*** What is the best Pop-Up ***
Otter would be my first choice because they are proven year after year to be the most durable and they put a lot of thought into the design. My second would be the Eskimo hubs. I may be biased because I’ve been running Otter now for about 20 years and really only upgrade because I find my needs changing or in some cases the thermal was too good to not go to. The Eskimo shacks have really stepped their game up. I’ve fished out of them a few times and can’t really say anything negative about them. They are really well made. The one I would avoid is Clam, they make too many models now and the quality has dropped over the last few years in my opinion.
I have the Shappell Wide House 6500 and I love it. When I shopped around before I got mine several years ago, I felt that the Shappell had the thickest, highest quality shell. They use 600-denier polyester. Eskimo and others use 300-denier. The window locations on Clams are terrible if you are tip up fishing. They are two high when sitting and two low when you stand. And the Shappell was the cheapest when I bought and I think it is slightly bigger than the 949.
I have an Eskimo 949i. Upgraded from the 747i version. I haven't used it yet, but I can say this...if you are getting a pop up, get the insulated one. You will stay much warmer and drier.
I popped mine up, on the lawn. Took all of about 30 seconds to pop it up. Can't imagine the anchors are any more difficult to put into the ice than the 747i version. But...I do take the Milwaukee Electric drill with me, so that becomes very easy.
Eskimo came out with the Outbreak 450i this year. It is an insulated house that started out as a 949, they added a 5th small panel to the roof that starts as a V and ends at the walls about 36". This is all door that goes all the way to the ice. There is no fabric in a D shaped door to trip on when you walk in. Allows you walk in very easily, no material for kids, older folks or us fat guys to trip on. Well worth a look.