Camping is fun and all, except for one thing: bugs. No matter where you set up camp, insects always seem to get in the way. If you don’t want to use a full tent when camping due to hot summer nights, or perhaps you just want to use it during the daytime, a screen house is a great alternative that will keep the bugs out.
We’ve reviewed several models for the best screen tent and explained what to look for when selecting one. If you’re in a hurry, our favorite screen tent is the Coleman Instant Screen House.
The following products are included for the best screen tent for 2021:
- Coleman Instant Screen House—Best Overall
- Coleman Screened Canopy Tent—Best for Space
- Quictent 10’x10’ Pop Up Canopy Tents Gazebo—Most Adjustable Height
- Alvantor Screen House—Widest Range of Sizes
- EasyGoProducts Screen Room—Most Budget-Friendly
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Reviews of the Best Screen Tent
Coleman Instant Screen House—Best Overall
The Coleman Instant Screen House is lightweight, weighing only about 18 pounds. But this doesn’t mean that it lacks in terms of space. This is a 15 x 13-foot screen tent with a center height of 7 feet tall, which means that it’s possible to stand upright inside the tent. However, note that the top is angled in a way that means that you lose about 12 inches of sitting or standing room on both sides of the tent.
With two large front doors, entering and exiting the tent is easy without having to hunch over. Note that the screen house doesn’t have a floor, however.
In terms of weather protection, the Coleman tent consists of UVGuard material that gives UPF 50+ sun protection. It also has a roof that gives shade to the tent and protects against light rain.
The poles in this tent are made from steel and are sturdy and durable, plus the ground stakes make sure that the canopy tent stays on the ground.
Also worth mentioning is the accompanying carry bag and the one-year limited warranty the company offers.
Users report that you can easily fit a larger picnic table for six people inside this Coleman tent and even have some room to move around it. People who use this tent on the beach have room for beach chairs, floaties, and much more.
Another appreciated feature is how light this tent is, which makes it easy to carry with you. Even though it doesn’t weigh much, the wind won’t move it since you can stake down your screen house securely.
This screen tent offers an extremely easy and quick set up. It only takes a few minutes with one or two people. This is an instant screen house, meaning that it basically pops up by itself.
The zippers are sturdy, according to customers, and they don’t get stuck. They have little ropes attached to them, so they’re easy to grab. Also, the added loop on the ceiling is a plus since you can hang a lamp there.
What the camping screen tent lacks the most is rain protection. It doesn’t have a floor, so dew and wet grass might be a problem, especially for overnight camping. There’s no rainfly or tarp that comes with this tent either, and the breathable mesh sidewalls let in lots of water in heavy rain.
Even though the sun protection from the roof is good, the shaded area is a little small. Some buyers wish that there were more vertical poles and fabric that could give the tent more rain and sun protection.
The Coleman Instant Screen House is one of the best screen tents out there. It’s lightweight, has plenty of space, and offers a quick set up. The materials are sturdy and durable, and with UPF 50+ protection, you won’t burn in the sun either. However, if you’re often camping in the rain, this isn’t the tent for you since it doesn’t have a tent floor or a rainfly.
Coleman Screened Canopy Tent—Best for Space
Here’s another Coleman screen tent that has a smaller floor area than the previous one on our list, at 12 x 10 feet. However, the straight wall design of the tent means that there’s more space vertically, and you can easily stand up and walk around inside this screened house with a center height of over 7 feet.
Another thing worth mentioning is the polyguard UVGuard UPF 50+ sun protection fabric. This is also a waterproof material, but keep in mind that the walls consisting of mesh net will still let rain inside the tent. These walls allow for the breeze to flow through the screen house, though. Also adding to the breathability are the two large doors, which give you access to the tent from two sides.
One cool item that comes with this set is the wheeled carrying bag that can be dragged along the ground, making it easier to transport on smooth surfaces. The tent is rather heavy, weighing 45.2 pounds, making it less appropriate to take out into the wilderness.
According to customers, you can walk around inside this screen house without having to bend over due to the straight wall design, which is something they really enjoy. Users also report that this design provides a lot of shade and protection underneath the canopy tent.
The screen is separate from the canopy, which means that you can use only the canopy as well. Buyers appreciate this when they simply want some sun or wind protection but don’t want to have the mesh net rolled down. You can take in the view better this way.
Since the canopy and screen are separate, there are small holes between them where both insects and water can enter. Users further state that the seams on the canopy aren’t sealed or taped, which causes more water to leak inside the tent when it’s raining.
While the Coleman screened canopy tent is sturdy at first, the sun may cause it to deteriorate after some time if you leave it outside a lot. Several users reported that their canopy became unusable after a couple of years when left out in the sun.
If you want to be able to walk around inside your screen house without bending over, the Coleman Screened Canopy Tent is for you. Its design makes it feel spacious even though the floor space isn’t the largest, and the canopy protects you well from the sun.
