A parasol is one of the best additions to your garden especially if you or your family enjoys spending a lot of time outdoors.
A parasol provides shade from the sun and rain.
Garden parasols come in different styles.
There’s the basic upright parasol that you can use on its own or fix to a table. For better shade protection, a tilting parasol is great.
For this buying guide, we discuss a different variety of parasols – cantilever parasols. They are relatively modern and arguably look more stylish compared to the other types.
Cantilever parasols have the pole and base off the side rather than at the centre. The umbrella arches over the table or sitting area.
This makes the parasol more versatile than other types of parasol. You can set one up anywhere without the pole getting in the way.
You can set it up over an outdoor Jacuzzi, a hammock or a recliner.
Most cantilever parasols can be swivelled or tilted to adjust the shade.
What You'll Learn Today
- Key Considerations When Choosing a Cantilever Parasol
- How to Use a Cantilever Parasol
- The Best Cantilever Parasol Reviews
- Frequently Asked Questions in the UK
Key Considerations When Choosing a Cantilever Parasol
The ideal size depends on how big you want the shade to be.
Most cantilever parasols stretch out to 3m from the pole, which is plenty enough for a standard outdoor sitting area.
If you want something smaller, maybe for a small balcony or yard, there are 2m parasols.
If you have a large sitting area, there are cantilever parasols that measure over 4m.
Just keep in mind that a large parasol will be heavier and harder to handle. This is important if you plan to move it around often rather than use it in one fixed area.
The base of the parasol should be wide and heavy enough to keep the umbrella from tipping especially when it gets windy.
Some cantilever parasols require extra weights to keep the base stable.
Note: Regardless of how stable the base is, it’s a good idea to close the parasol at night and during inclement weather. Too much wind and rain can damage it.
c) Weather Proof
Make sure the parasol can withstand all kinds of weather.
Most cantilever parasols consist of a powder-coated aluminium pole that can resist rust and a fade-proof umbrella fabric.
No matter what the manufacturer says, we recommend reading customer reviews to get an idea of how well the parasol fairs outdoors after several weeks or months.
d) Opening and Closing Mechanism
Check what kind of opening and closing mechanism the parasol uses. It should be smooth and easy to use, requiring no more than a few second to open or close the parasol.
Most parasols use a simple crank mechanism.
Check if you can swivel and tilt the parasol.
This allows you to quickly change the position of the umbrella depending on where you are sitting and the time of day.
For instance, tilting the umbrella lower provides better shade protection in the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky.
f) Extra Features
Check whether the parasol comes with a protective cover. You use it when the umbrella is folded down and not in use.
It improves the longevity of the parasol especially in winter.
Another cool feature we’ve seen in some cantilever parasols is LED lighting. That can come in handy when you are outdoors at night.
How to Use a Cantilever Parasol
1. Initial Assembly
You’ll need to assemble the parasol when it arrives. This involves bolting the stem or pole to the base.
If weights are supplied, add them to the base. If they aren’t, you can usually use stones to weigh the base down.
With some parasols, you can also order weights separately from the manufacturer.
With the base and stem set up, lock the pole with the umbrella into the stem and secure both together using a clamp.
Then lift the umbrella handle to extend the canopy upwards and outwards to its maximum height. In most parasols, you’ll hear a lock spring in place when the canopy has stretched out to the end.
Use the crank to open the umbrella.
Note: The assembly process may vary for your parasol. Check the user manual for specific assembly instructions.
Operating the cantilever parasol is easy.
To open or close the umbrella, you simply turn the crank in one direction or the other.
To rotate the umbrella, there’s usually a clamp you need to loosen then rotate the umbrella pole.
In some parasols, you can also tilt the umbrella using a handle. You can set it to shade you directly from above or from the side.
Check your user manual for specific operation instructions.
- Do not use the parasol without sufficient weights on the base. It can damage the parasol and there’s a danger of the parasol falling and injuring someone. If the parasol did not come with weight included, use any heavy stone blocks to weigh down the base.
- Close down the parasol every evening to avoid damage by heavy winds or rain. If yours came with a cover, use it at night and any time you are not using the parasol.
- If you are not going to use the parasol for extended periods such as in winter or when you are going on vacation, take it down completely and store it indoors.
The Best Cantilever Parasol Reviews
1. Fortrose Large 3x3m Cantilever Garden Parasol
The Fortrose 3 by 3 cantilever parasol provides plenty of shade using a weatherproof polyester canopy.
The base and stand are made from steel. They add quite a bit of weight to the parasol but they guarantee durability.
Setting up the parasol is easy and quick.
The base is already weighted so there’s no need to add your own weights. Just connect the stem and the umbrella.
The crank mechanism takes just a few seconds to close and open the umbrella. You can also use it to adjust the height of the canopy.
What I like about it:
- Comes with a weighted base – makes set up easier and quicker. You don’t need to look for stones or buy weights.
- Black and grey finish coordinates well with other garden furniture.
- Resistant to rain and fading.
- Easy to use crank mechanism.
2. Airwave Apollo 3m Banana Cantilever Parasol
The Airwave Apollo Banana Cantilever Parasol looks much like other cantilever parasols until you see the LED lights inside the canopy.
They are set along the ribs of the umbrella frame, creating a cool effect at night.
The lights are powered by an integrated solar panel so you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet near your garden.
The parasol measures 3m by 3m, providing enough shade for most people’s needs.
It closes and opens using a wind-up crank mechanism.
Both the umbrella fabric and steel support and base are weatherproof and resistant to fading and rusting.
Our only gripe is that it doesn’t come with a weighted base.
