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The 7 Best Pergolas – [2021 Reviews]

Enjoy the ambience of a backyard pergola, we break down the year's top models

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Even if you have your backyard/patio furniture and vegetation sorted, it may still feel a bit empty or that something’s missing. In many cases, what you need is something to add to the current style, add shade, and structure.

If that’s your situation then what you need is a pergola! They come in a wide variety of different materials, styles, and prices. However, one thing is for sure: you need one of the best to make the most of your investment – and that’s exactly what we’re here for!

Best Pergola Kits

 Backyard Discovery Wooden PergolaCoolaroo Aurora Backyard PergolaValencia Attached Vinyl Pergola
editors choice
Size:10' x 14'9'8" x 9'8"12' x 16'
Frame:Cedar WoodPowder Coated AluminumVinyl
Canopy:NoneKnitted FabricNone
Other:Durable resin feet w/ concrete anchorsComes in 3 colorsMaintenance-Free Design

For more of my backyard recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Outdoor Daybeds, Adirondack Chairs, Outdoor Rocking Chairs.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Pergolas For 2021

  1. Backyard Discovery Wooden Sturdy Pergola
  2. Coolaroo Aurora Pergola
  3. Valencia Attached Vinyl Pergola: Garden & Outdoor
  4. Purple Leaf Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola
  5. Backyard Discovery Silverton Wooden Pergola
  6. Tangkula Outdoor Pergola Gazebo
  7. ALEKO Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola

Our reviews of the top rated pergolas with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right pergola for you.


Pergola Kit Reviews

Backyard Discovery Wooden Pergola

Backyard Discovery Wooden Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 10′ x 14′
  • Frame: 100% Cedar
  • Canopy: None
  • Other: Durable resin feet w/ concrete anchors

To start things off, we have the model often considered to be the best pergola on the market: the Backyard Discovery 1802513 Wooden Sturdy Pergola. Measuring 10’ x 14’, it’s the perfect addition to any patio, pool area, lounge seating, and so on. The 100% stained cedar design looks absolutely stunning, and is packed in style!

Offering up a lush, Mediterranean appeal, it provides instant sophistication that will completely transform your space into one that everyone wants to be in.

Measuring 10’ x 14’, it’s large enough to fit in various pieces of furniture like sofas and tables. With 6’7” of headroom, guests of all heights will be able to stand and walk comfortably underneath as well.

The cedar construction features tight, small knots which look natural yet are designed to withstand all types of weather conditions for many years to come. The sculptured beams offer just enough cover so that the sun isn’t beating down on you but not so much that you can’t enjoy the rays.

To keep it secure, you have durable resin feet complete with concrete anchors that will hold the pergola in place even during windy months. The 5.5” cedar upright posts with diagonal braces help keep it sturdy, even with frequent use. Some pilot-hole drilling may be necessary, though setup and assembly really isn’t all that difficult.


Coolaroo Aurora Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 9’8″ x 9’8″
  • Frame: Powder Coated Aluminum
  • Canopy: Knitted Fabric
  • Other: Comes in 3 different colors

Next up, we have one of the best pergolas with canopy: the Shade Pergola, which is designed to filter in light without making it so blinding. Coming in 3 different colors, you get your choice of either Smoke, Terracotta, and Mocha.

Approved by the Melanoma International Foundation, you can count on this being a relaxing and fun way to keep your skin in great health!

The frame is comprised of aluminum and polypropylene, which comes powder-coated to make it resistant against sunlight and moisture. This means that you don’t have to fret about it possibly rusting while benefiting from its structural strength.

The roman-style shade canopy is gorgeous, filtering out 90% of all UV rays to ensure you get just the right amount of sunlight without damaging your skin or fading your furniture. The weather-resistant Coolaroo knitted fabric that the canopy is made out of is breathable as well, so you don’t ever feel muggy or congested.

Installation was surprisingly simple, considering that it does include the canopy. All hardware necessary comes included, and is even more simple if you have someone helping you out. The 9’ x 9’ space is a bit smaller than the previous model though is still more than enough for at least 5 or 6 people to hang out under.


Valencia Attached Vinyl Garden & Outdoor Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 12′ x 16′
  • Frame: Vinyl
  • Canopy: None
  • Other: Maintenance-Free Design

For instant elegance and beauty, you need the Valencia 12’ x 16’ Attached Vinyl Pergola. Coming in a light grey color only, it’s the absolute definition of sophistication while never straying from its functional roots.

Weighing 133 pounds, it’s one of the more lightweight models we’re covering today and is super easy to clean off with a garden hose so it always stays looking its best.

