Retractable Screen Door Reviews

Retractable Screens Review

So you've made the decision- you want a retractable screen. Now the hard part- which brand of retractable screen- and which company? There are several things to consider:

1. The overall quality of the screen door

2. Ease of use/Safety

3. Professional installation or DIY?

4. Price

5. Durability

6. Warranty

The Home Depot, Lowe's - big box DIYs are all pretty identical- that is to say- not so good. If you're combing the web hoping to find a happy review of an ODL or other do-it-yourself, don't fool yourself. Call Home Depot or Lowes, and talk to the special order desk. Ask them how many get returned- it will scare you. The truth is, retractable screens are not inexpensive, and you do get what you pay for.

Retractable Screens Quality

When it comes to quality- there four brands that make the cut. Don't waste your time with Reel, Casper, Vanishing, Dreamscreens, Aloha, or any other brand except:

Phantom Screens, Clearview Screens, Wizard Screens, or Mirage Screens.

All of the above are heavy gauge, will hold up over time, and are professionally installed.

Better Retractable Screen Doors

There are only very subtle differences between a Mirage, Wizard, and Phantom Screen Door. All are made in Vancouver, Canada. All 3 are almost identical in thickness of Material. The main differences:

1. Mirage is powder coated, Phantom and Wizard Screens are not

2. Phantom is available at Lowes so there is some added layer of buyer's protection

3. Wizard offers a knock-off speed reducer (not recommended)

Clear View Retractable Screen Doors Reviewed

Clearview is a different animal of retractable. Representing the premium end of the market- they are typically priced 10-15% more than the rest, but offers several distinction from Wizard, Phantom, and Mirage Retractable Screens.

1. Speed Reducer- Clearview is the only retractable screen that does not SNAP back- this is a very big deal.

2. ClearView screen doors can span larger openings

3. They are powder coated

4. They are much prettier to look at it with great attention to detail.

Here is a website with much more detail: ClearView Retractable Screens

ClearView Disappearing Screen Doors

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Comments 155 comments

aleida_77 profile image

aleida_77 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Thanks for gathering so much good information on retractable screen doors. Have been wanting to install one on my back door, so will check some of these out! Nice hub.

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thehis 6 years ago from San Diego Author

Thanks for the kind words- it looks like you have some high quality hubs yourself!

Devin 6 years ago

I've installed ClearView for years- in Riverside and San Bernadino. I've tried several brands- but Clearview is the best!

doc 6 years ago

i have been installing clearviews for 7 years in tucson az and there is no better retractable door on the market

Trinsick profile image

Trinsick 6 years ago from Cali

It hard to find reviews on this stuff, glad I ran into yours.

mike 6 years ago

I find that AIRA screen doors are of the best qaulity

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thehis 6 years ago from San Diego Author

Thanks Mike for the comment. I do agree that AIRA, or Eclipse Screens as they used to be called, are a decent screen- I put them slightly behind Phantom and Mirage.

Pros- extruded aluminum, t groove rail system, ability to mount flush to threshold.

Negatives- no speed reducer, no backing (screen is visible from the inside), not powder coated, track is too shallow and prone to falling out with force, non-ergonomic handle, and - at least in the US- poor distribution network.

Ginny Piendak 6 years ago

We are in an apt and do not want to spend a lot of money on a retractable screen door for our over sized sliding door. It has a 48" opening.

We will probably need it for 6 months, if we only stay here for a year. Any suggestions?

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thehis 6 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Ginny,

Hmmm... Kind of a hard question. A good quality retractable screen door- like Clearview or Phantom is a great solution for over-sized sliding doors- you never have to wrestle with them to get them open or closed. They are,however, custom fit and built to last- so probably not the most cost-effective solution for only six months. I would probably just go with a cheaper solution if its only for a year. Best of luck!

Carlito 6 years ago

Warning to Rectractable screen door customers... Do not buy the product fro Wizard screen doors. Their mesh has be replaced for every summer(costs 100$ to repair it. They use cheapest matterial all chihese and vietnames Made in Canada they Please do not waste 350 to 750 dollars to purchase only one screen dorr and thousands tor a set of French Door even if you are rich.:)

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thehis 6 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Carlito,

I am so sorry to hear of your bad experience. In my opinion Wizard is a decent door- you may have a bad installer.

Becky 5 years ago

If I want a retractable screen for an industrial setting with a door that swings out whom would you suggest? The door is slightly larger that standard and all metal including the frame.

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Becky,

That's a tough answer. In general, I'd either stick with Phantom or Clearview, depending on availability in your area. The challenge is that typically commercial installations don't have any existing threshold. So- you'll have to have a raised step a little under an inch.

If that's worth the sacrifice you should be OK otherwise.

Sandy 5 years ago

I own a Caboose that I remodeled a couple of years ago. I want to put a retractable screen in front of the original door for nice air flow when the door is open. The entrance is 26"x70 3/4". Which product do you suggest, and will a "handy man/ carpenter" be able to install without a problem? I've looked all over and cannot find any storm/screen doors this odd size. The other option is to have one made but quite expensive for materials and labor!

