The Best Patio Umbrella: The Ultimate Buying Guide

The Best Patio Umbrella: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Patios, verandas, and porches all make the most impact during the warmer months. Each location plays host to a variety of kickbacks, parties, birthdays, and cookouts. During these months, nothing is better than getting to explore the outdoors and make the most of it.

If you have had a patio for long, you know how hard it is to keep quality furniture from season to season. Hastily bought pieces break, party accidents happen, and everything has to be replaced in time.

Not to mention, the furies of the warmer months mean torn tarps, destroyed remnants of what you thought was the best patio umbrella, and flying chairs when the weather gets bad enough.

The worst part of all? It’s hard to take advantage of how warm it gets after the colder months because before you know it the sun is beating down on you from overhead, and without a proper patio umbrella, it’s near impossible to escape it.

Fortunately, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the best patio umbrellas possible into one place so that you can get one that doesn’t just looks fantastic, but works great as well.

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.

What Is A Patio Umbrella Made Of?

Patio umbrellas are made of a mixture of parts that have to work together to blend well. Depending on the climate you purchased your umbrella for, it can make a world of a difference what the structure of your patio umbrella is made of.

The Options For The Frame

The main options for the composition of the frame itself come down to:

  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • Fiberglass​
  • Stainless Steel

These are the most popular choices because of their aesthetic value or durability.

Wood

Wood is the biggest choice for those that want something that looks good but doesn’t last well if left out. If you plan to set up and take down your patio umbrella when it begins raining, or when the wind is harsh, then it's still a great choice.

Wood Umbrella

Wood's biggest draw is how well it looks alongside bigger pieces and how lightweight it is to transport and move around. It's the biggest weakness is its lack of strength and how it can warp over time/become weathered when left out in the sun.

While taking the time to set it up and take it down seems like a bit of a time waste.

It's a series advantage for those that want to balance its robust aesthetic quality and need something they can set up quickly and transport easily.

So, though it may not necessarily be perfect for climates that rain often, it’s great for summer homes that have lots of clear sunny days.

Aluminum

Aluminum is effective because it can be colored to match any set that you would like or other pieces. Usually, it makes the most sense to pick a dark or light color for neutrality. Lighter colors tend to chip and run more easily and unless maintained can be sensitive to rust for certain metals.

Aluminum offers durability as well as moderate flexibility due to its lightweight composition. The other bonus is that during temperature changes, it can withhold its form without warping the way wood and other pieces can.

While it may lack the old school feels that other outdoor pieces have, it makes up for it in utility and reliability.

Patio Umberlla Made Out Of Aluminium

Steel

Steel is popular because it is strong and lasts well against the elements. The problem is that it is a bit too harsh and can on occasion bend due to high winds or cause further damage to glass tables upon collapsing.

Steel setups tend also to be more expensive and harder to transport. They are also susceptible to rust.

Steel parts on a patio umbrella besides a pole, however, are great for preventing the destruction of the opening/closing crank. Steel ribs also tend to be resilient but lack the flexibility of fiberglass/plexiglass ribs.

Strong Steel Patio Umberlla

Canopies can be made from a few different materials. Whether you choose an acrylic, cotton, or polyester based canopy, it will impact your ability to use it during light rain or whether you will need to wrap up your patio umbrella.

You should choose your umbrella based on how well it keeps the color from fading. The best quality patio umbrella will offer at minimum a three to four-year warranty against fading due to sun exposure.

The best patio outdoor umbrella should be durable against tears, have a base that lasts without cracking in the sun or through temperature changes, and have a body that holds up against minor bangs.

What Does The Best Patio Umbrella Have?

  • An Easy To Use Opening/Closing Mechanism
  • Stable Weight For Weather, Light Enough Body To Transport
  • Easy To Setup & Breakdown

The best opening and closing mechanism are usually a crank based control opposed to a pulley based one. A crank control typically has a lesser chance of experiencing a break-in gear mechanics.

Also, it's easier to repair when it does have issues because of having only a few screws that hold it in place.

Umberlla with a Crank Mechanism

The ease of which you can open and close your umbrella matters when rain hits or when you want to quickly setup or breakdown.

The Wind Vs. Patio Umbrella

Everyone has experienced being at a cookout or outdoor event, and the wind picks up hats and paper plates. The only time it is worse is when drinks spill and at its worst, tables blow over. There are few things more embarrassing than losing all of your cookout food just because your umbrella caused the table to blow over.

It isn't hard to find a table that is wind resistant, but it's not easy either. There are more than one or two factors to consider that can cause your umbrella to become uprooted. It can come down to the base not being tight enough, the frame material being a poor choice, and more.

The best patio umbrella for windy area is one that doesn’t blow over at every opportunity. Every umbrella has a bit of uptake that comes from the wind resistance of the canopy going against the wind itself.

