Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Do you like outdoor parties and are looking for a way to protect your guests from the sun and rain? Then you should definitely take a closer look at party tents. Unlike a conventional garden pavilion, a party tent offers a lot of space for your guests. But what are the different types? Which criteria are particularly important?

In our party tent test 2021, we present the best and most popular tents from various categories in more detail. We also give you important information and helpful tips on how to set up your party tent. Whether you are looking for a square, rectangular, hexagonal, large or small party tent, you will find the best party tents on the market.




Summary

  • Party tents look great at any (barbecue) party. They can provide sun-proof shelter for your guests, but they are also different from an ordinary garden pavilion.
  • The tarpaulin of the party tents is extremely important. A distinction is made between the two materials PE and PVC.
  • The tents that are equipped with a PVC tarpaulin are particularly robust and also weatherproof, although they are somewhat more expensive than other party tents with PE tarpaulins.

The Best Party Tent: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a party tent

Before you buy a party tent, there are many questions you should deal with:

How much does a party tent cost?

As with most products, the price range is very high. Small gazebos (e.g. 3×2) can be had for as little as 50 euros, while larger ones can cost more than 1000 euros.

As is so often the case, there are no upper limits. You can easily spend more than 15,000 euros on a huge professional tent. However, this is hardly worthwhile for private individuals, but rather for large organisers of events such as the Oktoberfest.

What are the advantages of the party tent?

In general, it can be said that setting up a party tent has a very positive effect on every party.

Party tents can be used in many different areas, including trade fairs and flea markets. They provide sun protection as well as wind and rain protection for the guests.

So you no longer have to worry about the weather at your next birthday party. In addition, the tent adds to the atmosphere at any party, as people don't want to spread out in a huge field, but all stay in the party tent.

Especially with smaller pavilions, with dimensions like 3×3 or 3×4.5 metres, the transport is extremely easy and the set-up can be done quickly. You can also set it up spontaneously, for example, if there is a sudden change in the weather.

In addition to rectangular party tents, there are also hexagonal tents.

The party tent is extremely versatile. Whether for dining with tables and chairs and a buffet set up, or for dancing in the tent. Everything is possible!

Buying a party tent also saves a lot of time when preparing for a party afterwards. If the party takes place in the house or in the flat, it is very tedious to clean up everything again and to clean the floors. With a party in a tent, you have the buffet around the tent, for example, and your guests can reach it quickly.

All in all, using a party tent is extremely practical for the host and the guests.

Buy or rent a party tent?

Many people ask themselves whether it makes sense to rent a party tent or to buy one. Here you have to weigh up what you want to use the party tent for and how often.

If you need a party tent to hold a party with 50 people every 3-5 years, you should ask yourself whether it really pays to buy one. In this case, the answer is rather no.

If you are going to use a party tent frequently, it makes more sense to buy one than to rent one, because it will pay off more.

The silver bullet may be to share the tent with family friends, and then use the tent at several parties. This way, the price for each individual is lower and the party tent is used more often. If you own a marquee, you can of course rent or lend it out to people you know.

Where are party tents most often used?

As already mentioned, party tents are very versatile and can be used at almost any event. Examples of this are:

  • Fairs
  • Flea markets
  • Wedding parties
  • Birthdays
  • Communion / Confirmation
  • Barbecue parties
  • Gastro
  • Large events
  • Storage
  • Kitchen tents

Especially in the private sector, party tents can be used for any celebration, as they can be set up and taken down again relatively quickly. If the space in the flat or house is not sufficient for the number of visitors, the party tent in the garden is a good alternative.

Did you know that the royals in England also celebrate in party tents?

As there are many garden parties in the garden of Buckingham Palace (and usually with a guest number of around 6,000 people), tents are of course also used here to protect the guests from wind and weather.

Since party tents make you independent of the weather, they can be used for any party.

Especially at large events, tents in the form of festival/beer tents are always present. Due to the limited space, there is always a good atmosphere.

But tents are also very popular for storing products. However, they are usually huge and not as visually appealing. In addition, these tents are not as mobile and are not erected and dismantled as frequently.

What alternatives are there?

