The 10 Best Carport Kits
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in January of 2016. If you're not lucky enough to have a garage, or if it's stuffed full of junk, then you'll need to find another way to protect your vehicle from the elements. These carport kits offer an economical shelter that goes up quickly, saving your car, truck or boat from snow, hail and sun damage. Our selections include both permanent and temporary options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best carport kit on Amazon.
Shelters of America Among other things, this online retailer has over 2,000 tent-style shelters to offer (mostly ShelterLogic products). Its website features options to search by shape, color and more importantly width, length or height – which is nice if you're trying to find the perfect-sized selection to fit into an odd space. sheltersofamerica.com
Millenium Buildings This company offers 10- to 25-year warranties on their custom-build carports and buildings, all of which are made with American-sourced materials. Its repertoire features a host of designs, including single, double and partially-enclosed styles. They also offer discounts to military veterans and active-duty servicemen. millenniumbuildings.com
Carport Central On top of offering 78 styles of metal car shelters, this North-Carolina-based company offers packages for garages and workshops that have auxiliary car ports incorporated into their designs. They also offer several larger options, which is great if you're looking to park heavy machinery or a small fleet of cargo vans. carportcentral.com
January 02, 2020:
During this round of updates, we eliminated the Peaktop Portable and Caravan Canopy Mega Domain, due to availability issues. We also added several new selections to our rankings, including the Palram Arizona Wave 5000, a particularly stylish model intended for permanent installation and supported by only two posts; the ShelterLogic Garage-in-a-Box, an affordably-priced, all-season option that’s large enough to house a full-size SUV or pickup truck; and the KDgarden Portable Carport, a narrower option than the Garage-in-a-Box that’s intended for seasonal use.
A few considerations to have covered before planning a purchase in this category:
Size: Assess the needs demanded by your plans for the carport, and plan accordingly. The models we ranked are typically a car-width wide, but some – including the Duramax Imperial – are offered in multiple lengths, so you can easily score a few extra feet to store a riding lawn mower or motorcycle. If that still isn’t enough space for you, the King Canopy Hercules is an example of an offering that can be ordered double-wide as well as in multiple lengths, so you’ve now got enough room for that lawn mower AND motorcycle, plus your spouse’s vehicle – next to your own.
The Elements: What type of weather are you looking to guard against? While protection against mild rain is an obvious prerequisite for this category, those coping with heavy rainfalls will likely appreciate the Palram 5000 and the Palram Arizona Wave 5000, which incorporate rain gutters into their designs. The sturdy paneling Palram uses for their canopies is also well suited to coping with heavier precipitation, and is rated to hold 15 pounds of snow per square foot. If you’re looking for wind protection, then walls are what you want. Consider options like the Duramax Imperial or the ShelterLogic Garage-in-a-Box.
Longevity: Remember, the very reason you’re considering investing in this purchase is so that it can absorb unwanted abuse for your vehicle, so make sure it’s tough! Many models in this category boast of powder-coated frames and UV-resistant textiles, and both are good ideas. Palram not only advertises maintenance-free designs, but also offers a 10-year limited warranty on their products, which might help give you some peace of mind.
The Versatile Carport Kit
And, if you move your vehicle out of the way, you have a shaded area for a picnic or yard sale.
A car, truck, or SUV is an investment, one most owners are keen to protect. Yet for many people, proper storage space is hard to find. Some live in homes without a garage, while others have one but can't get their vehicles inside of it. In fact, according to one survey, one in four Americans has a garage that's too cluttered to hold a vehicle. There are also those folks who have more cars than they have room for and those who have extra-large or tall vehicles, including RVs. But in all these cases, there's still a way to protect your automobile: the carport kit, trouble-free coverage that you set up in your yard or driveway.
It's this coverage that will keep your car in good condition, away from the elements. The weather, for example, can do terrible things to an automobile, and not just because of more unusual events, like a hail storm. Rain, although it might seem to have a cleaning effect, can be damaging, as it gathers pollutants and deposits them on your paint job. And then there's the damage caused by dangers other than the weather, either from falling branches, the sun's UV rays, or bird poop.
You'll also get extra convenience and usability along with protection from a carport kit. When it snows, you won't spend time shivering in the cold as you try to brush off your car. After you return home with groceries in the rain, you won't flood your trunk as you try to gather your items. And, if you move your vehicle out of the way, you have a shaded area for a picnic or yard sale. Many people buy carport kits for these reasons, actually, or to store other non-car items, including mowers, wheelbarrows, weed whackers, and so on.
Choosing A Carport Kit
Once you've decided how you'll be using your new carport, you're ready to think about the features that are most important to you. Perhaps the best place to start is deciding whether you want one with enclosed or open sides. The former won't give you as much ventilation or cross breeze, but it will provide a greater degree of protection both from the elements as well as from anyone who's trying to see just what it is that you're covering. There are also those that offer the best of both worlds, with roll-up side flaps, although these tend to be more of a short-term solution (some people use them for outdoor events, for instance). For permanency, the open side, metal roof versions tend to be the best bet.
If you plan to erect a carport and then use it through the winter, it's well worth paying attention to how much weight the roof can bear.
Speaking of the roof, you'll need to think about its sturdiness, especially if you live in an area prone to heavy snowfall. Snow may look light and fluffy, but it's actually quite heavy. If you plan to erect a carport and then use it through the winter, it's well worth paying attention to how much weight the roof can bear. Falling limbs can be heavy, too.
At this point you'll also want to think about size. Carport kits come in both one-car and two-car models, each with varying heights. Height is especially crucial if you've got a larger vehicle to protect, such as a behemoth SUV or pickup truck. Manufacturers almost always list the dimensions of their carport kits, including the height and width, so check these carefully and don't rely only on a photo.
Finally, there's installation to consider. Is the carport made to be erected on grass, hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete, or both? How does it anchor to the ground? Do you need one that can be disassembled and moved easily, or will it remain in one location? How many people will be required to assemble it, and what tools will you use? Thinking about the answers to these questions, along with reading the manufacture's specs, will help you choose just the right kit for you.
A Brief History Of The Carport
For as long as there have been cars, there's been a need to keep them somewhere. At the dawn of the automobile age, drivers solved this problem by keeping their vehicles in their barns or extra-large sheds. Plenty of people realized, though, that a new solution would be needed, as a barn can be a dirty, smelly place. Necessity is the mother of invention, so along came the garage. These earliest models were detached, rather than the attached variety that is more common today, and didn't have the conveniences modern drivers are used to, like automatic doors.
The carport, according to many sources, came into existence in the first decade of the 1900s, right along with the garage. An open-sided structure, the carport was simpler and didn't offer as much protection. It wasn't until the 1930s that this less robust car storage became popular, largely thanks to renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. A champion of simplicity, Wright recognized that by that time, cars had become hardier and less prone to water leaks, making a large and secure garage unnecessary.
An open-sided structure, the carport was simpler and didn't offer as much protection.
Many credit Wright with coining the term "carport," coming from the French porte-cochère, which refers to a covered structure found at a building's entrance that allows a vehicle to drive up and deposit passengers in security from the weather (picture the covered entrance to a hotel). Some sources, however, note that the term was in use before Wright popularized it. Either way, Wright was certainly influential in bringing the carport to a wider audience, as it was featured in his Usonian period.
The attached garage eventually upstaged both the detached garage and the carport, in large part because it doesn't require drivers to brave the elements to get to their cars. Still, many people erect carports in their yards or driveways for vehicle storage, whether with the help of a contractor or from a carport kit. As for the future, beefed-up carports that feature integrated solar panel roofs seem to be the next big thing, especially as alternative energy sources become more popular.
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