There are many different umbrella styles. When choosing the right style for you, you may first want to ask yourself, "Where will I be using this umbrella?" and "What look do I want to accomplish?"
Patio, beach, market and offset are the most basic styles of umbrellas. A patio umbrella typically features a hexagonal or octagonal canopy and valance. A valance is a piece of fabric that hangs over the sides of the canopy past the edge of the ribs. Beach umbrellas are very similar to patio umbrellas, but they feature a pointed bottom pole for easily setting in the sand. Market umbrellas have a very sleek look and feature sharp edges and wind vents. Wind vents are small pieces of fabric at the top of the umbrella that allow gusts of wind to sweep through and cool off guests. Some patio umbrellas also include wind vents. An Offset umbrella, also known as a side post or cantilever umbrella, features a pole on the side of the canopy. This unique design is perfect for areas with where a center umbrella pole would be in the way.
Patio umbrellas and beach umbrellas are mainly available in 6 ft.-9 ft. sizes, while market umbrellas are available in 6 ft.-13 ft. sizes. Offset umbrellas are available in many different sizes ranging from 7 ft.-13 ft. and larger. If you are shading a smaller patio table, you may want to choose a 7-foot patio or market umbrella. If you take vacations to the beach, we would highly recommend a beach umbrella for setting in the sand. Offset umbrellas are perfect for poolside or setting on the edge of an entertainment area.
You will also need to consider the center pole and canopy ribs when choosing an umbrella. Center poles come in fiberglass, wood and aluminum, and ribs are available in fiberglass, wood, steel and aluminum. Fiberglass ribs are very flexible and are perfect for windy conditions where the umbrella will endure a little more movement and wear. Wood ribs are not flexible, but they are very durable and attractive. Steel and aluminum ribs (with the exception of our heavy duty aluminum) are the lower end option and are most suitable for residential applications where your umbrella will have minimal use and will be well taken care of (brought inside from the wind, weather, etc).
Choosing the umbrella that best suits you and your application shouldn't be a difficult task. When you determine your application use, the size you need and the style you love, the choice should be easy!