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How To Choose A Patio Umbrella

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For the places in your garden that do not have tree cover, a patio umbrella is an essential item to provide shade and protection to keep you cool. There are hundreds of patio umbrellas available, which can make it challenging to choose the right one for your home.

Here is our easy-to-follow guide to help you find a patio umbrella that offers the perfect combination of function and style.

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What Are the Different Types of Patio Umbrellas?

If you're looking for a sturdy, long-lasting patio umbrella, you need to know about the different types available. Here are some of the most popular types of patio umbrellas.

Pagoda

These parasol-style tops are more architectural, inspired by the shapes of pagoda roofs.

Tilt Pagoda Style Rectangular Cantilever Umbrella
Hexagonal Weather Resistant Patio Umbrella
Polyester Square Weather Resistant Patio Umbrella
Colorful Pagoda Style Patio Umbrella
Polyester Blue Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella
100% Polyester Round Double Top Outdoor Umbrella

Market

Durable, with an octagonal shape and ventilated tops, you will see these types of umbrellas often at outdoor cafés.

Polyester Octagonal Red Market Umbrella
Patio LED Light Market Umbrella
Tilt Stylish UV Resistant Octagonal Market Umbrella
Yellow Outdoor Tilt Market Umbrella
Green Polyester Octagonal Market Umbrella
Water Resistant Big Outdoor Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella

Sunshade

A basic round disc on a pole, these patio umbrellas are perfect for one person and are an excellent option for a pool umbrella.

Deluxe Beach Tilt Round Umbrella
Modern Fiberglass Portable Beach Umbrella
Polyester UV Protection Round Umbrella
Authentic Thatch Palapa Market Umbrella
Red Striped Sunshade Beach Umbrella
Pink Palapa Round Beach Umbrella

Cantilevered

These umbrellas aren't planted straight down, through the hole in your patio table. The base is off to one side while the umbrella cants over the area you want shaded and can easily be adjusted to suit your sun protection needs.

Crank Lift Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella
100% Polyester Square Tilt Cantilever Umbrella
Polyester Hexagonal Cantilever Patio Umbrella
Water and Rust Resistant Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella
Red Rectangular Cantilever Patio Umbrella
Water Resistant Polyester Octagonal Cantilever Umbrella

Tilting

Adjustable umbrellas are the best option for all-day sun protection as they feature a hinge in the center that allows you to angle the umbrella against the sun.

Green Manual Tilt Market Umbrella
Hexagonal Polyester Tilt Market Umbrella
Weather Resistant Polyester Cantilever Umbrella
Rectangular Market Polyester Red Umbrella
Water Resistant Tilt Market Umbrella
Round Octagonal Tilt Cantilever Umbrella

Free-standing

These are the basic umbrellas used for patio tables as they have a weighty base and rise straight up.

Water Resistant Square Cantilever Umbrella
Free Standing Rectangular Market Umbrella
Blue Striped Hexagonal Polyester Market Umbrella
Patio Double Side Red Umbrella
Mildew Resistant Free Standing Square Cantilever Umbrella
Rectangular High-quality Rectangular Cantilever Umbrella

What is the Best Patio Umbrella Fabric?

These days, umbrellas are made of UV resistant synthetic materials and come in all colors of the rainbow. Some of the more commonly known umbrella materials include:

Polyester

Polyester is a popular, affordable option for umbrellas as it is colorfast and quick drying. Opt for spun polyester as it is more durable and offers a high-end look compared to standard polyester fabrics.

Olefin

Olefin is a budget-friendly option that is slower to fade than cotton or polyester and more affordable than acrylic. It is water and UV-resistant, making it ideal for warm climates with high humidity. It comes in a wide range of styles so you can create a cohesive outdoor look with your other furniture.

Thatch

Eco-friendly and evoking a tropical oasis, thatch-topped umbrellas are breathable to keep you cool and protected. They are also low-maintenance and not prone to mold. Simply clean by hosing it down and letting it air dry. Perfect for by the pool or to coordinate with a coastal garden.

Acrylic

Acrylic is the standard fabric for outdoor umbrellas. This material does not fade or deteriorate. If you have other outdoor furniture, you can match your umbrella to the fabric since acrylic fabric is often used for other outdoor furnishings due to its high durability.

What Material Should I Choose for an Umbrella Pole?

Your umbrella frame needs to withstand the elements without losing structural integrity. Some of the most popular options include:

Octagonal Wooden Pole Market Umbrella
Beige Fiber Cloth Beach Umbrella
Wooden Pale Canvas Square Market Umbrella
Striped Polyester Octagonal Market Umbrella
Hexagonal Palapa Hawaiian Market Umbrella
Green Polyester Octagonal Market Umbrella
White Elegant UV Resistant Octagonal Beach Umbrella
Metal Pole Square Market Umbrella
Weather Resistant White Market Umbrella
Tilt Metal Pole Black Market Umbrella
100% Polyester Blue Hexagonal Market Umbrella
Weather Resistant Hexagonal Polyester Red Market Umbrella
Patio Market Octagonal Sunbrella Umbrella
Fiberglass Octagonal UV Resistant Market Sunbrella Umbrella
Acrylic Octagonal Exotic Style Market Umbrella
Fiberglass Octagonal Striped Market Umbrella
Blue Striped Fiberglass Market Sunbrella Umbrella
Durable Black Square Market Umbrella

What Is the Best Umbrella Mechanism?

There are two types of patio umbrella mechanisms available: pulley and crank.

How Can I Find the Right Size Patio Umbrella?

Patio umbrellas can range from 4-12 feet wide. Your patio umbrella must exceed the diameter of your table setting or outdoor area to offer the optimal amount of shade and sun protection.

To measure your table setting for an umbrella, position your chairs, so they are a comfortable seating distance from the table. Measure the diameter from the edge of the backrest of one chair to the chair opposite. Add 2-3 feet to the total diameter for a reliable estimate of the size of the umbrella you will need.

If you want to shade an outdoor area without permanent tables and chairs, roughly measure the width and length of the space, and add 2-3 feet of space to the measurement.

How Heavy Should an Umbrella Base Be?

Unless you have an outdoor table with built-in umbrella support, you are going to need a base to prevent damaging your lawn and to stabilize your umbrella. The minimum safe weight for an umbrella base is 50 lbs.; however, the larger the umbrella, the heavier the base needs to be.

Multiply the diameter of the umbrella by 10 to find the ideal base weight. For example, a 10-foot umbrella needs a base that weighs 100 lbs.

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