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6 Best Hurricane Shutters to Protect Your Home During Storm Season

Investing in these top-rated storm panels will save you money in the long run.

3 hurricane shutters on a blue background

We updated this guide in August 2022 to ensure all products vetted by the Home Improvement Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute are still available and correctly priced. We also added additional shopping and product insights from our experts.

With a storm bearing down, the last thing you want is to be fumbling with sheets of plywood to protect your home’s windows and doors. That’s where hurricane shutters come in, and they’ve become a must-have in disaster-prone parts of the country. American homeowners now spend more than $26 billion a year on damages caused by extreme weather, up from about $10 billion in 2010, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Making matters worse, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for above-normal activity for the 2022 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

So it's no wonder the market for hurricane shutters is booming. The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been following the latest innovations in hurricane shutters and storm panels closely to keep tabs on the best solutions. And as consumer interest has grown, so too has the selection: We now see a wide range of shutters to fit both budget and aesthetic needs for all homeowners. Keep in mind that the average cost of hurricane shutters will vary based on the style, material and size, but you can expect the most durable and secure options to cost more than temporary fixes.

Our top picks:

          Read more about the best types of hurricane shutters to buy in 2022 below, then find more details about how we chose the best hurricane shutters plus everything you need to know when choosing the best option for your home at the bottom of this guide. Also, check out our additional expert advice for emergency preparation as well as our top picks for backup generators to have at home.

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          Best Overall Hurricane Shutters
          Rolling Shutters
          Materials Aluminum or steel
          Operation Manual or automated
          Best Value Hurricane Shutters
          Fabric Storm Panels
          Material Fabric
          Operation Manual
          Best Quick Fix Hurricane Shutters
          Clear Polycarbonate Storm Panels
          Materials Plastic
          Operation Manual
          Most Stylish Hurricane Shutters
          Larson Shutter
          Colonial Shutters
          Materials Aluminum
          Operation Manual
          Most Versatile Hurricane Shutters
          Bermuda Shutters
          Materials Wood
          Operation Manual
          Best Hurricane Shutters for Sliding Doors
          Accordion Shutters
          Materials Aluminum
          Operation Manual
          How we chose the best hurricane shutters

          Our home product experts started by analyzing the current marketplace to identify the top-selling hurricane shutters that you’re most likely to find at home centers, specialty dealers and online. They also regularly attend trade shows and industry events, like the International Builders Show and the Southeast Building Conference, to keep up with the latest innovations in storm preparedness.

          While we were not able to personally test the various hurricane shutters included in this roundup, our engineers did a close review of the technical data to ensure that each product meets its claimed impact-resistance. We also consulted several outside professionals for insights into how the various options perform in the field. Finally, we pored through hundreds of user reviews to check for irregularities or red flags related to performance, durability and maintenance.

          Which types of hurricane shutters are best?
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          First things first, make sure the shutters are rated to withstand extreme conditions of a hurricane. "Check the packaging or any advertising materials displayed with the shutters for the phrases 'SBCCI approved or 'ASTM approved,'" says Mr. Handyman's Kevin Busch. The acronyms refer to the Southern Building Code Congress International and American Society for Testing and Materials, two organizations that create standards for various building materials.

          Next figure out which shutter material and type are the best fit for your home. Here are the options:

          ✔️MATERIAL This determines not only the shutter’s ability to protect windows and doors from flying debris, but also how well it resists water and wind. Here are the main options:

          • Fabric This material is easy to install and operate and it’s surprisingly strong, though impact resistance isn’t what you'll get with more rigid materials. Tightly woven fabric can help block out water, but it won’t prevent air pressure from heavy wind.
          • Metal Whether aluminum or steel, metal shutters offer excellent impact resistance and the material does a very good job keeping out water and wind. Metal shutters that lock also provide added security against break-ins.
          • Plastic Most plastic hurricane shutters are made from clear polycarbonate sheets that are highly impact resistant and also keep out wind and water. The downside with the material is tends to be the least attractive.
          • Wood Combining performance and aesthetics, wood shutters are stylish, durable and wind and weather-resistant. But as with any exterior wood product, like siding and window frames, wood shutters must be regularly refinishing.

          ✔️TYPE The type of hurricane shutter you choose will determine how much you spend and also how easy it is to operate. These are the five best options:

          • Rolling Similar to a roller blind, these shutters roll up and down as needed, making them a convenient and space-efficient option. Metal ones offer excellent protection against flying objects, wind, rain and thieves. WiFi-connected versions can be controlled remotely, nice if a storm hits when you’re away from home.
          • Panel shutters Typically made of high-strength fabric or plastic, panels are a step up from plywood sheets, since their built-in fasteners make them easier to put on and take off. They also do a better job of keeping out the weather than plain plywood. Unlike other shutters, they're meant to be temporary, unless you can live with the look and obstruction of panels covering your windows.
          • Accordion shutters Similar to rolling shutters, accordion shutters open and close along a track, usually horizontally, which makes them good for large openings, like a sliding glass door. They're often made of cheaper sheet metals, which keeps their cost down but makes them less durable and impact-resistant.
          • Colonial shutters The traditional choice, these are basically storm shutters that are rated to withstand extreme weather conditions. They’re often made of wood, though aluminum and composite materials are available too.
          • Bermuda shutters Another decorative favorite, these shutters consist of a louvered panel that attaches to the top of the window frame. They open from the bottom to let in light and air, then can be quickly closed when bad weather is approaching. Bermuda shutters are more user-friendly than Colonials, but they block more light, even when in a fully open position.
                How much does it typically cost to install hurricane shutters?

                It depends on the type and material of the shutter and how many openings you need to protect. Homeowners typically spend between $2,000 and $6,000 on the project, with the average cost coming in right around $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor.

                Keep in mind that inflation has impacted most building materials, including hurricane shutters; in the last year, prices have increased between 5 and 10%; your insurance company might lower your premium if you install hurricane shutters, offsetting some of the cost. Our market experts also note that supply chain challenges have resulted in longer lead times, so it’s worth shopping around for not only the best price, but also the quickest delivery.

                Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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                The Good Housekeeping Institute Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab provides expert reviews and advice on all things home-related, including hurricane shutters and other exterior building products. In his role as Director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, Dan DiClerico brings more than 20 years of experience to the Institute, having reviewed thousands of products for Good Housekeeping, as well as brands like Consumer Reports and This Old House. He has also worked on various remodeling crews specializing in exterior upgrades, including windows and roofs.

                Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the Institute, also lent her expertise to this report. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about products across the home improvement space. She oversees all of the GH Institute’s technical and testing protocols.

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