Quictent 10’x10’ Pop Up Canopy Tents Gazebo—Most Adjustable Height
This tent is a good fit for a family of four at 10 square feet. It’s available in beige, burgundy, royal blue, green, or tan, so you can pick the perfect style for your backyard. Its center height is 8.5 feet, so you can stand up comfortably inside the tent. The walk-in height is 6.6 feet, which is also pretty tall.
In terms of size, one great feature of the Quictent Gazebo is that you can adjust the center height and choose between 8.5, 8.2, or 7.9 feet. The height to the side can be adjusted to either 6.9, 6.6, or 6.3 feet. This way, you don’t worry about fitting the tent under a tall tree or adjusting it to accompany another tent.
This screen house uses waterproof fabric with a polyurethane coating. It’s also UPF 50+ sun protected. The seams are heat-sealed, which further keeps water from slipping into the tent. There’s no floor included with the tent, however, which allows water to come up from the ground into the screen house when it’s raining heavily.
The anti-corrosion steel frame is sturdy, and to make the canopy tent even sturdier, four sandbags, as well as several ropes and stakes, are included in the kit. Also included is a wheeled carry bag to make transportation a little easier.
Finally, this is an instant screen house that pops up instantly as you open the tent.
For the van camper, the adjustable height of this tent is much appreciated. You can adjust it to fit perfectly with your vehicle. With the quick-release buttons equipped on the legs, it’s a breeze to change the height as well as fold it down.
One pro with this screen house is that the mesh net is one piece, not four separate walls. This prevents bugs from entering the tent since there are no holes or similar that they can get through. The velcro straps you attach to the canopy are also one piece to prevent insect invasions. Users agree that insects have a difficult time reaching them inside the mesh walls.
You can separate the net from the canopy in this tent, which makes it possible to only use the canopy for shade. Without the net during less insect-filled days, you have a clearer view of your surroundings.
Buyers report that the weighted sandbags keep the tent sturdy on the ground, even in windy weather. However, the material seems to be not of the highest quality, and the plastic stakes seem flimsy. Customers also state that the screen is rather thin.
Note that several users who have had manufacturing problems report that they’ve been sent replacement parts free of cost.
If you want to camp with several tents and make sure your screen house fits perfectly into the other, or perhaps if you’re camping in a van, it’s a good idea to go for this tent that’s height-adjustable. It also has waterproof fabric that further protects against the sun. But the material is on the cheaper side, and this screen tent doesn’t have the sturdiest frame out there.
Alvantor Screen House—Widest Range of Sizes
The Alvantor Screen House comes in four sizes: 6 x 6 feet, 10 x 10 feet, 12 x 12 feet, and 15 x 15 feet. Whether you have a large family or would like to use it for date night in the garden, you can find an appropriate size for you with this product. The largest size weighs 26.5 pounds, while the smallest one is 9 pounds heavy.
The tent frame of this screen house consists of lightweight fiberglass. These open automatically when you fold out the tent due to the instant screen house design.
As for fabric materials, the walls are mesh, and the fabric top has UPF 50+ protection, but it’s not waterproof. Other features to keep the tent stable in the wind include four sandbags, metal stakes, and guylines. To summarize, the tent protects well against the sun and stays still in the wind but doesn’t keep water out.
Buyers love how easy this screen house is to assemble. It pops up by itself, and you only need to slightly adjust the frame and fabric for the tent to stand straight. With the help of the guylines, stakes, and sandbags, users report that it barely moves in the wind.
It’s also easy to carry since all four models are lightweight, and even seniors state that they don’t have any problems walking around with the carrying bag in hand.
Naturally, people also like the large size of this tent, especially the largest version measuring 15 square feet. It can fit eight people sitting down for dinner, and the mesh net easily fits over a picnic table or two. Even the smaller sizes have a tall ceiling, so you don’t have to stay hunched over inside the tent.
The tent isn’t waterproof, however, and won’t protect you against rainfall. However, users state that the fiberglass poles bend by design when the roof gets heavy due to downpours and the water falls off.
Some customers have noted that this isn’t the most appropriate tent for desert camping since the stakes and ropes don’t stay put in the sand.
If you’re looking for a smaller tent that can fit one person or a large screen room to host more than six people, go for the Alvantor Screen House. It’s lightweight and stays put in the forest or in your backyard. For desert campers, however, it’s not the best tent since the stakes and ropes don’t do so well in the sand.
EasyGoProducts Screen Room—Most Budget-Friendly
This is the most affordable screen tent on our list. Even so, it’s one of the few camping screen houses that come with a floor as well. The floor is made of PVC plastic that keeps moisture out of your tent, as well as ants and other creepy crawlies.
