Best Pop Up Canopy in 2021

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A pop up canopy (sometimes called an ‘instant-up’ canopy) is such a handy way to have shade anywhere you go. However it can be hard to wade through the sea of available choices. I’ve compiled the important aspects to help you find the best pop up canopy for your situation. The pop up canopy that rated the best in multiple categories this year was the Eurmax 10×10 pop up canopy.

Skip to the best pop up canopy for your situation

1. Eurmax (recreational)
Weight: ~50 lbs
Wind: High
Use: Weekly
Shade: 100 sq ft
2. E-Z Up Dome
Weight: 37 lbs
Wind: Moderate
Use: Occassional
Shade: 64 sq ft
3. Eurmax (commercial)
Weight:57 lbs
Wind: High
Use: Daily
Shade: 100sq ft
4. E-Z Up Vantage
Weight: 60 lbs
Wind: High
Use: Daily
Shade: 100 sq ft
5. Eagle Peak Pop Up
Weight: 35 pounds
Wind: Low
Use: Occassional
Shade: 100 sq ft
6. ABCCanopy
Weight: 60 lb
Wind: High
Use: Weekly
Shade: 100 sq ft
7. E-Z Up Ambassador
Weight: 35 lbs
Wind: Low
Use: Occassional
Shade:100 sq ft

My research involved evaluating over 25 different models available to buy online. I hope you’ll find my compilation of product information, customer reviews, and other resources useful, and that it will save you time having to do this yourself. Unfortunately I don’t have the resources at this stage to buy and try every product myself, but over time I hope to provide more hands-on reviews.

Top 7 best 10×10 pop up canopies

1. Eurmax 10×10 Pop Up Canopy

🎪Best for camping 🎪Best with sidewall 🎪Best for wind

The pop up version of the Eurmax range takes the first spot here as it really is the complete package. A winning combination of a sturdy frame, quality canopy top and components; that can all be carried on your back (albeit a heavy backpack). It would have also taken out more of the ‘best’ categories, if it wasn’t competing with the commercial version of the same brand.

Canopy frame and setup

Having a cross-trussed frame (as opposed to clear-span/cathedral style) means you are getting a frame that can put up with getting battered by the wind, which is especially important while you are leaving it out for longer periods while camping. I also like having cross trussed frames for camping, as it doubles as a washing line if you happen to get some wet days. You get the full 10×10 ft shade coverage as it is a straight legged canopy. The frame itself is a fairly standard steel composition, however the components like the levered corner slider button are ergonomic and appear robust.

Canopy top

The canopy top is made of thick polyester which will see you through a lot of trips. Polyester is not strictly considered waterproof, however the material thickness (500 denier) in combination with sealed seams means that it will keep water out for a lot longer than thinner canopies. The weight of the canopy material is less than that of the commercial version of the Eurmax, which is made of polyurethane. The sidewall is easily installed via velcro and hooks, and will give you additional privacy and protection from the wind. The canopy top has all the standard spec’s that you would expect for fire/heat and UV performance.

Portability

This is certainly not a light tent (over 50 pounds), which is why it hasn’t won the title for portability. However it does have one of the best approaches to a backpack wearable of any pop up canopy that I have seen. The thick durable bag has comfortable straps for carrying, but also has the option of being pulled along on wheels. This is a great feature for being in the outdoors, as you may not be able to roll your canopy right to your campsite.

Benefits

  • Great range of colors
  • Removable sidewall
  • Wear it as a backpack, or drag along with wheels
  • Stitched and sealed seams ensure no leakage

Things to consider

  • If you intend to wear it on your back, make sure you can handle the weight
  • No air flow vent – might get hotter underneath than other tents, but it does make it more water tight
  • Consider whether the tent stakes are suitable for the terrain (have a look at the options on our best tent stakes for sand page).

2. E-Z Up Dome

🎪 Best for beach

The Dome is one of the most transportable canopies that doesn’t compromise on quality. I’ve also recommended it in another review as the best beach canopy for family trips.

Canopy frame and setup

Due to the angled legs the canopy top area is smaller (8’x8’) than at the base (10’x10’). Whilst this means that the canopy is lighter than a straight leg setup it does also mean there is less shade (64 ft2). However it will still comfortably fit 3-4 adults underneath.

