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Carport vs. Garage: How to Choose the Best Option for You

The main difference between a carport and a garage is the structure. Carports have at least two open sides, while garages are fully enclosed with a door.

Garage vs carport.

Carports and garages are both popular choices for protecting vehicles, equipment, and other valuables from sun damage and other elements. However, there are major differences between the two, and each option has pros and cons depending on your needs. If you’re unsure what choice is best, this carport vs. garage comparison guide can help you make the right decision.

Key Differences between Carports and Garages

A carport is a covered structure used to provide shelter for vehicles. Carports are typically open-air with just a roof and no walls, although some are partially enclosed. Some carport types are permanent attachments to the home, while others are freestanding in front of the home or on another area of the property. As for cost, a quality carport made of steel can start as low as $1,295.

A garage, on the other hand, is a fully enclosed structure with four walls and a garage door. While many garages are often attached to homes, detached garages are also popular.

As for the cost of a garage, a general detached one-car garage costs $5,500–$16,800, and a detached two-car garage costs $6,500–$28,000. That said, prices ultimately depend on factors such as size, materials, and more. In general, garages are considerably more expensive to build and install than carports since they require more time and materials to build but provide more protection and security for vehicles than carports.

Carports: Pros and Cons

A carport is a reliable parking solution, providing shade for outdoor activities and more. There are also many ways to design a carport, including the option of converting it to a garage later. On the other hand, the open space can leave vehicles more vulnerable to theft and damage. Here are other benefits and drawbacks to consider when buying or building a carport:

More affordable option for vehicle shelterNo built-in security (you will need to add carport security features)
Easier installation process with minimal construction requiredIncludes little-to-no storage space
Open design allows for better ventilationAdds less value to a property compared to a garage
Better for tight spacesOffers less protection from severe weather

Garages: Pros and Cons

Unlike carports, you can convert a garage into a workshop, office, or additional living area. However, since garages are enclosed and typically not insulated, it’s more challenging to ventilate them.

Here are more advantages and considerations to know before installing a garage.

Provides enhanced protection against weather and elementsRequires a larger financial investment
Offers greater security with garage doors and fully enclosed wallsConstruction takes longer
Can significantly increase property valueGarages tend to get cluttered up fast without careful organization
Can provide ample space for storage, work, and livingHas no ventilation unless doors and windows are open

Carports vs. Garage: 9 Factors to Consider

Carports and garages differ in visual appeal, cost to build, shelter, ease of installation, and permits required. Let’s look at each of these differences and break down how each makes a carport different from a garage.

carport vs garage comparison chart

1. Appearance

It’s important to consider the appearance of your home when deciding between a carport or a garage. Carports provide excellent cover for the vehicles and equipment you park or store inside them, and many creative carport styles look beautiful. However, it may be easier to design a garage that complements your home’s style.

You can make sure that the walls and trim of the garage match the colors of your home to create a more pleasing overall appearance and greater curb appeal. You are still able to match the roof and trim of a carport to your home’s color.

Most visual design options: Garage

2. Cost

On average, carports cost significantly less than garages since they require fewer materials to construct. Garages will cost more due to the addition of walls, doors, and windows. If the price point of your new carport or garage is a critical factor, a carport might be the better solution for your needs.

No matter what your deciding factors are, metal carports and garages from Alan’s Factory Outlet give you the lowest possible price without sacrificing quality.

More affordable: Carport

3. Security

A garage is enclosed, while a carport is an open-air structure. Because of these differences, a garage is a better choice for protecting any vehicles and/or equipment you choose to park or store within it. 

You can also lock up a garage to keep your property safe from theft, while a carport remains exposed. While you can add security to your carport, it will never provide as much security as a garage does unless you decide to fully enclose it.

More protection from theft: Garage

4. Use Cases

In terms of utility, carports offer versatile parking and storage options beyond just vehicles. They can shelter RVs, boats, and equipment, and be built to include storage space. Both carports and garages can be customized with shelving units for organized storage.

A workshop area in a garage with a workbench, storage containers, and hanging tools

Because of their size, garages provide greater storage space for tools, seasonal items, and recreational gear. Garages can also serve as an additional living space like a gymgame room, or office, and incorporate a workshop for crafts, hobbies, and interests.

More use cases: Garage

5. Installation

Carports are usually much easier to install than garages. No matter the carport’s size, they’re far more lightweight and can usually be constructed and secured by a professional crew within just a few hours. On the other hand, garages can be a bit more complicated and time-consuming to build.

If installation worries you, you’re in luck. Any type of metal building purchased from Alan’s Factory Outlet includes free delivery and installation to take care of the hard part. 

Easier and quicker to install: Carport

6. Weather Resistance

Both carports and garages provide sturdy shelter for vehicles and other valuables. However, garage walls provide more protection from natural elements like snow, wind, and rain. 

If you live in an area that experiences severe storms and high winds, you’ll have to take extra measures to anchor your carport to the ground. Factor in the seasonal weather of your location in deciding which option between carport vs. garage offers the protection you need.

More protection from weather: Garage

7. Permits and Regulations

Whenever you add a new structure to your property, it’s a good idea to check with your local planning department to find out whether you need any permits. The answer will differ depending on where you live and the city or county’s specific requirements, building codes, and permit process. Compliance with building codes ensures structural safety and prevents penalties. 

It’s more likely that you’ll need a permit to add a full garage, but you may need one for a carport as well. Check with your local government officials before deciding on one structure over the other, as this could end up influencing your decision. 

Fewer permits required: Carport

8. Property Value

For many homeowners, the installation of a carport or garage provides immediate benefits while enhancing long-term property value.

The addition of a garage can significantly increase a property’s value because of its security, extra square footage, and appearance as a building. Homebuyers often see secure, enclosed parking spaces as desirable features in real estate listings.

More potential added value: Garage

9. Ventilation

If ventilation isn’t a crucial factor for you, a garage could fit your needs. You can still ventilate a garage by opening the doors and optional windows, but the inside won’t ventilate fully when everything is closed.

A partially enclosed metal carport with a truck and a fifth wheel parked inside

A carport is different from a garage because it’s completely open. Carports are naturally ventilated and great places to catch a cool breeze. If your car ever needs to idle or you want an open space to hang out, you might want to check out our customizable carports. 

More ventilation: Carport

How to Decide Which Option Is Best

Carports and garages both offer unique value depending on your needs. Budget-wise, a carport may be more appealing than an expensive garage build. If you’re just looking for reliable shelter for a vehicle or two, and prefer speed and ease of installation, buying a carport may well suit your needs. 

However, if storage, security, and appearance are more important to you, you’ll likely want to choose a garage for your property. It may also be the better option if your location gets high winds, heavy storms, and other severe weather.


Carport or Garage, We’ve Got You Covered

Whichever option you choose, you’ll get unbeatable factory-direct prices and outstanding customer service when you shop at Alan’s Factory Outlet. We sell high-quality metal carports and garages, both of which can be customized to match your precise needs and design preferences. In addition, various color options are available to complement your home’s exterior.

Use our convenient 3D design tool below to customize and order your carport or garage, and we’ll deliver and install the structure for free. 

Profile picture of Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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