Buyer’s Guide to the Best Outdoor Umbrellas in Australia 2020

Introduction

When you live in sunny Australia, basking in the sun will probably be one of your favorite past times. For those extra hot summer days, it is wise to bring out some shade. As we all know the Australian sun can be unforgiving when it starts toasting away at your skin.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to move indoors. You can still enjoy the warmth from the outside while cooling down underneath an outdoor umbrella.  If you’re a regular when it comes to barbecuing and socializing with friends and family, then you’ll understand the importance of a large and durable outdoor umbrella.

One that is portable, large, and high enough for your tallest friend to stand comfortably underneath.

Looking for an outdoor umbrella in Australia is much different from looking for one in another country. Why? Well, Aussies like to socialize in the hot sun. This typically results in large groups coming together and either fighting over the little shade available or burning bright red.

Not only should the umbrella be made out of durable and UV-protected material, but it should also be big enough to cover a large group of keen socialites.

In this buyer’s guide review, we look at a variety of umbrellas available on Amazon.au that is suitable and strong enough to fit in at an Australian party.

Top 6 Outdoor Umbrellas in Australia 2020

ImageBrandFrameCanopy SizeCheck Prices
Instahut RomaSteel3mCheck price on Amazon AU
VidaXLSteel3.5mCheck price on Amazon AU
FestnightWooden2.7m x 2.7mCheck price on Amazon AU
ABCCanopyn/a2.7mCheck price on Amazon AU
SunnygladeAluminum2.7mCheck price on Amazon AU
Alice’s GardenAluminum3m x 3mCheck price on Amazon AU

Function of an Outdoor Umbrella

It’s basically in the name. Outdoor umbrellas are designed to provide shade for areas outside of the house that doesn’t have an overhead roof or awning. Also known as patio umbrellas, these models provide the perfect solution for outdoor areas where it’s difficult to place a permanent shade fixture.

They are portable and can be moved around the backyard to the preferred spot and then securely stored away when not in use. Not only do they provide shade to out-of-the-way spots, but they also add a bit of pizazz and color to your home’s exterior design.

Most patio umbrellas use a crank at the top that allows the canopy to be lowered or raised to a preferred height. The pole of the umbrella can either be placed in an anchored weight or through a hole in the middle of a dining table.

Different Parts of an Outdoor Umbrella

High-quality outdoor umbrellas have key features that allow it to endure all weather conditions and provide flexible shading. It’s important to understand the different components when shopping around for a device.

Here are the parts you should look out for:

Pole – 

This is the primary support of the entire model. It’s a vertical strong pole or rod. They come in a variety of lengths, angles, and thickness.

Hubs –

The runner and top hub are the parts of the unit that assists with the opening and closing of the umbrella.

Ribs or Struts – 

This is the thinner metal frame that holds the canopy or fabric in place when opened. They should be made from high-quality metal to ensure that the canopy doesn’t flip open when a rough wind blows by.

Finial – 

Also known as the ferrule, is the object placed at the top of the umbrella. Almost like the star on a Christmas tree, it is both decorative and functional. Holding the pole and canopy into place while giving the umbrella an aesthetic flair.

Vent – 

Not all outdoor umbrellas have a vent, but for those who would like one it’s an excellent feature situated underneath the finial. The vent area provides an opening with a thinner layer of fabric to create the ventilation of fresh air.

Valances – 

Usually found on outdoor cafe-style umbrellas, the valances are flaps of fabric draped over the top of the canopy.

Canopy – 

The canopy is the fabric part of the umbrella that consists of the vent, shade body, and valances.

Tilting Mechanism – 

High end models have a tilting mechanism located on the pole. This allows you to tilt the canopy for directional shade. Tilting mechanisms come as either a collar, automatic crank, or manual.

Lifting Mechanism –

The lift mechanism should be strong and durable. It is the system that supports the canopy, hubs, and ribs. The lift mechanism consists of a lever and latch, crank, pulley and pin, and a push-up.

You should always make sure that you check the height of the mechanism as well as the strength and durability of the pin.

