The best patio umbrellas

  • Whether you want to add some style to your outdoor space or need the extra shade, choosing the right patio umbrella is key.
  • The FiberBuilt 9-Foot Terrace Tilt Umbrella uses an octagon-shaped canopy and push-button tilt to cover lots of space, and it can easily fit into a bistro table or stand.

The perfect patio umbrella should not just make your outdoor space more livable, it should also make it beautiful.

Whether you need a sturdy table umbrella to keep you and your guests cool while you eat or something more elaborate to provide extended relief from the sun, there are many different styles of patio umbrella to choose from.

When shopping for a patio umbrella, you should consider the size of the canopy, the material of the pole and ribs, the crank mechanism type, the fabric quality, and of course, where you want to place it.

We’ve done the research to find the best patio umbrellas you can buy no matter how big or small your patio is. We’ve also included different types of umbrellas, including portable ones and a hanging patio umbrella. If you’re looking for a more portable beach-style umbrella, check out our guide to the best beach umbrellas.

Here are our top picks for the best patio umbrellas:

Prices and links are current as of 3/17/2020.


The best overall

source
FiberBuilt Umbrellas

The medium-sized, tilted canopy of the FiberBuilt 9-Foot Terrace Tilt Umbrella makes it perfect for either popping into a bistro table or onto your patio.

The FiberBuilt 9-Foot Terrace Tilt Umbrella is tough enough to last through the seasons and hold up under the harshest conditions. We’ve been using this umbrella on our Brooklyn roof deck since last April, and that covered some seriously gnarly northeast spring weather.

The 1.5-inch pole is made of durable aluminum, but it’s the eight flexible fiberglass ribs with molded joints, hubs, and end tips that really make this umbrella stand up to heavy winds. It’s a great choice for rooftop decks and beachside locales because the base is so sturdy. If the umbrella does tip over, the fiberglass construction will also ensure that it stays in one piece.

The hand crank system makes it simple to open and close. If you crank it up as high as possible, you’ll find a big round button that lets you easily tilt the umbrella, allowing you to place your shade more carefully. But my favorite feature is the octagon-shaped, marine-grade, solution-dyed acrylic canopy made of hearty Sunbrella fabric. Ours is a happy green that makes our space more attractive.

The poles come in white or Champagne bronze and you can choose from six colors for the canopy, so you can match the umbrella to your existing patio decor.

Pros: Medium size, fiberglass ribs, Sunbrella canopy, decent price, good color options, sturdy construction

Cons: Canopy covers less than nine feet, crank not the strongest, fabric could fade in colder weather if left outside


The best cantilever patio umbrella

source
Hampton Bay

With solar-powered LED lights and a tiltable canopy, the Hampton Bay 11-Foot Solar Offset Umbrella is a feature-rich umbrella for medium-to-large outdoor spaces.

This umbrella is more like a patio centerpiece than a piece of furniture. A large, cantilever canopy, solar-powered lights, and durable aluminum and steel hardware make the Hampton Bay 11-Foot Solar Offset Umbrella a solid combination of style, practicality, and innovation.

Easy to set up, the base comes with empty sandbags that need to be filled up with 220 pounds of sand to anchor the umbrella. Many users simply went out and bought sandbags to place inside the base instead of messing with the empty ones.

The vented canopy is crafted from weather-and-stain resistant Olefin fabric and comes in five color options. A solar cell sits on top of the canopy and powers 40 solar lights, so you can enjoy your patio, day or night.

Wirecutter tested a similar Hampton Bay umbrella and nearly recommended it as a top pick, but passed it over in favor of another umbrella.

Pros: Stylish and well-designed, solar-powered lighting, 1-year warranty

Cons: Doesn’t hold up well in wind, need sandbags to hold down base, once base is anchored with sandbag it’s hard to move umbrella

Get 50 pounds of play sand for $5.25. You’ll need 5 bags to exceed the 220-pound requirement


The best on a budget

source
Abba

At a great value, the Abba Patio Outdoor Umbrella fits perfectly into a patio table and offers a large canopy for plenty of shade.

A solid choice for al fresco dining, the Abba Patio Outdoor 9-Foot Market Table Umbrella checks all the basic boxes. A tilt and crank system lets you simply and quickly unfurl the umbrella to offer shade over 43-inch to 54-inch tables.

