Are you looking for a way to add shade and style to your outdoor space? A patio umbrella may be just what you need! But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. In this patio umbrella buying guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to make an informed purchase.
If you are in the market for a patio umbrella, then you may find that you are inundated with choices and are not sure which type of umbrella is best for you. Below are various options to consider when choosing a patio umbrella:
Types of Patio Umbrellas
Shopping for a patio umbrella can sometimes be a bit confusing because there are a number of different names associated with different types of umbrellas. These are a few of the more popular types:
Offset patio umbrella
Offset patio umbrellas have the support pole on the side of the umbrella rather than in the middle. This is beneficial because the pole does not have to be put through the middle of the table (and you do not have to make sure that your table has a hole to fit the umbrella pole).
An offset patio umbrella can usually be tilted and can rotate 360 degrees, allowing for maximum shade coverage, no matter what the angle of the sun. These umbrellas are sometimes also referred to as sidepost umbrellas.
These are the perfect umbrellas to use if you do not want your umbrella to sit above a table but prefer for it to be located on the side of your patio slab, near some other furniture arrangements, or anywhere else on your patio.
Cantilever patio umbrella
A cantilever patio umbrella is similar to an offset umbrella in that the pole is off to the side of the umbrella shade, rather than in the middle. Cantilever umbrellas can be tilted from side to side, rather than front to back like most other offset or side post umbrellas.
There are also some patio umbrellas that have a center pole that offers cantilever options to tilt the umbrella shade from side to side.
Market patio Umbrella
Market patio umbrellas have a center pole that supports the umbrella shade. Most market umbrellas are made of wood with a canvas canopy, although there are some that are offered in the same style with an aluminum base.
Tilt umbrellas have a feature that allows you to tilt the canopy to block the sun from different angles. This can be especially useful if the sun is low in the sky, or if you need to adjust the shade throughout the day.
Patio Umbrella Features
Once you’ve decided on the type of patio umbrella you want, it’s time to consider the features that will best meet your needs. Here are the most important features to consider:
Size and Shape
Patio umbrellas are available in a range of sizes and shapes, from small 6-foot round umbrellas to large rectangular umbrellas that can be 10 feet or more in length. Consider the size of your outdoor space, as well as the number of people you want to accommodate under the umbrella when choosing the size and shape of your umbrella.
The fabric of your patio umbrella will determine how well it can protect you from the sun, as well as how durable it is. Look for fabrics that are rated for UV protection, and that are made from materials like acrylic or polyester, which are resistant to fading, mildew, and water damage.
The frame of your patio umbrella should be
made from a material that is sturdy and able to withstand the elements. Common materials include aluminum, steel, and wood. Aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant, while steel is more durable but heavier. Wood frames are often considered the most aesthetically pleasing, but they require more maintenance to keep them looking good.
The pole of your patio umbrella is another important consideration. Look for poles made from materials like aluminum, steel, or fiberglass, which are strong and durable. Wooden poles are also an option, but they require more maintenance than other materials.
If you live in an area with strong winds, it’s important to choose a patio umbrella that is designed to withstand them. Look for umbrellas with features like wind vents and sturdy frames that can stand up to gusts.
The sun’s rays can be harmful to your skin, so it’s important to choose a patio umbrella with UV protection. Look for umbrellas with a UPF rating of 50 or higher, which will provide the most protection.
If you live in an area with frequent rain or humidity, it’s important to choose a patio umbrella that is water-resistant. Look for umbrellas with a coating that repels water, and fabrics that are resistant to mildew and mold.
Umbrellas with ventilation allow air to circulate through the canopy, which can help keep you cool and reduce the risk of the umbrella tipping over in high winds.
Lighting and Heating Options
Some patio umbrellas come with lighting or heating options built in, which can make your outdoor space more comfortable and inviting. Look for umbrellas with LED lights or heating elements that can be controlled with a remote.
Patio umbrellas can be made of various types of material. The two most popular material choices are aluminum and wood. This is the material that makes up the pole and mechanisms that operate the umbrella. Some umbrellas are also made of metal and fiberglass. The patio umbrella canopy is usually made of canvas, vinyl, or another pliable material. Patio umbrellas made with Sunbrella® fabrics are some of the highest quality and most durable on the market and come in a wide selection of colors and styles.
Sizes & Shapes:
Patio umbrellas come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You can usually find a patio umbrella that is made to fit your table or other outdoor space. Patio umbrellas can be round, square, oval, or rectangular. Sizes can also range from very small to extremely large, depending on your needs. Most outdoor patio umbrellas are available in stock sizes, but you can also custom order an umbrella if you have a unique set of requirements.
