Cantilever umbrella – what is it and what pros and cons it has?
Unlike conventional umbrellas with centralized beams, cantilever umbrellas are umbrellas anchored at one end. They have a suspended system which makes them the most aesthetic and yet functional type of outdoor umbrellas.
- They offer both functional and aesthetic purposes
- Their adjustability and width help shield users from the sun
- They provide a place for evening post-workday relaxation
- Their special design offers aesthetic values to the environment
- Cantilever umbrellas cover larger seating spaces than conventional outdoor umbrellas
- They don’t have a sturdy base. They require an additional purchase of a weighted base.
- They can’t be used in windy weather conditions.
Features to consider when choosing a cantilever umbrella
Not all outdoor umbrellas are built the same way or with high-quality materials. This part will give you almost all the information that you need in making the best choice.
The type of fabric
The fabric material is an essential thing to take into account when purchasing an outdoor environment.
The composition conditions not only the outdoor umbrella’s protective capacities but also how the fabric changes over time. For that, it is necessary to examine the thickness of the fabric or “grammage”. The finest entry-level fabrics have a grammage of approximately 140g/m². The more qualitative (therefore, more expensive) canvas models have heavier weights. They have around 250-300g/m². The thickest weights can go up to 400 g/m².
There are three main canvas materials available in the market:
- Polyester canvas: This is the ultimate entry-level material. More accessible, this canvas nevertheless wears out faster than the others. Above all, its protection against natural elements will be less if the canvas has not been UV treated. From our review, examples of UV-treated models include those of the Grand Patio Deluxe Napoli, PURPLE LEAF, and Giantex.
- Acrylic canvas: The acrylic canvas is more resistant. It retains its beautiful colors longer despite repeated exposure to the sun. Some models of acrylic fabrics are treated to be “water-resistant” so that the rain will slide on the support without impregnating it.
- Cotton canvas: Cotton canvas is the most expensive. It is also very resistant, especially if it is a coated cotton material.
Whether they are made of polyester, cotton, or acrylic, today, outdoor cantilever umbrellas are almost all waterproof. Please note: some models have a removable canvas for easier cleaning.
You also have to think about the UV protection ability while choosing your umbrella and the canvas that it comes with. Like sunscreens, outdoor cantilever umbrellas have a protection index. A minimum of 30 SPF (outdoor umbrellas offer an index up to 80 SPF) is advised to be well protected. If the SPF index is not indicated, be sure to choose a sufficiently thick fabric (200 g/m² to 300g/m²), as for instance the Wikiwiki model with 240GSM.
An effective anti-UV system guarantees both better sun protection. It also offers resistance to rays and bad weather for more beautiful umbrella colors that’ll last for longer.
The size: width, height, and coverage area
The size of your umbrella will be determined by the factors of the space you intend to use and your budget. The best cantilever outdoor umbrella comes in different sizes.
- 7-foot canopy: This size can fit a larger table of about 36 inches. It can easily accommodate up to 4 chairs.
- 5-8.5 foot canopy: This size can fit 36-40 inch tables and can provide shade for 6 chairs.
- 9-10 foot canopy: This size will protect larger tables with a size of about 40-48 inches. It can accommodate up to 8 chairs, as the WUFF Bluu does.
- 11-13 foot canopy: It is one of the largest canopy sizes for a single umbrella, as you can see by the PURPLE LEAF or the Abba Patio models. It is important that you take the time to find the right size umbrella for the pool you need.
An umbrella that is too small will not provide enough shade for the space you want. But an umbrella that is too large may be too bulky or not fit your space. The best way to determine the size you need is to take the space measurements. Then correlate them to the size of the umbrella canopy.
The choice of the base is made according to the outdoor cantilever umbrella model chosen. The wider and larger the umbrella is, the heavier the base. This is especially for offset outdoor cantilever umbrellas. Choose a concrete outdoor cantilever umbrella base. Although this is rarely found, you can, however, support the base with a block, wet sand, or any weighted material.
For an offset outdoor cantilever umbrella of 3m in diameter, it is necessary to provide a base of about 80 kg. Avoid the plastic umbrella feet, which are too light. Also, choose a base of a good height. These hold the umbrella better and ensures its stability. Finally, do you have a large balcony or a large terrace? Choose a base with built-in casters like the Grand Patio Deluxe Napoli umbrella. This helps you to be able to move your outdoor cantilever umbrella more easily.
To choose your outdoor cantilever umbrella, pay special attention to its options for use. What is its height? Is it adjustable or not? Even if the majority are adjustable, some outdoor cantilever umbrellas, have a fixed height. Less versatile, these fixed models do not adapt to all sunshine situations. And if the height is adjustable, still check its amplitude before purchasing. What is its degree of tilt and rotation? Does your outdoor cantilever umbrella tilt 180 or 360°? If it is straight, is it a tilting model or not? However, note that models with 360° of rotational design such as the SUPERJARE and C-Hopetree are the best.