The frame structure doesn’t have any crossing bars underneath which again contributes to the lightweight frame. While not having cross-bracing typically reduces stability, the E-Z Up designers have taken a unique approach to make up for this. By using composite fibre rods in the cathedral ceiling it allows the roof to flex slightly in the wind, which absorbs some of the impeding energy (rather than stressing the more vulnerable parts of the frame) and pushes the overall structure into the ground (increase stability).

Canopy top

The fabric top is classified as ‘recreational grade’ which is reportedly meant to be 250 denier polyester. This is actually thicker than most cheap recreational canopy styles, however it will only resist short/light showers. E-Z Up claim that the vents in the canopy top also act to stabilise the structure in windy conditions. I’m no physicist, but I think the idea is to allow uplifting air to vent out the roof, instead of turning your canopy into a parachute. This might also mean that air circulates underneath to keep you cool.

Portability

While some canopies are too cumbersome to be moved more than a few feet, the Dome combines a light (37 pounds) frame and top, with E-Z Up’s market leading bag design. The large circumference wheels with a large wheel base makes uneven terrain and changing direction much more comfortable than most bags.

Benefits

  • Additional technology (vents and fibre rods) in the roof offsets the lack of cross-bracing. This would make it a better performer in the wind compared to other clear-span pop up canopies.
  • E-Z Up back this product with a 3 year warranty (most around this price range are 1 year).
  • Good colour and design variety to reflect your personality

Things to consider

  • The unique wind-tech and quality materials mean you pay more than other similar sized pop up canopies
  • I would suggest that this is excellent for recreational/occasional use, rather then extended/long term
  • Angled legs mean you get less shade than a straight leg canopy

3. Euromax 10×10 commercial canopy

🎪 Best for vendor/market stalls 🎪 best for rain

Yes you are seeing double! I have listed two versions of the Euromax in this article, this being the commercial version.

Canopy frame and setup

The steel frame has straight legs and a cross-truss structure which is necessary to put up with regular weekend market days. Having a cross-truss structure gives you the confidence that your canopy won’t snap in the wind or after repeated use. The straight legs are important not only for strength and shade (full 100 ft2), but are also better for making the best use of prime realestate at the local markets (angled legs take up more room).

Canopy top

One of the main differences between the pop up and commercial models of Eurmax is the material; the former is 300 denier polyester, and the latter is 500 denier polyester with a polyurethane coating. This makes the commercial Eurmax the more waterproof option, and therefore a safer bet for keeping your shop wares dry. Just like the recreational version all the seam stitchings are sealed. The only thing to be ready for is during a big downpour you may get water pooling in the canopy (a small broom is great for relieving this). You will be prepared for gusty conditions with sand bags, and built in rope attachment points (ropes not included).

This canopy is ideal for market/stall setups with built-in support for banners. If you are a regular market seller, you’ll want to seriously consider purchasing additional sidewalls or the version that comes with all sidewalls already included.

Portability

As this has been designed with commercial use in mind, the additional bracing and weatherproof materials tip the scale to the heavier side (57 pounds). However the whole package can be easily moved by 2.7 inch solid-plastic wheels on the carry bag. The bag is thick and durable, and even has an aluminium plate at its base to brace the bag well.

Benefits

  • Strong frame and canopy top that will put up with repeated use and rain/gusty conditions.
  • Euromax offer spare parts to buy, should you need them in the future.
  • Ready for commercial use as a market stall.
  • Heaps of different colours available.

Things to consider

  • 1 year warranty
  • Relatively heavy
  • More expensive than a recreational grade canopy

4. E-Z Up Vantage

🎪Best for sports events

Canopy frame and setup

The Vantage frame makes a great choice for sporting events as it is a cross-trussed design and is therefore very strong, and will put up with a bit of rough handling from the team. The cross struts are also great for hanging up clothes and towels on game day. As this is straight legged, you get maximum shade coverage from the 10×10 ft base. Whilst there is nothing special about the setup, the quality components are sure to make for a smoother experience. These components are covered by a three year warranty, which speaks to the confidence that E-Z Up have in their premium frames like the Vantage.

Canopy top

When I spoke to E-Z Up, they reported that the Vantage canopy material is classed as recreational and is between 150-250 denier polyester. It will protect you very well in the sun and will keep off a light shower. However, this is not a great option if you want protection from more serious weather. So the Vantage canopy will perform great for most weekend sports that tend to get cancelled in bad weather; unless you compete in something like outdoor mudwrestling.

