Last Updated: April 3rd, 2020.
When it comes to choosing the best hardtop gazebo for your backyard there are a lot of factors to consider. They can range from overall size and material selection, to build quality and price. One of the most popular choices today, and for good reason, tend to be traditional hardtop gazebos. With their durable construction, stable design and fashionable looks they make a great addition to any backyard or patio.
While buying a hardtop gazebo might seem to be an easy task, there is a lot more that goes into it than meets the eye. Throughout this guide we’ll share our hardtop gazebo reviews and compare them head to head. Covering all the top brands, features, styles, materials and more, so you can feel comfortable with your purchase and enjoy it for many seasons to come.
Our Top 3 Hardtop Gazebo Picks
We’ve put together the below table for quick reference so you can compare our top choices at a glace. Click here to learn more about our top choice or scroll down to read the full reviews.
#1 Pick – Sojag Messina Hard Top Sun Shelter
If you’re looking for an absolutely stunning, high quality hardtop gazebo that is packed with features, the Sojag Messina Hard Top Sun Shelter is an ideal choice. With a spacious 10’ x 12’ covered area, you’ll be able to fit even the largest pieces of outdoor furniture and still have room to spare. Not to mention the high ceiling height allows for more exotic fire pit tables and grills to be placed underneath for a truly incredible look. This gazebo is the perfect size for entertaining and your guests will be complimenting you for years to come.
One of the great features we loved about the Sojag Messina was the included nylon mosquito netting. Made from very thick and durable fabric, it keeps even the nastiest of insects at bay. Mounted on a track system surrounding the gazebo, the netting can easily be moved to the side or detached completely. Even the second tier top vent has a custom fitted section of netting to ensure that no sneaky bugs enter in from that direction either. A feature like this is a must have in any areas with high bug populations or for people who’d rather not have a fly floating in their mojito.
The overall design of the Messina hardtop gazebo is truly the work of excellent engineers. From the unique two-tiered vented steel roof configuration, to the elegant charcoal hue. There is almost nothing else we’d want to see in a gazebo. The roof panels are made from high quality coated steel that holds up to even the strongest of storms and extreme snow. In addition, the panels are routed to a mini-gutter along the edge to provide excellent rainwater protection and eliminate water dripping off in great sheets.
The only real downside to this unit, if you can even call it that, is a bit of a long winded set up process. Even with two people you should expect a solid day of work to get it up and running. While the assembly is not particularly difficult it is time consuming with the 200+ pieces of hardwards and multi part assemblies. However, fear not, for there is an excellent instructional assembly video which guides you through each and every step. Plus, you should only need to assembly this once in order to enjoy it for decades to come.
- Rustproof powder-coated aluminium frame
- Durable galvanized steel roof
- Extremely high quality, all season construction
- Includes thick zippered nylon mosquito netting for added sun and bug protection. Also includes a fitted net for the top exhaust vent and a track system for easy movement of the nets
- Great assembly instruction video
- Longer assembly time as this is a larger unit and includes over 200 screws
- No top center mounted hook for hanging lights
- Actual size of 9′-1″ X 11′-2″ falls short of advertised size
How stable is the Messina Hard Top in heavy winds?
The unit has been tested in up to 85 mph winds and holds up perfectly. However, you need to ensure the gazebo is properly anchored.
How tall are the columns?
The columns stand right at 6’-5” tall.
How long does it take to assemble?
Around 6 – 12 hours with two handy people.
Is the hardtop waterproof?
Yes, the roof is completely waterproof.
How does the unit stand up to snow loads?
The gazebo is very well constructed and can take upwards of 2’ of snow, however we recommend you do periodically push the snow off the roof for safety.
How is the gazebo anchored?
There are three pre-drilled holes on each of the legs.
Can this be installed on a deck?
Absolutely, it can be anchored to wood or concrete.
Does the gazebo have a gutter?
Yes, there is a small gutter that drains rainwater down one of the legs.
Can I put a fire table or grill underneath it?
Yes, there is a significant amount of clearance and no fire risk.
