What are gazebos for? Well, the answer to that question is all up to you. At the heart of it, all gazebos fulfill one function: to block the sun.
Mr. Sunshine may provide light, life, and everything we love, but sometimes we need a respite from him during the day. That’s why we’ve done some research to understand the best gazebos under $500 for your patio and garden—and they’re all available on Amazon!
Do you want a comfortable living space outdoors? A comfortable area for a birthday party or bridal shower? Or are you into sports and need to set up an outdoor area to prepare? Gazebos can fulfill so many functions, and that’s why there are so many available. Consequently, that’s why it can be challenging to find the best one for your needs.
So, before you start reading, consider what your gazebo will be used for. Whether or not some features are pros or cons will depend on that.
This gazebo’s canopy features a two-story, polyester canopy. It’s designed for long term use. The material is thick and heavy. While it’s not fade-resistant, and you may end up with a pink-hued canopy after a summer or two, the materials don’t break down after long term use. It maintains its integrity and strength, through all kinds of inclement weather.
Otherwise, the gazebo is made of steel with rust-resistant powder and coating. Steel is heavy and strong, so once you’ve got your gazebo up and secured, it’s solid, for that we have listed this in best gazebo for high winds. When most will find themselves needing to replace the canopy, the frame will stand the test of time.
Because of this, the gazebo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While it’s not difficult to assemble (2-3 hours), it is still heavy and intended for long term use in a backyard or patio. This is perhaps the best gazebo for winter due to its structure and steel frame. While this gazebo is priced at $, you feel like you’re getting a much more expensive product (and it looks like it too).
- Strong material and design for long term use
- Stylish, classic top
- Easy to add mosquito netting
- Could eventually fade to a pink color
- Takes two people 2-3 hours to assemble
A completely different shape, the Mefo Garden’s Gazebo canopy is designed with one thing in mind: to create shade! What’s unique is that the polyester roof is quite tall and has a unique shape (over 8 feet).
It is said to be fade resistant and it holds up to that promise, as well as the material being UV resistant. The goal of this canopy is to provide as much shade as possible. The shape of the roof is designed to be a constant slope so that the rain will be directed off and away from the canopy.
The legs and frame of the gazebo are made from iron which is coated in a rust-resistant powder. This contributes to most of the weight (around 100lbs) but also ensures that it’s going to be strong and sturdy. The look of iron is also unique and makes the whole gazebo look a little more upscale and modern than it might look othwerwise.
The frame of this gazebo is sturdy, and if secured properly to the ground, won’t go anywhere. It’s not meant to be packed away regularly. However, it’d be a good idea to remove the canopy during off-seasons to avoid damage from heavy winds or snow. This is an excellent in-between canopy if you don’t know what you want.
- Modern, efficient look
- Versatile for most gazebo needs
- Easy installation
- Anchoring is a must
- Provides even less shelter from the rain
This polyester gazebo is a sight to behold! You’re unable to see the frame beneath the layers of fabric, as the canopy drapes down the sides. You’re able to hang both mosquito netting and the thick canopy fabric down the sides to block the sun as it is setting or to create privacy. It’s a thick, heavy fabric well suited to the perils of the outdoors. It is quite nice, and while it’s not the ideal place to spend a rainstorm, it would offer some protection.
The frame is made of lightweight aluminum with a rust-resistant coating. While this means that the gazebo isn’t as strong as the others, the weight in the fabric on the top makes up for the lack of weight on the legs (to some extent). It still holds up to high winds and rain, allowing it to be a great choice for those who live in areas with inclement weather.
This gazebo isn’t meant to be moved anywhere. The installation and assembly are complicated, and it is a heavy product overall. Once you install this into your outdoor space, it becomes a beautiful, homey fixture of your outdoor living area.
- Beautiful and stylish
- Perfect for events and event spaces
- Comes with mosquito netting
- Difficult to take down
- Assembly instructions are difficult to understand
This lightweight polyester beauty is the jack of all trades for gazebos. The water-resistant canopy comes fade-resistant and blocks UV. It comes with curtains and netting as well, echoing the classy styles of more permanent gazebos. It also has the second story that allows for more efficient airflow.
