A BBQ shelter is a three-in-one deal.
First off, its function is to protect your expensive BBQ grill from rain. It can double up as an arbour where your children can play games on a hot day. Finally, most BBQ shelters are so pretty they’re garden decor in their own right.
A Sad Story
So you bought a new BBQ grill and honed your already-impressive barbecuing skills. Now you’ve invited a few friends to dine al fresco in the moonlight, full well expecting to be complimented on your chateaubriand and shish kebabs. As your mingling guests savour the appetizing odours of grilling meats, much to your alarm you hear a couple of claps of thunder. The next minute a heavy downpour sends all your guests scurrying indoors with you in tow. An unexpected thunderstorm has put paid to your barbecue (and to the compliments you’d have got!) You feel so downcast you can barely call Domino’s.
But we don’t have to be pessimistic. Say you pulled off a successful barbecue dinner, kebabs, moonlight and all, (and pocketed all those compliments too) only for that epic thunderstorm to strike at 2 a.m., after close of festivities. You’re in your cozy bedroom but your new BBQ grill is out there in your garden, being pelted by rain – and there goes a few hundred quid down the drain!
You can preclude all such possibilities by heeding the Boy Scouts’ motto: ‘Be Prepared.’ Be prepared with a BBQ shelter that will protect your BBQ from inclement weather. And here, in our Rainswept Isles, if you own an outdoor barbecue a BBQ shelter is virtually a necessity. It will not only protect an outdoor BBQ, it is a piece of garden furniture in its own right. Furthermore, it provides an enclosed space for a few guests to stand, and incorporates bar-style tables and hanging baskets for convenience.
Thus, a BBQ shelter is not strictly a utilitarian purchase as it is also an element of outdoor decor. Be it a quaint wooden hut that is painted in pastel shades or a contemporary metal-framed structure in grey tones, a BBQ shelter lends its own brand of style to your front yard, patio, or deck. Many of them can do and do do double duty as arbours or sun shelters. Your S.O. will love to spend an afternoon inside one with a novel and a cool drink.
BBQ shelters vary on a number of factors, from price through materials to appearance and ‘look.’ Unlike a few other lifestyle accessories, it is difficult to classify BBQ shelters as ‘Best,’ or ‘Good,’ or ‘Poor.’ If the BBQ shelter does its job reasonably well – and most do – it’s a question of taste, of what’s right for you.
Last update on 2021-02-12 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
“Ooh, how charming!” “It’s so robust!” Compliments from all sides will be drawn by Rowlinson’s smartly-designed double-duty BBQ shelter cum arbour.
Rowlinson’s Party Arbour and BBQ shelter is a charming all-wood structure that is simple in design but unusually pretty with its curved roof especially appealing. The material is softwood that has undergone treatment for both fire-retardation and against fungal rot.
This one’s a versatile and multi-purpose shelter. The waist-high side walls are hinged. Simply raise them and engage the built-in support struts, and you have side tables on which to place your barbecued meats and sauces! At the rear of the shelter is a foldaway seat. Set it down and your better half can curl up with book on sunny day; set it back and you can roll in the BBQ grill in the evening. Thus, this shelter really is a two-in-one as stated in its name: ‘Party Arbour and BBQ Shelter.’ The latticework rear wall adds to the arbour effect.
Although constructed of wooden planks, the roof is very effective at keeping rain out. However, all four sides of this shelter are exposed and it has no cross-bars from which to hang protective sheets.
Though the roof overhang definitely helps to keep out rain, this shelter will not protect a BBQ grill during gusting, slanting rainstorms.
With a roof reminiscent of a Japanese pagoda, latticework as found in English country gardens, and thick posts and braces reminding one of cabins in America’s West, this BBQ shelter combines multiple design elements into a delightful coherent whole that will surely attract compliments from your guests. The principal attraction of Rowlinson’s shelter is its visual appeal and aesthetics.
A fair amount of assembly is required to put together the 15-plus pieces this shelter is delivered in, and this assembly is far from easy, particularly the roof. The instructions are just adequate and novices will find it rough going. We suggest that only skilled DIYers or professionals put it together.
