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When the summer heat becomes unbearable, most of us wish we could scrounge up a little shade to cool ourselves off with a cool glass of lemonade. There are several options to provide shade to those who like spending their time outdoors. While getting some “Vitamin D” is quite enjoyable it is also important to protect yourself from the sun. Spending time outside can be good for the health of the young and old alike. However, without proper shade, and prolonged exposure to the heat, sun stroke and dehydration are a real factor to deal with, especially in hotter climates. Even youthful people can benefit from the shade. Direct sun exposure wears at us all!

This blog will look at two of the most common options available to you for creating shade in your outdoor spaces: patio umbrellas and the shade sails. Both have their merits and benefits, so we have it; shade sails vs patio umbrellas – which is the better option for you.

What is a Shade Sail?

They are usually used to cover a large area such as a playing area or a swimming pool. The sails must be connected to a few anchor points around the area you wish to cover. They are usually made of strong UV-stabilized fabric. They must be tightened by cinching them on mounting on posts to ensure they can withstand strong winds.

How to choose a shade sail?

Sails can be a near-permanent solution to cover a desired area from the sun. You must take proper measurements of the area to be covered, before buying it, of course. The sails comes in various colors. The chosen color provides an esthetic purpose as well as a functional one. The light colors will provide lesser UV protection, but provide more light for areas which visibility might be advantageous, and in some cases is more desirable. The darker shades will provide more full shade.

The durability of the product is also a critical point to consider when choosing the best shade sails. Premium products will not get discolored and will last for a long time. It is fun to choose a color that is vibrant and trendy, but if the color or design goes out of fashion or you decide to change the color of paint on your home, you would have to buy a new one. We recommend choosing a neutral design that will not require frequent change.

Where can you use them?

They have a geometric shape, that when stretched can be described as a rhombus – great for matching well with contemporary architecture. It is useful if you wish to have lunch outside any time of year. For example, this Outsunny rectangular outdoor sun shade sail with D-rings can be your choice. Shade sails are ideal for those who like to escape the sun in a pragmatic sense, but are also intriguing from a design perspective and a great tool  if you have an artistic bent and want to add an additional layer to design to your back patio.

What is a Patio Umbrella?

The patio umbrellas could be of any shape but are usually bell-shaped like the trendy wood patio umbrellas used at many hotels and restaurants. They provide a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor shade. It can help protect the guests from the harsh sun rays and they can often be found at the poolside. Can I get a drink with that?

How can you select a patio umbrella?

There are several options for outdoor umbrellas that makes choosing one a bit difficult. They come in various sizes. Having an idea of the area you wish to cover will help you decide. The number of people you wish to be covered should be considered too. The height of the umbrella is also another factor to consider. It is safe to select a product higher than eight feet as some of your guests could be tall. You never know when the basketball team might want to stop by for an iced tea after practice! We understand the unlikelihood of this scenario, of course, but a little clearance is advisable. While choosing from the best patio umbrellas, you should select a high-quality fabric that matches with the area around it. The tilt mechanism will help you to change the position of the umbrella across the day. There are several variations of the tilt mechanism, too, such as crank tilt, push-button tilt and collar tilt.

Where can you use them?

The umbrellas come in various models. The table patio umbrella is the most common. The tilting umbrella can rotate around a pole by pivoting the angle to the sun rays. An offset umbrella requires a strong support base. You can choose this Outsunny cantilever offset patio umbrella can be paired with various kinds of tables and patio furniture sets.

Shade Sails vs Patio Umbrellas


When you are looking for flexibility, the patio umbrellas scores over the shade sails. The sails have a fixed position when they are installed and cannot be moved around willy-nilly to suit your whimsy, or the position of your patio furniture. On the other hand, the position of the umbrellas can be changed quickly. The canopy of a patio umbrella can be easily rotated to ensure that the sun’s rays do not fall on you, directly. The patio umbrella can also have a built-in LED light for an incredible glowing ambience at night

The position of the sun shifts through the day. In the morning, the sun rays would undercut the sails. As a result, you may have the sun rays falling directly on your eyes. You must shift your position. The umbrella’s position can be easily shifted, which will allow you to retract or deploy within minutes.


There is a difference in the sizes of the shade sails and the patio umbrellas. The sails are usually placed higher. As a result, they can cover a larger area, and more people can come under the shade. If you are trying to cover a larger area, then sails are the better option. They could also be the right choice to cover the space between two nearby buildings. Sails can be used to cover a car park or a pool, too. Umbrellas are used to shade smaller areas. Some products like cantilever outdoor umbrellas can be tilted to change the angle and better cover the areas you need – ideal option to shade any table at the poolside or the golf clubhouse.


Both are easy to install, but the sails must be fixed to posts or anchor points. These anchor points should be at a reasonable height well above the head, to ensure the shade is over a larger area. You must keep in mind that maintaining the sails is difficult, and you must clean them using a water hose because dismantling can be time consuming Between the two, the umbrellas are easier to put up and can be dismantled with relative ease. They do not need to be anchored to any object. Few of them, like the offset umbrella, requires much installation.


One of the primary considerations for most of us when choosing a solution is to check its price! When you are trying to choose a shading option, you must also analyze the over-all value.

The shade sails are a very cost-effective solution. Especially if you are taking a price per-square-foot type of approach.

It is also essential to point out that the price of the umbrellas is usually less. But, when you consider the area that can be covered, it proves to be a more expensive. The shade sails provide better value for money for you.


ParameterShade SailsPatio Umbrellas
Aesthetic senseThe Shade Sails can come in a variety of colors and are aesthetically pleasing.You have various options available that make it more viable.
MaintenanceMaintenance is tricky as you usually need a spray hose.Maintenance is easier. You can change them easily too.
CoverageHelps to cover a larger areaUsed to shade smaller areas.
FlexibilityThe sails are installed high up, and you cannot shift its position easily.The position of the umbrellas can be easily changed as the position of the sun changes.
InstallationThey must be affixed to anchor points that are at a reasonable height.The umbrella can be easily put up and dismantled.
Value for moneyThey cover a larger area at a low cost.They are available at a lower price band. But it covers a lesser area.

A moot point?

When you choose a style of shade-maker, you will be confronted with the idea of shade sails vs patio umbrellas – which one serves better? You must keep in mind the coverage as the shade sails are ideal for a larger area, and most of them are quite durable, also. They are attractive too and are available in a variety of sizes. On the other hand, the patio umbrellas are portable and can be set up and dismantled quickly. They can be adjusted when needed and have their own aesthetic appeal too. The shade sails are mostly built from sturdier materials that make them more durable. Your choice must be governed by your requirements. You are the master of your own destiny. Go forth, decide, and stay cool.

About Aosom

Aosom is always looking for new products that can make the lives of our clients easier. Our brands cover various home solutions ranging from health and beauty, home goods, pet supplies, outdoor setups, etc. Our goal is to ensure the value of an incredible online shopping experience coupled with excellent customer service. We love to top it off by being budget-friendly. Visit our website for further details.


I am a believer in DIY in many ways. I am passionate about building things myself. I have worked several extension in my backyard. The transformation of old furniture is something that drives me. It helps in the proper utilisation of household materials. I also have a penchant for writing blogs and articles and have written over 500 blogs across diverse topics and industries. Sanjay takes a keen interest in content writing for websites and social media.

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