Which pergolas are best?

If you want to elevate the look of an outdoor area, consider adding a pergola. Typically constructed from wood or metal, these structures provide shelter from the sun and make a space appear stylish and welcoming. Appearance isn’t everything, however. You’ll also need to choose a pergola that’s structurally sound and durable enough to withstand the elements. 

You can find pergolas in just about every style and size imaginable. The Vita Avalon Vinyl Pergola is the best because it has a classic look and adjustable louver shades. 

What to know before you buy a pergola

Types of pergolas

Most pergolas are constructed from metal, wood or vinyl. You can also find structures that use a combination of all three. When choosing a pergola, think about how the material will look alongside the landscaping and architecture of your home. 

  • Metal: These have a modern look and are usually treated to prevent rust. Metal pergolas are affordable, durable and usually require little maintenance, but they lack the warm, classic appearance of a wooden pergola. 
  • Wood: These have a timeless and rustic look, and can usually be stained or painted any color you’d like. One disadvantage of wood is that it can develop mildew if you live in a region with high humidity. 
  • Vinyl: These are durable and require little maintenance, but you’ll have far fewer color choices since they’re almost exclusively white. These pergolas are often recommended for people who live in an area with extreme temperatures. 

Design

The vast majority of pergolas are rectangular with a gable or flat lattice roof. Many people train creeping vines to grow up the sides and through the latticework, creating an inviting, natural look. Some pergolas are cladded with cloth or plastic to offer shade, while others have adjustable louvers that let you control the amount of sunlight you let in. Whether you choose a modern or traditional design, make sure the structure blends in with existing patio furniture, tiling and yard decor. 

What to look for in a quality pergola

Dimensions

Size is important when shopping for a pergola. Begin by thinking about where you plan to place it. A pergola should be positioned on flat, level ground with the rafters facing north and south to maximize shade. Most pergolas are around 6-15 feet deep and wide. A smaller size is probably sufficient if you just want to place a couple of chairs under it, but look for something bigger if you plan on entertaining guests. 

Durability

If you want your pergola to stand the test of time, look for one that’s sturdy and treated to resist water damage, corrosion, rust and ultraviolet rays. Some pergolas have heavy-duty frames and ground stakes to keep them stable and secure, even during high winds. People who live near the ocean may want a pergola designed to withstand a constant salty breeze. You can also choose one with a warranty. Many manufacturers offer 10- to 20-year warranties so you can buy with greater confidence. 

How much you can expect to spend on a pergola

The cost of a pergola depends mostly on its size and how it was made. Metal structures are generally the most affordable, costing around $300-$700, while vinyl and wooden pergolas are typically around $1,000-$3,000. 

Pergola FAQ

Are pergolas difficult to assemble? 

tool kit

A. All pergolas require some assembly, but it can usually be accomplished with a simple tool kit and a well-written instruction manual. The assembly is fairly easy, but you’ll need help raising the structure and handling the large components. 

Do pergolas add value to a home? 

A. A high-quality pergola can add value, and they’re cheaper and easier to install than a patio or deck. Although the exact amount of added value varies, it usually depends on the structure’s orientation and design. 

What’s the best pergola to buy?

Top pergola

Vita Avalon Vinyl Pergola

Vita Avalon Vinyl Pergola

What you need to know: This square pergola is durable, weather-resistant and comes with an adjustable louver system. 

What you’ll love: It’s UV-resistant and measures 10 feet by 10 feet. The louver shades are adjustable for shade and privacy, and the structure is backed by a 20-year warranty with a separate 5-year warranty for the louvers. 

What you should consider: It’s relatively expensive and the louver shades can be tricky for some people to adjust. 

Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair

Top pergola for the money

Purple Leaf Retractable Patio Pergola

Purple Leaf Retractable Patio Pergola 

What you need to know: This affordable structure is made from aluminum with a polyester canopy. 

What you’ll love: This pergola is available in three sizes with four color options for the canopy. The aluminum frame is powder-coated to resist rust and UV rays, and the canopy is retractable so you can adjust the shade depending on the sun’s position. 

What you should consider: Assembly can be difficult, and some users question its stability during high winds. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

U-Max Wooden Outdoor Pergola

U-Max Wooden Outdoor Pergola 

What you need to know: This rot-resistant pergola boasts a classic design and comes with a waterproof varnish. 

What you’ll love: This versatile structure is fade-resistant, with hardwood construction that’s sturdy and attractive. Its classic trellis design lets you customize it with string lights or vines.  

What you should consider: The assembly instructions are unclear and difficult to follow, so you may need professional help with the installation.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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