The Complete Outdoor Patio Umbrella Buying Guide for Your Home

The complete outdoor patio umbrella buying guide for your home.

outdoor patio umbrella

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When you want to enjoy the outdoors during summer, a patio umbrella comes in handy. It keeps you from becoming overheated or getting sunburns. And if you have neighbors, the umbrella will provide an extra layer of privacy.

Patio umbrellas come in different types, sizes, colors, and materials. The available products might seem overwhelming. So, we have curated this guide to help you choose a product that suits your needs. If you already have sunburn, visit to get a quick solution.

Types of patio umbrellas

Generally, patio umbrellas are categorized into offset and center poles. Let us discuss each category in detail.

Offset patio umbrellas

These are also known as cantilevers. They have a jointed or arched pole that is positioned to one side. They do not sit in the hole at the center of the table. Rather, they stay beside the table, supporting an overhanging canopy.

Because of the design, a cantilever has a heavy base. It can rotate to offer 360 degrees coverage. This is beneficial if you want to shade a hot tub or an outdoor dining area that does not have an umbrella hole. An offset patio umbrella is versatile but quite pricey.

Center pole patio umbrellas

This type has been in existence for as long as we can remember. They have a straight pole that goes into the center table hole and is held securely at the base. The base is either fixed or mobile. The umbrella can also come as a single piece or two combined pieces.

Although center pole umbrellas shade you from direct exposure to the sun, they do not stop UV rays from diffusing through the sides. There are different variants of this product. They are:

Market Umbrellas: They have an octagonal or round shape with clean edges. The tops are vented to allow air to flow freely, keeping you cool underneath. The material can also withstand windy areas.

Beach Umbrellas: They are round and have hanging valances. Their bases are simple and spiked so you can easily insert them into the beach sand. 

Half Umbrellas: They are flat on one side and can be placed against walls. They are excellent options for shading small porches or balconies. The canopies are either straight or round with valances, clean edges, or drapes.

Types of patio umbrella frames

The frames are made from three types of materials: aluminum, wood, and fiberglass.

Aluminum frames have an anodized finish that makes them rust-resistant. They are also lightweight and can resist strong winds.

Wood frames are made with wood such as eucalyptus, teak, and bamboo that can resist the elements. They are also stained or oiled to resist insect pest attack, rot, and weather damage. However, they may not have enough resistance to strong winds. 

Fiberglass frames are lightweight, flexible, and rust-resistant. Their flexibility allows them to resist strong winds. They also come in various colors. You may want to check out Watson’s outdoor patio umbrella online to find a color that suits your exterior decor.

Types of canopy materials

Choosing a canopy material is important when buying an outdoor umbrella. It does not only add to the color of your yard but also provides shade. The common canopy materials are:

  • Acrylic
  • Polyester
  • Olefin
  • Polyethylene

Acrylic and olefin canopies are weather-resistant and provide UV protection. They are easy to clean and are resistant to mildew and mold. Polyester also provides UV protection but fades more easily. Polyethylene is fade-resistant, but the material is quite translucent.

Which is the best outdoor umbrella?

The best product depends on your preference. But you still have to consider your outdoor space, the layout of your furniture, and how often you will use the umbrella.

Best product for tables

A center pole umbrella will be best if your table has a hole. However, if it does not, choose a cantilever. Ensure to get a size that can cover the setup and guests sitting at the table.

Best for shade

If you want a product that will cover a large area, go for a cantilever. It can rotate in any direction. Consider getting one that is mobile. 

Best for sun protection

A cantilever is made with a UV-resistant material. This helps to block ultraviolet rays from penetrating the canopy. It also blocks diffuse or reflected ultraviolet radiation from all sides since it can tilt and rotate.

How to store outdoor umbrellas

To increase the lifespan of outdoor umbrellas, close them when no one is using the patio. Ensure you cover them to keep them safe. When summer is over, detach the canopies and their frames from the base. Clean them before storing them away.

Additionally, wrap the canopy folds in a single direction before covering them with the umbrella cover to prevent wrinkling. Cover the ends of the frame with thick rags or cardboard and place it in a standing position. Ensure to store in a dry place such as the basement or garage. You can watch this video to see how to clean your canopy.


A good outdoor umbrella protects you from the sun and keeps you comfortable while outdoors. To find one that suits you, consider the information shared in this buying guide. Also, use the tips shared to care for your canopy during and after summer.

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