Cantilever Umbrellas Vs Offset Patio Umbrellas: Know the Difference

If you are planning to purchase a commercial outdoor umbrella in Australia, you might have heard or read about the two most popular styles – offset umbrellas and cantilever patio umbrellas. But which one should you choose? Both umbrella types have their pros and cons, which you must consider when deciding which one works best for you.

You will find a lot of crossover between offset and cantilever umbrellas in Australia. Both umbrella types provide that much-needed shade so guests and visitors can comfortably spend more time outdoors without worrying about the harmful sun rays. Both offset umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas come with the ability to tilt and rotate, which allows changing the angle of shade as the sun moves throughout the day. What’s more these outdoor shade solutions were designed to bypass the need for a centre pole to give more unobstructed space underneath.

So, is an offset umbrella the same as a cantilever umbrella?

That is a commonly asked question by people looking to set up their backyard, pool or entertaining area with commercial outdoor umbrellas. While offset and cantilever umbrellas are both variants of patio umbrellas, their design and features slightly differ from one another. This article will help you better understand the differences between the two popular patio umbrellas and which one is more suitable for your outdoor setting.

What is an offset umbrella?

An offset umbrella is a type of patio umbrella with an offset post for maximum versatility. It frees plenty of space underneath for seating since there is no centre post. The umbrella canopy is supported from the side and above, allowing it to hang freely over different seating and table configurations and provide maximum shade. Also, it can change the angle of shade as the sun’s position changes, which makes it a great pick for poolside decks, yards, patios, and other outdoor spaces.

The offset design puts more stress on the umbrella frame, which is why all offset umbrellas need a weighted base to keep them upright and stable. Mostly, offset umbrellas come with a base; if not, you will have to buy them separately.

Offset patio umbrellas work well for providing shade over a long time. However, they are not the best choice for windy environments because of their large surface area and narrow bases. They can fly away in windy conditions and may cause damage to your outdoor furniture and other items. Even with a weighted base, you may notice your umbrella swaying back and forth in a strong breeze.

What is a cantilever umbrella?

A cantilever umbrella is also a type of patio umbrella wherein the umbrella beam holds the canopy on one end whereas it is supported at the other end. While the majority of cantilever-style patio umbrellas have offset posts and bases, they come with wall-mounted options too. The wall-mounted ones can be attached to walls using wall-mounting brackets. The wall-mounted cantilever umbrellas shine through when you don’t have a large patio or deck or don’t want to upset the flooring with any bit of digging in your patio.

Just like offset umbrellas, cantilever patio umbrellas also offer a lot of free space below and promise maximum shade at all times by changing the shade angle and tracking the sun’s movements. One area where cantilever umbrellas stand out is that it allows you to raise or lower the umbrella height from the ground with little or no difficulty.

Incredibly versatile and stylish, a large cantilever umbrella is a must-have accessory if you have a restaurant or resort with plenty of guests to accommodate in your outdoor area. These days, it is common to see large cantilever umbrellas installed in amusement parks, water parks and playgrounds as their go-to shade solution.

Offset patio umbrella vs Cantilever umbrella

An offset patio umbrella belongs to the family of cantilever umbrellas; however, a cantilever umbrella isn’t necessarily an offset patio umbrella.

The primary distinction between these two types of outdoor umbrellas lies in the support post. An offset patio umbrella has a post attached to the side, while a commercial cantilever umbrella in Australia may or may not have a post.

In other words, if you are looking for an outdoor umbrella with a side pole and base, you can either choose an offset or a cantilever umbrella. But if your outdoor space is limited and you think it cannot accommodate a side post and base without interfering with the furniture setup, feel free to choose a wall-mounted cantilever umbrella.

Please note that offset and cantilever umbrellas are prone to tipping over in high winds compared to the centre-pole market or cafe umbrellas. However, in comparison to offset umbrellas, cantilever umbrellas still have slightly better wind resistance and are thus relatively more tolerant to windy environments. Note that the base units need to be weighted down to prevent the umbrellas from collapsing in high winds.

Final thoughts

Even though offset and cantilever umbrellas are two different types, it is common to see these terms used interchangeably. It is easy to get confused as both of them look similar, and there isn’t much difference other than mere technicalities.

So, which of the two is better? Well, the answer depends on your needs and preferences. Both have their benefits and drawbacks that may suit different outdoor seating requirements. Whether you choose an offset café umbrella or a large cantilever umbrella, always look for ones that go beyond function. Your commercial outdoor umbrella should do more than just blocking the harmful UV rays. It should be modern, robust and practical all at the same time to ensure maximum value for money.

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Libby Austin

Libby Austin, the creative force behind, is a dynamic and versatile writer known for her engaging and informative articles across various genres. With a flair for captivating storytelling, Libby's work resonates with a diverse audience, blending expertise with a relatable voice.
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