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Which patio umbrella lights are the best?

Updated on January 22, 2011

How do you choose the right patio umbrella lights?

So you’ve been thinking about getting some patio umbrella lights and you just can’t decide which ones to buy. I don’t blame you, there are so many different types and it can be frustrating to think to yourself one morning, “I’m going to buy some umbrella lights today,” and do a minute or two of research online before your head is spinning with options. Patio umbrella lights are no exception to this rule as companies have cottoned on to the fact that people like choices. So fortunately for you today, you have found two things: a range of patio umbrella lights, AND a guide to how to choose the best ones. Fantastic! Let’s get started, because I can’t wait to list all of the different types. (Why? Because I am obsessed with lists, as my readers will know.  I already did something like that for deck lighting, which you should also check out!) :)

Patio umbrella lights come in several different types. A string style, a lamp style and a globe style. That’s basically it - that covers all the different sorts of patio umbrella lights you have to choose from. So what I’m going to do now, to make it worth your having read this little article of mine, is to illustrate some of the reasons that you might choose this style or that style of umbrella lights. You’ll be able to envision the kinds of atmospheres that each type of lighting will bring to your patio.

It's not that scary! Ashley Green will show you. Patio umbrella lights can be divded into just a handful of categories...

String patio umbrella lights can lend a delicate yet convivial atmosphere

Category #1: String patio umbrella lights

First, imagine a neighbourhood fiesta one evening. A street party of sorts, except that it’s not out on the street - it’s in your back garden, because you have the most comfortable patio, and everyone is happy and chilled out because it’s a long weekend and the kids are scampering around playing with the dog and splashing each other in the water fountain (the dog likes this attention, and the water fountain doesn’t care, nor do the parents since the kids are happy for now!). The grownups are standing around with a glass of beer or punch and there’s a party atmosphere. It’s about time that the neighbours finally get together like this; and haven’t we been talking about it since last year or even earlier? And hi, it’s nice to finally get a chance to talk to you, how long have you been living here now? Oh yes and I heard his daughter is getting married, how about that. And of course you can come and get some zucchinis off us when they start growing, heaven knows I can never deal with them all! Your brother’s dug out his old guitar and he’s come round to play a few tunes for everybody. And all the while above these pleasant little casual conversations with easygoing familiar faces, people just chatting and bouncing kids on their knees and throwing frisbees for the dog and cooking meat on the grill, there are patio umbrella light strings hanging from the edges of the umbrellas above, running along the spokes of the umbrellas and lending the whole patio a sense of ambience and a conversational feel as the last rays of light recede beyond the hills. That’s string patio umbrella lights - easy to install, simply hang or drape at will, outdoor proof and bomb proof really. LED lights make them non-heat-producing, which means they are not dangerous even near umbrella fabric, and they’re efficient so they won’t cost you much to run them. Low and ambient light ensuring, without becoming overpowering, that it doesn’t get too dark to see your friends - or your barbecue grill!

LED patio umbrella lights are a quick and effective solution for light angled down on the table areas

Category #2: Lamp patio umbrella lights

Here’s a bunch of men sitting around the patio table. Oh, there’s one over there sitting on the bench, too, hunched over the grill. Yep, it’s that grill again! Can’t miss the chance for a barbecue. This time our little gathering is playing cards while drinking a beer or two. Oh and you thought they were playing poker or something. But no! A few weeks ago they started mucking around with their kids’ Pokémon cards, and now they’re even more obsessed than the boys! (Well, they are still boys at heart, of course.) So there they are having a bit of a laugh about recent shenanigans at work and cracking open another can of beer or two, and they decide to lower the lamp style patio umbrella lights because it’s getting a bit darker now. Even though these lamp style patio umbrella lights don’t make much heat, being also LED lights like the string lights above, these ones concentrate the light right above the table, which is much handier for activities like playing cards. The lamp style patio umbrella lights can be moved up and down the umbrella pole at will, making it simple to lighten the area as the sun goes down. The nice thing about modern patio umbrella lights is that they don’t tend to attract moths and bugs like the older style patio umbrella lights. The new ones, being (here we go again Ashley!) LED lights, they don’t tend to attract those little buggy eyes, because of the different spectrum of light they give off. Doesn’t affect out usability, but sure enhances our enjoyment of the evening - sans mosquitoes - thumbs up and pour me another beer!

