In our Solarlux bifolding doors review, we look at what makes these German-made premium products , so desirable. As well as aluminium, Solarlux products come in wood as well as a combination of wood inside and aluminium outside. We specifically focus on the aluminium versions in this review; the SL82, Highline and Ecoline.
Solarlux Bifolding Doors Review. General Information
Every product made by Solarlux offers product with excellent design, engineering and high specifications.
The bifolding door range comprises 11 different models. The aluminium versions also include the SL35 and SL45, non-insulated models designed to close off patio areas, swimming pools or create internal partitions. Bear in mind, these do not meet current Building Regulations.
While Solarlux products are not the cheapest on the market, you will find a quality, design and overall functionality, clearly demonstrating the higher price. These upper-tier aluminium doors we think are good value when you look at what they give you. It is these many features we delve into in this in-depth Solarlux bifolding doors review.
Don’t just take our word for it. Solarlux mentions architects like Foster and Partners using their products. Established and expert home improvement companies also choose Solarlux as their luxury offering. Some of the best installations on television or award-winning projects often feature Solarlux products.
Solarlux manufacturing and installation quality.
Solarlux designs and manufactures their products. It’s their system, their design and nobody else makes it. For the homeowner, it’s another clue to what goes into Solarlux doors. Every door is made in Melle, Germany.
The same benefits of sole manufacturers apply to Solarlux. Consistent quality, the same manufacturing processes and no variation from one factory to another. This can be an issue with other manufacturers buying bars of aluminium and accessories from aluminium systems companies. Doors are certified and tested to the security and weather performance standards. The powder-coated or anodised colours are professionally applied by certified applicators. CE Marking and extensive cycle testing also feature prominently. With cycle testing of more than 20000 cycles, using the door a few times a week gives a lifespan of over thirty years.
A bifolding door is only as good as its installation. In the UK, you deal either directly with Solarlux or their network of trained ‘Solarlux Quality Partners’. We tell you more about these later in this Solarlux bifolding doors review.
Aesthetically the doors offer flat profiles, elegant and modern handles and are definitely contemporary-looking bifolds overall.
Ecoline vs Highline. What’s the difference?
The two main products you’ll come across researching Solarlux bifolding doors are Ecoline and Highline. For most projects, Ecoline is ideal. These two products are very similar in look, performance, handles and general components. They’re excellent doors.
The Solarlux Highline bifolding door differs in having a slightly deeper front to back dimensions. Therefore you get four features you don’t get with the Ecoline.
- A triple glazed option
- Better U-Values
- Improved sound insulation should you want it
- Larger door panel sizes.
Sightlines are the same as is the same smooth and light slide and fold action.
All glass SL82 by Solarlux
The latest Solarlux SL82 is award-winning and features from an all-glass appearance when viewed from the outside. Few bifolds on the market offer the flush glass design. One product that’s similar is the GG65 by Folding Sliding Door Company. However, you’re not really comparing like-for-like.
The SL82 uses a bonded glass design with the front pane of glass stepped past the inside pane. Glass overlaps the minimalist aluminium profile. Essentially, a layered glass design giving an edge-to-edge, all-glass look. Even better with this door is the 8mm visible aluminium surrounding the glass. Not only does this protect the glass edge but also creates a very pretty picture-frame surround. It’s worth seeing this door for its impressive appearance.
Complete with recessed floor track for barrier-free living, integrated SL lock plus the freedom to open/close glass panes from outside and you have a superior bi-folding system.
Comparing Solarlux bifold door models
Summarising the differences between the three products is our at-a-glance table.
|Door Panel Sightline||99mm||99mm||104mm|
|Maximum Panel Sizes||1x3m||1.1×3.5m||1×2.5m|
|Low Threshold Option||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Glass thickness||up to 36mm||up to 60mm||30-38mm|
What makes Solarlux bifolding doors different?
A consistent message across our website and the product review you read is that there is no bad bifolding door on the market. However, where they differ is who makes them, the overall supply chain and correct installation. Any folding sliding door comes designed for reliability and most meet security and weather performance standards. You also get similar specifications on the aluminium profiles themselves, the paint finish, glass and components.
