Patio Umbrellas

Outdoor Umbrellas for Patio Tables & Stands

A good patio umbrella can turn a blistering hot deck into a tropical oasis. Not only do these pieces make outdoor eating enjoyable and poolside lounging relaxing, but they're useful anywhere homeowners need an escape from the sun. To find the right model for your needs, consider these tips for how to choose patio umbrellas. More

Budget and Style

While you might expect that all patio umbrellas are about the same in look and price, there is actually a wide range of options:

  • Market Umbrellas - Straightforward and simple, these pieces typically have a circular canopy supported by straight pole at the center of the umbrella. They may fit into the middle of a patio dining set or stand on their own.
  • Cantilever Umbrellas - These more advanced models feature a canopy supported via a cantilever from a side-positioned, free-standing pole (rather than center mounted). Many use a curved or triangular-shaped support for added stability, which gives them a modern look.
  • Tilting Umbrellas - Change your umbrella's angle to match the position of the sun with this flexible design. Titled umbrellas look similar to market models, but with a moveable joint on the poll to easily position the canopy.

Price for any of these designs can vary, but cantilever umbrellas are generally most expensive because their construction is more sophisticated. Their versatility and range of motion makes them easier to use, not to mention that their design keeps the pole from blocking anyone's view. Most five-star hotels use this kind of patio umbrella.

Size

Even more than style or budget, size makes a big difference when it comes to patio umbrellas. Pieces that don't create enough shade won't do much good regardless of how nice they look. To ensure coverage, choose an umbrella about five feet larger than the area you want to shade.

To fit smaller spaces, consider half-size models. These half-moon-shaped canopies are ideal to cover lounge chairs, though not as useful for round tables.

Materials and Color

Since they need to stand up to the elements, the best patio umbrellas come with durable frames and canopies crafted from heavy-duty outdoor fabric.

Pole Materials

Fiberglass poles are the top-of-the-line option, as they can bend slightly in the wind without breaking. Aluminum is a sturdy but less costly option. Be sure to pick a quality, weighed umbrella base to keep your pole in place during windy weather.

Canopy Fabrics

Look for terms like waterproof, UV resistant, all-weather and breathable when comparing canopy materials. These options are the most likely to hold up to sun and rain without fading or gathering mildew.

Choosing quality fabrics also opens up your color choices. UV resistant cloth is made to hold its color despite constant sun. Dark cloth that isn't UV resistant is likely to fade more quickly than lighter options. If the umbrella you want doesn't come with a colorfast guarantee, light neutral and pastel shades are your best bet for long-term use.

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