When purchasing an umbrella, a good rule of thumb to consider is that the larger the patio umbrella you require, the more you should pay attention to the quality of the umbrella, especially the base and mechanisms that operate the unit.
In most cases, patio umbrella canopies can be replaced if they wear out, tear or fade but the main part of the umbrella should be made to withstand years of outdoor use.
Patio Umbrella Accessories
In addition to selecting an umbrella to best meet your shade needs, there are also a number of patio umbrella accessories that you can consider to go along with your umbrella.
A patio umbrella makes a big impression in your backyard or other outdoor living space, so it is worth putting some consideration into the look of your umbrella, as well as some of the added accessories that can go along with it. Here are some of the accessories you may find available at most patio umbrella retailers:
Patio Umbrella Stand
Some patio umbrellas do not come with their own stand to hold the umbrella pole in place. This is usually the case for umbrellas that are made to fit through the hole in a patio table. Patio umbrella stands can be basic or decorative, depending on your tastes. The only requirement is that they be heavy enough to hold the umbrella in place and that they securely hold the pole.
Patio Umbrella Cover
If you plan to leave your patio umbrella outdoors year-round or would like to preserve the life of the fabric, then a patio umbrella cover is a good accessory to have. Most patio umbrella covers are made to fit specific styles or sizes of umbrellas so be sure to check that you order the right size and style. Keeping your umbrella closed up and covered will keep your umbrella in good shape for years.
Patio Umbrella Lights
There are now many options of patio umbrella lights available. Some patio umbrella lights attach directly to the pole of the umbrella to provide ambient light when the sun goes down. Other types of lights can be affixed to the edges of the umbrella canopy for a festive look. Adding patio umbrella lights can really add interest and set the mood when you use your patio after dark!
Bases and Stands
A sturdy base or stand is essential to keep your patio umbrella in place. Look for bases or stands made from materials like concrete or steel, which are heavy enough to keep the umbrella stable in windy conditions.
Storage and cover
When you’re not using your patio umbrella, it’s important to store it properly to protect it from the elements. Look for covers that are specifically designed for your umbrella, or consider investing in a storage bag to keep it safe and dry.
Choosing the Right Patio Umbrella
Now that you understand the different types of patio umbrellas, as well as the features and accessories to consider, it’s time to choose the right one for your needs. Here are a few tips to help you make your decision:
Consider Your Needs
Think about how you’ll be using your patio umbrella. Do you need it for shade during meals, or do you want to create a cozy outdoor seating area? Consider the size of your outdoor space, as well as the number of people you want to accommodate under the umbrella.
Consider Your Budget
Patio umbrellas can range in price from less than $50 to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget when making your decision, but keep in mind that investing in a high-quality umbrella can save you money in the long run by avoiding the need for frequent replacements.
Consider Your Space
Think about where you’ll be placing your patio umbrella. Do you have a table or seating area that it needs to fit over? Will it need to be moved around frequently? Consider the size and shape of your outdoor space when choosing your umbrella.
Consider Your Style
Patio umbrellas come in a range of styles and colors, so choose one that complements your outdoor décor. Whether you prefer a classic market umbrella or a modern cantilever umbrella, there’s sure to be an option that fits your style.
A patio umbrella can be a valuable addition to your outdoor space, providing shade and protection from the elements. When choosing a patio umbrella, consider the size and shape of your outdoor space, as well as the features and accessories that are important to you. By taking the time to choose the right umbrella for your needs, you can create a comfortable and inviting outdoor living area that you can enjoy all season long.
- What is the best material for a patio umbrella frame? The best material for a patio umbrella frame depends on your needs. Aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant, while steel is more durable but heavier. Wood frames are often considered the most aesthetically pleasing, but they require more maintenance to keep them looking good.
- What size patio umbrella do I need? The size of your patio umbrella depends on the size of your outdoor space and the number of people you want to accommodate under the umbrella. Measure your outdoor space and choose an umbrella that fits comfortably over your seating area or table.
- How do I keep my patio umbrella from tipping over in the wind? Look for umbrellas with wind vents and sturdy frames that can stand up to gusts. A heavy base or stand can also help keep your umbrella stable in windy conditions.
- Can I leave my patio umbrella outside in the rain? It’s important to choose a patio umbrella that is water-resistant, with a coating that repels water and fabrics that are resistant to mildew and mold. However, it’s still a good idea to store your umbrella properly when you’re not using it to protect it from the elements.
How do I clean my patio umbrella? To clean your patio umbrella, use a soft brush or sponge and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly with a hose and allow to air dry completely before storing.