Patio Umbrella Buyer’s guide: Shopping online for a patio umbrella can be a daunting task. We understand that we are one of literally thousands of online sources you could turn to when you need a shade product for a commercial or residential setting, and that you want to get the best bang for your hard-earned buck. Let us help you scale down your search, whether you have a question about one of our umbrellas or a competitor’s product.
You can: 1) Shortcut your research by calling our buyer now at 480-600-1049. Mark Taylor has been in the umbrella business for more than twenty years and can reliability address or suggest any shade product on the internet today. 2) Check out our handy FAQ section below and learn what we know about most features and materials you will find on today’s patio umbrella.
Frequently asked questions about Patio Umbrellas and accessories:
What size works best for my needs? The most popular size by far is the 9' patio umbrella. The nine footers work great to shade the typical patio table at home or a 4-seat restaurant table. The 11’ patio umbrella comes in a close second in popularity.
What if I just need an umbrella replacement canopy? We get this question a lot. In fact, we sell twice as many replacement canopies as complete umbrellas. The canopy takes the brunt of nature’s force when it comes to sun, wind and rain. In fact, the fabric top offers protection to the frame below, so why incur the expense in product and shipping costs for as new complete umbrella when all you really need is a fresh top?
It’s important to accurately measure your existing umbrella’s frame to ensure a perfect fit to your new canopy. You'll find our helpful "How to measure an umbrella ” video guide on each replacement canopy product page. Note: We also sell replacement umbrella frames in case the wind has recently launched yours into your neighbor’s swimming pool.
What about fading? Be sure to see our fade resistant patio umbrellas. There are essentially 3 grades of fabric which relate to fading:
- Polyester Canvas is by far the most common material used on patio umbrella canopies today. We recommend a thread count of 600 denier or higher to represent a reasonable level of quality. Low grade materials use a 300 denier thread count and often are see-through. Polyester canvas replaces the old cotton canvas of years gone by. Cotton’s natural fibers absorb and retain moisture that can lead to mildew and canvas-rot. Poly canvas is synthetic that will bead moisture instead.
Poly canvas covers are commercially dyed. Color retention varies widely bases on several factors such as shade (darker colors show fade faster than lighter colors), locale (Phoenix versus Milwaukee for example) and – most importantly – how often your umbrella is exposed to the sun. Want to dramatically extend the life of your umbrella? We recommend using your umbrella only when you are out enjoying it. We also offer inexpensive UV protective covers for storage and protection from the sun in cases where taking your umbrella down when not in use is not a practical choice.
- Many manufacturers employ special dying techniques to their polyester materials to lock in the color to a greater degree. For example, our trade named ProTexture material is a treated poly canvas that will extend the life at a rate of 80% of Sunbrella for a fraction of the cost. See more about Sunbrella below. Other trade names for these fade-resistant materials are Olefin and Pacifica.
- Sunbrella by Glen Raven Mills is the top-of-the-line patio umbrella material. Sunbrella is manufactured using an acrylic fiber with pigment added prior to extrusion, locking in the pigment to a greater degree than post-extruded dying. Sunbrella’s 4-year warranty against fading is the longest in the industry.
Most patio umbrellas these days ship in two frame sections due to the high shipping costs of a single-pole frame. Aluminum frames tend to have a stronger connection point since the connection is metal to metal. A wooden patio umbrella also uses a metal connector. This creates a metal-to-wood connection that can give to wobble over time as the metal bears against the wood. Be sure to ask us about our patented wood pole connectors - the strongest in this category!
Tilt or no tilt? We live in the northern hemisphere; therefore, the sun will never be directly overhead. Besides, the sun tracks throughout the day, creating the need to frequently adjust the shade canopy overhead. Nearly every umbrella on the market today includes a tilt feature in the neck. A tilt patio umbrella should be a strong consideration for most residential settings.
