A retractable screen door is a sleeker, less clunky alternative to a standard screen door, and lets you enjoy fresh air without the annoyance of unwelcome insect visitors. As you begin shopping, look carefully at the materials used. "Retractable screen doors should be made of durable materials like aluminum, high-quality stainless steel, or iron, and have insulated frames with well-constructed hardware—this will help determine how well they will last over time," says Kamil Kowalski, president of LimakWay Remodeling in Chicago.
We researched retractable screen doors and evaluated them based on ease of installation, ease of use, looks, and durability.
Andersen LuminAire Retractable Screen Door
Width is adjustable
Discreet, attractive profile
Comes with locking mechanism
Can be installed as left or right-handed
Only for doors that swing inwards
Easy to walk into
Our top pick, the Andersen LuminAire Retractable Screen Door is easy to install and doesn't require any cutting as long as your opening is the correct size. Installation can take less than 45 minutes, (sometimes longer if extra modifications are needed) and the door comes with a drill bit to help make things go more smoothly. There's also a locking mechanism, but note that it may take a bit of practice to get accustomed to maneuvering it. Before purchasing, make sure to check Andersen's helpful and detailed PDF which will help you determine whether or not this screen will fit in your space.
The door is designed to slide smoothly and easily, although some users warned that the screen may rip over time with heavy use. The width can be adjusted between approximately 32 and 36 inches, and you can install it so it opens from either the right or left side. Although this setup is for a single door, you can also purchase the same style in a double version for patios. One complaint is that the aluminum mesh is so discreet that the door is easy to walk into if you forget it's there, especially at nighttime. It's also not ideal for toddlers or rambunctious pets who might damage it by trying to break through the screen. You should also keep in mind that this screen door only works with exterior doors that swing inwards.
Price at time of publish: $219
Dimensions: 36 x 80 inches (adjustable to fit openings between 31 ⅞ to 36 ⅜ inches) | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: White, black, sandtone, bronze | Single or double: Both are available
Best for High-Traffic Areas
Larson Inspire White Aluminum Frame Retractable Screen Door
Opens and closes gently
Pleats act as visual guides
Striped look may be distracting
This door, which has pleats that serve as visual cues, can be adjusted to fit different-sized openings. It comes with an optional threshold transition that can help reduce tripping as you step in and out. If your door sill is angled, you can adjust this screen to fit uneven openings. The door has a brake mechanism that helps it open and close gently, and it's designed to be operated with just one finger.
The Inspire is sold in white and can fit openings as wide as 36 inches and as tall as 81 inches. The flat bottom helps make it accessible for wheelchairs and walkers since there is no edge sticking up. A nice feature is that the cassette can be removed for storage during the winter months when you won't be using your screen door, so you won't need to take the screen out completely.
Price at time of publish: $222
Dimensions: 36 x 81 inches | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: White | Single or double: Single
Best Storm Door with Retractable Screen
Andersen 3000 Series Full View Retractable Screen Storm Door
Foot pedal holds door open
Durable for extreme climates
Many color and hardware options
Comes in four sizes
Bulkier than others
If you prefer the look and functionality of a storm door but want the convenience of a retractable screen, this option from Andersen is a solid bet. It has a retractable screen that can be opened and closed vertically using one hand, and customers can choose between either clear or Low-E glass, which is darker but also more energy efficient. A 1.5-inch thickness and plenty of weatherstripping make this a good bet for harsher climates where you want to keep drafts out.
The door also comes with a deadbolt and a foot pedal at the bottom that allows you to prop it open with a tap of your toe. There are several different colors and handle finishes that you can mix and match for a totally custom look. The door only swings outwards, and you can choose between left- or right-handed installation. There are four different widths available, ranging from 30 to 36 inches.
