What Is the Best Umbrella Mechanism?
There are two types of patio umbrella mechanisms available: pulley and crank.
Pulley umbrellas have the simplest type of mechanism and rely on your strength to pull down on a rope to raise the ribs of the frame. The rope is then tied or anchored to the central pole to secure the umbrella in place.
Crank style mechanisms use a winding handle to open the umbrella, which automatically locks in place. This is a more convenient option found in high-end umbrellas and larger models.
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.
Your patio umbrella should reflect your home's aesthetic as well as fulfill your sun protection needs. Choose from free-standing, cantilever, or tilting styles to find an umbrella that offers the most shade.
The fabric of your umbrella should be UV and water-resistant but also coordinate easily with your other outdoor furniture. Acrylic fabric is the top-of-the-line material for umbrella canopies that is valued for its durability and style.
The frame is the supporting structure of the umbrella and must be strong and flexible to withstand high winds without breaking. Fiberglass is the most durable option, while wood offers exceptional style.
To find the right size umbrella, measure your outdoor space or your table and chair setting, and add 2-3 feet to estimate the minimum diameter of the umbrella.
If your outdoor table does not have a hole or support for your umbrella, you will need a base. The base should weigh 10 times the diameter of the umbrella for the best safety and stability.