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Best Beach Umbrellas

Updated July 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 18 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 126 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best beach umbrellas

    Last Updated July 2018

    Sun. Sand. Surf. It sounds like heaven, but your idea of a perfect day at the beach can go from dreamy to dreadful if you don’t have the right tools for the trip. A good beach umbrella is the perfect way to help make your beach days beautiful. But beach umbrellas vary in size, weight, and stability, and you want one that can withstand windy days and changing weather conditions on the seashore.

    At BestReviews, we want you to be prepared. You want buy a product once and get the perfect purchase for your needs. That’s why we do the work of talking to experts, checking customer feedback, and field testing products so we can to provide you with honest reviews of the best items on the market. You can trust that we never accept free manufacturer samples, so our reviews are free of bias.

    If some fun in the sun and sand is in your future, check out our five top beach umbrella recommendations in the matrix above. If you’d like to know more about beach umbrellas in general, continue reading our shopping guide.

    Before you buy a beach umbrella, find out how easy (or hard) it is to pack up. When you’re tired at the end of the day, you don’t want to be wrestling the umbrella and carrying case.

    Beach umbrella features to consider

    You might be inclined to grab the first beach umbrella you see, but there are several things to consider before you buy.

    Ease of use

    The beach can be windy. Everyone will want to maximize their lounging and fun time and minimize the setup time. The best choice for a beach umbrella is one that is easy to plant in the sand and easy to take down at the end of the day. Some umbrellas are easier to use than others.

    Practice setting up your new umbrella in the backyard. Most poles have a pointed end to make it easier to push it into the sand, and some have corkscrews.

    Think about the direction of the wind and position of the sun. This will help keep your umbrella up and give you maximum shade coverage.

    It’s a good idea to practice setting up your new beach umbrella in the backyard before you head to the beach. That way, you won’t have to spend a lot of precious beach time fiddling with it, and you’ll be sure to safely set it up in the sand.

    Spf factor

    The only thing you want to take home from the beach is a bucket full of memories. Sunburn and the long-term effects of sun damage on your skin are important concerns, and you want to protect against them. A beach umbrella is a good tool in your line of defense. Know that not every fabric will protect you from damaging UV rays. An umbrella of SPF 50 or higher is easy to find, and some beach umbrellas are approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

    Carrying case

    A good carrying case is a must. Think about the space in your vehicle and what else you’ll be carrying, from coolers to scuba gear. Will you be walking a long way from the parking lot to the beach? If so, you’ll be hoofing with all your gear. Find an umbrella with a case that has a strap you can sling over your shoulder.

    Some beach umbrellas also come with extras, like a shovel, that fit inside the case, but these are going to make your carrying case bigger and heavier.

    If you’re flying to the beach, that umbrella case becomes one of your carry ons. You might opt for a beach umbrella that operates more like half a tent. These have smaller poles, and they pack down to a more convenient, lightweight size.

    Protecting yourself from the sun’s UV rays is very important. To enhance your safety, consider purchasing a beach umbrella with SPF 50. But don’t forgo sunscreen just because you plan to sit beneath the umbrella. You still need a protective barrier on your skin.

    Wind resistance

    Remember that those sunny days at the beach can also be windy. The wind at beaches can blow between 5 and 10 mph. It isn’t uncommon for wind gusts to reach 20 mph or even higher. Cheap umbrellas will seem like a good deal right up until the moment they blow over, blow out, or blow away. Make sure to pick a beach umbrella that won’t fall down on the job.

    Color

    Color may seem like just a simple personal preference, but think about heading up for a snack or bathroom break and coming back to a sea of colorful beach umbrellas. Which one is yours? If you don’t want to spend a lot of time walking around and looking under other people’s umbrellas, choose a distinctive color or pattern that is easy to spot in a crowd.

    Weight

    Umbrellas come in various weights. On the light end you can easily find one between 3 to 5 pounds. With everything you’ll be carrying to the beach, a heavy beach umbrella can be a big burden. Think about how far you’ll be carrying that umbrella before you buy it. Look in the product information to find the umbrella’s weight.

    A beach umbrella that blows across the beach isn’t just an annoyance; it is a safety hazard. People can be gravely injured by a wayward beach umbrella. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial that you anchor your umbrella.

    Pole

    For such a simple product, the poles on beach umbrellas can vary a lot. Most are made of aluminum or wood, but here are some other features to consider.

    • Adjustability

    This may be an umbrella pole’s most important feature. Once you get your umbrella up and anchored, you have to remember that its shade will move with the sun. If you don’t want to be repositioning your blankets all day, buy a beach umbrella with an adjustable pole so you can tilt the top to adjust for the sun without having to move the whole thing.

