Patio Cover: How to Choose the Right Size Patio Umbrella

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well built patio set and table in red with a large patio umbrella covering the table and seating area.


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Patio & Yard


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A patio won’t have a roof. This can leave guests exposed to sunlight and heat. The good news is that a simple way to solve this problem is by using a patio umbrella.

But what size of patio umbrella do you need?

Your patio umbrella needs to be larger than the item you want to cover. If your table is between 30 and 62 inches, you must choose an umbrella between 6 and 8 feet. If your table is over 62 inches, your umbrella will need to be between 10 to 11 feet. For most chairs, the umbrella must be between 6 to 7 feet. 

With so many patio umbrellas available, you will find one large enough to fit your patio. But it can be hard to narrow down your options and select the one that will suit you best.

Keep reading to learn how to select your ideal patio umbrella.

well built patio set and table in red with a large patio umbrella covering the table and seating area.

What Size Should a Patio Umbrella Be? 

The size of your ideal patio umbrella will depend on what you want to cover. Here are some popular items and the size of umbrella they require. 

Patio Umbrellas for Tables

One of the most common options is to put a patio umbrella in the middle of the table. The goal is to provide enough shade for the table and the guests.

Here is a rough guide to follow: 

Size of the Table Size of the Umbrella
30 inches or belowBetween 6 to 6.5 feet
31-48 inchesBetween 7 to 8.5 feet
49-62 inches10 feet
84 inches or higher11 feet

You might consider getting two patio umbrellas if your table is more significant than 84 inches. 

Patio Umbrellas for Chairs

Another popular option is to use a patio umbrella over your chair. These umbrellas are smaller than table umbrellas, as they need to provide enough shade for one person.

Because of this, you will often need an umbrella between six and a half feet. 

However, sometimes you might want to put in a couch or lounger that’s large enough to seat multiple people.

You will often need an umbrella between 10 to 11 feet in this case. 

How To Measure the Size of A Patio Umbrella?

The good news is that it’s easy to determine how large a patio umbrella is:

  • First, you’ll need to open the umbrella.
  • Then, you’ll have to measure the distance to the middle of the umbrella. It’s best to follow along a rib arm to determine the straight measurement. Once you know this distance, you must multiply it by two. 

If you buy umbrellas online, it’s even easier to find this figure as you should be able to find it as part of the product specifications. 

Other Factors to Consider When Selecting A Patio Umbrella

While the size of the umbrella is important, it isn’t the only thing you will need to consider. 

Size Of The Table Hole

Most patio tables will come with a hole in the middle, making installing the umbrellas easy. You just need to slot it into the hole and down into its base.

Because of this, you should measure the width of the hole before you start shopping for patio umbrellas. This ensures that they will all fit into your table. 

You might also want to consider how you will secure the umbrella underneath the table. Often, it will come with a base.

How heavy the base will be will often depend on the size of the umbrella, with larger units requiring more weight to hold them in place. 

Sometimes, they will require a screw that holds them to the floor. This provides more stability but will limit their mobility. 

For those tables that don’t have holes, there are some fantastic versions that cantilever patio umbrellas over the table offset from the side.

Type Of Patio Umbrella

You should also be aware that there are a few types of patio umbrellas that you can explore. These include: 

  • Fixed. These are the most basic varieties. They can be opened and shut, but you won’t be able to adjust the angle of the shade. 
  • Tilting. These have a hinge in the middle of the pole. This allows you to adjust the umbrella angle to block the sun. The downside is that these models tend to be more expensive.  

Type Of Fabric

Patio umbrellas will be exposed to the elements, so you must choose something made of sturdy fabric.

In particular, look for something that offers UV resistance. Because of this, it’s crucial to choose a brand with a strong reputation for making quality products. 

You might also want to consider the fabric color. This will ensure that your patio umbrella suits the style of your outdoor area. 

Type Of Frame Material

Next, you will need to consider the type of material you use for the frame. In this case, you will have a few options: 

  • Fiberglass. This is often the cheapest option, though it will hold up well against environmental factors. 
  • Metal. In particular, metals like aluminum can provide excellent protection against harsh weather. 
  • Wood. This combines style and durability-though frequently it will often be the most expensive option. 

Other Types of Patio Coverings to Explore

While patio umbrellas are a good option, they aren’t the only way to add shade to your patio. Here are some of the other choices you might want to explore. 


This will often provide better shade protection than an umbrella. However, it will be a little trickier to install, as it might need to be pegged into the ground.

Options like this Purple Leaf Gazebo are long-lasting and beautiful additions to your yard.


This is a permanent structure. One end will be attached to your roof, and the other to metal pillars. This will allow you to shade your whole patio area. But it will also be one of the most expensive options.  


Another option to consider is a pergola; pergolas are built with a wooden frame with a series of trellis running across it.

This is a permanent shading option like shade sails, though it will also carry a higher price tag.  

Check out our complete guide on buying pergolas, where we dive into all the aspects necessary to choosing the right one.

Can a Patio Heater also Affect the Size of the Patio Umbrella I Choose?

When choosing the perfect patio heater, it’s important to consider its size and placement in relation to the patio umbrella. A large heater may limit the space for a bigger umbrella. It’s best to plan the layout to ensure the heater and umbrella complement each other without overcrowding the patio space.

Final Thoughts

A patio umbrella is an excellent way of providing shade to your outdoor area. The only tricky thing is finding something that is the right size.

The good news is that you can calculate this quickly, as you need to consider the table size.

When in doubt, choosing a slightly larger umbrella is better to ensure everyone is shaded.