The best garden parasols will protect you from strong lunchtime sun, helping you enjoy your al fresco lunches uninterrupted. There's a lot of choice of garden parasols out there, so we've made a short list of the very best ones for durability, sun protection, and price. Whether you want cheap and cheerful shade, the highest UV protection, or a party parasol with high-tech extras like solar lights, we've got you covered.
- Find the perfect garden chair to go under our parasol in our buyer's guide
Depending on your space and budget, there are a few different types of parasol to choose between.
Traditional parasols have straight poles that often run through the centre of your garden table, and are weighed down by a heavy base that you’ll usually have to buy separately. Many have a handy tilt function to better control your shade, and some are height-adjustable, too.
Cantilever-style parasols are freestanding and feature a curved arm that hangs over your garden furniture, keeping the main structure out of your way. They can be tilted and swivelled, and come with their own base included. Alternatively, wall-mounted parasols take up less space, making them ideal for smaller outdoor areas. Find more buying tips – and links to parasol bases – below.
Update: Some of the best garden parasols are selling out quickly. If you can't find our favourite models below, there are still plenty in stock at these retailers:
- Amazon: browse all parasols and bases
- Argos: cheap parasols and bases from £15
- B&Q: parasols, bases and sails from £12 to £140
- John Lewis: traditional, tilting and cantilever parasols
- Wayfair: save up to £60 on a wide range of parasols
The best garden parasols you can buy right now
It can be difficult enough timing your back-garden soirées with sunny spells, and keeping track of it to make sure no-one in your party ends up burnt or squinting is yet more difficult again. The way to stay one step ahead is with an adjustable patio umbrella like this TecTake Aluminium Garden Cantilever Parasol, which operates on a cantilever to lock at your preferred angle, especially useful when the sun starts to dip.
It’s a good bet for anyone currently redoing a patio or deck, as it does need anchoring in properly, but if you’re after a more permanent fixture, it’s a very practical option.
- Buy the TecTake Aluminium Garden Cantilever Parasol
The Papaye Tilting Parasol from Maisons du Monde has a gorgeous design that reminds us of mid-century beach posters and comes in three beautiful, vibrant colours (we're dying for the blue one). It's also remarkable sturdy yet lightweight and easy to operate, but best of all, you can tilt it to ensure you're getting protection from the sun all day long. Don't forget to close it down when it's windy, though.
- Buy the Papaye tilting parasol
If you enjoy spending your summer evenings entertaining, the Kingsleeve LED Aluminium Parasol could be just what you've been looking for.
In addition to providing ample protection from the sun, thanks to its adjustable height and tilt mechanisms, this contemporary model comes with built in lights that are battery operated and will help you create an evening ambience without the need for additional garden lighting. The lights can also run off solar power, which is a bonus during the summer.
- Buy the Kingsleeve LED Aluminium Parasol
Neutrals and nautical not really for you? Get firmly stuck into the jewel tones trend with one of these colourful Miadomodo Garden Umbrellas.
The water-repellent polyester fabric makes it a practical option for anywhere that gets sudden showers, and reviewers found it showed no signs of mildew after being left out, although they did recommend stowing it away over winter to guard against rotting. The crank handle set into the thick steel pipe makes it simple to put up and down without faffing with cords, too.
- Buy Miadomodo Garden Umbrellas
Beautifully designed, with a durable fabric colour that has 40 UV protection, this parasol is amazing value for money. We especially like that it tilts, meaning you do have to move as the sun moves during the day. The cover is tear-resistant, and the parasol itself is very easy to put together (just two clicks together and you're done) and then dismantle when you no longer need it after the summer. It is quite lightweight, so best inserted into a sturdy dining table rather than used on its own.
- Buy the GlamHaus Garden Parasol
How to buy the best parasol
Best places to buy garden parasols
When it comes to buying a parasol to suit your needs, there are a few factors we'd recommend taking into account. These include:
How large is your garden?
Before you start shopping, take a look at the space your umbrella is destined for to ensure there’s clearance around any roof overhangs or awnings, and most crucially, that it’s not in danger of spontaneous combustion courtesy of a too-close barbecue.
How large is your table?
You should also consider the size of your table and choose accordingly. Roughly speaking, you’re looking at a 2m to 3m umbrella for a table 75cm to 90cm in diameter, 3m to 4m for a 95cm to 1.2m table, and 3.5m or larger for a 1.35m to 1.5m table.
As we all know, the sun doesn't tend to shine from directly above. If you tend to get hit from an angle, or want to be able to adjust the positioning of your umbrella as the sun moves through the sky, it's worth investing in an option with tilt adjustment.
Whichever style you choose, make sure you pick a parasol that’s water, mildew and rust resistant so that it lasts longer. Here's our pick of the best garden parasols and bases you can buy right now.
Do all garden parasols offer UV protection?
No – and this is very important to remember if you're planning on spending prolonged periods outside during the hottest part of the day. Unless the parasol specifically states that it has broad spectrum UV protection, it doesn't matter how thick and nice the fabric is, it won't protect you from lunchtime sun (many people have had sunburns through the umbrella). Look for at least factor 30 protection, too.
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Browse garden parasol bases: John Lewis | Wayfair | Amazon
All the main parasol retailers sell weighted bases too. Round ones can be rolled, or look for four-piece designs, which are easier to move too. We particularly like the SunTime 15 kgs Concrete Parasol Base, £29.99 at Amazon; the Christow base 25kg base, £49.99 at Amazon; and the Christow four-piece 66kg base, pictured, which is £64.99 at ManoMano.
Looking for more garden advice and inspiration?
- Need somewhere to store your umbrella? Check out our garden storage ideas
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