Are Cantilever Parasols Any Good? (Here Are The Facts)


Cantilever parasols (umbrellas) are some of the most technologically advanced ones available on the market. They’ll offer sun protection as well as flexibility and stability, ensuring that you have the kind of protection that you want.

As is the case with anything that you buy, it’s only good when you know what your options are.

Cantilever and Other Patio Umbrellas to Consider

Plenty of umbrella manufacturers are out there. When I spend money on anything, I want to make sure that I’m getting my money’s worth. Buying a random umbrella that I know nothing about is likely going to be a complete flop.

It’s why I do the research.

Now, outdoor living is something that I take seriously. I don’t want just any shade. I want it to look good. I also want to make sure it’s going to hold up against the elements. If it blows away in the first windstorm or turns inside out, it’s not a very good umbrella.

In order to truly understand whether a cantilever parasol is any good, you have to understand that it’s one of several types of patio umbrellas that you can choose from.

Offset and freestanding umbrellas are other options. You can also find budget-friendly umbrellas that will pair with a table that already has a cut-out to hold it in place. The problem with the standard ‘hole in the middle’ garden table is that the umbrella gets in the way.

Try having a conversation around a pole. More importantly, try passing a pitcher of lemonade or margaritas around the umbrella pole. It’s a big pain in the you-know-what. My advice would be to avoid that kind of table entirely.

The cantilever parasol is a good, sturdy option because of the way it was engineered. Without getting too scientific on you, the shade of the umbrella carries the load on one end and a support beam on the other. It’s what allows the umbrella to look as though it’s almost floating in space without getting in the way of anything.

A freestanding umbrella works differently than a cantilever umbrella. The umbrella has its central support in the center and there’s a base that keeps it upright. You can bend the umbrella to the left or right, but it’s going to have a center beam in the center of your living space. It’s fine if you want to put two chairs underneath but forget about adding a table in there.

An offset umbrella means that the post isn’t right smack in the middle. Often, there’s a way to bend the umbrella forward and backward. It allows you to move it out of the way while still getting the shade that you want. Depending on where it’s going, though, it might not offer the same level of stability as a cantilever umbrella.

You won’t be able to figure out what the best option is until you know why you want the parasol and where it’s going to be placed. The cost has to be a factor, too.

Essentially, cantilever parasols are going to be a great way to shade a large space while also getting a pleasing aesthetic. It’s not going to be the cheapest option, but I’m willing to spend money to get an outdoor space that I can actually use.

Now, to get back to the original question, is a cantilever parasol a good option? Yes. But, you have to know what your options are to ensure that you get one that fits your budget and makes the most sense for you and your space.

Options When Buying a Cantilever Parasol

Cantilever parasols are some of the best ways to improve the look of your outdoor living space. Once you have the shade in place, you may find that you spend a lot more time outside. Have some parties, invite the neighbors, and live it up knowing that no one’s going to bake in the sun.

When you tilt the parasol at various angles, you can also get more privacy. All it takes is a few neighbors that don’t know how to respect your privacy to know how important this is.

Once you decide you want to look into a cantilever parasol a bit more, there are some options out there that you need to know about.

The Amount of Shade

Are you looking for enough shade for two people or for your entire patio? Myself, I want a bit more shade than the average person. That way, I can walk around under the parasol without having the sun beating down on me.

Every parasol is a bit unique in how much shade it can cast. The larger the size, the more shade it can cast. It’s not uncommon to find ones that can cast 200 square feet of shade or more.

The Size of the Base

The size of the base has to be a consideration. If it’s too large, it may get in the way of any outdoor furniture that you have in place. If you’re like me, anything too bulky can lead to a trip hazard, too.

The base should be large enough that it offers stability without being so large that it becomes an obstruction. Corner-mounted parasols are also available as a space saver – and this might be something to look at.


While most people think about using a parasol during the day, the reality is that you can make sure that it’s usable day and night. Lights can be mounted on the parasols in a few different ways.

The first is that the lights are centered in the upper hub so the illumination stretches out from the center. The second is that there are LED lights that run along the ribs of the umbrella.

Either way, you can choose lighting that can help to illuminate the area that you sit under. It can add more versatility to your outdoor seating area. LED, particularly, ensures that the area doesn’t heat up.

Other Unique Features

Okay, so there are a few other features to consider. You might not even realize how important some of them are until you hear about them.

  • UV protection: The various materials used to make the parasol can offer UV protection. Essentially, it protects you from the harmful UV rays that can lead to sunburns and even skin cancer.
  • Color: What kind of color do you want in your outdoor space? Plenty of neutral colors are available, though you can also make a statement by choosing a vibrant red or blue.
  • Fade-resistant: Some materials are less prone to fading than others. Especially if you choose a great color or design, be sure that it’s fade resistant so you’re not shopping for a new umbrella in a year.
  • Shape: Prepare yourself – even the shape of the parasol can vary. The most obvious shapes are round or rectangular. I like the rectangular ones because it helps to create a shaded area that is more like a sunroom.
  • Auto-crank feature: Not all patio umbrellas are easy to open and close. You don’t want to get a full workout just to make an adjustment, so this is a great feature to look for.

As you shop for umbrellas, consider how each feature will impact the aesthetic value as well as the function.

Cantilever Parasols…Worth the Money?

Outdoor living is a lot more enjoyable when there is shade and privacy. Every property is different. For me, I don’t have the luxury of a screened patio nor do I have a fancy wooden pergola. I don’t want to spend the money on any kind of permanent structure. I want to have shade around my sitting area.

Sometimes, I move my sitting area. The perk to a cantilever parasol is that my shade can move with it. All I have to do is relocate the base. Since the base is weighted and not cemented into the ground, it’s easy to move. Some of the umbrella bases are on wheels, too, so life is even easier.

Parasols are produced by countless top manufactures. Combine that with all of the features that are available and I believe it gives you the kind of value that you’re looking for. I want a stylish looking umbrella with more shade than just what covers me and the table that I’m sitting at.

When you take good care of your parasol, such as closing the umbrella in high winds and bringing it in from the elements, it can last many years to come.

Depending on the size and overall luxury of the cantilever parasol, they can vary in price from about $150 all the way to $1,000 and more. I’m happy with a middle of the road model – but everyone’s different.

In the end, I think that you’ll find a cantilever parasol to offer you the kind of shade you want. You won’t have a pole in the middle of your table to worry about and you won’t have to worry about your umbrella tipping over in high winds. Just shop for one that meets your needs and see how it transforms your outdoor living space.