Sun Tunnel vs. Skylight: Which is better?

Are you debating sun tunnel vs. skylight? These are two popular ways to bring natural illumination into a home. Each has distinct benefits, including lower energy usage and power bills, improved mood and mental health, enhanced home value, and a more eco-friendly home. Many people like a room drenched in sunlight, and installing a skylight or sun tunnel plays into that. Not only do you get the benefits of having natural light, but these fixtures can be designed to complement the style of your home both on the inside and outside. 

Read more about our skylight installation services here.

living room skylight vs. sun tunnel
All images provided by Velux


Skylights (also known as roof lights) are light-permitting structures installed on the roof of a home, letting in natural light from above. Most skylights are made with energy-efficient glass that helps to regulate the temperature in your home, keeping it more relaxed in the summer and warmer in the winter.

In Canada, skylights must meet stringent safety requirements. These include tempered or laminated glass and break-resistant glazing that can resist hail damage. There are two types of skylights that are commonly used in home design: fixed skylights and ventilated skylights.

Ventilated skylights have a venting system that allows you to open and close the skylight, letting in fresh air while still providing natural light. This type of skylight is often used in bathrooms and kitchens to help reduce energy costs and promote better air circulation.

On the other hand, fixed skylights do not have a venting system and are permanently sealed. Though you can’t open these skylights, they’re still a great way to bring in natural light and can be used in any room in your home.

slanted roof skylights instead of sun tunnels in tv room


  • You have an option to open it for ventilation and fresh air
  • Can improve the look of your home
  • Comes in a variety of style options
  • Helps to regulate the temperature in your home


  • Installation can be costly
  • Require professional installation
  • Ventilated skylights may require more maintenance
  • May leak if not installed correctly
woman in walk in closet opted for sun tunnel vs skylight option
Sun tunnels are the circular openings of light

Sun Tunnels

Sun tunnels (also known as tubular skylights) are another popular way to bring natural light into your home. These curved, tube-like skylights are installed on your roof and directed towards the ceiling of your home, providing a soft, even light. Unlike traditional skylights, sun tunnels are less likely to leak since they don’t have any penetrations in your roof. They’re also an excellent option for rooms that don’t have an existing skylight or roof.

There are two types of sun tunnels: rigid and flexible.

rigid tun tunnel
Flexible sun tunnel

Rigid sun tunnels are made with a series of reflective panels installed in a straight line from your roof to the ceiling of your home. These panels help to direct the sunlight into the tube, providing bright light.

Flexible sun tunnels, on the other hand, are made with a flexible tube that can be installed in homes with curved or sloped roofs. These sun tunnels are less likely to leak and are easier to install than rigid sun tunnels.


  • Less likely to leak
  • Can be installed to focus light on specific areas
  • Can be installed in any room
  • Easy to install


  • Require professional installation
  • It may not provide as much light as a skylight
  • Tubes can be visible from inside the home

You can choose a sun tunnel vs. skylight according to your needs and preferences, but how do you know which one is right for your home? Well, to help you make a decision, let’s look at some factors you need to consider before making a purchase.

sun tunnels instead of skylights in hallway

Roof type

The roof type plays a vital role in deciding which skylight or sun tunnel is suitable for your home. A sloped or curved roof is best suited for a flexible sun tunnel, while a flat roof is better suited for a rigid sun tunnel or skylight. If you’re unsure about your roof type, you can always consult a professional to help you decide. CD Roofing has a team of experienced roofers who can help you choose the right skylight or sun tunnel for your home.

Room size and location

The skylight or sun tunnel you choose will determine the type and amount of light you get. The size of your room and its location will also factor into which skylight or sun tunnel you choose. For instance, a sun tunnel might be the best option if you have a small room since it won’t take up much space. A skylight might be the better option if you want to focus light on a specific area, like a workstation.

Installation cost and process

Both options will require professional installation, but the cost and process can vary depending on which skylight or sun tunnel you choose. Skylights are usually the most expensive and difficult to install, but they offer the most benefits. They are delicate and require a great deal of precision to install, so it’s best to leave this job to the professionals. Sun tunnels are less expensive and easier to install, but they might not provide as much light as a skylight.

Federal tax credits

You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of solar-powered devices. The federal government offers tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements, including skylights and sun tunnels. This tax credit is available for both new construction and existing homes. To qualify, the skylight or sun tunnel must meet certain energy efficiency standards and must be installed by a certified installer.

The debate about skylight vs. sun tunnel has been simplified for you. When it comes to choosing between the two it really depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider the factors listed above to help you make a decision. And if you need help, don’t hesitate to contact CD Roofing. We are undoubtedly the best roofing contractors in town, and we would be more than happy to help you with all your roofing needs! Call us today at (905) 430-7911 for a free consultation.