Written by Terry Smith
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UK’s best cantilever parasols TESTED that are heavy duty against the wind
This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 6:27 am
The Sun isn’t the most frequent visitor to our gardens here in the UK, and I think we can all admit to perhaps going a little crazy when it finally does grace us with its presence. More often than not though, that usually means spending too much time in the direct sunlight and ultimately being as red as a beetroot and suffering the next day. I personally burn very easily, and my wife and I have spent years trying out different ways to prevent my inevitable change of colour from white to crimson every summer in the sunlight – be it shade sails or pop up gazebos. However, after testing, one of the most effective ways in my opinion, is to get yourself a cantilever parasol – but it needs to be heavy duty and wind resistant unless you’re one of those organised people that remembers to pack away after every BBQ. That doesn’t work for me after a bottle of wine 🙂 So I make sure I have the best cantilever parasol and a quality parasol base – I can tell you from personal experience with my parasol in the neighbours garden 😀
And with the sun protection noted, the daytime isn’t the only advantage, they act as a heat trap in the right environment, you can use your parasol in combination with a parasol heater to great effect at night to keep the party going! You may or may not have heard of cantilever parasols but not to worry. In this article we will explain what they are, how they differ and compare to standard parasols and other forms of shade, and review the best cantilever parasols on the market – take a look at this handy buyers guide for cantilever parasols to cover all the bases. If you just want to know what our top picks are? Well, here they are-
Best cantilever parasols in the UK – my picks:
Best heavy duty cantilever parasol: Purple Leaf 2.7m x 3.3m parasol – with quality that just can’t be beat easily the best of the best cantilever parasols
Best large cantilever parasol: Jarder Libre Garden parasol – sporting a heavy base when compared to the lightweight frame, keeping it very stable.
Best cantilever parasol for windy conditions: Norfolk leisure square wall mounted parasol – best cantilever parasol for windy conditions as it is fixed to a wall
Best solar powered cantilever parasol: Purple leaf parasol with lights – giving you excellent night time lighting
Best budget cantilever parasol: Vounot 3m parasol – a real bargain at this price [personally tested and proven]
Budget pick with a cover: Garden Co. 3m cantilever parasol – best cantilever parasol with cover for the price
Tried and tested tip: If you think your parasol base is sturdy enough, double the weight and you’ll feel safer still 😀
To give you some more info before we get buying, and some of the tips will literally tested these to the max 😀 It was such a tough job laying under a cantilever parasol with a G and T. I wish all my assignments were this strenuous 🙂 But it did throw up some key points to be fair that are well worth your time reading:
Best cantilever parasols buyer’s guide
Choosing a product that is going to protect you, friends, and family, the way you want it to and for more than just one season, means knowing what to look for, especially in the UK where these cantilever parasols aren’t quite so prevalent. Luckily for you, we have taken the time to write this handy buyer’s guide that highlights the most important features on the best cantilever parasols, so you can make a better-informed purchase. There’s so many considerations like material, quality of your pole, canopies, and base. As well as things like will you be using your parasol at night too?
Choosing the right materials for your cantilever parasol
As whatever model you decide to buy will be spending a lot of time outdoors, choosing one that has been made from materials that are proven to be able to handle changes in weather is essential.
We all know how quickly a bright sunny day can turn into a thunderstorm in this part of the world, and then just as quickly switch back again. These changes in conditions cause natural wear and tear on both the pole and canopy of a cantilever parasol, so to keep that damage to a minimum, here’s some things to think about-
The biggest danger to the metal frames /poles of cantilever parasols is rust and corrosion. Often, aluminium is used for a lot of outdoor furniture, such as zero-gravity chairs and sun loungers, due to its ability to fight off rust, but the quality of the aluminium used can vary a lot and some of it is very lightweight, weak, and may not be the best material for a parasol if it doesn’t have a solid base to support it. Stainless steel can help to slow down the effects of rust too, as can a good quality powder coat like the one found on the GardenCo parasol frame, or galvanised metals.
