Solar Shades vs. Cellular Shades: What’s Better for Your Home?

August 1, 2022by Yeshourun0

Summer is an excellent time to work on energy conservation. For instance, you may go out of your way to turn off the lights when you leave a room or close your windows and doors to keep the heat out. But did you know that up to 50% of a home’s heating and cooling energy is lost through windows? You may never have considered upgrading your window treatments to energy-efficient ones until now, but doing so will significantly improve your energy savings! At Urban Window Treatments we offer many energy-efficient window treatments that will not only save you hundreds of dollars on your utilities but will also fulfill many of your other needs. Today, we’ll compare two of our most energy-efficient window treatments: solar shades vs. cellular shades.


But, which is the better solution for you: solar shades or cellular shades? We recommend assessing your home’s needs and reading this article on solar shades vs. cellular shades to make the best decision.  


What Are Cellular Shades?

Cellular shades, also known as honeycomb shades, are made up of two (or more) pieces of fabric that create accordion-like pleats. The layer of fabric that faces the outside of your home, reflects sunlight and prevents excessive heat or cold air from entering. The second layer of fabric acts as insulation, preventing heated or cooled air from escaping your home. A gap or pocket between the two layers of fabric provides additional insulation.


What Are Solar Shades?

Solar shades, as the name suggests, are designed to diffuse harsh sunlight and keep harmful UV rays out of your home. As a result, solar shades will protect your furnishings and skin from the sun’s damaging rays.  


Which Window Treatment Is Better for Your Home?

Here are several important factors to consider when deciding between buying solar shades vs. cellular shades. 


Light Control 

Light control is an extremely important factor to consider when deciding on window treatments for your home.


When it comes to light control, cellular shades offer a large selection of options. For example, you can choose between various opacities including sheer, light-filtering, room darkening, and blackout cellular shades (for the most light control). Additionally, cellular shades are incredibly easy to operate. Simply, lower or raise them using a cord loop, cordless system, or remote (if you have motorized shades) until you get the amount of light that you’re looking for. 


Solar shades, on the other hand, control light in a unique way and have a very specific purpose. Solar shades are measured in percentages based on openness densities or how tightly the fabric is woven. A 5% solar shade, for example, allows 5% of UV rays to enter your home while blocking 95% of UV rays. When choosing solar shades, you should be aware that higher openness densities are more transparent and let more sunlight into your home, while lower openness densities are more opaque and block more sunlight.



Privacy is essential, especially for windows that face the street or your neighbors’ homes. If privacy is your primary concern, cellular shades are going to be the better option. This is because solar shades are designed to block out harmful UV rays and not for privacy. While solar shades provide a decent amount of privacy throughout the day, when you turn on a light at night, random passersby can see directly into your home! For maximum privacy, consider blackout cellular shades



Cellular and solar shades both provide insulation, however, cellular shades provide superior insulation. In fact, this is one of the original motivations for the development of cellular shades. During the winter, tightly insulated cellular shades can reduce heat up to 40%. During the summer, cellular shades can reduce unwanted solar heat through windows by up to 60%. Cellular shades are available in three different cell structures; single, double, and triple-cell. Triple-cell designs provide the best insulation and are the most energy-efficient window treatments of the three types of cell structures, but should not be used on extremely large or wide windows due to their weight. Give Urban Window Treatments a call to find out which cell structure is right for your windows.



No homeowner wants to spend money on window treatments that will fall apart in a few years. Window treatments are an investment that should last for a long time. Fortunately, both cellular and solar shades are extremely durable and have a lifespan of over 15 years—assuming of course, that you maintain them properly. One of the reasons these window treatments are so durable is because not many of their parts are prone to breaking down. 



Cost is going to be one of the first things that you consider when choosing between solar shades vs. cellular shades. Especially if you intend to treat multiple windows, the overall cost can quickly add up! If you’re looking for a less expensive solution, you’re going to want to opt for solar shades since cellular shades tend to be more expensive. However, while cellular shades are more of an initial investment, keep in mind that they will significantly reduce your monthly energy bills! 



It’s important to know how to maintain cellular and solar before purchasing them. Proper maintenance is essential if you want to prolong the life of your window treatments. 


To clean cellular shades, simply use a duster, microfiber cloth, or vacuum with a dust brush attachment to swipe horizontally along the pleats. For stubborn dust, you can use a lint roller. If dusting doesn’t help, blot stains with a damp cloth with a drop of mild dish soap until they are removed, then blot dry with a clean cloth. 


Solar shades can be cleaned using a vacuum with a dust brush attachment to remove dirt. To get rid of stubborn stains, use a microfiber cloth or soft sponge with a mild cleaning agent and rub in a circular motion until they are gone.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of whether you want to purchase solar shades vs. cellular shades. Generally, it’s best to buy cellular shades if your home isn’t properly insulated, such as if you live in an older house, and solar shades if you live in a sunny state and your home receives excessive sunlight. If you have any questions or need help determining which of these window treatments would be better for your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to Urban Window Treatments!


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