Overall this phenomenal hardtop gazebo is our #1 choice. It is made from great, long lasting materials and has a plethora of included features.,The two-tiered roof vent and durable mosquito netting really help set up apart from the crowd. Plus with the rust resistant coatings, and easy to anchor design you’ll have it up and entertaining guests before you know it. We have absolutely no issues at all calling it the best hardtop gazebo on the market. Read more reviews
Runner Up – Sunjoy Chatham Steel Hardtop Gazebo
While the Sojag Messina might be king of the castle, the Chatham Steel Hardtop Gazebo is not far behind. Similar to the above unit this hardtop gazebo offers a spacious 10’ x 12’ interior that provide ample room for entertainment throughout the entire year. With a heavy duty aluminium frame design and durable steel roof, it can withstand even powerful wind gusts. When it comes to keeping the sun and rain off, it does an incredible job. During the height of summer you can feel the difference when you walk into the shade and if a surprise spring shower pops up you’ll still be in business.
The Chatham Hardtop Gazebo also comes with included bug netting that wraps around the unit on a tracked system. It is easily positioned just the way you like it or quickly tied off to the posts for easy entry and exit. Because of the dual rail design you can also add a gazebo privacy panel for either extra rain protection or simply to close off the space and transform it into a awesome screened gazebo.
Similar to a few other units, the Sunjoy Chatham Gazebo offers a double tiered vented roof design which is configured to reduce trapped heat and vent any smoke from BBQ grills or fire tables. One of the things we did notice this unit lacked was a gutter system. We really hate having to run through a waterfall every time it lightly rains, but it’s a small drawback on an otherwise great hardtop gazebo.
Assembly wise this unit took around 6-12 hours, but that was mainly due to lack of instructions. The provided booklet was very unclear and left a lot of things up to chance, things we ended up have to redo. It would have been nice if a video was provided for easy assembly tips and guidance. But in the end we were able to get it up and it does indeed look wonderful. One feature that we found very handy was the center ceiling mounted hook. This was great for hanging lights and decorations and really helps to give this unit a leg up on the competition.
- Double track system to mount both mosquito net and privacy curtains
- Heavy duty steel roof, resistant to hail, snow and rain
- Refined dark color with micro gold flecks
- Well placed center hook for fan or lights
- There are no gutters to stop rain dripping off the roof
- Assembly instructions are a bit unclear
Is this hardtop gazebo designed for all season use?
Yes, the Chatham gazebo can be used and outside all year round.
What is the clearance for the roof?
The lowest point of the roof hangs at 6’-7” tall.
Can the roof panels be removed easily?
The panels are meant to be kept in place and are not easily removed.
Can this gazebo be used with a fire table?
Yes, it works perfectly for this application.
How much wind can this unit handle?
Even in 60 MPH winds the gazebo remains solid.
Does it come with mosquito netting?
Yes, it comes with mosquito netting.
The Sunjoy Chatham Steel Hardtop Gazebo is another great contender for the best gazebo, but due to the lack of assembly instructions it misses the top spot by just a hair. However if you’re a big fan of the color and enjoy the extra center mounted hook this would still make for an excellent gazebo. It does a great job of protecting your guests from the sun and the rain while making a fashion statement the nobody can ignore. Read more reviews
Best Budget Hardtop Gazebo – Sunjoy D-GZ840PST-E Galvanized Steel Hardtop Gazebo
Sometimes you just want to have one of the biggest hardtop gazebos, but aren’t willing to pay the name brand price. That’s where the Sunjoy Hardtop Gazebo shines. Just like the other two before it, this is a standard 10’ x 12’ gazebo which offers plenty of extended outdoor space to make rainy or sunny days into more opportunities for outdoor happiness. One thing to keep in mind though is that this is a budget gazebo and as such the materials are not the same quality as the more expensive units. An example of this can be found in the thin steel roof panels. While they do a great job of keeping the sun and rain off. During heavy winds or hail they can become easily damaged unlike the heavier gauges steel of the more expensive units.
