With over fifty sliding door brands in the UK, who makes the best aluminium sliding patio doors? Solarlux Cero, Schuco, Vitrocsa, Panoramah and Reynaers are some of the best, but they are also at the top end of the market. You’ll also find many other excellent sliding doors in aluminium that look great and won’t break the bank. We’ve put together a guide explaining why some brands are the best and others to consider.
The benefits of sliding doors explained
Despite the functional benefits of bifolding doors and how they open up an entire wall, sliding doors provide a different aesthetic proposition.
No other door on the market offers glass as large as a sliding patio door. Therefore if enjoying views though the doors, reduced visible aluminium mullions and getting the most light and feeling of space are what you want, sliding doors deliver an alternative proposition.
Today’s generation of the best aluminium sliding patio doors is better than ever. Secure, weather resistant, insulated and smooth sliding. Available from two panels up to six with most products. The facility for panels to stack open together, open corner designs and even doors sliding into a wall disappearing from sight. Sliding doors create large glass walls in the home and make a great design statement.
Even better design and engineering also ensure sliding doors come with even thinner frame profiles, a flush and seamless threshold, and substantial sizes with many top-end products.
How to choose the best aluminium sliding patio doors for you
There’s no worst or bad product when it comes to sliding doors. Made well and fitted precisely, even the cheaper sliding doors are reliable and will give a good user experience.
Designers of sliding doors spend time and substantial sums bringing a door to market. Any previous design flaws are largely designed out from listening to customer feedback. These large doors need care and attention in manufacturing. The installation has to be precise, given how these doors move across a larger opening than bifolds.
Virtually all sliding doors today come with insulated aluminium profiles, a professionally applied powder coated finish, quality hardware and glass. All these components meet specific quality, material and industry standards. Where a premium sliding door differs is the design, its visible or hidden engineering, and attention to fine detail. Above all, you can tell a top-end sliding door from how it slides and feels when you move it.
Some doors use generic sliding door rollers, locks and other parts. Other upper-level doors use even better mechanisms and hardware and the quality is evident.
It’s also important to like the look of your doors, although the reality is many look very similar once installed. You should also consider how functional the doors are for your project. You may want a locking facility on the outside, or you may prefer more comfortable handles compared to those where you get a flush recess to put your fingertips in. The benefits of a lift and slide door are also worth considering, making these doors arguably better for some.
As standard, you can expect multi-point locking. A good choice of colour finishes is also to be expected with a quality brand. Safety glass comes as standard, but you can enhance this with enhanced security glass or types to help with solar control, even better U-Values or acoustics. A 10 to 25-year warranty, depending on the brand, is also normal with many products.
How to identify a high-quality sliding door
As we mention, moving a large sliding door and discovering a surprisingly quiet or smooth slide action is one of the best indicators of product quality. Another excellent indicator is large and heavy sliding doors feeling light and even being able to move them with just one hand.
Then it comes down to how the doors engage in their frame when close. How positive the locking mechanism and all-around solidity and quality feel. Anyone can tell you their doors are the best, but the feel of the product, its handles, and how you move it is probably the best indicator for a novice.
Ten of the best aluminium sliding patio doors
There are some sliding doors in the upper tier of this product category renowned for the quality, build, fine details and overall experience using them. Here are some of the best, with a brief explanation of why. You can also find more information on our website.
The Cero sliding door is made in Germany and with incredible look and even better sliding action. Any Solarlux product, be it a bifolding door (one of the best and slimmest), a glass extension or a sliding door like Cero, gives you a high-end product in your home. They come at a price, but only when you see these doors do you appreciate what goes into them. If there is an overall best sliding door, Cero is one of them.
Vitrocsa minimal sliding doors
Designed and made in Switzerland and available through specialist installers only, Vitrocsa is probably the inventor of the super slim and minimalist sliding door. Vitrocsa created the concept of glass being the primary structural element of the door, with the aluminium profiles secondary to it. This is now the concept of most bonded doors like Cortizo Cor-Vision.
As a result, their technically excellent doors combine true innovation, a seamless look and remain the original minimalist sliding door. Whilst similar looking products exist, none of these has the components or the complexity. It’s ultra-high-end with a price to match.
Sunflex sliding doors
If you’re currently considering a Cortizo Cor-Vision or similar bonded door, we recommend you check out Sunflex. Sunflex uses an established system and re-engineers it into something quite special. Expertly made, exclusive and attractive, Sunflex sliding doors give you the same thin lines without going to the more complex and costly structurally bonded sliding door type. Sunflex is also unique in being the only two or three panel sliding door where in the fully open position, the panels open and stack fully flush. It looks fantastic fully open.
The SVG20 provides the same 20mm mullion sightline as a Cortizo product. But unlike Cortizo, the depth of the profiles are substantially smaller. As a result, it doesn’t have the bulk of the Cortizo mullion/interlock. It also looks the same whichever angle you look at the doors from the inside.
