How To Pick Patio Umbrellas That Perform 

 September 16, 2020

By  Hanel

Patio umbrellas have now become an important part of outdoor décor. You can find these umbrellas in a variety of different sizes, weights, styles, shapes and forms.

As you can guess, investing in a high-quality outdoor patio umbrella will ensure that you enjoy your conversations with family and friends. After all, the last thing you want to do is keep running around chasing umbrellas across the yard.

How Do You Choose The Best Patio Umbrellas?

To make sure you’re not disappointed with your next patio umbrella purchase, check out this post that has been put together to teach you everything about patio umbrellas. Remember, by the time you are done reading it, you will be a patio umbrella expert.

Have A Look At The Dimensions

So what is the standard umbrella size? Should I buy large patio umbrellas or small patio umbrellas?  Well, the size of outdoor patio umbrellas depends on several factors. You will have to consider your budget as well as have a detailed look at the space you have available outdoors.

Remember, choosing oversized patio umbrellas can backfire quickly. In fact, they can throw off your outdoor arrangement almost instantly.

What Size Do You Need

The size of your patio umbrella will determine how much you will receive outdoors. In order to determine the right size of umbrella, think about how much shade you want to receive and more importantly, how much space you have available outdoors.

Here is a golden rule you need to remember: overcrowding your patio or choosing an umbrella that’s too big for your space won’t look and feel good.

Ideally, the umbrella you select should have the same width plus an additional 2 feet on the sides if possible. For example, if your table is a 4-foot round table, the umbrella you select should at least be 8 feet in diameter.

Here’s a simple chart to help you choose the right size of the umbrella

  • Table 2.5 to 3 feet, umbrella should be 6 to 8 feet in diameter
  • Table 3.2 to 4 feet, umbrella should be 9 to 11 feet in diameter
  • Table 4.5 to 5 feet, umbrella should be 11 feet or larger

As stated earlier, a patio umbrella is designed to cover a large outdoor seating area. Generally, your umbrella will be made of materials that can withstand the different types of weather. Therefore, even if you want to spend a great deal of time outside, having a quality patio umbrella can help you enjoy your outdoors even more.

Choosing a right umbrella is helpful for a number of reasons. First, you will be able to keep cool on those blazing summer days. Next, you can create a cool place on your patio for socializing with friends and family.

Sometimes people aren’t sure of how patio umbrellas would merge with their existing outdoors. Well, before you make a final decision, you should know how to find the best umbrella for your home’s setup.

The size of your umbrella can easily be determined – all you have to do is get hands on a tape measure and determine how much shade you need. In case you want to shade a large table where your guests will be spending most of their time, there should be at least 2 feet of additional space on each side of the table.

The standard patio umbrella size is 8.5 feet. It is important that the umbrella you choose should extend beyond the edge of the table so that everyone seated around it will receive enough shade.

Another important thing to keep in mind while shopping for patio umbrellas is that as the size of the umbrella goes up, so does its price. So, if you want to save a few bucks, don’t buy more umbrella than what you need.

How You Should Measure A Patio Umbrella

To measure the size of your patio umbrella, fully extend the umbrella and make sure all ribs are fanned out. Now use a tape measure to get an accurate idea of the radius of the umbrella.

The radius of the umbrella can be calculated by measuring the distance between the top of the rib and the bottom of the rib. Now multiply the result you get by 2 to get the total diameter of your umbrella.

The Height Of Your Umbrella Pole Is Important Too!

You want your patio umbrella to be high enough – your head hitting the umbrella isn’t the best feeling in the world. On the other hand, you don’t want the pole to be so high that the umbrella loses its function.

Considering convenience and ease of installation, eight-foot pole is the recommended minimum.  In fact, eight feet high poles are easily available, but you do have other options as well.

Some people prefer to use tilted models to continuously block the sun as it moves from east to west during the day. You can change the position of your umbrella as you like. Here’s another friendly reminder. If you want to keep the hinges of your patio umbrella pole in good shape, it is recommended that you apply WD-40 and the keep the umbrella covered when it’s not in use.

Generally, you would want the pole to be high enough so that your tallest friends don’t have to stoop down to get under the umbrella. In addition, the pole shouldn’t be so high that it kills the entire purpose of having an umbrella outdoors.

Patio Umbrellas Bases

The base of your patio umbrella perhaps is one of the most important factors. A strong base will keep your umbrella securely in one place. Similarly, if you use a base that is too light, your umbrella will keep flipping from one side to the other and even fly across the yard.

Here are some recommendations that will help you find the right umbrella base.