Create a private “room without walls” outdoors, where you get to revel in 192 square feet of room for entertaining, kicking your feet up, dining, or simply enjoying the fresh air without being bombarded by overpowering rays of sunlight.

Assembly is pretty easy, though you will need some tools aside from what is included in the package. Not only that, but you’ll need to purchase three 4×4 posts along with 2×6 beams, which was a bit annoying.

The vinyl construction is great, as it’s pretty cheap, durable, and won’t rot, warp, crack, or discolor under the hot summer sun. The brand claims that it’ll keep its good looks and structural integrity for at least 20 years and while we obviously can’t test that ourselves right now, so far its been very impressive.

With a lifetime warranty, you can rest easy knowing that you are covered if anything happens to your pergola in the meantime!


Purple Leaf Aluminum Outdoor Canopy Pergola

Purple Leaf Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 10′ x 10′
  • Frame: Powder-Coated Aluminum
  • Canopy: Polyester
  • Other: Fade-Resistant Construction

Without a doubt, the Purple Leaf 10’ x 10’ Aluminum Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola is one of the most beautiful available on the market today.

Made of a tough aluminum, it’s one of the most durable out there as well. The fact that it comes with a canopy also means that you get extra shade and protection from the sun, making it a great addition for year-round use!

While it does only come in a dark gray color, it looks elegant and goes well with just about any color of existing décor and furniture. The canopy matches the frame in its gray tones, and can be extended or pulled up, depending on how much shade you and your guests require.

While it doesn’t come included, you can easily add a side shade to the unit as well! The 10’ x 10’ pergola is the perfect size to fit a dining table under or a couple of sofas and extra seating. For this reason, we love it for pool/Jacuzzi areas, outdoor eating areas, and more!

The aluminum frame comes powder-coated just like the previous model, which helps protect it from the risk of rusting so you can leave it outdoors the entire year without worrying about it breaking down. The polyester canopy is just as durable, as well as UV-resistant, fade-resistant, and water-resistant.


Backyard Discovery Silverton Wooden Pergola

Backyard Discovery Silverton Wooden Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 10′ x 14′
  • Frame: Wood
  • Canopy: None
  • Other: Multi-level roof trellis, 120V Outlets Built-In

The Backyard Discovery 1906525 Silverton Wooden Pergola is quite a bit difference in appearance and structure to any of the other models we’ve looked at so far. While it is made of cedar wood like our first model, the stain looks more serious and the structure, more elaborate.

Not only that, but it comes with 120V outlets so you can bring in blenders, grills, and more outside which will up your entertainment game easily!

Going back to the frame, you have a two-tiered arched bar which is ideal for serving food or having others serve themselves! I really like it for serving and making cocktails, and will definitely take advantage of your table space.

The multilevel roof trellis and classic archway design is very unique and sure to turn some heads every time someone new comes over!

All lumber is pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained so you don’t have to worry about it looking too rough or amateur. Thanks to their 3D interactive assembly instructions on their free app, they make setup a super easy process too.

To keep it lasting as long as possible, you have durable resin feet to avoid moisture seeping in and decaying the wood. Concrete anchors will keep it firmly in place as well, as safety is our first priority.


Tangkula Outdoor Pergola Gazeboat a Glance:

  • Size: 10′ x 10′
  • Frame: Powder-Coated Steel
  • Canopy: Polyester
  • Other: Waterproof, Sun-Resistant

Nearing the end of our list, we bring you the Tangkula 10 x 10 Foot Outdoor Pergola Gazebo. This sturdy model is incredibly convenient and sleek for those who don’t need anything elaborate.

It comes with a sun shelter complete with retractable canopy shades so you and those you’re entertaining will be able to enjoy the fresh air without the sun making it difficult.

The frame is made of steel, which is lightweight and relatively thin yet still very strong. With a powder-coated finish, it’s completely rust-proof and able to stay outside for years to come without losing its new look or structural integrity. The reinforcements at the top only help enhance this.

Going back to the canopy, it’s made of two strong polyester sets and is fade-resistant so you can count on it looking just like the day you got it.

It is flame-retardant so you can keep your candles out to set the mood or get the grill out without worrying about it catching on fire. Moreover, it comes with a waterproof PU coating to prevent drizzle so you can use it just as well in the summer as the rainy seasons!

To adjust the canopy/canopies, you can use the poles to pull from either side and fix it to the structure to keep it from shaking in the wind.

We love the overhead slats which are great for hanging little lights to further create a wonderful atmosphere no matter who you have over. The 10’ x 10’ size once again is excellent for various people along with just about any kind of furniture you’d like to place inside.


