Updated: June 8, 2015

Canopy Reviews:

When summer time hits the United States, people like to go outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Unfortunately, in some parts of the country the sun can be too hot and temperatures can climb into the triple digits (100+). In states like Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Florida, the midday sun can be stiffling and having a canopy to get some shade under is essential. Canopies are a cheap and easy way to hide from the harmful rays of the sun while still enjoying your backyard or camping trip. Unlike gazebos that require longer to setup and are bulky, canopies go up almost instantly and they are quite portable. Many canopies pop up quickly with 2 people putting them up. No matter what your needs, there is a canopy for you. Keeping reading down below for features to look for when buying a canopy and which brands are the best for the various types.


Buying Guide - Lots of people have backyard patio unbrellas that do a great job in providing shade and relief from the sun, but what about the other areas of your yard. Buying a backyard canopy can solve all your problems. They come in all different sizes with the most common being 10' x 10' which is considered a recreational canopy. The Weekender Canopy from QuikShade is 12' x 12' and comfortably shades 8-12 people. Beyond your backyard, canopies are a great idea for those camping trips or even at the beach. A canopy is easy to setup and break down meaning you can take it on your next camping outing and cover the picnic table (often in the sun). While nice gazebos are $300 or more, a patio canopy is reasonably price at $100 or less. Most outdoor canopies will give you 100 percent UV protection and they are water resistant. If you plan on throwing outdoor parties this year, consider buying at least 1 canopy to have in case the weather gets too hot or rain showers suddenly appear. The canopies with spring loaded pull-out sliders are easy to put up. Look for models with steel frames and those that are rust resistant. The top of the canopy should be vented so that the hottest air will go out leaving cooler air behind. You also need vents in your canopy so that the wind will not blow it all over your yard. There are weights you can buy that will securely fasten down the sides of the canopy making sure it stays in place. You will want a canopy that is lightweight enough so that it's easy to transport around. Canopies will most often come with a carrying bag that will fit all the parts once it is broken down. The luxury canopies have wheeled storage bags with pockets on the sides for additional storage space. The top canopies by brand are EZ UP, Norstar, King Canopies, Coleman, Quik Shade Canopies, Alpine Design and Coolaroo. Again, most canopies are less than $100 with many even priced below $50. Before you buy anything, make sure you measure the space available in your yard where the canopy will go so you know it will fit. Recreational canopies are 10 feet by 10 feet which seems to be sufficient for most uses. If you need larger canopies or tents for big parties, definitely consider a one time rental fee and have a professional company put up the tents for you. Down below we have provided some of the top brands in various categories. You can find camping canopies at stores like Sports Authority and Dicks Sporting Goods. Patio and backyard canopies are available from Target or Wal-Mart. You can browse the top selling backyard canopies here.


Best Camping Canopy:

Coleman makes great camping equipment and their Coleman 5-Sided GeoSport Shade ($99.99) is an excellent camping canopy. The dome design adds a little style and the canopy provides shade for the entire family. Made with polyester-taffeta material w/ 450 mm. PU coating. UV resistant materials so the sun won't harm you and the it doesn't fade or discolor from being in the sun. The 5 shock-corded poles make for easy installation and when it's broken down stores compactly in a bag. Unlike bland green tents/canopies found in most campsites, this blue and white camping canopy from Coleman looks great. We found it online at Target.com (not in their retail stores though). Take a look in Wal-Mart or Sears and you should be able to find a comparable canopy for even less (try to buy in the off-season for the biggest discounts). RECOMMENDED - See the entire list of top rated camping canopies here.

Patio Canopy:

Looking for an easy to put up patio canopy, then go with the #1 canopy shelter E-Z Up. The E-Z UP Escort Instant Portable Shelter ($170) is lightweight and great for those summers in your backyard. The gabled roof design and rust resistant frame will set up in "seconds" says their advertising. The legs are adjustable with 3 different height options and all the supplies fit in a nice roller bag. The pull pin sliders are what make this canopy easy to get up and it's portability make it perfect for patios, beach, camping, etc. The headroom is 7 feet 6 inches which should be ample for most adults.

Best Gazebo Canopy:

If you want a more professional looking canopy then consider the Coolaroo 13'x 11' Gazebo ($70). We couldn't believe the price listed on Amazon.com for this quality shade gazebo which looks like a luxury backyard canopy. Other stores have this same Coolaroo gazebo/canopy for over $150. This backyard shelter gives you breathable, UV-blocking fabric that will protect you from the sun and elements providing shade. It's sturdy and lightweigth with an aluminum frame and quite portable with a storage bag that easy to carry. Resists mildew and mold and will clean up quickly.

Pop Up Tents & Canopies:

The Quik Shade Compact Recreational 10' x 10' Instant Pop up Canopy ($140) is a deluxe canopy that works great in backyards, at picnics, at the park or beach, sporting events, and outdoor parties. It's 10 feet by 10 feet providing plenty of room for all your guests and it's 100% water-resistant and protects you from UV rays. This is the perfect solution when shade is a necessity in your yard. Many people call this an instant canopy since setup is so easy and the frame top is attached via hooks and loops. The valance around the edge of the top gives you that bit of extra protection from the rain or sun. The top is vented to keep hot air out and the wind from causing havoc. Some owners are concerned with fire danger, but this Quik Shade canopy has a fire retardant top making for a safe environment. The frame is so compact when collapsed down that it will fit in the trunk of your car. Great for groups of 8 to 10 people with a peak height of 9 feet 1 inch. This pop up canopy comes in white, blue, red, or green colors. You can find it online at Hutshop.com.

Cantilevered Umbrella:

Another option, at least in your backyard, is to buy a cantilevered umbrella. These patio umbrellas are easy to move around your yard and don't necessarily have to be positioned next to a table. You can move them close to pools or lounge chairs to provide the shade on hots days. They come in octagonal, hexagonal and rectangular shapes to fit all needs. They are made with sturdy stands and materials which is a huge benefit, but you will pay a handsome price for the luxury umbrellas ($1000+). We found some offset umbrellas at Patioumbrellas.com that sell for a much more reasonable $170 to $400.

Rent vs Buy Canopy:

We often get the question of whether it's better to buy or rent canopies and patio tents for parties. Unless you plan on throwing backyard parties 2 or 3 times a year with dozens of guests, you are better off just renting the equipment for the day and have a professional company come and set them up for you. The cost to buy multiple canopy tents that look nice would cost you $1000's while renting them will save you $100's and keep you from having to do all the setup and take down work. Partypop.com is a good site to start with when looking for a canopy rental company in any state.