Hardtop Vs Soft-Top Gazebo: 12 Key Differences

Gazebos are a great addition to any home or business. They offer a shaded area for relaxing, dining, and more without having to build an entire structure. 

Gazebos can be made from wood, plastic, or metal. However, one of the most popular materials used in gazebos is a hardtop. 

A hardtop gazebo is just like any other building material and needs regular maintenance to ensure it stays looking new for years to come! 

In this article, you’ll learn about how hardtops work as well as why they’re so popular with homeowners today.

Top 10 best hardtop gazebo in 2022
Key Differences Between Hardtop and Soft Top Gazebos
Weather Resistance
Installation Process
Noise Reduction
Sunlight Protection
Pest Control


When it comes to colors, hardtop gazebos are available in more colors than soft tops. This is because of their sturdiness and durability. 

A hardtop gazebo will last you years while a soft-top may need replacing in the near future. In addition, they are also weather resistant which allows them to withstand various outdoor elements such as rain, snow, wind, and sun exposure.

Soft-tops on the other hand are more portable and lightweight compared to their counterparts which makes them perfect for campers who want something that is easy to carry around but can still provide adequate protection from wind, rain or even bugs as well!

Adding a gazebo to your backyard can increase the value of your property, but it’s important to know the cost before investing. Check out our guide on the cost of building a gazebo to get an idea of what to expect and plan your budget accordingly.


Durability is one of the most important things to consider when you’re buying a gazebo. You want to make sure that your gazebo is going to last and hold up well in any situation, especially if you’re going to be using it on a daily basis.

Soft tops are more likely to get damaged than hard tops because they are made of fabric instead of metal or plastic. Soft tops will rip easily in high winds and rain, as well as from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The fabric can also fade over time due to constant exposure under sunlight.


The assembly of a soft-top gazebo is much quicker than that of a hard-top one. Soft tops can be assembled in as little as half an hour, while hard tops may take around two hours to complete.

The biggest difference between these two types of gazebos is their sturdiness and stability. Because they don’t have any poles or supports, soft tops are more prone to flapping in the wind and need extra securing with ropes or stakes in high winds.

 Additionally, it’s important to note that soft top gazebos aren’t suitable for use when there’s heavy rain forecasted  the fabric will become saturated very quickly (and could rip) if left out during heavy rainfall.

Gazebos and pergolas are both popular backyard structures that can add style and function to your outdoor space. If you’re trying to decide which one is right for you, check out our guide on the differences between gazebos and pergolas to help make an informed decision.


A soft-top gazebo is more stable than a hard-top gazebo. In high winds, the soft top will not blow over as easily. A hard top is easier to secure and therefore less likely to blow over in high winds.

A soft-top gazebo is less likely to blow over in high winds because it has no support underneath it and relies solely on its own weight (and any restraints you may have put on it) for stability. 

Hardtops are not so lucky; they need supports under them or else they’ll topple over when struck by strong gusts of wind!


When considering your comfort, it’s important to have a vision of how many people you want to fit and what they’ll be doing in the gazebo. 

For example, if you’re hosting an outdoor wedding and want to give guests a place to sit during the ceremony, you may want a larger hardtop model. 

On the other hand, if your family is more interested in using their gazebo for weekend barbecues with friends who are mostly standing around talking and eating and only occasionally sitting on benches a smaller soft-top model will likely serve them well.

You should also consider how much floor space there is in total; this can vary depending on whether or not there are benches included with your purchase (or whether or not those benches will fit under the roof). 

Similarly, consider headroom: some models offer taller sides than others so that everyone has better access to views outside even when seated or standing up high inside

Choosing between a gazebo and a pavilion can be a tough decision, but it all comes down to your personal preferences and needs. If you’re trying to make a decision, check out our guide on the differences between gazebos and pavilions to help make an informed decision.


Securing your gazebo is a crucial part of the installation process, and it’s important to keep in mind that gazebos don’t come with security systems built-in. You’ll need to purchase these separately or find another way to secure your new accessory.