ALEKO Aluminum Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola at a Glance:

  • Size: 10′ x 13′
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Canopy: Polyester
  • Other: Rust-Resistant Frame

Last but not least is the Aleko Aluminum Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola. This one is a bit larger than the last couple of models and ideal if you’re going to be entertaining larger groups of people or want to add in extras like a grill or additional furniture.

Coming in 3 different colors, you get your choice of either Sand, White, or Burgundy – each offer a simplistic elegance.

Yet another aluminum and steel frame, this one if relatively lightweight yet tough, rust-resistant, and places sustainability and safety at the forefront of their design. If you live in an area that actually gets “seasons” then place this one on your list as it holds up nicely in extreme cold, heat, and moisture.

Complete with a retractable canopy, it protects against UV rays, rain, and lighter winds. It’s easy to retract and extend as well, so if weather conditions change rapidly, there’s no need to be concerned. The canopy is made from polyester as well, and retains its original color and structure very well.

While 10 x 10 feet seems to be the standard for many pergolas, this model is 10 x 13 feet so you can add in even more accessories, furniture, and people! We love this one for gardens, pools, and pretty much any other outdoor space.

This one may just be the easiest one to install on our guide, coming with all necessary fittings, parts, and instructions.


Pergola Kit Comparison Table

Pergola SizeFrameCanopyOtherRating
Backyard Discovery Wooden Pergola10' x 14'Cedar WoodNoneDurable resin feet w/ concrete anchors4.6 / 5.0
Coolaroo Aurora Backyard Pergola9'8" x 9'8"Powder Coated AluminumKnitted FabricComes in 3 colors4.2 / 5.0
Valencia Attached Vinyl Pergola12' x 16'VinylNoneMaintenance-Free Design4.7 / 5.0
Purple Leaf Aluminum Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola10' x 10'Powder-Coated AluminumPolyesterFade-Resistant Construction4.4 / 5.0
Backyard Discovery Silverton Wooden Pergola10' x 14'WoodNoneMulti-level roof trellis, 120V Outlets Built-In4.6 / 5.0
Tangkula Outdoor Pergola Gazebo10' x 10'Powder-Coated SteelPolyester2 Separate Canopies4.5 / 5.0
ALEKO Outdoor Retractable Canopy Pergola10' x 13'AluminumPolyesterRust-Resistant Frame4.0 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Pergola – Buying Guide

best backyard pergola
PURPLE LEAF Aluminum Outdoor Pergola

Now that you’ve been able to read all about some great backyard pergolas, have you figured out which model is right for you and your outdoor space? If not, then there’s no need to be worried! We know that these are all excellent products, but we’re here to help you narrow it down to just one.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to right up the following user-friendly buying guide so that by the time you’re done reading there will be no doubt which is the pergola for you! Let’s get started!

Size

First off, you should really try and figure out the right size for the space you’re going to be using it, as well as how many people you’ll likely be entertaining and the furniture you’d like to place inside. We highly recommend actually getting your tape measure out and measuring the space in question.

You don’t want to buy something, wait for it to be delivered and assemble it only to find out it’s too big or small for your outdoor area.

10 x 10 feet is the standard for most outdoor residential pergolas, so if you’re going to be entertaining more than 5 people or want to add in a grill along with a patio table, lounge chairs, etc. then you may want to look at even bigger models.

Material

What kind of material are you looking for? Let’s go ahead and cover the most popular materials so you can try and figure this out.

Aluminum – Aluminum is typically the most inexpensive material to make quality pergolas out of, which is why we’ve included many models made of it. It’s lightweight, easy to maintain (especially with a powder coating) and still very strong.

Steel – Steel is very similar to aluminum in that it’s metal, easy to maintain, and very tough. However, it’s even stronger and heavier than aluminum so if you want the longest-lasting pergola you’ll probably want to opt for an all-steel model or an aluminum/steel blend.

Wood – Cedar wood is a popular type for pergolas, though there are others that are used as well. Wood is definitely the most visually appealing, is striking, and is sure to draw the most attention due to this. However, it does require more maintenance as it can start breaking down if it doesn’t have the right coating to protect it from moisture. It’s also the heaviest (usually) and by far the most expensive.

Included Canopy

Would you like your pergola to have a canopy or are you okay with just the slats that come on non-canopy models? The slats alone will help provide shade yet still offer a nice amount of airflow and a bit of sunlight in.

Canopies are ideal for many people – especially if you really want to block out all or the vast majority of UV rays then this is what you’ll want. The nice thing about these are that they can be pulled back or extended depending on what you need.

If it’s getting too sunny, then you can simply pull the sides down. If you want extra airflow then you can always pull them up – it’s easy and ideal for rapidly-changing weather.