Jennifer 5 years ago

We've had Clearview screens on several of our doors for years now and I LOVE them. They look really nice, and you can't even tell they're there. In fact, more than one guest (and occupant!) has accidentally walked into one because they are so hard to see. (when that happens, they immediately snap open, and there hasn't been any apparent harm to the screen. Now our dog goes up to the door and carefully touches his nose to the door opening to see if the screen is there before he tries to go outside. If it's there, he doesn't try to get out.) Installation was friendly, professional, and before and after service was top notch. These folks (Bay Area) were a pleasure to deal with. Also love the lifetime guarantee.

James 5 years ago

Today I visited a Clearview brand booth and a Genius brand booth at a local home show in my area. What are your thoughts on the Genius brand retractable screen door ?

Thanks in advance for your input.

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

James, don't waste your time with Genius. Not a great product and terrible customer support. They've been around for ever, and continually lose dealers- at least here in California.

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author


I'm sorry to see in this business everything is custom. I would only caution you to do it right one time- don't waste your money on something temporary. Best of luck!

Steve 5 years ago

Has anyone installed/used a Bella retractable screen door?

Krista 5 years ago

I have to disagree with you about Dreamscreens, I had a Phantom on my old house, I had trouble with their customer service. When I moved I decided to go with Dreamscreens because of the full length magnet and seal on the bottom of the screen and of course customer service as well. It works perfectly, and is 10x better then my old Phantom. I highly recommend this company!!

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Krista,

Thanks for the comment. Even though I personally find phantom to be of much higher quality, although not always the best service. I do believe Dreamscreens is now out of business,though,

Emily 5 years ago

Our contractor is considering using Larson or Phatom retractable screen doors for our french doors (open on the interior). We're not married to these brands. I'd love your recommendation for durability, looks, and pet friendliness. Thank you!

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Emily,

Phantom is solid, I'd prefer Clearview for looks and ease of use but Phantom isn't bad... As far as pets go you'll need to take precautions. Ask your contractor to cut you a piece of plexiglass to act as a pet gate or make you one out of a fixed screen frame. Enjoy them!

Liz 5 years ago

Please tell me about the bottom of the retractable screen door. We looked at the Clearview Screen at our local home show but I was concerned that the screen mesh was easily pushed open at the bottom. Can lizards, snakes, etc. easily get into your home under the screen mesh?

Mary 5 years ago


Can somebody recommend a good installer in SF Bay Area for Clearview screens?

I also interested to know the answer to Lis's question. It's important that bottom of the mesh was not easily pushed open. I've heard that Caspers have a good bottom catch. Also they supposedly have smooth retraction system. But their frame is aluminum. Would that mean Caspers screens are not as sturdy as Phantom or Clearview? Caspers about 20% cheaper. I'm trying to do my homework. Please help!

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Mary,

Trust me on this- stay away from Casper. They will break down on you- same company was called Reelscreen for years and changed their name 2 years ago. - depending on the part of the bay you are in- there are one of 3 who could help you. If you want to take a trip over to San Jose you can see the production facility. Let me know if that helps!

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Liz,

All retractables have a loose edge on the bottom- you can get around this with some plexiglass cut to fit. I've had them for years, and have had no issues with critters!

Kristen 5 years ago

I have cats and am worried about them pushing the bottom out far enough to get out. Is there any one brand better for people with pets? Thanks for the help.

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Kristen,

With Cats- all brands need some help. That being said- a simple piece of plexiglass in the bottom track will work with most brands as a gate- Clearview,Phantom, Mirage, Wizard for sure.

Frankie 5 years ago

Hello, I'm curious about east coast distribution (specifically VA). Do you know of any dealers E of the Mississippi for Clearview or why there seems to be a lack of them? Is it possible to become one?


Craig 5 years ago

Any comments on ODL or Seasonguard from Home Depot? Are retractable screen doors very easy to install yourself with minimal handman skills?

Kris 5 years ago


We have pet parrots (cockatoos) that we'd like to be able to leave with all of their wing feathers. As such, we need a screen that will not open immediately when smacked into (in case one of the birds gets panicked and flies into the screen). As well, I was wondering--when you place plexiglass in the bottom track to act as a safety gate, how do you keep people from tripping over it when they come and go? How tall is the plexiglass?



Paul 5 years ago

Clearview has the only speed reducer on the market that actually works...Call any Phantom dealer about purchasing a screen with a speed reducer and they'll try to talk you out of it...Why....because theirs don't work...

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author


For a bird that is trying to fly out- I would recommending latching the door but you should be fine. I know very little about birds but if they are super aggressive in their attempts to escape- I don't know if any screen door makes sense....

DAN 5 years ago


thehis profile image

thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Dan,

So sorry to hear that - phantom is a decent product, but perhaps the San Diego rep is a bit lacking.

