When buying an umbrella for your patio or outdoor dining table there are several features you should be looking at. The first is overall size. How much shade do you need or want? We suggest going with an 8 to 10 foot tall umbrella that is round. There are 11 foot umbrellas - those are best for homeowners wanting the offset or cantilever design. You are going to want an umbrella with fabric that resists mildew and mold, is easy to clean, and dries quickly even if it gets wet. The better the material the more likely it will be 90% UV blocking. You want shade and the ability to block harmful rays from the sun. There are really 2 main mechanisms for raising the umbrella up. The first is the hand crank variety which is ok, but we still prefer the pulley system for raising and lowering. Umbrellas that tilt are more popular than those that stand in one position only. Being able to tilt the umbrella will allow you to block the sun no matter what the angle it is coming in at. Three position tilts are the best option. If you live in an area with windy conditions, a vented or wind resistant umbrella is the only way to go. We've seen neighbors umbrellas get lifted off the ground when there are high winds and they get blown into neighbors yards. Always secure the umbrella to a base or stand and buy ones that are vented properly so that wind will cross through them, but not effect their stability. Some bases are made with solid metal or plastic and weigh enough to keep the umbrella in place. Others need to be filled with sand or water in order to keep them stable. An umbrella base/stand run between $30 and $150. Umbrellas are priced between $30 and $1000. The more expensive variety are the cantilever umbrellas that are offset and cover you or a table without getting in the way. Polyester fabric that is treated for water/rain is the way to go. Your umbrella will last longer if you put it away in the winter months or when it's not in use. For those of you that have bought a patio dining set that has an umbrella hole in the middle of the table, your best place to start is with the manufacturer to determine which patio umbrella will work best with your table set. Most tables we review have 2" openings (called an umbrella hole) which are standard. Not all tables have holes for umbrellas so in that case we recommend the cantilever umbrellas as a nice option. RECOMMENDED - Ace Evert makes good quality umbrellas from $50 to $100 and we like the Strathwood Rhodes Market Umbrella listed on Amazon.com for $80. The umbrella tilts, fits into tables, and at 8 feet tall will protect you from the sunshine. View the top selling patio umbrellas here.
Best Offset Umbrella
#1 : Portofino Resort Umbrella - Expensive but worth the extra money. The umbrella with Sunbrella fabric canopy is weather, UV, and water resistant. Gives you 5 adjustable tilt positions with easy to use trigger grip handle. Retractable wheels on base - makes it easy to maneuver anywhere in your patio area. The base can be filled with water, gravel or sand. 100 square feet of shade is provided with the 10 x 10 foot resort umbrella. The best of the bunch.
5 Star Rating
Best Cantilever Umbrella
#2 : Outdoor Patio Cantilever Umbrella 11 Foot Round Canopy With Solar Powered Lights Includes Base And Storage Cover - Looking for shade while sitting by the pool or your backyard patio table? The 11 foot round cantilever umbrella features weather and fade resistant olefin fabric. We prefer the offset umbrella design - much more versatile than the market umbrellas you find at Home Depot or Sears. The canopy tilts so you can always find shade even when the sun is setting on the horizon. Base weights are sold separately and if you live in a windy area, this is a must. The 24 LED solar lights are a nice touch for evening ambiance.
5 Star Rating
Best Umbrella Under $400
#3 : 11-foot Round Solar Cantilever Umbrella - The 360 degree rotation vented canopy is what we like on this one. You also get 24 LED solar lights on the underside of the umbrella. Large round base is included and the powder coated steel bronze frame will last in all weather conditions. The deluxe weather resistant olefin fabric holds up well no matter your climate. Many owners say the adjustable tilt is easy to use and maneuvering the umbrella is simple. If you are looking for an affordable canopy umbrella with lots of features, then check this one out. Works great on porches, patios, decks, pool areas, and lawns. Protects you from the sun but allows the breeze to come through.
5 Star Rating
#4 : California Umbrella 11-Feet Olefin Fabric - At around $300 you get excellent quality fabric so the canopy stands up to all elements. We found this to work great on tables or as a free standing patio umbrella. With an 11 foot diameter, the automatic collar tilt market umbrella gets rid of the troublesome cords found on some models. Need to adjust the umbrella, the counter balanced mechanism makes it easy to operate and tilt as necessary. The Sunbrella fabric is fade proof and stain resistant. The only drawback is that the base is not included - but you can purchase a quality DC America base for under $50. The pole is available in 3 color options and the umbrella is offered in over 15 colors.
5 Star Rating
Best Value Umbrella
#5 : TropiShade 9-Feet Bronze Market Umbrella - For those of you with patio tables or dining sets, this value umbrella will provide the necessary shade when dining or just relaxing. The 3 position tilt and crank system make for easy opening and closing. The umbrella has a single wind vent for added stability. Features 6-ribs and 1 3/8 inch center pole. You will need to purchase a base to secure the umbrella to the ground.