You’ll find that just about every quality model that comes with a canopy has one made out of polyester. Polyester is a wonderful material for outdoor use, as it’s naturally fade-resistant so it will always look its best, is structurally sound and won’t stretch out, rip, or develop holes when exposed to the elements.

Extras

You may have noticed that certain models contain extras such as shelves/built-in bars which is perfect for entertaining. This way you can save yourself the money and hassle of bringing out another table or buying a bar. Instead, you can use this one for serving, cooking, blending, making drinks, and so much more!

There are some that even include power outlets so you can use these appliances seamlessly. As you can imagine, this does raise the price a bit but it definitely elevates the entertainment factor.

Durability

How long do you plan on having your pergola for? There are some that are made to be used for around 5 years, while others can easily last over 20. You’ll see that the manufacturer refers to this, and if you can score yourself a lifetime guarantee, that’s even better.

You will have the peace of mind that your pergola is there to stay, and if anything happens to it you can get it fixed or replaced on the manufacturer’s dime!

Price

That brings us to price. How much are you willing to spend on one of the top pergolas on the market today? We highly recommend you figure this out before you do anything else. After all, it’s not going to matter if you’ve found a good pergola if you can’t afford it or don’t want to spend that much.

The good news is that when it comes to these structures, you can find something quality for just about any budget. It all depends on how durable you want it, what extras you’d like, and the material/style it comes in.

FAQs About Best Pergolas

Q: Does a pergola add value to a home?

A: Yes, it does! Even semi-permanent structures can add value to a home. As outdoor living and entertaining has grown wildly in popularity in recent times, you can count on this being a bonus even if you move!

Q: Which is better gazebo or pergola?

A: There’s really no “better” between the two. Instead, it all comes down to what you’re specifically looking for! The main difference between the two is that a gazebo comes with a full roof up top, while a pergola has a slatted roof. Slatted roofs are great for letting in extra sunlight and air, as well as hanging up lights to add to the ambience. You can even get them with canopies to block UV rays and sunlight.

Q: Do pergolas really block the sun?

A: This all comes down to the model you’re looking at. Slatted roofs aren’t going to block UV rays or the sun in its entirety. It’ll make a difference, but not completely block it. However, canopies do help even further in blocking the sun, UV rays, rain, etc.

Q: What is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo?

A: A gazebo has a solid roof for full rain protection, while a pergola has a slatted one that only offers some shade unless you have one with a retractable canopy.

Q: Can I put a pergola over a fire pit?

A: Yes, you can! Fire pits are not recommended for use with gazebos as there’s too much of a fire risk. However, with most pergolas this isn’t a problem. Just make sure that if you have a wooden one/one with a canopy that they are all fire-proofed.

Tips For Choosing Pergolas

#1: Consider the type of weather in your area.

If you have seasons and don’t live in summer-like weather year-round then we do suggest getting a pergola that comes with a canopy. Canopies do an excellent job of blocking moisture, lighter winds, and the sun so if you’re entertaining others and it starts raining, you don’t have to go inside!

#2: Consider a style and structure that goes with your current style and outdoor furniture.

These days, you can find a pergola that comes in all kinds of materials, styles, and colors so there’s no excuse to get one that looks out of place. Instead, it should enhance the style and decor you’ve chosen for your space.

#3: Make sure to regularly inspect and maintain a wooden pergola.

These do require a bit more maintenance than metal alternatives as these typically don’t need any maintenance at all. Make sure that it comes properly weather-proofed and isn’t rotting anywhere.

Summary

Now that you know just about everything there is to know about pergolas, have you decided on the right one for you? We hope that our guide has helped you narrow it down to just one model. No matter which one you choose, you can feel confident knowing you’ll be receiving one of the best on the market today.

However, what’s most important is that you are able to select the one ideal for your situation and tastes. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon!

How We Researched

To come up with the top backyard pergolas, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Wayfair along with our own personal experience.

We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.

With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in yard design and home repairs.

The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.

To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from landscapers, bloggers and contractors.

After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.

Sources

Notice:

OutsidePursuits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. OutsidePursuits.com earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com. Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

Shayanne Weeks

Shayanne is a freelance writer and marketer based in LA, California. Describing herself as a nomad, she has lived in Boise, Idaho and Seattle, Washington as well as Guadalajara, Mexico. As an extremely active person, she loves to snowboard, skateboard, and ski. She enjoys sharing her love for active sports with others through her “how to” sports guides and sports equipment reviews. Shyanne is addicted to the adrenaline rush she experiences during her outdoor pursuits, from ziplining in Mexico to snowboarding in Idaho.

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