You should choose one that either has solid support and a base that is to the side such as a cantavil umbrella. Standard single pole umbrellas tend to blow over easily with even a slight gust of wind due to the sand or water base that has to be filled up.

Depending on what you fill the base with, the size of the base, and the height and width of the umbrella, it will be more or less sturdy. Water has a way of compounding in movement, and even with the center being a part of a patio table setup can sometimes find itself disjointed.

The only other way to assure that your umbrella is the best possible fit for your larger installation is to check the measurements and make sure the total leverage for the top falling over is not greater than the width of the table and the weight of the base itself.

Our Top Five Patio Umbrellas For Every Occasion

If you've been searching for the best-rated patio umbrella, we have the best of the best lined up. Each has their own strengths that make them visually appealing, cost-effective, and resilient against most of the challenges that you'll face using any of their competitors.

Tropishade Tropilight LED Lighted 9 Foot Umbrella

Specifications:

  • Umbrella has a nine-foot size
  • LED lights provide mood lighting
  • ​Lights are positioned on umbrella ribs
  • ​Comes with 18-foot cord for lights
  • Features push button style pole
  • Features easy crank opening and closing mechanism

Overview

This umbrella is a great choice if you are looking for something to add a little bit of ambiance to your patio. The mood lighting is the main reason for purchasing this particular model over any of the competition.

These lights certainly add atmosphere to whichever outdoor area you choose to place your umbrella in and are especially suited for night time parties for making your umbrella stand out.

The size of this umbrella is not the main selling point, but with a nine-foot canopy, you can rest assured that this product is quite suitable for larger groups. It is useful for shielding you from the sun and very light drizzles.

This umbrella is not meant to be used during heavy rain, and it may start to leak in conditions such as those. The 18-foot light cord on this product ensures that you will typically be within range of a power outlet and if you are not, you can always use an extension cord.

Tropishade Tropilight Review

This model of umbrella is also durable, which is surprising, considering the relatively low price of this model. This type of umbrella may be purchased for approximately 80 dollars, which is a good price for an umbrella with as many extra features as this one.

Generally, the main reason for purchasing this product is the LED lights which are included on the ribs, as they lend this umbrella an extra element of style which is not present on other models. We would highly recommend this product over several other lights up umbrellas.


Patio Watcher 9 Foot Aluminum Patio Umbrella

Specifications:

  • Umbrella is 7.8 feet tall
  • Umbrella features 9-foot breadth
  • ​1.5-inch center pipe diameter ensures durability
  • ​Eight steel ribs maintain umbrella's stability
  • ​250g/m2 umbrella fabric repels 90% of UV rays
  • Tilt system works with push button
  • ​Crank used for opening and closing
  • Necessary heavy base not included

Overview

This umbrella is an excellent choice if you are looking for a durable and reliable umbrella that you may place on your patio. The fabric of which this umbrella is made is specially treated to repel the majority of UV rays emanating from the sun.

As this umbrella features such excellent UV protection, it is recommended that you use it in the daytime to take advantage of this feature, but you may also use it at night time if you do not mind missing out on this.

The umbrella comes in a choice of six colors, so you can find a color which matches your outdoor patio decor as closely as possible.

Patio Watcher 9-Ft Aluminum Patio Umbrella Review

The umbrella also features waterproof material that will remain dry in even the hardest of rains, which is always a nice touch.

As you would like to ensure that your umbrella will be able to remain standing throughout the duration of a rain storm.

This umbrella also features material with a high tearing strength, so you do not have to worry about the fabric of your umbrella being a weak point.

The inclusion of the eight steel ribs ensures that your umbrella will retain its shape over the course of an extended period of use and the extra two ribs when compared to the traditional six help provide additional support in the off chance that one of the ribs fails.

This is an excellent product if you are looking for an affordable, reliable patio umbrella.


Abba Patio 9 Foot Patio Umbrella

Specifications:

  • Crank system used to open and close umbrella
  • Tilt system is easy and intuitive
  • ​Eight steel ribs coupled with aluminum center pole ensure durability
  • ​Solution dyed polyester material with an estimated color fastness of 1000 hours
  • 9-foot size ensures adequate coverage
  • Umbrella base not included

Overview

This model of patio umbrella from Abba Patio is a great choice if you are looking for an umbrella which is not overly expensive, yet still features a timeless and classy design that will be at home in most patios, regardless of design or furnishings.

The selection of four colors allows you to get the umbrella which matches best with your needs and the 9-foot span ensures that your party of four to six guests will be adequately shaded.

Abba Patio 9 inch Patio Umbrella

This umbrella features eight steel arms supporting the canopy so that you will have backup support in case of a few failures in the construction of the canopy.

