Last Updated on August 15, 2020
Our Top Choice...
Pop up canopies are one of those items you don’t really think about buying until you really need one. They’re a staple of all sorts of events; family reunions, open air markets, big family beach trips, and a whole lot more.
If you haven’t bought one before, it might be difficult to decide which one to buy. After all, there are a whole lot of canopies on the market and they all seem pretty much the same…right?
Well, initial looks can be deceiving, so I’m here to point out some of the features you should be looking for before you pull the trigger on your purchase, and then looking at some great options you might want to consider.
Here are the best pop-up canopies you can buy:
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
9 Best Pop Up Canopies Reviews
This is absolutely everything we look for in a canopy. It’s sturdy, durable, spacious, and doesn’t look half bad.
The ABCCCANOPY covers a whopping 100 square feet (a 10 x 10 square) and is perfect for small gatherings, fitting multiple tables and beach chairs, or a nice picnic and meeting table for business events and whatnot; it’s very versatile.
It has UV protection (the equivalent of UPF 50 sunscreen), is completely waterproof, and has a surprisingly sturdy frame once set up, with well braced legs and sturdy reinforced corners, along with the great stakes that keep it from swaying in the wind.
Combined with its variety of nice colors and easy portability (fitting well in any SUV or truck, though cars might have issues) and the relatively low price for what you’re getting, and it’s the best on the market.
Easy and quick to set up.
Huge under canopy area.
Easy to store and move.
Folded size may be a bit too large for some vehicles to fit.
This is the perfect canopy for outdoor weddings, family reunions, and other large gatherings.
The tent is huge, 200 square feet of area (10 x 20) with good protection from harmful UV rays (UPF 50+) and nice windows set into the sides to allow to more sunlight. While it comes with side panels, these are removable to allow for easy coming and going, and they can be returned just as quickly, in case rain comes to dampen your good time.
It looks nice; classy for any occasion, but can also be used for casual events like beach trips and the like.
The only rub here is the price: you’re paying about double what our winner costs, which is fair enough (it’s double the surface area), but the size and price combined are likely to be overkill for many.
Huge surface area.
Classy look; perfect for weddings and formal events.
Great UV protection.
Modifiable for different looks and uses.
Easy to set up.
This pop up canopy is the perfect one for family trips.
One of the main draws of this one is how compact it is for travel, while remaining sizable enough to comfortably fit 4 to 5 people underneath. You can fit this in many cars, and all trucks and SUVs with ease while still cramming everybody you need to into a given vehicle, which is nice.
It’s incredibly sturdy once put up: rated for up to 40 MPH winds…though typically in my experience there are other reasons you don’t want to be out in weather like that besides the wind. It is equally incredibly easy to put up, snapping out quickly and needing a minimum effort to put up and use. The company cites 60 seconds as the usual time for setup and I can believe it, to an point; it would take longer to put the sandbags and whatnot on if you need to, however.
It’s warrantied for up to a year for replacement if it breaks, which is excellent, even for how inexpensive it is.
If you’re looking for a decent sized canopy to take on a beach trip with your kids, this is the perfect fit.
Compact and easy to move.
Perfect for small families, with room for 3 to 6 people (4 to 5 comfortably)
No option for side walls.
If you’re really on a budget, this is a good option. Simple, cheap, but still not bad, overall.
The main thing with this is it is as utterly bare bones as possible. It has a decent canopy, though no particular UV protection or anything, it only comes in this one “watermelon red” color, and it doesn’t have any side panels to it.
Set up is easy and quick enough, with the lightweight steel frame snapping out and setting up to 3 different height adjustments, though usually you’ll want to stick with the highest one.
The covered space is decent enough, 24 square feet, which is good for a couple of people (or, as they suggest, to set up a market stall at a fair or flea market or something).
Overall the main thing this one has going for it is that it’s super cheap, but that’s not the worst thing in the world to be.
Quick and easy to set up.
Packs away small.
Good size for the price.
Fairly small overall; cuts its usefulness down some.
Not great in any heavy weather, including high winds.
No side panels.
From the same brand as our winner, we have a larger model with side walls.
It’s very well made, with sturdy fabric that is completely waterproof as well as fire retardant (CPAI 84 certified) and UV protected (UPF 50+).
The side walls help cut wind down and give you a bit more of an illusion of privacy when set up, making this great if you need to set it up in crowded areas, such as at a major event. This tent is excellent as a sales tent for fairs, local events, and flea markets, as well as for beach parties, sporting events, and anything else where you might want a place to keep things safe and retreat from the sun.
It sets up easy enough. It CAN be done with one person with a bit of effort, and 2 people working in tandem makes it a snap. The hardest part with one person is getting the first 2 legs snapped, after which it’s a breeze.
The only rub here is the price. As compared to our winner, which has largely identical construction, you get a 50% increase in area and some quite nice side walls. For the privilege you’re looking at somewhere in the ballpark of double the price, maybe even a bit more depending on the seller.
Whether that’s worth it to you is going to be a big factor in whether you buy this.
Huge interior size.
