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Mirage vs. Phantom vs. Wizard vs. DIY, Which Option Should You Choose for Retractable Screen Door?

When it comes to selecting the perfect retractable screen door for your home, the Canadian market offers a wide range of options. However, with so many screen brands available, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. In this blog, we will compare and analyze the 3 largest retractable screen door brands in Canada: Mirage, Phantom, and Wizard, as well as the DIY options available, say over-the-counter screen doors bought from Home Depot or Costco.

We will evaluate these options based on various factors including variety and customization options, durability, ease of use, child and pet friendliness, and service & warranty. By the end, you will have a clearer understanding of which brand suits your specific screen door requirements.

Based on our experience of installing and fixing retractable screen doors of all brands, please refer to the table below for a swift summary of our ratings:

If you are interested in reading more about the specific reasons for the rating, please continue scolling down!

Mirage:

Variety & Customization Options: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

When it comes to variety and customization, Mirage takes the spotlight. They offer a comprehensive range of options for retractable screen doors, catering to all 3 major door types: single door, French door, and sliding door. With 9 sizing options available, Mirage ensures a perfect fit for any doorway. What sets this brand apart is that their authorized dealer, Screen Savers Plus, provides on-site made-to-measure installations for all their screen products. This guarantee ensures that Mirage’s retractable screen door seamlessly blends with the doorway, becoming like a “second skin”.

But it doesn’t end there. Mirage goes the extra mile to satisfy their customers’ style preferences. They provide an extensive array of customization choices, including 8 standard colors and an impressive selection of 18 diamond series colors. With such a wide palette, you can effortlessly harmonize your new screen door with your existing home decor, adding a touch of elegance and personalization.

Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mirage’s retractable screen doors are renowned for their exceptional durability. The company utilizes top-quality materials not only for their regular screen mesh but also offers customers the option of the robust pet-mesh,” known as “Tuffscreen.” This scratch and claw-proof mesh is perfect for households with furry friends and little kids. Additionally, Mirage incorporates a unique free-floating screen system to prevent accidental collisions or mishaps with the screen, (because their screens are almost invisible). This feature ensures the safety of both adults and young children. With smooth operating tracks and durable construction, Mirage’s screen doors have an impressive lifespan of 10-20 years.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mirage takes the lead with its incredibly smooth rolling system. Clients can expect a seamless and hassle-free experience when operating their retractable screen doors. But that’s not all! Mirage also goes the extra mile with its “Pivot Pro” handle, making it effortless to lock and unlock the door. This handle is designed to relieve any strain or effort, making it a breeze for people of all ages to open and close the retractable screen door. With a simple twist mechanism that lightens the required force, operating the screen door becomes an effortless task. 

Child & Pet Friendliness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

As mentioned earlier, Mirage stands out when it comes to making screen operation effortless for families with small children and pets. They offer 3 solutions that prioritize safety and convenience. First, the Pivot Pro handle ensures smooth and secure screen operation. Second, their free floating screen system allows for easy opening and closing without the risk of accidental slams. Lastly, they provide the option of tuffscreen or “pet mesh”, a durable and resilient material that can withstand the playful antics of your furry friends. With these features, Mirage takes the crown as the most child and pet-friendly screen brand in the Canadian market. So, you can enjoy a breezy and worry-free experience while keeping your little ones and beloved pets safe.

Service & Warranty: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mirage’s authorized dealer in Edmonton and Calgary, Screen Savers Plus, not only offers convenient on-site made-to-measure screen services but also provides mobile screen repair services. Furthermore, Mirage provides a limited lifetime warranty for their products. Clients can easily locate their nearest dealer through the dealer map on the Mirage website, ensuring prompt installation of their screens.

Value for Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Considering the price, accessibility, operational ease, durable materials, and more, Mirage offers excellent value for money. It is worth noting that Mirage is also relatively less “pricey” compared to other competing brands.

 

Mirage retractable screen door with their Pivot Pro handle.

