The best garden parasols 2023: top patio umbrellas for shade

The best garden parasols for some welcome shade, from the best cantilever garden parasol to stylish patio umbrellas

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - best garden umbrella for patio - Gardeningetc
(Image credit: Bridgman)

Looking for the best garden parasols? There's nothing like the sun shining to lift our moods, but on the sunniest of days some shade can be very welcome, and the best parasols for the garden offer just that.

Whether you want to enjoy long lunches outdoors without the sun beating down, set up a sun-safe area for the kids to play, or cut out the glare from your work-from-garden set-up, there are three main options to consider when shopping for the best garden parasol for you.

- A straight-forward patio umbrella with a central pole is usually the most affordable option. This design will offer some respite from the heat of the day, but the static pole may make it difficult to ensure the shade is where you want it when you want it. 

- The best tilting garden parasols offer more versatility, allowing you to angle the parasol canopy against the sun – which is rarely directly overhead – but you will need to arrange your activities around its central pole.

 - The best cantilever garden parasols have an offset freestanding base. These are often the best option for covering a play area, hot tub, or any area where a central pole would be restricting. They can also provide versatile shade for outdoor seating but generally come with a higher price tag.

It's also worth noting that most patio umbrellas don't come with base weights included, so you'll likely need to factor a separate base into the cost.

Just like the best garden furniture, when in stock, garden parasols sell out fast. We've dived into the detail to round up some of our favourite garden parasols to help narrow down the choice. 


Where to find the best garden parasols

Why you can trust Gardeningetc Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We've rounded up our top patio umbrella picks below, but if you have specific size or canopy colour requirements, these are our go-to stores for finding a garden parasol to suit your needs:


Best garden parasols with a central pole

If all you want is a simple garden parasol to use with your outdoor table or cast a bit of shade when the sun is at its peak, then a basic patio umbrella generally makes the most affordable option. Of course, you might also use the opportunity to inject some style into the garden with stripes, tassels, and more!

For added versatility consider a tilted parasol that allows you to angle the canopy to create more shade, and look to see whether the canopy fabric offers UV protection – a must for reducing the risk of sunburn.

A tilting garden parasol with a cream canopy

(Image credit: Kettler)

1. KETTLER 2.5m Wind Up Parasol with tilt grey frame and stone canopy

A useful tilting garden parasol with high UV protection: shade and sun protection in one

Specifications

RRP: From £109
Dimensions: 250 cm x 250 cm x 224 cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy
Materials: Polyester and aluminium
Colour options: Stone, grey & sage

Reasons to buy

+
UV protection rating of 50+
+
Tilting canopy
+
Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
+
Shower resistant canopy

Reasons to avoid

-
Base not included

For more control over where your shade falls, a tilting parasol is a great option. Kettler's 2.5m Wind Up Parasol with Tilting Canopy is a versatile solution – simply press the button on the pole to angle the adjustable canopy as the sun changes position and maintain the optimum amount of shade. 

A wind-up mechanism makes lowering and opening easy, and a rust-resistant aluminium pole and shower-resistant canopy fabric mean you don't need to worry about the odd bit of drizzle. Even better, the canopy's UV protection of 50+ offers extra peace of mind on top of the sunscreen.

The 2.5m canopy is also a useful size, covering smaller spaces easily and offering a nice mid-point between the usual 2m or 2.7m patio umbrellas.


A grey garden parasol with tilt function

(Image credit: Christow)

2. Christow 2.7m Crank and Tilt Parasol

An affordable tilting garden parasol: all the bells and whistles at a fraction of the price

Specifications

RRP: From £39.99
Dimensions: 270 cm x 270 cm x 240cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 30+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy
Materials: Polyester and aluminium
Colour options: Black, grey, cream, navy, taupe

Reasons to buy

+
UV protection rating of 30+
+
Tilting canopy
+
Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
+
Good range of canopy colour options

Reasons to avoid

-
Base not included

This affordable garden parasol offers great value for money, with a durable aluminium construction that will resist rusting, a crank handle for easy opening, and a useful tilt function for adjusting the angle of the canopy to get the best coverage of shade, and all for under £50 (minus the base that you'll need to add to your basket). 

The UV protection rating is lower than the top choice on our list, offering a UV30+ rating rather than Kettler's 50+, and unlike the Kettler patio umbrella this option doesn't claim to be showerproof. 

