The 10 Best Canopies

Updated January 06, 2018 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Canopies
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Don't let the wind, the rain, or too much sun spoil your next outing to the beach or an otherwise enjoyable party in your backyard. These canopy tents will protect you, your friends and your belongings from the elements, and some of them even pop up quickly to provide a convenient instant shelter for an outdoor excursion or camping trip. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best canopy on Amazon.

10. AmazonBasics Tent

It’s only five feet long when it’s tucked inside its storage bag, so you may be a little surprised when you set the AmazonBasics Tent up to find a full-blown canopy standing in your yard. It’s quite affordable, too, but it won’t hold up in extreme weather.
  • 96 square feet of shade
  • effective uv protection
  • not the sturdiest option
Brand AmazonBasics
Model W100
Weight 45.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick

The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick is a sleek portable refuge with an umbrella-style hub that offers 270-degree views and reliable sun protection. It utilizes a tent-style support system and has side walls to guard its inhabitants from the wind.
  • covers a family of four
  • built-in rear shade
  • low roof height limits standing
Brand Lightspeed Outdoors
Model 26769-BV
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Spaceland EZ Pop

A rust-resistant steel frame and a durable heavy fabric make the Spaceland EZ Pop a dependable, sturdy model that’s suitable for commercial events, like craft fairs, and recreational gatherings, such as tailgate parties. It includes a removable sidewall as well.
  • comes with a satisfaction guarantee
  • 10 feet by 10 feet
  • strap on the carrying bag is flimsy
Brand Spaceland
Model pending
Weight 45.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. ABCCanopy King Kong

One nice thing about the ABCCanopy King Kong is a display slot you can use to personalize the structure with your company name or logo. The seams are well-sealed to provide water protection, and it comes with a one-year factory warranty.
  • huge variety of colors available
  • very professional in appearance
  • assembly can be complicated
Brand abccanopy
Weight 52.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Coleman Back Home

Ideal for camping in bug-infested areas, the Coleman Back Home can also serve as a semi-permanent structure for hanging out in your backyard. You can set it up in mere minutes, and its two large doors allow you to enter from the back or front.
  • high ceiling for tall guests
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • may leak in heavy rain
Brand Coleman
Model 2000028003
Weight 51.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Ohuhu Shelter

Available in sky blue or clean white, the Ohuhu Shelter looks right at home at the beach or set up in the park for a summer barbecue. This model is designed with an angled frame, meaning it will be more narrow at the top than it is at the base.
  • can adjust to 3 heights
  • canopy is flame-resistant
  • carrying bag is not high quality
Brand Ohuhu
Model pending
Weight 33.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Caravan Canopy Commercial

Equally effective for displaying products as hosting a gathering at the park, the Caravan Canopy Commercial is quite durable, thanks to a powder-coated steel frame. It has easy-to-use height adjusters, so you can raise or lower it without a problem.
  • peak height is 11 feet
  • polyester top can withstand abuse
  • highly resistant to water
Brand Caravan Canopy
Model 21003306011
Weight 62.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Core Instant Shelter

If you’re looking for 100 square feet of shade in next to no time at all, you’ll be thrilled when you have the Core Instant Shelter lying around. The canopy and leg adjustment pins are covered in plastic casing, which protects fingers from pinching.
  • simple 3-step setup process
  • vents for air circulation
  • bag with wheels for easy transport
Brand CORE Equipment
Model 40017
Weight 42.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. FreeLand Pop-Up

Make no mistake, it won’t protect you from a tropical storm, but the FreeLand Pop-Up is an impressive value option that will quickly pop up into a sturdy structure for weddings, tailgate parties, and similar outdoor events. It includes a zippered bag with two long handles.
  • rich navy blue color
  • slanted leg design for stability
  • eight steel stakes
Brand FreeLand
Model pending
Weight 24.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Clam Quick-Set

If you’re nimble, you can fully assemble the Clam Quick-Set in less than a minute. This unit features a mesh screen enclosure to help keep all the bugs out, and comes with six tent stakes and tie-down ropes to keep the structure secure in all weather conditions.
  • big enough to house a picnic table
  • handy rain flap
  • large carrying bag
Brand Clam Corporation
Model 9879
Weight 35.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

The Canopy Through The Ages

From the very dawning of civilization, mankind has held a special regard for having a roof over its collective head. Why? Because from those first daring homo sapiens wanderers to the Ancient Sumerians kings to the bold knights of the Crusading era to the modern NASCAR fan, no one likes standing there in the driving rain or the beating sun for hours on end. One elegant solution to this plague we call the weather, since time immemorial, has been to erect a canopy. Canopies can be made of cloth, animal hide, or of one of the many synthetic fibers today available; era and material notwithstanding, the design and purpose of the canopy has changed little throughout the ages.