Phantom: 

Disclaimer: We have serviced and replaced Phantom screens across Alberta for 17 years and have noted the most common concerns clients bring to us. We do not supply Phantom products and are simply referencing the most common repairs we encounter based on our industry experience. This information may be biased, as we do not supply the product but only repair it when other Phantom dealers are unwilling or unable to do so.

Variety & Customization Options: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phantom provides a remarkable array of customization options, ensuring that homeowners can achieve a high level of unified style in their home decor. With a choice of 10 standard colors and an additional 15 wood grain finishes for the frames of their retractable doors, they also offer ample opportunities for personalization. 

Their standard single doors accommodate openings up to 48” wide by 100” high or 36” wide by 120” high, and are customizable within these ranges. They also offer double-door options and an XL version, the largest door screen, with a maximum size of 12’ high by 15’ wide for a single unit.

Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phantom and Mirage use the same materials, making their durabilities comparable. Based on our experience, we do receive more re-screening service calls for Phantom doors compared to other brands.

Phantom offers a variety of screen material choices as well as a free-floating screen system. It also has the captured mesh option, which is similar to Mirage’s M3500 model. The durability depends on the type of mesh you choose and your family composition (pets, kids, etc.). While some dealers offer multiple mesh styles, others do not, so be sure to ask if you need a more heavy-duty option. Ultimately, this characteristic is for you to decide.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phantom’s rolling system performs decently. It is important for the door owner to lubricate the rollers and sills with silicone lubricant or another recommended lubricant to ensure longevity and smooth functioning. 

Based on our experience repairing Phantom products, a common concern voiced by clients is the frequency with which the latching handle can become stuck, break in extreme cold, or be challenging for kids or those with arthritis to grasp. Generally, we’ve found that other handles, like the Mirage Pivot Pro, are simpler to use overall.

Child & Pet Friendliness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phantom goes the extra mile by offering a screen lock for added security. It also features a latch handle (pictured below), which is unique and a signature of the brand. These features certainly enhance the safety of the screen door. In case of an accidental lockout, don’t worry—Phantom’s free-floating mesh allows extra space for the mesh to stretch without breaking, making it possible to reach the screen lock from outside. You can also view the tutorial video by Phantom titled “Locked Out? No Big Deal. | Phantom Screens Latch Stop.

A small heads-up: if you have small children, ensure they know how to operate the latch handle and the screen lock, or consider going with the regular magnetic handle, which doesn’t have the small lever on top, or the screen lock.

For our furry friends, Phantom also offers the Tuffscreen “Pet-Mesh” upon request.

Service & Warranty: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Phantom offers a limited lifetime warranty. To make a claim, contact your local expert and include proof of purchase. They will review the claim, examine the screen if necessary, and handle service, repairs, and replacements as needed. Some dealers will complete repairs directly at your home, while others may require you to bring parts into the shop for replacement.

Value for Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Considering the features, ease of use, and pricing compared to other brands, what do you think? How do you like Phantom? Comment your choice below!

 

A scene that all pet owners try to avoid at all cost.

Wizard:

Variety & Customization Options: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wizard also impresses with its wide range of options, offering a generous selection of 8 sizing options for the three major door types: single door, French door, and sliding door. However, a slight drawback comes in the form of color customization. While Wizard does provide 8 standard colors to choose from, it falls slightly short in comparison to its competitors. This limitation might pose a challenge for clients who desire a retractable screen door that seamlessly aligns with their unique home design.

Durability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Frames crafted from high-quality materials ensure exceptional durability, while the screens themselves offer versatility, including the option for the robust and long-lasting vinyl-coated TuffScreen. However, the combination of the screen stop and the brittle edge on the screen door can sometimes affect the smooth gliding experience.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wizard incorporates Glide-Smooth technology and provides an ergonomic handle, making the operation of their screens easy and hassle-free.

