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Best Outdoor Umbrellas

Outdoor Umbrella Guide

When you are enjoying the best that the summer has to offer, you can get more hours outside when you use a quality outdoor umbrella. These give you the protection to stay. safe when the sun is blazing and enjoy those lazy days with company, or relaxing alone. This is only possible when you purchase a quality product. As there are many sub-par products, you need to be careful.

To help you get the most out of the summer, we have created the following outdoor umbrella guide.

What To Look For In An Outdoor Umbrella

Durability

This will be down to all the materials used. Everything from the quality of the cover to the material of the frame will either make it more durable and able to last longer, or more likely to break within the first summer.

Size

Are you trying to cover a small area of your garden or mount it above a table, covering everyone at the same time? These are the sort of considerations that you need to consider before you purchase. 

There are outdoor umbrellas available in pretty much every shape and size so you will no doubt find the ideal product for your garden space. In terms of the height, make sure you don’t have overhanging branches in the area you want to use the umbrella.

Shape

A common shape for an outdoor umbrella tends to be an octagon or hexagon. Often referred to as the round types, these give excellent coverage and have decent stability when mounted on a strong frame. 

A square umbrella is good for a modern look and blends in well with other furniture. If you have a long table then a rectangular outdoor umbrella is a good option. 

Fabric

The canopy needs to provide adequate shade whilst staying strong as it towers overhead. Common materials include acrylic which has decent UV protection, is resistant to fading but comes at an expense.

Then there is polyester which is less resistant to fading than acrylic but still has protection from UV rays and is resistant to mold and water. Polyethylene is another popular option and this is more affordable but you do sacrifice a little UV protection although it is still decent enough for most people. These products are also less resistant to water and mold.

A lot of brands combine different materials to make a unique fabric cover so reads the specifics of each model to make sure you get enough protection.

Base

Most products come with the base included and some are more reliable than others. As long as it can be weighted down you shouldn’t have a problem with stability and some will make it easy to screw the pole in tight.

Your main decision here might be a mobile base that you can move around the garden to a fixed base.

Swivel and Tilt

Some brands allow you to move the canopy at different angles. This is ideal for keeping everyone protected throughout the day when the sun moves.

What Is The Best Outdoor Umbrella Frame?

The quality of the frame will determine how durable the outdoor umbrella is. This means you will either get more use out of it, or it will barely last a season. A wooden frame looks. natural, blends in well outside, and has a quality appeal to it. They also cost a little more and need a little maintenance to extend their lifespan.

With sun exposure, they do tend to fade, even when treated as there is little that can be done with constant use in the sun. Still, if you store them after each use and don’t leave them to the elements, you can get more out of a wooden frame.

A metal frame is a good idea for anyone who wants a slick look that is low maintenance. Look for stainless steel, alloy, or other treated metals. As long as it is rust-resistant you should get plenty of use out of it.

Fiberglass frames are also popular and among the most sturdy options. It has good weather resistance as it doesn’t rust and can bend without breaking making it ideal for windy conditions. It might be more expensive, but fiberglass outdoor umbrellas tend to last longer.

How Heavy Should An Outdoor Umbrella Base Be?

This depends on the weight of the umbrella but allows 10 pounds per ft of the canopy to stop the wind from pushing it over. You will not need so much weight if the pole is going through a garden table to stay upright as well.

Different Types of Outdoor Umbrellas

Although some types are more common, there are more options in this area that a lot of people realize. Here are some of the most popular.

Center Pole

These are your beach umbrella style products and have a simple straight pole that holds the canopy. Usually, in a round shape, they have good UV protection and coverage and are kept sturdy by a weighted base or mounted into a fixed base.

Offset

The other most common type of outdoor umbrella, offset has an arched pole and the canopy hangs almost independently of the pole. This gives you the ability to be mounted away from the table so there is no pole in the middle as it protects anyone underneath.

A lot of them can rotate to 360 degrees to you can block the sun no matter what position it is in. These are the more expensive options and they require a heavier base.

How To Take Care Of An Outdoor Umbrella

The easiest way to look after an outdoor umbrella is to store it in a cool dry place when you are not using it. When left to the elements it will soon fade and even the pole can deteriorate depending on what material to buy.

A wooden frame will need to be maintained and treated at different intervals and you might also consider cleaning the canopy. Usually, soapy water will suffice but this will depend on the fabric used so check with what the manufacturer recommends.

When opening it, don’t force it, use a gentle approach to protect the working parts from breaking and fold it down when you are not using it.

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