Base – 

To anchor the unit and keep it upright, a base is included. Bases are usually made from a heavy material to anchor the umbrella.

Mount – 

A kind of base tube is connected to the base. This is a hollow tube in which the pole is slid into. It stabilizes the structure.

Types of Outdoor Umbrellas

Depending on the area you’d like the place the umbrella on, as well as the function you want it to serve, you can choose between any of these types:

Center Pole Umbrella – 

Derived from the original umbrella design is the center pole umbrella. Its main feature is that it has a straight pole that extends from the base to the top of the canopy.

Market –

Market umbrellas are usually octagonal in shape and have vented canopies.

Cantilever – 

Also known as an offset umbrella is the perfect solution for patio areas with dining tables without holes in the middle. Instead of sticking the center pole through the middle of your table, the offset umbrella has its own base and mount positioned off the one side.

Modern cantilevers can provide shade to a large area without the obstruction of a pole in the middle of the area. The entire structure can rotate 360 degrees, making it one of the most versatile outdoor umbrellas on the market.

Half Umbrella – 

Perfect for small patios, porches, and convinced spaces, the half umbrella has one flat side that can be placed directly against a wall.

It typically sports a canopy that has clean straight edges and functions as a portable awning.

Pagoda – 

Inspired by Asian architecture, the Pagoda patio umbrella has a parasol-style canopy resembling that of a Japanese Pagoda. Gorgeous for specific areas even though they aren’t usually found in large sizes.

Different Styles of Outdoor Umbrellas

Apart from the different types of outdoor umbrellas, you also have a choice in style. The style of which you choose will usually depend on your outdoor aesthetics.

You can go for a sleek and modern design with black metal framing and beige canopy, or a more traditional appeal by purchasing a wooden structure with a green canopy.

Whether you want something minimal or flamboyant, there are loads of styles available on Amazon au.

Difference Between a Beach and an Outdoor Umbrella

Don’t confuse a beach umbrella with an outdoor umbrella. The main difference between the two is that a beach umbrella has a spiked base that can be pegged into the beach sand. Whereas an outdoor umbrella will have a fixed base.

The beach umbrella is also much lighter in weight to make transportation easier. It also sports a regular round shape with the canopy creating hanging avalanche-like edges.

Many beach umbrellas’ canopies are made from PVC, acrylic, and polyester-nylon blends. Great for one day in the sun, but not suitable for constant exposure.

Maintenance

Just like any other structure that is constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, you have to maintain your patio umbrella in order for it to perform its function optimally.

Most canopy fabrics and structures can be cleaned with mild soap and lukewarm water. Open up the canopy and rinse off any debris and dust with water. You can use a rag or sponge to remove stubborn dirt. Avoid using a hard bristle brush.

Whether the frame is made from fiberglass, metal, or wood, use a damp cloth and wipe away dust and dirt. Ensure that you don’t wipe any leaves, hair, cloth, or dirt into moving parts of the umbrella.  Avoid using a hard soap as it might damage the metal frame finish.

Leave the canopy open until its completely dry and then only close it.

In addition, you should always open the umbrella with care. Keep it dry and close it when you aren’t using it. It will be wise to refer to the manufacturer’s maintenance tips. Not all canopies and structures are made from the same materials. Therefore, the manufacturer will be able to give the best advice when it comes to proper care.

Some models even come with a protective cover. Do consider

Factors to Consider Before Buying an Outdoor Umbrella

When shopping around for the best outdoor umbrella in Australia, you have to consider the following determining factors.

Outdoor Space

Before purchasing an umbrella, you have to consider the outdoor space you have available. Do you have a small patio that might need a half umbrella? Is there an umbrella hole in your table?

Consider the aesthetics of your outdoor area and whether you’d like to move the umbrella around or keep it stationary.  Keeping all of these things in mind will give you an indication of what specifically to look for.

Size

Small outdoor umbrellas might not provide enough shade for the area, while bigger outdoor umbrellas might overpower the area. Before clicking ‘buy’, you have to calculate how big of an umbrella you need.