If you want to organise a party, there are three alternatives:

  • Alternative 1: You could celebrate in your house or flat. There you are independent of the weather and have chosen a cosy location for your party. But there might be some problems:
  • The space in your house or flat might not be enough for the number of people.
  • You could spend a long time cleaning the next day.
  • The people will be spread out over several areas.
  • Alternative 2: You could rent a room. You choose a room of your choice and invite your guests there. Everything is arranged and you don't have to worry about anything. But there are some problems with this too:
  • The price of the rental could be expensive.
  • You might have to book the catering and you are not flexible.
  • Alternative 3: You could celebrate in the garden without a tent. It doesn't take much time to clean up and celebrating in the garden is cheap. The problems with celebrating in the garden are:
  • You are dependent on the weather and offer neither sun nor rain protection to your guests.
  • Maybe the garden is not big enough.

What do you need to consider when buying?

The most important thing when buying a party tent is to weigh up whether it is worth buying the party tent or whether you would rather choose an alternative. These questions will certainly help you.

There are a few things to consider when buying a party tent to ensure that it serves its purpose and justifies the price paid.

Do I need the party tent often enough to justify the purchase?

Is renting an alternative?

Do I need a professional product or is a rather simple tent enough for me?

Will there be enough room in the tent for all the people I want to invite?

Do I have room in the tent for a buffet, music boxes, etc.?

Party tents are available in many different sizes, from mini tents with a footprint of 2×3 metres to large folk festival tents. (Photo: stux / pixabay.com)

Did you know that the largest Oktoberfest tent has almost 8500 seats?

It is the so-called "Winzerer Fähndl" tent. Inside, almost 8450 people can find a seat and drink their Maß. Outside there are another 2450 seats.

Decision: What types of party tents are there and which is the right one for you?

When answering this question, you first need to be clear about what you need the party tent for. In the following section, we explain the different criteria and how you can find out which tent suits you best.

Pavilions and party tents are available in many different designs. You are sure to find a party tent that is perfect for your next party.

What size should the party tent be?

Party tents come in almost every size; from the 3 x 2 metre mini tent to the beer tents at the Oktoberfest, there is something for everyone.

The tents come in many different sizes:

For example:

  • 3×6 metres
  • 4×4 metres
  • 6×8 metres
  • 4×10 metres
  • And so on..

It is important to know how many guests you want to have the party with. Should it be a cosy family celebration in the garden or a big party with more than 50 people?

It also depends on whether the guests will be standing or sitting. If the guests are standing, you can fit many more people into a relatively small tent than if you want to set up beer tent sets, for example.

To calculate this, you can calculate half a square metre of space for a standing person, and almost double that for a person sitting at a table, approximately one square metre per person.

Example: A party tent measuring 3×6 metres, 18 square metres, will fit around 36 people standing up, but only around 20 people sitting at beer table sets.

If you still run out of space, you may be able to extend the space around the tent.

All in all, you need to be clear about what you want to use your party tent for and how much space you need. However, the footprint should not be too small so that all guests have enough space to celebrate.

What material is the party tent made of and what features does it have? Do I choose the basic tent or the premium product?

A distinction is generally made between two types of party tents: The PE tent and the PVC tent.

We will now briefly explain the difference between the two materials.

PE tents are the simpler version and therefore not as durable, but cheaper to buy.

Advantages
  • Sufficiently suitable for summer
  • ideal for less frequent use
  • easy to use
  • waterproof
  • inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Cannot be used all year round
  • not completely weatherproof
  • smoking and barbecuing in the tent are not possible
  • not as stable as the PVC tent

PVC tents are more robust and durable than PE tents. However, PVC tents are significantly more expensive than PE tents.

Advantages
  • Well suited for the whole year
  • optimal for more frequent use
  • weatherproof
  • tarpaulin comparable to that of a truck ->
  • extremely resistant
  • material is fire-retardant
Disadvantages
  • heavier than the PE tent
  • expensive

In the end, it's up to you which material you choose. Either the cheap version, the PE tent, which is completely sufficient for sporadic use and works well in summer, or the robust, more expensive version, the PVC tent, which can be a wonderful investment for frequent use.

What does the marquee look like?

There are also some differences in the appearance of the tents. Basically, there is something for everyone here too. The most common shapes of party tents are..

