The 10 Best Canopies

Updated August 30, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Canopies
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 36 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 park. These canopy tents pop up quickly to provide the perfect instant shelter for any outdoor excursion, or to protect your wares at a flea market or other event. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best canopy on Amazon.

10. Wenzel Smartshade

The Wenzel Smartshade is built to withstand strong winds and resist heavy rains, making it possible to enjoy a barbecue when the weather isn't perfect. It comes packed in a rolling storage duffel, so you can drag it without damage.
  • includes a removable loft
  • feet can be staked or screwed
  • not compatible with insect netting
Brand Wenzel
Model pending
Weight 36 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Coleman Swingwall 10x10

The Coleman Swingwall 10x10 has a swinging wall system that can hang as a wind and rain barrier or stand out straight as extra sun protection for groups too large for the canopy alone. It has welded steel feet to provide additional stability on asphalt or concrete.
  • great for tailgating
  • polyester taffeta construction
  • aluminum posts can bend in high wind
Brand Coleman
Model 2000010008
Weight 52.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Ozark Trail Instant 30151902 10x10

The Ozark Trail Instant 30151902 10x10 comes in a wheeled travel bag that makes for convenient transport, even for only one person. It also features two adjustable roof vents to help create a nice breeze on those hot, sunny days.
  • ceiling height of over nine feet
  • convenient one-piece frame
  • may need weights for stabilization
Brand Ozark Trail
Model FGA1010SH
Weight 38.8 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. ShelterLogic 10x20

The ShelterLogic 10x20 has a steel frame that resists peeling, chipping, and corrosion. Its antifungal roof offers a triple layer of UV protection, and its long design makes it ideal for sheltering vehicles as well as people.
  • patented tension system
  • has a clean and finished look
  • takes a while to set up
Brand ShelterLogic
Model 23530
Weight 84.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Beach

The Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Beach is a sleek pop-up shelter with an umbrella-style hub that offers 270 degree views and hours of sun protection. It uses a tent-style support system and has side walls for added wind protection.
  • covers a family of four
  • built-in rear shade
  • low roof height limits standing
Brand Lightspeed Outdoors
Model 26769-BV
Weight 9.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. E-Z UP Envoy

Powder-coated and rust-resistant, the E-Z UP Envoy is the go-to choice of festival workers. It creates instant shelter that provides 100 square feet of shade, and it has adjustable legs for easy customization. Its cathedral ceiling offers generous headroom, as well.
  • available in blue and white
  • 1-year warranty included
  • not heavy enough for windy areas
Brand E-Z UP
Model ENV9104BL
Weight 33.2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Coleman Back Home Instant

The Coleman Back Home Instant is ideal for camping in buggy areas or for days at the park when you just want a little extra shade. It sets up in just three minutes and has two large T-doors, so you can enter from the back or front.
  • vaulted ceiling for taller guests
  • pinch-free adjustability
  • leaks in heavy rain
Brand Coleman
Model 2000028003
Weight 51.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Caravan Canopy Titanshade

The Caravan Canopy Titanshade makes it easy to show products off at events or enjoy the park, thanks to its high roof and lightweight steel frame. It has pull pin height adjusters and slider brackets, so you can raise or lower it with ease.
  • full truss ceiling design
  • polyester top ensures a long life
  • resists water and fire
Brand Caravan Canopy
Model 21003306011
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Zeny 10X10

It's hard to pass up the Zeny 10X10 considering its low price point and surprisingly good build quality. It comes with removable walls that are attached with Velcro straps and which allow you to completely enclose the inner area.
  • white color reflects the sun
  • plastic windows
  • comes apart for compact storage
Brand Zeny
Model pending
Weight 19.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Clam Corporation 9879

The Clam Corporation 9879 sets up in just 45 seconds, and features a mesh screen enclosure to help keep all the bugs out. It comes with six deluxe tent stakes and tie-down ropes to keep it secure in all possible weather conditions.
  • big enough to house a picnic table
  • durable water-resistant roof
  • includes oversized 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 August 30, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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