Outdoor Canopies Buying Guide

There are affiliate links in this post. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.

Jump to Winner of Outdoor Canopies Top 10 Rankings!

What kinds of outdoor canopies are there?

When you are looking to buy a canopy, the sheer scope can be a bit overwhelming. Though you might see a top-only 10 feet by 10 feet canopy as the standard, they do come in all shapes and sizes, made from different materials, and providing different protection. While some may be easy to use and prop up, others might require more assembling.

As with anything, when buying an outdoor canopy, the price can also be a factor. Expect to find the sturdiest, easiest to assemble, and built with the best material canopies at the higher end of the price scale, and the simple, top-only models made from plastic at the bottom end. In general, you would be looking at three types of outdoor canopies – top-only, semi-enclosed, or fully enclosed.


Top-only outdoor canopies

These are the simplest, most common type of outdoor canopy that you can find. They usually are the cheapest as well. They consist of a simple 4-prop construction (can be straight or angled), and a roof canopy to provide shade from the overhead sun.


Semi-enclosed outdoor canopies

If you take the top-only canopy and enclose it from one, two or three sides, you get a semi-enclosed canopy. These are good for protecting you from the wind, or from offering shade when the sun is at an angle. The more complicated canopy means slightly longer and more complicated assembly, but offers more protection.


Fully enclosed outdoor canopies

If you enclose all the sides of a canopy, you get a tent-like structure that is somewhat easier to assemble. This is great for all sides protection from wind and rain, and mesh enclosed canopies can offer excellent protection from insects.


What to look out for when buying an outdoor canopy?

First of all, the most important thing when buying a canopy is a material (at least for the roof) that is waterproof. Canopies are used for both sun and rain protection, as you would want the roof to be sturdy, resistant, and leak-proof.

You should also look for weighted attachments on the props to allow for stability and to anchor your canopy down in the case of strong winds. Depending on your needs, you should choose the right size for you, as well as the right roof height and eave height. The eave height represents the height to the bottom of the roof and can be important when looking to protect equipment.


Which one to buy?

When deciding on buying one, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it waterproof?
  • Do I need an enclosure of any type or just the top-only canopy
  • Are the props built from sturdy materials? (cheap plastic won’t last long)
  • What kind of material is the canopy weaved from? Does it offer UV-protection?
  • Is it stable? Does it come with weight attachments to increase stability?
  • What is the roof height? What is the eave height?


Answering these questions will lead you to the right type of outdoor canopy for your needs, and you will only be left to choose the right one for the right price for you. Do not be fooled by the price tags, as sometimes even a cheaper canopy can fulfill your needs, so there is no reason to shell out for an extremely expensive one.


This item is #1 ranked on Outdoor Canopies Top 10 Rankings