...square

...hexagonal

...rectangular

... whereby the hexagonal party tents are best suited for dancing, the rectangular tents are more suitable for setting up a buffet or seating on one side.

A rectangular party tent can also be equipped with beer tent sets, where guests can drink and celebrate together at long tables.

Square tents tend to be smaller in size and are therefore suitable for parties with smaller groups of friends or family.

When designing party tents, there are additional questions you should ask yourself in advance:

  • Should the beer tent have windows?
  • What colour should the tent be?
  • Should the tent be plain or unusual?

Although plain tents predominate, there are also unusual, fun designs for your party tent.

If you want to impress your guests and are hosting an apres ski party, for example, you can also get a tent with a ski lodge look.

In the end, however, it all depends on you and your ideas of how you would like to impress your guests.

Some marquees can be connected to each other via scaffolding and tarpaulins and can thus be adapted to the required size. (Photo: Antranias / pixabay.com)

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate party tents based on these factors

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate party tents. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular tent is suitable for you or not.

  • Size / dimensions of the party tents
  • Material of the tarpaulins of the party tent
  • Weight of the party tents
  • Ease of erection of the party tents / pavilions
  • Design
  • Extra equipment
  • Size/ dimensions of the party tents

It is of course very important to compare the size of the party tents, you should know in advance what size the party tent needs to be so that there is enough space in the party tent for guests and things like tables or a buffet.

If you buy a folding marquee, there is room for about 10-12 people sitting on 3 x 3 metres, whereas a larger marquee measuring 4 x 8 will fit around 30-35 people sitting.

In general, however, the larger the tent, the more space it requires for storage.

Party tent type space required
Folding pavilion rather little
6-corner party tent medium
Party tent with PE tarpaulin medium to much
Party tent with PVC tarpaulin much

A folding pavilion is easy to fold up and can therefore be stored even if space is limited - for example in the cellar. A larger PE or PVC marquee needs more space and you need to be clear about whether you have enough room for storage.

Material of the tarpaulins of the party tent:

Party tents are divided into 4 different types:

  1. Pavilions without side panels
  2. Pavilions with side panels
  3. Party tents with PE tarpaulin
  4. Party tents with PVC tarpaulin

Pavilions without sides have a roof, but this is usually not waterproof, or only water-repellent. So if you want to be on the safe side and not get wet, only this roof is not enough. They are therefore only suitable in good weather, and in the event of a sudden change in the weather, you're screwed.

Pavilions with side panels, on the other hand, offer the possibility of closing the tent completely. However, even these simple side parts are not waterproof in most cases, and not particularly robust.

Party tents with PE tarpaulin are super suitable for the summer and are generally also waterproof, but are rather unsuitable in poorer weather conditions.

For private use, these PE tents are sufficient for most people because they are affordable. Those who want a professional tent should opt for a tent with PVC tarpaulin.

Party tents with PVC tarpaulin are suitable for the whole year, and are sometimes also used in the gastronomic sector. The tarpaulin is made of a particularly stable material, similar to a truck tarpaulin. This also makes barbecuing and smoking possible in these tents.

Weight of the party tents

The weight of your party tent depends on the dimensions, the poles and the material of the tarpaulin.

It is usually the case that higher quality tents weigh more than simpler products, as these tents are designed for higher loads and are therefore made of more robust material.

The weight of the party tents differs between the two materials PE and PVC as follows:

If you want to buy a party tent with less weight, a tent with PE tarpaulin makes the most sense. Reasons for this could be the transport and the erection of the tent.

If you don't care about the weight of your tent, you can also buy a tent with a PVC tarpaulin, which weighs considerably more than other tents.

Example: We compare two party tents with the same dimensions, 4×8 metres, one of which has a PE tarpaulin and the other a PVC tarpaulin. The PE tarpaulin of the first tent is made of a lighter material, weighing only 160 grams per square metre. The PVC tarpaulin of the second tent is made of a heavier material, which weighs 500 grams per square metre.

It is therefore possible that the difference in weight between two tents of the same size is enormous.

A PE tent with the same dimensions can weigh up to 20 kilos less than the PVC tent of the same size.