Many of our commercial patio umbrella customers prefer to purchase an umbrella without the tilting canopy. Remember, a patio umbrella has the same design as a parachute... they will catch wind. This is especially true when the canopy is in the tilted position. A flyaway umbrella can create a hazard for patrons and guests. Additionally, a tilted canopy will drop its lower edge down to eye level or lower, making it difficult to maneuver around in tight commercial settings.
Standard Tilt or Auto Tilt? The typical method used when tilting an umbrella is to push a release button in the neck that will allow the canopy to tilt to the left or to the right. Some umbrellas tilt in what is known as an auto tilt. In most cases, the canopy is released to one side by cranking the cover to its fully opened position and then one more revolution to release the neck's locking mechanism. Reversing the process pulls the canopy back to its vertical setting. An auto tilt patio umbrella would be preferred when the umbrella is to be used while inserted to a patio table or bar. In these settings it would be a real challenge to access the manual push push in order to tilt or restore the canopy.
Crank lift or rope and pulley? Most patio umbrellas with canopies 7' or greater include means by which the user can easily hoist the canopy to its opened position. Wooden patio umbrellas typically use a rope and pulley combination to lift the canopy while aluminum umbrellas more commonly use gears and cranks.
Each lifting method has its own advantages. A cranked umbrella has the benefit of simplicity without requiring the user to deal with the dangling rope after the canopy has been opened. However, the gears are neccessarily geared low and may snap the rope or cable if the user contunues to turn the crank after the runner has reached the frames stopper. We have found an increasing number of commercial clients are opting for the rope and pulley configuration for their aluminum umbrellas as well in an effort to avoid buying a patio umbrella replacement frame down the road.
Patio Umbrellas are the most popular choice when adding shade and ambiance to any outdoor setting. A patio umbrella is an inexpensive and reliable choice when decorating a residential or professional set. These handy umbrellas are available in all shapes and sizes. They are readily available with most patio stores and hundreds of internet retailers touting their own special brands and features.
Patio umbrellas come in two common sizes: nine foot and 11 foot. Purchasing a standard size umbrella will save money at the time of purchase and even years down the road when it comes time to replace a faded or torn canopy.Replacement patio umbrella cover and frames are simple to source as long as the consumer is seeking a popular size and configuration. A replacement top can save many dollars over the cost of an entire umbrella.Umbrella frames will usually last well beyond two or three replacement covers.
Patio umbrellas are available in many shapes. The most popular being either an eight rib umbrella or the hexagonal six rib version. Many dealers offer unique shapes such as square, oval or even rectangle patio umbrellas.
The most common style features a center pole supporting a connecting hub and extending ribs. Some prefer to use what is known as an offset or cantilever patio umbrella. These unique parasols hang the canopy extended from a side post mount with the obvious benefit being the elimination of the center pole. Anchoring these large patio umbrellas is problematic and typically requires using four patio pavers for ballast. This will require an extra trip to your local home and garden store. Many feel that the nuisance of pavers negates the benefit provided by the elimination of the center pole.
All umbrellas, by nature of their design, are parachute-like and will catch wind. They are also top heavy with the majority of their weight being suspended. Therefore, proper anchorage is imperative, especially in a commercial setting. Many umbrellas are used as part of a patio furniture set and can slide through a hole in the table. In this case only a light weight stand is required as the table provides most of the support.
A stand alone patio umbrella requires a more reliable heavy umbrella base for support. These bases typically made out of cast iron and finished with a powder coated color paint. But chipping is common and rust can set in. Other materials such as cast aluminum and even stone and concrete hybrid bases offer a solution to the rusting scenario.
Shipping patio umbrella bases is problematic and expensive due to the excessive weight involved. In many cases shipping costs alone can exceed the cost of the umbrella. An alternative to the heavier stands is found in hollow fill bases which ship empty and can be filled with water, sand or rock upon receipt.
Cheap patio umbrellas can be found at many clearance sites. Some manufacturers and dealers use inferior material such as low density polyester covers to cut corners. It’s up to the consumer to ask questions prior to making any purchase.
Call us at: (480) 600-3126