Protective walls and door attachments are optional, but welcome.
Protective walls and door attachments are optional, but welcome.
Easy to set up for 1 or 2 people.
Sturdy and durable construction.
Waterproof, fire retardant, and UV protected.
If you want something big and relatively cheap, this is it.
You get a massive 10 x 20 space (twice the size of our winner) for about the same cost as something significantly smaller. This makes it perfect if you need a huge canopy fast for an event. It has mesh side walls to help keep bugs out (obviously not perfect since it’s not completely enclosed, but helpful) and a relatively sturdy frame.
The canopy itself is nice, though clearly less good than other options; it’s both less durable and lacks the UV protection most of these do, which explains the lower price, and 120 day warranty rather than the semi-standard year guarantee.
Still, for the price you really can’t complain about what you’re getting.
Relatively inexpensive for the massive size.
Extremely lightweight; easily carried by one person.
Mesh walls to help keep bugs out.
Less durable canopy than others.
No UV protection.
Capping us off is a very interesting option.
This one is made for camping, and is primarily made as a bug screen, with a very high quality mesh that is tear resistant, water resistant, and bug proof, even to incredibly small bugs like no-see-ums.
It sets up in under 6 seconds and provides a great place to set up a couple of actual small tents under its huge area, or fit up to 16 people (somewhat snugly) for short rests on hikes and camping trips if you have a long way to travel.
This thing can be a literal life saver in some parts of the world, and should definitely be worth considering if you plan to go on a long hike or backpacking trip.
The only problem is the cost; this sucker is high quality and knows it, and charges and arm and a leg for the privilege of owning it. We’re looking at somewhere in the ballpark of 4 to 5 times what our winner costs.
In other words, it’s great but be sure you actually NEED it before buying.
Super fast (45 seconds to a minute) setup.
Bug proof no-see-um mesh.
Easy to use.
Sturdy and well made.
I like all of these for different reasons. While ABCCANNOPY’s 10 x 10 model is still my favorite, that’s more a matter of it being the perfect average; it’s good for just about anything you’d care to name, and comes in at a solid price.
The rest are more of a mixed bag, not due to lack of quality, but due to more specialization. Each of the others is perfect for one thing…and bad to okay at best for a few others. I wouldn’t use NS Direct’s wedding tent for a casual trip to the beach, for instance, and would feel like I’d wasted my money fi I used Quick Set’s canopy for anything other than its intended purpose (making life suck less in bug infested areas).
Overall if you’re not sure what you need, stick with ABCCANOPY’s offerings, since they’ll do the job for just about anything, but give the others a try if you like their areas of expertise.
What Do I Look For in a Pop Up Canopy?
The first thing you want to take a look at when looking to buy a canopy is the denier value of the fabric.
This refers to essentially the thickness of the cloth, which is in turn going to tell you exactly how rugged that cloth is. A higher denier value means thicker, more robust fibers that can stand up to more vigorous abuse. It also determines to an extent the waterproof-ness of the fabric, though that often has more to do with the weave than the thickness of the strands.
Most of these canopies are made of Oxford cloth, which is basically just a tightly woven cloth that has a distinctive dot effect to it when completed.
Next you’ll want to take note of the size of the canopy, which will determine how much space you have under it. Canopies typically range in size from 6 ft. x 6 ft. square sizes to 10 ft. x 20 ft. rectangular sizes at the largest end.
A bigger size means an appropriate increase in price; the size of the canopy is by far the biggest indicator of its cost if all other factors are the same, since the cloth top is by far the most expensive part of any of these canopies.
This holds true for anything else that increases the amount of cloth used, like having cloth walls on your canopy instead of just a ceiling. Another factor that needs consideration is a good quality tent should be easily moved and placed in storage.
Styles of Canopy:
There are essentially 3 different canopy types: ones with just a roof, ones with removable sides, and ones with built in sides.
The first type are essentially sun shades. These are the cheapest and most common type of pop up canopy. They’re there to do nothing more than give you a bit of shade, keeping you cool, and providing a bit of UV protection for long days outside. These are ideal for anything from BBQ Backyard Party, beach trips to the occasional market stall setup.
The second type are a bit more specialized into being the “market stall” type and are what you’ll most commonly find at your local fair or art event. They provide a bit more privacy to allow people to browse and, frankly, make it less likely for someone to come up behind you and snatch something while you’re not looking. They cost more, but can be well worth it.
The third is going to be closer to a tent than a canopy, and you’ll mostly find these being sold as either commercial use or for weddings and not much else, but there are a few out there for hikers and campers to use as short rest areas since they set up faster than tents. A must-have together with a camping grill and hiking gear. Some are big enough you can put an actual tent in them and use the canopy as extra water or bug protection.
As an ending remark, you must prepare the field or backyard before you install the canopy. You may need to start mowing first or use a cordless lawn mower if you have a big yard. Once done prepping the area, then it will be easier to install your canopy.
If you are looking for something that you can just use in your patio, then outdoor umbrella is the perfect alternative to provide comfort during the summer.