Double canopy allows air to move through it rather than inverting the umbrella. Lightweight design. Can be folded to a compact size of 11 inches.
Automatic button works, but still takes some strength to close the umbrella.
Made with water and fade-resistant polyester. Features a comfortable, non-slip rubberized handle with an auto-open button. Available in a wide array of colors.
Some found the auto-open button arrived faulty, making it a bit difficult to open the umbrella.
Offers similar features and durability to umbrellas that are more expensive. Carbon fiber alloy protects frame. Lightweight and easy to use. Lots of color options available.
Some users note that it is a little difficult to close.
Offers full protection in wind and rain. Made of water-repellent PVC. Transparent and easy to see through. Comes in 18 fun patterns. Has a limited lifetime warranty.
Not as small or portable when closed as others, but if you like the bubble design, you won't mind.
Has a double canopy design that prevents the umbrella from flipping inside out, even during harsh conditions. Waterproof construction. Comes in 20 colors and 3 sizes.
Material is not waterproof and tends to get soaked when it rains.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
An umbrella seems like a basic accessory but, truth be told, you've got plenty of options to sort through.
You can buy an umbrella in any color imaginable. You can choose from a variety of styles, materials, and shapes. There are tiny umbrellas that fit in your purse, and large umbrellas that could shelter a small crowd. There are even different kinds of umbrellas for rain and sun.
We can't tell you which umbrella you're going to love. While they all have their utility purposes, they are like dresses or wallets in many ways. There is a substantial amount of personal choice and taste involved when it comes to picking one for you.
Having said that, there are indeed a number of pretty important factors that are often ignored. These determine how effective an umbrella is when it comes to actual weather protection from the wind, downpours, snow, or the sunshine.
Two basic umbrella types dominate the market: the non-compact, “traditional” umbrella and the compact, fold-down umbrella. We have examined each type in depth, and here’s what you need to know:
Traditional umbrellas feature a long, rigid shaft and a large canopy. As they are usually large, they tend to trap air and become quite unwieldy when the wind howls. Some manufacturers overcome this problem by including canopy vents in the design that alleviate pressure without letting water in. A more recent innovation involves an aerodynamic design where the umbrella changes shape to minimize wind force against its surface.
Several umbrella styles fall under the non-compact umbrella category, including the bubble and beach umbrella.
● The bubble umbrella: Also known as a birdcage umbrella, this bumbershoot encases the shoulders and upper torso inside a deep canopy. Many canopies these days are made of a clear material so you can see where you're going, although the lower edge may sport a splash of color or design. Bubble umbrellas offer great upper body protection, but the narrow canopy often fails to safeguard the legs, so watch your stride. Another possible drawback is that they tend to be heavy and hard to manage when folded. However, traditional opaque black umbrellas with wooden holders still find their place among vintage fashion admirers.
● The beach umbrella: Also known as a sport umbrella, the beach umbrella functions as a stationary weather/wind break. Most feature side flaps and window panels; some include ground sheets so you can cocoon yourself against the elements while watching sports or lolling by the sea. Beach umbrellas provide adequate protection for several people at a time but, unsurprisingly, they're rather bulky.
Compact umbrellas are lighter and may seem more fragile than traditional umbrellas. However, lab tests suggest that one type is just as likely to invert (blow inside out) as the other. In terms of performance, the compact/non-compact nature of an umbrella is not a major contributing factor.
Consider a compact umbrella if you want a portable accessory that shrinks to fit your pocket, backpack, or briefcase. This type of umbrella compresses, but it still blooms when open to the size you opted for while purchasing.
Ensure you check the dimensions of the canopy arc before making a purchase. Compact umbrellas do well to shelter you from rain and sun, but it is difficult to fit any more than one person under its roof in case of any emergency.
Manufacturers typically use one of two materials in their umbrella canopies: PVC or polyester. PVC is the same pliable material often used to make electrical wire jackets and many flexible home products, usually as a replacement of rubber. Polyester is usually lighter and more flexible than PVC, making it a common choice among manufacturers.
Bubble umbrella canopies are often made of clear PVC. The inside is likely to be coated with a chalky substance that prevents the PVC from sticking to itself. You may feel tempted to wipe this coating off as it can obscure your view, but try not to.
In our opinion, though, the coating defeats the purpose of having a clear umbrella in the first place. It could also be argued that PVC breaks down under the sun's rays faster than other materials.
Polyester is a light, durable, and water-resistant material. It's flexible from a manufacturing standpoint, so all kinds of patterns can be reproduced on it. Some polyester umbrellas include a Teflon coating for added protection.
Inexpensive umbrella frames are often made of steel, but you might also see frames of reinforced glass and carbon fiber. The latter two materials match the strength of steel, but they're lighter and rust-free. An umbrella frame is the part above the long holding shaft, which supports and ties the canopy together.
Shafts are typically made of chrome-plated steel, but luxury umbrella models may include a pricier cane. Cane is durable, but you'll pay a premium for it.
Umbrella handles may be made of synthetic materials, plastic, wood, antler, or bone. Straight, soft-grip handles provide comfort and a secure hold, but traditionalists still cling to the century-old “J” shape.
Some umbrellas come with interesting “extras” to pique your interest, including the following:
You could pay as much or as little as you like for an umbrella. Here are some general guidelines:
Twenty dollars is a fair price for a standard rain or bubble umbrella. Folding or travel umbrellas cost a bit more, but you might be able to sneak one under the $30 mark.
Sport or beach umbrellas that include side flaps and floor sheets range from $50 to $200.
If you want an umbrella with Teflon coating, automatic features, or a lifetime replacement guarantee, expect to pay $60 and up.
Luxury umbrella prices extend much higher. A traditional hand-made gentleman's umbrella with a malacca cane (made of the brown, often mottled or clouded stem of an East Indian rattan palm) shaft and hardwood handle might set you back by $100; a designer umbrella from Burberry and Louis Vuitton could cost five times that, if not more.
Extend the life of your umbrella by observing these tips.