You’ll also find Sunflex SVG sliding doors available as pocket sliding doors, open corner designs and a steel-look option.
Reynaers Hi-Finity Sliding Doors
The slimline, Reynaers grand slider, delivers impressive technical specifications and comes from a brand with a similar brand reputation as Schuco.
The slide action on a Reynaers patio door is exemplary. Even better is the range of luxurious door handles available with Reynaers products giving a visually appealing door that’s built to last. At a lower price are the CP130 and CP155, also excellent sliding doors at a lower price.
Sunvista Sliding Doors
Another exclusive and UK-made door is the slimline door from Sunvista. It’s thinner and better across several areas than the popular Cortizo sliding door. It’s got a better method of installation neater threshold that’s also covered and doesn’t gather dirt. The panels stack better too.
It also comes in an open-corner design, something you don’t get with Cortizo. Sunvista sliding doors are at the better end of the market. If you’re considering Cortizo-based products such as Infiniglide, Origin’s OS20, Sieger doors and similar products all having a 20mm mullion, Sunvista should be seen alongside these.
Made in London and using their own system, Maxlight doors offer all sorts of design options as well as desirable slim styling for residential projects. It’s a great product from a very capable fabricator and another high quality sliding door. One one model the lock is positioned at floor level that doesn’t make that functional, having to get very low to lock or unlock it.
The Europeans have some spectacular sliding door systems and here’s one made by an excellent manufacturing company. The Dutemann Glide-S isn’t a minimalist sliding door. What you do get is contemporary looks, wonderful sliding action, and a patio door of incredible quality. As you do your research, many of the established sliding door specialist installers choose Dutemann as their prestige slider or as part of their wider range. Its signature feature is going over 6m wide with just two panels.
Schuco sliding doors
Just like the Schuco folding sliding model, their sliding door range delivers high-end engineering and some excellent specifications. Schüco sliding doors come in around 15 different models. Each of these is designed for standard or bespoke applications. The sliding doors range combines lift and slide opening, automatic opening, sliding doors for cold even warm climates and minimal framed systems.
The Schüco Panorama Design collection is presently one of the best including the recent ASE60 delivering a very modern slider from one of the best brands.
Panoramah! Sliding doors
For one of the most dramatic in size, few doors beat the capability of Panoramah. Like Cero, these advanced aluminium doors come at some of the most extreme sizes. While many homes won’t need doors 6m high, what they demonstrate is what’s possible with glass and aluminium. It’s one of the standout products for those projects winning architecture awards.
ID Systems Edge 2.0
Another high-quality sliding door provides the sought-after 20mm sightline but without the complexity of structurally bonded products. The Edge 2.0 offers certified security, excellent weather performance and all the different configurations, flush thresholds and contemporary lines.
ID Systems are a high-end installer of prestige glazing systems and all manner of sliding doors, including slide and turn doors, moveable doors that go around corners and many other products.
best quality mid-range sliding doors
Because there is no bad sliding door on the market, the best aluminium sliding patio doors at a more affordable price range will result in slightly thicker doors at the mullion sightline. However, these are not to be discounted because they provide great sliding door solutions for replacing dated patio doors or in a new extension.
Smart Systems Visoglide and Visoglide Plus
Widely used, tried and tested, reliable, easy to install and hugely popular. Visoglide and Visoglide Plus are some of the best sliding doors for those who want a super-reliable, attractive and robust patio door. Visoglide are affordable because so many installers provide them and access to these doors via the trade route is also easy.
The biggest systems company in the UK designs these affordable, tried and tested and really great sliding doors. You get a choice of 35mm or 83mm sightlines, inline or lift and slide operation and a reliable and easy to live with slider. They’re not at the top end of the market, but for many years Visoglide sliding doors are the first choice of many installers, builders and trade counters. Well made and fitted, they work great.
Origin OS-77, OS-44 and OS-29
While Origin sliding doors aren’t designed for extreme sizes or the thinnest sightlines, this brand remains an excellent example of more mid-range doors in the OS44 and OS77 inline sliding doors. More recently is the slimmer model with a 29mm mullion. Origin product quality is exceptional, but the styling of these doors can appear a little dated compared to other brands at a similar or even cheaper price.
Available around the UK, Origin doors promise a high-quality sliding door. There’s also the OS20 Artisan using the Cortizo System. Cortizo is widely used by many of the names you’ll come across for the popular 20mm mullion sightline.
Cortizo is a good example of a Spanish company and we’ve reviewed their minimal framed sliding doors in the UK under a number of brands. As mentioned earlier, many brands provide the same Cortizo system, so check out the manufacturer carefully.