So what makes these doors different? The answer lies in the things you won’t see on brands such as Aluk, Smart Systems, Origin, Reynaers and even Schuco. It is the finishing touches and engineering. The perception that German cars are better engineered also applies to a German door. Here is what you get with Solarlux.
TwinX Centre Panel Mechanism
An ingenious centre panel centering mechanism keeps the panels consistently aligned.
At the same time, TwinX (pronouned Twin – X) keeps the doors stable when closed and helps retain the alignment of the door joints.
So good is this design, it even does away with a middle hinge. As a result, Solarlux bifolds up to a certain size only need two hinges where most other bifolds at standard sizes need three. Neater, better and less visible hinges make for a more attractive door set.
Notice also how tight the doors stack together. Only a few systems come together this well fully open.
The other advantage to the TwinX is keeping the door seals continuous and not interrupting and cutting them to suit at the middle hinge.
Innovative door panel catches
Probably the best bifold door catch on the market. Only the Schuco door offers anywhere near this level of controlling the stacked bifolds in the open position.
Magnets work fine, but being able to hold the door in some way has far more benefits.
Solarlux calls these Comfort Snap Panel Catches. Different from the magnets you see on virtually every other mainstream door, Solarlux uses an entirely different design for the catches holding the panels together.
They come designed for convenience, ensure the doors engage sequentially and just works better than magnets found on most other bifolds.
German engineering and attention to detail
The quality of the metals used in the door handles is excellent. Weighty, tactile and robust too. They’ve a luxurious satin stainless steel finish and really set the door off perfectly.
The intermediate handles used to pull the doors have a reassuring sprung action to them with a soft and slow return to normal position.
And, as you’d expect from German attention to detail, there’s a small black stop on the handle bottom. It’s designed to stop the metal to paint contact and protect the powder-coated surface finish.
Solarlux doors are all about attention to detail.
An always clean door threshold
Look at most other bifolding door brands and you get the rollers either on or set within the threshold. Cleaning the threshold is rarely cited as factor when living with bifolds day-to-day. That said, Solarlux doors come with a clip-on section designed to make the threshold look better as well as protecting from dirt getting into the track.
Whether this feature is important is subjective. What it does highlight, however, is attention to detail with thoughtful engineering.
Hinges allowing easy cleaning of the doors
A removable hinge pin splits the door hinges in two. Then the door panels turn inwards letting you clean the inside and outside glass panels. This facility also lets you clean the door aluminium edges better too.
This is a great feature especially useful on high-level doors. Furthermore, the hinge is highly engineered meaning the hinge pin doesn’t drop out or get lost. The Solarlux video does a great job of showing some of its many features.
Between the door panels, you’ll find what also look like miniature hinges. These, Solarlux call “TWINX”. Discreet and nice to look at, these make the slim design possible by interlocking together. The benefit is better door sealing and the door seals run continuously. The door seals are another element to study if you get to see these doors. In our view, they are the best looking, neatest seals we’ve seen on any product.
Multiple low threshold options
While any well-designed bifold facilitates a low threshold, Solarlux offers more than just a standard or low option. Schuco and Reynaers bifolds offer several low threshold solutions for bifolding doors. Solarlux goes even further.
The bionicTURTLE® name refers to the thermal break insulating the profiles. However, this is more than just regular polyamide.
Centrally located, bionicTURTLE® offers several benefits. One is the strength it offers to the aluminium profiles. The other is the thermal break, helping to give the product its excellent U-Values. The third is its role in providing locking points for the hardware.
An adjustable frame
While you won’t see the benefit of an adjustable frame as a homeowner, you certainly will as an installer.
Cleverly designed, the adjustable frame is different from how Schuco and other brands compensate for tolerances and adjustments when fitting bifolding doors.
Door adjustment happens in the subframe. This means only one adjustment point rather than having to work with every door panel. Another benefit is consistent sealing across the entire door set. The door also looks much neater at the frame jamb compared with other adjustable jamb bifold doors.
