Patio Umbrella Frame Options
Aluminum, Fiberglass or Wood Patio Umbrella?

The patio umbrella frame consists of the pole, the ribs, the finial and the mechanism for opening and closing the umbrella.

Most patio table umbrellas are made of either wood or aluminum or aluminum with fiberglass ribs. Deciding what frame you want will help you decide what sun protection umbrella to buy.

aluminum patio umbrella

Depending on if you are planning on storing your umbrella, the options for an umbrella pole are a one piece or a two piece pole.

Opening Your Pool Umbrella

your guide to large patio umbrellas

Decide how you want to open your patio umbrella. There are three different lift mechanisms. They are:

1. A pulley system,

2. A crank mechanism, or

3. A manual lift.

We have a 9' and an 11' patio umbrella - both with a crank for easy opening and closing.

We also have a small 6' umbrella that sits by our chaise lounge - with this smaller size, the opening mechanism is not that important.

It is a simple manual life with a pin that fits in a hole to secure it.

patio umbrella frame

Also because I am short, the pulley system or manual lift isn't practical for me with a large outdoor umbrella.

Patio Umbrella Frames with Tilt Feature

A tilt patio umbrella provides shade no matter where the sun is.

Outdoor patio umbrellas without this feature can still leave one sitting in the bright sun.

So if you are going to invest in a new pool umbrella, this is an important feature to consider.

Some of the benefits of a tilt patio umbrella are:

tilt umbrella with crank

1. Crank Lift

The crank lift makes it easier to open the umbrella. Simply crank a handle at the base of the umbrella and it opens right up. A wooden umbrella has a manual or a pulley system. If you are short like me, the pin is set too high for me to comfortably reach.

2. Tilt Feature

After the umbrella has fully opened, simply crank the handle one more time and the umbrella automatically tilts. There is also a push button tilt, which tilts the umbrella by pressing a button near the top of the pole. The button is up to high for me to reach - so I like the crank tilt better.

Check out a video of how a tilting patio umbrella works with the crank feature:

Tilt Patio Umbrella

Aluminum Patio Umbrellas

An aluminum pole and ribs is the most practical patio umbrella frame. It offers a more light weight, but durable and strong umbrella.

aluminum patio umbrella

There is more variety in the color selection for this material as well. More features can be found with an aluminum frame - like the crank lift with the automatic tilt.

This means that by simply rotating the crank handle, the stainless steel cable will power the umbrella into the tilt position. The best features are:

1. Light weight

2. Durable and strong

3. Comes in many different finishes - black, antique bronze and more

4. Crank, tilt features

If your pool umbrella was blown out of the base after a strong gust of wind, the aluminum pole is less apt to break than a wood pole umbrella frame.

What we like best about our aluminum umbrella is that it has a tilt feature - typically a wooden market umbrella does not. An aluminum umbrella pole is available in many different colors and finishes to match your patio umbrella fabric.

We recently bought an outdoor umbrella with a wooden pole and ribs and in less than two weeks, one of the ribs cracked. Sometimes you have to pay more for an aluminum frame, but for durability, it's worth it.

Abba Sunbrella Patio Umbrella 9 Feet Outdoor Market Table Umbrella with Auto Tilt and Crank

Wood Patio Umbrellas

wood patio umbrellas

A wood umbrella provides a classy and rich look to your outdoor pool area. They are now available with a crank lift, including a tilt feature, as well as the traditional push up or pulley and pin lift.

The downside to a wood frame is that it is weaker than aluminum and more apt to snap.

If you want to keep your wood market umbrella looking like new it does require some maintenance, unlike an aluminum frame.

Faux Patio Umbrella Wood Pole

For those who like the classic look of a patio umbrella wood pole but like the durability of an aluminum pole, you now have the option of a faux wood pole like this one pictured.

patio umbrella wood pole

The pole and ribs are made with all-aluminum and zinc is added to the solid aluminum tilting joint which makes it sturdy and long lasting.

9 FT Faux Wood Aluminum Market Umbrella with Tilt, 3-Year Nonfading Olefin

Fiberglass Pool Umbrellas

A wind resistant umbrella will typically have an aluminum pole, but with fiberglass ribs.

Fiberglass ribs are most often used in wind resistant patio umbrellas. They have the ability to give and bend, where the wood ribs do not.

If you live in a windy area it's best not to buy a patio umbrella frame made of wood, unless you are diligent about closing it and tying it up when not in use.

Instead consider a wind resistant umbrella ribs made of fiberglass.  This one made by California Umbrellas is durable with a high quality mechanism and the tilt feature and 8 heavy duty fiberglass ribs.

California Umbrella 9' Round Aluminum Pole Fiberglass Rib Patio Umbrella

Go from Patio Umbrella Frame to Outdoor Umbrellas

Go from Patio Umbrella Frame to Pool Fun for Everyone

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