Photo: Stacey L. Nash for Bob Vila
A standard patio umbrella can provide a shady respite on hot, sunny days, but a cantilever umbrella goes the extra mile for enhanced sun protection. Unlike standard versions, which have a center pole, a cantilever umbrella features an offset pole that suspends the canopy from the side so that it can be adjusted, via tilting and/or rotation, to better shade a patio or a seating area. These umbrellas can also add a bit more unique style—but because of their cantilever design, they must be especially well constructed to stand up to the elements.
The best cantilever umbrella is weather-resistant, sturdy, and attractive to provide effective and elegant sun coverage to an outdoor space. We researched and hand tested the products in our lineup, and we’re confident that you’ll find one of these cantilever umbrellas worth adding as a backyard upgrade. Read on for our reviews of some of the best models on the market and to learn about factors and features to keep in mind when shopping for a cantilever umbrella.
- BEST OVERALL: Purple Leaf Double-Top 360 Degree Cantilever Umbrella
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bluu Banyan Pro Offset Umbrella
- BEST MIDRANGE: Grand Patio Deluxe Napoli Cantilever Patio Umbrella
- BEST RECTANGLE: Sunnyglade Deluxe Outdoor Cantilever Umbrella
- BEST WITH LIGHTS: Best Choice Products Solar LED Offset Patio Umbrella
- ALSO CONSIDER: Wikiwiki H Series Patio Offset Hanging Umbrella
Photo: Stacey L. Nash for Bob Vila
How We Tested the Best Cantilever Umbrellas
We personally tested each cantilever umbrella in real-life hot-and-sunny outdoor situations. First, we established a set rubric to make sure that each umbrella was tested and scored by the same standards. We thoroughly checked each feature and mechanism, including setup, tilt, rotation, and opening/closing actions. We scored the umbrellas on their ease of setup, water resistance, effectiveness, aesthetics, and extra features.
The quality of the materials (canopy and frame) and how they held up during regular use played a prominent role in the testing process. We used the umbrellas at different times of day to test the effectiveness of its shade, making sure they could follow the various angles of the sun and block the rays.
Our Top Picks
The best cantilever umbrella blends function and style. Our top picks in a variety of categories offer protection from the sun, hovering over a seating area to provide an unobstructed shady space for patios and backyards. These cantilever umbrellas were selected due to their sturdiness, durability, and attractiveness. Find out how they performed in our hands-on testing with the following reviews of the best cantilever umbrellas for elegant outdoor living.
This square cantilever umbrella from Purple Leaf really impressed us. In testing, the canopy seemed much larger than its 10-foot size thanks to the scope of its tilt and rotation. The umbrella sits on a rust-free powder-coated aluminum frame that is both tilt and rotation adjustable. The thin frame is lightweight yet proved surprisingly strong. With the base (not included), this Purple Leaf umbrella created a sturdy but functional piece of outdoor equipment.
The tilt mechanism has a push-button release handle that took hardly any effort to move to any of the six angle adjustments. The hand crank at the bottom of the frame was similarly easy to use to rotate the umbrella a full 360 degrees. Together, these two features made this one of the most functional models we tested.
The umbrella comes in a variety of sizes; we tested the 10-foot-long by 10-foot-wide model. It features a double-top canopy design, which added extra ventilation when the wind picked up. The vented top allows for plenty of airflow without letting in ultraviolet (UV) rays. Made from polyester, the canopy is UV-resistant, water-repellent, and fade-resistant. Purple Leaf recommends a weighted base to keep the umbrella steady. While it would be nice if the base was included, overall we found this model to be superior in function and form—it ought to look great over a hot tub, a small patio, or a square dining set.