Soft-top Gazebos: Soft tops are more secure than hard tops because they have more material in them. 

If you want to protect your soft top from intruders, consider placing it behind a fence or wall (like in our example here). Your soft top will be out of sight and out of reach for most people who might try to break into it or climb over it if there’s no other way around.

Hard-top Gazebos: Hardtops offer even less protection from potential intruders than soft ones do since they’re made from lighter materials and don’t have as much coverage on their outer layer. 

In fact, many manufacturers recommend placing an additional security barrier around hard tops you could build one yourself using wood beams or concrete blocks! 

If this isn’t an option for you though then simply keep in mind that hard tops aren’t designed for maximum security purposes like their counterparts so make sure any valuables inside aren’t exposed overnight when no one’s home (or at least lock up tight every night before bedtime!)

Pros and Cons of Hardtop Gazebos

Weather ResistanceHeavy
Low MaintenanceDifficult Installation
Noise ReductionLimited Design Options
InsulationFixed Location


When it comes to privacy, you have a few options. If you’re looking for the most private enclosure possible, your best bet is to use a hardtop gazebo it’s made from solid materials like wood or plastic and doesn’t allow light through. 

However, if you want an enclosure that allows some light in but also offers some privacy, a fabric top will do the trick. There are even options for adding curtains and blinds that can be attached or detached as needed (though these can be quite expensive).

If privacy isn’t important to you (or if you live in an area where it gets very hot), then soft tops might suit your needs better. 

They do well when there’s no shade overhead: just put them up when needed! If you don’t want anyone peering over their backyard fence into yours while enjoying life outdoors with friends and family members alike and who wouldn’t?! then consider getting either type of gazebo so everyone can enjoy themselves without worrying about being watched all day long.”

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring your gazebo lasts for years to come. Check out our guide on tips for maintaining your gazebo to learn how to clean, repair, and protect your structure from the elements.

Seasons of Use

A hardtop gazebo is an ideal choice when you want to use your gazebo year-round. It can be used in all four seasons of the year, and if you live in an area with mild winters, it will be perfect for your backyard or garden all winter long.

In contrast, a soft-top gazebo is best suited for summertime use only. You can’t set it up on cold days or during rainy weather because it won’t keep out the wind or rain as well as a hard top would.

How to Use Them

Soft-top gazebos are best used during the summer season when you want to be outside. They are not meant to withstand harsh weather conditions, so if you live in an area that gets cold or wet, you may need to look into other options. 

If you can’t use a soft-top gazebo during winter, it’s best to store it away until next summer. You can also use this type of gazebo as an outdoor living space year-round by adding extra insulation and heating devices like a fireplace or heater.

In order to set up your soft-top gazebo, all you need is some tools like screwdrivers and wrenches. The process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes total once all pieces are laid out on the ground where they belong according to their designated places (e.g., legs vs poles). 

Once finished with assembly, place the top piece over poles in order for it to stay secure during windy days or storms; otherwise, just leave everything connected at once so there isn’t any worry about losing parts later down the road when trying to remove everything from one place back again later down the road when wanting to remove the entire structure from its original location after having already constructed proper support system first time around.”

Living in a windy area doesn’t mean you have to give up on owning a gazebo. Check out our expert countdown of the 11 best outdoor gazebos for high winds to find a structure that can withstand even the strongest gusts.

Maintenance and Care

How to clean your gazebo: All you need is a broom and a hose, but be sure to keep the water pressure low so as not to damage any of the wood. A garden hose with a soft spray setting can be used for this task.

How often should I clean my gazebo? Once or twice a year may be enough if you have an area that doesn’t get much foot traffic, but if it’s more exposed to the elements, consider cleaning more frequently. If you have pets in your home or spend time outdoors playing sports such as soccer or baseball (which can make some messes), consider washing down your canopy after each use.

