buyer's guide

What is the Best Outdoor Fabric for Patio Umbrellas?

What is the Best Outdoor Fabric for Patio Umbrellas? - Bluu

When talking about buying a patio umbrella, one of the most important thing to consider is choosing your canopy fabric. A high-quality umbrella brings you comfortable shade, adds a wonderful accent in your yard or other outdoor space as well. You probably want to pick a canopy which protects you from the heat and UV rays from the sun, and also from hard rain. So which fabric will last the longest and look the best?

In this post we'll walk you through the following parts:
  • What is umbrella fabric?
  • What are common canopy brands on the market?
  • How do I determine which fabric is better?

What is Umbrella Fabric

The umbrella fabric is usually called umbrella canopy or umbrella canvas with rib pockets sewn into its underside, so that the umbrella frame ribs can be inserted into the fabrics.

Choosing your canopy material is important. It is what actually gives you shade and protects you from the glare of the sun. But it's not always easy. Here are some common canopy brands and options. Also, they are what we used or still use for our market and cantilever umbrellas.

What are Common Canopy Brands on the Market


Olefin fabrics are polypropylene solution dyed. Polypropylene fibre is generally solution dyed as it produces a better carpet in terms of colourfastness. Weighs 200 gsm (5.9 oz/yd²), Olefin is a high-quality fabric and is fairly durable - color-fast , waterproof and UV-resistant. According to the test in our labor, this fabric blocks 95% harmful UV rays.

Olefin is actually not a name brand, but manufacturers advertise the fabric type as their brands.


SDP is also not a name brand, same as Olefin. It is also polypropylene solution dyed but is thicker than Olefin - 240 gsm (7.08 oz/yd²) . So it has a stronger ability to hold up in the sun and rain.


Sunbrella is a well-known brand on the market and is usually considered as one of the best outdoor fabric brands available. It is acrylic solution-dyed. Acrylic fabrics are durable,high-performance synthetic fabrics made from acrylic fibres. It is thick, weighs 270 gsm (7.9 oz/yd²) and is commonly 98% UV-resistant, according to the test in our labor.


Outtra has been driven by our dedicated team of skilled textile engineers and designers who have shaped Outtra into a high-performance fabric resource with the exceptional design and performance for which Outtra fabric is known. We develop it as the next-generation outdoor performance fabric brand. It is extreme thick, weighs 300 gsm (8.85 oz/yd²), so it has better performance in terms of UV-resistance.

The main differences among these canopy brands are listed below:

Solution-Dyed Acrylic
Acrylic fabrics are durable, high-performance synthetic fabrics made from acrylic fibres.
Air Textured Yarn
Air-Jet Texturing process that uses a cold air-stream to produce bulked yarns with spun touch and warmth.
Polypropylene Solution Dyed
Polypropylene fibre is generally solution dyed as it produces a better carpet in terms of colourfastness.
270 gsm (7.9 oz/yd²)
[Grams for Square meter]
300 gsm (8.85 oz/yd²)
[Grams for Square meter]
200 gsm (5.9 oz/yd²)
[Grams for Square meter]
Fade-Resistant 1000 hours 1000 hours
750 hours
UPF 50+
Blocks 98% Harmful UV Rays
UPF 50+
Blocks 99.9% Harmful UV Rays
UPF 40
Blocks 95% Harmful UV Rays
Water-Resistant water repellent water repellent
water repellent
5 Year
5 Year
3 Year

How Do I Determine Which Fabric is Better

Maybe you already have a sense of the quality of different fabrics through the detailed information listed above. Yes, those details generally indicate how the canopy fabrics will hold up in the long run.

To be more specific, some fabric qualities that are widely talked about are:


The density of the umbrella is graded by weight. Common weights for umbrella fabrics are 180g and 250g. But obviously, the thicker the fabric is, the more weight the umbrella frame needs to hold.


Color-fastness is the resistance rating of fading. Often ranked in certification or with a Fade Resistance Level. For example, all our umbrellas feature US Standard AATCC16 Grade 5 colorfastness. Be confident that it will remain bright and beautiful for years to come.

UV-Rays Resistance

UV protection not only helps to protect people under the umbrella from the sun, but also helps to keep the umbrella fabric from getting damaged by the sun.

Our patio umbrellas are recommended by Skin Cancer Foundation as effective UV protectant.


So hopefully this post gives you a bit more of an idea of the umbrella fabrics and helps you choose your patio umbrella canopy.

Now I'd like to know what you have to say.

Which fabric brand did you use or want to try?

Which quality do you think is important for a canopy?


If you have more questions about our patio umbrellas, please check FAQs or contact us for more information.

More about Outtra™

Outtra™ - The future of performance outdoor fabrics. Here you can learn more about our fabric Outtra™.

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Outtra™  - The future of performance outdoor fabrics - Bluu


Lizbeth C Johnson

Lizbeth C Johnson

We have three umbrellas out of the same fabric as some patio furniture (antigravity chairs and such). It is a woven poly outdoor weave that is not a fabric, like a plastic. Maybe an interwoven ribbon of synthetic polyester, “Textilene” often called. Why don’t they make umbrellas out of that anymore? I am very disappointed I cannot find umbrellas with that kind of fabric. Do you have this on any umbrellas?

Sandy Rainey

Sandy Rainey

Would like some quotes for my property.

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