Price at time of publish: $414
Dimensions: 30 x 80 inches (other sizes available) | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: Colors, white, almond, sandtone, terratone, cinnamon toast, bronze, black; handle finishes, nickel, brass, antique brass, oil-rubbed bronze, traditional matte black, modern matte black, brushed dark nickel, metallic stone, brushed French gold, Venetian bronze | Single or double: Single
Flux Phenom Magnetic Screen Door
Good for pets and young children
Doesn't insulate well
The Flux Phenom Magnetic Screen Door is an effective, quick, and affordable option. Twenty-six strong magnets run the length of the seam, making it easy to get in and out—no worries about your rambunctious dog tearing a hole in it—but also help guard against insects. It's designed to fit over openings up to 38 by 82 inches and is made from thick black polyester mesh. This door is easy to install using the enclosed thumbtacks and hook-and-loop backing that attaches to the door frame, but if you need help, the company offers a video tutorial to guide you.
Obviously, this style isn't the most attractive or discreet, but given the affordable price, it may be worth it if you're on a budget and can't install a screen door with a plastic or metal frame. This option also works well for families with kids who have difficulty with traditional latch and lock mechanisms (just know that there's no way to keep them from freely moving in and out). Another perk: The company, Flux Phenom, offers a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Price at time of publish: $32
Dimensions: 11 x 15.25 x 2 inches (package) | Material: Polyester mesh | Colors and finishes: Black | Single or double: Single (divided)
Best for Sliding Doors
Larson Brisa Retractable Screen Door for Sliding Doors
Stripes offer visual cues
Fits on either right or left side
Some found installation tricky
Only one color available
This single door is designed to fit with 80-inch tall patio doors that have vent opening widths between 32 and 36 inches, although you can also modify it if the space is narrower by cutting the end of the track. It can be installed on either the right or left and covers only one side, resting on the outer frame and attaching with a flange and brackets. Some found installation tricky, although it has quick-snap tracks that are designed to make the process simple.
There's a locking latch that can be installed on either the inside or outside, and the door is meant to be moved with only one hand. We love that the discreet stripes woven into the screen offer a subtle cue that it's there, which should help guard against unexpected bumps (especially key when there's lots of glare from sunlight). The smooth retracting mechanism helps prevent slamming and the housing and track has a rust-resistant coating. If damage occurs and you need to replace the screen, Larson offers new ones through customer service. Unfortunately, it's only available in one color, white.
Price at time of publish: $249
Dimensions: 36 x 79 inches | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: White | Single or double: Single
Best for French Doors
MMI Door White Aluminum Inswing Retractable Double Screen Door
Few tools needed to install
Comes with locking mechanism
Wool pile creates a tight seal
Some found installation tricky
French doors lend an elegant vibe, making them one of the most stylish types of doors, but their lack of screens can make them impractical, and there aren't many retractable screens that are compatible with them. This double-screen set by Verona aims to solve that issue, with its in-track Velcro and wool pile seal, both of which help keep the doors anchored to the frame. The white finish will blend with many different decor styles, and the release-lever handle has a streamlined design.
The height is 82 inches and the doors can fit openings up to 74.25 inches wide. When you're not using the screen, it easily retracts out of the way so you can enjoy the view through the glass. Note that some users found that the screws that came with the door were of low quality and that the installation process was tricky. Also, keep in mind that this set should only be used with French doors that open inwards.
Price at time of publish: $708
Dimensions: 74.25 x 82 | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: White | Single or double: Double
Pella Rolscreen Full-View Aluminum Storm Door
Tough frame with reinforced corners
Handle sold separately
Roll screen doesn't lock into place
Pella is known for their high-quality, durable products and this attractive storm door is no exception. The Low-E glass will help insulate better than typical retractable doors, and the top screen can be opened and closed to allow ventilation (users also liked that since it's higher up, it reduces the chances of kids or pets running into it). User reports are mixed on whether the installation was difficult or not: Some people opted to have a handyperson or contractor handle it, and several users skipped covering the screws as they felt it was an unnecessary extra step—others found the process simple and straightforward.