It is classed as fire resistant (not fireproof mind!), and so you’ll be able to have this near the after-game BBQ without issues. The corners of the canopy are reinforced with thicker fabric, which is a sign of quality and not always seen in cheaper versions.

Portability

Just like the other E-Z Up models I have reviewed in this article, the Vantage carry bags has an excellent design with wide solid plastic wheels. So although it weighs a lot, you have great wheels and a strong bag to help move it around. Portability may not be such a big concern if you have the whole football team to help you!

Benefits

  • Solid cross-trussed frame.
  • 3 year warranty – a rare sight in the world of pop up canopies.
  • Can get custom graphics/banners for your sports team (order direct through E-Z Up rather than somewhere like Amazon).
  • Replacement parts are easy to come by.

Things to consider

  • Limited colours
  • Heavy
  • On the more expensive end of recreational-style canopies

5. Eagle Peak pop up canopy tent

🎪 Easiest setup

The Eagle Peak 10 x 10 ft canopy provides a recreational level pop up canopy experience with some unique innovations, including a mechanism that makes setup a sinch.

Canopy frame and setup

Most pop up canopy frames are very similar in how they are setup, which is best done with two people. Although it’s possible to set up a pop up canopy with one person, it normally requires some experience and in some cases some strength.

The Eagle Peak pop up canopy offers a one-person setup straight out of the box; once you have spread the collapsed frame out, you push up on the unique mechanism in the centre peak, and voila! The benefit with this system is that you don’t need to lock sliders on each corner, which can take a bit of strength if you are not used to it. It’s a straight leg frame so you do get the full 100 ft2 of shade.

Canopy top

It has a vented top, and holes to allow water to escape. This surprising simple idea should be standard fare in my opinion – I have been the victim of an overloaded canopy too many times. However I would have thought having the holes on the corners would be a better idea than in the center where you walk. It’s a fairly light polyester thickness at 150 denier. It’s only going to be water resistant. There are loops on the corners to attach the provided guy lines for additional support in windy conditions.

Portability

It is a very light at 35 pounds and packs down into a basic, but very compact bag (49″ long). The wheels won’t be conquering tricky surfaces like sand anytime soon, but if you are just rolling around the carpark they’ll be fine.

Benefits

  • Uniquely designed for easy setup
  • Light and compact
  • They do advertise that it comes in a variety of colors, however at the time of writing only a few colors were available for purchase
  • Canopy rated for fire resistance

Things to consider

  • 1 year warranty
  • Light canopy material (not waterproof)
  • Recreational use only

6. ABCCanopy

🎪 Best for deck or driveway use

If you’re looking for a pop up canopy to tinker with the car in the driveway, or for entertaining in the back yard you need something that can be left up for a few days at a time, and can put up with some bad weather. While other commercial grade pop up canopies will serve a similar purpose, I think the ABCCanopy is particularly well suited to these kinds of tasks.

Canopy frame and setup

If you’re leaving a pop up canopy out on your deck for long periods, it’s going to have to be strong. The ABCCanopy’s frame is a cross-trussed design with thick steel supports. As you can see it’s a straight leg frame so the side are 10ft wide all the way around. The average mid-sized car is about 6-6.5 ft wide so you’ll be able to drive underneath, and cover half the car at anytime. As with most of these pop up canopies the ABCCanopy setup is best done with 2 people, however it’s certainly possible to do with 1.

Canopy top

The canopy top material is a thick 500D polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating. This combined with sealed seam lines will ensure you can keep out the weather. While not quite as thick as the canopy top material, the detachable walls are great to keep out wind and rain creeping in from the sides. You can arrange these walls in anyway makes sense for the activity/event. I would like to see the quality of the Velcro attachments improved, however if you are using it mainly around the house, you probably won’t be putting it up and down a lot.

Portability

It is not a light canopy, and is actually the heaviest of those reviewed here. This is part of the reason I suggest using this pop up canopy for home use where you are not wheeling it around too far. That being said, ABCCanopy have put a lot of work recently into their bags, including pimping the wheels.

