If you have always though that you would like a home garage but have written it off as a pipe dream due to lack of space or budget then perhaps you could instead consider a portable garage to make that dream a reality.
These remarkably durable and versatile products offer a solution to your problem for a fraction of the cost of a traditional home garage. Ranging in price from just a few hundred dollars all the way up to a couple of thousand for premium models though, you really need to know which of the products on the market have the best spec and features for your investment.
That’s why we have looked long and hard to find out recommendations for the best portable garage to meet a range of needs and budgets.
Best Rated Portable Garages in 2019:
The fact this product is called Shed-In-A-Box makes it easy to explain, yet a little hard to justify on this list. After all, aren’t we talking about Portable Garages here? Well, yes we are but don’t let the name fool you, this product from ShelterLogic is just as suitable as a garage as a shed.
This is also, literally, a Shed-In-A-Box. This means it is designed for long term installation, literally as a shed or storage device for building in a yard. That means we have some excellent features geared toward long lasting weather protection. For example, high-grade 1-3/8 in. (3.5cm) diameter steel tubing is employed for a frame. That is a lovely, thick diameter of premium metal for a supremely strong construction.
The body is triple weave Polyethylene for protection from whatever the weather can throw at it and bonus protection from UV rays. That material has also been heat sealed instead of stitched for a premium level of waterproof protection, and the included Auger Anchors will provide safe anchoring points to secure the structure.
High Grade Steel Frame
Triple Layer, Heat Sealed Polyethylene
Ratchet Cover Tension Adjustment
- Weight50 to 115 lbs
This product from Abba Patio is a mid range option with a mid range price. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re missing out any features from a more premium priced model however.
For a start this is a product that is both easily assembled and also fully collapsible. That’s handy if you’re looking for a more temporary structure – say a product to protect your car during winter or the height of summer, and to be packed away for Spring & Fall.
The product utilizes a steel construction for strength, and that frame is also powder coated for protection against corrosion. The body and roof is made of durable Polyethylene that protects against wind, rain, snow and even UV rays in summer sunshine.
The sidewalls are removable for a useful element of customization in the build, and the supplied footpads at the frame base are equally at home sat on a hard surface like asphalt or secured into lawn or gravel for real flexibility in placement.
Easy to Set Up and Fully Collapsible
- BrandAbba Patio
- Weight144 lbs
This is our bargain entry, coming in as the cheapest item on this list. However, ignoring both the low price and the fact the manufacturer doesn’t know how to spell the work “Quick” and this is actually a pretty good portable garage, albeit of a very basic design.
So, the most important parts. The frame is made of powder treated, heavy duty steel for long term, anti-corrosion protection. The tubing is 3.8cm diameter that is actually pretty big, and results in a solid frame. The material used for the roof is extra thick Polyethylene, so that is going to protect against UV rays, wind and rain.
And that’s about it. No adjustments to height can be made, it is not the easiest to disassemble and it comes in one size only. However, if all you’re looking for is a canopy to provide year round protection to your car and nothing more then that is exactly what you’re going to get – for a bargain low price too.
Durable, Extra Thick Polyethylene Construction
3.8cm Diameter Steel Tubing Construction
- Weight79 lbs
This product from Abba Patio is another from the lower end of the price spectrum. However, it is a little more expensive than the model we discussed above, which means that you do get a few extra features on what is otherwise another pretty basic design.
The main difference between this and the above model is that this product is more easily collapsible. So if you’re looking for a budget, entry-level product that is easy to put and take down again then this could be a winner.
Construction wise we have a powder coated steel frame for strength and corrosion protection, and it is coming in a 1-1/2 inch (3.8cm) diameter so nice and strong. The material used is Polyethylene, which in this instance is a double layer thick.
The feet on the poles are Pad style, making it easy to assemble on hard ground. The beige color may not be everyone’s idea of style (it’s the color of a 1970’s sofa) but the price tag will certainly make you smile.
Double Polyethylene Construction
- BrandAbba Patio
- Weight97 lbs
This is a very useful design in that it comes equipped with removable side panels, and the front and back panels can be zipped closed. This differs from many other products on this list that often just provide roof protection to your car.
That means this portable garage can be perfect for undertaking car maintenance projects where the car needs to be protected from the elements. From washing and waxing to draining oil or replacing engine parts, if you want to keep the work area free of wind, dirt and blowing debris simply pull the car inside and seal it up whilst you work.
38mm powder treated steel and durable Polyethylene are used in the construction to provide a durable frame and protection from the elements including UV rays. This could be an extremely useful design, especially if you’re looking for somewhere to create a safe atmosphere as you work on your car.
Removable Side Panels
- Weight114 lbs
This product from King Canopy has been designed to be extremely sturdy. Its standout feature is its very thick, 2-inch diameter tubing that forms the frame. That easily makes this one of the tougher, sturdier portable garages on this list. The metal is, as expected, powder treated too for added protection against corrosion.
That extra weight from the frame, plus the extra thick material in the roof, does however make this a bit heavier than some other models, so bear that in mind. The roof provides protection from both water and UV making this a very useful, very tough, portable garage that will protect your car from the elements.
2 Inch Pipe Diameter
Heavy Duty Construction
Simple but Effective
- BrandKing Canopy
- Weight160 lbs
Very much the premium product on this list, this portable garage from Palram is the only solid topped structure on this list. A solid top provides premium levels of protection. The 6mm, twin walled Polycarbonate sheets that comprise the roof provide a virtually unbreakable barrier to protect your vehicle from rain, snow and falling objects (perfect if you have to park near overhanging trees) whilst the bronze tint provides effective UV protection.