Child & Pet Friendliness: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wizard’s retractable screen doors are designed to be easily operable by children. Additionally, they offer the heavy-duty Tuffscreen (pet mesh) option too, making it a suitable choice for families with children and pets.

Service & Warranty: ⭐⭐⭐

Wizard provides a 5-year warranty for their products, but there’s a catch: customers need to keep the original receipt to make a warranty claim. This requirement might bring about a significant inconvenience. What if the ink on the receipt fades over time? Do you have to resort to laminating it for safekeeping? It’s also worth mentioning that Wizard solely offers in-store service and does not provide any mobile service, which adds another layer of inconvenience. So, before making a decision, consider these factors carefully and weigh the convenience against the benefits Wizard has to offer.

Value for Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wizard is an okay option if you desire a functional retractable screen door. However, it comes at a higher price compared to other superior screen products, without delivering the same level of smooth user experience. While it falls in the middle range, its price tag stands out. This results in a deduction of 1 star.

A Screen Savers Plus technician repairing a retractable screen door on a mobile workstation.

 

A mobile screen workstation by Screen Savers Plus

DIY: Store-Bought Retractable Screen Doors

Variety & Customization Options: ⭐

Imagine walking into a retail store like Home Depot or Costco, searching for a screen door that fits the size of your doorway at home. As you browse through the selection, you’ll notice that most of the screen doors on offer are essentially identical in size, leaving no room for extra-tall or extra-wide doorways. Moreover, the customization options are disappointingly limited—you’re typically left with a choice between basic colors like black, white, and gray, or no choice at all. It becomes evident that relying on store-bought options is often a matter of luck, hoping that the exact size you need aligns with what the store offers. Otherwise, you’re left empty-handed and searching elsewhere.

Durability: ⭐⭐

When it comes to store-bought screen doors, it’s important to note that they often come with the most basic mesh available. Unfortunately, this means that they are not be able to withstand force, pets, small children playing, or harsher weather conditions. Additionally, the frames of these doors are typically made from lightweight materials, which can result in shape distortion over time. This can affect the smooth operation of the retractable screen door, causing it to become stuck or difficult to glide along the track.

Ease of Use: ⭐⭐

When the installation claims to be a quick and tool-free process, promising a 30-minute self-installation, it typically involves simply fitting or ‘inserting’ the screen frame into the door frame. However, achieving a perfect screen door installation requires professional precision, as merely squeezing the screen into the door frame may result in a functional but short-lived solution. With a poorly installed track, the door may get stuck, compromising its usability, and insects may find their way inside if the self-installed screen isn’t seamlessly attached to the frame.

Child & Pet Friendliness: ⭐⭐

Although these retractable screen doors are operable by children, the basic mesh is not suitable for households with pets. This type of mesh is easily tearable by pets, and it typically doesn’t last longer than two weeks in such households.

Service & Warranty: ⭐⭐

For store-bought screen doors from Home Depot and Costco, these products are self-serviced, meaning there is minimal or no direct assistance at all. The extent of support you can expect is at best a “virtual consultation” if available. In terms of warranties, Home Depot screen doors usually require contacting the original manufacturer. On the other hand, Costco’s policy states that custom products ordered or installed based on a member’s specific requirements cannot be returned or refunded.

Value for Money: ⭐⭐

Based on the evaluation above, I do not recommend opting for store-bought DIY retractable screen doors. After all, what’s the point of purchasing a $200 screen door if it ends up breaking within a month? You would then have to spend additional money to get a replacement or buy from a larger, more reputable brand. It’s important to prioritize durability and quality to ensure a long-lasting and reliable retractable screen door for your home.

 

An extra-wide sliding screen door by Mirage

This concludes our first brand comparison article. Please stay tuned for the upcoming installments in this series, where we will continue to compare large opening screen doors, motorized screen walls, and various mesh options from different brands. Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you in the next blog! 

In the meantime, if you have any screen related inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact Screen Savers Plus. 

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