Shirley 5 years ago

Which retractable screen would you recommend, ClearView or Mirage? Do they both have the built up bottom track? Does one keep out tree frogs/baby snakes better than the other? Thank you in advance for your response.

thehis profile image

thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Shirley,

ClearView hands down. No slam, better looking, back plate included... both have a bottom track- check with your local installer to see if they can mount flush (usually both Mirage and ClearView can). Ask whomever you choose to give you the measurements to get a piece of plexiglass cut to keep out snakes if they're a big problem for you.

Best of luck!

Shirley 5 years ago

Thank you so much for the information.

Susan  5 years ago

We've just built a house in Panama. Is it possible to get a Dreamscreen door sent to us and have it installed locally? Or must they be installed by the supplier. I don't imagine I could afford to have them come down to install one!


Peter 5 years ago

Have you ever heard of Plisse Retractable Screen Doors and can you provide any feed back on the product?

Richard 5 years ago

How is the comparison between AIRA and Clearview? I am trying to decide between the 2. I know AIRA has the speed reducer as an add-on option. Please advise!

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Trimdr 5 years ago


Can you elaborate?

I met with a local installer/dealer for Mirage this morning. Seemed to be a really good guy. Going to call Clearview to get someone to come out and quote.

Just want to check pricing. I'm being quoted on a single door, 8ft high, special color, heavy duty screen about $600 installed w/ tax.

I also have a question about plexiglass for the pets. Are you talking about a small piece to cover the rail attached to the threshold? Maybe 1-1/2" high to keep paws from going under the screen? Or do you mean a large piece to lean up against the door frame to prevent pets from getting to the screen? If that's the case, that seems to almost defeat the purpose of having a screen door. How fragile are these?

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Trimdr,

Bob I think is someone who has their own agenda. $600 installed is pretty cheap- just make sure he goes over how he is going to mount. Mirage is a good quality brand.

THe plexiglass is just a gate, but I would but at least 30" high or its really hard to use... it would still let lots of air flow in.

They are not fragile- but will not keep pets in without.

Robert 5 years ago

Be sure to check out "Genius" Brand. In my opinion they are the best in the market. Lifetime warranty. Made in USA. The feature I especially like is their "Smooth Glide" system specifically for French Door applications. It uses only one screen mechanism which spans the entire width of a French Door. All other brands have to use TWO systems to span a french door - much more expensive! I've got three Genius Smooth Glide systems in my house, and I love them!

Ann 5 years ago


Thankls for this website, it's helpful. Or at least I think it is. May I ask if you work for or are paid ClearView ?



thehis profile image

thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Ann,

I have been in the industry for almost a decade, and have carried 4 brands before settling on ClearView. Everything I state is 100% accurate.


Sarah 5 years ago


I just wanted to ask you about your opinion regarding a screen for an outswing condo patio door in terms of brand and price near the Edmonton, Alberta area. What is available and what do you recommend?


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Trimdr 5 years ago

Can anyone explain the difference b/w these 2 companies? Are they the same manufacture and multiple dealers?

I met with the North Texas dealer for the first link. I told him that I had a quote for a Mirage. Before I could give him the price, he told me what he would charge with all necessary upgrades. He was $100 LESS than the Mirage quote.

So I had him come out. He had a better color match and offered a better threshold solution, which he included in his price. The Mirage rep wanted to install a track on top of the existing threshold, whereas the Clearview will have a threshold that goes over the existing threshold that has the track built into it. In order to accomplish this, they will need to add a 2" x 2" wooden spacer and this is included in the price. All I need to do is supply the paint, which is no big deal.

I'll post back in a week or so letting you know what I think of the new door.

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thehis 5 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Sarah,

I'm afraid I don't know the Canadian market - other than Phantom, Mirage, and Wizard are in Vancouver. All would be OK- I would go with Mirage Screens myself out of that bunch, but they are very similar. Mirage has a better paint finish, and a more ergonomic handle.

Lori 5 years ago

Can you tell me about stowaways? Im trying to see if they are a better door than mirage.

Tim 5 years ago

How do Bella retractables compare with the Clearview screen you're pushing?

Catherine 5 years ago

We have four dogs and need a barrier to scratching of our wood entry door. We'd also like the ventilation. Do you know if Clearview has "pet mesh" or if Genius Pleated Sheer Screen would work? Or would it just make more sense to install a storm door?

Tom 5 years ago

Has anyone installeda Magic Mesh screen door and is happy with it?

James Stroud 5 years ago

Dear thehis HubAuthor:

I also have a great deal of experience with retractable screens.

Finally, we found a screen company that took all things wrong with retractable screens and developed a superior product. That product is ClearView.

The product is available in Canada by

I hope this helps your neighbors to the north.