Fancy going in depth and full nerd when it comes to how rust resistant aluminium is? Well, here’s video for you-
Canopies and material thickness
Canopies are sometimes stretched by gusts of wind to the point where they tear, so look for a thick material that has at least 150 grams per square metre, and if you can get one that is over 200gsm, such as the ones found on the Norfolk Leisure wall-mounted parasol and Purple Leaf products , all the better. This thickness will have the extra benefit of blocking more of the harmful UV too. As well as thickness, having a material that has a bit of stretch or play to it is really useful as it reduces tearing.
UV can not only damage your skin, but will cause the material of your canopy to deteriorate over time too, so go for models that have good protection against this or your bright canopy might not look the same way by the end of summer.
Other natural threats to your canopy are mould, mildew, and just the good old rain. Again, look in the product descriptions or reviews for products that have good levels of water resistance and materials that are known to be resilient when it comes to mould and mildew build up. Polyester is often used for low to medium budget cantilever parasols, but more expensive models might have some other, special, material., or at least be coated to protect them. The Purple Leaf heavy duty and solar parasols are good examples of this.
Having a cover for your parasol is always a good idea, and will no doubt prolong the life of the item. This is particularly true if you are going to leave it out during the Autumn and winter, or even just storing it in the garage. Although some models come with a free cover, they are often not the best quality, and I would suggest shelling out for a better one if you really want to keep your parasol looking its best. That being said, it is possible to get a low-cost cantilever parasol with a good quality cover, like the GardenCo parasol we selected for our list for just this reason.
Cantilever parasols are usually large and quite impressive as you can see-
Base/stand or wall mounted
To deal with the kinds of winds we get blowing through these isles, I highly recommend you get a parasol with a good-sized base or install a wall mounted cantilever parasol like the excellent ones from Norfolk Leisure. Some cheaper models will have nothing but a few legs sticking out as a stand but they are practically useless against even the lightest breeze, and you’ll no doubt end up having to buy a base separately or fashion one yourself.
The thing to remember about these bases is that, in most cases, they need to be filled with water or sand to add weight to them and so the larger the stand, the heavier it can potentially be. If we haven’t already been clear so far- the heavier the better.
The other choice you have, is to buy a wall mounted cantilever parasol. Obviously, as the name suggests these are mounted onto the wall of your house via a bracket and therefore there’s no need for a weighted base. Installation is a bit trickier with this kind of parasol, and it will become a permanent addition to your home, so be sure that you are ok with that before buying.
If you’re interested in making your own base out of cement, this video shows you how to do it. Please excuse the choice in music for the video and the picture quality, it was just something I came across on youtube.
Will you be using your cantilever parasol at night too?
It’s hard to beat sharing a drink and some lovely BBQ snacks with friends on the patio in summer. I actually like it so much; I’ve invested in various patio heaters so I can do it pretty much all year round!
If you’d like to dazzle your guests and add a little extra to the ambience, there are cantilever parasols that you can buy that have built in LED lights, or even larger lighting. These lights are powered by solar cells, so there’s no need to worry about your electricity bill or hurting the planet, however the quality of the lights, solar panels, and wiring can vary a lot and the ones on cheaper parasols might not last that long. If you’d like to know why we picked the Purple Leaf solar parasol for our ‘best of’ list, check out the reviews below.
How much should I pay for a cantilever parasol?
Honestly, this is almost impossible to answer without knowing a ton of things about you personally. The price range for cantilever parasols is quite vast, spanning from as little as 70-80 pounds as is the case of the vounot parasol, all the way to well over a thousand or two.
As with anything, the more you pay, the better the quality will tend to be. I will add though, that there might not be that much difference between something that costs 200 quid and one that costs 300. However, the difference between the cheapest models and the more expensive ones should be quite easy to spot, and we explain this in our review of the best heavy-duty parasol- the Purple leaf 2.7m x 3.3m model.
I guess I’d have to say that if you’re going to be using your parasol a lot, and you want one that will last for years, dip your hand deeper in your pocket and pay for quality. On the other hand, if this is your first time buying one of these products and you just want to try them out, you should be fine with something lower down on the price range.
What is a cantilever parasol and what is the difference between them and a standard parasol?
Most people know what a standard parasol is, but here’s a quick reminder anyway. Standard parasols consist of a single, long, pole that fits into a weighted base and has a large ‘umbrella’ canopy on top. Sometimes, there is no base, and the parasol is simply supported by being thread through a hole in a table, and this can be seen in plenty of pub beer gardens around the UK (erm…not that I would know a lot about that…honestly…).