- Size: 9, 10, 11, or 12 feet (square)
- Material: Alloy-steel frame, polyester canopy
- Price: $$$$
- Multiple sizes available to suit a range of outdoor spaces
- Windproof offset feature on the canopy is great on a blustery day
- Easy to crank anywhere within the 360-degree rotation
- Easy to adjust to any of the 6 tilt angles
- Quite expensive compared to similar choices
- Base is not included in the purchase price
Get the Purple Leaf cantilever umbrella at Amazon or Purple Leaf.
The Bluu Banyan Pro offset umbrella balances functionality, quality, and price to win in this category. We appreciated the easy assembly (all hardware included), which took two people just 15 minutes. The crank mechanism easily opens, and the handle on the frame allows adjustment to four different angles as the sun moves. A twist-knob locking mechanism keeps the umbrella in place.
This model doesn’t rotate, which isn’t unusual at this affordable price point. But because the Bluu Banyan is fairly lightweight, two people were able to rotate it manually by removing the base and rotating the entire frame. It’s not as convenient as models that have a rotation mechanism, but it’s not a hardship either.
The solution-dyed fabric has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+, blocking up to 99.9 percent of UV rays. The fabric comes with a 60-month warranty against fading. It also has a water-repellent coating that we saw in action as light summer rain easily beaded up and flowed off of the canopy with no leaks. It did well in a light 5-mile-per-hour (mph) wind and rain, but we wouldn’t recommend it for use during wind gusts any stronger than that. The umbrella is fairly stable but not, by our standards, what we would call sturdy.
- Size: 10 feet (round)
- Material: Steel-alloy frame, aluminum ribs, 280-grams-per-square-meter (gsm) fabric
- Price: $
- Fast, easy assembly with all (and extra) hardware included
- High-quality, UV-protective fabric that comes with a 60-month warranty for fade resistance
- Lightweight design is easy to move, whether using the handle or manually altering the rotation
- Lightweight design makes it more susceptible to tipping in high winds
Get the Bluu Banyan cantilever umbrella at Amazon or Bluu.
The Napoli falls on the higher end of the midrange, but we consider it worth the extra cash for the stability it offers. Plus, the Napoli includes the base, which most cantilever umbrellas don’t, saving the cost of a base sold separately. Large wheels on the base add mobility, a helpful touch since this model doesn’t have a rotation mechanism. We rolled it through grass and, a little less easily, over gravel during testing.
A curved frame gives this model a touch of elegance. That frame is made of thick, heavy aluminum and steel, giving it more heft than smaller, less expensive models, and the large base holds up to 220 pounds of water or sand. Together, the base and frame held the umbrella steady in winds up to 10 mph. The UV- and water-resistant polyester fabric provided excellent shade and easily sloughed off rain.
The crank easily opens the umbrella, and there’s a handle on the frame for variable angle adjustment. However, adjusting the angle proved a bit problematic for a 5-foot 5-inch tester who could barely reach the tilt-adjustment handle at its highest position.
- Size: 10, 11, or 12 feet (round)
- Material: Aluminum frame, 250-gram polyester canopy
- Price: $$$
- Strong, sturdy base included in the price of the umbrella
- Solid curved frame that stays stable in the wind
- Wheels on the base give the umbrella some added mobility
- Difficult for shorter users to adjust tilt and crank open in the highest position
Get the Grand Patio cantilever umbrella at Amazon or Grand Patio.
Thanks to the length and rectangular shape of its canopy, this Sunnyglade Deluxe cantilever umbrella can offer excellent coverage over a square or rectangular table or poolside lounge chair. The 13-foot-long by 10-foot-wide Sunnyglade is supported on a large aluminum frame that attaches to a thick welded metal base (included) that keeps it steady.
The canopy is made of a heavy polyester fabric coated to provide sun and water protection. The umbrella can block up to 99 percent of UV rays. We found that it did exceptionally well in a light summer rainstorm, easily shedding water and resisting winds up to 10 mph.
We like that the Sunnyglade can rotate 360 degrees and tilt to four different positions. An easy-to-use handle on the frame controls the tilt mechanism, but the rotation mechanism, controlled with a foot pedal, proved somewhat problematic. Sometimes the pedal would not lock into place, which required reaching down with a hand to pull the pedal into the locked position.