However, in our tests, the crank handle was easy to operate and did a smooth job of raising and lowering the canopy, and the tilt button was easy to depress to achieve optimum shade coverage. We also liked the push-button design that made for super easy assembly of the two poles.

Overall, if you're looking for the added value of easy operation and maximum shade coverage at a lower price, then this is a great option to consider. Plus, there's also a wider range of colour choices than the premium Kettler option offers.


A classic garden parasol with a cream canopy and wooden pole

(Image credit: Argos Home)

3. Argos Home 2.7m Water Repellent Garden Parasol

Best wooden pole garden parasol: classic good looks

Specifications

RRP: From £75
Dimensions: H248 x Dia.270cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: No
Mechanisms: No
Materials: Polyester and eucalyptus wood
Colour options: Cream

Reasons to buy

+
Classic looks
+
FSC-certified eucalyptus wood pole

Reasons to avoid

-
Base not included
-
No UV protection
-
No tilting canopy
-
No crank handle

A cream canopy and FSC-certified eucalyptus wooden pole make this garden parasol perfect for adding classic summer style to your outside space.

As well as the more generous 270cm diameter canopy there is also a more compact 200cm diameter option in the Argos Home 2m Water Repellent Garden Parasol if space is tight, and both will add some sophisticated shade to a leisurely alfresco lunch.

Functionality-wise this option is fairly no-frills, lacking the UV protection, tilted canopy, or wind-up crankshaft for easier opening, but it does offer a water repellent finish so your outdoor soiree isn't affected by any looming clouds.


A dark grey LED-light garden parasol

(Image credit: SONGMICS)

4. SONGMICS 2.7 m Garden Parasol Umbrella with Solar-Powered LED Lights

An LED light garden parasol: add some solar-powered evening wow-factor

Specifications

RRP: £64.99
Dimensions: H230 x Dia.270cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: UV 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy, solar-powered LED lights
Materials: Polyester and metal
Colour options: Grey, cream

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable 
+
UV protection rating of 50+
+
Solar-powered LED lights
+
Tilting canopy
+
Crank winding mechanism
+
Velcro tie to secure canopy when not in use

Reasons to avoid

-
Screw-fit poles may be a little harder to assemble for some
-
Base not included

If you want your garden parasol to work a little harder than the average patio umbrella, then this option is equipped to deliver with 32 LED lights dotted along its spokes. Powered by a compact solar panel that screws into the top of the parasol pole, the gentle illumination is perfect for adding some magic to a balmy summer evening with a generous 6-8 hours worth of illumination on offer.

This parasol doesn't disappoint in the daytime either, with a 2.7m canopy that offers UV50+ sun protection alongside a tilt mechanism to angle your shade and a crank handle for easy lifting and lowering of the parasol. We also like the addition of a sewn-on velcro fastening tie to keep the canopy neat when it's not in use. 

We personally find a push-fit pole assembly slightly easier to operate than this screw-fit design, but considering the features this parasol delivers at a great value price point, it's a preference we're more than happy to overlook.


Best cantilever garden parasols

Offering an offset base with an overhanging canopy, the cantilever garden parasol is perhaps one of the most versatile patio umbrella designs. They do take up more space though – and are generally much heavier to erect or move – so make sure to check your mesaurements if your patio is on the smaller side.

black cantilever parasol with UV50 protection and LED lights - Rhodos 3m Cantilever Parasol with Lights

(Image credit: Schneider Schirme)

1. Schneider Schirme Rhodos 3m Cantilever Parasol with Lights

The best cantilever parasol: stylish LED lights and UV50+ protection

Specifications

RRP: From £469.99
Dimensions: H245 x Dia.250cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy, 360° free-arm rotation
Materials: Polyester and aluminium
Colour options: Anthracite

Reasons to buy

+
UV protection rating of 50+
+
LED lights
+
360° free-arm rotation
+
Tilting canopy
+
Wind-up crank handle for easy opening

Reasons to avoid

-
Base not included
-
An investment

UV50 protection? Check. Tilting canopy? Check. 360° free-arm rotation? Check. 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 the hidden surprise? 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, this is a cantilever parasol well worth considering. 