As for size, this is a tent that suits a family of four with ease, measuring 10 square feet. It’s almost 7 feet high, so you can stand inside this tent as well. However, note that the EasyGoProducts tent doesn’t come with a tent frame or canopy.
The screen house has one door, so it only allows you to enter and exit from one side. However, it has an upside-down T-shaped zipper, so it can open up as a double door for easier entry.
Finally, a carry bag is included in this kit which is a plus for portability.
While this is the cheapest product on our list, only mesh walls, a ceiling, and a PVC floor are included, so you’ll have to buy the rest separately unless you have a frame and canopy already.
Most users state that this screen room fits well size-wise with their existing 10 square feet canopy, but you need to make sure that your frame is these measurements. It’s reportedly easy to assemble and hook onto your frame. However, some customers state that it doesn’t stick properly to the canopy and that you’ll benefit from adding some velcro.
The most appreciated feature with the EasyGoProducts Screen Room is that it has a proper tent floor that keeps bugs out better than many of its competitors. But customers can’t evaluate the sun, rain, or wind protection properly since this will be dependent on the frame and canopy you already have.
Some buyers complain that the metal zippers erode easily and probably aren’t stainless steel. Also, the fabric seems to deteriorate over time due to UV light exposure.
If you already have a canopy or gazebo tent and are simply looking for a mesh net and screen room to protect against bugs, this is a great buy for a low price. Otherwise, you should probably go for one of the other ready-to-use products on our list.
Screen Tents vs. Regular Tents
Are you deciding between a screen house and a normal tent? Consider these key differences.
While a normal tent gives you more privacy by enclosing you with fabric on all sides, screen tents have walls made of transparent mesh fabric that keep bugs out but still allow you to view your surroundings. It’s essentially a question of privacy vs. openness.
Screen tents are also more breathable since air can flow through the mesh net freely. But regular tents tend to protect against water and wind better since they have a more shielded design. Many mesh houses come without floors as well, while a tent floor is standard with a regular tent.
What To Consider When Buying a Screen Tent
Naturally, the best screen house for you depends on your needs and how you’re going to use the tent. Consider the following:
Level of Protection
All screen houses provide more or less protection from insects, but you should consider how much shelter they give from the rain and protection from the sun.
The best screen houses maintain breathability and airy but also have a roof that provides some shade and is waterproof. Also, look for side panels that can protect against rain as well as sunshine.
Size and Weight
Consider how many people are likely to spend time in your screen tent. For a family of four, look for a tent that’s made for five or six people to avoid feeling cramped. Always go a size up when family camping.
A 6-person screen house shouldn’t weigh more than 40 pounds. Also, the best screen houses are between 7 and 8.5 feet tall and allow you to stand upright inside them.
For those who want to go backpacking and use the screen tent to sleep under the stars, going for a larger size might not be ideal, however. Since you’ll be carrying the tent along with other gear, you want it to be lightweight and portable so it should be easy to roll up and not take too much space. The best screen tents also come with an accompanying carry bag.
No one wants to spend an hour or more setting up their tent. These days, there are screen tents that have instant setup due to their pop-up frames. Note that these are usually longer when packed up and take more space, however, so they might not be ideal for mountain hikers.
Screen houses have a mesh net that protects you against insects but usually not much else. However, they keep air flowing through the tent to prevent a build-up of heat or humidity. For tent roofs and side panels, look for polyester and polyurethane that are lightweight and water-resistant. Make sure your fabric has UV protection as well; otherwise, the sun will degrade the material over time.
Also, consider the material of the frame and make sure it’s both sturdy and lightweight. Your best bet here is to go for aluminum, but note that it tends to be pricey. Another common component is steel that’s durable and strong, but not as light. The cheapest option is probably lightweight fiberglass, but this is a type of plastic and isn’t that durable.
Doors, Walls, and Floors
Many screen tents come without floors, so you can easily pop them over a picnic table or similar. However, to keep your tent completely bug-proof and protect from dewy grass in the mornings, invest in a screen house with a floor. Note that a floor will make your tent heavier, though.
Doors and walls that can be closed also protect against bugs better since an open hole in the mesh net will allow insects to sneak inside much easier.
And the Winner Is…
Now you know that the best screen houses should have lots of space, protect against bugs, be lightweight, and resist water, sun, and wind. One product that does all of this is the Coleman Instant Screenhouse, which is why it’s our pick for the best screen tent.
It provides a lot of space compared to many competitors but is still light enough to carry when backpacking. It stays put even during howling winds, and it even has UPF 50+ sun protection. According to users, the quick set up is easy.
If you’re looking for waterproof screen houses, however, go for the Quictent 10’x10’ Pop Up Canopy Tents Gazebo. This screen house also gives you the option to adjust its height to match other tents or perhaps a van you’re sleeping in. It’s also an instant screen house.
But which screen house on our list is your favorite?