The frame is steel in a collapsible accordion style. Despite it being easy to collapse, when set up, it’s quite sturdy and will take whatever kind of life that you throw at it. It is also rust-resistant and will work perfectly fine for everyday use.
Unlike many other gazebos, this one is designed to be easily packed up and rolled away. It comes with a roller bag to make transportation easier. While the canopy top style is still nice, it’s obvious that it’s easy to be folded and tucked away for transport and more comfortable use. This makes it a great gazebo for something like camping!
- Covers large area
- Great to pack up and go
- Comes with a bag to transport it
- Looks a bit cheaper
- Doesn’t hold up to storms well
This Coolaroo gazebo is great if you’re looking for something different. The product description says it’s made from xceltex fabric that’s meant to be fast-drying and weather-resistant. The shape of the canopy itself is unique. It’s twisted in such a way for rainwater to run off of it, spread shade, and also to give a modern and unique look to it.
The frame itself is made of steel for that strength and weight. Of course, it’s coated in rust-resistant powder and it’s meant to be outside for entire summers, though it is suggested to bring it inside for the off-seasons.
You could travel with this setup to other places given how simple it is to assemble, but it’s not meant for too much of it. It’s just meant to be erected during the spring/summer months to enjoy the outside without the intense heat.
- Fast installation
- 99% UV block
- Heavy and resistant to storms
- Packaging issues are common
- No option for side netting or curtains
Features to Consider
Now that you understand the purpose of your gazebo, you should consider a few main features to give you points of comparison. Depending on the use, you want your gazebo to be weather-resistant and durable. However, remember that these are temporary structures for the most part and are meant to be easily transported.
Since the gazebo lives outside, you need to pay attention to the materials it’s made of. The materials and design of the gazebo will determine if it’s suitable for high winds and rain. Obviously, the sturdier the materials means the sturdier the gazebo.
#Canopy: The canopy can come in a variety of materials, but the most popular ones are made of some form of polyester. High-quality polyester is very strong, impact-resistant, and typically resists fading. Cheaper gazebos could be made from higher quality polyester or perhaps a canvas-like material. While these aren’t as nice, they’re still effective for short term usage.
The canopy of your gazebo is also the centerpiece and will draw the most attention. Therefore, the design needs to be practical and aesthetically pleasing. Wind resistant canopies typically feature a second story area at the top for the air to circulate through. The best canopies to resist high wind and rain usually feature drainage holes to avoid the material from sagging or busting under the weight of the water.
Each canopy has a different design, and it’s up to you whether or not you enjoy the look.
#Hardware: First of all, you don’t want it to rust. However, the hardware will determine a few things about your canopy like the strength, how easy it is to assemble and disassemble, rusting, and overall durability. After all, you may just want to order replacement canopies and keep the hardware that you have!
It’s not uncommon for the legs and structure of your gazebo to be made from a combination of steel and aluminum to balance the strength and weight. These metals are coated in rust-resistant powder to keep it long-lasting. However, some temporary gazebos may mostly consist of aluminum or other lightweight materials.
#Permanency: Should I stay, or should I go? Before purchasing, consider how permanent this gazebo will be. Some gazebos are meant to stay outside 24/7 and are built with heavier, sturdier materials. They will also be more difficult to assemble and reassemble. If you want to purchase a gazebo, you can store easily, then consider the assembly system first.
A good rule of thumb to go by is how complicated the gazebo looks. If it’s got a two-tier canopy, curtains, and steel legs, then you’re going to have a difficult time. However, it’s never a bad thing to search through reviews to see if the company has an innovative way to make this part easier.
FAQs About Gazebos
Maybe! Depending on the gazebo you purchase, you could leave it out year-round, or even for several years. However, due to the nature of the product, it won’t last as long as a permanent structure might, and they’re not built to withstand strong storms. It’s recommended to take the canopy down during off-seasons or before large storms.
