More and more, we’re turning to our own outdoor spaces for rest and relaxation. From backyard outdoor kitchens to front yard patios, we’re making the most of the space around our homes. However, one of the most critical considerations here is to choose the right outdoor furniture.
Spending time outdoors means being exposed to the elements – the hot sun, the cold rain, and even the snow. So, you’ll want to choose tables and chairs that will offer comfort and support, but you’ll also need protection from those elements. A market umbrella is just the thing.
What is a market umbrella, though? How do you choose the best market umbrella for your needs? It can be confusing, we know, but this guide will walk you through everything necessary to make an informed decision and create the ideal outdoor space for you and your family.
What Is a Market Umbrella?
Umbrellas come in many different shapes, sizes, and types. You’ll find round ones, square ones, even rectangular ones. So, what is it that sets a Bluu market umbrella apart from, say, a patio umbrella?
A Brief History
To really understand the differences here, you need to delve into Europe’s past. Market umbrellas were originally designed to be used in outdoor markets scattered across the Continent. They provided shade and protection from rain and snow for the merchant, their merchandise, and even the customers, allowing them to browse the wares or produce on offer in relative comfort.
To provide that protection, the best market umbrella designs incorporated more than just a covering to provide shade or block rain and snow. Market umbrellas also have unique open designs and pronounced ribs that create pockets of air. Those pockets act as insulation against the sun’s heat. The canopy and frame were also strong enough to withstand the wind, rain, sleet, and snow.
Perhaps the single most important takeaway here concerns the umbrella’s stabilization system. Patio umbrellas are usually stabilized by the umbrella’s weight, the base, and their position within a center hole of a table. The best market umbrella, on the other hand, is stabilized solely by its base or by a frame. It relies on a heavy base with a rigid center support pole and strong ribbing to provide ongoing protection from the elements.
An umbrella with stand that doesn’t require a table for further support offers a lot of flexibility in terms of placement – it works equally well to provide shade for your loungers by the pool or deck as it does for an outdoor living area, a dining space, or breakfast bar.
Commercial or Residential?
For most of history, commercial market umbrellas were the rule. They were large, designed for use by merchants, and not really feasible for homeowners. However, things have changed. Today, the patio market umbrella design offers the stability, durability, and protection that you want in a smaller footprint that’s ideal for use around the pool, on your patio or deck, and in many other spaces around the home.
With that being said, choosing the right market umbrella for your needs is important. You’ll discover many different factors that will inform your decision, too. Below, we’ll walk you through what to consider when choosing your own outdoor market umbrella.
What to Consider When Picking the Best Market Umbrella for Your Outdoor Space
Choosing the best market umbrella for your home isn’t a decision you should make lightly. Many different factors will affect your experience, from weight to durability, and everything in between. Below, we’ve outlined your primary areas of consideration to help you make an informed decision.
Whether you choose a 9 ft. , 10ft. or an 11 ft. patio umbrella, stability is going to be of paramount importance. The main factor that determines a patio umbrella’s stability is the pole or frame that supports it. This upright support can be made from different materials, and each brings something else to the table.
Wood – Wood poles are beautiful and traditional. Wood poles can be stained or painted to match your existing aesthetic, too. However, wood is not particularly durable. It’s subject to breakage in falls and will weather over time. It can also become discolored, and even rot in extreme conditions.
Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is perhaps the most durable material available for a outdoor umbrella pole/frame. However, it does have its drawbacks. The most obvious of these is its weight – stainless steel is very heavy, and while that can help make a market umbrella more stable, it also makes it harder to move. It’s also important to note that the base is where most of the weight should be for real stability, not the pole.
Aluminum – Aluminum is lightweight, incredibly durable, and can be painted any color under the sun. Bluu market umbrella features aluminum poles manufactured to exacting standards to ensure the utmost durability and functionality. We understand the need for both strength and lightweight performance and deliver strong, resilient support to keep your umbrella stable in all kinds of weather conditions.
