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Which Umbrella Base Should I Choose?

When you see a base shown as “30-pound” or “50-pound,” that usually indicates how heavy the base will be when it’s filled with water or sand. A heavier weight is better for steadying a larger umbrella in windy conditions.

An umbrella is a necessary accessory for anyone spending of time outside, especially in the summer months. The right umbrella shields you from the sun, preventing burns and providing much-needed relief from the heat.

So you’ve purchased an umbrella as a shade solution for your patio.  What’s next?

Umbrellas don’t just stay anchored to the ground on their own – they require the right base to keep them from going awry.

An “umbrellas base” or “umbrella stand”, as they are sometimes referred to, might be an afterthought when you are planning your outdoor area, but it’s a necessary one to avoid having your umbrellas launching into a neighbor’s backyard on a windy afternoon.

Many times, an umbrella base is too light for an umbrella. However, the correct weighted base and umbrella will not only offer a finished look for you outdoor area, but peace of mind when you are under the umbrella and the wind or breeze picks up.

You can permanently mount an umbrella base to your patio floor or deck. If mobility and flexibility are your main goals, there are plenty of stylish freestanding or under-the-table options for all types of umbrellas

Here are some considerations when shopping for a base or stand:

Online, you will many times see the phrases “umbrella base” and “umbrella stand” used interchangeably so what is the actual difference? Usually, an umbrella “base” is for use under a table, while a “stand” is usually heavier and free standing. However, both kinds of holders are used in various outdoor locations.

Do you need an umbrella base with a table?

If your table has an umbrella hole in the center, you will likely need an umbrella base to support the umbrella and keep it stable.

The base will typically fit around the pole of the umbrella and sit on the ground beneath the table. Without a base, the umbrella may be wobbly or even tip over.

In summary, if your table has an umbrella hole in the center, it is generally recommended to use an umbrella base to ensure stability and safety. If you are using a freestanding umbrella, you may not need a separate base, as the umbrella usually comes with its own base.

Some Important Terms

Weight when filled:

When you see a base shown as “30-pound” or “50-pound,” that usually indicates how heavy the base will be when it’s filled with water or sand. A heavier weight is better for steadying a larger umbrella in windy conditions.


The majority of umbrella bases are 20 inches in diameter. This ensures that they fit under tables without posing a tripping hazard. It’s not the diameter of a base that steadies a larger umbrella; it’s the weight of the base when it’s filled that matters most.

Pole size:

Smaller umbrellas have thinner pole diameters, typically from 1 3/8 inches to 1 1/2 inches. The average size of an umbrella pole is usually 1.5 inches in diameter. Larger umbrellas, such as 11- and 13-foot canopies, have larger pole diameters, from 1 1/2 inches to 2.5 inches in diameter.

Before purchasing, it makes sense to know the diameter of your umbrella pole and the circumference of the umbrella canopy. Occasionally, a large umbrella canopy comes with a smaller-than-expected pole diameter.

Fill options:

Decide if you want to fill a base with water or sand or if you prefer to have a solid base that is not fillable. Water may make a taller base slightly unstable or wobbly, especially when moving it around. This happens because water is not as dense and stable as sand filling.


The material a base is made from usually indicates how durable it will be over time. Cast iron bases are heavy but can rust in high humidity. Powder-coated steel bases weighted with concrete may rust over time, leaving marks on your deck or patio. Concrete bases won’t rust or crack, but you can’t always add filler. Heavy-duty molded resin and plastic bases won’t rust, flake, or crack.


Materials: Umbrella bases can be made from a variety of materials. The most popular choices are: cast iron, steel, concrete, and molded resin (heavy-duty plastic).

Locking pole sleeve: Some umbrella bases have a pole that extends up from the base and acts as a sleeve for the umbrella pole. The base sleeve secures the pole with a locking mechanism or thumbscrews.

Water plug: You’ll need to drain a water-filled base at when storing if you live in an seasonal area. Look for one with a water plug that’s easy to reach but is hidden or blends in with the rest of the base.

Feet: If you prefer a base without wheels, rubber pads beneath the holder will minimize scratches on your deck or patio.

Wheels: If you need to move your umbrella often, when the sun shifts, you may appreciate a freestanding, wheeled umbrella base with locking castors. Usually, only two of the wheels lock into place, which is enough for stability.

Design: Cast iron and resin bases often have a decorative design such as a pattern or swirl, or a floral print carved or molded into them for a touch of style.

Color: Bases are often constructed to match patio sets that have metallic finishes. For a pop of color, there are tinted concrete bases.


  • Online you will see a common formula to determine out how heavy your umbrella stand should be in relation to your umbrella, simply multiply the width of your umbrella by 10. For example, an umbrella that’s nine feet wide needs a stand that weighs a minimum of 90 pounds when filled. However, it is important to note that other factors such as location, the frequency of high winds and elevation, should be taken into account. It is always wise to consult the umbrella manufacturer’s recommendation for the right size/weight base or stand for their product.
  • Umbrella stands that weigh 50 pounds or less when filled are considered lightweight and could cause your umbrella to lift up when it’s windy. Use this type of stand underneath an umbrella table for extra support but consider the other environmental factors in your location.
  • Cantilevered, or offset, patio umbrellas require specialized heavy-duty bases designed to fit over the existing crossbar base. Bases typically have a set of four connected “plates” that hold concrete “paver” to weigh down the crossbars.

Final Thoughts: If you have spent time and money choosing the perfect umbrella for your outdoor environmental, do the proper research to find the right base for your investment.

The experts at Umbrella Specialist are here to help you make the right choices. Call us at 954-376-3766.