Written by Terry Smith
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Best carports [UK]: Top portable carports & canopies genuine heavy duty
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 1:53 am
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If you have a garden, but no garage to park your car in, a car port, or even a portable carport can be an excellent alternative. Although they don’t offer the same security as a personal garage can, they can at least offer your car some protection from the sun, rain, hail, and snow, and in the UK, it’s likely to be all of those in one afternoon!
Joking aside, just as we need protection outdoors from the sun or rain on occasion with a pop up gazebo (or pop up tent), carports are a great way to keep your car from looking weather beaten, and you don’t need planning permission to erect one, or a bank loan to build one. In fact, even the absolute best carports are nowhere near as expensive as building a garage.
On this page you will find reviews of the best carports, and the best portable carports, as well as a buyers’ guide for you to browse. So, without further delay, let’s take a look at what’s out there for you.
Best carport in the UK
1. Palram Arcadia 5000 Carport
Without a doubt, the best carport currently available is the Palram Arcadia. To be honest, we could have had three of Palram’s carports as our top three, but they are quite similar so we just chose the best of the bunch, and this is it.
Its powder coated aluminium structure, and galvanised steel joints, are not only strong and stable, they are also anti-rut and corrosion, and will still be looking as good as new in a few years’ time. Not only that, but it is extremely eye catching, with a sleek, modern aesthetic that I personally think looks fantastic.
The twin wall, polycarbonate roof sections are incredibly durable, and will do an outstanding job of protecting your pride and joy from those colour fading UV rays, and paint scratching hailstones. The panels are particularly good at blocking UV, with 100% of harmful rays being stopped from getting through.
Palram have built themselves an excellent reputation for having products that not only look great and last for years, but are also user friendly, and easy to install. You don’t need to be an engineer or even particularly good at DIY to put the Arcadia carport up, all that is required is someone to help out, and some basic tools.
As an added bonus, Palram has thrown in some free guttering, and also the hardware needed to anchor the feet of the poles down. What more could you ask for?
Best budget carport choice
2. SORARA MILANO Wall Gazebo
Going for a fraction of the price of the Palram Arcadia carport, is this product from Sorara Milano, and is definitely one of the best lower-mid price range carports you can buy at the moment.
Unlike the Arcadia, the Sorara Milano has a sloped, canvas roof instead of polycarbonate panels, and this is one of the things that helps to keep the price down. This canvas is PU coated to make it water resistant, and although not as resilient as double layered polycarbonate, it does a good job of keeping your car protected from the UK weather.
Standing 300cm long and 280cm wide, and with the height on the lowest side being 220cm, there is plenty of room to get most average sized and small cars under there.
Just like the Arcadia, this carport is very easy to assemble with a bit of help, and the powdered coated steel structure is nice and stable once assembled. You have the option of fixing the feet down into the ground, but the feet themselves are round and flat, and stop the carport from wobbling around.
There is no guttering included with the Milano carport, but as the top is sloped, the rain will simply run off and not pool on top anyway, so guttering isn’t really needed. The canvas isn’t 100% waterproof, although it’s pretty close, but you might get the odd drip here and there in very heavy showers, for the most part though, it does an excellent job of keeping whatever’s under it dry.
A truly wonderful product for the price, the Milano gazebo carport is easy to assemble, hard wearing, and perfect for keeping your small car looking its best.
Best portable gazebos reviewed
3. BIRCHTREE Heavy Duty Waterproof 3m x 6m Carport
Now onto the best portable carport shelters, and in our opinion, the best one available at the moment is this product from Birchtree.
Measuring 3 metres wide, 6 metres long, and standing 2.6 metres tall, this is a very large portable carport, that has enough room inside to house even the largest SUVs and saloon cars.
The framework is made from heavy duty, galvanised steel, so you don’t have to worry about it rusting in the near future, and the thick joints make it incredibly stable and sturdy. Make no mistake, this is a portable carport shelter that has been made to live its life outside.
The material that acts as cover is equally durable and hard wearing. Being made of 180g polyethylene, it is waterproof, UV resistant, and won’t rot like some covers can. I was surprised to see that the instructions, although very basic, were actually written in English and were clear and easy to follow. This aided in the setup of the carport, but it was all fairly straightforward anyway.
The only negative thing I could find with the Birch tree portable carport, is that there was a lot of movement in the cover when the wind blew in, and I’d be a little concerned about what might happen in a gale. Then again, I reckon if you took your time and made sure it was all secured down properly, it would be ok, and I guess for a portable carport, you’ve got to get around problems such as these, right?
