After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (2024)

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (1)

A patio or deck umbrella can let you dine, entertain, and work outdoors without sweltering in what may be a harsh, glaring summer sun. To help you decide on the right one, we purchased 28 patio umbrellas, of different styles, shapes, colors, and features, and tested them in The Lab on a bright, sunshiny, 90-plus-degree day.

Through our testing we determined that the canopy construction of an outdoor umbrella is arguably the most crucial part, so be sure to look for a canopy constructed from durable, outdoor fabrics. While all patio umbrellas are meant to be water- and sun-proof, we found that some materials were more durable than others.

"The most common and best outdoor fabrics are Sunbrella and Ottertex," says Deborah Young, a textile expert, author, and instructor of textile science. Sunbrella is hydrophobic (does not absorb water) acrylic fabric, while Ottertex is polyester, and both are colorfast and UV protected, as they are densely woven, she adds.

To further test the durability and performance of these umbrellas, we sent the umbrellas to test in our own homes and shared their evaluations after six months of home use. Whether you're looking for a lightweight design or an umbrella that has string lights, these outdoor patio umbrellas impressed us across our testing insights.

Testing Stats
Products Tested28
Hours Spent Testing12
Tests Performed7
Unique Testers11

In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • How We Tested

  • What to Look For

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust The Spruce

Best Overall

EliteShade 9Ft 3-Tier Market Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (2)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    5/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Protection

    5/5

What We Like

  • Easy assembly

  • Effective shade

  • Easy adjustment

  • Color variety

What We Don't Like

  • Base not included

We gave this product, with its aluminum frame and dyed acrylic canopy, top marks for a multitude of reasons: its ease of assembly, sturdiness, durability, one-hand crank and one-button tilt mechanism, and water resistance. We were enthusiastic about how well it effectively kept the sun off a fairly large area—it shaded the area so completely, that we didn’t need to increase our laptop's screen brightness while sitting underneath it.

We also found that the EliteShade’s thick, acrylic fabric repelled rainwater well, and we could completely and quickly clean up the artificial "bird doo" we introduced during our tests. (The manufacturer claims the acrylic-material canopy doesn’t fade for at least five years.) The ample 13-color assortment—from black to natural and "sunflower yellow"—was far greater than most products we tested and should easily complement any deck or patio decor.

The only downside is the package lacks a base, which, depending on the materials, can cost $50 or more. (In fact, it was rare to find a standard-style-type product that did.) Despite this, we find the EliteShade an excellent value.

How It Performed Long-Term

During our long-term tests, we found that this umbrella held up exceptionally well, going above and beyond on both sunny and rainy days. It covered most of our team member's deck, providing much-needed shade on especially hot days.

Style: Standard | Size: 9 feet | Weight: 17 pounds | Coverage Area: 6-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Aluminum frame, acrylic canopy

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Best Budget

Better Homes & Gardens Outdoor Crank Patio Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (7)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    4.5/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    3/5

  • Durability

    4/5

  • Protection

    5/5

What We Like

  • Goes well with many decor styles

  • Easy to clean

  • Provides ample, deep shade

What We Don't Like

  • Somewhat heavy to tilt

  • Lacks UV protection

For its low price, we appreciated the Better Homes and Gardens 9-foot Round Patio Umbrella's ability to provide ample, deep shade that significantly reduced heat and glare (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by The Spruce's parent company, Dotdash Meredith). We loved the stopped-position three-way tilt mechanism, which adjusts by pinching a latch and letting the umbrella tilt to either side. However, we did notice that it can be a bit heavy to push one way or the other, so you may want to recruit some help while adjusting the tilt.

While perhaps not as large as some products we tested, the Better Homes umbrella still effectively shaded two people seated at a round table and, based on our testing, could likely accommodate a table that seats up to four people. The smaller size also makes it easier to navigate, weighing just 11 pounds (the lowest on our list). The fabric was cleaned easily and didn’t permit rainwater to leak through. We also like that it comes in seven colors (the black at a $10 higher price point), including solids and stripes, which could effortlessly blend with exterior decor.

On the downside, this product lacks an included base and doesn’t provide UV protection, like some higher-priced products we tested, and the frame seemed heavier than others. We also found that the crank for this umbrella can unwind on its own if not clicked into a locked position, especially when it's very windy outside. Despite these minor issues, we enthusiastically recommend this umbrella for small decks or patios. Plus, its versatile, minimalistic color scheme makes it easy to add to any patio or design style.