  • 20 lbs. base is ideal for small patio umbrellas. You can use this case if your umbrella is 6 feet in size.
  • 30 lbs. base can be used for slightly bigger umbrellas. In fact, it works best for umbrellas that are 6.5 feet in size.
  • 40 lbs. base can be used for umbrellas up to 7.5 feet in size.

Heavier patio umbrella bases such as 50 lbs. and 70+ lbs. bases can be used for larger umbrellas i.e. those bigger than 9 feet. Similarly, you should invest in heavier bases if you live in area that experiences high winds.

Strong, violent winds can wreak havoc on patio furniture including your umbrella. Moreover, you surely don’t want to be known as the host who has to stand on the base of the patio umbrella every time strong winds start blowing. To save yourself from unwanted trouble, make sure you choose a heavier patio umbrella base that doesn’t want to move from place.

Having an adequate umbrella base is necessary. Remember, securing your patio umbrella into the table doesn’t provide enough stability. Simply put, patio umbrella bases can hold your favorite patio investment steady in violent, high winds. They can also keep them straight in sunny weather.

If the umbrella you have selected is over 10 feet, you should look for the largest and heaviest base you can buy. Patio umbrella bases should be designed to fit the pole. You can read the manufacturer instructions provided to get the best fit.

Patio Umbrella Bases And Anchor Weight

Some patio umbrellas come with a sturdy base and with some models, you may need to purchase umbrella bases separately. If you will be using patio umbrellas in areas that do not receive a lot of wind, a strong base is not necessary. However, you can still use the base to hold your umbrella in position so that it doesn’t fall over.

Your umbrella base has to be strong enough to hold the umbrella pole in place and the amount of force needed to anchor the umbrella securely will depend on its size. Patio umbrellas roughly that have a diameter of less than 9 feet require about 50 pounds of base. On the other hand umbrellas that are larger than 9 feet will require a minimum base of 75 pounds or more.

What Are the Different Types Of Patio Umbrellas

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather outdoors and your patio can be the best location for relaxing and eating a scrumptious treat. Because nobody wants to experience the sun beating down on him or her, having a patio umbrella is a nice way to provide the much-needed shade outdoors.

No matter what kind of patio umbrella you’re looking for, you are guaranteed to find one that best suits your needs. Not all patio umbrellas are created equal. In addition, you need to determine the right type of patio umbrella for your yard before selecting the right size or fabric or pattern.

The following section lists the common different types of patio umbrellas that are available.

  • Residential Umbrellas – As the name suggests, these umbrellas are designed for use on home patios. All you have to do is fit the umbrella through the hole on a patio table and you will be good to go. These umbrellas usually are available as pop-up style.
  • Market umbrellas – These umbrellas are made using higher quality materials than typical residential umbrellas. They usually come with a vented top and are well known for their octagonal shape.
  • Commercial umbrellas – Patio umbrellas for commercial purposes have a heavy-duty design. They are mostly preferred by restaurants and find a place in most outdoor events.
  • Tilting Umbrellas – As the sun continues to move, you wouldn’t want to play musical chairs and ask everyone sitting under the umbrella to move their seats every 35 or 40 minutes. Tilting patio umbrellas allow you to adjust the position of the umbrella without disturbing the people. This means you can continue partying without having to worry about readjusting your position. Remember, a tilting patio umbrella can be one of the best investments you have made for your home.

What Are The Ideal Tilt Methods?

Having a shade directly above your head is not always ideal. As the sun moves across the sky, you might want to change the shading angle and this is exactly where tilting umbrellas come handy. If you want to spend several hours outdoors under the shade that has the ability to tilt, make use of the tilt patio umbrella no matter what time of day it is.

Most common tilt methods include:

Crank Tilt

A crank will be used to open the umbrella and you can stop ‘cranking’ once you have opened the camera to the desired amount of shade. Crank tilt patio umbrellas are quite reliable, as the product will lock itself into place automatically.

Perhaps the best thing about crank tilt umbrellas is that you can block the sunlight at all angles without having to change the umbrella position or trying to balance it.

Collar Tilt

These tilt umbrellas are simple to use. Rather than dealing with cranks, you can simply twist the collar on the patio umbrella frame to adjust the shade’s angle.

Another thing to note here is that you don’t have to get up from your place to adjust the tilt.

You can easily rotate the collar while sitting at the table.

Remember that rotating the collar in the opposite direction will move the umbrella back to its original position.

Push Button Tilt

These patio umbrellas as you can guess can be controlled with the help of a button. Once your umbrella is at the desired angle, you can push the button and then release it to lock the umbrella in place. Some push button umbrellas are also equipped with a crank for opening and closing the patio umbrella.

Cantilever Umbrellas

You can say cantilever umbrellas are the deluxe versions of patio umbrellas. They are quite similar to tilting umbrellas; however, they have an increased range of motion.

