Spring is here, and summer isn’t far behind. Few things are more enjoyable this time of year than relishing the warmer weather and cool breeze—but unfortunately, bugs and other critters seem to think so, too.
If you like letting the springtime inside, but hate the headaches that come with leaving your front (or garage) door open, do I have a product for you.
It’s called a retractable screen door.
While there are a few types of retractable screen doors, the basic concept is the same: It’s a screen door that allows you to enjoy the refreshing weather from your home without letting bugs or other animals inside.
Want to learn more? Then keep reading.
Top 3 Picks
Best Overall: PICK FOR LIFE 2 Car Garage Door Screen
The PICK FOR LIFE 2 Car Garage Door Screen is our pick for “Best Overall” because it provides the highest quality and most user-friendly features of all the products on our list. From fiberglass mesh available in 2 colors to its handy roll tape for storage, this door screen was designed with the user in mind.
We chose the Titan Mall 72×80” Upgraded Magnetic Screen Door with Durable Fiberglass Mesh Curtain for the “Best Price” position because it offers tons of quality at a price anyone can afford. In particular, we love its attractive white color and strong fiberglass mesh.
Most Versatile: Larson Sierra 100 White 36 x 78.5 Retractable Screen Door
The Larson Sierra 100 White 36 x 78.5 Retractable Screen Door is our “Most Versatile” pick due to its high level of adjustability—including 2” height adjustment and an included sill transition.
What to Look for
There are plenty of retractable screen door options on the market, so how can you know that the one you’re buying is high-quality and right for your home? Well, several factors play into this. Let’s take a look…
The number one factor to consider before purchasing a retractable screen door is the size. Even if you found the best screen door this world has to offer, it wouldn’t do you any good unless it was the right size for your door.
Before setting out to make your purchase, it’s always recommended to measure your door a couple of times. From there, you can filter your search to accommodate those dimensions.
This is especially important because there’s no single “standard” size for retractable screen doors.
There are three main types of retractable screen doors:
Sliding screen doors are opened and closed via tracks that are installed at the top and bottom of the door.
Magnetic screen doors are a hands-free option. They feature a number of powerful magnets that run through a middle seam, which allows a person (or fur baby) to open it as they walk through and have the screen door close by itself behind them.
- Pull Up/Down
This type of screen door can be rolled up or down when not in use, usually stored at the top of the door frame.
The material a retractable screen door is made of is a key element to consider, as it dictates the overall quality. There are three popular screen door materials, each with its pros and cons.
Fiberglass is perhaps the best material as far as quality for your dollar goes. This material choice is very popular due to its durability and flexibility, as well as the layer of privacy it can add to your home, porch, balcony, or sunroom.
Aluminum is an even higher-quality material than fiberglass, but it’s also more expensive. This is a fantastic option if you’re looking for exceptional durability. That said, it lacks the flexibility and privacy that fiberglass offers.
Polyester is the most affordable option—and also the lowest in quality. If you’re on a tight budget, polyester will get the job done but not with the same durability as the other two materials. It might be better to save up for a fiberglass or aluminum screen door, unless you really need it right away.
How to Install a Retractable Screen Door
When it comes to the installation of your retractable screen door, there are two options: self-installation and having a professional do it.
Different types of screen doors tend to be easier to self-install than others. For example, magnetic retractable screen doors are typically installed via a Velcro or other adhesive and require few (if any) tools or equipment. On the other hand, a sliding one will require tracks to be installed—which is going to require more tools, more know-how, and more time.
If you plan on self-installing the door, make sure the model you purchase comes with well-written and easy-to-follow instructions, preferably with images.
If you plan to have a professional do it for you, do some research on how much it will cost.
In this case, “design” refers to both aesthetics and functionality.
Depending on the type you opt for, you might have several frame or mesh color options to choose from. Make sure to choose colors and textures that will best complement your home, and avoid screens that are overly transparent (darker ones provide extra privacy and are less likely to run into).
