What Should I Consider When Buying a Patio Umbrella?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

A patio umbrella makes the backyard appear festive and welcoming. Getting out from under the sun and relaxing around a table in the cool shade of a patio umbrella appeals to nearly everyone. What could be better? Choosing a patio umbrella among the many styles and models available is an individual decision that will depend upon the style and color of the house, your backyard furniture and other aesthetic details, but some considerations are universal.

Patio umbrellas are sold by diameter, so the first consideration is size. The umbrella should ideally match the diameter of the table it will be shading. This creates aesthetic balance. If the umbrella is too small or too large, it will look mismatched to the furniture.

Durability is another important consideration. Materials today can be rip-resistant, mildew resistant and ultraviolet-protectant. Each of these features adds to the longevity of the patio umbrella. Additionally, a patio umbrella might come with a guarantee not to fade for three or more years.

If you live in a windy area and do not plan to take the patio umbrella down, you might consider a high wind model. This patio umbrella uses flexible fiberglass ribs instead of wood or metal. The fiberglass, much like a fishing pole, bends with stress and returns to its original form without breaking or stressing the canopy. A high wind patio umbrella might be rated to withstand winds up to 55 miles (88.5 km) per hour or more.

Virtually any patio umbrella of quality will feature a stainless steel mast with tilt feature for blocking sun at low angles. The standard patio umbrella has a crank handle for opening and closing the canopy, while a pop-up patio umbrella works like a rain umbrella; a metal sleeve slides up the pole and locks into place to extend the canopy.

Separate from the umbrella itself is the umbrella stand. This is a base that sits beneath the table. The umbrella pole passes through a hole in the center of the table, down into the stand where a nut tightens it in place. Stands are designed to give the patio umbrella stability and keep it from tipping the table over in breezy conditions.

A patio umbrella is a great way to make your backyard more enjoyable and beautiful. Patio umbrellas are available everywhere patio furniture is sold, and it is an investment you will enjoy every time you sit beneath it!

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Discussion Comments


@rundocuri- I think you will definitely find that your outdoor patio umbrella will last longer if you close it up each evening. I left my first patio umbrella up all the time, because it was a lot easier than worrying about closing it every day. It only lasted two seasons before it became ripped and tattered.

Wind, rain, and sun will cause patio umbrellas to deteriorate over time. However, if you close your umbrella when you aren't using it, you will prevent some of this wear and tear. In addition, you should not only close your patio umbrella when you are done using it for the winter, but you should also bring it inside for storage. This will protect it from the winter elements until it is time to use it again.


I use my patio every day during the warm weather months, and recently bought a patio umbrella. I was wondering if this type of umbrella is durable enough to withstand the elements each day, or if I should collapse it each evening. I hate to hassle with it, but I also want it to last.

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