About the Solarlux Quality Partner
Are Solarlux bifolding doors exclusive? Locating a dealer isn’t difficult but fewer than stockist of brands like Origin, Reynaers or Schuco. Like Sunflex, Solarlux takes care in choosing their partners. We understand they fall into two categories. One is a Dealer, the other is a Quality Partner.
The Dealer is an arrangement where a reputable window company can sell and install Solarlux products. Quality Partners need more product knowledge, an exceptional showroom, more product training and the ability to finance, manage and execute more demanding installations. Importantly for the homeowner, in the event of a Quality Partner going out of business, Solarlux steps in. They’re not alone in doing this as Origin has also done the same although it’s rare.
Therefore, while every Dealer or Partner of top brands is an independent business, they nonetheless must meet the criteria set down by the systems company. After all, it’s their reputation at stake.
A look on the Solarlux website shows just six Solarlux Quality partners in the UK.
Other Products to compare with Solarlux
We’ve consistently said there’s no bad bifolding door on the market. However, if pushed, Solarlux and Centor we would say are above all others, the very best you can buy. In the same way people choose brands for clothing, luxury goods or home appliances. Solarlux and Centor are certainly luxury glazing systems.
Furthermore, it’s always good to compare brands. Besides the usual brands like Origin, Aluk or Smart Systems, there are only three comparable models with a Solarlux bifolding door, even though none are the same. Moreover, whilst all bifolds, well-made and properly fitted will serve you well, our three other comparable brands to compare with Solarlux come with their own individual design features, similar slim sightlines and overall better engineering. The other reason we’ve chosen these is, like Solarlux, they’re only made in one factory, not by many different fabricators. Finally, they’re all available through a dealer network of some of the best window companies as well as aluminium specialists.
Centor Bifolding Doors
Of all the bifolding doors on the market, Centor is a favourite and you can find out why. The attention to detail on a Centor product is outstanding. From the different way it’s made, door edge finishing detail, the luxury handles, to the advanced seals, easy-clean thresholds and flyscreen systems. Centor seems to have it all.
They are by no means the slimmest bifolds on the market. However, for sheer quality, these are certainly comparable with Solarlux but go even further. We’ve seen just about every major bifold brand there is. Few compare to Centor.
Sunflex Bifolding Doors
Also made in Germany, Sunflex is probably a direct competitor to Sunfold. They offer the same combination of aluminium and hybrid products and have similar aesthetics. We really like Sunflex bifolding doors for the way they look, the impeccable slide and fold action and the same large door sizes.
Duteman FD85 or Alumil SF85
The Dutemann FD85 is another outstanding bifolding door from one of the UK’s best manufacturers as well as one of the largest Schuco fabricators in the UK. It is an excellent bifold and worthy of consideration. You won’t get the unique Solarlux features but you will get a unique name in folding sliding doors. Bold hardware details, modern design and the impressive 1.5m wide door panels are just some of it’s great features.
As an illustration, Express Bifolds, one of the best home improvement businesses in the UK also use this Alumil System and have it in their product range as the XP Vision.
Do check out the Dutemann FD85 and compare with Solarlux.
Solarlux Bifolding Doors Review. Conclusion
Both Solarlux Ecoline or Highline products are desirable, luxurious and technically advanced. Moreover, with excellent thermal insulation, impeccable attention to detail and a prestige name, as a homeowner, you really are putting one of the very best door brands in your home. As an installer, selling Solarlux is one way of demonstrating reputation, service and trust.
We’ve not mentioned much about colours and options in this review as there are numerous. Solarlux goes beyond regular RAL/Interpon powders offering all manner of colours and finishes. Security is excellent, performance is top-notch and reliability is guaranteed when properly fitted.
Finally, the only way to appreciate why Solarlux doors look, feel and genuinely are different is to see one. Study the detail and when you open, close and fold a Solarlux door, you’ll understand why these doors more than justify their higher price.
Contact us for further information about Solarlux doors and details of where view or buy.