Choosing the best roof lanterns is easier than selecting general windows and doors. Lantern roofs or rooflights, fixed or opening are significantly simpler than opening windows, single or French doors, sliding and folding patio doors. They have fewer profiles and parts, are less complex in design and are easier to install. Many also look very similar.
Any of the current range of lantern roofs will meet your needs in terms of design, thermal performance, security, and even sun control. All will let it masses of natural light too. Therefore, choosing the best roof lanterns is less about a product, but more about price, aesthetics, and finding the installers of the products they prefer to use and why.
How to choose the best roof lanterns
The advice is always to view the current aluminium lantern roofs range and see if the aesthetics of each product work for you. Probably the most important factor in choosing the best roof lanterns is what look you want, contemporary or more traditional. Our guide on how to buy a lantern roof gives advice and more information.
Some designers and manufacturers of lantern roofs provide only one style, others provide a choice of styling. The thinner the frame the more modern, the thicker or more decorative means a more classically styled roof lantern. Whichever style you prefer, you’ll get quality, engineering, security, weather performance, and energy efficiency.
Of course, the expertise of your chosen installer also matters. You’ll also find lantern roofs and rooflights sold online for your builder or chosen installer to fit. This is the one product amongst the diverse range of glazing that provides less risk when buying online compared to windows and doors. Sizes are easy to work out, assembly and installation instructions are usually provided and fitting a lantern roof or rooflight isn’t that hard for a competent tradesperson.
It’s not possible to match the profiles of a lantern roof or rooflight to other doors or windows. The nature and makeup of the profiles is different, although you may find similar overall dimensions.
Common features of the best roof lanterns
With all brands of the best roof lanterns you can expect to find the following features as standard:
- Thermally insulated frames with a professionally applied colour finish
- High specification safety glass
- The option to have opening elements for added ventilation on many brands
- Standard as well as bespoke sizes
- Options for improved sun control, energy efficiency, safety or acoustics
This therefore then leaves you to choose the best product based on price and styling.
Virtually all lantern roof and rooflight products market how easy their products are to fit. This feature is important to installers and sellers although of less importance to the end user.
The best roof lantern brands explained
Depending on the use, both homeowners and the trade have access to a broad range of products. Some roof lanterns are part of an aluminium systems company overall range. Other products are designed and made by dedicated rooflight companies offering no other products. You’ll also find some roof lanterns rebranded but essentially the same.
Overall, the best roof lanterns work either individually or as part of the design in a new extension. You can also use them within conservatory or orangeries.
The best as chosen by installers – Altas Lantern Roofs
With many professional installers preferring the Atlas roof over other brands, it’s important to understand why. They work with products every day and want to work with a lantern that’s easy to fit, understand and above all proven to be reliable over time. For many of these it’s the Atlas product. Atlas roofs come with excellent design, an attractive price point, and ease of installation.
Importantly for sightlines, Atlas Roofs come engineered using the box mullion philosophy found in commercial curtain walling and high-rise glazing. Consequently, Atlas aluminium roofs use 40mm box rafters, creating a very visually appealing appearance inside, where it matters. This 40mm dimension also makes Atlas slimmer than other roofs and especially when viewed from inside.
Widely used, tried and tested and proven over many years, the look is exactly what modern extensions require whether you choose contemporary or traditional styles. You’ll also find bespoke roof solutions available under this brand too. The latest product from Atlas is the 2.0 Lantern Roof.
The Atlas roof product range is comprehensive. You’ll find Lantern Roofs, Conservatory and Orangery Roofs, Lean-to roofs, Flat rooflights, Verandah roofs, and systems for commercial buildings. For a modular orangery, the Atlas Skyroom is also available.
Korniche Roof Lantern – best for value
The Korniche roof lantern supplied by Made for Trade and marketed as a latest-generation aluminium roof. One of the features around the Korniche aluminium roof is easy-fit technology reducing installation time for fitters on site. The aluminium roof offers thermally insulated sections with slim sight lines too. Furthermore, Korniche works well with other home improvement products. A Kornice roof works individually as well as part of a new orangery. Other features of the slimline Korniche roof lantern include patented end boss sections, consistent sight lines and invisible fixings.
Q-Lon seals differ from conventional rubbers and these are used throughout the Korniche roof. Q-Lon gaskets in combination with liquid silicone rubber remove the need for extensive silicone application found on other roofs. A unique glazing retainer does away with the need for glass locks at the end and eaves closures. Korniche lantern roofs come at up to 6 metres by 4 metres.
Korniche lantern roofs are available nationwide through several resellers.
Synseal Stratus Aluminium Lantern Roof – best Atlas alternative
For those looking for an alternative to the Atlas product, we’d suggest the Synseal Stratus lantern roof. It’s another product to enter the market in the last couple of years.
Synseal Stratus roofs are high end, refined roofs with thermally insulated aluminium profiles. A modern lantern roof system offering comfort, impressive aesthetics and high performance.
The Stratus aluminium roof is available in 2-way, 3-way or contemporary design. Sizes come at up to 3 metres wide and 6 metres in length. It features thermally insulated profiles with a range of thoughtful capping pieces and purpose-designed extrusions.
One of it’s best features is how it supports the ridge on top by the hip rafters. The look is more minimal, although not exclusive to this product.
Best roof lanterns for slimmest sightlines, Roof Maker Slimline
The Slimline roof lantern by Roof Maker is very slim, super modern and has very slim glazing bars and joints. It’s slimmer than all the brands we mention here. However the trade-off is a much higher apex that not everyone will like or want, although the company claims this brings more light in than other roof lantern brands. On the outside the sealed glass-to-glass edges are sealed with a thin aluminium strip.