We did like the classic two-tiered roof design that quickly dissipates summer heat and lets cool air circulate throughout the large metal gazebo. We were also impressed with how quick this gazebo kit was to put together. In around 6 hours with two people we had it up and were admiring our handywork over a good beer. Plus with the all metal design it’s is a snap to clean, just take a hose to it and it’ll look like new in no time.
One of the major drawbacks in our book however, and the reason we’d recommend the more expensive Sunjoy and Sojag patio gazebos are the lack of rods to hang bug netting and privacy curtains. When it comes to quality products I expect them to have all the features I’d want and the exclusion of these two make this a difficult purchase for bug prone areas. However if you’re in an area that is relatively secluded and bug free, this might make for a great low cost alternative if you don’t need those features.
- Large, high quality 10’ x 12’ gazebo with a budget price tag.
- Low maintenance, easy to clean design.
- Easily assembled in 4-6 hours
- Does not have hanging rod system for mosquito or privacy screens.
- Thin roof panels that can be damaged by hail and objects
Does this unit come with mosquito netting or privacy screens?
No, clip on varieties can be purchased separately.
Can a grill or firepit be safely used underneath the gazebo?
Yes, both can be used.
Can this unit be anchored into concrete?
Yes, there are holes to anchor it into wood or concrete.
In the end, while this budget hardtop gazebo does lack a few nice to have features, it is at a stellar price point and is a great overall product. With solid construction and an easy to assemble frame this just might be exactly what you’re after. Read more reviews
Largest Hardtop Gazebo – Sojag Genova Sun Shelter
If you’re looking for an absolutely largest hardtop gazebo kit to usher in a new era of outdoor living, the Sojag Genova is up to the task. Spanning a massive 12’ x 16’ makes it one of the best gazebos for large gathering and parties. If you’re thinking of putting a hot tub under the gazebo and still want room for a few chairs and a small table, you’ll have no issues fitting them under the incredible hard canopy. Similar to the other Sojag gazebos, this is an extremely high quality piece of outdoor equipment and can stand up to extreme wind and rain. With durable steel roofing panels, a well constructed aluminium frame and a convenient center hook design, it has everything you’d need to create the perfect outdoor space.
Visually the Sojag Genova is stunning. With a dark chocolate coloring, clean lines and a minimalist design philosophy there is a lot to love about this full sized gazebo. The rugged exterior coating can withstand years of continued use and weather exposure with little ill effects, something that is a must have for the focal point of your outdoor entertainment room. Plus the downward sloping roofing lines help to reduce snow load and make cleaning a snap, no more leaves or sticks sitting on your roof in great heaps. Another thing to note about the Sojag Genova is that if you’re looking for the same style but in a slightly smaller package, they also offer a 10’ x 12’ option.
As with our other top choices, it comes standard with a dual track system for both the robust included bug netting as well as an optional privacy curtain for those nights when you just want a cozy retreat. One of the more notable features that is missing from this unit is the upper roof vent. However, during our testing we found that the larger canopy allowed for significantly more airflow than the smaller designs and did not require the vent to disperse extra heat or smoke. Another consideration to note is the lengthy assembly time for this unit. Being a large hardtop gazebo there are quite a few bits and pieces that need to be accounted for and installed. As such, you should budget at least two full days to assembly this with a minimum of one person assisting you. Some of the large roofing panels can be tricky to install solo and having a helper will make the task much safer as well.
- Large 12’ x 16’ covered area.
- Includes mosquito netting and dual track system for both it and privacy screening.
- Extremely durable four season construction.
- Thick rust proof galvanized steel roof that block all sunlight.
- Lightweight aluminum frame makes assembly a bit easier.
- Convenient central hook to hang lights or outdoor fans on.
- No central roof vent, but the unit is large enough to horizontally self circulate air.
- No gutters to direct rainwater away from the roof edges.
- Very complicated installation with poor directions, takes around 2 days of work to put up if you’re inexperienced.
Can this be installed on a deck?
Yes, there are three holes on each leg for mounting bolts.
