Written By
Published Apr. 20, 2018

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 Garage

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.

Key Features
  • High Grade Steel Frame
  • Triple Layer, Heat Sealed Polyethylene
  • Ratchet Cover Tension Adjustment
Specification
  • Brand ShelterLogic
  • Model 70401
  • Weight 50 to 115 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.

Key Features
  • Low Price
  • Durable, Extra Thick Polyethylene Construction
  • 3.8cm Diameter Steel Tubing Construction
Specification
  • Brand Quictent
  • Model B01NAWQK05
  • Weight 79 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.

Key Features
  • Easily Taken Down & Reassembled
  • Virtually Unbreakable Polycarbonate Roof Panels
  • Strong, Aluminum Structure
Specification
  • Brand Palram
  • Model HG9130
  • Weight 240 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.

Key Features
  • Detachable Sidewalls
  • Foot Pads
  • Easy to Set Up and Fully Collapsible
Specification
  • Brand Abba Patio
  • Model APGP1220PEW
  • Weight 144 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.

Key Features
  • Low Price
  • Double Polyethylene Construction
  • Easily Collapsible
Specification
  • Brand Abba Patio
  • Model APGP10206B
  • Weight 97 lbs

Made by Quictent, one of the world’s leading and innovative tent and or garage makers, the Gazebo boasts of being very spacious and with dimensions of 6m by 3.5m by 2.66m, it is able to house at most a thirty people at a go. The Gazebo is easily movable and no extra tools or equipment are required when erecting and building the tent as it comes with its necessary assembly parts. It is available in variable colors and has strong strands, pegs , and ropes that hold it firmly to the ground, making it very difficult to be easily swayed by the winds. Additional features include a rust-resistant steel tube that holds the tent in place along with a durable four-sided waterproof cover with transparent windows that allows natural light to get in. What’s more, the sidewalls that are enclosed are double and are designed with an entry fabricated with a zipper. For best temperatures, the zipper can be easily enclosed to keep the warmth circulating within the tent.

Key Features
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Rust-resistant
  • Convenient storage
Specification
  • Brand Quictent
  • Model 1401
  • Weight 48 pounds

This 10-foot by 15-foot by eight-foot instant garage and auto shelter features a 1-3/8-inch thick metal frame that is strong and stable. The powder-coated finish keeps the structure from rusting, corroding, chipping, and peeling. The waterproof cover is made of triple-layer ripstop and is UV treated so it’s less likely to fade.

ShelterLogic uses patented stabilizers for durability and stability. Its tensioning system ensures that the cover stays tightly in place and doesn’t droop. The company also provides a one-year limited warranty. It takes a few hours for two people to assemble. You may have to weigh the ends down if you live in a particularly windy climate, but it holds up pretty well even in snowy conditions.

Key Features
  • Strong and stable metal frame
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Waterproof
  • One-year limited warranty
Specification
  • Brand ShelterLogic
  • Weight 109 lbs

VINGLI is another one of the most trusted companies in the world when it comes to the arena of canopy and tent-making. Their work has been excellent and top-notch and the Domain Carport Car Canopy is no exception of their premium quality products. Coming with six steel frames, it is wide enough and offers a capacity of about 20’ by length and 10’ by width and stands tall with a height of about 8.5ft. It also comes equipped with a waterproof cover and a shelter with panels that provide shade against heat, dust, rain and other debris that could defame or give an ugly look to the car, motorcycle, bicycle or anything you want to park under. The enhanced and upgraded powder and spray that coats the steel makes it highly rust-resistant, less corrosive, does not peel off and keeps the metals intact, giving it a very long lifespan – this ultimately makes it very highly durable and cost-effective. No external tools and equipment are needed in installing the canopy as it is very easy to build up. Be assured this is a good one.

Key Features
  • Less Corrosive
  • Convenient
  • Durable
  • Water Resistant
Specification
  • Brand VINGLI

This product from King Canopy has been designed to be extremely sturdy. Its standout feature is its thick, two-inch diameter steel frame. That easily makes this one of the tougher and sturdier portable garages on this list. The metal is, as expected, powder treated too for added protection against corrosion.

The eight-leg canopy measures 10 by eight feet and is easy to set up. The fully enclosed sidewall kit enables you to get more shade and create a detachable carport. The roof provides protection from both water and UV rays, making this a very useful, very tough, portable garage that will protect your car from the elements.

Key Features
  • 2 Inch Pipe Diameter
  • Heavy Duty Construction
  • Simple but Effective
Specification
  • Brand King Canopy
  • Model HC1020PCSL
  • Weight 80 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!

Key Features
  • Side Protection
  • Triple Layer Polyethylene
  • Shelter Lock Stabilizers for Stability & Durability
Specification
  • Brand ShelterLogic
  • Model 62680
  • Weight 135 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!

portable garage

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.

portable garages

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.

Sources:

  1. Sun Heat Damage – WRVO
  2. Trump Looks at the Sun – Independent
  3. Average Garage Construction Price – Homeadvisor

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