Make sure the screen door has all of the features it needs to work well for your home. This might mean included weights at the bottom for magnetic doors, or comfortable handles for sliding doors.
The Best Retractable Screen Doors
Convinced a retractable screen door is right for you? Then take a look at our top picks to see what the market has to offer. Who knows? You might just find “the one” here.
The Flux Phenom Reinforced Magnetic Screen Door is a fantastic budget option for those who need a quality screen door installed ASAP. The black mesh is crafted of polyester, and features a high thread count and reinforced edges for durability and longevity. There are 26 magnets running down the middle seam, which allow the screen to open easily as you walk through and close automatically—no hands required.
You’ll also love the quick, easy setup process: All you need to do is attach the frame using the included thumbtacks or hook and loop backing. In the event you need to adjust the screen before installation, the included directions give you advice on how to do this correctly—you can even find an online video tutorial for extra help.
This screen door is designed for doorways 38 x 82 inches, with the smallest possible doorframe size being 35 x 80 inches. When you purchase this retractable screen door, you also get a lifetime replacement policy; this means that if the screen is damaged, you can get a new one for free. Yes, please!
- High thread count
- Effective magnetic opening/closure
- Fast and easy installation
- Written and video instructions
- Lifetime replacement policy
- Mesh is polyester
- Not fade-resistant
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, you should consider the Larson Sierra 100 White 36 x 78.5 Retractable Screen Door. It’s a bit pricier, but features a higher-quality mesh construction of aluminum as well as a full-length magnetic seal. This one slides open and closed, making use of a speed reducer to ensure safety and greater longevity of the screen door.
The screen door is designed to fit doorframes of 36 ¼” x 78.8-80.5” and comes with a sill transition. You can easily adjust the height within 2 inches, and the included cast metal handle is height-adjustable as well. All in all, this is a top-notch retractable screen door that offers a lot of versatility!
- Aluminum mesh construction
- Full-length magnetic seal
- Speed reducer
- Sill transition included
- Height-adjustable to 2 inches
- Only for inside mount
- Confusing instructions
- Minor design flaws
The IKSTAR Magnetic Screen Door Double Instant Mesh Curtain is an affordable option that doesn’t skimp on quality. Its mesh is constructed of high-density polyester that lets the fresh air inside, keeps bugs outside, and adds a touch of visual appeal to your living space. Keep in mind that if you want an even higher-quality screen door, this model comes in many variations—including ones with fiberglass mesh.
Installation is a piece of cake, requiring nothing more than some hook and loop and pushpins (if desired). The screen door is designed for doorframes up to 48 x 83 inches, though you can order it in the following sizes:
- 39 x 83
- 39 x 99
- 60 x 80
- 72 x 80
The screen door is just as easy to remove as it is to install. Check it out, and consider trying this model for yourself!
- High-density mesh
- Can order in different sizes/materials
- Easy installation and removal
- Mesh is polyester
- Some users found the length too short
The Homitt Magnetic Screen Door with Heavy Duty Mesh Curtain is another solid choice for those needing a budget-friendly screen door. Its black polyester mesh has 26 strong magnets sewn in as well as 8 gravity sticks to keep it from being blown open on windy days. In addition, its reinforced line design ensures that the screen will last for a long time!
You’ll appreciate the near-silent closure the magnets allow, not to mention the simple installation process. You can install this magnetic screen door using the included (and removable) full-frame hook and loop; the kit also comes with pushpins for extra stability.
Order yours today in one of three sizes: 36” x 83” / 39” x 83” / 110” x 84”.
- Plenty of magnets
- Gravity sticks
- Reinforced line design
- Silent closure
- Easy installation
- 3 sizes available
- Mesh is polyester
- Too short for some doors
- May need extra reinforcement for heavy use
Budgeting your expenses shouldn’t have to mean foregoing quality—which is why we highly recommend the Titan Mall 72×80” Upgraded Magnetic Screen Door with Durable Fiberglass Mesh Curtain.
