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Best Car Sun Shades

Updated December 2018
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 14 Models Considered
  • 5 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 137 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 car sun shades

    Last Updated December 2018

    There are plenty of things to enjoy about the summer, but how hot the interior of your car gets after it’s parked in the sun for a few hours is definitely not one of them. If you’ve ever sat on leather seats, touched the steering wheel, or tried to put on your seat belt in a broiling car, it can feel like placing your hand on a hot stovetop.

    Fortunately, there’s a simple fix: investing in a car sun shade can help to keep your car more comfortable no matter how sunny the day. But there is such a wide variety of options that it can be hard to find the right sun shade for your car.

    At BestReviews, we believe in frustration-free shopping. If you’re looking for a car sun shade, our shopping guide is the perfect place to start. It has all the tips and tricks you need to choose the best shade for your vehicle and budget.

    Children are much more affected by heat and sun than adults are, so it’s a good idea to install a car sun shade on the side window next to where your kids usually sit.

    What does a car sun shade do?

    Keeps car interior cooler in summer: The main purpose of a car sun shade is to block the sun so it doesn’t heat up your car’s interior. Depending on the material and design, a shade can reduce a vehicle’s internal temperature by up to 40°F, which means it takes much less time for the air conditioning to cool down the car once you get inside. The shade also prevents your steering wheel, console, seat belts, and upholstery from getting uncomfortably hot.

    Keeps car interior warmer in winter: If your car gets too cold in the winter, you can also find car sun shades made of heat-absorbing materials that help raise the temperature of the car’s interior on sunny days during the colder months.

    Protects electronics: And a sun shade doesn’t just make your car more comfortable. It also protects the electronics in your car, such as the GPS device, DVD player, or CD player. The shade also blocks UV rays that can fade your car’s dashboard, console, and upholstery, and cause the steering wheel to crack over time.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Many car sun shades can be flipped over in the winter months to help prevent frost buildup on the windshield.

    Types of car sun shades

    Foldable custom fit

    A foldable custom fit sun shade is designed specifically for your car’s dimensions, which means that it covers the entire windshield to block as much sunlight as possible. When it’s time to store the shade, it easily folds up along its collapsible panels.

    Roll-up custom fit

    Like the foldable style, a roll-up custom fit sun shade is designed to fit your car’s specific dimensions. Instead of folding for storage, the shade rolls up. It’s just as effective a foldable style, but it can be more difficult to install.

    Universal roll-up or foldable

    These car sun shades can fit a wide range of vehicles and so are the most budget-friendly option. These shades easily roll or fold up for storage. Keep in mind that there might be some gaps along the edges of one of these sun shades if it doesn’t fit your windshield exactly.

    Accordion

    As the name implies, these car sun shades unfold and fold along pleats, like an accordion opening and closing. This sun shade stays in place better than many other options, and storage is easy. Accordion sun shades are available in a universal fit, as well as specific sizes to fit different types of vehicles, such as sedans or SUVs.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you want a car sun shade that’s as durable as possible, look for one rated for UV resistance.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Car sun shade features to consider

    Material: For the best car sun shade, you want an option made of durable, heat-resistant material. Nylon and polyester are two of the best because these fabrics are lightweight, hold up well to repeated use, and are easy to open and close.

    Style: While most car sun shades are designed for the windshield, some are made to use on side passenger windows. Windshield sun shades are obviously removable because you can’t drive with the shade in place. However, for side windows, you can choose between fixed and pull-down varieties.

    • Fixed car sun shades are designed to stay in place for prolonged periods of time. They aren’t permanently attached, however, so you can remove them if necessary. Fixed sun shades are best used on windows near children’s car seats, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to shield your child.

    • Pull-down sun shades also attach to side windows, but the passenger can raise and lower them depending on need. For windows near seats that adults typically use, pull-down shades are a better option because the passenger can decide whether or not to lower the the shade.
       

    Size: Car sun shades are available in a range of sizes and shapes to fit a variety of car windows. Some brands offer small, medium, and large, with specific measurements according to their sizing charts. Others base the sizing on the type of the car, such as a compact or SUV. These sun shades usually have a fairly generic shape, so there’s a chance that part of your windshield won’t be covered.

    For the most precise fit, opt for a custom fit car sun shade. The sizes and shapes are usually based on the year, make, and model of car so the shade will fit your car’s window as fully as possible.

    Ease of use: Your car sun shade should be easy to set up and put away. Many car owners prefer foldable shades. These are easy to unfold and prop in place and then fold up along the seams for storage. Roll-up and accordion style car sun shades can be trickier to set up because they can sometimes collapse and roll or fold back up when you try to set them in place.

    Color and design: It certainly isn’t as important as the shade’s functionality, but many drivers choose a shade that complements the color of the car. Sun shades are available in a wide range of colors, so you can usually find one that either matches your car or contrasts with it for a striking look.

    Some car sun shades come with mounting clips to hold them in place to make sure there are no gaps for sunlight to get in.

    Car sun shade prices

    Car sun shade prices vary based on the type of shade, but you can expect to pay between $2 and $90.

    Side or passenger window sun shades: These are an inexpensive option, ranging from $2 to $15.

    Accordion and universal roll-up or foldable shades: These are usually very affordable, too, ranging from $6 to $30.

    Custom foldable or roll-up shades: These are the most expensive option, costing between $45 and $90, depending on the make and model of your car.

    Tips

    • Park in the shade, too. Even if you’re using a car sun shade to help keep your vehicle cool, it’s still a good idea to park in the shade so your car is exposed to less direct sunlight.

    • Fold down the visors. If you’re having trouble with your sun shade staying put on your windshield, fold down the visors to help hold it in place.

    • Keep the sun shade handy. Store your sun shade in the side door pocket, center console, or glove compartment so it’s always available when you need it.
    Some car sun shades come with a limited warranty to help protect your investment.

    FAQ

    Q. How much sun does a car sun shade actually block?

    A. It depends on the quality of the shade. High-quality options made of nylon or polyester can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays. That’s why these shades can lower the internal temperature of your car by 15°F to 40°F.

    Q. Are side window car sun shades legal?

    A. Windshield car shades are only designed for use when the car is parked. Side or passenger window sun shades, however, are usually legal for rear side windows in most states. Rear window shades are often legal as well. Check with your local DMV before installing them to be sure.

    Q. How long do car sun shades last?

    A. Sun shades made from a durable material like nylon or polyester can last for years. Over time, the side that faces outward may fade, so you might want to replace it eventually.

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

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