Fiberglass – Fiberglass is lightweight and affordable. It can also be colored in a wide range of ways. However, it’s not particularly durable. In fact, it’s among the least resilient materials on the market.
As you can see, metal poles are the best option when it comes to supporting your market umbrella, and aluminum usually beats stainless steel simply because it offers outstanding strength and resilience in a more lightweight, affordable package.
The next factor we need to consider here is the canopy. This is the part of the umbrella that provides shade and protection from the elements, so it’s a vital area of concern. There are four things to think about here – shape, size, fabric type, and venting. Let’s explore what you’ll need to know when choosing your Bluu market umbrella.
Shape – The shape of your umbrella canopy has several different implications. First, it determines how much protection you enjoy. You have two primary shape choices – round or square. Square market umbrellas can be stylish, while round canopies provide more protection.
Size – Size is another vital concern when choosing a market umbrella. Your canopy’s size affects how much protection you’ll enjoy, the number of people who can shelter under the umbrella, and even how and where you’ll store the umbrella during the off-season.
If you need to provide shade for just one or two people in a small area, we recommend a 7.5 ft. umbrella. If you have additional shading needs, you can choose a 9 ft. market umbrella or an 11 ft. market umbrella, both of which provide sufficient shade for a four-person round table or two lounge chairs.
Fabric – You’ve got several different options when it comes to the fabric you choose for your patio market umbrella. Why does it matter? The type of fabric affects many different things, from longevity and UV resistance to wind resistance, and everything in between. Sunbrella® fabric is one of the most popular on the market, and olefin is another popular choice.
You can learn more about umbrella fabrics in this ultimate guide: What is the Best Outdoor Fabric for Patio Umbrellas?
However, we’re confident that Outtra™ fabric we develop is the best for a patio or say, deck umbrella. It offers UPF50+ protection from the sun’s rays, it's wind-resistant, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant, too. Finally, Outtra™ is also made from recycled materials, so it’s a much greener choice than either Sunbrella® or olefin. (We offer an we offer an extended 5-year limited warranty guarantee for Outtra canopy fabric against color fading from normal exposure conditions.)
Vent – When you think of market umbrellas, chances are good that you imagine a single, seamless canopy to keep out the wind, sun, and water. However, the problem with a solid canopy is that it prevents airflow in extreme conditions, which can trap heat under the canopy, and also increase its instability during windy conditions.
A vent allows hot air to flow up and out (hot air naturally rises) to be replaced by cool air and create a breeze under the umbrella. It also helps ensure that the umbrella is more wind-resistant and stable during use. A Bluu market umbrella can offer a single vent or dual vents depending on the size and number of tiers, but our entire market umbrella line is vented for better airflow, cooling, and wind resistance.
Wind is one of an umbrella’s two primary enemies. Strong winds can topple a conventional umbrella and even rip the canopy or bend the support frame. Wind resistance is a measure of how well an umbrella can withstand moderate winds without damage.
At Bluu, we design residential and commercial market umbrellas to withstand wind and deliver uncompromising performance. Our canopies are made from Outtra™ fabric and they all feature venting to help ensure better airflow through the material. Our support frames offer industry-leading strength and durability, as well.
Note that no umbrella can withstand high winds and even a Bluu market umbrella should be taken down and stored during severe weather.
Ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun is what causes sunburn on your skin. It can also lead to skin cancer. Each Bluu market umbrella features UPF50+ protection from UV rays. We are also proud members of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Corporate Council and are committed to saving and improving lives through our umbrella designs and fabric choices.
When it comes to umbrella designs, most of the features can be found in the functionality – it prevents sun, wind, and rain from affecting you and gives you a safe, sheltered place to enjoy the outdoors, away from skin-damaging UV rays. However, there is one important feature that you should look for in any market umbrella – tilt capabilities.
Tilting Outdoor UmbrellaWhen it comes to choosing an umbrella for your patio, you’ll need to choose between rigid designs that only give you a single position for the umbrella, and tilt capabilities. An Outdoor umbrella that tilt like Bluu market umbrella offers three-level tilt control so that you can angle the canopy in almost any way necessary to provide shade, no matter where the sun might be in the sky. It’s all about being able to enjoy your outdoor spaces all day long!