Cantilever parasols differ in their design as they have two supporting poles- one vertical like a standard parasol, but also another that goes out horizontally and away from the main pole. The canopy is attached to the end of that horizontal pole, and this small change can offer you quite a few benefits over traditional parasol models, but as always, there are drawbacks too.
If you’ve never seen a cantilever parasol, here’s what they look like-
Benefits of cantilever parasols
So, why would someone choose a cantilever parasol over a traditional one? Well, to answer this, we must first look at the drawbacks of a standard model.
I’m sure we’ve all had that moment where we are sat around a table and we just happen to be in that spot where the shade just doesn’t quite reach, or we are happily enjoying the shade provided by the parasol but as the sun moves across the sky, we are left exposed to all that UV.
Both of these things happen because the supporting pole of a standard parasol is located in the middle of it, and as most of these products are meant to be popped through the middle of your table, it’s the table itself that gets most of the protection from the sun. This often leaves the people sitting around said table half shaded and half exposed, often leading to some very funny looking tan lines! Well, funny for other people, anyway. Not so much the victim.
Cantilever parasols look to tackle these problems by having their pole set away from the canopy, and therefore not taking up valuable space. This means that you can sit a group of people directly under it and nobody has to be sat out on the burning fringes. Most products have large canopies too, just take the 3.5 metre Purple Leaf product we picked as best heavy duty, for instance.
The issue with the sun’s movement is also easier to deal with when using a cantilever parasol, as many of them can be rotated on the main pole through 360 degrees, as well as changing the angle of the umbrella and height. So, you can move the shade, quickly and easily, to wherever you want it to be and this feature is found even in budget parasols like the Vounot item we feature in our reviews.
I have to be a little bit clear here though, and explain that some cantilever parasols are wall mounted, and so the range of motion might be less than a full 360 degrees. However, this type of parasol tends to be sturdier because of the fixed point on the wall, rather than relying on a weighted base.
As well as the practical benefits, there is also the issue of style here too. While having a traditional parasol is all well and good, they are all too familiar to most of us and having something a little different in your garden can be a nice way to stand out from the crowd. See for yourself-
Cantilever parasol drawbacks
The main drawback of cantilever parasols is that, because of the way the weight is distributed, they are more susceptible to being moved around by gusts of wind. This is especially true with cheaper models that have insufficiently weighted bases, and you might find yourself chasing that shed that you want, right down the street!
Then again, adding weight to the base of something, or swapping it for a better quality one, isn’t exactly rocket science so if you don’t mind a bit of DIY modification, you might be able to save a few quid. Still, I’d recommend spending a little more on something that has been made to a higher quality, rather than going for a bargain basement type of deal as they usually end in tears. The Jarder cantilever parasol we reviewed for this article is one of the exceptions though, offering you a very good base without breaking the bank.
I guess the other downside to these parasols is the same as the centre-pole type, and that is the size of them. Although you can get quite large versions, and they are big enough to offer enough protection from the sun for everyone sat on your patio sofa set, they can’t cover as much area as some other forms of shade such as shade sails or large gazebos such as the ones pictured below:
Best cantilever parasol reviews
Now it’s time for our detailed thoughts on the top cantilever parasols on the market at the present time. Now, we know that not everyone is looking for the same thing from their parasol, so we’ve compared them and rated them as the best for windy conditions, heavy-duty use, etc. so we are confident you’ll find something to suit you.
1. PURPLE LEAF 2.7 X 3.3 M Garden Cantilever Parasol
Choosing our best heavy duty cantilever parasol wasn’t as difficult as we’d thought, with this product from Purple Leaf being a clear winner in this category. Well, if I’m being honest, there was one other product in this list that was a close challenge, but that was from the same company and took top spot for best solar parasol.
So, why did we choose this particular parasol? It’s simply superior in quality to most of the others we tried out, but I’ll explain in more detail. Let’s take the canopy material for example, the 240gsm fabric is much thicker than the 180gsm of The Jarder Libre parasol, and even the thicker than average Norfolk Leisure model can’t quite match it.
