Canopy vs. Pergola vs. Gazebo: What’s the Difference?

We are looking at Canopy, Pergola, and Gazebo shelters in this buying guide. By the time you are finished reading this guide, you will understand what these three types of covers have to offer, what separates them from each other, and which of these shelters offers what you need.

What’s The Difference Between Canopy, Pergola, And Gazebo?

To answer this question correctly, we must first define what, exactly, a canopy, pergola, and gazebo are. We can then determine the specific differences and what sets one apart from the other. That way, you can then decide which one is right for you.

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What Is A Canopy?

Pop up Canopy Tent Review

In essence, a canopy is a fabric elevated by – more often than not – metal poles. Out of the three roofs we’re looking at, the tops are the most affordable and portable due to their materials.

Most people use canopy roofs when setting up significant outdoor events. If you go to outdoor markets or music events, you’ll likely see plenty of canopy roofs.

When it comes to sun protection, canopies tend to be the most effective in places where the sun isn’t too intense. Most canopies use fabric that isn’t designed to block the sun’s rays entirely but, instead, to provide a relatively shaded space simply.

What Is A Pergola?

Pergola roofs are, in contrast to canopies, completely immobile. When they’ve been set up in a particular space, that is where they will remain.

Backyard Discovery Cedar Pergola

Many people set up pergola roofs in their gardens because pergola roofs consist of an open structure and a slatted top. Because of this, it’s easy for plants and vines to wrap themselves across a pergola roof.

Unlike canopies and gazebos, pergolas aren’t designed to block the sun completely. Instead, pergolas consist of a slatted roof, which allows the sun to penetrate the roof. That way, the sun can shine down on the vegetation directly below the pergola.

What Is A Gazebo?

Most of the pavilions you can find are very large and completely immobile. Much of this is because pavilions are meant to shelter one particular space – often a patio area in a backyard – and they’re meant to last for many years.

Portable Popup Gazebo Review
Quick Set 9879 Escape Shelter

In contrast to canopies, which use fabric roofs, most gazebos use hard materials tops. Materials such as metal, wood, and plastic. Because gazebos use those kinds of materials, they are much better at providing a wholly shaded space.

As a result of the design quality that most gazebos offer, they are one of the most expensive outdoor shelters that you can buy. To go along with that, it isn’t always easy to find a pre-assembled gazebo, so you often have to buy a gazebo kit and assemble the shelter yourself.

Which One Should You Buy?

It depends entirely on what you need in a shelter. Canopies, pergolas, and gazebos are all a bit different. Because of that, they each provide a slightly different experience.

If you are looking for a very affordable and utterly mobile shelter, you can’t go wrong with a canopy shelter. But, it’s worth noting that canopies aren’t always great at keeping out the sun, which makes them less than ideal for scorching places.

If you need a shelter that looks great in a garden and allows the sun to come through, then a pergola is an attractive choice. Pergolas aren’t perfect for keeping the sun out, but they look lovely and add a beautiful aesthetic quality to any garden.

A gazebo is suitable for a durable shelter capable of completely shielding a space. But, they are costly and can be a little challenging to set up.

3 Examples Of Each Brand


ABCCANOPY Pop Up Canopy Tent

The ABCCANOPY Pop Up Canopy Tent is designed to cover a space that is no more than 10 X 10 square-feet. Because of this, it can cover up to ten-people at any given time, and up to four-tables.

Setting up this canopy tent is extremely easy. Everything you need is found within the bag that this canopy tent comes in. The bag has wheels, so it’s easy to move the unassembled shelter to different places.

When the shelter is set up, it will protect your space from intense UV rays and water. It is 100% waterproof, ensuring that no water will pass through the tent.

ABCCANOPY Pop up Canopy Tent Review


Backyard Discovery Cedar Pergola

The Backyard Discovery Cedar Pergola covers a space that is 10 X 10 square-feet. It consists of strong sculptured beams and cedar upright posts that have been pre-stained. But, to set up this pergola, you will need to assemble it yourself.

Since this pergola consists of intense sculptured beams and upright cedar posts, it’s very durable. It will last for many years, assuming that you take the time to clean it regularly.

While the roof consists of many slats, none of the slats are enormous. Because of that, the sun can flow through the shelter, but not enough to disrupt the shade.

Backyard Discovery Cedar Pergola Review


Quick Set Escape Shelter Pop Up Gazebo

From Quick Set, we have the Quick Set Escape Shelter Pop Up Gazebo. Unlike most gazebos, this pavilion is mobile and can be set up in just forty-five seconds. Because of this, though, it doesn’t always do a great job at protecting you from UV rays – but it is completely waterproof.

With this gazebo, you can cover up to 94 square feet. Inside the pavilion, six-to-eight people can easily fit in.

The entire pavilion is held in a bag. In this bag, you’ll find the tent stakes and the rope. Setting up this gazebo is very easy due to the simplicity of those components.

Quick Set 9879 Escape Shelter, 140 x 140-Inch Portable Popup Gazebo Review


Ultimately, canopy, pergola, and gazebo shelters are all a little different. But, despite these differences, all three covers are instrumental. Regardless of which shelter you choose, you will be more than pleased with the results.

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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