The frame is heavy duty aluminum with laser cut, galvanized steel used in the connectors for a truly tough frame that’s built to last (hence the 10 year, limited warranty). It also looks great and is an item that will look stylish in near enough any yard.
The best part is that it is easy to build as well as easy to take down and reassemble again elsewhere, allowing to happily function as a portable garage. A price tag in the region of a couple of thousand dollars certainly is a premium price point, but this product has the features, design and construction quality to warrant it.
Easily Taken Down & Reassembled
Virtually Unbreakable Polycarbonate Roof Panels
Strong, Aluminum Structure
- Weight240 lbs
Our final entry, and this is another product with the useful feature of being able to seal away the vehicle. Again, this helps to provide a safer atmosphere when you are working on the car, as well as providing the type of inclusive protection you would expect from a permanent garage.
The frame is 1-3/8 Inch (3.1cm) all steel tubing for strength and stability. The outer shell is triple layered Polyethylene for protection against all the elements. A built in ratcheting system allows you to easily increase surface tension in the covering to stop it flapping or rippling in the wind. The patented ShelterLock Stability System is designed to provide premium stability.
All for that for a lower mid-range price and it’s easy to see how it made it’s way onto our list!
Triple Layer Polyethylene
Shelter Lock Stabilizers for Stability & Durability
- Weight135 lbs
Best Portable Garages Guide & FAQ
So there is our list of the best portable garages on the market – but which one is best? As ever, that’s a pretty subjective question and will depend on your budget, the size of your vehicle and what exactly you’re looking for.
Lets go through some of the options and features to keep an eye and help you to make your decision!
What is a Portable Garage and Why Do I Need It?
A portable garage, as you will have seen in the list above, is essentially a canopy made of a frame over which is draped a material outer shell. Some have sides, some have doors and some have solid roofs but, at it’s most basic that is a portable garage – think of it like a tent for you car!
Why do you need one? Well, they serve three functions really:
- Protection (Parking) – Like a permanent garage, the main purpose of a portable garage is to protect your car. All protect it from rain via the roof and some, depending on design and materials, will also protect it from wind (and debris) and from UV rays. If this is the main reason you want one, choose a sturdy design that can withstand prolonged exposure to weather.
- Protection (Working on car) – They also provide protection whilst you work on the car. If this is the main reason you want one of these products in fact, it’s best to choose one that is easy to assemble and take down again quickly.
- Miscellaneous Cover – Some people are also looking for a portable garage that can perform other functions, such as providing a covered area during yard events like BBQs or additional storage space. In this case the style may be important, such as having built in clear areas that serve as windows or being an attractive color.
Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Garage
- Budget – The key consideration has to be your budget. The average price is going to be around the $400 mark, with some models even more expensive and a few bargain options coming in cheaper. Know what you want to spend before you start shopping!
- Weather – What is your local weather like? If it rains a lot, it’s best to get a roof with a steeper pitch to promote effective run off. Very sunny? Polyethylene provides UV protection to protect the vehicle from the suns rays. Windy? Get a model with good anchoring points so you can tie it down properly.
- Size – To be a garage, you need to be able to park your car inside – otherwise it’s just a shed. Most of the items on this list come in one size, and should be perfectly capable of handling most normal sized vehicles. Double check the ordering options and the dimensions before you place your order however!
- Materials – A key consideration. You will notice that most of the items on our list are of similar materials – powdered Steel frame and Polyethylene covers. We feel they give the best combination between protection, durability and value. Some others (not on this list) will have wooden frames (too weak, susceptible to moisture damage) and PVC outers (cheap and flimsy, no UV protection). We only highlighted items with premium construction and materials in our list – if we wouldn’t park our own cars in it, it didn’t make the list.
Which Portable Garage is best for Winter Weather?
Winter is going to be the time of year that your portable garage gets the most punishment, so you need to look out for:
- Powder Treated Steel – Steel will rust, however powder treatment protects it from moisture. If the product you’re looking at has a steel frame therefore, make sure it is powder treated so it can make it through winter.
- Heat Sealed Material – Any joins in the material should be heat sealed rather than stitched. This will help to form a better protective barrier to keep the moisture out.
- Plastic Outer – Some of these products (those none on this list) can be made of canvas. They are only going to be suitable for use in the summer, as prolonged contact with winter moisture, whether rain or snow, can cause them to rot. Plastic, epically Polyethylene, is a great material to look for in these items.
- Ratchets – Some designs take advantage of built in ratchet systems to adjust the surface tension of the material. This is handy in winter as you can tighten the outer material to form a nice tight seal around the frame (and your car). This can help to keep the weather out, and also keep moisture running straight off the surfaces, preventing moisture build up that could lead to rotting and other problems.
Benefits of Using a Portable Garage
There are a number of benefits to using a portable garage, such as:
- Heat Protection – Cars are heat magnets, and in the summer they can get insanely hot – up 200 degrees hot in fact. That kind of heat is no good for the internal architecture of the car like the dashboard and upholstery and it can even start melting electronics.
- UV Protection – Even if you don’t live anywhere that gets quite that hot, you still need to keep an eye out for the sun. Not literally of course, please don’t stare directly at the Sun; you’re not the president. The Suns rays contain UV, which can really do a number on your paintwork too. A portable garage can help to protect against that.
- Weather Protection – Rain, sleet, and snow – they all can damage your car in one way or another. A portable garage can help to protect your vehicle whilst it is parked up. It can also, again depending on design, protect it whilst you work on it.
- Great Value – Whilst many factors will affect the end price, the average cost of building a brick and mortar garage is in the region of $26,000. None of the products on this list come close to that figure, even the expensive premium product is many, many thousands cheaper.