This model features an attractive white fiberglass mesh (also available in polyester) that easily attaches to your doorframe via a combination of Velcro-like hook and loop and pushpins. The screen is both durable and lightweight, and it does a great job of keeping bugs out while allowing for better air circulation. Finally, its quiet magnetic closure makes coming and going a breeze! Why not see for yourself?
- Fiberglass mesh
- Easy installation
- Durable, lightweight construction
- Quiet magnetic closure
- Not good for metal doors
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to keep the garage door open without leaving the garage so…exposed? Wait—there is! It’s called the MarkIn Premium Magnetic Garage Door Screen.
This model provides full garage door coverage for a 2-car garage up to 16×7 feet. Its premium fiberglass mesh features 36 magnets along the middle seam and a bottom weight to prevent the door from opening in the wind. The mesh is designed to keep bugs out and give your garage a bit more privacy, without needing to sacrifice the simple joys in life (like sunlight or fresh air). The screen door is easy to install with pushpins and is completely detachable. Best of all, it comes with a 100% moneyback guarantee!
- Fiberglass mesh
- Plenty of magnets
- Bottom weight
- Extra privacy
- Easy to install and detach
- 100% moneyback guarantee
- Might tear with excessive use
The PICK FOR LIFE 2 Car Garage Door Screen is another great option for your garage. Its fiberglass mesh (available in black or white) can provide coverage for garage door frames up to 16 x 7 feet, and it boasts reinforced edges for greater longevity. The mesh features several strong magnets for quiet closure and gravity sticks to keep the screen door closed even in heavy winds. It’s also super-easy to install and detach; you just need to use the included hook and loop strips and push pins. This model also has a unique feature lacking in the previous garage door model: It includes strapping tapes at the top so that you can roll up and store the mesh screen when not in use! All in all, this is a quality screen door at a great price.
- Fiberglass mesh
- 2 colors available
- Reinforced edges
- Strong magnets and weights
- Easy to install and detach
- Strapping tapes for storage
- May require extra support
Benefits of a Retractable Screen Door
There are so many reasons you should consider purchasing a retractable screen door! Of course, the exact benefits you can expect depend on the type you opt for.
The major benefit you’ll find across all retractable screen door types is the ability to let the fresh air in and keep the creepy-crawlies out. This is especially desirable during the warmer spring and summer months, when you and the insects/arachnids are vying for the same fresh air and sunlight while enjoying time on your beautiful patio.
If you purchase a magnetic screen door, it will provide the added benefits of allowing you, your kiddos, your guests, and your fur babies to enter and exit the home freely. This is because the magnets part when someone is passing through and then close back together automatically.
Depending on the material and color of the mesh used, a retractable screen door can also add a layer of privacy. This is a nice bonus, especially if you prefer keeping to yourself or don’t want passersby to know what you have in your house or garage.
Tips for Installing and Using
One reason many people put off buying a retractable screen door is the uncertainty (and resulting anxiety) of how to install and use it properly. To help dispel your fears, here are a few tips for you…
Installation methods vary from one type of screen door to another, as well from one specific model to another. The best way to learn how to install your retractable screen door correctly is to read the included instructions. If you’re more of an aural/visual learner or are having trouble understanding something, you can also go on YouTube and search there for how-to videos regarding the model you purchased.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect installation-wise for the three types of retractable screen doors.
Sliding and pull-down screen doors tend to be the most difficult to install. This is because they require special door tracks or other units, which in turn must be installed using certain tools (and a little know-how).
The first step is to measure your door; find the width of the doorway at the top and bottom, as well as the length of the sill. Depending on the measurements you get, you might need to make modifications to either the screen or the door itself. If the doorway is too wide for the screen you purchased, you can simply cut the screen to size (roughly 1/8-inch less wide is a good rule-of-thumb). If the sill is too short, this means you’ll need to install extra blocking to make the screen work.
Once the screen and door are ready to go, it’s just a matter of putting the frame together and screwing it into place per the included instructions.
Most sliding or pull-down doors take roughly half an hour to get up and running.
Magnetic retractable screen doors tend to be much simpler to install, requiring only a few minutes.
