5 best patio umbrellas

Stay comfortable, protected and stylish this summer with our pick of the best patio umbrellas

The best patio umbrellas

Finally scored a south-facing plot and selected a sun trap for your elegant outdoor dining set, only to realise it’s all a bit full-on? No worries. The best patio umbrellas don’t just fit in with your chosen scheme, they also add a lot more versatility to your favourite outdoor spot, meaning you can enjoy more of those lazy days, and we’ve got the shortlist right here.

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.

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.

When it comes down to where to look, you can trust old hands John Lewis and Marks & Spencer to provide sturdy and sustainable options like our number one choice, the John Lewis Wooden Parasol in Oyster, but some newcomer brands are coming up with the goods when it comes to clever, adjustable options too. 

The best patio umbrella

1. John Lewis 2.75m Wooden Parasol

In elegant oyster, this sturdy patio umbrella looks good and stands firm

Best for: Quality build
Size: H240 x Dia. 270cm
Material: FSC sycamore, polyester, metal
Weight: 7kg
Reasons to buy
+ Sturdy, sustainable wood+ UPF50 sun protection 

On first glance, this is a very handsome option for anyone in the market for a stylish patio umbrella, but it’s scored our top spot with brawn as well as beauty. Buyers loved the quality of the build, finding the solid wood frame and pole much sturdier than many other high street offerings, and found that it was easy to raise using the cord. Above all, it also offers reassurance, with a UV rating of UPF50 and FSC-certified sycamore wood. 

Marks and Spencer Square Parasol

2. Marks and Spencer Square Parasol

With oodles of sun protection and a wipe-clean finish, this parasol has more to it than meets the eye

Best for: UV protection
Size: H253 x W197 x D197cm
Material: Wood, polyester
Weight: 8kg
Reasons to buy
+Wipe-clean fabric +High-level UV protection 

This Marks & Spencer parasol isn’t too dissimilar from our first John Lewis pick in that it’s said to be sturdily built, features sustainably sourced wood for extra eco-friendliness, and has the equivalent UV rating of UPF50+ to keep the easily burnt safe from midday sun. Where it differs is in its handy wipe-clean fabric, a water-repellent polyester that comes in handy when you don’t have the time (or, frankly, the inclination) to stow it in the shed when the heavens open. 

John Lewis 2m Wooden Striped Parasol

3. John Lewis 2m Wooden Striped Parasol

For a beachy feel no matter where you are, nothing beats nautical

Best for: Small gardens
Size: H152 x Dia. 200cm
Material: Sycamore, polyester, metal
Weight: 5.7kg
Reasons to buy
+ Classic nautical look + FSC-certified wood 

While the elegant oyster and soft grey tones of our other wooden picks will suit most schemes, if you’re looking for something to make a little more of a statement, why not consider this retro striped parasol? Its nautical good looks come courtesy of a classic navy and white striped pattern, bringing a little bit of the beach to your garden even if you’re a long way from the nearest strip of sand, and following the trend of our previous John Lewis option, it’s also made from FSC-certified sycamore.

TecTake Aluminium Garden Cantilever Parasol

4. TecTake Aluminium Garden Cantilever Parasol

This built-in umbrella is something a little bit different, but it works every angle

Best for: Adjustable
Size: H290 x Dia. 350cm
Material: Fabric, metal
Weight: 12.4kg
Reasons to buy
+ Adjustable angle + Lots of coverage 
Reasons to avoid
- Needs anchoring 

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 one from TecTake, 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. 

Miadomodo Garden Umbrella

5. Miadomodo Garden Umbrella

Bring some colour to your patio with this great value umbrella

Best for: Easy setup
Size: H245cm
Material: Steel, polyester
Weight: 5kg
Reasons to buy
+ Good choice of colours + Easy-to-use crank handle 

Neutrals and nautical not really for you? Get firmly stuck into the jewel tones trend with one of these colourful umbrellas from Miadomodo. 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. 

Read more