A greater issue with the Sunnyglade was its assembly. The instructions were pictorial with no written explanation, and they were difficult to follow. Additionally, the rib poles didn’t fit into the canopy, and we had to use a rubber mallet to get them in place. It took the better part of an hour to put the umbrella together. Assembly instructions aside, this is a high-performing umbrella with the right size and shape to suit rectangular outdoor areas.
- Size: 13 feet long by 10 feet wide (rectangle)
- Material: Aluminum frame, polyester
- Price: $$$
- Excellent tilting mechanism that easily locks into 4 different positions for adjustability
- Offers full 360-degree rotation, though we had difficulty locking the rotation mechanism on the test model
- Large, sturdy canopy that offers good coverage and durability, even in 10 mph winds
- Poor instructions cause difficult assembly
Get the Sunnyglade cantilever umbrella at Amazon.
Add a bit of sparkle to an outdoor setting with this 10-foot-round cantilever umbrella that features built-in solar LED lighting. The lights give off a subtle illumination to provide a calming ambience along with nighttime visibility.
The ribs on the canopy have 24 built-in LED lights powered by solar panels, and we loved that the lights came already attached—no installation required. All we did was attach the solar panels, and the lights turned on with the click of a button. Made from powder-coated steel, the frame is also resistant to rust and scratches. A weighted base (not included) keeps the umbrella stable in a light breeze.
This Best Choice Products model also boasts many features found in other high-quality cantilever umbrellas. The hand crank makes it simple to open and close the umbrella, while the variable tilt system blocks the sun from different angles. Like similar tilt systems, this one takes some effort to move the handle up and down the frame, so be prepared. The water- and fade-resistant polyester canopy has a small vent to enhance airflow. A small side note: We left this umbrella out in a rainstorm, and it weathered the rain beautifully.
- Size: 10 feet
- Material: Steel-alloy base, polyester canopy
- Price: $
- Ambience provided from 24 LED lights preinstalled on the canopy ribs
- Lighted umbrella is great for evening entertaining on the deck or patio
- Solar lighting is energy conscious and eco-friendly; no outlets required
- Flimsy tilt mechanism; takes effort to use properly
Get the Best Choice Products cantilever umbrella at Amazon or Best Choice Products.
This simple, affordable cantilever umbrella from Wikiwiki measures 10 feet in diameter and provides pleasant shade. Made of thick recycled solution-dyed fabric with a polyurethane coating, the canopy is fade-resistant, water-resistant, and UV protective with a UPF of 85+.
For the price, the umbrella is of excellent quality, though we noticed that the arm doesn’t extend as far from the frame as some of the other models we tested. That reduces the amount of tilt angle, which could potentially interfere with full shade at certain times of the day.
Assembly was simple, taking 15 to 20 minutes and requiring only four screws. A sturdy metal frame brings structure to the umbrella. To add flexibility and strength, the crank mechanism, locking mechanism, and canopy joint are reinforced with industrial-grade nylon rather than plastic parts. The joint cover that slides over the joint acts as the locking mechanism. The cover slides off the joint when closing the umbrella, and we found it could pinch the skin on our hands or arms if we held the pole close to the body where the umbrella slides on the frame. Consequently, try not to hug the frame while opening or closing the umbrella.
- Size: 10 feet
- Material: Iron frame, recycled-polyester shade
- Price: $
- Made of high-quality parts that feel sturdy and durable
- Easy to operate and assemble; less flimsy than other affordably priced options
- Light socket conveniently located in the frame for additional lighting
- Arm does not extend from base as far as some other products; may prevent full shade at certain times
Get the Wikiwiki cantilever umbrella at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cantilever Umbrella
Also known as offset umbrellas, cantilever umbrellas are an eye-catching, functional choice for shading outdoor spaces. They maximize shade and provide an open and unobstructed seating space—no need to position furniture around an unwieldy central pole. When choosing the best cantilever umbrella, consider the canopy size and shape, material and fabric options, operating mechanism, adjustability, and more.