In many cases, it does not matter who makes your doors or where they have come from. There is a benefit in buying doors from manufacturers that have taken the time and significant investment to bring out their brand of door. These doors are installed by a quality network of Accredited Installers getting a tremendous amount of training and support from their manufacturer.
Understanding who makes your sliding doors
The reputation of the manufacturer is also important. Cortizo and its various other brand names, Reynaers, Schuco, Aluk, and Smart Systems. These are just some of the brands made by numerous and unrelated factories. Therefore quality will vary from each of these. This doesn’t imply you’ll get a bad door. You’re investing large sums of money in your glazing – so why not check out who makes your doors?
Perhaps you’d prefer to buy a product only made by the company that also installs it. The benefit of this is consistent quality.
Or there are benefits to buying doors only available through a dealer network. The manufacturer supplying to its dealers trains them, monitors their quality and provides ongoing support. This is another great route to buying the best aluminium sliding patio doors.
However, sliding doors fall into several categories and groups to help navigate the sheer range of products and help you choose. These are:
- The manufacturer and installer offering one or more systems.
- More exclusive sliding doors made only by one company
- The exclusive manufacturer or designer of doors with a dealer network of installers.
- The manufacturer takes a widely available system and re-brands them as their own with or without enhancements.
- The local door installers buy in their doors from the producers.
Where all sliding doors are similar
All aluminium sliding doors sold in the UK today share four common characteristics.
- The aluminium extrusions produced to recognised British and European Standards for conformity and type.
- Approved applicators apply the powder paint finish to recognised British and European Standards.
- Gaskets, seals and components also meet recognised industry standards.
- Sliding doors are tested to established security and weather tests and standards.
Beyond the paint and materials, doors are designed and engineered differently, hence the various price points. Sliding doors will vary in their technical characteristics, quality of the running gear, components, handles and locking systems. Some doors enable you to customise them to meet your needs. Others are standard doors with only colour choices available.
Why slim sliding doors are not always better
It’s tempting to think the slim sliding doors are better. They’re not. Trends come and go and right now doors with the thinnest sightlines and glazing with the steel look are the two most popular designs right now.
Slimline sliding doors are not ‘better’ than their thicker framed counterparts. In fact you get more features and functionality with standard doors and more useable handles compared to the flush recessed types needing the fingertips to move, which isn’t comfortable for many.
Some of these slim doors are slim by moving the lock to the floor. It’s not the most comfortable experience kneeling down to unlock your doors. So whilst slim sliding doors are great, there are compromises. What slimline sliders deliver is alternative aesthetics even if these are subjective.
Many installers also don’t tell you that even the slimmest sliding doors need a surrounding frame for the track, frame head, locks and essential components. So the minimal sightlines you see often mean doors in new extensions where the frame is inset into the structure, creating that invisible frame and minimal look – something not possible when replacing an old set of patio doors with new slimline doors.
The bonded nature of slimline most slimline sliding doors also means slim sliding doors are usually more expensive to buy, more complex to install adding to the cost. Moreover, in years to come, more difficult to service and replace the glass if needed.
See these larger sliding doors – you’ll find them contemporary, well-built, robust and timeless. With many slimline sliding doors marketing a 20mm mullion, the alternative standard doors are mostly 5mm, 10mm or even 15mm thicker at the mullion – not huge difference. This sightline difference only applies at the middle mullions on two or three panel doors. You’ll be surprised to find the surrounding frame on thicker doors the same as the slimline models. The advice here is don’t be fooled by the images mostly showing frameless and minimalist sliding doors.
The Sliding Door Interlock explained further.
As you do your research on finding the best aluminium sliding patio doors for you, you may come across the interlock. This is the term used for the 20mm or larger mullion mentioned above. When sliding doors meet when closed, the back of the inside door meets the front of the outside panel, creating a vertical mullion. This is the interlock.
Sliding doors have slimmed down substantially compared to previous generations, now providing you with interlocks from around 19mm up to 110mm or more.
It’s the interlock you’ll see heavily marketed with slimline doors. The compromise with these thin interlocks is that they must go very deep, providing structural integrity to the door. And many people don’t like how the interlock is 20mm on the face but up to 180mm deep!
From the front, it looks great, but so do the thicker interlocks spaced farther apart on a wider set of doors.
What questions to ask about sliding doors
If who makes and who is behind your new sliding doors matters then it’s worth asking the right questions, helping with your research and buying decision.
Ask who makes the sliding doors
As explained earlier, the quality of the manufacturer matters a lot. Therefore ask who makes the sliding doors. Where are their manufacturing facilities if a company says ‘we do’?
Ask what system is used
In your buying decisions, you may want to do your research. Ask your supplier where the extrusions come from, what is the name of the system and who extrudes the profiles.
Understanding the system behind the door tells you a lot about its pedigree and quality. Anyone saying it’s their system, yet it’s a very small operation with no obvious factory, is probably not telling you the truth.
