Offset patio umbrellas have a unique style and functionality which allows them to suspend above an area to provide shade. Also known as cantilever umbrellas, these functional outdoor shades can cover anything from furniture to pools to keep users cool. Under the protective canopy, temperatures can be reduced by 20-30 degrees. Most skin-damaging UV light is also filtered thanks to the durable fabric tops made from materials like polyester and Olefin. These umbrellas come in many shapes including square, circular and hexagonal. The canopies can be adjusted up or down using a small crank handle. Some models have a mechanism which allows the canopy to tilt. Folding up the umbrella for storage is as easy as turning the crank in the counter clockwise direction.
Why are they called offset umbrellas?
An offset patio umbrella is different than a regular one in that they have a specialized offset frame. The frame holds the umbrella over an area, leaving it open and airy. Unlike a central pole which can get in the way, offset patio umbrellas keep the frame off to the side. This allows people to take full advantage of the shaded space. The offset design puts more stress on the frame, which is why the base must be weighed down with patio blocks or sandbags. However, some bases are made of hollow plastic which can be filled with sand or water to add weight.
Offset frames are typically made from aluminum, a lightweight and rust resistant metal. The aluminum is covered in powder coat paint which is protective and adds a decorative touch. These frames have a series of joints which allow the fabric canopy to be adjusted in height. This is done by turning a crank on the side. Some models can also be tilted to adjust to the changing angle of the sun during the day. On some models this is done manually, but other feature auto-tilt functionality which allows user to tilt the canopy with the hand crank instead of reaching up.
The canopy holds its shape thanks to a series of jointed ribs underneath. When not in use for an extended period of time, the canopy can be folded down to prolong its life.
Canopy Shapes and Materials
The canopy is the protective piece of fabric which provides the shade. The materials used in this component range from fabrics like polyester to Sunbrella or Olefin. The fabric portion is usually covered under the manufacturer's warranty. Over time, lower quality fabrics can fade or crack. Spending the extra money on a higher quality umbrella can save a lot of hassle.
Choosing a canopy shape is also important. The shapes are numerous and range from circular and hexagonal to square and rectangular. The flat sides canopies, ie. rectangular and square, are ideal for areas up against a wall. Round umbrellas do well when placed out in the open. Many users like to match the shape of their offset patio umbrella to the shape of their outdoor table set.