The best garden parasols offer shade when the sun is at its peak, letting you enjoy outdoor gatherings and al fresco dining that little bit longer, and allowing you to move your WFH set-up into the garden when the weather is good by cutting out the glare.
We've rounded up the best deals out there right now, although just like the best garden furniture, in 2021 patio umbrellas are selling out fast, so if you find an option that's right for you it's wise not to delay shopping!
There are three main types of outdoor parasol to consider:
A classic patio umbrella has a central pole that can be secured through the centre of an appropriate garden table and/or attached to a weighted base. (You'll often need to purchase the base separately, so check the details before you buy). Look out for a parasol with a tilting canopy that allows you to angle it better against the sun, and a wind-up crank mechanism that lets you to open and close the canopy without any heavy lifting.
A cantilever parasol or banana parasol is freestanding with a curved arm and a canopy that's offset to allow greater flexibility in where you position it. These parasols are great for over a play area, to add shelter to the best hot tubs or over an outdoor sofa. Look for options that have a tilt and crank mechanism and offer a 360° rotating arm so the canopy can be swivelled to any position - plus a locking mechanism to keep it in your desired location.
And lastly, if you're adding shade to a balcony, a small courtyard, or awkwardly shaped patio, then there are half-moon patio umbrellas that sit flush against the wall offering a space-saving solution.
Whatever style you need, we’ve got you covered with our round-up of the best garden parasols for every outdoor space, so read on to find the best design for you.
The best garden parasols 2021
A great budget option, this super affordable garden parasol also comes with a handy carry bag, so you can easily pack it up and take it to the beach or park.
The useful tilting canopy allows you to angle it into the sun to create a greater area of shade and the UV 50+ sun protection offers peace of mind to reduce the risk of burning.
The Christow Tilting UV-Resistant Parasol comes with a ground spike rather than a base, so if you want to use it on a patio or decking you will need to add a base and some weights to your shopping basket, but for a portable, lightweight, and easily manoeuverable shade option, this bargain parasol still scores highly with us.
A larger 2.7m diameter canopy means the Schallen Tilting UV-Resistant Parasol offers a little more shade than the most budget garden parasol above.
The canopy has the same great UV 50+ sun protection and a tilt mechanism to allow you greater control over where the shade falls, plus this bigger canopy model is accompanied by an energy-saving crank and wind mechanism which makes light work of opening and closing the parasol.
The base still needs purchasing separately, so just make sure there's one in stock before you order.
If you've ever tried dining alfresco with a large group under a traditional circular parasol, then you'll know how tricky it is to ensure everyone has enough shade. But there are no such worries with the Outsunny Double-Sided Garden Parasol.
The double-sided canopy offers a generous 4.6 metres of shade along its length, ensuring you can adequately cover a long dining table or outdoor sofa without leaving anyone in the sun.
The canopy doesn't have a UV protection rating - so make sure to use alternative sun-safety measures - and the design doesn't tilt, but a wind-up crank mechanism ensures the generous canopy is simple to open.
Base included? Sadly not. This is another option that means buying the base weights separately.
A cantilever parasol can be one of the most versatile shade-delivering purchases as it doesn't have the central pole familiar to ordinary patio umbrellas, allowing it to be placed over a play area, paddling pool, hot tub, outdoor sofa, or any other garden furniture arrangement.
The great value Vounot Cantilever Garden Parasol is a stylish design offering UV 50+ protection, an easy-to-operate crank handle mechanism, tilting canopy, adjustable height and a 360° rotating arm allowing you to spin the canopy without moving the base.
The base frame is included, but base weights - which are essential - will need purchasing separately.
UV 50+ protection, a crank winding mechanism for easy opening, a tilting canopy and 360° free-arm rotation ensure the Schneider Schirme Rhodos 3m Cantilever Parasol has all the essentials to make adding shade to your patio area as sun-safe and hassle-free as possible.
The anthracite grey canopy also looks pretty stylish to boot, and there's a hidden surprise once dusk falls... The canopy spokes are fitted with solar-powered LED lights, creating the perfect ambience for alfresco dining and late evening sundowners.
The downside of course is the price, but if you're looking for the pièce de résistance for a stylish courtyard space or design-led decking area, then we still think this is a cantilever parasol well worth considering.
For those with a balcony or small patio, this half-moon parasol will sit flush with the wall to provide shade in spaces not wide enough for a full size parasol. It's also a great option if your favourite outdoor seating spot is tucked away in a side return or next to the shelter of a wall.
The T-shaped metal base is designed to sit next to the wall, but base weights do need purchasing separately.
On the downside there's no UV protection with this garden umbrella, and the fabric is quite thin, so make sure you still apply the sun cream.
In-stock garden parasols
We know that this year garden parasols are flying in and out of stock fast, so if our top picks aren't available when you come to shop - and you don't want to wait for a re-stock - then you can use our handy shopping tool below to browse in-stock garden parasols that are available to buy right now.
Simply scroll to the right to see more options at a gradually increasing price point, and click to go through to the retailer to shop.
Where to buy garden parasol bases
Annoyingly, not all garden parasols come with a base included, even though you need one to weight a parasol down so it doesn't take off if the wind blows!
But never fear, most outdoor retailers sell them, and it's easy to find an option to suit. Just make sure to check the base will fit the diameter of your parasol pole.
Some are made in one piece, and some are weighted segments which slot into your parasol base frame.
Buying the best garden parasols
When it comes to buying the best 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.
Looking for more garden inspiration?
Garden furniture looking a bit shabby now you have a brand new garden parasol to keep them shady? Find the latest looks in our guides to the best sun loungers, the best rattan garden furniture, and our ultimate edit of the best garden benches.
Or find out the easiest ways to transform your outdoor space with the help of our stylish garden ideas.