Best Hardtop Gazebos

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
145 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best hardtop gazebos

Last Updated November 2019

You’ve spent time getting your yard just how you want it, and now it’s time to reap the rewards. Installing a hardtop gazebo gives you a spot to enjoy your garden come rain or shine. Made from sturdy materials that last, a hardtop gazebo is a permanent addition to your outdoor space, ideal for entertaining or simply relaxing alone or with family.

It is a fairly large purchase, however, so you’ll need to be certain you choose the best hardtop gazebo for your outdoor space. You’ll need to decide whether you want a hardtop gazebo made from metal, wood, or vinyl. Shape is important, too, whether you choose a standard square or rectangular model or something more unusual. You’ll also need to make sure you choose a gazebo that’s large enough for your needs.

Our buying guide covers everything you should consider before purchasing a hardtop gazebo. For our five favorite products, check out the matrix above.

A hardtop gazebo can provide a shady spot for relaxing in an otherwise sunny garden as well as shelter from the rain.

Key considerations

Size

A hardtop gazebo’s size is all about balance. It must be large enough to fit the amount of people you want to accommodate but not so large that it will completely dwarf your yard. On the more compact side, you’ll find 10x10-foot gazebos. You can also buy some smaller models, but they aren’t common. On the larger side, you’ll find gazebos as big as 14x18 feet. A common gazebo size is 12x12 feet, which is large enough to fit a sizeable dining set with room to spare, a rattan sofa set, or similar outdoor furniture. However, if you regularly host large groups, bigger is better.

Materials

Aluminum is a common material for hardtop gazebos since it’s lightweight yet durable and can be galvanized or powder-coated for rust resistance. Some aluminum gazebos incorporate steel parts into the frame for added strength without increasing the weight too drastically as a 100% steel gazebo would be extremely heavy.

Wood hardtop gazebos have an attractive, traditional appeal. They’re highly durable and long-lasting if cared for correctly, though some woods weather better than others. They often have shingle-style roofs, though you will find some hardtop gazebos with wood frames and glass or clear vinyl roofs and sides. On the downside, wood hardtop gazebos usually cost more.

Vinyl hardtop gazebos are generally designed to look like painted wood from a distance. With a vinyl gazebo, you don’t have the issues that can affect other materials, such as warping or rusting, and there’s no need to treat or repaint. However, vinyl gazebos must be made from a UV-resistant vinyl or they will fade badly over time.

Shape

Square and rectangular hardtop gazebos are by far the most common choice. They are simple shapes to assemble, with just four posts to anchor or sink. Although harder to find, there are also hexagonal or octagonal hardtop gazebos, in addition to some non-standard shapes. Hexagonal and octagonal gazebos might look attractive, but they have six or eight posts to sink, making assembly more complicated.

Sides

The majority of hardtop gazebos consist of a roof and legs only, but other gazebos include sides of some type, whether hard panels, soft panels, or curtains. Hardtop gazebos that don’t include sides may come with the option of purchasing them separately.

Curtains or soft panels are great for anyone who occasionally wants to have the privacy or shelter of sides on their gazebo but not full-time. Curtains for hardtop gazebos are often made from mesh to keep mosquitoes and other bugs out but allow light and air through. Hard sides turn your gazebo into something akin to a sunroom and allow you to use the gazebo in cooler weather, too. They often have large windows to allow light in.

Hardtop gazebos are generally bolted or cemented into the ground, so they’re not easily movable once set up. Choose the position of your gazebo carefully.

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Features

Color and style

In addition to its functionality, you want your hardtop gazebo to be an attractive feature in your yard. Choose a gazebo in a color and style that complements your garden. You could choose a gazebo in the same color as your outdoor furniture or the window frames on your house, or you could just pick a model that appeals to you.

Vented roof

It can get hot sitting under a solid aluminum or vinyl roof, which is why some hardtop gazebos have vented roofs. This allows air to flow in and out rather than hot air getting trapped under the roof, raising the temperature in the gazebo. Vented roofs are designed in such a way that they shouldn’t let rain in unless it’s falling at an extreme angle.

