There isn't one specific element that makes or breaks a patio umbrella. Instead, you must look at your budget, size requirements, weather conditions, and, of course, aesthetic preferences. Ultimately, it will come down to deciding what your top priorities are and how you can best work them into your budget.
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Patio Umbrella Styles
When it comes to style, it's crucial to look at both your pole and canopy. Let's start with the pole. There are three main options to choose from. The first is just your standard market umbrella — what initially comes to mind when you think of an outdoor umbrella. It's comprised of a completely vertical pole and a non-tilted canopy. This design is simple, sleek, and often the most compact option. It's perfect if your space is small or you're just looking to cover a very specific portion of your outdoor setup.
The second pole is one with a tilt function. A tilted umbrella is exactly what it sounds like. The very top of the pole bends to angle the canopy in any direction, offering sun protection at all hours of the day. The third model — a cantilever or offset umbrella — has the canopy supported from the side instead of the center, making it a great pick for larger sitting areas or dining tables.
A couple more notes before we move on to the umbrella's fabric portion. For models with collapsible canopies (almost all umbrellas), the two main ways to expand it are with a crank lift or pulley. Whichever one you choose is totally based on personal preference and doesn't have a huge effect on the function of the umbrella as a whole. Additionally, the pole can be made of various materials, most popularly metal, wood, or plastic. Wood is usually the most expensive option, with teak at the top of this price range due to its highly durable nature and beautiful aging process.
Now, here's where things get a little trickier. Let's talk about the canopy. There are infinite options for color, size, shape, and material. A few questions to consider: Are you looking for a solid color or bold pattern? Neutral or vibrant? How big is your outdoor area and how much space do you need the umbrella canopy to cover? What are the weather conditions? Is it windy? Rainy? Super sunny? Which shape do you prefer? Octagonal? Square? Rectangular? And so on.
The Umbrella Base
The final essential component of a patio umbrella is its base: the bottom section where the pole is inserted, which allows it to sturdily stand upright. And this is super important to note: Most umbrellas do not come with bases, so be sure to check if you'll need to buy one separately. If this is the case, it's critical to pick an umbrella stand that's the proper size, shape, and weight. Sometimes there are bases made for specific umbrella models but sold separately, which will make your choice a whole lot easier.
Here's one final comment before we get to the fun part. Let's talk pricing. While the cost of an umbrella is based on a variety of factors, the most significant is what it's made of. Certain materials are known to be more expensive, based largely on durability. For example, Sunbrella is a popular and highly sought after canopy fabric choice for its long list of benefits including, stain-, water-, mildew-, UV-, and fade-resistance. These days, there are tons of other fabric brands that boast similar benefits at a more affordable price, but Sunbrella has developed an almost cult-like following for its exceptional quality, durability, and protection.
This is where priorities come into play. While your perfect umbrella style is obviously based on aesthetics, it's even more importantly based on practicality and functionality. If your budget doesn't allow you to have it all, think about which aspects are most critical for your lifestyle and which you are willing to sacrifice. Whichever it may be, we are here to help with a hyper-curated list of our very favorite patio umbrellas.
Best Patio Umbrellas for Any Outdoor Space
Featuring a steel pole, tilting frame, and undeniably sleek design, this umbrella is an outrageously good deal. With a UV protection (UPF) of 30, the polyester fabric delivers more than just shade. Be sure to check out all the stunning colors offered. Two of our favorites are the rich Tuscan orange and forest green. Please note: The umbrella base is sold separately.
With a canopy that's stain-, water-, fade-, and UV-resistant, the Daghmar Market Umbrella proves you don't have to spend a fortune for a great quality product. There's also an air vent at the top of the large octagonal canopy, which adds another huge perk to this model: wind resistance. It also boasts a steel pole, polyester canopy, easy-to-use crank, and a variety of color options. Even more? The steel ribs are powder coated to be rust-resistant. Please note: The base is sold separately.
Now, this may just be the greatest umbrella ever made. In addition to being resistant to pretty much all the elements, the oversized shade and beautiful cantilever shape make this umbrella pure eye candy. With six heights and angles as well as 360-degree rotation, this Purple Leaf model is perfectly adaptable to your space. The contrast between the wood-colored frame and deep navy shade may just be our favorite part. Major win: The base is included in your purchase.
This uniquely shaped umbrella could be the perfect fit for your space. The rectangular canopy covers a large stretch of area, but still breaks down easily for compact storage. Select between nine fabric colors to seamlessly match your patio or backyard. Large enough for seven people to fit underneath, this 15-foot long umbrella offers ample protection at an incredibly reasonable cost. Please note: The base is sold separately.
Pottery Barn sure knows how to do an umbrella right. Featuring a Sunbrella fabric canopy with 98% UV protection and a stunning eucalyptus pole in a soft honey finish, no detail went unnoticed amidst this expert craftsmanship. The brass details throughout add just another layer of style. With 40 — yes you heard that right — colors and patterns to choose from, you can truly customize this patio accessory to the max. If you love striped fabric shades, Pottery Barn has the prettiest options we've ever seen. We're absolutely obsessed with the Milano Stripe, Charcoal Bungalow Stripe, and Neutral Linen Stripe. Please note: The base is sold separately.
With solar-powered LED lights lining the inside of the canopy, this umbrella doubles as practical and beautiful illumination for your yard. While some lighted umbrellas are convenient but not very stylish, this sleek design couldn't be further from that. It looks just as good during the day as it does at night. And you can party at all hours, with a UV Protection (UPF) of 50 for day and 32 bright lights for night. The best part? The base is included.
We obviously had to feature a classic black and white striped umbrella. It's pretty unheard of to get a top-rated, beautifully crafted model with a UV Protection (UPF) of 180 for under $70. You'll enjoy the ease of a crank lift and the versatility of a push-button tilt. Please note: The base is sold separately.
It wouldn't be an outdoor patio umbrella roundup without featuring a Restoration Hardware classic. If you're working within a larger budget, this investment is certainly one you won't regret. Boasting top-of-the-line materials, like a weathered or natural teak pole and a Sunbrella canvas canopy, every detail of this model is perfectly thought through. The design elements are not only beautiful but also incredibly durable. The heavy-duty teak pairs with marine-quality stainless steel joints and a reinforced canopy for ultimate sturdiness. Please note: The base is sold separately.