Photo: Stacey L. Nash for Bob Vila
Shape and Coverage
Size is an important factor when selecting the best cantilever umbrella. Look for an option that provides enough shady coverage but isn’t too large. While shoppers might be tempted to choose a broad umbrella for the extra shade, it can be too imposing and throw off the balance of a patio or seating area. Consider an umbrella about 2 feet wider than all sides of a patio dining table or seating area.
Cantilever umbrellas come in a variety of shapes, including round (hexagonal and octagonal), square, and rectangular options. Most umbrellas range from 6 feet to 13 feet in diameter to provide ample cover from the sun.
High-quality cantilever umbrellas are made from durable materials to withstand sun, rain, and wind. Specifically, the canopy should block UV rays to protect it from the sun and be water-resistant if a summer shower rolls over. For good looks that last and overall sturdiness, choose an umbrella with a fade-, weather-, and mildew-resistant canopy as well as a rust-resistant frame.
Common cantilever canopy fabrics include acrylic, Sunbrella, polyester, and olefin.
- Acrylic: Acrylic is a soft and versatile fabric that is easy to dye in a range of colors and patterns. Acrylic canopies retain their shape and resist wrinkling, making them a great pick for decorative and protective umbrellas.
- Sunbrella: Sunbrella is a durable UV- and weather-resistant acrylic fabric that holds up to outdoor conditions without fading. Designed for outdoor use, it is also mold- and mildew-resistant and easy to wipe clean.
- Polyester: Polyester is a cost-friendly fabric that is quick to dry. To offer proper protection and resist sun damage, look for a UV-treated option.
- Olefin: Olefin offers superior UV resistance and is a quick-drying fabric ideal for the outdoors. It is also easy to wipe clean of mold or mildew.
Popular frame materials include stainless steel, aluminum, and fiberglass.
- Stainless steel: Sleek and modern stainless steel is durable and naturally corrosion-resistant, making it a great pick to handle rain and moisture. However, salt water can cause steel to corrode, which is a possibility in seaside locations.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is sturdy, lightweight, and affordable. Most aluminum frames are powder coated or anodized to make them corrosion-resistant.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass tends to be a costlier option, but this durable material is worth the cost in areas with a lot of inclement weather. It is lightweight and performs well in windy conditions, offering more flexibility than stainless steel or aluminum. Fiberglass also won’t rust or rot in stormy and wet climates. Some umbrellas feature fiberglass ribs under a metal framing to combine the sturdiness of both materials.
The sun’s UV rays can damage the skin, causing everything from wrinkles to skin cancer. To provide proper cover from the sun, many cantilever umbrellas feature UV-resistant fabrics to block some of these damaging UV rays.
One way to measure the UV resistance of a patio UV umbrella is the UPF rating. This rating refers to the fabric’s ability to block a certain amount of UV rays. A higher UPF rating means better protection, with most ratings ranging between 15 and 50+. A UPF 15 fabric blocks around 93.3 percent of UV radiation, while a 50+ UPF fabric blocks around 98 percent of UV radiation.
The fabric weave, color, thickness, and stretch can affect a cantilever umbrella’s UPF rating. To ensure proper sun protection, look for one with a high level of UV resistance. For example, Sunbrella provides up to 98 percent protection from harmful UV rays.
Cantilever umbrellas can be quite heavy, so an easy-to-use opening and closing mechanism is a must. Most cantilever mechanisms use a crank system to open and close the canopy. The crank is usually mounted on the pole for easy reach.
Users turn the crank in one direction to open the canopy and in the other direction to close it. A crank mechanism requires less effort than push-up or pulley systems, making it a logical choice for heavy cantilever umbrellas. An additional crank or slider mechanism is often present to adjust the angle or the height of the canopy once it’s fully open.
