Best Storm Umbrellas

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
How we decided

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

36 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
107 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best storm umbrellas

Last Updated October 2019

Anyone who has been caught in a torrential rainstorm knows how vital a reliable umbrella can be. Wind is the nemesis of cheap umbrellas, quickly inverting them, breaking the ribs, and rendering them totally useless. It takes an umbrella with a wind-resistant design and durable ribs to keep you dry in a gusty storm. Storm umbrellas take weather protection to the next level, defending you against a heavy downpour as well as strong wind.

At a glance, a stronger umbrella with a wide canopy is better, but this depends on your tolerance for size and weight. You may like the style of the classic long umbrella with a curved handle. Or perhaps your commute involves cramped subways, so a collapsible umbrella that fits in your bag would be better.

Finding the best umbrella for your needs means taking into consideration your local weather conditions, your commute, and your style. If you’re ready to buy a storm umbrella, take a look at our top picks. To learn more about the key factors in this decision, continue reading our shopping guide below.

Bear in mind what you’ll be doing while using a storm umbrella. A golf umbrella is different from an umbrella suited to commuters. You might need a free hand while staying dry.

Key considerations

What separates a storm umbrella from a regular umbrella? Storm umbrellas are designed to withstand wind up to certain speeds and are often tested in simulated storm conditions. The canopies of storm umbrellas tend to be wider than those on standard umbrellas, and the metal ribs and other parts are sturdier to withstand additional forces. To find the most rugged storm umbrella, take a look at the individual parts.

Canopy

The canopy is the water-resistant fabric that helps keep you dry. It would be easy to say that this is the most important part of the umbrella, but you should consider every part as equally vital because a good canopy is useless if the other parts are fragile.

The larger the canopy, the more protected you are from rain or snow, but the more wind will catch under the canopy, increasing the chances of turning the umbrella inside out. Most canopies are made of nylon or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

  • Nylon (or other fabric) canopies are more traditional. These are opaque and easily repel water.

  • PVC canopies tend to be heavier, but they can also be transparent, allowing you to hold the umbrella close while keeping an eye on your surroundings.
     

Ribs

The ribs are the thin metal spines that support the canopy and give it its shape. Ribs with hinges tend to be more prone to inverting, rusting, or breaking since they have more parts and weak points. The number of ribs is also important, with umbrellas with eight or more ribs offering the strongest support by evenly distributing stress. The ribs are usually made of a durable metal or similar material: steel, iron, aluminum, and fiberglass are common.

  • Steel and iron are susceptible to rust and should be wiped dry after each use.

  • Fiberglass is the strongest option, pound for pound, in part because of its flexibility.
     

Stretchers

The stretchers are the metal spines that extend the canopy and keep it open. You may know them better as the part you have to wrestle with to open your old, rusted umbrella. If these start to rust or weaken, you and your umbrella are in serious trouble. These are often made from the same material as the ribs, so you should investigate stretchers with the same philosophy: fewer hinges means fewer parts to rust and break.

Shaft

The shaft connects the handle to the canopy. Though generally less fragile than the ribs, this is still a vital part of the umbrella that you don’t want to have fail, especially because a broken shaft is hard to fix. Like the ribs, this part is usually made of metal, but it may also be made of fiberglass or wood.

Handle

The handle might not be your top consideration when looking for a good storm umbrella, but it should be up there. This is the part of the umbrella that keeps the whole thing from flying out of your hand.

  • Classic hook handles may seem cumbersome, but they’re hard to lose hold of, as are ergonomic handles.

  • The small, knob-like handle found on so many automatic umbrellas gives you very little to hold onto, thus making it difficult to control your umbrella in gusty wind.

  • Loop handles can help you to support the umbrella with your wrist if you must hold something else in your hand, which can be extremely useful.
FOR YOUR SAFETY

Remove any rust or mildew as soon as it appears to extend the lifespan of your umbrella.

Storm umbrella features

Umbrellas come in different styles and designs, which determine how easy they are to transport and open or close. In many cases, a more compact and convenient umbrella is also an umbrella with more moving parts – more parts that can bend or break in a storm.

One- or two-person canopy: The canopy measurement usually refers to the arc of the canopy, not the diameter. You can take a flexible tape measure and measure the curve of the canopy from one edge to the other to get this dimension. Canopies around 50 inches and smaller are designed for one person. To fit two people comfortably, you’ll need a canopy of around 60 inches.