Category #3: Globe patio umbrella lights

These patio umbrella lights are the ones we are probably most used to seeing. Many people prefer the look of globes for their patio lighting, as they are often the easiest way to get a larger amount of ambient light. The mysterious glowing round orb always manages to evoke a welcoming feeling, which is definitely what you want in a patio area. Globe patio umbrella lights may come on a long cord which wraps around the umbrella pole - they might also be a style which hangs from umbrella spokes. Some globe style lights may even be directional, so that you can aim the light onto the right areas of the table or around the patio to some extent. Of course string patio umbrella lights may also have miniature globes, but the globe style lights we are speaking of are of the type which is big enough to see that each globe is distinctly round. They may hang like baubles, stand upwards from the central umbrella pole, or they may simply be the type which hang from your patio shade or between umbrellas, rather than beneath the umbrella. In any case these kinds of patio umbrella lights can be very versatile and suit many purposes, so they are well worth a look when you want something bombproof to suit all occasions.

Globe patio umbrella lights - bet you almost forgot that patio umbrellas aren't always round! :D

To recap - which patio umbrella lights should you buy?

Ashley Green’s verdict? Well, I’d choose a combination! With the modern patio umbrella lights taking so little power, and available online at such low prices, I’d seriously be getting a combination of two or more kinds. Globes along the outer edge if I had rectangular umbrellas, but I don't. Probably the string patio umbrella lights, as they look a little ethereal and would give the patio some atmosphere, and then I’d be inclined to order some patio umbrella lights that sit around the umbrella pole, so that if I really got into Pokémon at some stage too, I’d be able to angle some lights down on me and Pikachu!

The pick of the bunch: the 10 best LED patio umbrella lights for sale


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    • Billy Akerman profile image

      Billy Akerman 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the info - love the umbrella lights!

    • profile image

      Bon Voyage! 7 years ago

      Thanks for the hub! Really useful.

    • Kaye McCulloch profile image

      Kaye McCulloch 7 years ago from Australia

      First we need to get a patio umbrella - then we'll start looking at lights :) But there are some lovely patio umbrella lights you've shown here, I had no idea of the range.

    • Lady Rose profile image

      Lady Rose 7 years ago from Taiwan

      You taught me something new today! Never new those lights existed. I will be on the lookout, as i would love to have some in my garden.

    • KathyA profile image

      KathyA 7 years ago

      Wow, yet another reason to buy a house with a patio! These lighting solutions are absolutely beautiful!

    • JulieCarlson profile image

      JulieCarlson 7 years ago from Chicagoland

      I love the ambiance and the flexibility of globe patio umbrella lights. String them wherever, with a number of options for the globes.

    • profile image

      davery1968 7 years ago

      I wasn't aware that they made solar umbrella lights. I think those would work perfect for my cantilevered patio umbrella. Thanks for the info!

    • cheaptoys profile image

      cheaptoys 7 years ago

      I like that pic of the woman with the frazzled look just where did you get that? Looks like my mum when she could not figure out which patio umbrella lights were the best..LOL

    • Lamme profile image

      Lamme 7 years ago

      I certainly learned a lot from this article. I didn't realize there were so many choices for patio lights. Looks like the old standard lighting has made some great improvements. Thanks for some great tips. Rating up!

    • porcupine73 profile image

      porcupine73 7 years ago from New York

      Hello, get information thanks! I didn't know the LED patio umbrella existed, but I think that's perfect for my application since I don't want to attract the bugs. Are they usually battery powered, or do they plug in?


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