Ultimate Patio Umbrella Buying Guide

Ultimate Patio Umbrella Buying Guide

This ultimate patio umbrella buying guide goes from top to bottom, with size, fabric, features, and more in-depth cover.

What is the best patio umbrella?

The answer is, it depends. There are many factors to think about before purchasing a patio umbrella. Modern architectural design involves a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces.

However, you may enjoy nature without sacrificing style or comfort with elaborately designed decks and lavish outdoor furniture. You’ll spend more and more time outside entertaining or relaxing poolside as spring and summer arrive. It’s critical to have enough shade to keep you and your guests cool and safe from the hot sun.

Patio umbrellas are a good option in place of more permanent construction. However, choosing the appropriate outdoor umbrella might be difficult. There are many factors to consider based on your home, environment, budget, and preference.

This article will assist you in gaining a deeper knowledge of patio umbrellas, their styles, materials, and characteristics. Sometimes, this knowledge will assist you in taking the uncertainty out of your purchase decision and allowing you to delight in the outdoors for years to come.

What style of outdoor umbrella is right?

When buying a patio umbrella, you first decide what style you want. Your outdoor space restrictions, furniture layout, and anticipated usage determine the right style for you.

Even after considering all these variables, your own personal taste is the final determinant. So what’s there? However, there are a lot of umbrellas to select from, but they all tend to be divided into two categories: center pole or offset.

Center Pole Umbrella

The presence of a straight pole that runs from the top of the canopy to a securing base is one of the most significant features of center pole patio umbrellas. It might be a single, solid piece or two separate components combined. It’s crucial to remember that a mobile or fixed base can stabilize central pole umbrellas.

The most popular outdoor umbrella style is this one, which has been around for a long time. This type of outdoor umbrella can effectively protect against direct sunlight but reflected, or diffuse ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sides reduces overall shade protection. The center pole category features several variants.

  • Market Umbrella – This is the most popular style of center pole umbrella. It’s shaped like an octagon or around, with a clean edge. Some umbrellas are fired to encourage airflow, which cools the area below and helps the umbrella withstand windy conditions.
  • Beach Umbrella – A minimalist style is typical with this type of umbrella. Canopies usually have a rounded shape with a valance hanging around the edge. A simple spiked base is used on many beach umbrellas inserted into the sand.
  • Half Umbrella – This particular umbrella is made with a flat side, which allows it to sit flush against the wall. It’s perfect for shading balconies or small porches that have limited spaces. Consider it a portable awning. Canopies are round or straight with clean edges, curtains, or valances.

Offset Umbrella (a.k.a. Cantilever Patio Umbrella)

Outdoor umbrellas structurally supported by an arched or jointed pole positioned off one side are called cantilevers. However, the canopy is supported from both sides and above, allowing it to dangle freely in various seating and table arrangements.

The main advantage of modern cantilever umbrellas is that they can shade a large area while avoiding the hindered view caused by a center pole. This is especially important if you’re shading a dining table that doesn’t have an umbrella hole or hot tub.

Cantilevers can also be rotated to offer 360° coverage, making them even more versatile. Offset patio umbrellas require a heavier base than center poles and are usually more expensive.

What frame or pole material should I use?

Selecting the material for your umbrella frame is all about determining what’s most important to you. Do you want your outdoor furniture set to match the design of your house? Are you most concerned about the durability in damp or windy environments? Instead, would you want to complement the look and design of your house’s landscape and architecture?

Heck, you might want to help your favorite canopy fabric really “pop.” Wood, aluminum, and fiberglass are the primary materials used to construct patio umbrella poles and frames. However, each material has its features to consider and its own set of advantages, so you’ll have to choose the best one for your requirements.


Wood umbrellas have a classic, timeless appeal. Their natural, sophisticated look works well in a green environment, where nature is at the forefront. A well-cared-for wooden canopy is a beautiful accent to rich woodgrain furniture and a hardwood deck.

Bamboo, teak, and eucalyptus are the most popular hardwoods used. However, the high cost of these raw materials makes wood umbrellas relatively costly.

Although wood is protected against insects, moisture, and decay, it does lose its color when exposed to the sun and rain. On the other hand, Wooden poles are less robust than their aluminum or fiberglass counterparts and can even break in the face of strong winds.

However, if you decide you want the look of wood, many manufacturers offer faux wood finishes on their metal or fiberglass models.


Stainless steel and aluminum patio umbrellas have a sleek modern vibe that complements the minimalist decor and wide-open spaces. Due to its chromium and nickel content, stainless steel is naturally resistant to corrosion.