Ken Howes 5 years ago

I bought a Phantom Screen from Lowe's for a total of $148.35 last Saturday. The box said "Quick & Easy Sizing and Installation". The display they had in the store looked pretty straightforward. I got home and got through about 4 pages of the manual and gave up. I called my professional handyman to install it. Seven (7) hours and $399.00 later, he was done. He had even called Phantom Screens customer service for assistance and was told it would be 2-3 days before someone could call him back. This is totally unacceptable and I consider the marketing of this product by Phantom Screens false and misleading. Had I known it would be this much of a hassle, not to mention the $547.35 it cost me to purchase and have it installed, I would have never bought this product. Hopefully others will not be mislead the way I was by Phantom Screens. Shame on them.

D. Strong 5 years ago

Helpful information. I got some good insights. What would be the averagecost for a standard 36" door. are there dealers in the Phoenix AZ. area?

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author


N. Lewis 4 years ago

I live in the Washington, D.C. area and I would like to purchase Clearview retractable screens. Are there dealers here on the East Coast. I want a company that installs.

denise 4 years ago

ok so seems best product is clearview. we have a dog, a neighbour's cat busted into our home through our dreamscreen door trearing the netting out of the edge so now my dog goes in and out through the tear. he never went through it when not torn. looking to replace. saw on tv the screen door with long slats with magnets and though this might work for dog to go out and in on own without letting in bugs. does anyone know anything about this product ? or should we just replace with clearview and manually open the door for the dog as needed and not be lazy lol!

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pamdiego 4 years ago

We have a fly problem in our patio. We've called Health Dept, etc and were told these are flies that fly in circles who find a place they like and show up every day. Have driven us crazy for years. The patio is open on two sides (like an L). Can you recommend a company that can screen in our patio in the San Diego area?

Bob 4 years ago

Is there a way to put something so that your kids don't run into the screen door?

Kathleen 4 years ago

Our front porch is 22' long and 85" high. Would I be looking at two 11' screens?

Donna 4 years ago

I have a large sliding CURVED glass door, and I was wondering if any of these companies can accommodate a curved door? Also,is Clearview available in Canada?



Karen 4 years ago

I have a cat and am wanting a retractable screen. Would you use mirage or phantom? I live in Palm Desert and have not seen a dealer for Clearview, therefore I'm trying to choose between the Mirage or Phantom, any suggestions?

Jaime 4 years ago

We are looking into retractable screens but we have a dog, 70 lbs, who likes to scratch the door when he gets excited and he's a runner if he gets out. Who has the strongest screen or are none of them a match for dog scratches over time? We are looking for a screen for our front door and our back french doors. Thank you!

Karen 4 years ago

Hi I was just wondering if we do go with a phantom at Lowes a do it yourself project does it matter if we go with the less expensive cause there are two same size and one is less expensive than the other?

Karen in California again 4 years ago

Above question is mine. I was also wondering if someone were to step on lower track it seems as though it would bend and then not work does that happen alot? and also any tips on the installation which I cannot afford to have someone come and do it so we do everything ourselves? thanks so much for taking the time to help people I think it great.

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Jaime,

NO retractable will stop a dog on its own- its not the mesh- its that it has no fixed edges. Plexiglas gates may work- but it depends on the dog....

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Karen,

I looked- there is a clearview in Palm Springs- 2 in fact. Shutterwise and . As far as the Lowes- if you go Lowes- don't buy the do-it yourself, buy the Phantom installed. They are not the same. The Phantom DIY is much lower quality. Your question about the bottom track- if you buy a Phantom or Clearview they are much heavier gauge and will not bend or break. Good luck!

karen 4 years ago

i am not so sure what you mean buy the phantom installed you mean have them put it in? cause we want to put it in ourselves and my husband is very good at those kind of things.

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Karen,

I did mean buy it installed. There are 2 issues:

1. I think the DIY Phantom is not the same door as the professionally installed one

2. No matter how handy or skilled- doing it yourself is a bear- You don't have the jigs or fences for each component, you don't which of 6 adapters to order, and it is very finicky...

Alvin 4 years ago

what is your opinion on Bravo screens versus Clearview (for an outswing double french door)? also, which is the best for resisting attacks by children? thanks

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Alvin,

I've never heard of Bravo- I went to the Bravo web site- and they look a lot like Reel or Vanishing. If that is the case I'd say stay away. Stick with Clearview, Phantom, Mirage.... attacks by children, all of the above are OK- clearview won't scare you as much when they do run into ti.

Scot Heath 4 years ago

I just installed a Screenline RetractAway door on my daughter's condo yesterday. I'll be taking it out today. this is one of the worst projects I have ever attempted. I'm an above average do it yourselfer, I have a small machine shop and know my way around mechanical systems. The mounting system is clever but the self installed gaskets are hard to install and ineffective. Worst of all is the SlideControl system. It amounts to two cords which wind up inside the handle section and provide tension opposite the screen winder. This results in extremely un-even door motion which in turn, causes the screen to pop out of the track and jam. In addition, the return roller mechanism is very weak, too weak to keep the door properly aligned and even too weak to roll the screen in under no tension.

