The 8 Best Cantilever Umbrellas
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. A cantilever umbrella in your patio or yard adds a welcome respite from the sweltering sun of summer. Whether you're looking to relax by the pool, have a meal in the shade with your family, or take your work out of the office and into the fresh air, one of our selections is bound to fit your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cantilever umbrella on Amazon.
Backyard Shade Done Right
Essentially, a cantilever is a projection secured at one end to a vertical support.
Whether in your backyard or on your deck, you probably need a way to shade yourself for truly blissful lounging. Traditionally, that’s where the patio umbrella would come in, but many homeowners these days prefer the cantilever umbrella, since it offers a few extra benefits. In fact, the secret to its success can be found right in the name: cantilever. You may have heard about cantilevers in the context of architecture or construction, and the basic principle is here no different. Essentially, a cantilever is a projection secured at one end to a vertical support. A cantilever umbrella, then, has a long support post with a pole sticking out at about a right angle to support the canopy.
You can probably see why this design would be preferred over that of the traditional patio umbrella, which has a support pole directly in the middle of the umbrella’s canopy. With these, you usually need a modified table (such as one with a hole in the middle), leaving you to talk around the pole to those across from you. Or, if you’d like to use a patio umbrella with lounge chairs, perhaps by the pool, you’ll have to contend with the pole right in the middle of your lounging area. By pushing the pole out of the way, the cantilever umbrella offers the entirety of its canopy for use, with nothing to stand in the way. You can place it behind any table or put chairs directly under it, all without having to worry about holes for poles and other nuisances.
It’s not just the cantilever design, though, that makes these umbrellas so useful, as they have other desirable features, too. For instance, many are vented for stability during windy conditions as well as so that hot air does not become trapped, keeping you cooler while you enjoy the shade. Some also let you adjust the angle of the canopy, and many make use of waterproof, sun-proof materials that make them a great choice for use by the pool.
Today’s cantilever umbrellas also have something of an air of luxury and status attached to them, as they’re often found at resorts and high-end hotels. As far as style goes, you’ll find one for all tastes, since they come in a range of colors in everything from muted neutrals to eye-catching jewel tones.
Securing A Cantilever Umbrella
To get the best experience out of a cantilever or offset umbrella, you’ll need to secure the base, lest the whole thing crashes down into your brunch. In other words, don’t make the typical mistake of assuming that the stand sold with the umbrella is necessarily all you need to keep everything upright. These are usually only simple cross-brace supports, although some high-end models do come with a weighted base that may or may not be adequate, depending on how much wind your area gets.
You could perhaps use a couple of concrete blocks, although they might detract from any style you're trying to cultivate.
So, what can you do to keep your umbrella upright? You’ve essentially two options: either fasten the base permanently to the ground or use something weighted to secure it. If you’re considering the former, a lot will depend on your deck materials. If you have a wooden patio, you’ll probably have no trouble screwing the base into the boards, but if you’re working with concrete, you’re going to have a tougher time on your hands. A permanent solution also keeps you from moving the umbrella.
For these reasons, many people choose umbrella bases, instead. Some bases have one-piece construction and use heavy materials such as steel, while others are hollow and require you to fill them with sand or water. Neither is inherently better; the first option won’t spring a leak but also tends to be heavier to transport, in case you were thinking about bringing your umbrella along, perhaps to the beach. You could perhaps use a couple of concrete blocks, although they might detract from any style you're trying to cultivate.
Even when secured, your cantilever umbrella may sway during highly windy days. One way to lessen this is to place the umbrella near your deck’s railing or any other vertical support you might have, then use heavy-duty cable ties to secure the umbrella’s pole. If the wind becomes too gusty (especially in the event of a hurricane), you may need to close the umbrella and place it in a secure indoor location, just as with any other outdoor furniture.
An Umbrella By Any Other Name
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbella, which means “little shade.” This comes from the Latin word for “shade” or “shadow,” umbra, a word that we use in English even today (an umbra is simply a shaded area). But not everyone uses the formal “umbrella,” since as with many words, there are common slang terms that are much more fun.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbella, which means “little shade.”
In Britain, for example, you’ll hear an umbrella referred to as a brolly, and less commonly as a gamp, named for a character in a Charles Dickens novel. As you might imagine, this makes “gamp” somewhat dated. One slang term you probably won’t hear from a Brit is “bumbershoot,” which has been traced back to 19th century American origins. Nevertheless, the word has sometimes been confused for a Britishism, even being identified as such by that lovable elitist Niles Crane in Frasier (you’d think he’d know better). We think that in addition to being fun to say, “Cantilever Bumbershoot” would make a great name for a band.
Other words for umbrella from across the world include sunshade, parasol, rainshade, parapluie (French), and paraguas (Spanish). For the most part, sunshades and parasols are lightweight, handheld versions designed to protect the user from direct sunlight, but you might hear about “cantilever parasols” for hot climates. There are also numerous other types of umbrellas that protect the user in different kinds of weather, like the bubble umbrella for heavy downpours, and suit different stylistic choices, like the Tiki version for a luau.
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