However, this product seems durable enough to make such an occurrence rather unlikely.

The aluminum center pole is light and strong and ensures that your umbrella will stand straight for the duration of its lifespan. This is not one of those patio umbrellas which will have its center pole fail after a month of use.

The vented canopy ensures that you and your guests will have adequate air flow under your umbrella, keeping your comfortable and cool on hot summer days.

This model of an umbrella is manufactured with a matching base, sold separately, which fits more snugly and is more easily compatible, but the umbrella is also compatible with a wide variety of other patio umbrella bases if you already have one at home or would prefer a third party option.


California Umbrella 7.5 Foot Round Aluminum Pole Fiberglass Rib Umbrella

Specifications:

  • 92 x 90 x 90 inches in size
  • Crank mechanism works smoothly and easily
  • ​Tilt system has three possible tilting directions
  • ​Frame is constructed of aluminum
  • Ribs are constructed of fiberglass
  • Base is not included and must be purchased separately

Overview

This umbrella is an ideal choice if you are trying to cover a smaller area and you do not want to pay the full price for a nine-foot umbrella. The size of seven and a half feet is good if you would like your umbrella to feature a smaller footprint or you simply must place it in a more confined area. While this may cut down the size of the table which can be put beneath your umbrella, at least you will have more freedom regarding portability and price.

The tilt system is intuitive and typical of most patio umbrellas, featuring three-way tilting with an easy push button system so you may more easily tilt the umbrella. Additionally, the ribs are constructed of fiberglass as opposed to steel on many other models so that the umbrella will be lighter at the price of slightly more brittle ribs.

This does not mean that the ribs are weak, with the optional base, this umbrella is capable of withstanding strong winds undamaged.

One of the only issues with this umbrella is that it does not include a tie-in to be used when the umbrella is collapsed, so it will simply droop sadly as opposed to being tightly bunched together.

Fortunately, you can make your own tie-in that will function, if not as effectively as a factory-made tie-in.

California Umbrella 7.5 inch Round

Regardless of this minor flaw, this model of an umbrella is an excellent choice if you are looking for an attractive, affordable option regarding your patio umbrella.


Bayside21 8 Foot Hula Thatched Tiki Umbrella - Natural Color

Specifications:

  • Features 16 fiberglass ribs for increased durability and protection
  • Umbrella features a Teflon coated, weatherproof, polyester cover
  • ​Umbrella features a vented canopy
  • ​Top is covered in plastic raffia for authentic Hawaiian look
  • Umbrella has an 8-foot diameter
  • ​Features an aluminum pole
  • UPF 50+ protection standard

Overview

This umbrella is slightly different from the rest of the offerings on this page in that it is not a traditional patio umbrella with a clean fabric design. Instead, this model is a replica tiki umbrella with all of the features of a proper patio umbrella.

Unlike most tiki based outdoor decor options, it is mixed with a more modern approach to making it more durable by using a combination of fiberglass and aluminum.

If you are attempting to make your patio resemble a Hawaiian paradise, you will find that this umbrella is the ideal choice for you. The modern construction allows for this umbrella to be durable and efficient at covering you.

Bayside21 8 inch Hula Thatched Tiki Umbrella Natural Color Review

This excellent build quality is coupled with a traditional look which results in an umbrella which is perfect for those looking for the right blend of a classic aesthetic with modern functionality.

A large number of fiberglass ribs means that your umbrella will be adequately supported even in more severe wind conditions. The aluminum pole also ensures that your umbrella will stand firm but remain relatively lightweight.

Surprisingly, this umbrella is no more expensive than most of the other offerings on this list.

In addition to attractive aesthetics, good build quality, and modern features, this umbrella features a low price point.

If you believe that this umbrella will fit in well with your patio’s design, we highly recommend that you purchase this umbrella. While it may not be as authentic as a real tiki umbrella, it is certainly easier to maintain and more convenient.


Conclusion

Whether you choose the tropishade or the bayside umbrella, you can’t go wrong. Every umbrella on this list has been heavily vetted against comparable products in their price range.

If you are looking for something that is durable, cost efficient, and aesthetically fluid to be capable of combining with a variety of outdoor decor styles, the choice is obvious.

Our verdict is that the California Fiberglass Umbrella is the stand out as the best on this list for a few reasons. It provides the optimum level of protection from a variety of conditions for most tables and seating areas. Unless you need something bigger, it's the best possible option in its price range.

The California Fiberglass Umbrella's fiberglass ribs make it perfect for withstanding most drastic weather changes without sustaining severe damage, as well as the aluminum frame means that it is resilient and lightweight.

The other options on this list offer varying levels of aesthetic value, but regarding durability, the California patio umbrella is the best patio umbrella hands down.

What are your thoughts? Have you used any of the umbrellas mentioned on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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