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Best Outdoor Umbrella Options for Australia in 2021

1st February 2021

Australians are spending more time and money on our outdoor areas than ever before.

Pandemic restrictions are limiting indoor dining. Across the country, cafe and restaurant owners are increasing their alfresco options. Homeowners are renovating their backyards, patios, and pool areas.

An outdoor umbrella provides both shade, a much-needed component in sunny Australia, and style. Be it a pretty private courtyard, landscaped swimming pool area, simple paved restaurant patio, or bustling beer garden.

We guarantee that our top ten list (plus a secret find at the end) will guide you to the best outdoor umbrellas Australia has to offer.

1. Shadowspec Serenity

The state-of-the-art Shadowspec Serenity takes pride of place as our top pick. We couldn't be more impressed with this umbrella if we tried!

Its patented technology makes it easy for anyone to install and operate. It has an unsurpassed combination of stunning aesthetics and functionality.

Are you a restaurant owner or homeowner looking for an umbrella to use both in the day and night? This innovative umbrella features a built-in LED smart light in the centre of its unique ShadowHub frame design.

This premium umbrella made by Shadowspec also features the gas-assisted, anti-gravity Shadowlift™ system. This allows you to open or close this cantilever umbrella an astonishing three seconds!

Another stand-out feature is the ShadowLock™ rotation system. The umbrella stays put in strong winds. And the convenient 360-degree manual rotation of the canopy keeps the sun out all day long.

Black Umbrella on top of a table next to landscape view

With a seal of recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation, it’s the ideal umbrella for poolside lounging or oceanside dining.

The Shadowspec Serenity comes with an unbeatable six-year warranty on the frame. It has a whopping ten-year warranty on the canopy. And no wonder, Shadowspec make the canopy from industry-leading Sunbrella fabric.

All these unbeatable features, make the Shadowspec Serenity our pick of 2021!

  • Best Outdoor Umbrella 2021
  • Best Cantilever Umbrella 2021

2. Made in the Shade

In contrast to the Serenitys features state of the art patented technologies, Made in the Shade timber umbrellas follow a more traditional design philosophy. This design focuses emphasising beauty and simplicity.

As the brand name suggests, Made in the Shade design their umbrellas to keep you safely out of the harsh summer sun.

The manufacturer crafts its stunning frames entirely by hand in Seaford, Victoria. They pair locally sourced Victorian Ash timber with bright, inviting canopy colours. These classic umbrellas are a top-choice for both commercial and residential settings.

Are your cafe’s patio patrons worried about light rain or too much summer sun? Or perhaps they want a spot of warming sunlight in the darker winter months? A quality pulley system makes this umbrella a cinch to open or close.


Navy and White Umbrella

You can choose from a solid-coloured canopy or the increasingly popular striped pattern for an uplifting vibe.

For those with green-purchase concerns, this responsible company offers refurbishment options. The umbrellas are fully serviceable, meaning you can repair or replace all the parts. 

  • Best Market Umbrella 2021
  • Best Australian Made Umbrella 2021

3. Ultrashade Commercial Entertainment

Are you looking for a heavy-duty umbrella built to last? Ultrashade proudly makes its Commercial Entertainment umbrella in Brisbane. The company tops a sturdy powder-coated aluminium frame with a canopy of acrylic canvas or PVC-coated polyester.

Why does this Ultrashade product come in third on our list? Simply put, it's the sturdiest, best-value-for-money commercial umbrella on the market because it's more robust and better built than other more expensive commercial centre-pole umbrellas.

Another great benefit of these commercial umbrellas is you can personalise the height with custom-length posts. The frame's colour is also customisable, which is a feature that isn't available with many other heavy-duty commercial umbrellas.

Ultrashade is the umbrella for leading Australian businesses and institutes like Dreamworld theme park, Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast, and Brisbane Girls Grammar School. These places invest in elegant sunshades that will last years and look great on their grounds.

On top of all that they are wind-rated, resist mould and fading, and protect from harmful UV rays. Best of all, since these shades are custom-made to order. You can pick and choose to suit your needs: materials, canopy colours, and valance or not.

  • Best Commercial Umbrella 2021

4. Sunranger Cafe

Cafe owners and restaurateurs alike would be wise to snap up a few Sunranger Cafe umbrellas.

Sunranger designs this lightweight yet strapping umbrella to withstand anything. Even whatever rambunctious patrons or the wild Aussie weather might throw at it. Available in three handy sizes, business owners can personalise the canopy with their logo.

When it comes to serving your customer’s needs on a budget, we consider this market umbrella to be one of the best value for money buys on the market.

  • Best Value for Money 2021

5. Shadowspec Unity

At number five is another quality Shadowspec cantilever umbrella offering–the Shadowspec Unity. Like our top pick, Shadowspec Serenity, this all-weather shade is a revolution in umbrella design.

Instead of fitting one canopy to the frame like a standard umbrella, the Unity lets you connect up to four canopies from a single post. The brilliant multi-canopy aspect of this umbrella makes it perfect for shading a large area.

With Shadowspec Unity, you can lounge poolside or play with the kids on the patio for hours. Cafe owners, buy this umbrella to keep your patrons sipping iced until the sun goes down.