I would not recommend this door to anyone.

Chelsey 4 years ago

Wizard retractalbe screens are the way to go. I love the product and I couldn't be happier with the installers...Way more affordable then phantom and they have way better warrenties!!

paula 4 years ago

Is there any way to put a hook on a retractable door. No a lock but just something that prevents it from being opened if you walk away from the door.

Donald 4 years ago

What about RollAway brand?

Alo manufactured in the USA.

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Paula,

Yes- there are latches with every brand...

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thehis 4 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Donald,

Rollaway- kind of middle of the road in my opinion. Not horrible, but not great either. Made by R Lang if I'm not mistaken, and imported then assembled in the US. Very popular among mobile screen shops.

Florence 4 years ago

I am so happy to find this web site. I have left calls twice with my Mirage dealer & he finally called me back, made an appointment to come out but was a no show. I was just willing to let him do it and not haggle about price. Now I think I will try to find someone else, I hope there is a Clearview In Salt Lake city, Utah. I have custom built French Doors.

pat 4 years ago

I am going to screen in my patio. i want a retractable screen door with a large opening. I have to frame in the opening for the door. The question is where the opening is now does not have any door at all, after I fram it, there will only be a retractable door with no other door, is there a retractable door that would span a large opening with no other door behind or infront of it.the only oening will be the retractable door. i am being told that I should not do this, just usuing a retractable screen door and no other door, what do you think?

Teresa 4 years ago

Do you have any experience with Plissé Retractable Screens?

Ray S. 4 years ago

What about a brand called Stowaway? Must be installed by pros and costs in the neighborhood of $400 for single door.

Marg 4 years ago

We had 2 Wizard screen doors installed 3 years ago and after numerous fixes they still won't stay closed. I'm read to tear them off and take them to the dump.

pinchood 4 years ago

Decorative and acoustic homes meet its futuristic solutions from Pinchood. Pinchood are into Magnetic Mosquito nets, Retractable door screens.

Barry Foster 4 years ago

what's your opinion of Larson at lowes? thanks


Colby 3 years ago

Got Phantom Screens and they work great! Have had them for 6 years.

Mike 3 years ago

How is the legends retractable screen doors compare to the top brands?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Mike- STAY AWAY- Legends is not really a brand- its a euro-import like Casper but not as good. You'll never get it to work right.

Mike 3 years ago

Thanks. I m a diy guy. So what's the best brand to buy without the contractor tie in. The phantom professional at lowes is def. good quality but has to be installed by them. Is there a quality retractable screen door I can buy online and install myself? How is the Plisse brand? I know the Clearview/Phantom/Mirage all have professional installers tied into the purchase of there screen doors. The other brands online that I had seen were Larson/ODL/Seiki Vista/CRL/Monarch. If you know a high quality brand I could purchase online and install myself I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Mike- thats a tough answer. There really isn't a great DIY brand... they are too finicky. If you MAKE me choose- Larson. Plus- if you get frustrated, I know if you buy it at Home Depot they'll take it back. Good luck!

mike 3 years ago

Thanks for your advice

Chris 3 years ago

I live in an out of the way area, unfortunately no Clearview dealers/installers close enough to me. My only choice is a local installer who uses Rollaway brand, or Home Depot which sells Season Guard by Retractaway and ODL. These are probably all garbage. Any advice? I could drive 50 miles to Lowe's if they have something better, but I'd still have to find a qualified local handyman to install.

Cara 3 years ago

We are considering having a phantom screen installed on our french door but it is $850. Are the plisse screens any good? It would be about $400 but we would have to install it. We plan on staying in this home for the long haul so we would like something that will last a while.

Don Mclachlan 3 years ago

Please know that speed reducers are available with Mirage. Mirage screens can be easily detuned to ease the speed of return.

The old screen demonstrated in the video is typical of early retractable screens. Most competent installers can take care of the snapping back issue.

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Don,

You are a partially correct. Mirage has speed reducers BUT - 1. They are not standard because 2. They don't work. They are a gear based workaround and will in fact slow the screen down. The kinetic energy in using the gears causes the screen to be slightly harder to pull out, and over time they don't retract all the way. Phantom and Wizard also employ the same speed reducer.

Susie 3 years ago


We have a single door, lower budget retractable screen which we will be replacing to hopefully resolve these issues: slamming, falling out of track, no longer fully retracting.

It looks like ClearView is not available on the east coast.

Do you have a recommendation between the next 3, Phantom, Mirage and Wizzard?

The most important issue to us is that it does not slam.

Thanks, it is wonderful that you have kept this review alive and active!

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Susie-

If I had to pick- I would say Phantom if you buy through Lowes, but Mirage if you have a good local dealer. What part of the east coast are you in? There are ClearView Dealers...

Unfortunately, none of them have a good speed reducer, but they won't break down on you like the junky ones.

