When selecting a canopy frame you should consider the frame's weight, durability and leg angle. Start first by deciding whether you want a straight leg or slanted leg. It may appear that this is really more of just a style difference but it actually has a big effect on the canopy's structural integrity. Next you will want to consider the frame's weight and durability which ultimately leads to choosing a frame material. The most common materials to choose from will be aluminum and steel. When you are choosing between an aluminum or steel frame, consider what you will use the canopy for and how often you will use it.
Straight Leg vs. Slant Leg Canopies
Slant leg canopies are often less expensive and provide a sleek look, but they are not as stable as canopies with a straight leg frame. Straight leg frames will be more stable and are going to provide the most coverage without taking up more space. Here is an example of taking up more space while ultimately providing less coverage. Let’s compare two 10’ x 10’ canopies, one with straight legs and one with slant legs. The Straight leg canopy will provide 100 sq. ft. of shade while the slant leg canopy will only provide about 60 sq. ft. of shade.
Aluminum Frame Canopies
Aluminum frames are going to be lightweight and the easiest to pack making them an excellent choice for travel. They will also be resistant to rust and corrosion. However, because the aluminum frames are lightweight, they will bend easily and are not well suited for use in windy conditions. They are best suited for use during sunny or calm weather.
Steel Frame Canopies
Steel frames are going to offer the most strength and durability. They are able to withstand harsh weather conditions like heavy rain or winds. Steel frames can be cheaper than aluminum frames but they are also heavier and more challenging to transport and assemble. Rust can be an issue with steel; most are treated with a rust prevention coating but that really doesn’t offer any guarantees. The potential for rust will mean that steel will require maintenance to ensure that it lasts.
To sum it up, choose first the frame style that you want and then the frame material. Remember to consider how and what you will be using your canopy for. For those who prioritize portability, aluminum is the way to go. For those who are after strength and durability, a steel - framed canopy is the answer.