Thickness is all good and well, but if it can’t handle the weather, it can hardly be thought of as heavy duty now, can it? Not to worry, as Purple Leaf have done a cracking job with their canopy, making it highly resistant to water, UV, and ensuring that the colour won’t fade. They’re so confident in it’s longevity that they offer a 3 year warranty on it.
Pop your head under the canopy and you’ll see that just as much care has been taken with the supporting structure. There you’ll see a well-designed complex of aluminium support bars that have been given an extremely well-done powder coating. When compared to much cheaper models like the one from Vounot, you can see where all the extra money has been spent on the design. Right off the bat though I want you to know you need a parasol base before committing to this unit. Look for something like the one below, or even larger to support a parasol like this one-
At 270c, x 330cm, you get a lot of coverage with this offering from Purple Leaf, and the fact that the fabric has been tested to UV50 level of protection means that you don’t have to worry about getting sunburnt under there. You won’t feel as hot as you might under most other parasols featured here either, due to the double canopy design that not only looks fantastic, but allows for better air circulation.
Everything about this cantilever parasol shouts quality, right down to the crank handle you use to open and close the canopy. This is an area where a lot of companies cut corners to keep the price low, but it ends up being one of the things that breaks easily. From the time we spent with this model, I can’t see there being any issue in that department for years to come, nor with the height adjustment, which is just as well done.
There’s always something to complain about though, I mean, I am British after all! With the Purple Leaf cantilever parasol, it’s more to do with what isn’t there as to any flaw with the design. You see, the fillable base you see in the advertising photos doesn’t come with the product and has to be bought separately, and it’s not the cheapest thing out there. You could always buy a cheaper base to use of course, but then it might not be up to the same standard as the rest of the parasol.
- Extremely solid construction with a thick and strong frame
- 240 gsm fabric for the canopy is super durable
- Double canopy design provides good airflow
- Highly resistant to all kinds of weather
- Doesn’t come with a base and will have to be bought separately.
2. Jarder Libra Garden Parasol Set Cantilever Umbrella, 4-Piece Base and Waterproof Cover
People searching for a large, but reasonably priced, cantilever parasol that comes with a couple of nice little extras, should take a closer look at this Libra model from Jader. It’s hexagonal 3 metres diameter canopy will give you all the coverage you need this upcoming summer.
The fabric used for the canopy is a durable polyester with a thickness of 180gsm, and while that can’t match the Purple Leaf products, and is thinner than the Norfolk Leisure wall-mounted cantilever parasol, it still provides decent protection from direct sunlight, and the rain tends to run down to the edges and drip off at those points, even though it isn’t exactly waterproof.
To keep the large canopy over your head, and not crashing down onto it, there is an alloy steel frame that is actually a lot stronger than it looks. This frame is made even more stable with the included four-piece fillable base, which is very large, and good quality, considering the price and can weigh up to 80kg when filled with sand. This makes it a very good deal in my book, especially when you consider that a decent base bought separately can cost 100-200 quid.
In addition to the free base, Jarder has thrown in a protective cover too, and it is actually pretty decent. It has a waterproof PVC coating, a very durable 350gsm thickness, and the zip plus drawstring design means it’s easy to get it well secured and the parasol protected, once you get used to using the little pole that’s provided anyway. We tested quite a few that had zipped covers, and with many, it felt like those zips weren’t going to last long, but this one felt fairly robust.
As we said, with the base filed properly, you get a nice, stable, parasol, but there is something that might annoy a few of you. Because of the design, and it is a common one, that allows you to move the canopy throughout the day, the canopy will ‘spin’ in the wind. We found this with more than a few of the products we tested, and it is a small annoyance, but nothing terrible.
Another little peeve I had with this model was that the instructions don’t explain things very well. Assembly is fairly easy to work out, but how to alter the angle of the canopy, and things like that should have been made clearer.
Operating the Jarder Libra is fairly simple. The canopy opening and closing is easy to work out and you won’t need instructions (thank God, as they aren’t exactly great!) and changing the angle of the tilt is no problem either. Rotating the canopy on its central axis does take a little more time, as you have to loosen screws, but it only takes minutes with a bit of practice.
No matter how heavy a base is on a cantilever parasol, you won’t be able to stop it being affected by the wind, so you have to use a bit of common sense and not try to sit out there if the gusts are getting a bit strong. More expensive models like those from Purple Leaf are better at handling the blustery UK weather, but even they have their limits, and lower cost parasols like this one and the Vounot are more susceptible, so keep that in mind.