Stephie 3 years ago


Was just about to purchase a Genius Screen through Strybuc Industries - Window and Door Replacement Hardware- for our single door balcony (we're on the 12th floor of a 17 floor building on Lake Michigan in Chicago..HEAVY winds). We had a Larson Door for 8 years..kind of poor quality, but it did last 8 years and only cost about $100. I can't seem to locate anyone in the Chicago metropolitan area that carries Clearview. Do you know of someone, or should I just go with Genius ($373 for the door plus $220 to install!). Thanks in advance for your advice. Steph

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Stephie,

Genius is so so. I would go with Mirage if you can't find ClearView, or a Phantom. The tracking on Genius is not the best.

Julie Heriford 3 years ago

We just had a retractable screen installed. Is there something you can put on the screen to let people and animals know there is a screen there? We have friends who have had a retractable screen and their's has a hummingbird to let people know not to walk into it. I am not finding anything on the internet. Thank you.

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Julie,

Whoever installed should have some. I know that ClearView, Phantom, and Mirage screen systems definitely offer them.

Julie H. 3 years ago

Thank you!

Pam 3 years ago

We have a double door in front. One side is locked in place (and very difficult to open). Is there a retractable screen that would cover only one side and somehow hook on to the stationary door ?

thehis 3 years ago

What would you recommend for a double french door screen facing the wind? I need something that won't be blown away but since I have two matching sets of french doors, I don't want to have to buy four screens. I know Genius supposedly has a screen specific for French doors. Thoughts?

Derrick 3 years ago

What would you recommend for a double french door screen facing the wind? I need something that won't be blown away but since I have two matching sets of french doors, I don't want to have to buy four screens. I know Genius supposedly has a screen specific for French doors. Thoughts?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Derrick,

All the major brands have french door retractable screens. Heavy wind is kind of subjective- you can get blousing (when the wind makes the screen push out a bit) - but should be OK. Really heavy wind you might need motorized screens with a zipper track

karen Moreno 3 years ago

Add Your Comment..I am looking into purchasing a retractable sceen and was trying to decide between clearview or eclipse aria for quality and durability. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Karen,

ClearView is a better product. Eclipse/Aria is a good product, but has had some stability issues in the past in parts of the country. I would tend to recommend Mirage- almost the exact same product as Aria but with a better paint finish.

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Racecarengineer 3 years ago

I hope someone can help me identify the brand of retractable screen that is on the house we bought. I wanted to try and repair the unit but can't find any markings or brand marks. The roll cover is Alum. and the screen roll is under spring tension. The top and bottom tracks are round profile with a slot. The handle side has two wound planar springs like a tape measure in it. There are two cords attached to the planar springs and some plastic pulleys the cords wrap around.


artknitter 3 years ago

Was the question about Stowaways ever answered?


Becky4 3 years ago

I have a really big door opening...10 feet...I want a retractable screen, do you know if any of the companies that are recommended make screens that wide?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

You can either do motorized- several companies can do that- ClearView can do a 10' with 2 manuals up to 98" tall.

Will 3 years ago

What do you think of Plisse retractable screens for french doors compared to Clearview?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Will,

To be fair, I haven't seen one for quite sometime... they have a more delicate tracking system than the U track employed by Phantom, ClearView et al... in my opinion its just not as solid.

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Ralph Tallant 3 years ago

How much does a Clearview cost for a standard 36" x 80" front door? Does it really vary in cost that much from one contractor to the next? What would be an acceptable range to consider?

Thank you for your feedback,


Mike 3 years ago

There is a very reputable retractable screen installer in Orange County that offers "fivent" brand screens. I have looked on the net and have not found a lot of information on that particular brand. Might you have some insight on this company and their product? Thanks for your input!

sharon 3 years ago


amazing and way better than the phantom screen we just installed

deb 3 years ago

we have 3 sets of out-swing andersen french doors and would like retracable screens so we can let fresh air in. located in the bay area. looking for good quality and a product that will last. is there is a product that will work if we have window shades? specific product for french doors that open outwards? thank you.

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jnturn 3 years ago

Thanks so much for your research on ClearView retractable Screen door. I live in Washington, DC. After reading the information on your site, I knew that I wanted a ClearView door, but it appeared that all representatives serviced the west coast. I wrote the company and that same day a representative in my area called, set up an appointment for 4 days later, came out measured ...I ordered and in 3 weeks the screen was installed. I LOVE IT!! Very durable door, color matches my interior and has a great look of quality. The east coast representative, Liberty Screens has a very professional staff. Thanks to this site, I was able to find out about ClearView after many months of research.

deb 3 years ago

anyone have a good experience with top/bottom retractable screens for french doors? have only found one company, screenex, but no feedback on them. thank you.

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Deb,

I would highly recommend against a top down solution- unless its motorized. There's a reason why no one does them.

Michele 3 years ago

I'm so afraid of walking through the screen door. What can I put on it so I can see the door is there?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Michelle, quality brands should have decals to offer you.