How many boxes does this gazebo ship in?
Typically it ships in two separate boxes.
How tall is the lowest point of the roof on this unit?
The lowest point is 6’-5”.
Can this gazebo kit be moved once set up?
Yes, but only if it is not anchored.
Can a propane fire pit be used under this?
Yes, due to the all metal construction fire are perfectly fine.
In summary the Sojag Genova hardtop gazebo is a great mix of size, quality and durability. With incredible entertainment space, a beautiful chocolate brown coloring and a down to earth design it’d be a perfect way to step up your outdoor living space. Read more reviews
Compact Hardtop Gazebo – Sojag Dakota Sun Shelter
When it comes to hardtop gazebos, bigger isn’t always better, especially if space is at a premium. Enter the Sojag Dakota Sun Shelter, this compact 10’ x 10’ gazebo is perfect for smaller spaces and decks where you just want to eek out a tiny bit more outdoor living space. You can expect the same high quality steel and aluminium construction of the other Sojag offerings, so no need to worry about hail storms or raging winds. The galvanized coated steel roof does an excellent job protecting you and your guests from the elements and provides great shade on even the sunniest of days.
The rugged exterior paint holds up to year after year of intense sunlight and summer storms with no damage to show for it. Another great plus for this outdoor gazebo is the stunning chocolate brown color and simplistic design choices, for a clean, no nonsense look. We tend to enjoy darker colors on outdoor equipment as they are able to easily hide stains or accidental dents much better than lighter colored options.
Again we can’t forget to mention that the Sojag Dakota comes standard with the rugged bug netting and double track system so you can easily envelop yourself in a bug free cocoon of comfort. The durable bug netting has convenient vertical zippers for quick entry and exit so you don’t let any of the buzzing nasties in on accident and ruin your party.
- Smaller footprint is perfect for space conscious yards
- High quality steel roof and aluminium frame
- Metal roof is extremely relaxing in the rain
- Includes bug netting and dual track system
- Built for all season use, so no need to take down in the winter
- No included touch up paint
- Some hardware may strip during assembly
- Installing the roof panels can be a bit tricky
How much does this hardtop gazebo weigh?
This unit weight right at 194 lbs.
Are the roofing panels waterproof once installed?
Yes, they are water tight one in place.
Since this is a smaller unit, can I anchor it down with weights alone?
We recommend you bolt this unit to a concrete or wood foundation and not rely on canopy weights.
If you’re looking for a slightly smaller option that still has all the great features of the best hardtop gazebo, the Sojag Dakota Sun Shelter is a great choice. With it’s small 10’ x 10’ footprints, easy to clean design and incredible outdoor appeal it’ll most certainly be a crowd pleaser for decades to come. Read more reviews
Stylish Budget Hardtop Gazebo – Sunjoy L-GZ401PCO-1D
This stunning Sunjoy 2 Tier Hardtop Gazebo is an incredible sight and one of the most beautiful gazebos on the list. With elegant patterns, arching formed metal supports and an elegant polycarbonate top, soft light can trickle underneath bathing yours guests in a golden glow. The extra light creates a very inviting and welcoming space and really help to open up your exterior. Not to mention, the size is perfect for spending summer afternoons grilling or hosting well heeled evening cocktail parties once the kids have gone to bed.
The Sunjoy L-GZ401PCO-1D is a 10’ x 12’ gazebo enabling you to put chairs, fire pit table, and grills underneath it with room to spare. We can’t tell you how brilliant this unit looked with a crackling fire pit below a golden halo of light. If there was ever a gazebo that was to be described as a head turner, it’d be this one. We also spruced up the design by hanging a rustic lantern from the center and running string lights around the edge of the roof which really helped to make the gazebo pop in the late afternoon and evening hours.
What makes this handsomely designed gazebo even better is the low price tag. Coming in at one of the lowest cost options on this list the Sunjoy makes for a great budget hardtop gazebo. The 120 sq. ft. size is perfect for both medium and large spaces. Yet, even with the low price, this unit is superbly built out of robust steel roofing panels and stable aluminium supports to provide a sense of safety and reliability. Couple the high quality construction with the rich brown roof and matte poles and this gazebo will stand out from the crowd. Nearly everyone who came and saw the unit thought it was incredible and admired the unique design.
