What is the Easiest Gazebo to Put Up?

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Everyone loves a good gazebo, and for good reason. But let’s be real, some types of gazebos can be an event just to set up. What is the easiest gazebo to put up? 

When we talk about gazebos, we’re talking about a wide range of open-air outdoor structures with a solid roof. For this article, we’ll talk about the assembly process for all of them but we’ll focus on the type that is easiest to set up. 

Short Answer: What is the Easiest Gazebo To Put Up?

Just like the name implies, the easiest gazebo to set up is a pop-up gazebo. Also known as a camp gazebo, this highly portable gazebo is also the most economical type that you can purchase.

Pop-up gazebos are temporary structures that are designed to provide quick shade at the beach, on the trail, or on the field. They are made from nylon or polyester with an aluminum or plastic frame. They often have sides made of netting to keep out bugs. 

Unlike permanent soft top and hardtop gazebos, pop-up gazebos are designed to set up quickly, take down quickly, and travel with you. The entire structure folds up and is stored in a bag.    

Can One Person Put Up a Pop Up Gazebo?

Yes, one person can put up a pop-up gazebo. They’re designed for quick set up and they’re also ideal for solo adventures on the trail or the beach. 

Pop up gazebo

There are numerous tent manufacturers that also make pop-up gazebos. In fact, the only real difference between a tent and a pop-up gazebo is the height. Tents are designed to shelter sleeping adults whereas camp gazebos are intended to provide shade for those who are standing. 

Just like the many tents out there that only require one person for set up, the same applies for pop up gazebos. 

How Long Does it Take to Put a Gazebo Up?

Pop Up Gazebo 

When it comes to pop up gazebos, many models are ready for use in under 2 minutes. Even the most “cumbersome” designs only take a short amount of time to get up and running. 

Once the gazebo is pulled out of its bag and the frame unfolded, most models require you to pull up from a central location and then attach the frame legs together. That’s it. 

It takes only a few minutes to put up a pop-up by yourself and even less time if you’ve got a friend to lend a hand. 

Soft Top Gazebo

The assembly time for a soft top gazebo is significantly longer. We’re talking hours, not minutes, and it’s definitely a good idea to have at least one more set of hands to help. 

A soft top is a completely different animal than a camp gazebo. Soft tops are extensions of your residential living space to the outdoors. When you purchase or build a soft top for your property, you’re investing in a permanent structure, not just a useful recreational accessory.  

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There are a lot of great soft top gazebos out there. With very few exceptions, they have frames made of powder-coated aluminum or galvanized (zinc-coated) steel and a roof made from polyester or canvas. 

Soft tops are intended to stay up year-round. If you live in an especially cold, rainy or snowy climate, we recommend that you store the fabric roof inside for part of the year. But otherwise, these gazebos aren’t going anywhere. 

All of this is to say that they take awhile to assemble. Instead of arriving in a travel bag like a pop-up, they arrive as a kit that weighs anywhere between 100-500 lbs. depending on the frame material. 

Unless you build it yourself, all soft top gazebos will require at least partial assembly upon arrival. Most will require full assembly. The most common required tools include an electric drill and an allen wrench. 

It will take anywhere from 6 to 48 hours for two (inexperienced) people to set up a 12’ x 12’ soft top gazebo. The better the instructions, the quicker the set up. 

Hardtop Gazebo

A hardtop gazebo is just as the name suggests: an aluminum, steel, wood, or vinyl frame topped by a roof made of the same materials. In the world of gazebos, hardtop is king. 

Hardtop gazebo with screens

All of the same features and rules for soft tops apply (even more so) for hard tops. They are permanent structures that come in a variety of sizes from 8’ x 8’ to 12’ x 18’. They’re intended to stay outside year round. Many hard tops are actually designed for snowy climates and have a snow load capacity of hundreds of pounds. 

One significant difference that especially impacts how long it takes to put up a hardtop gazebo is the addition of sliding screens, windows and/or doors on some models. When you enclose a gazebo, you not only tack on extra costs but also extra assembly time.

Enclosed gazebos that either stand alone in your yard or attach to an exterior wall of your home are the ultimate in gazebo living. The downside is that they’ll also take significant time to set up. 

They require the same kinds of assembly tools as soft tops (at least an allen wrench and a drill) and can take upwards of 24 hours with at least 2 people working on it. It helps to hire a professional but even then, you should expect a full day to get your hardtop ready for enjoying.     

Final Thoughts

If ease and speed is your thing, you can’t go wrong with a pop-up gazebo. If you’ve got 2 minutes to spare for shade and comfort away from home, this portable gazebo will serve you well. 

Make no mistake about it, soft top and hardtop gazebos have their place in everyone’s dream of the gazebo life. But when it comes to what is the easiest gazebo to put up? Get a pop up. 

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