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

Included in this guide:

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 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.

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, 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.

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

(Image credit: Kettler)

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

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

Dimensions: 250 cm x 250 cm x 224 cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy
Colour options: Stone, grey & sage
Reasons to buy
+UV protection rating of 50++Tilting canopy+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included

For more control over where your shade falls, then a tilting parasol offers a good solution.

Kettler's 2.5m Wind Up Parasol with Tilting Canopy is a versatile option - simply angle the adjustable canopy as the sun changes position to maintain the optimum amount of shade.

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.

Even better, the canopy's UV protection of 50+ offers extra peace of mind on top of the sunscreen!

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: no-frills shade at a great price

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-No tilting canopy

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

Available in 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 looks smart and offers rust resistance. 

Just bear in mind this canopy doesn't offer any UV protection, so applying the sun cream will still be a must, and the canopy doesn't tilt - which may or may not cause frustration as the sun changes angle.

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

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

3. Cox & Cox Striped Parasol Set

A pretty parasol for lazy days in the sun: summery seaside stripes

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

If you want to create a summery seaside resort in your very own backyard, then Cox & Cox's striped parasol set could be a great option as the coastal vibes set the tone 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, there's a tilting canopy, and even better, the weighted rope-effect base is included in the set.

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 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

Dimensions: H245 x Dia.250cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: 50+
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy, 360° free-arm rotation
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. 

best cantilever parasol - Outsunny parasol 360 rotating and tilt

(Image credit: Outsunny )

2. Outsunny 3M Patio Parasol 360 Degree Rotating System

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

Dimensions: H250 x Dia.268cm
Base weight included: No
UV protection rating: No
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy, 360° free-arm rotation
Colour options: Khaki
Reasons to buy
+360° free-arm rotation+Tilting canopy+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-Base not included-No UV protection rating

This reasonably priced 3m cantilever garden parasol from Outsunny offers 360° free-arm rotation, so you can swing the canopy around as the sun moves without moving the base, and lock the canopy into position once you've found just the right angle.

Even better the canopy also tilts, offering the ability to fine-tune your shaded area even further. 

The canopy is water-resistant, but the downside is that there is no UV protection rating, so although you'll get shade, you might not want to rely on that for your only sun protection. And you'll need to buy base weights separately if you don't already have some - they're widely available though so it shouldn't be a reason to be put off.

best cantilever parasol - BTM 3M Cantilever Parasol Amazon

(Image credit: BTM)

3. BTM 3M Cantilever Parasol

One of the most affordable cantilever parasols: the base is included!

Dimensions: H240 x Dia.300cm
Base weight included: Yes
UV protection rating: No
Mechanisms: Crank handle, tilting canopy
Colour options: Cream
Reasons to buy
+Base weights included+Tilting canopy+Wind-up crank handle for easy opening
Reasons to avoid
-No UV protection-No 360° rotation

A great option for affordable garden shade, the BTM 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 has an easy-to-operate crank handle that allows you to open and close the canopy with minimal effort and the tilting canopy feature enables better control of the shade. 

Refreshingly, the base weights are included with this model for quick and easy set-up - just fill with water or (ideally) sand to add ballast - although you can also purchase without if you already own weights. 

The downside is no UV protection and no 360° arm rotation, but at this price, we think it's still a good option for versatile shade.

In-stock garden parasols

We know that this year garden parasols are flying in and out of stock fast, so 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 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 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.

If you need something larger still then it may be worth considering one of the best gazebo 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, 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.

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 and get ready to cook up an alfresco storm with the best BBQ