- Easy to follow assembly instructions
- Polycarbonate top allows for filtered light and heat dissipation
- Extremely sturdy and heavy duty design, weighing in at 357 lbs.
- Gutter channel on roof to direct rainwater away from the edge
- Roof panels can be difficult to install
- Fairly long installation process if you have only two people
Can this be installed on a wooden deck?
Yes this gazebo is built for wooden decks and concrete slabs.
How does the unit hold up to snowfall?
The Sunjoy makes for a great winter gazebo and is extremely resistant to snow loads.
Does this gazebo come with mosquito netting?
No, this does not come with mosquito netting, Sunjoy offers it sold separately.
Are there pre-drilled mounting holes on the base?
Yes, there are holes drilled in each of the leg flanges.
Is there a rail for curtains?
No, this gazebo does not support rail mounted privacy curtains.
Does the top allow rain in during storms?
No, the top is slanted in such a way as to prevent water leaking in.
Does this gazebo come with concrete anchors?
Yes, anchors are provided for concrete.
What is the eave height of this gazebo?
The eave height is 80”.
From the unique latticed polycarbonate top, to the rich browns and matte blacks of the frame, this hard canopy gazebo is the perfect mix of style and comfort. If you want a gazebo that is dressed to impress, this is the ticket. Complemented with a fire pit, hanging light fixture and some string lights, nothing else will be able to compare. Plus because it is a hardtop, the sun won’t destroy the canopy after only a season or two. Read more reviews.
Hardtop Gazebo Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Perfect Gazebo for your Outdoor Mancave
There are key considerations and comparison criteria that must be taken into account being purchasing your own hardtop gazebo.
Size / Dimensions
The size out of your outdoor space should dictate how large your hardtop gazebo should be. As a rule of thumb, you want the gazebo to be 30% smaller than the total amount of space available to leave some margin and space to get around.
While all hardtop gazebos are generally rain-proof, they are not all made equally when it comes to wind resistance and snow-cover support. Be sure to buy the right gazebo according to the typical weather conditions where you live.
If you indend to grill or have a fire pit under your gazebo, you will want to opt for a vented roof to allow smoke to escape. Note these are still rain proof even with a vent.
Some areas are more affected by mosquitos than others. If you have really bad mosquito seasons, opt for a hardtop gazebo that comes with netting as a standard. In our experience, not all external nettings are properly fitted if they don’t come standard with the gazebo.
Alternatives to Hardtop Gazebos
If a full blown hardtop gazebo is out of your price range, you can consider some more affordable options.
Soft-Top Canopy Gazebos
While not as durable under heavy snow or hail, soft-top gazebos are able to effectively protect from rain and some are safe to grill under. You can read our soft-top canopy gazebo buyer’s guide, recommendations and reviews.
Pop-Up Canopy Tents
If you aren’t ready to full commit to a hardtop or soft-top gazebo, you can opt for a canopy tent. They are affordable, easy to assemble and dissasemble and offer protection from the rain. However, they are not safe to have any heating below them.
A Hardtop Gazebo is the ultimate outdoor shelter that are always featured in any premium outdoor mancave. They offer significant protection from the elements: rain, hail, snow, strong winds and even annoying pests like mosquitos.
You can safely grill under them or keep warm with patio heaters or fire pits, or even keep cool with an outdoor misting fan.
Chris Kirts says
Do you have a data sheet on the wind and snow load tests that you did on the Sojag Messina gazebo?
gregory Curtsinger says
We are considering the purchase of the Sojag Messina and have a few questions. In the description it indicates the Cupola rests on top of the gazebo. If this unit affixed so it does not get blown off during high winds? The other questions is, as this unit will be sitting pretty close to the house, is there a rain gutter system to keep the runoff from pouring onto the hours?