Umbrella Bases. The "Whatever" Trap.

Now that you have your super cool patio umbrella, did you remember to pick out the right umbrella base?  Most patio shoppers don't think of the smaller details when placing their patio umbrella, but believe me, the umbrella base is one of the most import parts of your purchase.

There are a few things to consider when purchasing an umbrella base so as not to fall into the WHATEVER TRAP.   What's the WHATEVER TRAP, you might ask?  Well, it's something most consumer's go through when making a purchase without being fully informed about the product or product choices available.  I've been through it myself.  Faced with a multitude of choices, like colors, or styles, or options, you either don't buy anything, or worse, buy the first thing you see, i.e., the WHATEVER TRAP.

Customer:  Ok, so what kind of umbrella bases do you have?

Salesman:  Well, we have 30, 40, and 50lb bases.  Each one comes in different colors, like black, white, sand, or a neutral champagne, or you can get a plastic base and fill it with water and sand, or cement.  Our bases also come in cast aluminum, steel, water filled or cement filled steel.  Which one would you care to look at?

Customer:  .....Whatever.  Give me that one.

You can see where this is going to get us?

So we've created a little guide list on the top 4 of things you should look for when buying an umbrella base for you patio umbrella.

What kind of umbrella are you buying it for?

This might seem like a dumb question, but it really isn't.  Your base should match the style and color of your umbrella, but it should also match it's function as well.   Take the time to consider the uses of your patio umbrella.

  1. Is it a main umbrella, a centerpiece at your patio furniture set, or is it side umbrella that you use for backup around your pool or patio set?
  2. Do you want to match your frame or your shade?
  3. What is the material of the umbrella?  Most bases work great with both aluminum and wood market umbrellas, but plastic bases are a great alternative that might fit with aluminum patio umbrellas a bit better.

What size is the umbrella?

This might seem a no-brainer, but the plethora of choices usually keeps the thinking part of your brain out of the loop.  If the umbrella is 10, 11, or 13 feet wide, there is no way an inexpensive 201lb flat umbrella base will ever be able to hold that it up.  A 40, 50 or 75lb base should be what your looking for.

Is the umbrella in a table or free standing?

If your umbrella is free standing, you should consider a more ornate or stylish umbrella base to complete the look of your patio umbrella.  If your umbrella sits in a patio table, you should definitely look to using a flat or more simple umbrella base.  Why get a stylish base that will never be seen?

Is your umbrella an Offset?

Offset patio umbrellas are a fantastic way to shade large areas or large tables without having a center pole getting in the way.  That being said, not all offset patio umbrellas have bases readily available for them.  They usually come with a t base or cross base that can me mounted using cement or stone screws, but most people opt for getting patio blocks.  Make sure to measure the available space for patio blocks.  4 blocks is usually the magic number, but some offsets are light enough to use only two.  However, better safe than sorry.  Always uses 4 blocks.  Home Depot and Lowe's offer great cement patio blocks.  However, there is a new, recycled rubber patio block from RubberForm that's a great Green alternative.

With these guides in hand, you should do great when you're looking for the right umbrella base for your outdoor umbrella.

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