4. Rowlinson Shelterlogic 10x20 Round Style Shelter
With its rounded roof and dark green cover with white interior, the Rowlinson Shelterlogic portable garage is pleasing to the eye, and its 300 x 610 x 240 cm dimensions mean it can accommodate most standard sized cars comfortably.
The cover is made from triple layered polyethylene and so is highly resistant to tears, and has been given a UV treatment to ensure that your car’s paintwork stays looking fresh in the summer.
Supporting the cover is a 35mm powder coated steel frame, complete with an easy slide cross rail system that makes keeping things nice and tight so much easier as time goes on. You can also keep the cover nice and taut using the ‘ratchet tite’ system which comprises eight ratchets spaced around the carport. This feature, I particularly liked as a baggy cover can be pulled around in the winds and this ends up causing damage.
To keep everything in place, this kit includes 15 shelter locks, 3 steel stabilisers, 4 auger anchors, and six steel footplates. You’d think that with all that, it would be a handful to assemble, but in actual fact, it is very feasible to put this up on your own if you have a fair bit of time on your hands. With two people, it is no trouble at all.
The double zippered front door secures things up nicely, but you still might find that you get condensation build up inside. This is a common drawback of using portable garage shelters in the UK, and you just have to make sure there is plenty of ventilation, and that the carport is well insulated. You could also use a dehumidifier.
After all’s been said, the Rowlinson Shelterlogic portable garage shelter is another excellent alternative to building a garage, or even to having a permanent carport structure. It looks great, is easy to set up, and has some nice adjustable features like the cover tensioning ratchets and easy slide rail system.
5. Outsunny Portable Garage Carport
At four metres long and four metres wide, you should have no problems getting your car inside the Outsunny portable garage carport, providing it is under 1.8 metres tall that is.
Resembling the type of marquee you see at outdoor weddings, or at flower shows, it has a classical look that will fit in anywhere, and the pure white colour scheme is unlikely to clash with anyone’s garden furniture.
One of the best features of the Outsunny portable carport, is the robust framework. Fully galvanized to fight off rust, the heavy-duty steel frame also features wing nuts in the strong corner joints, and good-sized base plates, and this all adds up to a very stable product on both hard surfaces and grass. And if that wasn’t enough, there are ropes and stakes included so you can really get this thing stable.
As previously mentioned, using a portable garage cover in the UK inevitably leads to condensation build up, so having one that is rot proof, as well water and UV proof is always a good thing, and this polyethylene cover is all of the above.
To help with ventilation, you can quickly and easily remove the side sections, and the zippered doors and 5cm of extra material at the bottom, can help to keep the draughts out when needed.
As for the downsides, it isn’t quite as easy to put up as the Rowlinson Shelterlogic, and you will definitely need two people to finish it in a respectful amount of time, and the ropes that are included with the carport aren’t as strong or durable as the rest of the product, so I would think about replacing these.
Other than that, I can’t fault this Outsunny product, and it certainly worth every penny of its relatively cheap price tag.
Best Carport Buyer’s Guide
Before you make your final decision on which car port, or portable garage shelter you’ll buy, you might want to take a peek at this buyers’ guide, which highlights a few things that should be taken under consideration first.
Size ‘IS’ important
You definitely need to know the size of any carport or portable carport before you buy for a number of reasons, but it’s not just the carport dimensions you need to think about. You should also have accurate measurements of your car’s length, height, and width, and also know how much space you have in the intended location for the product. These need to be accurate measurements too, so don’t just take a guess or you could find yourself very frustrated later.
Standard carport or portable?
The first main decision to come to, is whether you’re going to go for a carport, or a portable garage cover, and of course, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Carports are pretty permanent structures, and so they are usually much stronger than portable models. Being a permanent structure, you will need to be the owner of your property or to get the landlord’s permission if you rent. These types of carport are generally more expensive than portable ones, but the materials used for them are higher quality. Portable carports, also known as portable garage covers, are quick and convenient, and you can assemble and disassemble them as you wish.
They are the cheaper of the two types, and as such are a better option as a temporary solution to not having a garage. While the best portable garage covers are very stable and durable, they are not really built to stand up to the worst of the UK’s weather, and strong gales might cause damage to them, and this is why many owners dismantle them and store them away until the weather has improved.
What is the main reason for you wanting your carport?
If you are just looking for something to keep the UV off your favourite paintwork during spring and summer, a portable carport that has a decent UV proof cover is probably better than a permanent carport, as the portable cover types usually have four walls in addition to a roof, and therefore offer 360-degree protection from the sun.
If you intend to keep your vehicle under the carport in heavy rain, snow, and hail, your best bet is to buy a solid roofed structure like the Palram Arcadia model.