Built-in seating

Although it’s not an extremely common feature, some hardtop gazebos have built-in seating around the perimeter. Some buyers love this feature, whereas others prefer to use freestanding furniture.

Hardtop gazebo prices

Hardtop gazebos are quite expensive, but bear in mind that they should provide much-needed shelter in your garden for decades. Basic hardtop gazebos cost roughly $600 to $1,000. Gazebos in this price range are usually fairly compact with simple designs and no extras, such as curtains.

Mid-range hardtop gazebos usually retail for around $1,000 to $2,000. In this price range, you’ll find some excellent, generously sized models that are extremely sturdy and may have curtains or soft sides.

High-end hardtop gazebos are priced between $2,000 and $5,000. These are the cream of the crop. They may be extra large, have hard sides all around for use in cooler weather, or be especially ornate.

EXPERT TIP

Position your hardtop gazebo in a spot with proper drainage that doesn’t get waterlogged or flooded in wet weather.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If your hardtop gazebo is made from materials that might weather over time, you can protect it during the harshest months with a gazebo cover.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Choose a hardtop gazebo suited to all-weather use. Gazebos made from materials that aren’t UV-resistant and rust-resistant will start to degrade after a few years of use and must be covered when it’s wet out.

  • Check local zoning laws before buying a hardtop gazebo. Some areas have laws restricting the height of hardtop gazebos or their positioning in relation to neighbors’ properties or public highways.

  • Find out what’s under the ground where you’ll be installing your gazebo. If you’ll be digging holes to cement your gazebo into the ground, contact your local utility company to find out if any pipes or power lines run under your yard.

  • Consider how you intend to use your hardtop gazebo. For instance, if you want to use your gazebo for large gatherings, be sure to choose a sizeable model. If you want to use it year-round, a model with hard sides is your best bet.

Other products we considered

If you don’t see your perfect hardtop gazebo among our top five, we have some alternative choices for you that are definitely worth a closer look. The sturdy Sojag Genova Double-Roof Hardtop Gazebo is made from powder-coated aluminum, so it can be left standing all year round without any damage. The double-roof design provides ventilation, and the mosquito net curtains keep bugs out and offer some privacy. The Paragon-Outdoor Hardtop Durham Gazebo is generously sized at 10x13 feet. Both the frame and the roof are made from sturdy, rust-resistant aluminum, and it includes all the necessary hardware for anchoring to a deck. The Sunjoy Two-Tier Hardtop Gazebo is made with an extremely strong aluminum and steel frame and has a polycarbonate roof. The vented roof is perfect for warm-weather use, and we love its attractive decorative flair.

A hardtop gazebo with curtains or hard sides makes a great changing spot near an outdoor swimming pool.

FAQ

Q. Will I need to hire a professional to assemble my hardtop gazebo?

A. While it is technically possible to erect your hardtop gazebo without professional help, it is a fairly big job. It will require one or two additional people to help you, a range of tools, and some DIY know-how, especially if you plan to cement the legs in place. Prepare for some heavy lifting, and expect it to take between five and 12 hours, depending on the complexity of the gazebo and your level of construction knowledge. A large percentage of buyers, however, choose to hire a professional to assemble their hardtop gazebo to ensure the job’s done correctly and avoid any hassle.

Q. Can I put a hardtop gazebo over a hot tub?

A. Hot tubs benefit from being covered or sheltered to prevent leaves and other debris from falling in and to protect them from the elements. A hardtop gazebo is an ideal shelter for a hot tub and allows you to enjoy your hot tub in any weather. That said, the gazebo you use to cover your hot tub shouldn’t have hard sides.

Q. Can I grill under a hardtop gazebo?

A. Grilling in an improperly ventilated area can be extremely dangerous, so it’s best not to grill under a standard hardtop gazebo. Plus, wood gazebos are flammable. But you can buy compact hardtop gazebos specifically designed for grilling under.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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