Every backyard needs a place that's shaded from the sun. What better way to enjoy a beautiful day than relaxing in a gazebo? Many gazebos are portable and easy to assemble. They can also bring a touch of class to your outdoor space. There are many different types and styles to choose from, so it's a good idea to know how you want to use the gazebo before you buy. Don't forget to think about shape and color, too, because the options keep expanding. This guide includes everything you need to consider when shopping for a gazebo and our picks for the best models on the market. Our favorite gazebo is durable and stylish and provides a generous 100 square feet of coverage.
Considerations when choosing gazebos
First, you'll need to decide on the type of gazebo that's best for your backyard.
Standard soft-top gazebos
Standard soft-top gazebos are a great option if you want to leave the gazebo up all summer. They often have side panels with mesh or netting as bug protection, and some may have solid panels to block the sun as well. These models are often incredibly durable for the price. However, assembling soft-top gazebos can be time-consuming as they're designed with long-term use in mind.
Pop-up soft-top gazebos
If you want to stake out shady territory on the fly, a pop-up gazebo is for you. These models require little assembly and are simple enough for one person to set up. They're lightweight and ideal for the beach, traveling vendors, or athletic teams who play outdoors. However, pop-up soft-top gazebos are temporary structures that can't withstand the elements.
If you want a permanent or near-permanent gazebo, you need a hard-top model. They may have intricate designs and pillars. They often come in beautiful colors. If you want year-round use, some models have sides and flooring. However, these gazebos are expensive and usually take several people to assemble. But once it's up, you've got an inviting backyard oasis.
Gazebos range in size from around 42 to 800 square feet. Most people will be happy with 100 square feet, which is large enough to fit a standard table and six chairs. Measure your outdoor space carefully to make sure you have plenty of room for your gazebo.
The canopy's material greatly affects the cost and durability of the gazebo. Materials like PVC and vinyl are waterproof and lightweight. Polyester and canvas provide a different look, though both are only water-resistant. Hard-top gazebos usually have metal or wood shingles instead of a fabric canopy. Of the two, metal is much easier to maintain, but wood gives an elegant, rustic look.
Aluminum frames are strong and lightweight and a great choice for portable gazebos. However, durability can be an issue. Steel works well for year-round gazebos as it can withstand rough weather conditions. Wood is classic, rustic, and only gets better with age. The downside is that it takes a serious amount of maintenance. Vinyl frames can look just like wood, only they're lighter and easier to maintain.
There's a broad price range for gazebos. They start at around $60 for basic soft-top models. However, durable soft-top gazebos designed for year-round use can come in at over $3,000. Hard-top gazebos start at $500 to $600. Those with metal or wood frames and flooring and side panels may cost over $5,000.
Q. Do gazebos have to be secured?
A. Gazebos are susceptible to wind, so, yes, they need to be secured. Soft-top gazebos and pop-ups usually come with stakes that can be driven into the ground. However, if you're setting your gazebo up on a cement patio, weighted plates, buckets with rocks, or sandbags can be attached to the poles to keep the gazebo in place.
Q. Do I need to worry about rust?
A. Powder-coated steel won't rust unless it gets nicked or scratched. Because aluminum doesn't contain iron or steel, it doesn't rust, but it can corrode. Some frames are made of a steel/aluminum alloy that's strong, lightweight, and durable and resists rust better than steel alone.
Gazebos we recommend
Best of the best: Sunjoy Summer Breeze Soft-Top Gazebo
Our take: This soft-top gazebo has style and a durable frame. With generous coverage, it's a classy addition to a backyard that will only make you want to spend more time outside.
What we like: With a 10' x 10' footprint, it provides 100 square feet of space, which is plenty for a picnic table and chairs. Steel/aluminum alloy frame resists rust and harsh weather. Easy assembly.
What we dislike: You have to order the side panels separately.
Best bang for your buck: Gazelle Pop-Up Six-Sided Hub Gazebo
Our take: This pop-up gazebo takes no time at all to install. The ease of assembly and affordable price make this model a strong contender.
What we like: You can have it up in less than one minute. The canopy resists water and has a UV coating for extra protection.
What we dislike: It's not meant for year-round use and doesn't add to the appearance of your yard.
Our take: If you want a step up from a pop-up, this soft-top gazebo fits the bill. It's semi-permanent and has visual appeal.
What we like: A tough powder-coated steel frame. Polyester, UV-treated canopy. We especially love the mesh mosquito curtains that can be drawn for full enclosure from the elements.
What we dislike: While it's more attractive than a pop-up, it's not meant for long-term use.
Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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