How It Performed Long-Term

After testing in our lab, we set up this umbrella at home on an outdoor patio for long-term testing. After one month of using this umbrella consistently, our team member's family was pleased with the shade it provides and they frequently use it for outdoor lunches at a four-person table. After six months, we noted that the umbrella held up very well other than a few frayed edges on the fabric. We still think it's a worthy purchase, especially given its durability at under $100.

Style: Standard | Size: 9 feet | Weight: 11 pounds | Coverage Area: 4-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Steel frame, polyester canopy

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Best Splurge

Hampton Bay 11-Foot Solar LED Offset Outdoor Patio Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (11)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    4/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    4/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Protection

    5/5

Hampton Bay 11 ft. LED Offset Solar Umbrella Is Sturdy

What We Like

  • Solid-steel frame

  • Durable

  • Rotates 360 degrees

  • Solar-powered lights

What We Don't Like

  • Challenging assembly

  • Sand for base sold separately

For a premium price, you get solar LED lights and 360-degree adjustment in this cantilever patio umbrella by Hampton Bay. You also get a steel-and-aluminum frame, which should help this product last several seasons. We also appreciated how it provided complete shade under which we could easily view a laptop screen, and we loved how easily it could be cleaned up. Additionally—although this octagonal 11-foot canopy is large enough to cover six people at a table—it stows compactly. The manufacturer says the canopy also resists UV rays.

Setting up this umbrella proved to be difficult—even though the assembly instructions were clear, the product took 40 minutes to put together. Being the heaviest umbrella we recommend, it may be wise to recruit a friend during setup. Fortunately, the package included a helpful video. What wasn't included was the recommended 220 pounds of sand for the included base, so we used sandbags inside the base as a temporary solution. Despite these downsides, we recommend this for larger decks or patios.

How It Performed Long-Term

After long-term testing this umbrella on a completely exposed back deck, we have loved the large amount of shade that this umbrella provides, especially since it protects puppy paws from the summer heat. And while the solar lights aren't meant for prolonged use, they do provide a decent amount of light in the evening.

The only aspect of the umbrella that has degraded over time is the handle to lift the umbrella, which now takes a bit of force to operate. All things considered, the umbrella still held up exceptionally well through tons of inclement weather. Even after six months, we were impressed that this umbrella could withstand hail, rain, wind, and storms, even as a cantilever-style umbrella.

Style: Cantilever | Size: 11 feet | Weight: 68 pounds | Coverage Area: 6-chair table | Tilt: No | Materials: Aluminum and steel frame, olefin canopy

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Best for Large Spaces

Safavieh Athens Crank Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (17)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    3.5/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Protection

    5/5

What We Like

  • Large size

  • Easy assembly

  • Attractive pattern

What We Don't Like

  • Tilt mechanism unclear

The classic French-style cantilever Athens 11-foot Round Crank Umbrella by Safavieh comfortably covers a table and six chairs, enough for a 12 x 12-foot deck. It's tied for the largest canopy size on this list, tied with our best splurge, the Hampton Bay Cantilever Patio Umbrella, so both are great for covering large tables and spaces. The manufacturer says the product was inspired by similar umbrellas seen throughout Monaco’s sun-drenched Mediterranean hotels.

We found that the umbrella assembled effortlessly out of the box during lab testing, and the crank took no extraordinary effort to open and close the canopy. We did note the design includes tilt capability, but we could not figure out how to accomplish this during our tests, despite the instructions. Nevertheless, we recommend the Athens umbrella for its laptop-readable shade, water repellency, and effortless cleanup of natural and artificial gunk.

How It Performed Long-Term

After months of consistent use, we found that this umbrella still works good as new, with no signs of wear or fading. After testing the patio umbrella on our second-story deck, we discovered that it completely transformed how we enjoyed our outdoor space.

Even as the weather got colder, the umbrella was still useful for deflecting falling leaves and seeds, allowing for undisturbed meals outside. We had no issues using a standard umbrella stand, and we loved that this umbrella was large enough to shade an entire outdoor dining table. It even stood up well against high-wind days and storms with no damage.

Style: Cantilever | Size: 11 feet | Weight: 15 pounds | Coverage Area: 6-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Not listed

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Best 10-Foot Umbrella

Pure Garden 10 ft Patio Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (21)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    4/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    5/5

  • Durability

    4/5

  • Protection

    5/5

Pure Garden Aluminum Patio Umbrella Provides Cheap Shade

What We Like

  • Lightweight

  • Ample shade

  • Easy cleanup

What We Don't Like

  • Base not included

  • Tilt button too high on frame

This 10-foot patio umbrella from Pure Garden is a good option for a few outdoor seasons at a reasonable price. We appreciated its ample shade and water resistance. We also liked its generous shade area for the size—you could definitely fit at least a bistro set under it and potentially a table and four chairs. It is also easily disassembled for simple off-season storage. You can buy it in nine solid colors.