The round polyester canopy comes in beige, dark green, and red, and the pole is made of powder-coated aluminum in a nice bronze color. You do need to buy the base separately, and we recommend this 50-pound one or this 80-pound freestanding base.

With only 6 steel ribs, the umbrella is more prone to blowing over, but the type of base you purchase could help mitigate that. Because it’s a budget buy, it’s not as sturdy as some of our other picks, so you’re best off taking it down over the winter or during bad weather to prevent damage. If you treat it carefully, it should still last a few years.

Wirecutter tested it and had a few concerns about the longevity, but concluded that “this model may seem like an excellent value to people who are happy to view a patio umbrella as a semi-disposable purchase.”

Pros: Large size, easy to set-up, extremely inexpensive

Cons: Can blow over in high wind, polyester canopy can fade, pole can bend, base sold separately


The best portable patio umbrella

source
Wondershade

You can take the Wondershade Ultimate Portable Sun Shade anywhere. Just pop it in its included bag and sling it over your shoulder.

Sure, the tiltable, five-foot canopy and tripod base of the Wondershade Ultimate Portable Sun Shade can sit in your garden or on the patio, but it will also fold up and come with you to sporting events, camping trips, pool days, concerts, or picnics.

The lightweight umbrella can be assembled in less than a minute, and even comes with two cup holders and two utility hooks, which can hold towels, bags, bathing suits, or jackets. If you want to bring it to the beach, it also has a built-in sand screw with a twist handle. Gust-proof vents on its canopy will also ensure a grounded experience.

The telescoping base can adjust from three feet to eight feet tall, and the legs can be removed to help it fit through a bistro table. An included carry bag allows for simple toting. The umbrella comes in four colors to match your style.

The major downside to this umbrella is the lack of weighted base. Though necessary to ensure the umbrella is portable, it does mean that the umbrella is prone to blowing over. If you’re going to use it in a more permanent location, you may want to buy some sandbags to weight down the legs.

Pros: Portable and lightweight, telescoping base can adjust from three feet to eight feet, simple to set-up and take-down

Cons: Lighter weight makes it easier to blow away if on tripod, fabric not as sturdy as pricier umbrellas, legs can be hard to open


The best for smaller spaces

source
California Umbrella

A compact yet pretty pick, the California Round Umbrella has a 7.5-foot scalloped canopy and weighs exactly nine pounds.

Don’t have a huge amount of room for your patio umbrella? You can unfurl the California 7.5-Foot Round Umbrella easily in any diminutive outdoor space. California Umbrella, Inc. has been crafting high-quality umbrellas for 50 years and the company is known for the style and durability of its umbrellas.

An aluminum pole and updated crank lift mechanism make this umbrella attractive and simple to open and close. A button at the pole’s joint allows for a three-way tilt and fiberglass ribs help deflect wind to keep the canopy’s shape.

The fabric is made of blended, fade-resistant polyester and is easy to clean and maintain. The umbrella comes in 10 colors, but the base is not included, so we recommend this 50-pound one or this 80-pound freestanding base.

Pros: Great-looking umbrella in several color options, three-way tilt, fits in smaller spaces with ease

Cons: Base sold separately, no tie to keep it closed when collapsed, champagne pole as advertised looks more like brown


Check out our grilling guides so you can whip up a meal on your patio

source
Shutterstock

The best charcoal for grilling

Although you may think that one bag of charcoal is almost identical to another, there are actually many different types and styles of charcoal to choose from. Here are our top picks for the best grilling charcoal you can buy.

The best charcoal grills

Charcoal grills sear meat and veggies to perfection and fill food with that perfect smokey flavor. Here are the best charcoal grills you can buy.

The best gas grills

The gas grill is the centerpiece of your backyard during summertime barbeques, so you should invest in a great one. Here are our top picks for the best gas grills you can buy.

The best grill brush and cleaning tools

Whether you are a year-round barbecue enthusiast or a seasonal grill master, you have to clean your grill each and every time you use it if you want your foods to taste their best and to be reliably safe to eat. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best grill brushes and cleaning tools you can buy.