5 best garden parasols 2021: throw some super shade

The best garden parasols for cutting out the glare; our pick of the best parasols for garden shade, from the best cantilever parasol to stylish patio umbrellas

Best garden parasols 2021 - best parasol for garden - best patio umbrella - Real Homes
(Image credit: Maisons Du Monde)

The best garden parasols offer shade when the sun is at its peak, letting you enjoy outdoor gatherings and al fresco dining a little longer, and cut out the glare, allowing you to move your WFH set-up into the garden when the weather is good. 

So it's perhaps no surprise that like the best garden furniture, the best garden parasols are selling out fast across the country!

The best garden parasol for you will depend on your space and needs. A classic patio umbrella usually has an adjustable pole that goes through the centre of a garden table, with a crank and tilt function to shade you from the sun. These require a weighted base that is usually bought separately.

Cantilever parasols are freestanding on a base, with a curved arm design to hang over outdoor seating. These are more flexible and can be swivelled or turned to any position. 

There are also wall-mounted garden umbrellas that sit flush against the wall - ideal for balconies and small outdoor spaces.    

Whatever style you need, we’ve got you covered with our round-up of the best garden parasols for every outdoor space. 

The best garden parasols 

Best garden parasols 2021 - best parasol for garden - Cox and Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

1. Tilting 2.9m Parasol Set, Cox & Cox

A stylish tilting garden parasol with UV protection

Specifications
Dimensions: Parasol: H239 x Dia.290cm, Base: H36 x Dia.45cm
Base included: Yes
Weight: 22kg
Materials: All-weather parasol, aluminium pole, fibreglass ribs
UV protection rating: 50+
Colour options: Cream, grey, taupe
Reasons to buy
+UV protection of 50++Base included+Crank and tilt function

A high UV protection rating of 50+ makes this garden parasol ideal for long alfresco lunches or an afternoon reading in the garden. 

The set comes with a 22kg weighted base for hassle-free set up, and the crank and tilt function allows you to adjust the height and angle to cut down the glare. 

The all-weather canopy is available in three neutral colour options - cream, grey and taupe - with an anti-rust aluminium pole. 

Best garden parasols 2021 - best parasol for garden - B and Q

(Image credit: B&Q)

2. Carambole 2.7m Standing parasol, B&Q

An affordable parasol for the garden

Specifications
Dimensions: H223 x Dia.270cm
Base included: No
Materials: Aluminium & polyester
UV protection rating: Not UV resistant
Colour options: Khaki, grey
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included -No UV protection

If you don't already have one then you'll need to buy the base for this parasol separately, but this still works out as one of the more affordable shade-giving options. 

The adjustable parasol comes in a stylish dark grey and blend-into-the-foliage khaki green to compliment your garden, and a handy storage bag is useful for protecting it during storage. 

Just bear in mind that there is no UV protection offered with this parasol, so although it will cut out the glare, it won't necessarily prevent you from burning when you're sat under it.

Best garden parasols 2021 - best freestanding garden parasol - Kettler

(Image credit: Kettler)

3. Henley 3m Freestanding Parasol, Kettler

A freestanding garden parasol with high UV protection

Specifications
Dimensions: H262 x Dia.350cm
Base included: Yes - fill with sand or water
Weight: 33.5kg (without base filled)
Materials: Polyester parasol & aluminium pole
UV protection rating: 50+
Colour options: Grey
Reasons to buy
+UV protection of 50++Base included+Freestanding+360° free-arm rotation
Reasons to avoid
-The most expensive on our list-Takes up quite a bit of space

We all know that you generally get what you pay for, and although this parasol is the most expensive on our list, it delivers a lot for the price. 

The freestanding design makes for versatile positioning as you don't have to plan your seating around a central pole, and it's also great option for delivering shade over any of the best hot tubs.

UV protection of 50+ ensures you can stay out in the garden as long as you want, with the 360° free-arm rotation meaning you can hop from outdoor dining table to sun lounger without having to drag a parasol around with you.

Once it's delivered and in position you just need to fill the base - that's included in the set - with sand or water to give it stability.

Best garden parasols 2021 - best wall parasol for balconies and small patios - La Redoute

(Image credit: La Redoute)

4. Afer Balcony & Patio Parasol, La Redoute

A space-saving parasol perfect for balconies or small patios

Specifications
Dimensions: H204 x W115 x D115 cm
Base included: No
Materials: Polyester parasol & steel pole
UV protection rating: Not UV resistant
Colour options: Charcoal grey
Reasons to buy
+Useful space-saving design for balconies 
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included-Steel generally a little less rust-resistant than aluminium

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.

 

Best garden parasols 2021 - best budget parasol for garden - Glamhaus

(Image credit: Glamhaus)

5. GlamHaus 2.7m Garden Parasol

A budget garden parasol with UV protection

Specifications
Dimensions: 140 x 14 x 13.5 cm
Base included: No
Materials: Polyester & aluminium
UV protection rating: 40+
Colour options: Green
Material: Aluminium, polyester
Weight: 3.64kg
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Tilts to protect you from the sun+Good UV protection
Reasons to avoid
-Only one colour-A bit lightweight 

A great budget garden parasol that offers UV protection of 40+ under its canopy. 

A crank handle opens the umbrella, whilst a simple push-button allows you to tilt the canopy to block out the sun.

Just bear in mind that the base isn't included, so you will need to buy this separately..

The best 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. 

Browse garden parasol bases:
The main parasol retailers will usually sell weighted bases too. Round ones can be rolled to make maneuvering into place easier, or four-piece ssegments are easier to carry. We particularly like the SunTime 15 kgs Concrete Parasol Base, £29.99 at Amazon; the Classic Garden Shop Set of Four Parasol Weights, £59.95 at Amazon, and these Resin Quarter Parasol Base sections which are available separately at Argos for £15 each.

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.

Tilt adjustment

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.

Durability

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.

Cynthia Lawrence
Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence is a freelance lifestyle and interiors journalist, and writes for various national publications. With an obsession for all things homes and gardens, she also has an interior design blog and spends most of her time surfing online for interiors inspiration to revamp her home.