What is the Difference Between a Beach Umbrella and a Patio Umbrella?

Beach umbrellas and patio umbrellas almost look alike, but there are several differences that are fundamental. Some people think that they can convert patio umbrellas into beach umbrellas. But when they do it practically is when they notice these fundamental differences. 

There are some fundamental basics that clearly bring out these differences. In this article, I am going to discuss each basic that will clearly show the difference. Examples of these fundamental basics are the place of use, the material, the frame, the weight, and the base

Patio Umbrella Versus Beach Umbrella 

  1. The  place of use 

These two umbrellas have the same function or use, which is to protect you but the places of use are different. 

Just as their names suggest patio umbrellas are used in the garden or the backyard or home outdoor space. Beach umbrellas are used on the beach or around a swimming pool. Try to interchange the places of use and you will find it hard. 

  1. The frame 

A patio umbrella has a bigger/thick frame than a beach umbrella. This is because patio umbrellas need to be stronger than beach umbrellas. 

The high durability of patio umbrellas helps them to withstand harsh weather conditions like the storm. Beach umbrellas are normally kept indoor during bad weather hence they do not require a strong thick frame. 

  1. The base 

Patio umbrellas are heavy and they require a large flat base which is also heavy. But beach umbrellas have a pointed base that is spiked in the beach sand before using them. 

Patio umbrellas have bases with a hole where the umbrella is fitted. But beach umbrellas can be said they do not have bases; just spike it in the sand and relax. 

  1. The fabric 

Patio umbrellas are made with strong acrylic or polyester fabric. But beach umbrellas are made with oxford fabric which is normally lightweight and less durable compared to patio umbrellas. 

Patio umbrellas require a strong fabric because it spends most of its time outside where there are many factors that can destroy it. 

  1. The weight/volume 

As we have seen above both umbrellas have different frames and bases, hence the weight and the volume will be different. 

Patio umbrellas are much heavier and larger than beach umbrellas. The big flat bottom base on the patio umbrella is what contributes to its weight. 

Beach umbrellas need to be lightweight so that they can be moved around easily.

  1. Frame material 

Patio umbrellas have frames made with heavy material such as wood, aluminum, or iron oxide. But beach umbrellas have frames that are made of light material such as iron oxide. The light material in beach umbrellas makes it possible for them to be carried easily. 

The heavy material on patio umbrellas makes it durable to withstand storms and strong winds. 

Converting a Beach Umbrella into a Patio Umbrella 

What you need 

  • Beach umbrella 
  • Concrete planter 
  • PVC pipe 
  • Water 
  • Concrete 
  • Rocks/sand/soil

Step 1

Bring all the material close to you. Then start preparing your PVC pipe. Take the concrete planter and position the PVC pipe in the center of it. Make sure the pipe is standing straight. Use a spirit level to make sure the pipe is straight. 

Step 2

After the pipe is inserted into the concrete planter mix the dry concrete and pour in up to half of it. Add water in the dry concrete and allow it to seep in well.  Hold the pipe in place for some time to prevent it from bending. Again use the spirit level to see if the pipe is standing straight. 

Step 3

Allow the pipe to dry for four hours or leave it to dry overnight if you stay in humid places. Fit the beach umbrella gently after confirming the pipe is dry. Adjust the pipe to be at a good level with the patio table. 

Step 4 

Collect rocks or sand or soil and fill up the planter to make it have a natural look. 

This procedure allows the umbrella to be used on the beach if you want. Just pull the beach umbrella from the PVC pipe and you are on your way to the beach to relax.

 How to Maintain a Patio Umbrella 

  1. Wash the fabric 

Patio umbrellas stay outside most of the time. This makes them vulnerable to dust, birds dropping, and dry leaves. 

Regularly clean the fabric to avoid mold and mildew from developing. Mold and mildew weaken the fabric and it can easily be torn. 

  1. Wash the umbrella frame 

Most of the dust sticks on the frame. You are advised to regularly wash the umbrella frame. This prevents rust if it is a metallic frame or molds if it is a wooden frame. 

If there are stubborn stains, use a soft brush and a mixture of water and ordinary detergent. 

  1. Periodically check the base 

Make sure you maintain the base of your patio umbrella by periodically removing standing water especially before the cold season (winter) starts. 

You can also wash the base with a hose and washing powder. Avoid placing heavy objects on the base or standing on it; this can make it crack. 

  1. Store the patio umbrellas indoors during harsh weather conditions 

Even if the patio umbrellas are designed to withstand strong winds and storms, you are advised to store them indoors during harsh weather conditions. Doing so will extend the useful life of your patio umbrella. 

  1. Regularly touch up the paint 

Try to paint the umbrella frame and the base after every few years. This will prevent rust and it will also cover up the scratches and scuff that may be there. 


With the naked eye, beach umbrellas are similar to patio umbrellas. But in real sense, there are some fundamental differences. The fabric, place of use, weight, the base and frame material are what makes them different. It is easy to convert the beach umbrella into a patio umbrella but the vice versa is very difficult.