Benefits

  • Included weight bags and fly net
  • Included walls for increased protection from wind
  • Improved robust bag design
  • Comes with weight bags

Things to consider

  • Very heavy
  • Velcro attachments look a little flimsy
  • Limited warranty

7. E-Z Up Ambassador

🎪 Best on a budget

The E-Z Up Ambassador is a solid, clean-cut pop up canopy that is great for recreational/occasional use.

Canopy frame and setups

The Ambassador’s 10×10 ft steel frame will give you a full 100 ft2 of shade. There will be no issues for most getting under (6′ 6″ valence height), and the clear span frame underneath gives you great freedom to move underneath.

Canopy top

EZ-Up is a well-known brand that is known for its quality components, and you are certainly getting much more durable components than what you get at similar brands at this price point. However this is still an entry level canopy, and not made to withstand significant weather. Unlike some of their more expensive models, the Ambassador only comes with a one year warranty, which emphasises that this shouldn’t be used in harsh conditions. The fabric is classified as ‘recreational’, which on further inquiry means it could be 150-250 denier polyester – certainly not made for rain. You can treat the canopy but this voids the warranty.

Portability

One of the hallmarks of the E-Z Up brand is the roller bag, which makes getting this this 35lb canopy in and out of the car manageable. The solid plastic wheels sit proud of the edges of the bag, which means moving this canopy around is easy.

Benefits

  • Easy to get replacement parts
  • Comes with their basic spike kit (can upgrade to thicker spike set)

Things to consider

  • 1 year warranty
  • Only comes in two colors white and black
  • Not for use in harsh weather – water resistant only

Pop up canopy buying guide

Size

Consider the number of people that need to fit underneath, and how much gear you typically take with you. A straight leg 10×10 ft canopy will fit around 6-8 adults, or a family of 4 plus gear. You can go smaller (eg. 5×5, 7×7 ft) or larger (eg. 12 x 12, 10×12 ft) from here, but a 10 x 10 is the most popular size.

You should be aware of the difference in slant versus straight leg canopies. Pop up canopies that have slanted legs will have a smaller canopy-top area compared to the area at canopy base. For example, a slant leg canopy might be 10’x10’ between the feet at the base, but taper to 8’x8’ at the top. A straight leg canopy has the corners of the canopy top directly over the feet, which means its base dimensions will be the same as the canopy cover at the top (said another way, the base footprint reflects the shade area you will get). If you want to use the canopy as a stall in a tightly-packed market, you will find your neighbours will use straight leg frames so that space is maximised (slant legs don’t sit square against each other).

Use & Durability

It’s important to consider how often you will be using the canopy. You don’t need an expensive canopy if you are only using it occasionally for weekend trips, but you would certainly invest in a quality rig if you’re running a market stall every weekend.

The canopy top durability can be measured by looking at the material type and thickness. In most cases the material will be either polyester, or polyester coated with polyurethane (there are others that are more rare). As long as it’s not too thin, polyester can be water resistant up to a point. However if you want something truly waterproof, you’ll need to look for polyurethane. The thickness of a material is often expressed in terms of its denier (D). In cheaper pop up canopies, or those optimising for weight, you’ll see canopy tops measuring 150D. If you’re willing to pay for better quality you might expect to see thicknesses of around 250D, and commercial/heavy duty rigs should offer products closer to 500D.

Consider the carry bag material quality as well – thicker (bigger D) is generally better. Particularly for the heavier pop up canopies you ideally want a hard supportive base plate in the bag ends as well.

A key difference between recreational and heavy-duty pop up canopies is that the former are typically clear-span (a.k.a cathedral or pyramid) canopies, whereas the latter are cross-braced/trussed frames. As you might suspect, cross-braced are stronger than clear-span.

Most recreational frames are made of variable thicknesses of steel or a steel-alloy which is very strong and economical. The other less commonly seen material is aluminium, which has some advantages, but is not as durable as steel.

Material choice and frame design also has weight implications which is discussed in the next section.

Portability

Portability essentially comes down to the size and weight, and how easy it is to handle/move your pop up canopy around. Some frames pack down into bags as small as 40-50 inches long, which are great for throwing into the back of your car. Others are made to be strapped onto roof racks, or transported in work trucks. Make sure the one you are considering will fit in your car!

