Free standing parasols for use in the garden have never been more popular than they are today. A parasol allows its owner to shelter from the summer sun, while still enjoying all the pleasures of eating, reading, socialising, or just dozing outside in the garden.
With the garden parasol, comes the need for a parasol base. A heavy parasol base is a safe, convenient, and lawn sparing way to hold up a parasol. It is essential for those who need to place their parasol on a patio or other hard surface where a pole spike cannot be driven into the ground.
Before buying a parasol base, it makes sense to know a little about the various types on offer. Whether moveable or fixed, concrete, sand-filled, water-filled or otherwise, a well chosen parasol base will secure a garden parasol against the wind.
Garden centres are often the first port of call for those seeking a parasol base. However, the range is often limited and the prices are high. For such a simple item, the price of a new parasol base can seem remarkably excessive. Shoppers often look online for better deals, where marketplaces such as eBay offer a good selection of used parasol bases at much more competitive prices.
Types of Parasol Bases
The base represents a heavy object which is sufficiently heavy enough to provide stability to the parasol, and prevent it overturning or being blown away. If a garden parasol is liken to an oversized umbrella, it is easy to see why a base is necessary. Without a firm grip on the umbrella, it will not last long in the wind. There are a variety of ways in which manufacturers weigh down parasol bases.
Famous for its weight and density, concrete may not sound very glamorous but is an ideal material for holding down a garden parasol. To cover its dull appearance, manufacturers cover the concrete in a variety of attractive cases. Normally these cases are plastic, but they can actually be made from almost any material, including metal, terracotta, or wood.
Concrete is very cheap to buy, and making the base is very easy, as it simply involves pouring the concrete into a suitably attractive container and allowing it to dry. Yet the parasol bases found in shops and garden centres are often very expensive. This makes a used parasol base an extremely sensible choice. Because concrete is such a robust material, a buyer will very likely get several decades of use out of a used concrete parasol base.
One disadvantage of concrete filled bases is that they are extremely heavy, and therefore difficult to move around. If a parasol is going to be put out in the summer and left in one spot, this does not pose a problem. However, if it’s going to be moved around from place to place, the buyer should consider a used sand-filled or water-filled base.
Sand-filled parasol bases come in two forms. Some are sold ready filled with sand. These are similar to a concrete base in most respects. However, the more common variety is one which comes empty, and is filled later. This provides a number of advantages. Firstly, it is much cheaper to transport an empty and therefore light parasol base. Secondly, it is much easier for the user to carry it around the garden, or even to the beach.
To make use of a sand-filled base, which is normally in the form of a plastic container, simply scoop sand into the hollow interior and add the parasol. The sand-filled base is an ingenious solution to the need for a stabilising weight. But unless it is a very well-constructed example, it risks looking out of place when used with a sophisticated patio set. The plastic casing may also get knocked around a little in use, so for a used item it is worth considering its condition carefully, if looks are important.
Water-filled bases work on a similar principle to sand-filled bases. However, water is less dense and therefore lighter than sand. Because it is lighter, a water-filled base does not offer the same stability as a sand-filled base. To reach a reasonably solid weight of 10 to 15 kilograms, or more, a water-filled base needs to be fairly large.
New metal bases tend to be more expensive, but can often be had much cheaper when bought used. They can still look very smart, as long as they have been well looked after. Whether cast iron or wrought iron, a metal base will give an aura of sophistication, which is exactly the image a parasol base needs to project if it is to fit in with one of the more stylish patio sets.
Iron is naturally dense, so metal bases tend to be very heavy. Like concrete, it is best to consider where a metal based parasol is going to be placed.
When considering a used metal base, it is worthwhile checking for rust. Iron is a heavy metal, but exposed to the elements, some iron garden parasol bases will look rather sad after a while. That said, a metal base will often represent good value, as it will last for many years.
Dense stone such as granite is ideal for a really heavy parasol base. Often the stone is hidden away inside a sleek metal exterior. New stone bases tend to be expensive, but are virtually indestructible, and a used specimen may represent very good value.
Determining the Required Weight
The required weight for a parasol base obviously depends on the size and construction of the parasol, and the velocity of the wind the garden parasol is exposed to. It is important not to buy a base which is too light, as it will prove to be vulnerable and may even cause the parasol to be damaged or a person to be injured.
< 10 kg
Really only for occasional use or use in calm conditions, this sort of parasol base may be fine for lightweight portable parasols but would struggle with anything solid.
This is a decent starting weight. An average garden parasol should be stable under most conditions, but high winds or a heavy parasol may topple it over.
A good weight which should be safe with most domestic parasols. Strong winds can topple any parasol if the owner is unlucky, but it is unlikely with a base this heavy.
Pub parasols and those used by outdoor restaurants, where the risk from something being blown away is high, might be in this range. The problem with using one this heavy in a domestic setting, is that would be difficult to move.
It is possible to find parasol bases which weigh less than 10 kilograms, but these are not really recommended except for short term or occasional use. Ten kilograms is probably a minimum weight for practical use but 15 kilograms would be far better. Parasol bases can be found in much heavier weights still, up to 25 kilograms or more, and for a sturdy teak parasol exposed to wind, a heavy parasol base like this is recommended..
For really heavy duty work, parasol bases of 40 to 60 kilograms are available. These obviously should not be lifted by one person alone, as they are simply too heavy.
Buying a Used Garden Parasol Base
If you are thinking of buying a used parasol base, first decide what weight you need. This will be determined by the size and weight of the parasol you intend to use it with, and the conditions in which it will be sited.
Next, consider the materials. If you want the parasol to use on picnics or at the beach, or portability is important because you have a bad back, a sand- or water-filled base is probably a good choice.
With the details worked out, begin your search. The places where used parasol bases may be found are limited. A second hand charity shop may turn one up, but you could search for days without success. By far the best option is online, where Internet retailers such as eBay offer a selection of used parasol bases.
How to Find a Used Garden Parasol Base on eBay
Searching for a used parasol base on eBay is simple. Enter a short phrase such as "used parasol base" into the search bar on any eBay page, and you will be presented with a list of available bases. You can narrow the choices down by specifying a particular colour or material. In a few minutes online, the chances are you will find as many used bases as you would find in a couple of days searching at markets or charity shops. This makes eBay the ideal location for shopping for a used garden parasol base.
Because garden parasol bases are very heavy, it makes sense to search your local area first. This way you can save on the shipping costs by picking up the parasol base from the seller yourself. To search your local area for used parasol bases for sale, simply sort the listings to only show listings posted by sellers located in a specific area. On the results page, under the heading Distance, you are able to enter your postcode and specify a search radius in miles.
Buying a used garden parasol base can often save a lot of money, compared to buying the same item new. Because parasol bases are so essential, there is a tendency on the part of manufacturers to expect consumers to pay a high markup on them.
Used garden parasol bases can be found in a range of materials, from metal and stone to plastic. They can also be found with a hollow construction, allowing the user to fill the cavity with sand or water. This sort of base is ideal where portability is important, such as trips to the beach.
One of the most important considerations when buying a garden parasol base is that of weight. The weight required will be determined by the size and weight of the parasol being supported, and the weather conditions the parasol is regularly exposed to.
Used parasol bases are more difficult to find than new ones. Tracking them down may take some time. However, eBay allows shoppers to search their local areas for used garden parasol bases being offered for sale.