The door also has plenty of heavy-duty weatherstripping, and the sweep at the bottom can be adjusted to work with your sill. The frame is nearly 1.5 inches thick and also has reinforced corners to help keep it in place. We also appreciate the variety of colors and handle finishes available to help match your decor. One common complaint is that the handle is not included and must be purchased separately (which cost around $50 at the time of publication).
Price at time of publish: $344
Dimensions: 32 x 81 inches (36-inch width also available) | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: Door, black, white, green, poplar white, brown, cranberry; handle (sold separately), satin nickel, polished brass, antique brass, oil-rubbed bronze, matte black | Single or double: Single
Best for Tall Doors
Larson Brisa Tall Retractable Screen Door
Available in several frame colors
Works with both inswing and outswing doors
Wind can cause screen to come loose
Some found installation difficult
Is your door more than 80 inches high? You'll need a special retractable screen designed specifically for higher entryways. This one uses Larson's Easy Glide track system and has a streamlined frame that won't overpower your entrance. To avoid unexpected collisions, there are subtle stripes that help indicate that the screen is there.
This screen will work whether your door swings in or out, and fits widths between 32 and 36 inches, though you can also make it narrower by trimming the end of the track. It's meant to fit doors that are 96 inches tall, and can be adjusted for openings of up to 97 inches. It comes in four classic colors and has an ergonomic handle fitted with a simple locking latch that can be placed on either side of the door. The aluminum frame is covered in a rust-resistant coating that's designed to withstand the elements.
Price at time of publish: $484
Dimensions: 36 x 96 inches | Material: Aluminum | Colors and finishes: White, black, brown, sandstone | Single or double: Single
Our favorite choice is the Andersen LuminAire Retractable Screen Door because it's solidly constructed, slides smoothly on its track, and is easy to install. If you prefer something that's more obvious, try the Larson Inspire Pleated Retractable Screen Door, which has dark stripes that serve as cues that a screen is installed, and can be customized to fit a variety of different sills. If you're trying to save money or can't install a fixture like a screen door (maybe you're renting), try the simple, affordable Flux Phenom Magnetic Screen Door.
What to Look for in a Retractable Screen Door
It's important to take precise measurements of the opening where you want to install the retractable screen door. Otherwise, the screen door that you choose may not fit correctly, leaving gaps or creating noticeable bends and wrinkles in the material that can affect the appearance and function of the screen. To avoid this issue, use a tape measure to measure the width and height of the doorway.
Most products, like the Andersen 3000 Series Full View Retractable Screen Storm Door, are offered in multiple sizes, so you should be able to find a retractable screen door that fits the doorway and your tastes. Measure the height from the door sill to the top of the door frame and measure the width at the bottom of the doorway, the middle of the doorway, and the top of the doorway to ensure accuracy.
The purpose of a retractable screen door is to allow air to flow into and out of the home without letting insects, leaves, and other small objects pass through the mesh. Typically, screen doors are made with either fiberglass mesh or polyester mesh, though some screens may also be made with aluminum mesh.
Fiberglass mesh is a durable material that is resistant to damage, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas, like the front door. The thick layer of fiberglass keeps pests out and air in, though it hinders the view of the outside world more than polyester or aluminum mesh. "Vinyl-coated fiberglass mesh is the most popular option because of its durability, and it's also affordable and easy to install," says Giovanni Scippo, an interior designer and director of 3D Lines, a U.K.-based architectural renderings company. "Fiberglass doesn’t crease or easily dent after rough use," says Jason Farr, president and owner of Aviara Pavers, a design and outdoor living specialist company headquartered in Escondido, California.
Polyester mesh is one of the most commonly used materials because it's inexpensive, easy to see through, and keeps pests out. If you choose to go with polyester, look for a product with a high fiber count to increase durability. "Polyester comes in a wide variety of prints, patterns, and thicknesses," says Farr. With the Original Magnetic Screen Door Easy Install's polyester mesh, you can keep insects and mosquitoes from entering your home, while still having easy access in and out.