Rowlinson’s BBQ shelter cum arbour is 181 centimetres wide by 129 centimetres deep, and 240 centimetres high. At 95 kilogrammes this one is definitely heavy. Besides heavy, it is solid and sturdy, and will stand firm in the wind and rain.
All said, Rowlinson’s entry edges the other very fine BBQ shelters reviewed here as our Best Pick. At the same time, in view of what you get at the price it is also a very good value for money.
- Combines diverse design elements and has really stunning visual appeal.
- Smartly designed so as to make it a purpose-made double-duty BBQ shelter and garden arbour.
- Though it is exceedingly pretty, it is also very robust and sturdy.
- Will not protect a BBQ during gusting, slanting rainstorms.
- Assembly is quite the chore and may defeat novices.
Sorora Milano’s shelter says ‘Minimalist Chic’ like no other but it is also very well finished and boasts thoughtful features, making it top value.
The clean, modern lines that distinguish Sorora’s sleek ‘Milano’ BBQ shelter are perfectly set off by its cool slate grey colour. It comprises of little more than four poles, a cross-beam, roof joists, and roof. Yes, there are two bar bar-style tables, one on either side. They are patterned with grate-like holes. The kit comes with a hanging rack for barbecue utensils and several ’S’ hooks which can be hung on the rear cross-beam.
The frame is made of powder-coated and weatherproof steel, and the roof is of PVC-based water-resistant and fire-retardant canvas that is also UV safe.
The circular bases of the posts have three holes so that the shelter can be bolted to the ground, if you so choose. The roof’s eyelets are reinforced with metal rings. Well-thought-out and useful touches like these belie this shelter’s low price point.
Unfortunately, there is no roof overhang and all four sides are fully exposed; as such, this shelter will not protect your BBQ grill when gusting rain falls diagonally. However, you could conceivably hang sheets of tarp, polypropylene, or such from the joists (or beams) so as to enclose the shelter.
Though the Sorora Milano requires a bit of assembly, putting together this one is easier than most others. The various pieces are keyed with letters and so are the fasteners. Moreover, the parts and components are well-machined and are precise to fine tolerances. Even if DIY isn’t your thing you won’t have too much trouble with this one.
This BBQ shelter is 265 centimetres wide by 150 centimetres deep. It is 240 centimetres high. At about 58 kilogrammes this shelter is lightweight. Yet, although it is so lightweight it will not move on a blustery day because it lacks vertical surfaces so there’s nothing for the wind to ‘catch.’
The Milano, though not a deluxe product, is genuinely very good but at its low price it’s simply a standout, and is a clear winner as our Value Pick.
Sorara provides a two-year warranty.
- Cool, sleek, modern, minimalist . . . you get the gist.
- Quite a few little useful features and helpful touches mean that it is designed with thought and care.
- Inexpensive to begin with, its overall quality makes it a real bargain.
- Those who like ornate or traditional styling will find it unsatisfying.
- No roof overhang and all four sides completely exposed.
Wide and heavy but also rustic and pretty, Anchorfast’s shelter of multiple charms is costly but the Swedish pine and slatted roof may win you over.
Cost: Price not available
Anchorfast’s ‘Exmouth’ BBQ shelter somehow combines two conflicting attributes. It is undeniably appealing and pretty in a rustic way, yet it is also sturdy, almost chunky. It has a functional roof, four posts, and fence with an unusual broad herring-bone pattern.
This shelter is made of tanalised Swedish Pine that has been weather-proofed and pressure-treated for extended life out in the open. The choice of Pine and the structure’s simple country-style design are a perfect match.
You could paint this BBQ shelter, after allowing it to weather for about 6 months, to lend more colour to your garden and also afford further protection and a sealant to the wood. Or you could stay with the natural beauty of light-hued pine – grain, texture, knots, and all which make your piece unique and distinct from all others.
The roof’s overlapping slats will keep out rain, even heavy rain, so long as it falls more or less vertically. However, if heavy winds blow rain at an angle, it will get into this BBQ shelter as all four sides are open. Furthermore, there are no cross-beams from which to hang plastic sheets or tarps.