M Vincent 3 years ago

thehis - based on your forced recommendation above for a do-it-yourself product, I bought the Larson E200 online from Amazon. My husband is a carpenter so this wasn't really a do-it-yourself project, but it was our first time with these type of screen doors.

We finished the installation last night and overall I am happy with the doors. The parts seemed flimsy but once they were all installed it is pretty sturdy. We think that as long as we handle the doors somewhat carefully that they will work well. Thanks for helping everyone out here because before I found these pages I was at a loss. I wouldn't have spent the money for a custom installation and wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting my $300 to buy the doors.

I am happy. Also from San Diego - Thanks!

Jerry 3 years ago

Great information on retractable screens. We decided to go with Invisible Screens Canada, they offer the INVISA retractable door screen.

Carol 3 years ago

What do you think about Stowaway compared to ClearView?

Sarah 3 years ago

I am looking for a manually operated sliding retractable screen for a 12' wide x 8' high opening where casings are mounted at sides and meet in the middle so we can open and close the screen to get in and out of the house quickly - need to keep animals from passing through while we do. It seems most manufacturers don't offer this size. Is there one in Florida?

Woody 3 years ago

Clearview is the way to go and the only way to go, that's just me. and the lady that was wanting to put one on here caboose. Yes it can be done, my roommate has a caboose that he rents out off the Katy Trail and I put one on there and it turned out very nice. Different sill's and I used the (break sill).

Arlene 3 years ago

We have Aira on my front door at the Orange County home. It does "snap" and opening it is awkward ..

but it works. 15 years and NO challenges.

On our lake house in Iowa we have Phantom. Three 6' sliders and the front door. I rarely use the one on the front door but I use the sliders all the time.

Phantom does not stay perfectly vertical; it goes crookedy and gets stuck when trying to open it.

Most of the time the screen is not seated in the bottom rail - opening and closing does not re-seat it.

Aira, on the other hand . . . you can kick the screen out at the bottom . . open . . close . . and it is perfectly reseated.

I am miserable with the Phantom but there is no Aira person in Iowa. I would pay most anything to fix the Phantoms.

Bob C 3 years ago

I have 2 32" retractable screen doors about 7 years old. There is aren't any mfg. ID's on either one. The top and bottom rollers are broken. The only thing I can see for ID purposes is that they have a top to bottom magnet strip on the door and frame and the handles are unmarked and very difficult to use when closing from the outside. They are alum with bronze coloring. Anybody have any ideas where I can find the mfg.

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

If it has a fuzzy top and bottom track- try either Vanishing or Reel. Reel became Casper screens - sometimes they deny it- but its the same company.

JScottM 3 years ago

I have been a Stoett Industries dealer for 3 years. Do not purchase StowAway Retractable Screens or PanoramaLite Retractable Screens!! ...these products have several design flaws and are very poorly manufactured. Stoett claims to have a lifetime warranty but does not back up any warranty claims. Do not waste time, money, and effort on Stoett products; StowAway or Panorama Lite!!


Maryland Screens 3 years ago

After reading the posts, we agree with Bob that the best retractable screens on the market are Phantom and Clearview. Both manufacturer's have advantages and offer subtle features different from one another that might persuade a consumer to buy. Our opinion is you can't go wrong with either one and often the difference lies in the customer service and installation. Most retractable screen dealers are above board and will do a fantastic and professional install. Buyer beware, like in any market, there are less reputable dealers and you should do your due diligence and check them out thoroughly before forking over your money. Often this is the difference between a great customer experience or a bad one. We would also recommend staying away from the DIY retractable screens offered at the big box stores that are low end consumer based products. They're priced at $150.00 for a reason... Stick with the professionally installed products, research your local screen dealer, and be real careful not to buy into the hype of why one retractable screen widget is better then another. If correctly installed and properly taken care of your retractable screen should last many years. Overall, the consumer has to feel comfortable with whom they're doing business with and know that if there is an issue, the dealer will resolve it for you without consequence. Retractable screens are not inexpensive and are an investment so make sure you choose wisely. Contact Maryland Screens if you want an unbiased and objective perspective on retractable screens. We're located in the MD/DC/and VA area.

Lesley 3 years ago

It's difficult to find retractable window screens in San Diego. Genious & Rollaway are the only choices I've found so far. Do you have any advice for windows? I need the lowest profile possible to go on existing, vintage casements.

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Lesley,

Windows can be tough- call 760-871-0137. Mirage is also in business in San Diego.

Scott 3 years ago

These discussions mainly talk about retractable screen doors. How about motorized retractable patio screens? What is the consensus on reputable products for this type of application?

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thehis 3 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Scott,

For motorized ClearView is just OK- Phantom is a bit better, but Rainier is the best- out of WA state- 100 year old company. Stay away from Shy-zip systems.

