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Best Overall: EcoNour Car Windshield Sun Shade at Amazon
"Will prevent your car from heating up to sauna-like temperatures."
Best Universal Fit: EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade at Amazon
"Comes in two, identical rectangular shades that'll adapt to your car's windshield."
Best for Side Windows: ShadeSox Universal Car Side Window at Amazon
"Prevents back seat passengers from overheating."
Best for Rear Windows: Munchkin Brica White Hot Sun Shades at Munchkin
"The mesh fabric blocks against UV rays but also allows for visibility on your car's side windows."
Best Collapsible: ShineMatix Two-Piece Windshield Sun Shade at Amazon
"Many reviewers noted that it was small enough to fit into back seat pockets."
Best for Babies: Enovoe Car Window Shade at Amazon
"Boasts a dual-layer design, including a mesh side and a static cling back."
Best Retractable: Twing Foldable Sun Shade at Amazon
"Uses a pleated design that can be retracted to one side of the windshield when it's not in use."
Best for Smaller Cars: Magnelex Windshield Sunshade at Amazon
"Covers the entire windshield, giving you maximum protection from the sun."
Everyone has experienced the oven-like environs of a car’s interior after the sun has been beating down on it for a few hours—the burning-hot seats and steering wheel, the dense and humid air that causes you to break out in a sweat and always takes too long to dissipate—to say nothing of the longer-term damage to your car’s dashboard and console. But that experience can be easily mitigated with a sun shade, which stretches the length of your windshield to fend off the heating rays of the sun. Other versions can also offer protection against ultraviolet radiation or add shade to the side windows and rear windshield (without obscuring your view), making the next road trip—or jaunt to the market—a thing of joy, rather than a hot, blinding suffer fest.
Here are the best car sun shades available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: EcoNour Car Windshield Sun Shade
This quality car sun shade from EcoNour blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays, so it will prevent your car from heating up to sauna-like temperatures. You won’t have to blast the air conditioning or worry about burning your hands on hot steering wheels and seatbelts. The sun shade easily pops out, so you can install it on your windshield in seconds. When you’re back in your car, you can simply fold it up and store it in the included pouch, which can fit in your car door pocket or center console. Made from high quality, nylon polyester material, this sun shade is lightweight but extremely durable. It also features a strong wireframe, so it’s sturdy and stays in place. With several different sizes to choose from, you can get one that fits your windshield perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about any sunlight filtering in through the edges. Despite its reasonable price tag, the EcoNour sun shade is built to last and will keep your car cool and protected.
Best Universal Fit: EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade
For sun shades that'll fit most cars (while still providing the best coverage), consider the EzyShade Windshield Sun Shade. It comes in two, identical rectangular shades that'll adapt to your car's windshield, allowing you to install them vertically or horizontally. Along with a better fit, overlapping the two sun shades ensures over 99 percent of UV protection and over 82 percent of heat reduction. Its double shade design also keeps your car cool, while the shades are easy to fold, install, and store away in the pouch.
Best for Side Windows: ShadeSox Universal Car Side Window
Sun shades on side windows can protect car seats and seat belts from heating up to dangerously hot temperatures. This ShadeSox side window sun shade provides UV protection, cuts down on sun glare, and prevents back seat passengers from overheating. Easy to install, the ShadeSox is a flexible, stretchy mesh that pulls down over the open car door like a sleeve. Unlike roller shades or stick-on tinting, you can roll down the window and still stay protected from the sun. And you don’t have to worry about your child pulling it down or the shade falling off. Each set comes with two shades as well as a bag for storage.
Best for Rear Windows: Munchkin Brica White Hot Sun Shades
Using a sun shade on your rear window can help prevent the back seat and kids’ car seats from heating up and helps keep backseat passengers cool and comfortable. The Brica White Hot Sun Shade from Munchkin comes in a pack of two rear window shades. The shades come with both adjustable clips or suction cups, so you can choose how you want to hang them on your windows. These retractable shades are made of mesh fabric and feature a button that you can push when you want the shades to be rolled up. The mesh fabric blocks against UV rays but also allows for visibility, which can help against motion sickness. Best of all, these shades include an indicator that will glow when the car gets too hot. Each shade measures 14 x 17 inches.
Best Collapsible: ShineMatix Two-Piece Windshield Sun Shade
Some sun shades can take up a good portion of your trunk when not in use, but the ShineMatix Two-Piece Sun Shade folds up compactly to save storage space. You simply twist and fold the two shades over each other into a small circle, wrap the circle with the elastic straps, and then tuck the shade into its carrying case. Many reviewers noted that it was small enough to fit into back seat pockets or the space between the passenger seat and the car's console. When not folded up, this sun shade consists of two identical rectangles that measure 23.5 x 29 inches. It's made of high-density nylon that protects against 99 percent of UV rays and is available in three different sizes, so you're guaranteed to get one that fits your windshield properly.