Aluminum mesh is generally the most expensive option, but also the most durable due to its rigidity. It allows ample air and sun into the home. Aluminum mesh, like the one found on the Andersen LuminAire Retractable Screen Door, is typically coated for increased protection against rain, wind, sleet, and snow. "Aluminum is slightly more durable than fiberglass. It's weather-resistant and offers good ventilation and protection from insects," says Scippo. If you want a great view from your door, consider aluminum as well. "Aluminum has greater visibility, which is fantastic for looking out," says Farr. (Just remember you may also be more likely to bump into it when it's closed, too.)
A final consideration when choosing a mesh material is light filtration and visibility. "The differences in these materials will determine how much light can enter the house or if it is even possible to see outside at all," says Kamil Kowalski, president of LimakWay Remodeling in Chicago.
Retractable screen doors are designed to roll up into a frame, but you need to think about what type of frame the screen has and whether it is the right choice for your home. Think about the finish and if it will look appealing with the doorframe. You can find ABS plastic frames in various colors. These frames are flexible, lightweight, and can be painted to match the decor.
Metal frames can also be painted, and they are significantly more durable than ABS plastic. There are also magnetic retractable screen doors that fasten directly onto the door frame with nails or tacks. While the screen doesn't roll up into a frame, it can be opened and secured to the sides of the doorframe, so it isn't in the way. Metal frames might rust if you're in a coastal area that's exposed to a lot of moisture, but they may also be tougher if wear and tear is a factor. "Metal frames are a sturdier option for a home with kids," says Farr.
Single vs. Double Door
Retractable screen doors come in various sizes, including both single and double door. When you are measuring the dimensions of the doorway, note whether it is a single or double door. Single-door retractable screens commonly measure between 30 to 40 inches in width, and they are typically more affordable than a double-door product because they are made with less material. A double-door retractable screen will usually measure about 60 to 80 inches in width, making it ideal for French door walkouts.
What is a retractable screen door?
A retractable screen door is a screen that can be installed over a single- or double-door opening to prevent pests from entering the home without blocking the airflow into and out of the house. The screen is designed to retract or roll up into the screen door frame when it's not in use. This allows for a clear view through the window, and it also reduces the wear-and-tear on the screen. In many cases, these types of doors can make life easier. "The obvious answer for installing a retractable screen door is convenience, since you don’t need to look back to double-check whether the door is closed or not, and the roll control features make these retractable doors easy to open and close," says Farr.
How do you install a retractable screen door?
The installation process for a retractable screen door is relatively straightforward. Measure the width and height of the doorway, then purchase a compatible screen door product. You'll want to note which way your existing door swings (in or out) as well as your sill type (flush, long, or short). Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to connect the screen door track system to the screen's housing and attach the housing securely to the door frame. Cut and adjust the screen as necessary to get the proper fit.
How does a retractable screen door work?
Retractable screen doors are designed to roll out into the doorway when the door is opened, allowing air into the home while blocking out pests. The screen can then retract or roll up into the screen door housing when the door is closed. This is commonly achieved with a spindle at the top or side of the door that's used for rolling and unrolling the screen material. "The variable rate-control feature of the retractable doors helps open and shut them smoothly," says Farr.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Lexi Dwyer, a freelance writer for The Spruce. She's been writing for The Spruce since 2019 and has covered topics such as door locks, patio tables, and recycling bins. When creating her list, she aimed to include doors in a mix of styles, sizes, and configurations, and looked for ones that had good reviews for ease of installation and use, attractiveness, and durability. To learn more about retractable screen doors, Dwyer spoke with Giovanni Scippo of 3D Lines, Jason Farr of Aviara Pavers, and Kamil Kowalski of LimakWay Remodeling.
Additional reporting and research for this article was done by Timothy Dale, a long-time home improvement expert specializing in plumbing, construction, and product recommendations, among other topics.