- Large 3m x 3m canopy provides great cover
- Alloy steel frame is very sturdy
- Large fillable base included in the price
- Free weatherproof cover for storage
- Gusts can make the canopy move around unless you really tighten up the screws
Wondering what lies in store for you when it comes to assembly of your parasol? Have a look at this fellah putting his parasol up. Doesn’t look too hard, does it?
3. Norfolk Leisure 2m Square Wall Mounted Cantilever Parasol
You only have to spend five minutes reading through customer feedback on pretty much any cantilever parasol, to see that the overwhelmingly biggest complaints about them come down to stability and how the wind affects them.
I’m afraid it is just a part of standing cantilever parasols’ designs, and even the best of them, with the heaviest bases, will struggle when the UK winds really pick up, hence why they are usually only recommended for summer use.
However, you can get most of the benefits of a standing cantilever parasol without having to worry about how heavy the base is, or if it will get blown down during the night, by installing a wall-mounted model instead.
As there is no base, and the parasol is securely fixed to the outside of the wall of your house, the negative effects that the wind usually has is greatly reduced. There is a price to pay for that extra stability though, and that is that most wall—mounted cantilever parasols don’t tilt as well as the Jarder, GardenCo, etc, products can, and some won’t rotate in as wide an arc either; although that’s not usually necessary.
You also have to keep in mind that wall mounted cantilever parasols are much more permanent fixtures that the standing models, and whereas you can pack and cover the GardenCo parasol in very little time, it certainly isn’t going to be that easy with this Norfolk Leisure wall mounted parasol.
So, that’s the pros and cons of owning this kind of cantilever parasol, but if you decide you’d prefer this type, then you could do a lot worse than this product. The aluminum alloy frame is very good quality for the price, and will not rust which is important for a semi-permanent structure.
There are fourteen ribs supporting the canopy, much more than the eight found under the Purple Leaf parasol canopy, but I have to admit that the thickness of the latter did give me more confidence. The canopy itself is actually almost as thick though, at 220gsm, providing superior cover and durability when compared to the Vounot, Jarden, and GardenCo models.
I would have liked to have seen more than two screws on the mounting as this is effectively when most of the stability comes from, but through our tests, they held up well so I guess I can’t grumble too much. Then again, we haven’t seen how well it handles a sudden storm, and I wouldn’t leave it outside if the weather looks to be changing, just to be on the safe side.
- Excellent value for money
- Very thick 220gms fabric used for the canopy
- Less susceptible to wind than standing parasols
- Fourteen aluminium alloy ribs supporting the canopy
- Harder to install that other parasols and are a semi-permanent fixture
4. PURPLE LEAF 3.3 M Garden Cantilever Parasol with Led Solar Lights Bar
There are a lot of solar powered LED parasols on the market these days, but more often than not, the lights have been thrown on there as almost an afterthought, and this leads to quality issues and problems arising after a short while.
Sometimes, the lights aren’t the problem at all, it’s the quality and stability of the parasol itself. I mean, what’s the point of having decent lights when the parasol is tipped over in a slight breeze and the lights or solar panels end up damaged?
So, when it came to choosing a cantilever umbrella for the best solar powered category, we decided to go with one that also had the best all-round build quality, and that led us back to the Purple Leaf brand.
This model features all the same things that made us choose its lightless brother for our best heavy-duty parasol so you know that it’s built to last, and I have confidence that the bright solar lights will keep on ticking for years to come. Unlike some solar parasols, you don’t have to worry about cloudy days spoiling your nighttime fun either, as this one comes with a USB charging board, just in case.
The canopy is made from the same 220gsm polyester that has been treated to be resistant to UV, water, and fading. To help with air circulation, the canopy also has the same two-tiered design, only instead of a square shape, this one is a huge 3.65m octagonal one, and looks fantastic, larger and far more stylish than any of the lower cost products featured in this list.
As well as having the same pros as other Purple Leaf cantilever parasols, it also has the same things that might make some people think twice before buying, namely the fact that there is no base included, and that the asking price is already more than double that of the GardenCo, Vounot, Jarden, and Norfolk Leisure products.
