The Two Types of Outdoor Umbrellas: Cantilever & Market

When it comes to outdoor umbrellas, there are two popular options that often get compared: cantilever umbrellas and market umbrellas. Both serve the same purpose of providing shade and protection from the sun, but they have distinct differences that set them apart. Let's dive into the details to understand the nuances of each type.

What is a Cantilever Umbrella?

A cantilever umbrella is a type of outdoor umbrella that is supported by a pole on the side rather than in the center. This design allows for more flexibility in positioning the umbrella and provides a larger shaded area without the obstruction of a center pole. Cantilever umbrellas are often used in outdoor spaces where a traditional umbrella with a center pole may not be practical.

Cantilever, or side-arm, umbrellas offer optimal flexibility. They can rotate 360 degrees around its post, giving you continuous shade as the sun moves. Another benefit of a cantilever is the ability to tilt. Easy gliding of the handle down the pole will put the umbrella canopy on a tilt, helping to shade your precious ones.

Cantilever umbrellas have multiple installation options. The first is using concrete ballast blocks, to hold down the frame.  This is the easiest option as there is no drilling or concreting involved and can be done quickly on the day you purchase the umbrella. The second option is to bolt the round steel base onto reinforced concrete. A handy person can do this quite quickly as long as they check the levels of the ground before installation. The third option that some umbrellas are capable of, is to purchase an 'in-ground' base which gets lowered into the ground and concreted. This option is often done during the building or landscaping phases of new builds.

What is a Market Umbrella?

On the other hand, a market umbrella is the classic outdoor umbrella that most people are familiar with. It features a center pole that supports the canopy and is often found in outdoor markets, cafes, and residential patios. Market umbrellas are known for their durability and stability, making them a popular choice for commercial and residential use.

Market umbrellas require a heavy base to secure them so that they don't fall over or fly away. There are multiple options for these umbrellas. A simple concrete umbrella base covered in a resin coating to stop it chipping and weighing 25-30kgs is heavy enough for most sizes of patio umbrellas. At Lume Outdoor Living, we also offer the option of granite umbrella bases that weigh similar to concrete, but are a classier option. 

Key Differences

One of the most common outdoor applications is shading a pool. A cantilever umbrella placed on the side of the pool, will shade the pool using all of its canopy, while a market umbrella would need to be positioned with the centre pole at the edge of the pool, thus shading only half of the canopy's size (during the middle of the day).

In cases where there is no shade over a dining set, an umbrella can be a common necessity. If your table has an umbrella hole, you can opt for a market umbrella. If not, a cantilever is a viable choice.

Cantilever umbrellas offer more flexibility in positioning and provide unobstructed shade, while market umbrellas are known for their classic design and style. Additionally, cantilever umbrellas tend to be more expensive due to their advanced design and features, while market umbrellas can be more budget-friendly options.

Another key difference is the size of the shaded area. Cantilever umbrellas typically provide a larger shaded area compared to market umbrellas, making them ideal for covering larger outdoor spaces. Market umbrellas, on the other hand, are generally more compact and better suited for smaller areas. At Lume Outdoor Living, we do have a selection of large sized market umbrellas.


In summary, the choice between a cantilever umbrella and a market umbrella ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you value flexibility and a larger shaded area, a cantilever umbrella may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a classic design, a market umbrella could be the perfect fit for your outdoor space. Consider the key differences outlined above to make an informed decision that suits your outdoor shading needs.