Here is our size suggestion guide to help you out:

Shaded Area Canopy Size
up to 92 cm 2.1 meter
up to 120 cm 2.4 meter
up to 152 cm 3 meter
up to 182 cm 3.4 meter
up to 214 cm 3.7 meter
up to 275 cm 3.9-4.2 meter

Frame Material

When you choose the material of the frame you have to consider your own priorities. Is it important that the frame fits in with your outdoor aesthetics? or is it more important that it can endure all weather conditions?

The three main materials used in manufacturing frames and poles are wood, fiberglass, and aluminum. All three have their pros and cons.

Wood

Perfect to create a lush natural aesthetic next to the pool or a green garden. The best quality wood to look out for are hardwoods like eucalyptus, bamboo, and teak.  Typically, wood would be pre-treated to resist weather damage, insect infestation, and rotting.

The downside to buying wooden frames is that they can snap when exposed to heavy winds and the treatment on the wood fades away after time.

If you want the durability of aluminum with the appeal of wood, some manufacturers offer fake wood finishes over metal and fiberglass models.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a popular material to use in patio umbrellas because they are light in weight and much more flexible than other materials. This means that it can bend when faced with extreme winds without breaking.

It’s more expensive than other material types, but when you consider its longevity, the extra dollars will be worth it.

Aluminum

Metals are a popular material used for poles and mechanics. Aluminum and stainless steel models are durable, corrosion-resistant, and strong. Not to mention they look pretty modern as well.

Marine-grade steels and metals have 2-3% molybdenum which further strengthens it and makes it even more resilient to rust. Perfect for homes near the ocean.

Aluminum is typically powder-coated and anodized to protect it against wet weather and corrosion.

Even though metals can warm and bend, it’s highly unlikely that it will snap in half when exposed to harsh weather for too long.

Shape

When choosing the shape you also have to consider the area you want to shade, the shape and size of the table in the outdoor area, and any obstacles in the outdoor environment like trees or pillars.

Round shapes are perfect for symmetrical areas or areas with foliage. Square shaped canopies provide maximum shade while enhancing the area’s elegant style. Rectangular shaped canopies compliments long and oval tables. They also fit into narrower patios or balconies.

Pulley and Mechanics

How will you open and close the umbrella? This is the question. Because outdoor umbrellas can be quite heavy and big, it’s important that the pulley and mechanics fit with your ability.

Have a look at the tilt mechanism, push buttons, crank lift, collar til, and the pole itself to determine whether the mechanics are suited to your needs. Also, consider whether the canopy can be rotated to a certain degree.

Canopy Fabric

When it comes to the fabric of the canopy, you can’t resort to a low-quality material. This is the part of the umbrella that will be exposed to the sun rays most of the time.

Fabrics to choose from are usually Acrylic, Polyester, Olefin, and Polyethylene.

Consider the UV protection rating, whether the material is highly dense and knitted,  if it can be cleaned, whether it’s mildew and fade resistant, whether it’s waterproof and permeable.

High-quality acrylic canopies have a warranty of up to 10 years. So, do check the warranty on the canopy as an indication.

Umbrella Base and Stand

This is the anchor in which your entire umbrella will rest. Most bases are made from concrete, stone, and iron. Some bases are made from hollow plastic in which users should add water or sand to create a heaviness.

On average a base can weigh anything from 20 kg – 60 kg, depending on the size of the canopy.

They can either be fixed or mobile to move around the area. Bases have a variety of designs, colors, and styles to help fit in with your outdoor area.

Mounts can either be fixed on a wall or even secured in the ground by pouring concrete in an open hole.

Additional Features and Accessories

Who doesn’t like to add a bit of fun onto their outdoor umbrella, especially if you’ll be using it when hosting massive get-togethers.

Some accessories can include LED lighting on the ribs/hubs of the canopy, built-in heaters and speakers, and an extra protective cover.

Additional features can include tilting and swiveling of the pole to create flexible shading options.