In less than one minute, we were able to insert the lightweight alloy steel pole into a base (not included) and open the acrylic canopy with the plastic hand crank. The product tilted with the press of a button, but we believe some people might find it hard to reach. If you're looking for a 10-foot canopy, you can't go wrong with this affordable design, especially given its easy setup and storage potential.

How It Performed Long-Term

During our long-term tests in a real-world setting, we found that our favorite feature of the umbrella was just how easy it was to move around the outdoor space. Its lightweight construction allowed it to be swiftly and easily placed wherever it was needed. We also loved that it provided ample shade for kids to comfortably play outside in the peak, midday heat. Over time, we did notice that the crank mechanism became harder to operate and didn't work as well. However, the rest of the umbrella has held up nicely.

Style: Standard | Size: 10 feet | Weight: 13.5 pounds | Coverage Area: 4-to-6-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Alloy steel frame, olefin canopy

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Best with Lights

Blissun 9’ Lighted Patio Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (25)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    5/5

  • Effectiveness

    3/5

  • Size

    3/5

  • Durability

    4/5

  • Protection

    4/5

What We Like

  • Lightweight but sturdy

  • Good value

  • LED lights with eight-hour run time

What We Don't Like

  • Not completely opaque

Balmy summer weather makes for perfect deck-sitting nights, and we love the Blisson 9-foot Lighted Patio Umbrella as an option to provide a welcome ambiance to any outdoor space. With four solar-powered LED lights on each of its eight ribs, this umbrella adds a twinkle to festivities. The solar power lights can be an especially nice touch if you like to entertain. Additionally, the tilt mechanism and its hand crank are easy to operate with minimal effort. We found the alloy-steel pole and tilting mechanism to be all good quality, as well as surprisingly light.

However, we weren't as enthusiastic about the canopy, noting that even though it cleaned up easily—and the manufacturer claims it’s UV-resistant—it didn’t block out all the sun so you may need to squint a bit to read your laptop while sitting underneath, so it's best for overcast or milder days. Still, we were impressed with the product's overall value and wide color selection.

How It Performed Long-Term

During our long-term tests, we loved how easy it was to set up and take down this umbrella. We used our patio so much more with this product. We also loved being able to read, work, or eat meals outside without worrying about becoming too hot or sunburnt.

This umbrella is a great addition to summer dinners with friends and other outdoor gatherings, and the twinkling lights add a ton of ambiance to any setting. Over time, it held up very well, and the umbrella had no signs of damage or wear.

Style: Standard | Size: 9 feet | Weight: 16 pounds | Coverage Area: 4-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Alloy-steel frame, polyester canopy

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Best Design

Safavieh Milan Fringe 9-Foot Outdoor Auto Tilt Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (30)

Our Ratings

  • Design

    5/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Size

    5/5

  • Durability

    4/5

  • Protection

    5/5

What We Like

  • Keeps still in wind

  • Ample shade

  • Easy to set up

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

A flurry of fringe on top of the navy blue canopy adds a touch of romance to this 9-foot patio umbrella. In addition to its fun detailing, we especially appreciated the ease of setup, as well as how easy it was to open and close the canopy. We were impressed with the ample shade it provided—which seemed more than what you might think for the relatively small canopy size compared to other options on this list. It also negated the need for sunglasses and made it easy to view the details on a laptop screen. On a moderately breezy day, an air vent also keeps the canopy from moving too much.

Initially, the canopy material appeared to be on the cheaper side, but our tests confirmed its durability. It provided enough shade to comfortably view a laptop screen; water beaded up and rolled right off; and the fabric was cleaned up completely. The price struck us as somewhat high at over $200. But if you’re looking for a chic-appearing patio umbrella, this might be the pick for you.

How It Performed Long-Term

After using this umbrella for months in a partially shaded backyard, we found that working on a laptop was a breeze and that there were no glare issues while sitting underneath it. Additionally, the light fabric did not leak any sunlight, but we did notice that any debris or buds could be easily seen through the canopy.

While this is not necessarily a drawback of the umbrella's performance, it may be a concern for anyone especially worried about aesthetics. Over time, the umbrella proved to be very low-maintenance and easy to operate and store. Even after six months of consistent use, the umbrella held up phenomenally, with no signs of wear or damage.