The final consideration you need to make when choosing the best market umbrella for your needs is price. As such, just because a market umbrella is of a slightly lower price, don’t immediately assume that it will be low quality – if you do your research, you can find market umbrellas for almost any budget that will deliver top-quality results! Similarly, if you find an umbrella with an exorbitantly high price tag, don’t assume that must mean it’s made to a premium standard; sometimes, this can just be the manufacturers “cashing in.”
Umbrella Accessories You May NeedChoosing the best market umbrella for your outdoor space is not just about form factor and size, although those are the most important decisions. The right umbrella accessories can also add a lot of value and enjoyment. Let’s explore some of the accessory options you have when you choose a Bluu market umbrella.
Your Outdoor / Deck Market Umbrella Base
The first accessory that you’ll want to consider is a heavyweight base for your market umbrella. The Bluu HDPE Weight Base is designed to keep your umbrella stable and sturdy, is weather resistant, and designed to withstand cracking and wear. It also features a convenient handle for carrying when you need to store the base away. Choose from three options to suit your weighting needs, including water, sand, and wet sand. The easy-open fill hole makes adding water or sand a simple matter, too.
Want something a bit different in terms of your market umbrella base? Umbrella table stand like Bluu Iron Weight Base is designed to fit our market umbrella frame and offers a very low center of gravity for better stability. Our metal umbrella stand is weather resistant and designed to withstand rust, wear, and cracking. Perfect for any outdoor space, it can accommodate umbrellas from 6 to 10 feet in diameter. A single securement knob is all you need to lock the base in place.
Market Umbrella with Lights
Want to make use of your outdoor space after the sun sets? It’s as simple as choosing the Bluu Solar LED Maple Market Umbrella – it’s a market umbrella with lights designed to provide plenty of light for evening and nighttime use. This patio umbrella with solar lights is available in five different colors, includes a three-position tilt mechanism, and comes with solar-powered LEDs that allow you to light up the night long after the sun has set without having to worry about lanterns or other light sources. The LEDs are built right into the umbrella’s frame for no-worry functionality and use, too.
Don’t want built-in LEDs? Then consider the Bluu Bluetooth Umbrella Light. It offers hours of light in almost any color you might want, but it also includes a Bluetooth 4.2 speaker so you can enjoy music streamed right from your mobile device without any need to run wires or worry about traditional components. Just connect your smartphone or tablet and you have full control over the music and lighting at the touch of a button.
Protective CoverMost customers will store their umbrellas away for at least some of the year. Yours must be protected during this time. Bluu market umbrella comes with a protective cover in the package to make storage simple and hassle-free.
Other Questions You May Have
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, and you should have a much better idea of what a market umbrella is, as well as how to choose the best market umbrella for your specific needs. From backyard oases to decks and front yard patios, there’s an umbrella for every need and outdoor space. However, we know that our customers often have other questions. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. You may also check our FAQs and User Guide for more information.
Maintaining your market umbrella is simple. We recommend that you close the canopy when not in use and store the umbrella away during periods of prolonged inactivity (such as off-peak or winter weather). Periodic cleaning with mild soap and water and a soft-bristled brush is all that’s needed to keep your canopy in great condition.
Maple, Sequoia, Redwood – we choose these trees because they are strong, durable, and stunningly beautiful. We strive to embody those qualities in every umbrella we manufacture, from the Bluu market umbrella to our cantilever umbrellas, and everything in between.
We recommend that you take your umbrella down and store it away during the off-season. The box the umbrella arrives in is the best place to store it. Before storing your umbrella, make sure that the canopy has been cleaned and is completely dry. This will help prevent mildew from forming and make setting the umbrella back up simpler next season.
Also, a good news is, Bluu market umbrella and other patio furniture are tested and reviewed in this guide at Airlucent: Beat The Heat Summer Gift Guide. Feel free to check out and get inspiration!
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