Like the Shadowspec Serenity in this list, the fabric has a ten-year warranty while the frame has six-year coverage.

  • Best Innovation 

Multi canopy black umbrella covers a table next to landscape view

6. Flexshade Tension Membrane Umbrellas

In our popular article on the best shade umbrellas of 2020, we introduced Skyspan and Makmax as engineering standouts. While these remain excellent choices, we have recently been equally wowed by the Tension Membrane Umbrellas by Flexshade.

Flexshade's expert engineers create this architecturally designed shade structure and its sturdy steel frame in balmy Queensland.

As a result, these top-of-the-line sunbrellas have an extremely high wind rating–up to (and in some cases above) 160 kilometres per hour–making them safe for use in commercial or business settings. In fact, they're a favourite with architects designing high-end establishments such as five-star hotels and restaurants.

Flexshade umbrellas can be custom made to your exact colour and material specifications, and buyers can choose from either a centre or side column (cantilever) configuration. Flexshade guarantees their umbrellas with a ten-year warranty on frame and canopy.

  • Best Heavy Duty Umbrella 2021

White outdoor umbrella


7. Pacific Shades Mastershade

Queensland with an average of seven-and-a-half sunlight hours every day, it’s no wonder some of Australia’s best umbrellas come from the Sunshine State. The rotating, tilting and retractable cantilever Mastershade by Pacific Shades proves the point.

Like the Ultrashade Side Post we highlighted below, the Mastershade is wind rated up to 160 km per hour. Yet this umbrella is retractable right to the post, making it ideal for small spaces or outdoor venues that need frequent layout changes.

This boutique manufacturer only can craft a limited number of umbrellas each year, so be sure to get your order in quick.

  • Best Australian Made Cantilever Umbrella
Master shade Umbrella with adjusted angles


8. Ultrashade Side Post

Are you disappointed with what you’ve seen in the strong umbrella market so far? We know you won’t be disappointed with the Ultrashade Side Post. This Australian-built umbrella keeps it simple with a long-life three-piece cantilever assembly and marine-grade materials.

The umbrella is custom made to order. Add-ons include a zip-off dust cover, which extends the life of this already durable product, a scalloped or straight finish valance, and screen printing.

Honestly, it was a tough choice for us to decide between this offering by Ultrashade and the Pacific Shade Mastershade for the seventh and eighth spot. Ultrashade lost out to Mastershade simply because the latter allows you to retract to the post. However, they are similar umbrellas in look, function, and quality.

9. Skyspan and MakMax

These heavy-duty umbrellas are manufactured in Australia with commercial venues firmly in mind. While they are retractable, the process is somewhat laborious. We consider them to be more shade structure than an actual umbrella.

With their unrivalled longevity, both of these shades deserve their premium price. They're not for the average outdoor umbrella customer.

They feature a tensioned weatherproof fabric membrane stretched over a corrosion-resistant frame of steel or aluminium. With bolt-down footings, they're wind-rated high enough to withstand cyclone-level blasts (up to 180 kilometres per hour).

Their flexible custom options–colour, height, size, material, shape, and footings–let you coordinate with your brand. Ask for logos, lights, heating, or canopy extensions if you need them.

It was tough for us to pick a winner between these two umbrellas, hence why we combined them in spot number nine!

10. Shelta Umbrellas

You can find these popular outdoor umbrellas almost anywhere in Australia. They're the sunshades you see for sale at major retailers such as Harvey Norman and Outdoor Elegance.

Shelta offers cantilevered and centre post umbrellas in a wide variety of cheerful hues.

Shelta umbrellas don’t quite make the grade when it comes to the Project Shade promise of quality. We still recommend this product to people looking for budget weather protection.

Bonus Pick: Tuuci

Created in Miami, on the sunny shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Tuuci might make the most beautiful umbrellas on the market.

The company specialises in customisation. There are four profile options, seven shade options, and an endless range of marine-grade fabrics.

They can Pantone-match and screenprint the TUUCI Tuff-skins. (This is what the company calls its sensual yet highly durable canopy material.)

Tuuci umbrellas are stunning, but be aware that they come with an extremely high-end price tag.

If you’re looking to splurge on a lifetime product or need something to impress corporate clients, Michelin-starred restaurant diners, five-star hotel guests, or luxury home buyers, consider these architecturally designed sunshades.

Best Outdoor Umbrella Australia: Decisions Made Easy

When choosing the best outdoor umbrella Australia has to offer, take into consideration a few essential factors.

List down your location and the weather in your area. Consider how often you want to use the umbrella. Is it for private or commercial use, and what about any branding or colour requirements?

Compare your needs with product specifications and materials to narrow down the sunshade that's right for you.

Are you inspired to find quality umbrellas at the right price for your home or business? Shop online today at Project Shade.


Please note the contents of this post is information only and general in nature.
If you require advice it is best to contact one of our shade specialists who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.


$4,995.00 AUD
Approx $3,711.29 USD
$1,096.54 AUD
Approx $814.73 USD
$605.00 AUD
Approx $449.52 USD

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