However, corrosion may occur in harsh saltwater environments. Therefore, marine-grade stainless steel also contains 2-3% molybdenum, making it even more resistant to rust and strengthening the steel. Since these are made from stainless steel, they’re perfect for coastal regions or on yachts.

Aluminum is a cost-effective alloy, lightweight, and long-lasting metal that makes it ideal for outdoor shades. However, powder-coating or anodizing aluminum frames helps to prevent corrosion and other signs of wear. Aluminum is malleable and strong, so it can be molded into very dynamic and amazing forms that wood cannot match.

It’s available in several materials and finishes so that it might match other pieces of furniture. Aluminum will not break in strong winds, although it may deform after prolonged exposure to high winds.


The most durable outdoor umbrellas with fiberglass poles and frames are available on the market. Fiberglass is a material that is lightweight, durable, and much more flexible than wood or aluminum.

It can flex without breaking in even the most severe wind storms because it is flexible. However, fiberglass also has the advantage of being non-corrosive and rust-free, so it performs well in all types of weather.

While it is more costly than the other materials, it can endure harsh weather for many years, making it a wise long-term investment. Umbrellas made of fiberglass come in a range of colors, allowing them to blend in with virtually any outdoor color palette.

However, many modern patio umbrellas combine fiberglass ribs with aluminum poles to take advantage of the benefits of both materials. Most fiberglass umbrellas include features like tilt and crank lifts.

What is the size & shape outdoor umbrella, right?

After choosing the patio umbrella and frame material style, it’s time to figure out how big a canopy you’ll need. If it’s too small, you won’t be able to provide adequate shade.

However, if you have a big patio umbrella, it might overpower your space and ruin the ambiance of your deck or pool area. There may also be physical obstacles in your environment, such as overhanging branches, eaves, or walls, limiting your options.

However, the safest approach is first to measure the space or table you want to shade. Be sure to consider the room needed to place the chairs comfortably. Then, to determine the canopy diameter that provides just the appropriate amount of shade, add 2 to 2.5 feet to each side. For example, review the reference table below.

Suggested patio canopy sizes

Shade Area Umbrella Canopy
up to 36 inches 7 to 8 feet
up to 48 inches 8 to 9 feet
up to 60 inches 9 to 10 feet
up to 72 inches 10 to 11 feet
up to 84 inches 11 to 12 feet
up to 96 inches 12 to 13 feet
up to 108 inches 13 to 14 feet


Choosing the shape of your sun umbrella canopy depends on three things: the space you want to cover or the shape of the table, any physical obstruction of your outdoor environment, And of course, your personal beauty preference.


A round umbrella (really, it’s octagonal or even hexagonal) is an excellent option for shading a table or lounging area that is symmetrical. Round umbrellas complement traditional design styles while providing an organic feel that helps to create a welcoming atmosphere. If you have a lot of leaves, rounded umbrellas can reduce the need to prune extra branches.


Another popular option for symmetrical rooms is to use square canopies. However, they provide the greatest shade because of their square shape. They are often used to complement contemporary decor styles and offer a sleek, elegant appearance. When combined with parallel architectural elements of your deck or patio, Squared canopies provide a feeling of visual balance.


Rectangular-shaped umbrella canopies are ideal for oval or long tables. A rectangular or rounded umbrella covering the whole length of a long table may overpower the space. Similarly, lanais and smaller balconies may require thinner options, as there isn’t enough room for anything else physically.

What canopy fabric should I use?

Choosing the material for your patio umbrella’s canopy is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make when purchasing one. The most visible aspect of the umbrella may be its color or pattern, but it protects you from the sun’s glare and heat.

Many different materials are used to make canopies, each with its own set of physical characteristics, benefits, drawbacks, and cost considerations. However, PVC or styrene-acrylic increases weather resistance on certain fabrics, but the disadvantage is reducing the textile’s tensile tearing strength. Here are some of the most common canopy brands and options.

Acrylic – Sunbrella

The Acrylic cover fabric on the Sunbrella is known as the gold standard of residential and commercial-grade outdoor textiles. It is resistant to the elements and retains its color for years.

Outdoor umbrellas, shades, awningsupholstery, and pillows all benefit from Sunbrella. It is available in hundreds of solid colors and designs. Luxury resorts throughout the world include Sunbrella umbrellas.

