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Square vs Octagonal Umbrella: Which One Is Better?

12th April 2021

Are you looking for the perfect outdoor umbrella? Choosing between a square vs octagonal umbrella?

What is the best shape for your outdoor space? Umbrellas come in various shapes such as rectangular, hexagonal, square, and octagonal. However, the vast majority of umbrellas are found in traditional square and octagonal shapes.

Square and octagonal umbrella shapes are tried and true. The choice between the two depends on the patio area, style preference, and the area you want to provide shade for.

Which Offers More Shade, Square vs Octagonal Umbrella?

When choosing between umbrella shapes, consider the amount of shade you need. 

Let us compare two different shapes of the same size: a three-metre square umbrella to a three-metre octagonal umbrella. A square umbrella has all four sides, which are three metres in length. An octagonal umbrella has a three-metre diameter but is, in essence, a square that has had the corners cut off, so the amount of shade it offers won't be as much as a square umbrella. 

A three-metre square umbrella offers up to 9m2 of shade, while a three-metre octagonal umbrella offers just 6.4m2 of shade. That is approximately 30% difference in coverage.

So if you need a lot of shade, a square umbrella is a way to go (although keep in mind that a three-metre square is in most cases more expensive then a three metre octagonal so you do get what you pay for).

Square Umbrella SizeOctagonal Umbrella Size

How Do I Choose Between the Types of Umbrella?

The answer really depends on your outdoor space and style! Here is everything you should consider about shade umbrellas.

Does Appearance Matter?

Of course! The best umbrella shape for you depends on the area you are shading! 

For symmetry and maximum shade protection, a square-shaped umbrella is your best bet. Octagonal is a common umbrella shape that appears more round and will look best covering a circular table. For a more traditional look, opt for an octagonal shape to shade your space.

Think of the shape of your patio and the umbrella placement. Square umbrellas are contemporary. If you want to shade a space against the outdoor wall of your hope, a square umbrella will look best. A square table will look best with a square umbrella. For a more organic feel, near any foliage, an octagon shape will be a perfect fit. 

Should My Umbrella be Centre Post or Side Post?

A traditional umbrella with a centre pole is great for shading a table or centred space or seating area. If you hate the idea of having a pole as a centrepiece, opt for a side post (also known as a cantilever umbrella). 

A side post umbrella is useful when set up against a wall or for shading a pool. Choose to shade a seating area or a patio table with a movable umbrella top.

Cantilever Umbrella

Do Umbrella Materials Matter?

Quality is always important. Style, colour, and fabric material are important for the umbrella. Think durability and UV protection.

What about the umbrella frame? Your options are structural aluminium, wood, or metal. Of course, the material determines the overall appearance. All are beautiful options, but it depends on your patio space. While steel is generally the most durable, the cost and weight can make it impractical in some situations. If your looking for durability and functionality, structural aluminium is your best bet.

What Will It Be, Square or Octagonal?

Visualise your outdoor space; what does the furniture look like? What are the textures of materials? What is your colour scheme? All of these questions will help your narrow it down.

Choosing a square vs octagonal umbrella canopy comes down to three things: the shape of the table or space you want to cover, any physical constraints of your outdoor environment, and, of course, your personal aesthetic preference. Need help finding the best outdoor umbrella? Here are our top umbrella picks for 2021!

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.