Having said that, the quality of those aforementioned cantilever parasols can’t really compare to this Purple Leaf offering. That’s not to say they are bad, as they definitely aren’t, but this solar powered parasol is just a step above them in every way except price.
- Excellent quality just like all parasols from this brand
- Very thick and large canopy with high UV protection
- Solar powered lights are bright and make the parasol look fantastic at night
- Comes with solar charging board and USB charging board
- No stand included in the price
The following video shows the quality of purple leaf solar parasols in all their glory. Enjoy-
5. VOUNOT 3m Cantilever Garden Parasol, Banana Patio Umbrella with Crank Handle and Tilt
Not everyone has hundreds of pounds to spend on a cantilever parasol, and even if they do, it doesn’t mean they want to part ways with that much, especially if they only want something to use every now and again.
Parasol manufacturers know this, and that’s why there are tons of budget models out there, with many of them being extremely similar or identical (at first glance anyway). This made it quite hard to pick one of them as our top budget choice, but in the end, we settled on this one from Vounot. Right off the bat I want to point out this needs a sturdier parasol base:
Trying to bodge it with flag stones or whatever you have is a right pain in the neck – take it from my personal testing – I know you want a bargain but you don’t want to pull your hair out.
You can buy the right weights for the base though:
Although it has it’s share of flaws, when you consider that it is less than half the price of the Jarder canopy we also featured, yet is very similar, it actually makes it a very good deal indeed. Will it last forever? I doubt it. But that’s to be expected of any cantilever parasol in this price range – it’s big and does the job:
As mentioned above, design-wise this is very similar to the Jarden and GardenCo parasols. It features the same type of crank and mechanism for adjusting things, and the canopy seems to have been made out of the same kind of 180gsm polyester fabric. This fabric isn’t the thickest I’ve seen, and I don’t know how it would hold up to strong winds, but it will be fine for summer use.
So, why is this product so much cheaper? Well, just like with both of the Purple Leaf parasols that are featured in this list, this one comes without a weighted base, and as it only weighs 11.5kg, you definitely need one.
On the plus side, the way the legs of the stand are designed, it is easy to use patio slabs to give it the weight and stability it needs, and this might actually work out cheaper than buying a base that you need to fill with sand. Either that or you could screw it into decking, I suppose.
- Crank function works smoothly
- Patio slabs can be used as a base due to the stand’s design (look at the photo below)
- Perfect choice for people on a tighter budget
- Similar design to more expensive models and comparative quality too
- Very lightweight and will need a heavy base to make it stable
6. GardenCo 3m Cantilever Banana Parasol
Cantilever parasols are at the mercy of the British weather, just like any other furniture that is left outside, and if you don’t take care of yours, it will soon be looking a lot worse for wear. That beautiful, brand new, canopy can quickly turn into a tatty, mould and mildew stained, oversized rag, but thankfully, there’s an easy way to prevent all that by covering it up when you’re not using it.
Not all parasols come with a cover, and even some that do aren’t exactly offering you the best covers you can get. I’ve had zips come straight off the first time I tried to close them, with some of the really cheap models, and some covers that weren’t even big enough to cover the parasols that they came with!
So, I’m always a little cautious when I see a cantilever parasol with a cover, and a four-section base, for a very decent price. Nonetheless, I went into testing this GardenCo product with an open mind, and I’m glad I did. The free cover is actually very decent for the money. It might not be the thickest I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t feel flimsy, the zip works smoothly, and it’s PVC coated to protect the parasol from all kinds of weather.
The base sections, I wasn’t quite as happy with though, and they certainly aren’t as durable as the ones you get with the Jarder parasol. In fact, when filled with water, they actually leaked a little, but there weren’t any problems once filled with sand, which is always my choice for these bases anyway as it gives more weight and stability.
The frame and canopy are about what you’d expect for the price, but the powder coating on the 48mm steel frame has been done to a better standard than what I saw on the Vounot model parasol, but that could have just been the particular items that we got our hands on, rather than one brand being better than the other, so take that as you will.
- Comes with a four-section fillable base
- Very good quality cover for the price
- 180gsm canopy is strong enough to handle spring and summer weather
- High quality powder coating on the 48mm frame should fight off rust
- Base might leak water so fill with sand instead