Compact vs. traditional: The appeal of a compact umbrella is obvious: it folds up easily and usually opens and closes with the press of a button. However, it’s rare that a compact umbrella can outlast a traditional umbrella or withstand high winds.

Traditional umbrellas generally have ribs without hinges, which tend to make them a bit tougher when it comes to resisting high winds. Though they don’t fold down completely, traditional umbrellas still have collapsible canopies, and in some cases they can be quite slim when in the closed position. If you can carry the extra bulk, a traditional umbrella will almost always be the better storm umbrella.

Double canopy/layer: The large canopy on a storm umbrella means there’s a larger surface area to get caught and pulled in a gust of wind. To combat this, some storm umbrellas have a double canopy, which serves to cover an opening in the main canopy and allow air to escape while still blocking the rain. Some larger umbrellas, especially golf umbrellas, have this design to minimize the impact of wind on the umbrella. A double canopy means a bit of extra weight, but it is often worth the added durability.

Weight: If you’ve settled on a traditional umbrella, you’ve probably accepted that it’s going to weigh a bit more and be more cumbersome than a compact umbrella. But if you’re going the compact route, you may be looking for something lightweight that can easily be carried in a bag. The lightest storm umbrellas weigh around ten ounces, while traditional models may weigh a couple of pounds. Anything that weighs a pound or less should be fairly easy to transport.

Manual vs. automatic: A manual umbrella is one that you open by sliding the runner up the shaft to open the canopy, a maneuver that requires two hands. Automatic umbrellas open by pressing a button on the handle that activates a spring-loaded telescopic shaft. In many models, the button can also be used to collapse the canopy, making an automatic umbrella a good choice for commuters or anyone who needs a free hand when using the umbrella.

EXPERT TIP

In a strong wind, keep your umbrella slightly tilted into the wind to keep the ribs and spreaders from inverting and to reduce stress on the shaft.


Staff  | BestReviews

Storm umbrella prices

Budget-friendly

The most affordable storm umbrellas come in at around $10 to $20. These may boast the same features as more expensive models, but they’re likely to be less durable and may need to be replaced in a year or two. If you just need something to get you to and from the grocery store, this may be the right price range for you.

Mid-range

Storm umbrellas that cost between $20 and $45 are built to last and come in compact or traditional designs. They may have features like automatic opening and closing or fiberglass ribs.

Expensive

The costliest storm umbrellas, at $45 to $100, are made of extremely durable materials. These umbrellas also tend to be as stylish as they are rugged.

A travel bag is convenient, but it usually means taking more time to open or stow your umbrella.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Dry your umbrella after each use. This can prevent issues like rust and mildew.

  • Consider aesthetics. The umbrella’s color may be low on your list of priorities, but you might want to consider a canopy that complements your usual outfits.

  • Repair damage promptly. If the canopy gets punctured, repair it with a piece of water-resistant fabric as soon as possible to keep the tear from growing. If a hinge comes loose in a rib or stretcher, continuing to use the umbrella without fixing the hinge can put extra stress on other parts and lead to more breakage.

Other products we considered

We looked at a few other quality storm umbrellas aside from our top five picks, particularly models with larger canopies to accommodate more than one person. One that we love is the LifeTek Hillcrest Golf Umbrella, which sports a generous 62-inch canopy and holds up well in strong winds. The canopy is coated with Teflon, making it an excellent choice for protecting you from rain or sun, and the fiberglass ribs are quite durable. This umbrella is a bit heavier than some, but it offers reliable protection. For something more compact, the Tadge Goods Windproof Travel Umbrella folds down to a small size and includes a sleeve for easy carrying when not in use. The canopy isn’t very large at 39 inches, but the automatic design and ten fiberglass ribs make this a convenient and durable umbrella for a low price.

A larger umbrella provides more coverage, but using one can be cumbersome on crowded streets.

FAQ

Q. Is it safe to use an umbrella in a thunderstorm?

A. It’s not safe to be in a thunderstorm, umbrella or not. But an umbrella won’t significantly increase your chances of being struck by lightning as long as there are taller objects nearby.

Q. Can umbrellas protect me from sunburn?

A. While umbrellas do block a large portion of UV rays, you can still get sunburned under an umbrella since sunlight may reflect off of other surfaces.

Q. How long should a storm umbrella last?

A. A more expensive storm umbrella made from durable parts and materials can last for several years. It’s usually more cost-effective to buy one expensive storm umbrella rather than several cheap ones that break within a short period of time.

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

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