Acrylic – Sunbrella

  • Material – 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabric
  • UV Protection – Yes – 98%
  • Fade Resistant – Yes
  • Mildew Resistant – Yes
  • Water Resistant – Yes
  • Cleaning – Soap, water & even bleach
  • Permeable – Yes
  • Pricing – Premium
  • Warranty – 5 to 10-year limited warranty against fading (based on grade)
  • Other – Greenguard & Skin Cancer Foundation certified

Outdura, Suncrylic, and Spuncrylic are examples of popular acrylic brands.

Polyester – Pacifica

The color and smoothness of the Pacifica polyester fabric make it a pleasure to touch. However, its proprietary fibers hold color up to four times longer than traditional polyester while maintaining other characteristics compared to acrylic at a lower cost. Twenty standard solid colors are available in Pacifica.

Polyester – Pacifica

  • Material – 100% solution-dyed polyester fabric
  • UV Protection – Yes – UPF 40
  • Fade Resistant – Yes, but it fades more easily than acrylic
  • Mildew Resistant – Yes
  • Water Resistant – Yes
  • Cleaning – soap & water
  • Permeable – Yes
  • Pricing – Mid-range
  • Warranty – 4-year limited warranty against fading
  • Other – Soft to the touch

Olefin – Texsilk

Texsilk Olefin Fabric is an environmentally responsible exterior material that provides a high level of UV protection. It’s stain-resistant and long-lasting enough to endure bleach or chlorine wash. However, over one hundred different solid, striped, and checked patterns are available with texsilk.

Olefin – Texsilk

  • Material – 100% solution-dyed synthetic polyolefin fabric
  • UV Protection – Yes – UPF 80
  • Fade Resistant – Yes
  • Mildew Resistant – Yes
  • Water Resistant – Yes
  • Cleaning – Soap, water & even bleach
  • Permeable – Yes
  • Pricing – Economy
  • Warranty – 2-year limited warranty against fading
  • Other – OEKO-TEX certified. Eco-friendly – 100% recyclable

Polyethylene – Coolaroo

Coolaroo polyethylene fabric was made to withstand extreme Australian weather conditions. The cloth’s unique fabric weave allows cool breezes to pass through it while also repelling the sun’s heat and harmful UV rays. However, the Solid color and woven patterns found on the Coolaroo are limited.

Polyethylene – Coolaroo

  • Material – Dyed high density knitted polyethylene fabric
  • UV Protection – Yes – 90%
  • Fade Resistant – Yes, but the fabric is semi-translucent
  • Mildew Resistant – Yes
  • Water Resistant – No
  • Cleaning – soap & water
  • Permeable – Yes
  • Pricing – Economy
  • Warranty – 5-year warranty against UV damage (excluding fading)
  • Other – Encourages cool airflow – great for hot climates

What type of patio umbrella stand or base is suitable?

You’ll need to figure out what sort of base you want or need once you’ve decided on the style and size of your patio umbrella. It’s crucial to choose the correct base or stand for your umbrella to be steady and upright under calm conditions and not fly away when there’s a mild breeze.

Mobile or fixed bases can be used on center poles and cantilever umbrellas, depending on the size of the umbrella and how windy the environment is.


Most people think of residential outdoor umbrella setups when they imagine mobile bases. However, these stands are pretty heavy, but they may be easily moved from one location to another (some come with wheels for convenience).

Iron, concrete, or stone are the most popular materials used to construct mobile bases. They’re all round, square, or rectangular in shape. There are also hollow plastic ones that need to be filled with sand or water to feel heavy.

Most manufacturers offer a variety of finishes, allowing you to coordinate with your furniture. However, if you have an outdoor table with an umbrella hole, measure your mobile base carefully to ensure that it can fit beneath.


A fixed base is frequently utilized when a huge deck umbrella, windy environment, or a commercial installation. Fixed bases, as the name implies, are not portable.

However, they’re secured to one spot using an attachment kit, which is dependent on the surface type. In practice, fixed bases are the best option to guarantee the stability of your umbrella.

Commercial environments are extremely active, and decor regularly beats, so reducing the chances of an umbrella dropping by passersby makes sense. Life and nature are unpredictable.

However, eliminating any doubt about the security of your shade allows you to enjoy it in peace. There are several types of fixed bases:

  • Floor Mount – This is the most famous fixed base structure. In seconds, floor-mounting kits let you attach a base plate and sleeve to a concrete patio, hardwood deck, or cement poolside. They’re fantastic under a wide range of umbrella tables since you don’t require clearance for a huge stand.
  • Wall Mount – This is the most common fixed base type for cantilever umbrellas. It may only be used with vertical-mounting cantilever umbrellas. If you have a small area with little ground space, consider using a wall mount.
  • In-Ground – These bases are placed directly into the ground and may be held in place with concrete poured around them. These are usually only used for tiny umbrellas. If you want to establish a permanent setting for soft dirt or loose gravel, this type of base is most likely not the correct choice.

How hefty does the deck umbrella base need to be?

The weight of your mobile base is determined by three variables: the size of your umbrella canopy, anticipated weather conditions, and the presence or absence of an umbrella table. Sometimes, there are numerous opinions on how much weight is required, but we usually error on the side of safety.

Freestanding center pole umbrellas should weigh about 10 pounds per canopy foot to accommodate typical wind situations. If the pole goes through an umbrella table, you may reduce it to 5 pounds per foot.

The best cantilever patio umbrellas should either include or suggest the correct mobile base. If not, they usually offer you alternatives of fixed mount choices, so there’s typically less confusion.

Pole Diameter

If you’re using a mobile or fixed base, make sure it can support the umbrella pole’s diameter. However, the majority of center pole umbrellas have a diameter of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches.

Please be sure to double-check with the manufacturers to ensure compatibility if you’re purchasing the umbrella and base from different sources.

Additional Features

Patio umbrellas that are not easily transportable may be challenging to move as the sun moves across the sky or when you position the furniture. However, a few umbrellas have more dynamic features that may help to solve these shade difficulties.


Some modern offset umbrellas come with modular designs that enable you to add more than one canopy. When floor space is limited, two or four canopies are frequently used to cover multiple areas. The versatility of these adaptable deck umbrellas makes them ideal for outdoor restaurants and cafes with closely spaced dining tables.


Some center pole crank lift umbrellas include a tilt option to adjust the canopy shade. However, it allows you to block out the sun more effectively throughout the day without replacing the umbrella.

See “What Are the Parts of a Patio Umbrella?” The section below is to learn about the different tilt mechanisms. Tilting patio umbrellas are not recommended for heavy usage or commercial installations, and they are less stable than static ones.


Some cantilever umbrellas can rotate 360°. This feature makes it possible to cover a much larger area without ever moving the base (not even an option if you have a mounting base). However, this is extremely handy if you move around constantly during the day and want to be in the shade.

How easy is the umbrella to use?

Whether you pick a market or cantilever umbrella, it’s critical to consider how easy the shade is to run. That is determined by several conditions, including the size and functional characteristics of the umbrella and the outside environment, and your activity.

The advantages of each design are numerous, and other features often offset the disadvantages within the same model; take careful thought before making a selection.

Opening, Lifting & Closing

The center pole umbrella’s small size makes it easy to manually open, raise, and close. The lightweight canopies may typically be raised with just one hand while the other secures them in place with a pin. It becomes increasingly difficult with bigger canopies that weigh more and may be higher off the ground (tough for shorter people).

In those cases, cranks mechanisms or pulleys are more efficient. Many side pole patio umbrellas are opened using levers or cranks, while a few use gas-assist technology to push out huge shades.


If you want to rotate a cantilever umbrella’s canopy to protect adjacent spaces (for example, as in the image below), a model with a lever mechanism is an excellent choice. While, most side post umbrellas have 360-degree rotation capacity, twisting the frame or walking canopy around might be difficult without anything to grab on to.


Many cantilever umbrellas can be tilted forward by lowering the canopy to less than its height using a crank or lever lift. They may even be gently tilted side to side with a minor adjustment.

These mechanisms make it relatively simple. However, market umbrellas can be tilted by turning the crank, turning the collar around the pole, or pressing a button near the central hub. The first two choices are straightforward to handle.

However, if the umbrella is to be used through a hole in an outdoor dining table, you must carefully consider the mechanism’s height.

Tilting using a push button is a little more difficult since you should keep the canopy steady with one hand while you release the catch with the other hand. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, the button might pinch your finger or thumb as it locks back into place.


Sleeve-like weather-resistant coverings are simple to use when securing market umbrellas. They simply slide over the canopy closed from above and secure the bottom around the pole through a snap or drawstring.

However, side pole umbrellas may have protective covers that wrap around the post and only collapsed umbrellas or the canopy alone.

While not as good-looking or as safe to use, the second option can make a more attractive minimalist profile when outside. However, the latter leaves the covered umbrella hanging from the horizontal arm like a bat.

Many cantilever umbrella covers include an open seam to allow for the canopy’s framework as you wrap it and seal it with Velcro or snaps.


The greatest factor to consider when purchasing a new patio umbrella is its weight and whether or not your freestanding base has wheels.

You can relocate market umbrellas by removing the pole and canopy from the base, moving the base, and then reinserting the pole into its base tube. However, the base is usually tipped in the direction of the axle to engage the wheels.

Large center post umbrellas and most side post umbrellas, on the other hand, are too big or inconvenient to move piece by piece. A wheeled base is also required in most situations, but navigating across a deck, patio, or poolside area might be tough.

When the umbrella is in use, its wheels lock to keep it from moving. However, most outdoor umbrellas are secured to the ground and do not move, but they can be unscrewed from connecting plates if necessary.


The only thing that takes up horizontal floor space in a center pole umbrella is the base so that they may be kept simple. The pole and collapsed canopy are both quite thin, taking up little vertical space.

However, offset umbrellas can vary greatly in storage requirements. Some have arms that remain outstretched when the canopy is closed.

Others have arms that collapse into the upright frame, reducing the horizontal space required to store them. However, some designs enable you to remove the canopy entirely, keeping it easily without ever moving the frame or base.


There are a few things to thought about before purchasing a patio umbrella.


If you continue to entertain outside long into the night, consider adding some patio umbrella lights. LEDs eliminate heat far better than previous bulbs so that they may be incorporated into the ribs or hubs of modern umbrellas.

Alternatively, you may buy them separately and mount them on the underside or perimeter of the canopy. There are many sizes, configurations, and colors of lights available, so you can customize the ambiance you want to create.


Several commercial and high-end residential deck umbrellas include heaters in their design to optimize space and comfort. One popular technique is pivoting infrared devices, typically attached to supporting struts and generating directional heat to warm the area beneath the canopy.

The electrical lines of heaters are usually installed within the pole or mast and share their power supply with a lighting system.


Bluetooth speakers are available in a few luxury umbrellas, allowing you to play your favorite music from your phone. They may also include Wi-Fi and USB charging ports, so you don’t have to be disconnected just because you’re outside.

Protective Cover

A weather-proof cover is a must-needed accessory for every outdoor umbrella. During the heat of the day and throughout the summer, your shade takes a beating, so it requires protection from the elements while it is not in use.

Most covers are made of durable canvas fabric, but hard shell versions also exist. See maintenance and storage tips below to learn why a cover is essential to prolong the life of your umbrella.

Patio Umbrella Alternatives

Sometimes, an umbrella isn’t the greatest shade solution for a certain outdoor situation. There are several stylish designs to pick from, each with its own set of applications.

Shade Leafs

Today’s personal shades are fashionable, modern, and attractive. They feature creative organic or geometric patterns and have been gaining in popularity. They are typically used to shield a personal carriage or sunlounger.

The shade of the leaves is narrow and has an artistic canopy that arches over the chair. Luxury resorts and hotels in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and other balmy climates will often have shade leaf poolside for their upscale clientele.

Shade leaves are frequently accompanied by rotatable canvased frames that allow you to easily change the level of sun exposure while keeping your neighbor unbothered. They are small and light, so they are simple to move if you rearrange your furniture configuration.

Sun Shades

Cantilever umbrellas are a type of elegant contemporary shade. Their offset poles support flat geometric shades that may be freely rotated, angled, raised, or lowered. Smaller umbrellas don’t offer the same level of protection as larger ones, but they do provide a lot of the same advantages.

Unlike traditional umbrellas, sun shades’ canopies do not open and close. However, their lower profiles are more aerodynamic and can endure stronger winds depending on the design.

They are used to express aesthetic taste and for a specific functional purpose. Alone, they are iconic philosophies. In a row or group, they form an artistic sequence of sequences.

Shade Sails

These eye-catching stretch canvas colors create a wondrous cover of geometric shapes without destroying the natural beauty of the horizon.

These sails, made up of triangles, squares, and rectangles of various sizes, protect against the glare and impact heat of the sun above while allowing cooling air to pass through. Their design is quite simple yet effective and customizable.

The corners of the canvas are attached to sliding tracks on the walls or to mounting poles that are then stretched taut. They are taken alone or in combination, which may be adjusted throughout the day. They’re an attractive choice for commercial dining areas with a lot of space.


These massive structures are essentially portable rooms with varying levels of shade options and creature comforts. They’re frequently employed for covering sectional arrangements and dining sets, allowing for entertaining into the night.

There are several structural types and pricing ranges. A cabana may simply consist of four sturdy poles with crossbars and a canvas canopy on the low end.

Most include curtains to provide extra security and privacy. Additional lateral protection is critical to account for the sun’s movement and ambient scattered UV radiation that reflects off of water and light surfaces.

You’ll see louvered wooden or aluminum walls on the higher end, retractable canopies, and built-in seats. Some luxury versions even offer lighting, ceiling fans, speakers, and Bluetooth capability.


The rectangular canopies have a simple look that’s ideal for covering large outdoor areas that would be too big for a standard umbrella. Pavilions provide a large open area for leisure seating or tables that do not obstruct the view.

They’re frequently employed in restaurants and residential areas to conceal food and beverage serving spaces. Pavilions come in various sizes and shapes, but they all have in common two side supports that provide a framework for a basic canopy covering.

The few bells and whistles include pull-down side shades for morning and early evening sun; retractable canopies; and simple setup, storage, and breakdown. A pavilion is a smart alternative if a cabana is too much to handle.

What are the parts of a patio umbrella?

When comparing various brands and models of outdoor umbrellas, it’s critical to understand the many elements and options involved. Buyers should use the table below to identify common umbrella parts and know their functions.


The primary support for the canopy is a vertical rod or pole for traditional market-style umbrellas. They’re available in a range of widths and are frequently supplied in two sections for easier shipping and storage. Single-piece and thick poles are more flexible for windy conditions.

The canopy is supported by an offset angular structure in cantilever umbrellas. They have many joints and are frequently capable of rotating 360 degrees.

Ribs or Struts

The thin pieces that give the patio canopy its shape and open the shade cover are called ribs or struts. There are two types of ribs:

  • Main Ribs – Attach to the top of the umbrella frame, then extend from the center axis to beneath the outer edge of the canopy.
  • Support Ribs – Connect to the base of the main ribs and assist in canopy opening and closure.


Ringed devices that work together with ribs are called hubs. There are two types of hubs:

  • Top Hub – This hub, located at the top of the pole, keeps the central ribs in place.
  • Runner Hub – This is a slightly larger hub located lower on the pole that connects to the support ribs and glides up and down to open and close the canopy.


The object that sits on top of a patio umbrella is called a final or ferrule. It is both useful and attractive since it fastens the canopy to the pole while also providing a bit of aesthetic flair.


The canopy is the fabric component of a patio umbrella that blocks the sun. In addition to the overall shade body, canopies frequently include two extra components:

  • Vents – Air is allowed to flow freely through the canopy, which helps to keep the air below cooler and allows the umbrella to better withstand strong winds.
  • Valances – Flaps of fabric overhang the canopy’s perimeter, as seen on many beaches or cafe-style umbrellas.

Lift Mechanism

The outside umbrellas are opened when the runner hub and support ribs are raised via a lift mechanism. There are a few alternatives to pick from:

  • Push-up – The support structure is simply pulled up manually until a locking mechanism (often a post or pin and hole) holds the umbrella in its open position.
  • Crank – To open the umbrella, turn the rotating handle clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Pulley & Pin – When the umbrella is closed, a rope is dragged down to activate the opener, which is then fastened in place by pushing a pin into a hole located beneath the runner hub.
  • Lever & Latch – A lever is pulled down and driven into place to secure the umbrella in its raised position.

If you’re using your umbrella at a higher than usual table, double-check the lift mechanism’s height to ensure it clears the tabletop.

Tilt Mechanism

Some high-end umbrellas may be tilted to provide directional shading as the sun moves throughout the day. It’s especially useful for residential installations with closed rooms. There are a few types to select from:

  • Push Button or Manual – The canopy is unlocked by pressing a button, which allows it to be manually tilted to several angles (often pre-set).
  • Automatic or Crank – Once the canopy is fully opened, continuous cranking will tilt the umbrella 360°.
  • Collar – A device with a sheath located above the crank is rotated until the desired tilt angle is reached.


Patio umbrellas with freestanding frames are held upright by a weighted base or stand to prevent them from tipping over in strong winds. Bases are constructed using a variety of heavy materials to give stability.


Patio umbrellas may be stabilized using a more permanent mounting system rather than a base. There are numerous options, depending on the surface on which the umbrella is being attached.

How do you care for and maintain a patio umbrella?

It’s critical to clean, maintain, and protect your outdoor umbrella at all times for it to look brand new and work properly year after year.

Cleaning your Outdoor Umbrella

To guarantee that your patio umbrella looks good and is free of debris that might affect its performance, you should clean it regularly. Open the canopy fully and, using a hose, spray everything down with water.

Fabric cleaning

Most canopy fabrics can be cleaned with mild soap and water, but check with the manufacturer for their specific instructions. Use a sponge, soft bristle brush, or dishrag to remove stubborn stains.

Allow for the solution to soak in for a few moments before rinsing since soapy deposits might induce mildew. Leave the canopy open to allow the fabric to air dry completely.

Frame cleaning

Whether wood, metal, or fiberglass, the washing instructions are the same. Wipe down the pole, ribs, hubs, and finial using a clean damp cloth. Be especially cautious around the joints, lift and tilt mechanisms since you don’t want any debris or threads getting caught up in the moving parts.

In most cases, mild soapy water is safe to use in extremely dirty places. However, check with the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure. It’s critical not to use an abrasive cloth or a harsh cleanser on your wood or metal frame since they might damage the finish. Leave the canopy open to allow the frame to air dry completely before closing.

Patio Umbrella Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your outside umbrella in excellent shape during the warmer and chillier months is as simple as a little common sense and care.

Open it gently

Most umbrellas are designed to rest comfortably in the fully closed position. Push and raise the main canopy ribs slightly away from the pole to open yours safely and adequately before engaging the lift mechanism. If the umbrella is struggling to open, don’t push it; you may need to remove any obstructions that are preventing the lift from working properly.

Close it when not in use

When you’re not using your outside umbrella, it’s good to keep it folded up and in its locked position. It’s also good to stay away from strong winds when the sun is out. Bad weather and strong winds can wreak havoc with an open umbrella.

Take a few moments to close it rather than risk damaging your umbrella’s ribs or launching it across the yard. Many manufacturers exclude air damage from their warranties, so be smart.

Keep it dry

When not in use, you should always have an umbrella cover. Covering it aids in the prevention of mildew and dampness, as well as keeping it safe from excessive sunshine exposure. If you’re unable to cover the canopy all of the time, make sure you completely dry it out before closing the umbrella.

However, moisture can accumulate and stay protected in the folds of a closed umbrella. Most outdoor fabrics are treated to resist mold and mildew, but they may get wet when it rains.

Review manufacturer recommendations

Each manufacturer, has tips and instructions for using their umbrellas. Some woods require oiling from time to time, while others can go completely without it. Brush up on the specifics of your material and structural designs before installing your umbrella to ensure that you comply with any special standards for maintenance.

Protection & Storage of Your Umbrella

During the off-season, or if your patio umbrella is dormant for a long time, remove the canopy and pole from the base or mount them carefully and store them properly.

  • Make sure it’s clean and dry – Before storing your patio umbrella, follow the guidelines given above.
  • Use a protective cover – A properly fitted and sealed cover will keep moisture from accumulating, dust and debris from entering, and unintentional damage from other objects brushing up against it.
  • Wrap the folds in one direction – To reduce wrinkles and preserve the aesthetic qualities of your canopy and wrap the folds in the same direction before securing them within the cover.
  • Cover the pole ends – You should cover the tips of the pole with cardboard or heavy rags to minimize damage.
  • Store it in an upright position – If you lay umbrellas on their sides, you risk putting extra weight on the rib structure, particularly if other things are likely to be stacked upon them or they’re in danger of being stepped on.
  • Keep it in an enclosed dry area – During the off-season, make sure to store your umbrella in a dry, covered location such as a garage, basement, or pool house. Even if it has a protective cover, cold and moisture have a way of creeping in and damaging items left outside for too long.


  • Eltahan, E. (2017). The fabrics used in tents can influence the structural parameters that impact tear strength. Alexandria Engineering Journal
  • Slevin, T. (Ed.). (2014). Sun, Skin, and Health. Csiro Publishing.
  • Turnbull, D. J., & Parisi, A. V. (2006). Effective shade structures. Med J Aust, 184(1), 13-15.

Photo Credits

  • Tuuci
  • Jardinico
  • Bambrella
  • Shademaker
  • Woodline
  • Umbrosa
  • ShadeCraft
  • Cuscini
  • Treasure Garden
  • Galtech


Can you use a beach umbrella as a patio umbrella?

Some outdoor umbrellas have a pointed pole that is embedded in the sand to keep them upright. They’re simple to remove and relocate to another part of the water. However, these “beach umbrellas” are usually tiny and intended to provide shade for a small area.

On the other hand, Patio umbrellas are generally supported by a portable weighted base or a permanent mounting in wood or cement. Larger beach umbrellas may have a weighted base and are movable to a deck or patio. This is easier said than done if the base has built-in wheels, as dragging a hundred pounds through the sand can be exhausting.

Who makes the best outdoor umbrella?

Countless manufacturers produce outdoor patio umbrellas. They provide a comprehensive selection of goods tailored to a wide range of budgets. Many of these brands offer good value for the money and are excellent choices in the short term.

On the other hand, Decor Interiors is a boutique that specializes in high-end outdoor furniture. We sell high-quality goods that last and are both stylish and functional.

Although the following brands are more costly, their premium umbrellas have cutting-edge designs and are constructed with the highest quality materials, employing modern manufacturing techniques. Industry-leading warranties and service agreements also protect the collections.


Shade unique and innovative solutions with elegant and well-considered designs that complement the outdoor environment for years.


Flawlessly elegant patio umbrellas with slim profiles, taut colors, and impeccable finishes to provide a finishing touch to classic outdoor settings.


Stunning luxury outdoor umbrellas with evolutionary design, patented technology, and marine-grade materials.


The sophisticated center pole and cantilevered umbrellas are built to the highest standards using anodized aluminum, marine-grade stainless steel, and kiln-dried eucalyptus.


State-of-the-art, elegant, and concise shade solutions inspired by nature and made to last longer.


Architectural-grade window coverings with cutting-edge, precision-engineered designs for high-end residential and commercial outdoor use.


The eco-friendly bamboo umbrellas with sleek, modern patterns are highly weather-resistant and will endure even in the strongest winds.


Commercial-grade patio umbrellas with flexible fiberglass ribs that are strong in storms and last 4-5 times longer than wood or steel.

What is the standard size patio umbrella?

There is no such thing as a “standard size” patio umbrella. It all depends on your own special environment.

However, an outdoor umbrella should extend roughly 2-2.5 feet beyond the edge of the area you want to shade as a rule of thumb. Market umbrellas are smaller (diameter of 10 feet or less), while offset or cantilever umbrellas are larger (diameter of 12 feet or more).

What is a market patio umbrella?

Most people picture an outdoor umbrella when they think of a “market umbrella.” It has a center pole and an octagonal or rounded canopy. Vents in some canopies allow for circulation and help to keep the area beneath the umbrella cool and stable in strong winds.

What is the best material for patio umbrellas?

The different types of best weather and UV resistant canopy textiles are:

1) Acrylic – Sunbrella

2) Polyester – Pacifica

3) Olefin – Texsilk

4) Polyethylene – Coolaroo

Do patio umbrellas block UV rays?

Outdoor umbrellas do, in fact, block a significant portion of the damaging effects of direct ultraviolet rays. The larger the umbrella, the more space it protects. However, the material and color of the canopy affect how much. Here are some of the major factors:

1) Weave – The more tightly woven cloth, the less UV radiation it lets through.

2) Color – Dark colors of the same fabric types absorb ultraviolet radiation more strongly than their lighter shades, improving sun protection.

3) Weight – The fabric is heavier, so it will be somewhat more protection against UV radiation.

4) Stretch – The lower the UPF rating, the greater the stretch or tension put on a textile.

5) Water – When fabrics such as polyester and cotton have absorbed water, they offer less UV protection.

6) Washing – After the first washing, cotton-based textiles tend to shrink, tightening the weave and lowering the amount of UV radiation that is transmitted.

7) Additives – Additives or UVR stabilizers may be used to improve the sun protection of various textiles.

Additionally, you must also be aware of indirect UV rays that bounce off water, glass, and light-colored walls.

How to Select the Best Umbrella for Your Patio?

  1. Determine the Size and Shape of the Umbrella You’ll Need.
  2. With a sturdy foundation, you can give your umbrella plenty of support.
  3. Find a Shade That Will Stand the Test of Time, Rain, or Shine.
  4. Choose a frame that can withstand inclement weather.
  5. Choose an Umbrella Design that Is Suitable for You.

What is the difference between the cantilever and an offset umbrella?

The two most common types of outdoor umbrellas are cantilever umbrellas and offset patio umbrellas.

However, a post may or may not be included in cantilever umbrellas, but it is required in offset patio umbrellas. The shade’s angle can also be adjusted by turning both types of umbrellas as the sun moves across the sky.

What is the difference between the market umbrella and a patio umbrella?

As we’ve previously said, the market umbrella is utilized for safeguarding merchants and their customers from the weather elements.

On the other hand, a patio umbrella’s used for relaxation purposes. While market umbrellas have several business applications, patio umbrellas are typically used for leisure.

How much air can a patio umbrella take?

A few patio umbrellas can withstand gusts of up to 40 mph, but you should still exercise caution. A full-sized umbrella is no match for these types of gusts, and a lightweight patio furniture set may be blown and taken down trees over by sustained winds of 20 mph.


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