easy open-and-close system that makes them quicker to deploy, and you can have them customized with decorative arches, curved tops, and more.
Best Roll Down: Maximum Shutters Rolling Hurricane Shutter System
Approved for category 5 hurricane protection
Maximum width of 24 feet
Manual or automatic control options
Large housing unit
The Maximum Shutters Rolling Hurricane Shutter System is a heavy-duty option for homes that frequently get hit by large storms. The roll-down shutter is made from aluminum and powder-coated for maximum durability, and it’s approved for category 5 hurricane protection.
These shutters are custom made to suit your home, and they can be used on windows, doors, and other enclosures. There are four color options to choose from, and you can select between a manual crank or motor-powered controls. When deployed, these shutters will provide strength and insulation from sun, storm, heat, noise, and extreme weather, but the downside is that it has a rather large housing that must be permanently installed on your home.
Best Bermuda-Style: Timberlane Bermuda Shutter
Stylish coastal design
Several louver options
Color match available
Water can come through louvers
For beachy homes, the Timberlane Bermuda Shutters are a stylish choice that offer protection against storms. This type of shutter is designed to be propped open from the bottom, opening upward instead of sideways like traditional shutters, and they provide a tropical appearance to the exterior of your home, all while allowing the breeze to blow through on nice days.
The Timberlane Shutters are made from durable aluminum, and there are several styles you can choose from, including options with smaller and larger slats. The brand’s hurricane shutters are High Velocity Hurricane Zone-approved, but because they have a louvered design, they’re not necessarily water-tight.
Best for Sliding Doors: Alutech United Accordion Shutter
Four color options
Heavy-duty protection for sliding doors
Locks from inside and outside
Must be purchased via dealer
Not the most attractive
If you’re looking for a way to protect a sliding glass door, the Alutech United Accordion Shutter is one of your best options. These extruded aluminum shutters are designed to cover windows, sliding doors, or enclose total balconies, and the brand even offers curved and removable tracks, as well as four color options.
These door covers are designed to be permanently installed for year-round protection, and they fold back compactly in either one or two-piece designs. They can be locked from the inside or the outside, and the brand also offers a 90-degree corner mate that can be used on balconies.
For heavy-duty protection from hurricanes and other storms, the QMI Rolling Shutters (view at QMI) are a great option that can be installed on windows, doors, and balconies. This product comes recommended by our expert, and there are five different control options that change how the shutters are deployed. If you’re looking for a solution that can just be put up when needed, consider the AstroGuard Hybrid Hurricane Fabric (view at Home Depot), which is DIY friendly and can be cut to fit your needs.
What to Look for in Hurricane Shutters
Naturally, the material that hurricane shutters are made of will determine 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.
There are several styles of hurricane shutters available today, including both 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 Bronson. “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.
Certain styles of hurricane shutters are more complicated to deploy—for instance, panel-style covers must be manually hung on every window and doorway before a storm. In comparison, many roll-down models come with motor-powered controls, allowing you to lower them with the touch of a button. However, shutters with electrical components will likely require more maintenance in the long run, as there are more moving parts that can break.
How do you know if you need hurricane shutters?
If you live in a coastal area that frequently gets hit by hurricanes and tropical storms, hurricane shutters may be a worthwhile investment to protect your home. “If you’re unsure whether or not shutters would be right for you, contact your local emergency resources,” says Bronson. “They will inform you on the frequency of storms in your area and whether or not your home is in an evacuation zone–if your home is, it’s certainly a good idea to install the shutters.”
What’s the best way to clean hurricane shutters?
Because hurricane shutters are so exposed to the elements, cleaning them is practically mandatory. Bronson recommends doing it twice a year with warm, soapy water and a brush. Be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies, like individual slats and hinges. You'll also want to scrub in both the open and closed positions to be removed any salt, sand, or pieces of dirt that might be lodged. Lastly, avoid using any abrasive brushes, pads, or cleaners on the shutters, as this can cause damage.
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 on the shutter—be it a rusty hinge or eroded lock—will compromise the entire unit," says Bronson. "[I]t’s important to know when to scrap an old shutter and introduce a new one.” Make sure to keep a regular eye on them to make sure that they're not missing any pieces or showing signs of corrosion.
At what wind speed should you put up hurricane shutters?
According to the National Weather Service, it’s important to put up hurricane shutters when a hurricane watch is issued. The National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch 48 hours before potential hurricane conditions—including sustained winds of 74 mph or higher—are possible in the area. Keep in mind that the best hurricane shutters (rolling and accordion style shutters) will take less time to secure the property than individual hurricane panels or plywood. All hurricane preparations—including the installation of hurricane shutters—should be complete by the time a hurricane warning is issued.
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 she selected products for this list, she considered the materials, sizes, and ease of installation, as well as whether the shutters were stylish—or at least discreet—as not to be an eyesore on your home.