You might be interested: Best Gazebos in Australia 2020

Top Reviews of the Best Outdoor Umbrellas

Considering all of the above-mentioned features, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite outdoor umbrellas.

Instahut Roma Outdoor Umbrella

Overview:  Made from extremely durable material, the Instahut Roma outdoor umbrella is the perfect solution for outdoor patios without umbrella tables. The offset design makes this umbrella perfect for smaller areas.

The canopy is manufactured from 180gsm polyester fabric with UV50 protection and a PA coating. An 8-rib steel top keeps the fabric in place. The frame is manufactured from coated steel. Making this a durable and long-lasting product.

It features a 360-degree rotation and an adjustable angle for shade manipulation.

Cost: $190
Key Features: UV protection, Offset design, PA coating, Adjustable angle, 360-degree rotation, Stainless steel frame

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VidaXL Cantilever Outdoor Umbrella

Overview:  The gorgeous dark green VidaXL Cantilever umbrella has a polyester canopy and a strong steel frame. It’s the perfect offset umbrella for smaller areas. With a canopy diameter of 3.5 meter the model only weighs 28 kilograms.

It’s extremely easy to set up with a manual reel rotator. The canopy can be adjusted at different angles, with a simple slide down the pole.

Cost: $155
Key Features: Cantilever, manual lever, Lightweight, Available in three different colors, Crossbase

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Festnight Outdoor Umbrella

Overview:  Made with a teak wooden frame, 6 strong ribs, and a UV-resistant colorfast polyester canopy, the Festnight outdoor umbrella is an elegant model to liven up your outdoor area.

The model doesn’t come with a base, which makes it perfect for tables with umbrella holes. With a venting feature as well as a mid-pole tilt, the parasol provides excellent cooling and shading.

Festnight designed this umbrella in two sizes (270cmx270cm and 200cmx300cm) and two colors (green and cream).

Cost: $92
Key Features: Tilt mechanism, Hardwood teak wooden pole, Polyester canopy, UV-resistant, Easy to open and close

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ABCCanopy Outdoor Umbrella

Overview:  With a one year warranty and a multitude of colors to choose from, the ABCCanopy outdoor umbrella is a perfect starter. Priced at only $34, it is a 270 cm canopy made from 200gram UV protective polyester fabric.

For an additional $76, you get a hard plastic base that’s easy to fill with sand or water for stability.

Cost: $34
Key Features: Multiple colors available, Portable, UV protected canopy, Self-filling base available

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Sunnyglade Outdoor Umbrella

 

Sunnyglade 9' Patio Umbrella Outdoor Table Umbrella with 8 Sturdy Ribs (Red) | WantItAll

Overview:  Sunnyglade’s outdoor umbrella is made from 100% waterproof, fade-resistant polyester. The rust-free powder coated pole is made from durable aluminum for durable longevity.

Perfect for areas with square or rectangle tables, the Sunnyglade outdoor umbrella can cover an area fit for a big table and 6 chairs. It comes with a push-button crank and tilts for easy open and close.

Cost: $350
Key Features: Tilt, Crank, 8 sturdy ribs, aluminum pole, UV resistant canopy

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Alice’s Garden Cantilever Umbrella

Overview: Leaving the best for last, Alice’s Garden’s cantilever outdoor umbrella will definitely turn some heads. The 3×3 meter offside umbrella is stylish and strong.

Made from a durable and robust aluminum frame placed on top of a strong base that can hold a maximum weight of 112kg. As well as a UPF 50 shade 240 g/m UV protected and water-resistant canopy that features an air vent.

The umbrella features easy-to-use mechanics that tilt the canopy at different angles and provide a 360 degree rotate.

Cost: $400
Key Features: Includes cover, UV protected, 360-degree rotation, Waterproof, High-quality materials

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Conclusion

When it comes to the heat of the Australian sun, one can never have enough shade readily available. But there’s no reason why your outdoor shading can’t look classy and stylish while protecting you and your guests against the rays.

Invest in an outdoor umbrella that can be easily maintained, is easy to operate, and that gives your patio an extra flare of style.

 

 

 

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