What Type of Patio Umbrella is the Best? (Expert Advice)

Have you ever gone patio umbrella shopping? You might get surprised or overwhelmed by the options available. There are patio umbrellas of different shapes, materials, sizes, and other features. So, how will you know which type is the best? This guide will help understand the options and purchase an umbrella that satisfies your needs.

Categories of Patio Umbrellas

Before you buy a patio umbrella, you need information on the types of patio umbrellas. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses. You will have to look at the suitability of the type of patio umbrella to your needs. Here are the most common categories of patio umbrellas;

  1. Table Patio Umbrellas

This is the most popular patio umbrella type often seen in cafes and marketplaces. It consists of a single-pole running from the base to the center of the umbrella. You can also support the pole using a patio table. The common shape is an octagon but it can also be rectangular or square. 

Most of this umbrella type has a vented canopy. This feature allows wind to flow through without the patio umbrella being blown off from the ground. Some of the umbrellas have a tilt function. It allows you to shift the upper option and keep the shade where you want it. This type of umbrella is suitable for shading small seating areas.

  1. Offset Patio Umbrellas

They are also referred to as cantilever patio umbrellas. These feature a canopy that you set off from the side of the pole rather than the center. Many of them can be pivoted to even 360 degrees. This implies that you can comfortably shade large lounge chairs. Also, the base of the patio umbrella will be out of your way. 

  1. Half Patio Umbrellas

Just as the name suggests, these umbrellas are halves of a typical patio umbrella. They are ideal for patios located next to walls or a fence. You can thus tuck the patio umbrella against a vertical surface. Also, the sun cannot poke through gaps because of their shape. 

Factors to Help You Choose the Best Patio Umbrella

  • The shape of the Patio Umbrella

The shape you choose depends on some factors; the available space, the look you prefer, and where you wish to shade. Common patio umbrella shapes include octagonal (round), square and rectangle. Do you wish to shade a dining table? You may opt for a rectangular patio umbrella. The octagonal patio umbrellas can be used to shade a pair of chaise lounges. Check for potential obstructions on your patio and how you can avoid them.

  • Size of the Patio Umbrella

The patio umbrella size should be almost perfect for the place you wish to cover. A common rule of thumb is that the patio umbrella should have a 5 feet larger diameter than the area being covered. If a dining set is being covered, make sure the table has an umbrella hole. You can use a patio umbrella guide from the internet for more information.

  • The materials of the Patio Umbrella

For outdoor structures, fabric materiality is important. The durability, quality, price, and weather resistance vary from one material to the other. The materiality of the patio umbrella structure should not be overlooked. Fiberglass ribs are used to make the umbrella wind-resistant. Other materials like steel or wood would snap with strong winds. It is also resistant to heavy moisture and salt. 

Here are some material options to look at;

  1. Sunbrella Fabric– the most used outdoor fabric which is 100% solution-dyed. The color of the fabric does not fade because of the UV rays. 
  2. Polyester– it has an impressive performance and the color is locked onto the material fibers. It is also resistant to mildew. The fade rating is 4 years.
  3. Olefin– this is a budget-friendly alternative with the quality remaining high. The fibers are durable if you take proper care. The fade resistance is better than that of polyester. 
  4. Acrylic– the fabrics are grade A solution-dyed. They are durable and available in many colors.
  5. Thatch– the option is a fun one to explore compared to the traditional fabrics. The material does not rot, get mildew or attract insects. You can use water to clean it but make sure it dries. 
  • Weight of Umbrella Stand

People often forget to add an umbrella base to their order. You do not want to ruin the excitement of using your new patio umbrella without a base. This is especially important for the freestanding umbrellas. The table counterparts have extra support thus the base is not that important. You can use weight charts from the internet as a guide to the right option.

  • Other Patio Umbrella Accessories

Patio umbrella lights are a great way to add ambiance to your space. The lights can be bought integrated into the umbrella. Other lights have to be purchased separately before adding them to the umbrella. 

Patio umbrella base tables are stands that have a double function. They hold the umbrella pole and the drinks or snacks. This suits a situation where you want to shade a certain spot but not the whole patio.

Unfortunately, in some areas, you cannot use the patio umbrellas all year round. Patio umbrella covers are important when storing umbrellas. They are usually breathable and waterproof to protect your umbrella. For extra protection, they are UV treated to prevent damage by UV rays.


The best patio umbrella is the one that meets your needs the best. Consider the options named above when purchasing a new patio umbrella. Also, you do not want to get tired of cleaning, choose an easy-to-clean umbrella. Do not overspend on a patio umbrella without looking at other factors. Go order one in the nearest shop.