We tested nine patio umbrellas available at Amazon and Home Depot, including models by Grand Patio, Hampton Bay, and Outsunny
Three of the nine patio umbrellas we tested.
By Perry Santanachote
Summertime and the livin’ is easy. The weather is warm, the flowers are in bloom, and the days are long. What’s not to love? Downtime is extra nice when you have a patio for relaxing, dining al fresco, and socializing into the night. To create a backyard oasis, you’ll need patio furniture, including a patio umbrella to block the sun and keep falling leaves and debris from plopping into your salad, wine, cocktails, and mocktails.
The best patio umbrellas can stand up to the wind and are adjustable to give you more control over the direction and angle at which to throw your shade. We weighed these factors heavily in our lab tests.
While we didn’t assess the canopies, they can be made from various materials, including cotton and polyester. But Sunbrella, a durable acrylic performance fabric solution dyed for colorfastness, is a premium material that may be worth the extra cost because it requires little maintenance and lasts longer than other materials.
The right patio umbrella for you depends on your personal budget and the size of your patio. Whichever you choose, remember to properly clean and store it so it lasts many summers.
How We Test Patio Umbrellas
We focused on cantilever-style patio umbrellas that feature an offset base that sits off to the side and out of the way. Our market analyst selected a broad mix of models available at Amazon and home centers, such as Home Depot. The models are at least 10 feet wide, a size that comfortably covers a sizable dining table or average lounge area. Prices range from $86 to $600.
CR’s test engineers rated each patio umbrella for how easy it is to assemble, and adjustability mechanisms, such as crank lifting and tilting.
All the patio umbrellas were easy to assemble and proved to be quite rigid. “Stability is an important consideration, especially given the size of the canopies involved,” says Bernie Deitrick, lead tester for patio umbrellas. “We found that when each umbrella is properly installed and used, none were more or less stable than others.”
Ease-of-use factors, including adjustability, put the top-rated models above the others in our comparative ratings.
Best Patio Umbrella
The Purple Leaf Double Top Square Aluminum Sun Umbrella is the top-rated patio umbrella in our ratings. It offers 360-degree rotation and six tilt angles for easy control of your shading area. Testers found it easy to adjust the umbrella, and it held firmly in place at all angles.
The aluminum pole is coated to look like wood. The vented square polyester canopy is removable for easy spot cleaning with lukewarm water. It comes in four colors: beige, brick red, cream, and navy blue. A beige slipcover is included. Warranty: three years.
Purple Leaf Outdoor Square Cantilever Umbrella
Runner-Up Patio Umbrella
Testers found the Sunnyglade Rectangular Offset Hanging Umbrella easy to adjust, both in tilt and rotation. The patio umbrella can be rotated 360 degrees by stepping on a pedal and twisting the pole. And the tilting mechanism allows for four levels of adjustment, all of which hold steady. The square canopy, which is removable, is vented and made of coated polyester.
It comes in five colors: tan, bright blue, red, dark blue, and gray. Note that we could not find any warranty information for this model. The company does not have a website, and the only contact information we could find was a phone number in China. While this model did perform well in our tests and costs half the price of our top pick (the Purple Leaf above), there is a risk that you won’t get a replacement if the product breaks after the store’s allowed return period.
Sunnyglade Rectangular Offset Hanging Umbrella
Best Octagonal Patio Umbrella
If you have a round patio table, the octagonal Hampton Bay 11’ Aluminum Cantilever Solar LED Umbrella is your best bet. The underside of the canopy is lined with solar-powered LED lights for nighttime dinner parties. The crank-lift and tilt systems are easy to use, allowing for quick tilts and rotations. Testers found that the umbrella held steady at all angles.
The vented canopy is made of Olefin, a synthetic-based polypropylene fabric, and is not removable. But this patio umbrella was one of only two models we tested that came with a weighted base.
It comes in three colors: chili red, midnight, and putty. Warranty: two years.
Hampton Bay 11' Aluminum Cantilever Solar LED Umbrella
Budget Patio Umbrella Pick
The Bluu Banyan 10’ Offset Umbrella shares many of the same features as the other low-priced models, but unlike the others, it does not rely on a flimsy plastic collar to maintain the tilt of the canopy. A few models that cost more are actually rated lower than this budget-friendly octagonal one. The canopy is made of Outtra, a polyester fabric, and is removable for easy spot cleaning with mild soap and warm water.
The only flaw we found is that while the manufacturer claims that the tilt is easily adjustable, our testers found it to be stable only when fully vertical or horizontal. One nice touch is the Velcro straps at the tip of each umbrella rib for hanging small decorative items such as wind chimes or string lights. Plus, a slipcover is included.
It comes in five colors: navy blue, cream beige, burgundy, royal blue, and dark gray. Warranty: five years.
Bluu Banyan Pro Offset Hanging Umbrella
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