Type Weight
PE tarpaulin 100-250 grams per m²
PVC tarpaulin 500-600 grams per m²
Truck tarpaulin 600-700 grams per m²

Ease of erecting the party tents / pavilions

The effort required to erect the party tent is an important comparison factor among the different tents and contributes to the purchase selection.

If you want to erect a party tent on your own, in most cases your hands are tied.

However, there is a type of pavilion that allows you to do this:

The folding pavilion can be erected by just one person. You simply pull the corner poles away from each other and in a few minutes your party tent is up.

With larger marquees, this can be a little more difficult, because first a basic frame has to be erected and then the tarpaulin has to be pulled over it in the next step. Here, there is often a so-called floor frame that provides additional stability.

Here, too, the main difference lies in the tarpaulin. You need more people to pull the tarpaulin over a tent with a PVC tarpaulin than a tent with a PE tarpaulin, because the tarpaulin is simply heavier.

Design

It is also very important to compare the design of the tents, i.e. the colour and the shape of the tents, so that you are satisfied with the look of the tent and do not sell yourself.

With smaller gazebos, the choice of colours is relatively large, as these are mostly used for private use, so you can decide which tent suits you and your requirements / events best. Here you often have the choice between white, black, green, red, grey and blue.

With the larger party tents, which are more professionally built, this variation no longer exists to the same extent. Most larger tents, for example 4 x 8 metres, are only available in white and maybe one other colour. With these tents, quality is more important. The colour of the tent is not the focus here.

However, the design of the interior of your tent is ultimately more important than the exterior colour of your party tent.

In most cases, you can tell the shape of the party tents by their dimensions, i.e. a pavilion measuring 3 x 3 is square and a party tent measuring 4 x 6 is rectangular.

The only difference to the two "usual" tent shapes is the hexagonal party tent, which looks similar to a small circus tent.

Extra equipment

The extra features of the party tents are a point of comparison that may impress you a lot and tempt you to buy.

Extra features of the party tents can be, for example, side walls or windows.

All tents with PE or PVC tarpaulins usually have side walls, either removable or integrated into the tarpaulin.

However, if you want to buy a small gazebo for your garden, it is not always certain that the gazebo will have side walls. However, if you find a gazebo with side walls, this is an extra that might tempt you to buy it.

This is similar with the windows in the canvas:

If the tarpaulin of a party tent contains several windows, this is of course a great advantage for the product.

If this point is important to you, you should not choose folding pavilions, as they do not offer many / good windows due to the folding function.

Another potential extra feature of the tents is that they come with a carrying bag. Both tents with PE tarpaulins and tents with PVC tarpaulins include a carrying bag in which the individual elements can be transported and stored.

This is somewhat easier with folding pavilions, as the tent can be transported with the tarpaulin in the package.

Windows offer the decisive advantage that they let light into the room. This means that there is no need for additional lighting during the day.

Facts worth knowing about party tents

Finally, here are some facts worth knowing about party tents:

How do I make a party tent storm-proof?

It is very important to be able to keep your party tent stable in all weather conditions.

With the more expensive PVC party tents, it is very realistic that they are already storm-proof by nature.

With the cheaper versions and especially with smaller pavilions, they may threaten to fly away in a strong storm.

Sandbags that additionally stabilise the pavilion can help here.

Another solution can be the use of better ground anchors.

For stronger storms and winds, a storm safety kit is available for larger party tents. This includes additional tension straps and ground anchors.

Which heater should be used for the party tent?

In principle, you are extremely flexible when choosing a heater for your party tent.

The most popular way to heat your tent is certainly the radiant heater due to its high range.

In addition, there is even a party tent heater from the company Euromac.

Alternatively, oil heaters can also be used. However, these are mainly used for larger tents and heating with oil is of course relatively expensive.

What tools do I need?

It is difficult to generalise which tools are needed to erect party tents. This varies from tent to tent. The basic rule is:

The larger the tent, the more complex it is to erect and the more tools are needed.

Some party tents do not require any additional tools, but I would advise you to use a cordless screwdriver.

If you want to buy a very large party tent, you may also need a ladder.

Small folding gazebos are very easy to erect without the use of tools.

Image source: Pixabay.com / Antranias

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