Tilt and Rotation
Many cantilever umbrellas feature a tilt or rotation option to shield UV rays from all directions. These options allow the umbrella canopy to sit at an angle or rotate around the pole to keep you covered during a full day of outdoor fun.
For flexible sun coverage, a tilt function allows you to angle the canopy to block UV rays without moving the umbrella. A rotating cantilever umbrella swivels around its base—up to 360 degrees—to permit versatile patio seating arrangements.
Weight and Stability
An umbrella’s weight and stability are important safety considerations, and a sturdy base will prevent the umbrella from falling over or blowing away. A stable base also prevents damage to the umbrella and keeps everyone in the vicinity safe.
Many cantilever-umbrella bases are an extension of the frame, shaped in an X or a T design and made of steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. If it isn’t bolted to the ground, a cantilever umbrella must be paired with a weighted base. These bases can be built-in, included with the umbrella, or sold separately. They usually take the form of weight bags or hollow plastic bases ready to fill with sand or water. Weighted bases can range from 40 pounds to over 100 pounds.
A wheeled base adds portability to move the umbrella around the yard. You can position it poolside during the day and then push it to an outdoor dining area at dusk.
The large canopy of a cantilever umbrella makes a statement in an outdoor space. These umbrellas combine form and function, protecting users from the sun while also providing a stylish backdrop.
- Canopy color and design: Canopies come in a wide range of colors and patterns to make the umbrella stand out from or blend in with the surrounding decor. Choosing a loud color or a busy pattern will make the umbrella pop, while neutral colors and simple patterns will blend with the outdoor aesthetic.
- Lights: Lights can add a bit of ambience to an outdoor space and create a lovely glow for nighttime hours. Some umbrellas feature built-in lights along the frame or the canopy ribs. Adding a strand of outdoor string lights is a low-cost option to decorate a cantilever umbrella.
- Hanging decorations: Lightweight decorations can hang from the umbrella frame or along its perimeter. Hanging decorations like wind chimes and other decor adds personality and dresses up an outdoor space for seasonal events and holidays.
Whether for a barbecue, an outdoor lunch, or a pool party, a cantilever umbrella provides stylish protection from the sun. Keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about choosing and using a cantilever umbrella.
Q. How does a cantilever umbrella work?
A cantilever umbrella features an offset canopy held up by a sturdy base and a curved pole. This heavy base and strong pole allow the canopy to suspend over a space and provide unobstructed shade.
Q. What do you look for in a cantilever umbrella?
The best cantilever umbrella is sturdy, long lasting, and offers ample shade for your outdoor space. Look for durable and weather-resistant materials that will stay protective and attractive through many patio seasons.
Q. How do I know the best size for a cantilever umbrella?
An easy rule of thumb is to choose a cantilever umbrella that extends over the table or the seating area by 2 feet on each side. Consider selecting a shape that matches that of the outdoor living area. For example, a rectangular umbrella may work best on a rectangular balcony or over a long dining table. A symmetrical round or square umbrella will bring balance to a bistro set or a square patio.
Q. What’s the most durable fabric for cantilever umbrella canopies?
Sunbrella is generally regarded as one of the best fabrics for cantilever umbrella canopies. It is durable, weather-resistant, fade-resistant, and easy to clean.
Q. How do you keep a cantilever umbrella from falling over?
A hefty weighted base will keep a cantilever umbrella upright. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to choose the appropriate weight for your chosen umbrella.
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Meet the Tester
Stacey L. Nash has written about home products, home design and decor, and general indoor and outdoor home improvement for 5+ years. She’s passionate about deep product research and hands-on testing to find products that add true value to home ownership and daily life. She lives on 12 heavily wooded acres, where she and her family put home and outdoor products to the test.
Additional research provided by Jasmine Harding.