Interestingly cantilever umbrellas are the same models you would find in five star models. Because they are the deluxe version, they have extremely sturdy design that can handle everything and anything that Mother Nature throws at them.

If you are looking for the best of the best, cantilever patio umbrellas are what you should be looking for. Not only these umbrellas have a heavy base, but also everything else from the frame to the fabric used in umbrella construction is a class apart.

Another important thing to note here is that cantilever umbrellas are quite versatile and allow you to move your umbrella in any direction you want to. Because of their design, cantilever umbrellas are often used to provide shade over a larger area such as cafes and restaurants.

Table And Free Standing Patio Umbrellas

Most table patio umbrellas use a standard hole to hold the pole in place. These tables work well for outdoor dining. Freestanding patio umbrellas do not follow the traditional umbrella design. They place the pole off to one side and you can use your heavy-duty patio umbrella in any direction you like.

Best Patio Umbrella Fabric And Frames

Like any other piece of furniture, you would want the fabric of your patio umbrella to be the very best. Generally the fabric you choose for outdoor umbrellas should e able to withstand the harsh weather conditions.

As far as ideal fabrics go, you can look for phrases such as “weatherproof” or “all weather fabric” or breathable design. Remember, the fabric you choose needs to be UV resistant, waterproof and most importantly, it should prevent the growth of mold.

Buyers who choose a canopy fabric need to look deeper than the color and pattern. Of course there are many different types of fabrics that can be used to block the sun and protect the people and objects underneath it. Similarly, most fabrics are treated to withstand harsh weather conditions, but not all patio umbrella fabrics are created equal.

Generally you should look for polyester or polyester blends that are UV treated before selecting fabrics for patio umbrella canopies.

If you are living in windy areas, you might want to consider buying fiberglass frames that are designed to bend slightly. Aluminum frames are quite reliable and they are an affordable option as well. Basically there are three main types of materials that are used for patio umbrellas frame construction – wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.

Each material as you can guess has its own benefits but the end decision really comes down to personal preference and of course, the environment in which you will use the umbrella.

Aluminum is the most common material used in construction of umbrella poles. The metal is durable and more importantly, lightweight. It is also economical and looks beautiful.

Perhaps the reason people invest in patio umbrellas with aluminum frames is that the metal is resistant to corrosion. This means you can leave your patio umbrellas outdoors during all types of weather without worrying about damage.

Patio umbrellas with wooden frames are the most expensive type. The wooden frame undoubtedly has a sophisticated appearance and the wood is usually treated to handle all kinds of weather conditions. Unfortunately frames made of wood are not as durable as aluminum frames and they cannot handle extended exposure to chilly winds, excessive sunlight and rain.

Patio umbrellas with fiberglass frames are the most durable. Fiberglass makes the umbrella flexible so you bend it even during heavy winds. Because fiberglass is non-corrosive, flexible, weather resistant and lightweight, you can move the umbrella easily and your buy will last for a long time making it one of the best investments you’ve made in your life.

Turn On The Lights!

You can easily turn your patio into a party spot by adding the right kind of lights. Some patio umbrellas include colorful bulbs in their design, but if the model you selected doesn’t have them, you can buy LED lights and attach them yourself.

Those of you who care for the environment can invest in solar powered patio umbrellas. These products feature innovative charging – the built-in lights are charged when the sun is shining bright and you no longer have to use additional energy sources

Solar light patio umbrellas are often equipped with LED bulbs in vibrant as well as neutral colors. Therefore, whether you want to spend your evening reading a book or want to enjoy barbeque outdoors, solar umbrellas can provide the much-needed additional lighting without hassle.

Most modern patio umbrella models include additional features like crank controls, and 360 degrees rotation. You can even customize the appearance of your patio umbrella with removable netting and LED lights.

Can I Buy Rectangular Patio Umbrellas?

If your outdoor seating area has a rectangular patio table, you can find rectangular patio umbrellas to complement your décor. These umbrellas work great where space is restricted for example, if you want to place your patio table on a deck, this is the model you should be looking for.

Most people prefer rectangular umbrellas instead of round umbrella because they come in a number of different sizes and at the same time, offer better shade protection. Like other patio umbrellas, the size of your rectangular patio umbrella is also determined by the size of your patio as well as the conversation area.


A decent patio umbrella is an excellent way to provide shade and enjoy outdoor conversation with friends and family during the hot, summer months. When you are choosing the best patio umbrella for your home, remember that the color and patterns are not the only things that should be taken into consideration.

Here’s hoping that this post gave you a nice idea about selecting the frame material, umbrella size and pole options. Now you should be able to get your hands on a patio umbrella that best suits your needs and lasts for a long time.


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