Best for Babies: Enovoe Car Window Shade
Although most cling sun shades are made to protect your baby from the sun, the Enovoe Car Window Shade stands out for a number of reasons. In addition to blocking over 97 percent of harmful UV rays, the sun shade boasts a dual-layer design: a mesh side for visibility and heat protection, as well as a static cling back that offers easy window installation and removal—without the use of adhesives. The 21 x 14-inch shade will also fit most side car windows, including SUVs, minivans, large sedans, and other full-sized cars. Keep your baby (and car) cool with the Enovoe shade, which comes in a pack of four.
Best Retractable: Twing Foldable Sun Shade
Retractable sun shades are a great option for cars because you don't need to constantly remove them when not in use. The Twing Foldable Sun Shade uses a pleated design that can be retracted to one side of the windshield whenever you're not using it. It uses suction cups to attach to your window and easily stretches out to cover the entire surface. It's made of four thermal layers that shield UV rays and keeps your car cool. This sun shade can stretch to a maximum length of 63 inches, but it can be trimmed if your windshield is shorter.
Best for Smaller Cars: Magnelex Windshield Sunshade
If you have a smaller car, this Magnelex sun shade is a great option to keep your vehicle cool and protected from sun damage. It’s made of a reflective polyester material that blocks heat and sun. This shade is 59 x 31 inches and users love that it covers the entire windshield, giving you maximum protection from the sun. When you're done, you can easily fold up the car sun shade and store it in the included bag, which can be stashed under the seat or in the trunk. The shade also comes with a steering wheel cover sun shade, which fits over your wheel to prevent it from heating up and fading from sun exposure. If you have a larger car, the Magnelex sun shade also comes in other sizes.
What to Look for in a Car Sun Shade
Size: Whether you’re looking for a shade to cover your windshield when you park your car, or semi-transparent versions to provide shade on the back or side windows, be sure that the desired shade fits your vehicle. Most brands have several different sizes per model, while others like retractable models can fit a number of differently-sized windows, with a maximum length that typically exceeds most conventional vehicles.
Storage size is also an important consideration if you plan on only using the shade periodically. Look for ones that collapse into a small, flat package that can be easily stored in your truck or in the back pocket of your car’s front seats.
Price: Most car sun shades are very reasonably priced, come in high-quality materials that offer reflectivity, and are sized to fit most vehicles. If you’re looking for ones with more custom options—retractable shades at specific sizes, shades that are customized to fit your vehicle seamlessly, or those with serious UV protection—expect the prices to increase.
Visibility: Naturally, sun shades designed to block out the sun and thus keep your car cool when it’s parked are made with high-quality opaque materials to fend off the sun’s rays. But if you want to add more shade to the car’s interior while driving—a nice feature to keep the sun off people when they're in the car and especially essential for protecting babies in car seats—look for models designed for the side windows and back windshield that boast mesh fabrics. These will let you filter out the sun’s rays, cut the glare, and block UV without impacting the ability to see out the window.
UV Protection: Ultraviolet rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation present in sunlight that can cause a variety of skin damage, everything from wrinkles and liver spots to skin cancer. They can also impact the eyes. That’s why UV protection is essential for any sun shades that you plan to use on the side windows or on the back windshield. They add a much-needed layer of protection, much like UV-treated sunglasses.
UV radiation—in combination with the extreme heat that can build up in a car’s interior—can also cause damage to your dashboard, seats, and consoles so it’s a good idea to look for sun shades with UV protection in all scenarios.
Why should I use a sun shade in my car?
Using car shades provide a myriad of benefits. They prevent the car interior from heating up in hot, sunny climates—lowering the internal temperature by as much as 40 degrees, keeping all the surfaces from being hot to the touch. They also can protect your car’s interior from fading due to sun exposure. Semi-transparent versions with UV protection even help block harmful elements of the sun’s rays, and provide additional cooling shade and reduced glare on the side windows without sacrificing visibility.
What about during the winter?
Some sun shades are crafted with materials that can actually absorb the sun’s heat and warm the car interior, making it a welcome respite after a day on the slopes.
What should I do if I want one to add shade while I’m driving?
Look for mesh sun shades that offer protection from the sun and UV rays without obscuring your view. The best models are made of flexible, stretchy mesh materials that slip over your windows like a sleeve, letting you roll down the window with ease while still getting all the benefits of a sun shade. Others attach to the window interior. Just be sure you size the shades to your windows to assure a seamless fit.
What do I do with my sun shade when I don’t need it?
The best sun shades for cars are designed to collapse or fold into a small package, typically stored in an included stuff sack that you can easily toss in your trunk or into a seat pocket without sacrificing too much storage space. Some models, like retractable versions that either fold like an accordion or roll up like a window blind, are more permanent fixtures to your car’s windows. These types may add some undesirable bulk, but could be the right solution for those who live in places that endure year-round heat and sunshine.