The 10 Best Screen Houses
10. Eureka Northern Breeze
- versatile and multifunctional
- polyester no-see-um mesh
- not ideal for windy conditions
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. Coleman Back Home Instant
- assembles quickly in just 3 minutes
- integrated loops keep doors open
- not intended for long-term use
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
8. Casita Round
- grommets to prevent water pocketing
- mildew-resistant top
- replacement covers are pricey
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
7. Kodiak Canvas
- strong flex-bow frame
- duffel style tote included
- does not come with a floor
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
6. Patio Mate
- detachable roof for easy maintenance
- peak height is adjustable
- costlier option than many
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Coleman Instant
- large t-doors for easy access
- price is relatively affordable
- push-button release levers
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Clam Quick-Set
- taped seams are waterproof
- fire-retardant construction
- carrying bag is oversized
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
3. Gazelle G5
- umbrella shaped design
- simple to roll up and store away
- reinforced corner joints
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. Eurmax Basic
- no loose parts to worry about
- blocks 95 percent uv rays
- stakes and ropes provided
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
1. Casita 12-Panel
- swing-out hinged door
- fiberglass screen material
- frame resists fading and oxidation
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Keeping The Bugs At Bay
Nobody likes bugs. Even professional entomologists, I suspect, deep down, get a chill up their spine from certain insects. I tried to like bugs. When I was 16, I watched Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, and the way he rendered flying insects in that film gave me a new appreciation for them. Little gnats like dust motes would flutter into the classrooms of my high school days, and I would watch the patterns they traced in the air like they were the hands of Jackson Pollock himself, all natural, improvisational beauty and expression. Well, that appreciation lasted about a month.
The reality is that insects are not our friends. We may share more symbiotic relationships with some than we’d care to admit, but symbiosis does not a friendship make. In some cases, the insects we encounter have the potential to do us real harm, as well. We don’t have to worry about things like Malaria so much in the US, both because it’s so incredibly rare, and because we have ready access to the medicines required to treat it. We do have to worry about things like West Nile virus, however, another disease carried by the dreaded mosquito. Incidences of West Nile have been on the rise over the last decade or so, and it can be very dangerous to children, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
There are plenty of things you can do to try to keep bugs away from you when you’re outdoors, but most of these methods have unintended consequences, or they just don’t work well enough. Citronella candles, for example, boast the ability to keep mosquitoes from ruining your outdoor evening, but I’ve never been at a party with these particular light sources and not still gotten bit. They might mitigate the onslaught a little, but they’re far from foolproof.
A lot of people like to use chemicals to keep bugs away from them, like sprays or wearable devices. These actually work pretty well, but they’re also extremely dangerous to human health. Chronic exposure to these chemicals can result in everything from nausea and irritation in the eyes and skin to convulsions. What’s worse, many of those products are tested on beagles, so buying them contributes to an industry that’s actively abusing ridiculously adorable animals.
At the end of the day, the best solution might actually be the simplest: a screen house. Screen houses create a physical barrier that flying insects like bees or mosquitoes cannot cross. What’s even better is that they still allow you to enjoy the outdoors. You get just enough sun and all the breezes that nature can muster to keep you comfy and relaxed on those perfect summer days.
Which Screen House Is Right For You?
Once you’ve realized that the screen house is the ultimate outdoor party shelter, you still have to decide which one is right for you and your space. There are a lot of options out there that are suitable for different occasions and groups, so don’t feel pressured into buying just one, either. You may find use for a pair of different sized screen houses.
Some of the screen houses on our list can accommodate a few chairs and maybe a small table. They’re primarily intended for people to set up in their backyards for dinners with the immediate family, or to take to the beach to keep the sun and sand from whipping up and causing discomfort. If you have a big family, or you have a large event coming up like a 4th of July barbecue, you might need to invest in something a little bigger.
Whatever size your final purchase is, keep an eye on the size of its opening, as well. You’ll want to make sure that whatever table you want to set up in there can get through the door, otherwise you might have to build the screen house around it.
Another important consideration is assembly. If you know you’ll reliably have a second pair of hands like a dedicated spouse or an available teenage child, then one of the more complicated units on our list is a good idea. They tend to be a little sturdier once put together, so if you live in an area that suffers high winds, this might be a great idea. On the other hand, if you’re all alone in your setup because your significant other has to cook and your children have to do whatever it is they do online all day, then something that pops up quickly and easily is your best bet.
You might also need to look into the strength of a given screen material as you take in the items on our list. This is especially crucial if you have pets (maybe you rescued one of the bug spray beagles!) whose claws might tear at the screen.
A Brief History Of Screens
The screen as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon. Today, we take it for granted that all our windows and doors will have some means by which to keep out insects and still allow in the breeze and a little sun. But that wasn’t a luxury afforded to our ancestors.
In fact, screen windows only came about in the early part of the 19th century. These were made from woven metal, making them exceptionally strong, but also a little heavy and prone to rust. Some early manufacturers created them specifically for the tops of train cars, so that sunlight could reach the passengers, but dirt, soot, and debris would stay out.
Other industries experimented with screens, as well, most notably the food industry, where screens were employed primarily for straining purposes. Newer designs of screens are made out of everything from metal to fiberglass, and many styles are exceptionally easy to cut to size. That allows manufacturers to create all kinds of shapes and sizes of screen, and even to mold them into the houses you see here today.