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The best garden parasols to buy in 2024, tested and recommended by experts

Three white-coloured garden parasols

Give your garden, patio or balcony some shade with our pick of the best parasols, tried and tested

When the sun is out and things get hot, a garden parasol is something of a must-have. Parasols give you the shade you need to avoid sunburn and an area where you can cool down, and when a shower disrupts your barbeque, they provide a temporary refuge until the clouds pass over.

With so many models on the market, finding the best garden parasols and avoiding shoddy ones can be a minefield. However, I’ve tested some of the top options from leading brands, including freestanding models and parasols designed to be used slotted in through a garden table. Below you’ll find my recommendations for different styles and different budgets. If you need more advice on what to look for, you’ll find it in the buying guide following the reviews of my recommended products.

Best garden parasol: At a glance

Best-value cantilever parasolVounot Cantilever (~£67)Check price at Amazon
Best premium cantilever parasolJarder Milan Parasol set (~£270)Check price at Amazon
Best-value traditional garden parasolVonHaus Tilting Garden Parasol (~£45)Check price at Amazon
Best garden parasol for a balcony or patioMadison Balcony Parasol (~£222)Check price at Amazon

The best garden parasols you can buy in 2024

1. Vounot Cantilever: Best-value cantilever parasol

Price when reviewed: £67 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… affordable shelter from the sun and rain
  • Not so great for… stability without a heavier base

If you want value for money but you’re after a cantilever parasol, then this model from Vounot might be the one for you. I found that, with a sizeable 300cm diameter, the umbrella provides an impressive amount of shade. What’s more, I could rotate the parasol 360-degrees, tilt it and adjust its height, ensuring I had the optimum amount of shade no matter where the sun was in the sky.

The umbrella is also water-repellent, so you can take shelter under it from the rain as well as the sun (provided that rain isn’t torrential), while it comes with a cover to help keep it fresh and clean when it’s not in use. In fact, my only reservations are around the steel cross stand. It provides some stability, but for full security when there’s some wind about, you should think about purchasing another base separately.

Key specs — Dimensions (WDH): 300 x 300 x 257cm; Weight: 11.5kg; Base included? No; UV protection? UV50+; Colour(s) available: Grey, beige, green, khaki, red

2. VonHaus Tilting Garden Parasol: Best-value traditional garden parasol

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… effective shade and easy opening and closing
  • Not so great for… long lifespan, as no cover is provided

When it comes to value for money, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better traditional parasol than this offering from VonHaus. With a 2.7m diameter, it provides an excellent amount of shade, which you can customise to your liking using its tilt mechanism.

The parasol has just two parts, the umbrella and the lower shaft, and I found it very easy to set it up – you simply screw one part into the other. Packing it down is just as easy. The umbrella itself is operated by a crank mechanism, and it’s every bit as straightforward and hassle-free to use.

I also like the air vent at the top; it helps with airflow and prevents the wind from picking up and moving the parasol. And though this parasol doesn’t come with a cover, it does have some protection, as the powder-coated steel frame is rust-resistant. Note that it doesn’t come with a base, and I’d recommend using one that weighs at least 12kg. For an affordable option, I’d recommend this fillable model from Tee-Moo, which offers an amazing balance of practicality and value.

Key specs — Dimensions (WDH): 270 x 270 x 240cm; Weight: 4.7kg; Base included? No; UV protection? UV30+; Colour(s) available: Cream

3. Jarder Milan Parasol set: Best premium cantilever parasol

Price when reviewed: £270 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… excellent, flexible shade in a box
  • Not so great for… smaller budgets

This Jarder Milan parasol has a sizable 300cm canopy, providing an expansive amount of shade. What’s more, with an adjustable height and the ability to rotate 360-degrees and tilt, it’s easy to create your perfect shaded space — and keep it going all day long.

Despite all this manoeuvrability, I found this parasol incredibly user-friendly. By turning the handle, you can quickly open it and slide it into your desired position. What’s more, erecting the parasol doesn’t require any tools or equipment and can be completed in a matter of minutes.