While exact methods vary from model to model, most magnetic doors use adhesive (such as Velcro) to “stick” to the door frame; in this case, you really only need to apply pressure for a few minutes and let it sit for about a day. You can also strengthen the hold by applying push pins or thumbtacks; many setup kits some with these already, so you don’t need to purchase them separately.
For the most part, proper use of retractable screen doors is straightforward. Depending on the model you have, you simply slide/unroll/attach the screen when you want to use it; once you’re done, you either slide/roll/detach it.
However, one thing people don’t often think about before purchasing their screen door is maintenance. Retractable screen doors can be quite expensive, so taking proper care of them is essential! Here are a few pointers:
- For sliding screen doors, keep debris out of the track and clean them frequently.
- Also clean the screen itself; it doesn’t take long for dirt and dust to build up in the mesh.
- Retract (or take down) the screen door when not in use.
- Don’t be too rough with it, as this can cause damage to the screen or track early on.
Retractable Screen Door Ideas
Adjustable Louvered Pergola and Patio Cover
For this one, there’s beautiful pergola and the retractable screen was actually used as a patio cover. What they did here was use a retractable screen, from the top of the pergola, and it looks like you can adjust it from halfway or you can pull it all the way down. You can see the beauty of retractable screens in this setting.
Porch Screen Cover
This retractable screen is rather large, and they’ve installed it all around their back porch area to create a screened outdoor living space to comfortably enjoy the outdoors but without the worry of bugs or dirt.
Screened in Porch
This large outdoor area is completely closed in using a retractable screen that’s permanently installed. It divides the space so you can choose to sit in the sun, or stay under the protection of the shade the screens offer.
UnderDeck Retractable Screen
Here we have a large home with a large balcony on the second story. But rather than using a screen to enclose it, they’ve installed retractable screens all around the area beneath it. Creating a second outdoor space to enjoy.
Retractable Pleated Insect Screen
If you haven’t seen a custom retractable screen door yet, this is a very good example. Retractable and clearly custom made to fit the space. Usually, custom-made retractable doors are extremely expensive, and you most likely have to get a professional to do it for you because it’s pretty hard to set up as well.
Screened in Front Porch
This is a very good example of a screened-in front porch. As you can see, they used a retractable screen to help keep out insects and some other elements such as rain and wind. It looks like a very nice place to relax at night without being bothered by the critters.
Frequently Asked Questions
To get you better-acquainted with retractable screen doors, here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Are retractable screen doors any good?
It really depends on the screen door you purchase. As with most items, there are retractable screen doors of varying quality on the market. Look for a retractable screen door with the following properties for the best experience:
- High-quality mesh
- Effective closure method
- Adequate support
How much are retractable screen doors?
Depending on the brand and model, you can expect to find retractable screen doors costing anywhere from $20 to $110. A higher price usually indicates higher quality, but there are other factors you should consider before price:
- What material is the retractable screen door made from?
- What type of closure method does this door use?
- Will this screen door hold up well to regular use?
- Is this retractable screen door versatile, or only for use with certain doors?
Try to find a retractable screen door that’s both within your budget and well-suited to your needs.
Does Costco sell retractable screen doors?
Unfortunately, Costco does not sell retractable screen doors. But there are other stores that do!
In addition to the obvious choices (Amazon and Wayfair), you can find retractable screen doors either in-person or online at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. You can also search for them in other local stores in your area, especially those that sell home improvement products.
How much is a Phantom screen door?
Phantom Screens is known for its wide selection of high-quality screen doors and similar products. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give an exact estimate for how much their screen doors cost as it depends on several factors: the type of screen door, the area where you live, how much shipping and installation cost, etc.
Based on different sources, I can guesstimate the average cost of a Phantom retractable screen door to be from $400 to $1400 plus shipping/installation costs.
We hope this review has given you one more reason to look forward to the warmer months ahead! With the information provided and our list of top picks, you should have a much better idea of how to choose the best retractable screen door for your home.