Style: Standard | Size: 9 feet | Weight: 12 pounds | Coverage Area: 4-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Hardwood frame, polyester canopy

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Best Heavy Duty

Sol 72 Outdoor Kellie Sunbrella Umbrella

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (35)

What We Like

  • Ergonomic crank

  • Durable canopy fabric

  • Water-repellent

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Heavy

The Kellie umbrella stood out thanks to the Sunbrella canopy fabric that easily repelled whatever we threw at it—water and faux bird droppings, among them—with no water coming through. Its weather-resistant materials also proved to be wind-resistant. While this umbrella is heavy to tilt, the weight made it feel like it would last several seasons without blowing away or tipping over. The manufacturer also states the umbrella resists UV rays and mildew.

This umbrella also was easy for one person to set up alone. The metal pole and ribs added to the perceived durability. However, we found that navy blue is not the best color when trying to clean off "bird doo," as it left a noticeable stain after easily scrubbing away.

How It Performed Long-Term

After months of use, we found that this umbrella still functioned well and it has not faded over time. However, a wind storm completely lifted the umbrella (which was closed) out of its stand and tossed it across the patio, making us wish there was a better way to secure it within the stand. But within the six months of our long-term tests, this only happened once, and other than that it has stayed in place and held up nicely. In general, it's still one of the sturdier options we've tested and the umbrella does not blow over easily when open.

Style: Standard | Size: 9 feet | Weight: 14 pounds | Coverage Area: 4-to-6-chair table | Tilt: Yes | Materials: Aluminum frame, Sunbrella fabric canopy

Compare

DesignEffectivenessSizeDurabilityProtection

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (36)

Best Overall:

EliteShade 9Ft 3-Tier Market Umbrella

Amazon55555

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (37)

Best Budget:

Better Homes & Gardens Outdoor Crank Patio Umbrella

Walmart4.55345

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (38)

Best Splurge:

Hampton Bay 11-Foot Solar LED Offset Outdoor Patio Umbrella

Amazon45455

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (39)

Best for Large Spaces:

Safavieh Athens Crank Umbrella

Amazon3.55555

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (40)

Best 10-Foot Umbrella:

Pure Garden 10 ft Patio Umbrella

Amazon45545

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (41)

Best with Lights:

Blissun 9’ Lighted Patio Umbrella

Amazon53344

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (42)

Best Design:

Safavieh Milan Fringe 9-Foot Outdoor Auto Tilt Umbrella

Amazon55545

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (43)

Best Heavy Duty:

Sol 72 Outdoor Kellie Sunbrella Umbrella

Wayfair

Final Verdict

After spending hours in a bright, sun-drenched day testing 28 patio umbrellas in The Lab, our overall top choice is the EliteShade Sunumbrella 9-foot 3-Tier Market Umbrella, which we gave top marks for its ease of assembly; sturdiness and durability; one-hand crank and one-button tilt mechanism; and water resistance. For a budget-friendly alternative, we recommend theBetter Homes and Gardens 9 Foot Round Patio Umbrella. We liked its easy-clean material and its seven color choices, which would blend well with virtually any outdoor decor.

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (44)

How We Tested the Outdoor Patio Umbrellas

On a scorching-hot sunshiny day in mid-May, we tested 28 patio umbrellas in The Spruce’s outdoor Lab in Des Moines, Iowa.

First, we assembled the umbrellas on tables we hauled outdoors, checking for ease of following the manufacturer’s directions and how quickly the umbrella went from uncrating to deployment. Next, we opened the umbrellas, judging how easy it was for an average person to accomplish, based on the product’s design. That gave us a good opportunity to assess each umbrella on how easy it was to adjust, rotate or tilt, and whether that offered better shade or cover. Since many work-from-home employees elect to use their decks or patios as an “outdoor office,” we set up laptops and reported how well the umbrella covered the area, so the screen could be seen.

We then took a step back to consider each umbrella’s overall sturdiness, including the covering and frame, as well as its attractiveness. Finally, we intentionally stained each umbrella with artificial "bird doo" and reported how easily the goo cleaned up, and whether it could be machine-washed, if necessary. After we closed each umbrella, reporting the ease of doing so. Finally, we gave each a value-based score, determining whether the price was justified.

In addition to our standard in-lab testing, we also conducted long-term home testing in order to see how the umbrellas held up over time, checking in after one month, three months, and six months. For long-term testing, we chose 12 top-performing umbrellas and sent them to our own team members' houses to note how they performed in real-world situations. We considered each umbrella's long-term durability and noted how it has enhanced if at all, our day-to-day lives. We also considered how often we used the patio umbrellas and whether or not they have improved our outdoor spaces as a whole.