Lighter canopies are typically around 35-45 pounds, and heavier commercial canopies can get up to 60-70 pounds; other canopies then range anywhere in between. As a general rule (there are always exceptions) the heavier a canopy is, the stronger it is. Canopies that are very light have been stripped down to the bare necessities, and won’t be as robust as a heavier canopy. Like all things this needs to be balanced against the requirements of portability.

The other element of portability is the carry bag. Most bags come with wheels, and the design of the wheels will determine what kinds of surfaces you can comfortably get over. Most wheels are recessed in are small and recessed into the bottom of the bag. These will struggle on over any bumps or uneven terrain, and will only ever be good on smooth concrete. Bigger, solid plastic wheels that protrude from the side of the bag will give you more freedom.

Setup

The term ‘pop-up’ or ‘instant-up’ canopy refers to a canopy set on top of a rigid frame that collapses accordion-like into a neat bundle. Smaller families, or those with little gear, might find an 8 x 8 ft shaded area to be big enough. For most a 10×10 ft shaded area provides adequate room to be comfortable. It’s ideal to have at least two people to help carry and setup these styles of canopies (see our article on how to take down a pop up canopy).

FAQ

What is better, a slant leg or straight leg canopy?

A straight leg canopy will typically be stronger and provide more shade than a slant leg canopy of the same base dimensions. Some people prefer the look of a slant leg canopy, and they can sometimes be lighter than a corresponding straight leg frame (there is less canopy top material).

How much weight do you need to hold down a 10×10 canopy?

If you are relying on leg weights alone to anchor your 10 x 10 canopy, I would suggest you use at least 40-50 pounds per leg. If you think you’ll encounter windy conditions or you have a bigger canopy, consider more weight or tethering by rope.

How do you set up a 10×10 canopy?

Setting up a pop up canopy is best done with two people.

  1. Place the unopened frame upright in the space where it you need it.
  2. Each person should stand opposing each other and roughly equal distance from the corners
  3. While holding onto a folded truss segment, each person lifts up gently and walk backwards as the frame opens out (watch hands for pinch points)
  4. You may need to do this on the other side
  5. Lock the sliding corner mechanisms in place (for most pop up canopy models) and then put on the canopy material.
  6. Raise the legs and tie any straps tabs down
  7. Tether or weigh down the legs

How do you put up a pop up canopy by yourself?

  1. Place the unopened frame upright in the space where it you need it.
  2. Try and open it out as far as you can (probably won’t be very much)
  3. Standing in the middle of one side take hold of a folded truss segment (watch hands for pinch points)
  4. Lift the frame gently and it should open out slightly. Move to the next side and do the same. Keep moving around until it is close to being fully opened.
  5. Lock the sliding corner mechanisms in place (for most pop up canopy models) and then put on the canopy material.
  6. Raise the legs and tie any straps tabs down
  7. Tether or weigh down the legs

How much wind can a pop up canopy take?

This will depend on the quality of the canopy, and the strength of the frame. Most pop up canopy manufacturers indicate that you shouldn’t use their products in ‘bad weather’. This being said, a cross-braced heavy duty canopy will perform better than an open span recreational design in windy conditions. No matter what type of frame you should always weigh or rope down your canopy (see how to anchor your canopy for ideas) whether you think you need it or not.

Are canopies waterproof?

Canopy tops that are made from, or coated with, polyurethane are considered waterproof. This is the type of material most often utilised in commercial/heavy duty style canopies. However most recreational grade pop up canopies are made from polyester, which is not technically waterproof. However if it’s thick enough it will keep water out up to its saturation point, where upon the water will begin soaking through.

What should I look for when buying a canopy?

  • How lightweight and manoeuvrable (portable) do you need it to be?
  • How often you will use it? Weekly, monthly or yearly? Higher use = higher quality required = higher price (generally).
  • If you want to use it in wet or windy weather, consider a waterproof canopy top
  • If you’re expecting strong winds or using it often, consider a heavy duty cross braced frame

Check out the pop up buying guide here for more information.

What is the size of a canopy?

Pop up canopy dimensions are measured by the distance between the legs while fully erected. For example a classic 10 x 10 ft canopy would have sides that measure 10 ft between each of the feet. When buying outside of the US, the typical canopy size is 3 x 3 ft.

How do you secure a canopy?

You can secure a pop up canopy by weighing it down with heavy bags or weights; by tying it down with ropes; or by burying the canopy legs in the ground.

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