To produce your own sliding door system requires vast sums of money in design, tooling and aluminium die production. Products need testing with technical/installation manuals creating and printing. Bringing out a new sliding door is a long and expensive process reserved for aluminium systems companies with Group or Parent Company backing.
Ask questions about the guarantee
If you’re being told your doors come with a ten or twenty-year guarantee, ask specifically what it doesn’t cover. Often glass only has a five-year warranty, as do certain hardware items. Do not assume the entire product is covered.
Ask about any potential maintenance or servicing
Not even the best aluminium sliding patio doors are fit-and-forget products. It’s likely they may need routine adjustment over time. Therefore ask about living with the doors. Does the track need cleaning, and how? Do the locks need any lubrication, and how is this done? What happens if the doors don’t slide smoothly or don’t seem right? Is this under warranty?
Should your builder fit sliding doors?
It’s natural you may want to explore ways of saving money. One of these is getting your builder to fit your sliding doors. It’s also possible your builder can source sliding doors for you, another way to save money.
Be aware when builders fit sliding doors, even if they do it well, you won’t get the same warranty compared with the retail supply and install route. This is similar to looking at buying aluminium windows or doors. Your sliding doors guarantee can also depend on who fits them.
With the slimline bonded ultra-slim sliding doors, experience is everything ensuring the right result. Our advice is unless your builder is trained and fits these doors routinely, use a professional installation company also supplying the doors. One only needs to peruse the social media fitter forums to realise a fitter has a homeowner order for sliding doors with no idea how to fit them! Always use a trained installer.
Sliding Door design, security and weather performance.
Virtually all sliding door manufacturers and installers demonstrate safety and weather performance of their doors through published test reports. Ask to see these to establish the security and performance credentials of sliding doors.
Some doors come with UK Certification such as the well-known SBD or Secured by Design. Others such as the European systems come with similar security and performance specifications.
Guarantees on aluminium sliding patio doors.
The guarantees on sliding doors vary depending on the system and the manufacturer. Typically you can expect to get ten years on the entire installation, although so manufacturers will only offer five years on the glass.
Origin remains a leader in product warranty with a 20-year guarantee on either the entire product or elements of it. Everglade Windows in another, providing a 25-year guarantee with their air sliding doors when purchased through an authorised retailer. Dutemann also provides a long warranty on their doors.
The fact that some doors do not have the guarantee offered on Origin and Air doors does not make them inferior. The companies that are the sole manufacturers of their product have more control over their processes. Every door is consistent in quality. The availability of their doors through a dealer network mentioned earlier also means they have trained their dealers to fit them correctly. A more extended warranty is therefore provided.
Inline vs lift and slide patio sliding doors.
The two main methods with which sliding doors operate is the inline or lift and slide method. We offer an explanation of inline vs lift and slide to help you understand how these doors operate. As a general rule, the new minimalist sliding doors are inline. Other patio doors available either inline as well as lift and slide. Go try both sets of doors out and you will see how they work and the benefits of each type of sliding door.
The following sliding doors therefore summarise the best mid-range and high-end products. Prices vary as a result.
|Mid-Range Sliding Doors||High-End Sliding Doors|
|Infinium and Lumina by AluK.||Schuco Panorama and ASS70, ASE60 Systems|
|Smart Systems Visoglide Range||Sunparadise Systems Monoslide 80|
|Origin OS-29 slim mullion sliding door|
Origin OS-44 standard sliding door
Origin OS-77 classic sliding door
|Sunvista sliding doors|
|Technal Sliding Doors||Solarlux Cero Sliding Doors|
|Senior Architectural Systems||Visione by Fusion Glazing Systems|
|Comar 7P.i sliding doors||Centor Sliding Doors|
|Express Sliding Doors based on Smart Systems||Panoramah! Sliding Doors|
|Raum Sliding Doors based on Reynaers Systems||Reynaers Hi-Finity Sliding Doors|
|Optio Sliding Doors by AluK Systems||Maxlight sliding doors|
|Architectural Vision Systems (Cortizo)||Vitrocsa Sliding Doors|
|Stellar Sliding Doors||Air sliding doors by Everglade Windows.|
|Cortizo Cor-Vision and Cor-Vision Plus||Dutemann Glide-S|
|Sieger sliding doors (Cortizo)||Sunflex Sliding Doors|
|Express Bifolds using Reyaners and Metra System|
The above systems include both standard sliding doors and the latest slimline, panoramic and minimalist sliding doors.
If you’re in the market for sliding doors, there’s an alternative option in the slide and turn design of patio doors.
We have created this article about the best aluminium sliding patio doors to help you understand the many facets of the door industry. It also helps to understand the products available and what to consider. You can get in touch with us for more information, ask about a product, find good local installers or get help with your property project.