Opening mechanism: manual, crank, pulley
While choosing the best offset umbrella, find out about the opening system, although this varies depending on the model and brand. You can find umbrellas with a push-pull or manual, crank, or a pulley opening system.
- The push-pull mechanism: The push-pull opening is the classic manual opening type. It works just like an umbrella. It is found in straight, entry-level outdoor cantilever umbrella models.
- Crank mechanism: The crank makes it easy to open and close your outdoor cantilever umbrella in a jiffy. It concerns both upright and offset outdoor cantilever umbrellas. It is essential for an outdoor cantilever umbrella that is heavy and sizeable. This mechanism is the most popular in today’s outdoor umbrellas. In fact, in this review of the best offset and cantilever umbrellas, all the models have a crank mechanism.
- Pulley system: Finally, some outdoor cantilever umbrellas open and close thanks to a pulley system. Less aesthetic, this process nevertheless has the advantage of being easier to repair in the event of a problem, the whole system being external, and therefore visible.
The frame and rib materials
Today 80% of outdoor umbrellas on the market are made of aluminum, a resistant, and anti-rust material. Less solid, entry-level umbrellas are often made of a steel pole with anti-rust treatment. It is advisable to choose a model with an aluminum pole. A good example of a model that features a sturdy aluminum pole is the Abba Patio umbrella. These are stronger and more resistant, especially if the outdoor cantilever umbrella is of good size.
Finally, you can also find wooden frames on the market (particularly for models of tropical or ethnic inspiration). Aesthetic, they generally require more maintenance and are more fragile than aluminum models.
The wind resistance of a cantilever umbrella obviously varies depending on the model chosen. A light umbrella is more sensitive to wind than a heavier and larger outdoor umbrella. Light umbrellas have an aluminum structure with polyester fabric. However, large umbrellas usually have an aluminum pole and an acrylic canvas. Its good behavior in the wind also depends on the ribs. These accessories are often made of steel or aluminum and placed under the structure of the canvas. They allow the outdoor umbrella to manage wind flows more or less better.
Durability is extremely important for a top quality outdoor umbrella. This is because it is designed to be used outdoors and exposed to various elements. A durable outdoor umbrella will withstand damage from rain, sun, and wind. This means that if you leave your umbrella outside and it rains, it will not be damaged. You will probably use it in the sun, so it shouldn’t fade. If a gust of wind knocks it over or makes it pop, your umbrella should not be damaged. You can be sure you have found a durable umbrella if it is made with quality materials. The best materials are solid components in themselves. And, when combined together, they can be a durable outdoor cantilever umbrella. Just like the size, it is important that you take the time to find a durable outdoor cantilever umbrella for the pool. Investing in an outdoor umbrella can create a hole in your budget. And you wouldn’t like to have it broken during installation or first use. Also, the best durable outdoor umbrella will last you for years of repeated and continuous use.
The shading surface
One of the first aspects to consider when choosing your outdoor cantilever umbrella is, of course, the surface to be protected from the sun. Is it meant to protect the table at mealtimes, to shade a convivial space, or to laze around? Do you have a small balcony or a large terrace? These are critical questions, in particular to choosing the shape of your outdoor cantilever umbrella.
Because the cantilever umbrella must have the correct shape and be large enough to protect the entire surface concerned. We then speak of “scope” or “shading surface”. For example, a 4 x 3-meter square outdoor cantilever umbrella has a shaded surface of 12 m².
A round outdoor cantilever umbrella is perfect for small spaces and round tables. A square or rectangular outdoor umbrella will be easier to place on a terrace, in a corner or along a wall, above a table. It is suitable for both small and large spaces. Note that there are now XXS models, semi-rectangular or semi-round, to cover even very small portions of space. Above all, the ones with geometric 8-sided shapes are the most popular, especially for cantilever models.
When it comes to durability and warranty policies, most users are often disappointed with the various models and brands. Choose a model with at least, a 30-day return back policy. Then, for the overall warranty coverage, choose a model with around 1-3 years of warranty, like PURPLE LEAF. Note that the price range of products such as this often determines its warranty length. You can’t find a 3-year policy on an under $100 model.
As we have seen, a thousand and one outdoor umbrella options are possible. The price only differentiates them. You can find models from around a hundred bucks for an entry-level model (new or refurbished). You can also find models of up to a thousand bucks. Certain designs and very high-end models can reach more than a thousand dollars or two. The larger the awning, the more expensive it will be. If you are looking to protect a large space, adjust your budget accordingly. But you should never have trouble finding an umbrella in your budget. Anyone, regardless of budget, can buy a highly rated umbrella, as for example the Le Conte model.