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (45)

What to Look For in an Outdoor Patio Umbrella

Construction

A standard patio umbrella consists of a canopy, often made of an outdoor UV-resistant fabric (Sunbrella, which is used for products like our best heavy-duty option, the Sol 72 Outdoor Kellie 108'' Market Sunbrella Umbrella, is the most common brand); and a frame, which can be wood, fiberglass, or, most commonly, aluminum.

Most canopies are round, but we have been seeing rectangular ones as well, which are a better choice for covering rectangular tables. Wood is the most attractive (and the costliest) frame material, but if you regularly experience severe thunderstorms, fiberglass or aluminum are better choices, also seen in our favorite Sol 72 umbrella. Compared with aluminum, fiberglass is lightweight, flexible, non-corrosive, and holds up to weather.

Type

Patio umbrellas come in different types, for different uses. The most common type is inserted into a hole in your table and held in place by a stand (generally not included with the umbrella). While the most common canopy shape is round, you also can find market umbrellas (like theEliteShade Sunumbrella Market Umbrella, our best overall choice), which are octagonal and cantilever umbrellas, which arch over the table and get their support from a stand placed a short distance away.

Size

Most patio umbrellas measure anywhere from 5 to 11 feet in diameter. Generally, an 11-foot umbrella, like our best splurge pick, the Hampton Bay 11 ft. Aluminum Cantilever Outdoor Patio Umbrella–comfortably shades a table seating four to six adults. If you're not sure what type or size of patio umbrella to purchase, you can read our guide for picking out a patio umbrella.

Mechanics

To open and close their canopies, most patio umbrellas operate with cranks, which require a human to turn. Locking mechanisms, such as a pin, keep it open. Higher-priced models, like our favorite 10-foot model, the Pure Garden 10-Foot Outdoor Tilting Patio Umbrella, may accomplish this with pushbuttons.

Other models employ pulley systems, which can be harder to handle. If you intend to keep your umbrella open all season, a pulley type may suffice. But if you need to close your umbrella—in case of high wind, for example, which can send an umbrella soaring—opt for the crank.

Maintenance

Open patio umbrellas are sitting ducks for flying ducks—and other birds to remind you of their presence. Consider how easy it is to clean the canopy, whether by simply spraying with a garden hose or by needing more extensive cleaning, perhaps with a sponge and soapy water.

Don't use a power washer or any harsh chemicals, as the fibers holding the canopy together may give way, warns Young. Frames can gunk up as well; you can clean most with a damp cloth. "If you're looking for durability and longevity, give it [your umbrella] a rest," says Young. "Close it up and even put it away when not in use—it will simply last longer."

Luckily, all of the options on this list wiped water and debris away quickly and easily during our testing.

After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (46)

FAQ

  • Which style of patio umbrella is best?

    This depends on your outdoor area and how you intend to use the umbrella. If you have a table that can accept a patio umbrella through an included hole, your choices can include any type that installs in this manner. If your table doesn’t have an access hole, or if you’re wanting to shade an area apart from a table, opt for a cantilever umbrella, which you can position nearby.

  • What do I need to set up a patio umbrella?

    All you need is an outdoor area to be shaded! Many outdoor tables include holes to insert umbrella poles. Some standard patio umbrellas include a base to anchor the pole, but not all do; bases sold separately can cost from $45 to $100. If your outdoor seating area doesn’t include a table, opt for a cantilever umbrella, which you can place anywhere but requires a flat surface to prevent it from falling over.

  • What kind of fabric should a patio umbrella canopy be made of?

    Canopy fabric should be lightweight enough to transport easily yet sturdy to resist heavy rain and wind. It should be easy to clean and opaque to mask out most of the sun. You also can purchase a patio umbrella made with UV-resistant material. "Anything made of polyester, acrylic, or olefin are good outdoor choices," Young says. "Nylon, although it has superior strength and is known for its light weight, does not do well left out in the sun."

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Emma Phelps, an associate editor for The Spruce. For this article, she used testing insights and her own independent research to recommend the best umbrellas for every outdoor space, considering different sizes, materials, mechanics, and more.

Our experts:

  • Deborah Young, a textile expert, author, and instructor of textile science
  • Julia Fields, an associate editor for The Spruce

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After Testing 28 Outdoor Patio Umbrellas, We Loved These 8 (2024)

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Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.