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thehis 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Robert- there is a limited lifetime warranty if he is the original purchaser. If he can't find his original dealer contact

SUN 2 years ago

I have had a terrible experience with Phantom Screens Customer service and the distributor here in Colorado as well. Twice the screen has shrunk leaving a one inch gap at the top and bottom of the door. I paid several hundred dollars to replace three screens only to have it happen again after just a few months. I am left with either paying to replace the screens again of opting for another vendor.

Jim 2 years ago

I live in the NY City area. The local Home Depot guy told me that they no longer sell these in stores since there were so many returns. Also that in cold weather they tend to freeze inside the roller then tear when rolled out. I see almost all comments are from warm weather places: what is your opinion/experience with cold weather installations?

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big deck 2 years ago

Great blog!

Putting in 5 large retractable motorized screens around a 20 x 20 deck overhang and have had a quote from Phantom for around 13K installed and just had the Rainer rep here today. I can't imagine what his quote will be! We want to do this once and have it last for 25 years. Is there a big difference between Rainer and Phantom in overall quality, performance, durability? We are in a marine environment where weather can be extreme. We would always be careful but the area is exposed to elements.

Sholden 2 years ago

Trying to decide between StowAway and Phantom. We're having screen professionally installed. My neighbor has StowAway and is very happy. She gave us the company that she used. Looks like they only install StowAway. Now I'm wondering if we should go with a company that carries Phantom. Thoughts?

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thehis 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Big Deck- personally I think Rainier over Phantom- just a better run company with a solid product

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thehis 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Sholden- Phantom. StowAway has a much smaller distribution network in case you have issues- also- much thinner metal extrusions.

GalwayGirl 2 years ago

I called Clearview, and was given the name of Liberty Screens as their Mid-Atlantic distributor. I have called and emailed, and received no response. Doesn't this company want the business? They don't have a good BBB Rating, which makes me wary of using them at all, but I don't seem to have a choice if I want the Clearview product. Anyone else have experience with Liberty?

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Kris in SF 2 years ago

I want a screen for French doors in a medium traffic area. But my husband has difficulty walking and I'm concerned that he will trip on and/or step on the track (vs over it ). What would you suggest? Thanks for taking the time to provide all the great info, by the way.

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thehis 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Hi Kris. Better quality Screens like Clearview or phantom are often completely flush to the threshold... so you won't have anything to trip over. Every situation is entirely different so I would recommend calling them out to not only give you an estimate for to show you exactly how they will mount the bottom track

Dustin 2 years ago

What do you think about the Genius pleated screen door for a double french door installation? The rep says they do better than the retractables in the wind. I am really torn here. I want Clearview, of course, but the price is way too high for us. Genius quoted $659, Phantom was $810, and Clearview $1028.

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thehis 2 years ago from San Diego Author

Don't bother with genius. Try and find someone who has a positive review...anywhere...If budget is a concern Phantom won't break down on you.

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Colindshots 2 years ago

Hi there! Thanks for all the great info here!

My family and I rent an apartment in SoCal. No air conditioning, no screen doors. We're near the beach so we would like to take advantage of the afternoon breezes.

Since we're renting, what do you think is our best option for in-ward swinging doors? Screen door? Retractable? This is something that is probably going to come out of our own pocket - none of the other units have screens, so it doesn't sound like the landlord is a fan.

Thanks for your opinion!

Van isle 2 years ago

I'm building a new home in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver island) our ocean front deck opening is 19 ft. We have a folding nana door system. My question is about screening options. My builder has told me about phantom, Centor (?australian), and nana screen. I've read through your posts, but didn't hear much about the Centor product. It is a little pricier than phantom. Also phantom seems to have both a screen and a motorized executive application, ? Your thoughts on this?

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Janal123 20 months ago

We live in a small town 60 miles from Washington DC. The only choice we had regarding retractable screen doors for our double French Doors were cheaper ones from Lowes or Home Depot, which I disregarded after reading the reviews. Lowes could order a Phantom but the $800 plus didn't cover installation. I called the main office of Clearview and got a name of a person who serviced our area. When I called him he asked what color and what size and quoted me a price $895 which included installation and the higher quality screen. Isaac came a week later, installed the door in about two hours and was very careful to clean up any mess he made. The doors are expensive but there are limitations to what can be installed with French Doors. We've had it about three months and love it. The only problem we've had was when our kitten curled up at the bottom of the screen and fell through. We went to a glass replacement store and got a piece of plexiglass about 6X16 cut for $12 and put it in the track. Problem solved. Now that's she's bigger we don't have to worry about that anymore. What impressed me the most is that the main office of Cleaview called me a few days after I called them to see if I had been able to reach the local installer. I said I had and that the doors would be installed in a week. Two weeks later I got a follow up call asking if the doors had been installed and if I was satisfied. I figure any company who has such a good follow up would help me if I ever have unresolved problems.

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rkrich 20 months ago

How well do the recommended models work with standard sized out swing doors. We have two such doors opening onto a patio and both swing out. Both the Phantom and the Clearview are available locally from a well recommended supplier. I'd like your input before I approach him.

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