A grey cantilever parasol

(Image credit: Christow)

2. Christow Cantilever Parasol 2.5m

A tilting parasol with 360° free-arm rotation: flexible shade at a reasonable price

Specifications

RRP: From £169.99
Dimensions: H250 x Dia.250cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 30+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy, 360° free-arm rotation
Materials: Polyester and aluminium
Colour options: Cream, grey, taupe

Reasons to buy

+
UV protection rating of 30+
+
360° free-arm rotation
+
Tilting canopy
+
Wind-up crank handle for easy opening

Reasons to avoid

-
Base not included
-
Canopy can move position if there's a breeze

This reasonably priced rust-resistant aluminium cantilever parasol offers 360° free-arm rotation operated by a foot pedal to enable you to easily swing the canopy around as the sun moves without moving the base, and a tilting canopy that offers even more ability to fine-tune your shade. 

Although you can technically lock the canopy into position, we did find that a breeze meant the canopy swung a little from its intended position, so you need a sheltered spot for this option. And, like most cantilever parasols, it's pretty heavy to set up, so we definitely recommend it as a two-person job. Remember that you'll need to buy base weights separately to secure the parasol in place.

The canopy itself is water-resistant but offers a little less sun protection than the first choice on our list with a UV30+ rating. You also don't get the LED lights with this option, although with a significant cost saving we'd be happy to sacrifice the built-in option and consider some different outdoor lighting ideas instead.


In-stock garden parasols

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.


How to find the best garden parasol for your outside space

The best garden parasol for your outside space will depend on your needs, the size of your garden, and your budget.

Think about the size
You’ll need to consider how big an area you want to shade when you’re buying, but also how the parasol fits into the space. Make sure you take any overhanging features in your plot into account so you can factor in the clearance needed.

If you only want a parasol to shade a lounger then it won’t need huge dimensions, but if it’s to shade a dining set, think about opting for a design with a diameter of 2 metres for two seats; 2.4 metres for four to six seats; 2.7 to 3 metres for six to eight; and 4 metres for 10 seats.

You can also find half parasols that are perfect for smaller patios and balcony spaces.

If you need something larger still then it may be worth considering one of the best gazebos in our dedicated buyer's guide instead.

UV protection
Bear in mind that not all parasols offer UV protection, no matter how thick the canopy is! So it’s important to check first. If you plan to spend hours in the afternoon sun, it’s always better to find one that offers at least 30+ ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Of course, the higher the value, the more protected you’ll be against harmful rays.

Base weights
Base weights tend to come separately from the parasol itself, so make sure you factor in this additional cost to your overall purchase. You'll also need to make sure your base weights fit the parasol pole width and fulfil the recommended weight requirements to ensure your parasol stays secure.

Weights can either be a single heavy base which are best for lighter parasols as the heaviest would be difficult to move (a round option will also be easier to roll rather than lift), or bases which come in quarter segments that can be filled with sand or water (or a mix of the two) in situ, making getting your base weights into position easier. Shop parasol weights at Amazon.

Parasol cover
Just like the base weights, most parasols don't come with a parasol cover, which can be helpful to prevent mildew and sun fading if you opt to leave your parasol outdoors. Although you should easily find one to match your parasol's specifications. Shop parasol covers at Amazon.

Can you clean a garden parasol?

It's perfectly possible to clean your garden parasol to keep it looking its best. You can start by gently using a soft brush or vacuum with a brush attachment to clean away dust and small debris. Then, wash the fabric using a diluted mix of laundry detergent, leave it to soak for 20 minutes, then rinse it before allowing it to dry. 

Frames can be gently cleaned with a soft cloth using a mix of dish soap and warm water.

How should you store a parasol at the end of summer?

Find a cool and dry space for your patio umbrella in your shed or garage, making sure it is clean and dry before you pack it away for the season. 

Even better, buy a specially designed cover to use when your umbrella goes into storage to give it the best possible protection.

Get ready for the sun
Make sure you have everything you need to enjoy the good weather when it arrives; find the ideal way to relax with our guide to the best sun loungers and get ready to cook up an alfresco storm with the best BBQ


How we chose the best garden parasols

As well as judging by aesthetics, to find the best garden parasols for this list we dived into the specifications to sort the wheat from the chaff, tried and tested bestsellers, grilled the Gardeningetc team for their expert knowledge, asked friends and family for their top-rated products, and took into account third party reviews on retailer websites. Click here to find out more about how we test products on Gardeningetc.