As it is, it’s dangerous to use as it can easily tip over. Either buy the weights separately or find some heavy stone blocks to secure the base.
What I like about it:
- Beautiful beige finish.
- LED lights look cool and provide illumination at night.
- Easy to operate.
3. Norfolk Leisure 2m Square Wall Mounted Cantilever Parasol
If you are looking for a cantilever parasol for a small patio or garden, we recommend this wall mounted parasol from Norfolk.
It doesn’t come with a stand like other parasols. Instead, you mount it to a wall using the included wall mount.
Setting up the mount is an easy DIY project. It takes less than 20 minutes to have the parasol ready.
Note that screws for mounting the bracket are not includes since they’ll depend on the type of wall you have. You have to get the right screws yourself.
The canopy frame is made from aluminium so it exerts very little weight on the wall. There is no risk that it will damage your wall.
The umbrella opens instantly using a handle. When not in use, it folds up easily against the wall.
As some users pointed out, look for a ribbon to tie up the umbrella when it’s closed. Otherwise, it will flap about annoyingly.
What I like about it:
- Sun and rain proof.
- Easy to set up and operate.
- Perfect for small patios and gardens.
- Lightweight aluminium frame makes set up easy and safe.
4. VonHaus Parasol
This is a complete garden parasol set.
In addition to the 3m cantilever parasol itself, you also get a large base and a parasol cover.
The base is a bit different from other parasol bases. You have to fill the four base segments with water or sand to add weight to the base.
The parasol cover is waterproof. Use it when the parasol is closed and not in use. It will protect the umbrella from the harshest of weather such as during winter.
The parasol is more versatile than the other parasols we have reviewed. You can rotate and tilt it to get the perfect positioning.
A powder coated steel frame protects the parasol from rusting while the polyester canopy is designed to resist UV-caused fading.
What I like about it:
- Generous shade from the large canopy.
- Easy to set up.
- Complete set that includes base and parasol cover.
- Tilting canopy.
5. Charles Bentley Garden Premium Hanging Banana Parasol 3.5m
This parasol is ideal for large sitting areas and patios. The 3.5m canopy casts a wider shade that you can easily adjust by using the tilting function.
This lets you let in a bit of sunshine or provide better shade protection at different times of the day. The crank winding system is easy to use, allowing you to close and open the parasol in just seconds.
Everything from the rust-proof pole to the fade-proof canopy are designed to resist any kind of weather.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a parasol cover for protection in winter and during storms.
Something else missing is a weighted base. You have to buy the weights separately or use stone blocks.
What I like about it:
- Ideal for shading large areas.
- Weatherproof – frame doesn’t rust and canopy doesn’t fade.
- Tilting canopy lets you adjust shade depending on the sun’s position.
- Beautiful beige canopy blends in well with other furniture in the garden or patio.
Frequently Asked Questions in the UK
Q: How to secure a cantilever parasol?
These offset umbrellas can be destroyed by sudden gusts of wind, therefore they must be weighed down correctly.
If it is a mobile parasol then you must just be aware of the wind conditions at the place where you site it, and make sure that you weigh it down carefully every time you move it.
If it is designed to be stationary, the you need to decide whether you want to have is set in stone (literally!) or housed in wood.
If you are placing your cantilever parasol in concrete then you just need to ensure you bolt the parasol into the concrete using locking nuts.
If you are mounting into wood, such as decking, then you simply need to drill into the wood at the right locations, then insert lag bolts to hold the umbrella in place.
If you wish to be able to move your parasol about, then invest in a weighted base for your parasol that you can insert it into that will sit unobtrusively beneath your table, or in a corner that you place it
Q: How to put a cover on a cantilever parasol?
Putting on the cover for your parasol depends on which particular model you have, but in general there are steps that you would take.
It is generally easy to put up and take down your cantilever parasol, and if it comes with a cover then you would just slip this over the top when you want to put it away and job done.
If it doesn’t come with its cover- ie if you’ve bought the parasol second hand, or lost or damaged the cover, then you can create a makeshift version of your own using a tarp and some tent pegs.
If you have bought a brand new cantilever parasol, then chances are it will come with instructions, so just follow these to the letter to install your cover, and you’re away. If you have no instructions then simply:
- Make sure the parasol is covered on all sides and at all angles from the rain which may damage it.
- Hold this covering down so that it does not blow down in the wind. You can use cable ties, bricks, tent pegs – whatever is going to keep your parasol held down.
Q: How to clean a cantilever parasol?
You may be pleased to learn that the best way to clean your cantilever parasol is not by buying expensive cleaners, but by using what is already in your cabinets at home!
White vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and salt can offer you the best clean for your cantilever parasol that you could ever imagine.
Make a mixture of the above products in roughly equal quantities, and scrub your parasol well with it before rinsing off. This will restore your parasol to near-new appearance, and prevent you having to buy a new one or resort to aggressive cleaning.
Speaking of aggressive cleaning…
If you have, or have access to, a steam cleaner, this can make the work of cleaning your cantilever parasol a breeze. Water and an electric source is all you need to get your parasol looking as good as new.
Q: What weight base for cantilever parasol?
The weight base you will need depends on the type and size of parasol that you are erecting. If you have a smaller parasol, with a pole smaller than 42mm, you can get away with a 15kg base that should keep the parasol stable.
If your parasol has a diameter of over 42mm, then your base will need to be over 25kg.
If you visit your local hardware store – or better still, the shop you bought your parasol – they should be able to give you expert advice about what weight base for cantilever parasol to make sure it is as strong and stable as it can be.