The best garden parasols 2021: 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 2021 - best parasol for garden - best garden umbrella for patio - Gardeningetc
(Image credit: Bridgman)

Looking for the best garden parasols? As much as we all love to see the sun shining, on the sunniest of days 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 options 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.

Like the best garden furniture, this year garden parasols are selling out fast, so we've rounded up some of our favourites to help narrow down the choice. 

The best garden parasols 2021

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, tassles, 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.

Best garden parasols - best striped parasol for garden - Cox and Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

1. Cox & Cox Striped Parasol Set

Add seaside style with summery stripes

Specifications
Dimensions: H230 x Dia.240cm
Base weight included: Yes
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle
Colour options: Sand striped, blue striped
Reasons to buy
+Stylish stripes+UV protection rating of 50++Wind-up crank handle for easy opening+Base included

If you want to achieve a seaside resort feel in your garden, then this might be one of the best garden parasols for you as the striped canopy sets the mood perfectly. 

Available in sand and white or blue and white stripes, the canopy has a high UV protection rating of 50+, UV colourfastness of 400 and a weatherproof finish to keep you covered all day long.

The wind-up crank handle offers easy opening and closing, and even better, the weighted rope-effect base is included in the set.

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - patio umbrella - Robert Dyas

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

2. Robert Dyas 2.7m Large Garden Parasol

An affordable garden parasol for no-frills shade

Specifications
Dimensions: H270 x Dia.240cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: No
Mechanisms: Crank handle
Colour options: Cream, grey, green
Reasons to buy
+Affordable option+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included-No UV protection

A no-frills garden parasol that still offers good ease of use, this 2.7m canopy will provide enough shade to cover most outdoor dining tables. 

Available in good neutral colour options of cream, pale grey and green, the waterproof canopy is removable to enable you to freshen it up with a wash every now and then.

A wind-up crank mechanism also makes opening and closing the canopy easy, whilst the black powder-coated aluminium pole both looks smart and offers rust resistance. 

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - patio umbrella - Kettler

(Image credit: Kettler)

3. Henley by KETTLER 3m Wind-Up Parasol

A useful tilting garden parasol with UV protection

Specifications
Dimensions:
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilt
Colour options:
Reasons to buy
+UV protection rating of 50++Tilt mechanism+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included

For more control over where your shade falls, then the best garden parasols for your garden might well be tilting designs. 

This tilting option from Kettler is a great option - simply angle the adjustable canopy as the sun changes position to maintain optimum shade.

The spacious 3m diameter canopy offers a good amount of shade, and UV protection of 50+ offers peace of mind. 

Meanwhile, a wind-up mechanism makes lowering and opening easy, and shower-resistant fabric means you don't need to worry about the odd bit of drizzle.

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 room however, so make sure you check you mesaurements if your patio is on the smaller side.

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

1. John Lewis & Partners 3m Freestanding Parasol

A good all-round cantilever parasol with UV protection

Specifications
Dimensions: H255 x Dia.297cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle
Colour options: Cream, grey
Reasons to buy
+UV protection rating of 50++Wind-up crank handle for easy opening+Large canopy
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included

A great option for versatile garden shade, this cantilever garden parasol features an offset base making it perfect for use over a play area, hot tub, or any outdoor dining set without the option for a central pole parasol. 

The large 3m diameter canopy is made from UV-resistant all-weather fabric, offering UV protection of 50+ under its canopy, whilst a rust-resistant aluminium pole completes the weather-resistant finish.

An easy-to-operate crank handle means you can open and close the spacious canopy with minimal effort. Just bear in mind you will need to purchase the base weights separately. 

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - cantilever - Kettler

(Image credit: Kettler)

2. Kettler Henley 3m Freestanding Parasol

UV protection and 360° free-arm rotation

Specifications
Dimensions: H262 x Dia.350cm
Base weight included: Yes - fill with sand or water
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, 360° free-arm rotation
Colour options: Grey
Reasons to buy
+Large 3.5m canopy+UV protection rating of 50++360° free-arm rotation+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening+Base included - just fill with water or sand
Reasons to avoid
-The most expensive on our list

This cantilever garden parasol also offers 360° free-arm rotation so you can swing the canopy around as the sun moves without moving the base. 

A wide canopy, made from shower-resistant fabric with a UV protection of 50+ gives reassuring protection from the sun, whilst the easy wind-up mechanism with six locking positions makes it simple to use.

Even better, the base comes with this parasol. Once you have the parasol in position just fill the base with water or sand to weight it down further.

Best garden parasols - best parasol for garden - Argos

(Image credit: Argos)

3. Argos Home 2.5m Overhanging Garden Parasol

An affordable cantilever parasol

Specifications
Dimensions: H245 x Dia.250cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: No
Mechanisms: Crank handle
Colour options: Black, cream
Reasons to buy
+A good price for a cantilever parasol+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included-No UV protection rating

A good-sized 2.5m diameter canopy and offset base make this a good entry-point cantilever parasol. 

The wind-up crank handle means you can open, close and lower the canopy easily, and the simple black and cream colour options give this parasol a smart look that suggests a higher price tag.

We would have preferred the canopy fabric to offer UV protection - which might be especially important if you're considering this for a children's play area - but if you're after a budget cantilever parasol to deflect the glare of the sun, then this is an option well worth considering. 


How to choose from the best garden parasols

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, 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.

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, and many of the best garden parasols on our list offer UV protection of 50+.

How to care for your parasol

The best garden parasols are designed to be durable, weather-resistant and rust-resistant. However, there are still things we can do to prolong their lifespan. 

Clean your parasol regularly with a soft damp cloth, and protect it with a cover whenever not in use. Always store in a cool, dry place indoors during winter.


More garden ideas

If you're getting ready for the sun then make sure you have everything you need to enjoy the good weather. 

Find the ideal way to relax with our guide to the best sun loungers, get ready to cook up an alfresco storm with the best BBQ and consider how to make the most of your garden whatever the size with our round-up of the best garden design ideas