Though clearly on the costly side, in spite of its high sticker price Anchorfast’s Exmouth BBQ shelter is a popular item and a brisk seller.
Putting together the Exmouth is not too difficult and assembly is relatively straightforward; however, big and heavy parts mean that you will appreciate the assistance of a helper. Assembly is made easier by virtue of the pre-drilled pilot holes which are precise and are even perfectly aligned with their respective counterparts.
The shelter is 200 centimetres wide by 124 centimetres deep, and it is 236.6 centimetres high. Clocking in at 100 kilogrammes, this is a very heavy BBQ shelter, and also a stable one, besides being one of the roomiest. Stiff, strong gusts of wind will not be able to budge it – and neither will you! If you intend to shift it, better have a couple of stout mates at the scene.
- A contradictory marvel: pretty rustic design, yet also sturdy and chunky in looks.
- Weather-proofed tanalised pine and the build quality are both in the top bracket.
- One of the widest and also the heaviest BBQ shelters, affording roominess and solidity.
- With no roof overhang and all four sides open, slanting diagonal rain will get in.
- Quite expensive.
Angel Living’s svelte and ultra-light ‘Urban Contemporary’ shelter features some winning touches like split roof, bar tables, and hanging basket.
Cost: Price not available
Angel Living’s airy BBQ shelter’s frame is made of aluminium and steel. The horizonal sections are made of aluminium tube and the posts are made of 25-millimetre steel tube. The roof is made of hard 6-millimetre polycarbonate with two steel ribs running cross-wise on each panel. It is powder-coated to ward off the sun and UV rays.
This BBQ shelter cries out, ‘Urban Contemporary’ with the mid-grey tones fully in keeping with the shelter’s looks. But it is not only aesthetically pleasing, it is also functional, and even intelligently designed: the split curved roof lets out smoke and lets in air yet keeps out rain. (Unless, by exceptional bad luck, it rains at just the wrong angle.) Then there are the two generously-sized steel bar-style counters, one on each side, on which you can place plates of steaks and kebabs. Up above is a handy-dandy hanging basket for sauces, seasonings, and utensils, plus three ‘S’ hooks.
No vertical protection means that gusting rain falling diagonally can enter this BBQ shelter and fall on your grill. However, the useful high cross-bars mean that you can put up curtain hooks and hang sheets of plastic or tarp, weigh them down, and pull them shut during windswept rains. Problem solved.
On the flip side, no vertical surfaces also means that though this BBQ shelter is ultra-light, the wind has nothing to ‘catch’ and so it will not stutter-step and slide away during high winds.
This BBQ shelter comes in quite a few parts and putting it together can pose a challenge to an inexperienced lone DIYer. However, the instruction sheet is helpful, and if you pull in a mate assembly will go much quicker. The pre-drilled holes align very well.
Angel Living’s BBQ shelter measures 245 x 150 centimetres and stands 230 centimetres high. This svelte kit is ultra-light and very portable at only 38.5 kilograms.
- The modern look is aesthetically pleasing but the little thoughtful features are even more pleasing.
- Very lightweight means a single person can move it, making it quite portable.
- Useful high cross-beams on all four sides can be used to hang tarp or such for vertical protection from windswept rain.
- Those who like ornate or traditional styling will find it unappealing.
- The steel and aluminium frame is made of hollow tube.
Forest Garden’s shelter radiates country-style charm and boasts pressure-treated timber; though some pieces are flawed, at the price it’s a steal.
Cost: Price not available
This all-wood BBQ shelter will lend a country effect to your suburban yard. Moreover, it has a high-end custom-built look about it. In sum, charm is the calling card of Forest Garden’s BBQ shelter. You could paint it in pastels to add a touch of colour to your garden or retain the rustic look of unpainted, natural wood with its unique grain and texture. This wood is a smooth-planed timber that has been pressure-treated with anti-fungal preservative to guard against rot.
The charming country effect of Forest Garden’s BBQ shelter is enhanced by its ‘fence’ which comprises of palings under a broad parapet. This parapet is wide enough to take plates of meats, glasses, and whatever else.