Another claim made by Roof Maker is the internal sizes they ask for in order to make the roof results in 25% more light. You get fixed, opening casement or even a sliding opening roof lantern that’s great for ventilation.
The drip lip feature lets water run off the glass and the company also says installation times are faster. It’s interesting that a roof with different features and slim lines isn’t more popular like Atlas, Korniche and Stratus. The company provides these in kit form, fully assembled or can even install.
Included in Roofmaker’s range are also contemporary roofs such as fixed, opening, pitched, pyramid and walk on glass rooflights. Overall, Roof Maker provides some of the most modern and architecturally appealing lantern roofs and rooflights.
Best roof lanterns for architects and commercial buildings – Howells Glazing.
Howells Glazing is a very well known company in the glass roofing industry. Their advanced range of products provides aluminium roof systems, lanterns and sophisticated large span glazing. The Howells Glazing product line provides all manner of roof solutions for residential properties. Howells also create sophisticated atria found in commercial buildings.
Products range from lantern roofs, double hipped roof lights, pitched roofs, Dodecagon roof systems and octagonal roofs. Then there’s skylights and even Hexadecagon rooflights with 16 sides. For anyone looking for a standard or highly bespoke roof, Howells glazing has a long reputation in quality aluminium roofs.
Best roof lanterns for innovation -Sunsquare Lanterns
The architectural range of rooflights from Sunsquare offers high specification aluminium roof products. Their extensive range provides manual and automatic styles and designs. Sunsquare rooflights also come as single or double skylights, Pyramid skylights as well as internal and external walk-on glass rooflights.
One of the newest products from Sunsquare is the Aero Pyramid product. This is an electric opening lantern roof doing away with having full opening windows in the lantern roof. Instead, the entire module opens thirty degrees to provide ventilation when needed. Sunsquare is another company providing contemporary, architectural and broad-ranging lantern roofs and rooflights.
Also available by Sunsquare are full opening lantern roofs with automatic operation. For those looking at high-tech roofs, their Weather Pack features a rain and wind sensor, closing the lantern/skylight when the weather changes abruptly.
Other lantern roof products worthy of mentioning
Prefix Systems serves the UK trade market with a broad variety of roof systems. The Prefix Systems product line includes products such as Skylights, Conservatory and Orangery Roofs. Also available are roofs for canopies, verandas, glass extensions and flat rooflights.
Prefix Systems are also behind the innovative Refurbish My Conservatory Scheme. Refurbish My Conservatory offers a great home solution for homeowners with an old conservatory. The core elements of the original structure are retained. Meanwhile, other items are replaced with more energy-efficient and more modern materials. Consequently, Refurbish My Conservatory transforms an old, leaking and uncomfortable conservatory into a modern, usable room.
Quantal Roof System.
Quantal Aluminium Roof Systems are part of Ultraframe and offer a range of roof solutions. In the product range are Quantal Aluminium Conservatories or Quantal Aluminium Orangeries. As well as this Quantal Atrium, Quantal Loggia, Livin’Room and a range of coloured roofing systems complete the range.
European inspired Sunparadise Systems provides a broad range of roof glazing products. Like other roofs, Sunparadise comes designed as stand-alone items or integrating fully with their contemporary range of sliding, bifolding and advanced slide and turn doors.
The Cubo garden extension is excellent as a stand-alone garden structure. Also in the range are lean-to systems, bespoke glass roofs, lanterns and glazed structures.
Ultraframe is one of the world leaders in the design and extrusion of conservatory roofing systems. The Ultraframe aluminium roof primarily features a PVCu core with aluminium glazing bar cappings, ridge bodies, finials and cresting as well as flashings and gutters if required.
Ultraframe roofing systems come in a wide range of different product groups such as Loggia, Classic, Orangery, Verandah, Utopia, Ultralite 500 and Portals.
Sheerline S1 roof lantern
New to the market and accompanying a new range of aluminium doors and windows, is the Sheerline S1 roof lantern.
The company claims this is the most secure compared with other lantern roofs without bonded glass and comes with some patents in it’s design. There are slimmer (and simpler) roofs on the market but we like this roof for its clean lines and apperance, particularly the way the top capping pieces sit nice and low to the glass line. It’s not a feature you’ll see much as it’s on the outside.
Tips and advice for finding the best roof lanterns
These products are just some of the many brands on the market, but it’s important not to get too wrapped in the claims made. For example Synseal Stratus claims 65% better thermal efficiency than conventional aluminium roof systems but doesn’t elaborate what ‘conventional’ means. Another claim is 533 times more thermally efficient than ‘aluminium’ with no explanation on what this means.
Sheerline claims theirs to be the most secure against a mainstream residential roof lantern without explanation on what is mainstream without bonded glass which many products have. As well as this, the security risk by any roof lantern depends on multiple factors.
Overall, the best way to choose the best roof lanterns is on aesthetics, price, features you may want such as opening lights, glass types and of course, confidence in the company you’re buying then from. There’s no vastly superior product on the market and what constitutes the best roof lanterns depends on too many variables.
- All quality products today come with excellent thermal insulation, it’s not a significant purchasing decision.
- All roof lanterns come with quality guarantees and especially on the upstands, glass and installation.
- Most come with toughened glass outside and laminated glass inside with options for solar or self-cleaning glass
- You can expect a good installation and reliability with any competent and reputable installer
- The powder coated finish on the outside is not ‘fit and forget’ routine cleaning prevents it fading and ageing