What materials should I use when cleaning my gazebo? You’ll want something nonabrasive and gentle on all surfaces of the structure especially when cleaning ashtrays but avoid anything abrasive as well as any cleaners containing bleach or ammonia since these products could cause damage over time.

Pros and Cons of Soft Top Gazebos

Cost-effectiveLimited Durability
PortabilityMaintenance Required
VersatilitySusceptible to Weather Damage
Variety of Design OptionsNoise and Heat Insulation May Be Lower
Easy InstallationMay Not Offer as Much Sun Protection as Hardtop Types

Weight and Portability

Another key difference between soft and hard top gazebos is their weight. Soft top gazebos are lighter and easier to move than hardtop models, but they also tend to be less sturdy. 

This makes them less able to withstand high winds and other extreme weather conditions like rain or snow. Because of this, soft tops typically aren’t a good choice if you live in areas that get heavy rainfall or frequently experience strong wind gusts.

Hardtop gazebos, on the other hand, are more portable because they can be folded up and stored away when not in use which makes them an ideal option if you have limited space or want something that can be easily transported from one location to another (say from your backyard down into the garden). 

The solid frame of a hardtop structure also provides greater stability than its soft-top counterpart does so if your goal is having something that will last for years without needing repairs or replacement parts every now and then choosing this type over its counterpart may be best suited for this purpose


Soft-top gazebos are cheaper than hard-tops, but they also require less maintenance and care.

A soft top is much more affordable than a hard top. This is because it doesn’t use expensive materials to keep its shape as a hard top does; instead, it uses steel or aluminum poles that are hung from the canopy frame and tied to the ground with stakes or cables. 

These tops can be made from canvas, vinyl, polyethylene plastic (the kind you see at grocery store parking lots), or even mesh netting if you want something more open and airy. 

The cost of labor for installing these types of tops will vary depending on who’s doing it but typically costs around $200-$400 per side depending on size and complexity.

Soft tops don’t require as much maintenance as their hard counterparts since there isn’t any wood involved in their construction so your only concern would be water damage or deterioration due to UV exposure over time which could be prevented by using good quality material like a canvas that has been coated with acrylics (a type of finish).


In summary, a hardtop gazebo is a great choice if you’re looking for something durable and easy to assemble. 

It’s also more secure and better at keeping out rain and wind than a soft-top gazebo. 

Soft-tops are cheaper though, so they may be more suitable if you want to save some money upfront or don’t need the extra security of a hardtop.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you learn more about gazebos:

Hardtop vs Soft Top Gazebo: Which is Right for You?: This article provides a detailed comparison between hardtop and soft top gazebos, helping you choose the right one for your needs.

How to Choose the Right Metal Gazebo for Any Outdoor Space: If you’re considering a metal gazebo, this guide from ShelterLogic can help you choose the right one for your outdoor space.

Hardtop vs Soft Top Gazebo: What’s the Difference?: This article provides another helpful comparison between hardtop and soft top gazebos, with an emphasis on the pros and cons of each type.


What is a gazebo?

A gazebo is an outdoor structure that typically has a roof and is open on all sides. Gazebos are often used for outdoor entertaining, dining, or relaxation.

What materials are gazebos made of?

Gazebos can be made of a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and vinyl. The type of material used will affect the gazebo’s durability, maintenance needs, and overall appearance.

Are gazebos waterproof?

Some gazebos are designed to be waterproof, while others may only be water-resistant. It’s important to check the specifications of a gazebo before purchasing it to ensure it meets your needs.

How do I maintain my gazebo?

The maintenance needs of a gazebo will depend on the material it’s made of. Wood gazebos may need to be stained or sealed regularly to prevent rot, while metal gazebos may need to be treated to prevent rust. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance to keep your gazebo in good condition.

How do I anchor my gazebo?

Anchoring your gazebo is important to prevent it from being blown away by wind or other severe weather. There are a variety of anchoring methods available, including stakes, concrete anchors, and weighted bags. The best method will depend on the type of gazebo you have and the conditions in your area.