The classic-look laterally slanting roof with its overlapping slats will protect against normal rainfall. The manufacturer lays claim to ‘efficient ventilation’ and ‘clever roof vents’ but these are only crevices and gaps along the edges. Actually, such an open BBQ shelter is by design ‘vented’ all round! The downside is that the front and the back of this BBQ shelter are totally exposed and it has no cross-bars from which to hang protective sheets. As such, it will not protect a BBQ grill during gusting, slanting rain.
It is a pity that Forest Garden’s pretty-as-a-picture shelter can be of dicey quality. If you get a good set of pieces, you’ll be jumping for joy but you just may get a set in which one or even more of the wooden pieces are warped or mis-shapen and not finished correctly.
This BBQ shelter is delivered in 20-plus pieces alongwith helpful instructions. Novices will have a hard time putting it together; an experienced DIYer not so much. Assembly will be easier with a helper. Finally, ease or difficulty of assembly will depend on the luck of the draw; on whether you get a good kit or one with dodgy pieces. It is surely worth taking a chance on because for a good-sized wooden shelter it is economically priced.
This shelter is 182 centimetres wide by 116 centimetres deep and is 263 centimetres high.
- High-quality pressure-treated timber is not only long-lasting, it is pleasing in its own right.
- The overlapping roof slats and the parapet and palings suggest a custom-built structure.
- Will bring loads of country-style charm to the urban jungle.
- Some kits contain dodgy pieces that make assembly difficult or impact the shelter’s prettiness.
- Delivered in lots of pieces, and assembly is a bit more difficult than most.
Factors To Consider
Before you buy a BBQ shelter you should ask yourself a few questions. Initial considerations should include:–
- Will your BBQ shelter stay in one place? Or do you think you would like to move it from the back patio to the front garden, and back again? So will it be permanently-placed or should it be portable? The answer to this question will influence the overall size and weight of the shelter.
- How hot and sunny does it get in your neck of the woods? If it gets very hot and sunny, then if you buy a wooden BBQ shelter, its timber should be treated or coated to resist heat, sun, and UV rays.
- How frequently and how much does it rain where you live, and how humid or damp does it stay? If it rains a lot and rains frequently, or if the climate is humid and damp, then:–
- If you plump for a wooden BBQ shelter, its wood should be treated or coated for water-resistance, and for fungal rot.
- If you plump for a metal-framed BBQ shelter, be sure that the metal has an anti-rust coating and is corrosion-proof.
- How stiff a wind do you get in your region? If your BBQ shelter has vertical surfaces and it is not very heavy, strong winds will slide it along the ground or topple it over. In such circumstances you would have to bolt the BBQ shelter to the ground.
- Do you have an open-fire barbecue or one which is a fire hazard in some other respect? If so, you should steer clear of wooden shelters and go for metal and artificial material ones.
- What should be the coverage of the BBQ shelter? You need to have sufficient space for your BBQ grill plus a certain number of persons. How many persons would you like room for in the shelter? Two or ten?
- Is your BBQ shelter protected from all four sides? If not, the roof should have deep and steep overhangs or the shelter should have cross-poles just below the roof so that you can hang plastic or tarp sheets for protection during heavy, gusting rains.
- If the BBQ shelter is enclosed from the sides, does it have cleverly-designed vents in the roof through which smoke and fumes can escape but rainwater cannot enter?
- And why exactly do you need a BBQ shelter? If you barbecue but infrequently and you want to get a BBQ shelter more as a garden decor statement in a tony part of town, utility may not be your chief concern but style and aesthetics surely are. On the other hand, if you are an avid outdoor chef who doesn’t care two hoots for aesthetics but protecting your precious £££ BBQ grill is your paramount concern, then functional design is your main criterion. The takeaway is that you should be clear as to what your priorities are before you shop for a BBQ shelter.
Kersie learnt the basics of gardening as a toddler, courtesy of his grandfather. In his youth he was an active gardener with a preference for flowering plants. He is a professional and vocational writer and his freelance projects have spanned various kinds of writing.