    • Telescoping

    The advantage of this option is a more compact carrying case. The disadvantage is that this type of pole can be weaker.

    • Thickness

    Thicker poles are sturdier, but sometimes thinner poles function better than thicker ones because you can push them deeper into the sand.

    • Height

    Beach umbrella poles can range from just a few feet to over 7 feet tall. Will you just be sitting or lying down under your umbrella, or will you want to stand? If your umbrella has a short pole, you’ll probably only have enough room to sit on your beach towel under the canopy.

    • Durability

    Think about the wear and tear on the pole. Some metals might be susceptible to rust or corrosion in all that salt and sand. Wood poles are heavier but have some give and won’t corrode. Some aluminum umbrella poles have a polyester coating to help prevent corrosion.

    Should you get a beach umbrella with a thin pole or a thick pole? Some people prefer thinner poles because they can be pushed deep into the sand more easily.

    Shade

    Think about how many people will be using the umbrella at one time. There is a big difference between an umbrella that shades two people and one that shades the whole family. Most umbrellas have a canopy between 6 to 8 feet. You can find some larger ones at 9 or 10 feet.

    Anchor

    The biggest trick to making a beach umbrella practical and useful is getting it to stay in the sand. Manufacturers try to solve this problem in a variety of ways. Some poles have corkscrew ends to better grip the sand. Other umbrellas extend to the ground and come with extra grommets and anchors to keep your beach umbrella in place.

    Be aware that not all beach umbrellas come with an anchor. If you feel you need and want the extra support, make sure you buy a beach umbrella that comes with an anchoring mechanism or order a separate anchoring system.

    EXPERT TIP

    Need lots of shade? An eight-foot umbrella really will provide more shade than its six-foot counterpart.


    Beach umbrella prices

    Beach umbrellas come in a wide range of prices, from as low as about $10 to around $450. And keep in mind that renting a beach umbrella at popular spots can easily cost you $30 to $40 a day or more.

    If your cheap umbrella fails, you may find yourself trying to salvage your trip by laying out the extra cash anyway, and you’ll be left without an umbrella for your next trip.

    Inexpensive

    Umbrellas in the $10 to $30 range might be a good deal for the infrequent beachgoer, but these might be more likely to fail in heavy winds. You may also have to buy a separate stand to keep the umbrella steady in the sand.

    As you set up your beach umbrella, note the wind direction and sun position and then anchor it for maximum stability and shade.

    Mid-range

    A good product with an SPF factor of 50+ can be purchased for about $50, but products in the $70 to $150 range are going to perform better, be adjustable to help you follow the sun, and be of sturdier construction to really withstand the wind.

    Expensive

    At more than $150, you can find sturdy umbrellas of the same quality as those that you can rent at the beach. If you have a beach house, this might be your best bet for years of safe fun in the sun.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you’re uncertain what the weather will be like at the beach, bring along an umbrella that can withstand heavier wind gusts.

    Tips

    • Compare the wind-speed certification on the umbrella you purchase against the average wind speed of the beach where you will be using it.

    • Wind and sand can make setting up your beach umbrella difficult. Practice setting it up at home before you head to the beach.

    • Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even a beach umbrella that offers maximum UV protection can’t protect you every minute you’re in the sun.

    • Be aware that not all beach umbrellas come with an anchor. You may have to purchase one separately.

    • A higher price may well be worth it for a beach umbrella. Spend a little more and you will have many happy days at the beach.

    Trying to decide what color or pattern you like best? Consider a distinctive color or pattern that is easy to spot in a crowd.

    FAQ

    Q. How do I know how big the carrying case will be?

    A. Generally the size of the carrying case will be determined by the length of the poles. Check out the product dimensions. Remember that some poles telescope. Most break down into several pieces to fit in a smaller-size carrying case.

    Q. Does the umbrella come with anchors or will I have to purchase them separately?

    A. Some umbrellas come with their own anchors. Many rely on being planted deep enough in the sand to not fall over. Others have anchoring systems that must be purchased separately. Plan ahead because even the best umbrella can fall over and fail if not properly anchored.

    Q. Can my beach umbrella double as a patio umbrella?

    A. Some can. Others have poles that are too thick at the bottom to fit in a standard patio/deck umbrella base. If you want a beach umbrella to do double duty for your family, think about the wear and tear your umbrella will get on the patio. It might not be ready for your trip to the beach if it gets weathered and worn out by daily use on your deck.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer