Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 9:56 am.

What is the best tarp? We tried out 10 different tarps designed for various uses: camping tent floors, shelter from weather or just covering a boat, car or roof in an emergency. We compared durability, waterproofing and value. Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from brands we review—that keeps our work independent! Our reviews are 100% reader-supported!


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Best Budget-Friendly Tarp

Great for use as drop cloth
This all-purpose blue tarp is our go-to for most household uses: protection from the weather, as a temporary ground cover for outdoor fun, etc. 8x10 size, lots of grommets so it can be hung up.
$7.50

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Best Budget-Friendly Tarp: B-Air Grizzly Tarps

Let’s talk tarps!

When it comes to kids, families and the home, having a few tarps handy is a must. We tested out tarps as drop clothes, as a makeshift bed liner in a SUV or just outside to go under a pool.

Of course, there are other more serious uses for tarps: as shelter from the weather during camping or for emergency use to keep water from damaging a vehicle or roof.

For this article, our goal is to recommend tarps for various uses.

Let’s start with a budget-friendly tarp that is perfect for light duty use . . .  such as a drop cloth inside or outside the home. For this, we’ll recommend B-Air Grizzly Tarps. These blue woven tarps are sturdy and laminated for waterproofing. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Holds up well.

• Heat-sealed seams.

• Built-in aluminum grommets every 36″.

• Affordable.

• Lightweight at 1.4 lbs.

• Waterproof and mildew proof.

What Needs Work

• Best for short-term use. Yes, you can use this tarp to cover a boat or vehicle for a few days or weeks . . . but don’t expect it to survive an entire winter.

• Not great for windy applications. This tarp can provide shelter from light rain or wind. However, it can tear in high winds. To be fair, that’s true for many lightweight tarps. If you need something more heavy weight for camping, we’d suggest the next recommendation!

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Best Camping Tarp

Excellent for tent floor
We liked this tarp as the best bet to go under a tent. It's big enough for a 2-3 person tent, yet lightweight (.66 lbs.) and comes in a carry pouch. Waterproof, mildew proof and machine washable.
$19.99

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Best Camping Tarp: REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tarp

When you are setting a tent, a waterproof tent floor is a must. And after trying out several different options, we think the best bet for this use is REDCAMP’s Waterproof Camping Tarp. At 82″ x 82″, this tarp is sized well for a 2-3 person tent.

Here’s more on why this is a good bet:

What We Liked

 Lightweight at less than a pound (.66 lbs.).

• Machine washable.

• Comes with carry pouch.

• Waterproof.

• 210D ripstop material is well made.

• Waterproof.

• Mildew-proof.

• Grommets on each corner to stake it down. Grommets are rust-proof.

• Leak-proof, heat sealed and taped seams.

What Needs Work

• Better for tent floor than weather shelter. That’s because the small number of grommets make it less ideal to hang up.

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Best Weather Shelter Tarp

Great to cover outdoor furniture
When you need to protect expensive patio furniture from the elements, we'd go for this tarp. We liked the reinforced, plastic-capped corners and waterproof double-sided lamination.
$19.95 ($0.83 / oz)

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Best Weather Shelter Tarp: Sunnydaze 8×10 Heavy Duty Waterproof UV Resistant Tarp

For shelter from the weather, you need a tarp with lots of grommets—reinforced to handle rain and wind. After trying out various tarps that claim they are waterproof, we think Sunnydaze’s Heavy Duty tarp is the best quality for the buck.

What We Liked

• Grommets! There are 5 grommets on the 8′ foot size and 6 on the 10′ side.

• Lightweight at 1.5 lbs.

• 5 mil thick fabric made from polyethylene that’s laminated on both sides.

• Dark grey on one side, light grey on other.

• Solidly built.

• Resists rot, mildew, mold and UV.

• Excellent to cover outdoor appliances like grills.

What Needs Work

• Grommets can rip in high wind.

Best Heavy-Duty Tarp

Twice as thick, UV coated
When you need to protect expensive patio furniture from the elements, we'd go for this tarp. We liked the reinforced, plastic-capped corners and waterproof double-sided lamination.

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Best Heavy-Duty Tarp: 16×20 Multi-Purpose Silver/Brown Heavy Duty DRY TOP Poly Tarp

We love light-duty tarps as drop cloths and temporary protection against the weather.

But what if you need something more heavy-duty, designed to cover garden furniture or appliances and last through a winter? Or just a waterproof tarp that is thicker?

After trying out a few options, we think Dry Top’s tarps are the best heavy-duty waterproof tarps. Yes, these tarps are 10 mils thick—that’s twice as thick as the budget-friendly pick at the top of this article.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Dual lamination makes it waterproof.

• Heat-sealed seams.

• Sturdy! You really notice the thicker material used for this tarp.

• Corners are plastic-capped and reinforced.

• UV treated to avoid sun damage.

• Grommets on corners and every 18″ makes it easy to tie down a boat or grill.

What Needs Work

• Can be damaged in high winds. 

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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