Many scholars believe the word "canopy" came from the town of Canopus, an Ancient Egyptian settlement near modern-day Alexandria. For much of its long history, Canopus was considered to be a place of leisure and luxury, thus the connection makes sense, as canopies usually provide a place for respite. Other scholars call this presumption totally inaccurate, and point to the Latin word "cōnōpēum" which means "curtain."

Etymology aside, there's no denying that the canopy has played a major role in much of our collective history, sheltering warriors as they made their battle plans, providing respite for the traveling merchant or the explorer, or simply by creating a temporary shelter any man or woman from any stratus of society could enjoy. And of course that means you, too, can enjoy the many benefits offered by the humble canopy.

And you don't even need a history lesson to choose the right canopy for your purposes, you just need to consider your own everyday needs.

The Temporary Shelter - Pop Up Canopies

There are many types of canopy intended for short-term use, so a brief discussion of their form and function should precede discussion of which temporary canopy best suits your needs. So, ask yourself, is this canopy intended to...

  • Provide a Space for Commerce
  • Offer Shelter for Friends/Family Only
  • Protect Food, Merchandise, Etc.
  • Attract Attention from Passersby

If you need a canopy that can serve as a sales or information booth, you need one that can be made easy to access, potentially from all sides. (Never erect a barrier to your customers, e.g.) For that reason, a standard pop-up style canopy is usually the preferred choice. You know these canopies well from street fairs, farmer's markets, and other temporary public venues: they have four legs and a pyramid shaped top. E-Z Up is a trusted brand name, for your reference in this category.

If you need a more private canopy intended to create a space for friends and family to enjoy, such as a shelter for use on the beach or at the park, there are many canopies that can spring into shape and create a roof and walls. These shelters are often domed or curved in shape, and they can protect you from rain, wind, sunshine, and the prying eyes of others.

For protection from the elements and from the potential for unwanted guests including insects or grabby hands, many canopies can be outfitted with walls made from mesh screens or from more durable materials. These canopies can create temporary outdoor rooms that can serve as a place to cook, work, or simply to safeguard items or edibles. Just don't get confused with this type of canopy.

Finally, the temporary canopy can serve as more than a place under which to conduct business, but in fact it can be a part of your marketing plan. Choosing a canopy that is vibrantly colored can help you stand out from the pack (most canopies tend to be white, at least at public events), and any canopy offers you several places to hang signs, banners, or to display merchandise. And don't underestimate the power of the canopy to attract people when it's sunny or rainy out: provide a big enough shelter and you might just get a captive audience who will consider your goods and services.

The Semi-Permanent Canopies - Built To Last

There are many reasons one might need to put up a canopy for long-term use. These include everything from covering a car or a boat to sheltering delicate plants that would be damaged by direct sunlight to creating an outdoor workspace at a construction site or archeological dig.

When considering the right durable canopy for your purposes, of course you need to first consider your needs, such as square footage of coverage needed, access requirements, and perhaps even aesthetics. But equally important as those factors you can control are those variables which must be taken into account. You must consider whether your canopy will face things like...

  • Extended Direct Sunlight (which can lead to UV damage)
  • Heavy Rain or Snow Load (rain can corrode with time, and snow can weigh hundreds of pounds)
  • Wind Gusts (a lightweight canopy is a sail waiting to take off)

For protecting motor vehicles or boats from direct sun, steel-framed canopies with durable vinyl roofing is usually the best choice. These same canopies often offer little protection from rain or wind, though, thus might be poor choices for use as a workspace.

Gazebo-style canopy tents often feature walls that protect against most types of weather and can create a good outdoor room, but watch out for their buckling under snow or faltering in heavy wind: those same walls that protect you from the rain can cause big problems as they catch a gust of air, see?

Ultimately, the best solution to choosing a semi-permanent canopy may be accepting that no one canopy is an all-weather, all-season solution to your needs; fortunately, most canopies aren't that expensive, either, so consider getting two or three.

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Last updated on January 06, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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