This parasol also comes with a cover, to help you protect it and pack it away neatly, and the base is included, so you don’t have to splash out on anything else. It might cost more than other garden shades, but this parasol set is the complete package.

Key specs — Dimensions (WDH): 300 x 300 x 240cm; Weight: 15.8kg; Base included? Yes; UV protection? Yes; Colour(s) available: Blue, beige, grey

4. Madison Balcony Parasol: Best garden parasol for a balcony or patio

Price when reviewed:: £222 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… balconies and narrow patios
  • Not so great for… general garden use without a separate base

With its flat back and oblong shape, this Madison parasol is ideal for balconies or narrow patios. What makes it particularly ideal for balconies, though, is that it can be securely mounted to them using Madison’s balcony clip (sold separately). This clip avoids the need for a base, while making sure the parasol stays upright providing the weather doesn’t get too breezy. If you’re short of space on your balcony, this could make all the difference.

Note that if you do intend to use a base rather than the balcony clip, one isn’t included with this parasol; we’d recommend using one that weighs at least 30kg, like the aforementioned Tee-Moo model.

It’s hardly cheap, but I loved this parasol for its thoughtful design and the sheet level of customisation on offer. With a whopping 80+ different settings, it has a shape and size for every occasion, and it will work in spaces where another parasol might not.

Key specs — Dimensions (WDH): 150 x 270 x 240cm; Weight: 9kg; Base included? No; UV protection? UV50+; Colour(s) available: Blue, green, red, taupe

How to choose the best garden parasol for you

How much do I need to spend?

You can pick up a parasol for as little as £15, but at this price, it will almost certainly blow over in the wind, break and begin to rust after the slightest bit of rain. We’ve found that if you budget at around the £50 mark then you can pick up some reliable, affordable gems, but they won’t be anything fancy. It’s at about £200 and above where you’ll find the really luxurious parasols, made from the finest materials and built to withstand the test of time.

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Do I need to buy a base for my parasol?

It’s important to note that most parasols need to be weighed down by a base, which in most cases will be sold separately (although some parasols do come with a base included). Most decent parasol bases will cost approximately £30–60, but you can pick up some respectable offerings for less. Some companies will also sell their own parasol base as part of a bundle package with their parasol, so it’s definitely worth looking out to see if this is an option.

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What types of parasols are there?

Traditional parasols are the typical parasol you probably have pictured in your head, with a straight pole that often goes through a hole in the table. They are sturdier than their cantilever counterparts, so fare better when the weather takes a turn for the worse. There is a slight caveat with this superior sturdiness, however, as their adjustability tends to be quite limited.

Cantilever parasols are freestanding and are able to stretch, tilt and twist away from their base, enabling you to shape the exact area of shade you want over you and your furniture. Be wary of cheap cantilever parasols, as they will begin to swing and move of their own accord with the slightest gust of wind; investing in quality makes a world of difference.

Wall-mounted parasols do not require a base and take up less space, making them a great option for narrow balconies or patios.

If you don’t have loads of space, but still want a parasol with a more traditional shape, then you may want to look into flat back parasols. The shape of these parasols (imagine a normal parasol but cut in half) enables them to be easily set up directly against a wall, making them another great option for balconies or patios.

Which parasol is best for me?

If you want a parasol for hosting garden parties or barbeques, then a classy, traditional parasol designed to fit in a garden table is probably your best bet (and, depending on your preferences and budget, you may even want to invest in one with fitted LED lights). But if you’re looking to sit out in the shade all day, then a cantilever parasol that adjusts on a tilt would be a better option, as it would give you optimal cover all day long. Alternatively, you may want a parasol for your patio or balcony, in which case you’ll likely want something a bit more specialised, such as a wall-mounted parasol or a flat back parasol.

What size parasol do I need?

A diameter of 2.5m is considered a decent size for a parasol, and many larger items will have a diameter of 3m. The ideal size of course depends on the shape and size of the outdoor space where you plan on placing your parasol. Naturally, larger parasols will need a larger base to keep them stable.

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