Bifold Doors vs Sliding Patio Doors

When it came to adding large glass doors to a property, there was a time what Sliding Patio Doors were the go-to option. However, in more recent years Bifold Doors have taken over as the more popular choice. Both styles have their merits, so how do you make a decision when it comes to picking one for your next renovation project?

We review the benefits each style has to offer to help you make the right choice.

Bifold Doors vs Sliding Patio Doors

What Are Bifold Doors

The key feature of bifold doors is the folding mechanism. The bifold system is a concertina design, typically incorporating between two and seven panels, that enables individual panels to pivot and fold away to one side.

You can specify which side you want the panels to fold away to and if you want the system to fold outwards or inwards.

Bifold doors run along a concealed track and when opened, provide an uninterrupted flow from inside to outside.

What are Sliding Patio Doors

Sliding Patio Doors generally consist of two or more large panels of glass that slide in front of one another to the end of the frame.

One panel is always fixed so, unlike Bifold Doors, you can never get fully open sliding doors. The maximum opening will be approximately 75%, assuming you have a large four-panel door.

The Differences

Ease Of Use

Both door styles are straightforward to use, but sliding patio doors do offer a little more flexibility.

A sliding door can be opened slightly to allow a breeze, pushed open fully to let the outside in, or opened to any degree in between.

Bifold doors don’t quite offer this same degree of flexibility. However, a traffic door can be incorporated into most bifold door designs. These act like a standard door and are a great solution if you want to quickly nip outside as it means you don’t need to start folding back the panels.

The Threshold

The big advantage bifold doors have over sliding patio doors is the ability to operate with a flush threshold.

Due to the mechanism of sliding doors, they generally come with a frame that will need to be stepped over when passing through the doors. If you have small children or have a disability, then you’ll appreciate this can sometimes be difficult and often dangerous.

Bifold doors can be installed with a fully flush threshold, so when open, there is no frame left to trip over.

A Room with a View

Sliding doors have more glass and less frame than bifold doors. However, bifold can be fully folded back, whereas sliding doors have one fixed panel that always remains in place.

If you want to connect your home and garden and effectively have a wall of your home, you can simply fold back then bifold doors are for you.

If you would rather uninterrupted views of the outside and don’t mind not being able to fully open the doors, then sliding patio doors are the best solution.

Energy Efficiency

With any window or door, the frame is the weak link when it comes to energy efficiency. Glass is much better at retaining heat than the surrounding frame. Sliding patio doors are, therefore, typically more any efficient than bifolds as they contain more glass and have less frame surrounding the panels.

However, with intelligent design, modern bifold doors can also offer extremely high levels of energy efficiency. While sliding doors do have the advantage here, the differences are often very slight.


The pricing for each door style is relatively similar until you get to the larger sizes. The cost of the large panels of glass required for sliding patio doors can be significant, and this generally makes them the more expensive option.

The Final Choice

Both door styles have their benefits, and the choice you make should suit your lifestyle and needs. If you’ve been binge-watching home interiors programs where they open up a whole wall to link the home and garden seamlessly, then bifold doors are for you.

If your focus is on enjoying the view and letting in as much natural light as possible, then sliding patio doors are your perfect choice.