It’s not recommended. While most gazebo canopies are wind and rain resistant, they’re not waterproof. Not only that, but wind can push the rain under the canopy easily to reach you.
You can buy cheaper canopies that are better described as tents. These structures are not meant to withstand any kind of rain or used more than a day or weekend at a time. Gazebos stand apart from them due to their higher quality materials and design.
Guide to Buying Gazebo
After reading all of that, you still may need some help picking out the right Gazebo for you. Gazebos function in so many ways: aesthetics, practicality, relaxation, networking, etc.
You want something you can put up outside that fits with the theme of whatever you’re doing, wherever you are. That’s why you need to sit down and assess your needs first.
Ask yourself a few simple questions.
How often will I want to move it?
Do I live in a stormy area?
Will I want to take it places?
Will I want to use it in the middle of the day or during the evenings?
How important are aesthetics to me?
Can I afford replacement canopies every year?
The answer to these questions will direct you to the perfect Gazebo for you.
Buying a gazebo doesn’t have to be too difficult, but since you are spending $500 on something huge like this, it’s good to make sure you fully understand the ins and outs of each product before you purchase it. To start, you could always check out our guide to different types of gazebos, and below you’ll find a list of pointers of things to check before hitting purchase.
Understanding the Materials
This may seem intuitive, but it’s good to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Most canopies will be made with a polyester, but the frame and hardware will vary. Check to see how resistant the canopy is to UV. The higher the resistance, the less transparent the material is (and therefore, the deeper the shade).
You’ll see gazebos with steel, iron, and aluminum options. They each have their pros and cons. Iron will be the heaviest while aluminum is the lightest, and steel is the strongest. Depending on what you need, it’s important to choose the best metals for your purposes.
Understanding the Shape
Common gazebos will come to a point at the top, usually in a two-story fashion to promote airflow. It’s a classic shape because it works. It blocks out rain and sun, lets air in, and depending on the structure, is fairly sturdy. However, there are a lot of gazebos that come in different shapes now. Some of them could be even more effective, but it’s good to read through the description and reviews to make sure it drains well. You don’t want rainwater to soak through it completely.
Understanding the Price
When you see the higher price tags, they may make your heart stop. However, with gazebos, you generally get what you pay for. Higher prices generally mean higher quality materials and structure. Always double check to see what the materials genuinely are and see if there’s something unique about the design you’re unprepared for.
Gazebo Styles to Consider
There are generally three styles of gazebos: backyard living areas, sun relief, and travel tents.
These gazebos may all have a similar quality, but they may have different appearances and uses. For example, a gazebo meant for providing shade will usually be tall and wide, but not be great at blocking the rain. Gazebos meant for travel will generally be lighter and made of thinner material. Gazebos meant to stay in your backyard could have thicker, heavier materials and be more suited to stay outside year-round.
Gazebos for Sweater Weather
While gazebos are generally a summer product, if you want to buy a gazebo you can leave out in the winter you should go for something sturdy and heavy. You want it to withstand the cold and rain that may come with winter. If you live in an area that experiences any kind of snow, then you’ll still need to remove the canopy; otherwise, the weight of it could cause it to collapse.
Stormy Gazebos: Wind and Rain
Similar to the gazebos best suited for winter, you want a gazebo that’s sturdy, heavy, wind-resistant and easy to anchor to the ground. Wind can be an enemy, so if you know you’ve got a strong storm coming, always take the gazebo off to be safe, rather than sorry. Make sure to check how the rain drains off of the gazebo so that it doesn’t collect and pool, possibly breaking it. You should have some kind of drain holes or run-off spots for it.
Four Season Gazebo
If you just want a gazebo to use during the summer, and winter months don’t concern you, then you’ve got the most freedom of all! You’re free to pick the gazebo you find most aesthetically pleasing that can handle the regular stresses of everyday life.
So, gazebos are meant for all kinds of people. Once you find the perfect one for you and your family, it can be a rewarding way to spend your time!