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For many of us, the main purpose of an umbrella is to provide protection from the rain. However, some designs are just as effective against harmful UV rays and can be used to prevent burning, reduce aging and lower the risk of contracting skin cancer. UV umbrellas should have special design elements to help them block or absorb UV rays. Some are also suitable for use in extreme wind or rain, while others double as fashion accessories. In this article, we look at a few of the best options, ranging from travel-friendly compacts to oversized golf umbrellas.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Portable Sun Umbrella with Anti-UV Coating
One of only a few UV umbrellas listed for under $20, the Portable Sun Umbrella receives consistently excellent reviews and stands out from the crowd for its galaxy-inspired design. While the underside of the double-thickness canopy is spangled with stars, the top is coated with a layer of high-tech black gum which serves to block 99 percent of UV rays. With this purchase, you can save money, make a fashion statement, and protect yourself from the elements.
The frame and rod are made from lightweight aluminum alloy, while the fiberglass ribs are designed to withstand gusting winds. Although primarily intended for protection from the sun, the umbrella can also be used to ward off rain. It has a total diameter of 38.7”, while its 23” length folds down into a convenient 11” travel package. The umbrella comes in a smart gift box with a waterproof sleeve.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: G4Free Sun Protection Golf Umbrella
The G4Free Sun Protection Golf Umbrella's oversized canopy is made from 210T pongee, a micro-weave fabric known for its water-resistant, quick-drying qualities. The underside of the canopy features an anti-UV silver coating, giving the umbrella an SPF rating of 50+. It blocks 99.95 percent of the sun’s rays - allowing you to spend hours outside without getting burned. The 62” arc is big enough to accommodate two comfortably, making this product ideal for beach trips, golf tours, and sports matches; although some may find it too unwieldy for city living.
The umbrella has eight reinforced fiberglass ribs, which allow for flexibility in windy conditions to prevent inversion or breakage. Amazon reviewers love the auto-opening mechanism - simply press a button for instant, one-handed release. The ABS handle features a non-slip rubber coating, and a travel sleeve with an over-the-shoulder strap comes included in the price. Measuring 39.4” in length and weighing 1.6 pounds, the umbrella is available in a range of colors including coffee, sapphire and wine red.
Best Splurge: UV-Blocker Large Folding UV Umbrella
A premium product with a price tag to match, the UV-Blocker Folding Umbrella is not a cheap option. However, its sizeable 42” arc is paired with a folding design that reduces the total length from 21” to 11” - a major plus for frequent travelers or city slickers who don’t want to compromise on coverage. The canopy’s double vented design allows air to pass through, keeping you cooler on hot days and minimizing the chance of the umbrella inverting on windy days.
The top layer is made from silver Solarteck fabric, which reflects most UV rays, reducing the temperature beneath the umbrella by up to 15º. The blue underside of the canopy absorbs any remaining UV rays, giving an overall UPF rating of 55+. You can also use the umbrella to stay dry.
Best Windproof: Matacol Travel Umbrella
With a UPF rating of 50+ and the ability to filter out almost 99 perfect direct UV, the Matacol Travel Umbrella provides excellent protection from the sun. It’s also suited for windy locations, with ten reinforced fiberglass and stainless steel ribs that give added structure (compared to conventional umbrellas, which typically have six or eight ribs). According to the manufacturer, this umbrella is built to withstand winds of up to 65 mph. Use the automatic open and close button to deploy the umbrella instantly with one hand in just 0.7 seconds.
The canopy’s 210T pongee fabric is coated with a hydrophobic layer for maximum water repellency and one-shake drying. Its 41.3-inch diameter can provide ample protection for up to two people. When you’re not using the umbrella, it folds to a length of just 13 inches making it convenient to keep in your bag in case of unexpected weather.
Best Design: Sharpty Umbrella
With a double-walled canopy, the Sharpty Umbrella is great for blocking the sun on sizzling summer days, but it also has a brilliant design if it does happen to start showering. While most umbrellas close from the inside out, causing the user to have to shake the water off, the Sharpty Inverted Umbrella has an easy button that closes from the outside in, trapping the water so your car seat, luggage or floor doesn’t get soaked. Plus, there are 17 bright and fun colors and designs ranging from sunflowers and stripes to starry nights and the Eiffel tower. The C-shaped handle allows travelers to attach it to their forearm, freeing up their hands.
Best Oversize: SunTek 68-Inch UV Protection Canopy Umbrella
Those that want maximum coverage should opt for the SunTek 68-Inch Canopy Umbrella, whose 68” arc can accommodate at least two people. The 100 percent nylon double canopy features a silver coating that reflects heat and provides UPF 55+ protection from UVA, UVB and UVC rays; while also deflecting rain and snow. A Vortec venting system prevents the umbrella from inverting in high winds.
Fiberglass construction keeps the umbrella lightweight while also increasing its lifespan. It stands 42.5” high and features an ergonomic handle that fits into the umbrella mount on most golf carts - leaving your hands free to work on perfecting your swing. Although all products have a silver coating on top, you can choose from a range of colors for the underside of the canopy, including yellow, black, blue and green.
Best Parasol: Pagoda Peak Old-Fashioned Parasol
Fashionistas will love the retro look of this beautiful parasol, with its peaked pagoda shape and 16 slender metal ribs. Amazon reviewers have used it for a multitude of different purposes: including cosplay conventions, photoshoots and weddings. It offers protection from UV rays and rain (although its delicate construction is not intended to withstand strong winds). Choose yours in ivory, black, pink or purple. Whichever color you go for, the matching hooked handle, ribs and canopy trim come in a contrasting color, thereby increasing the parasol’s visual impact. It measures 35” in diameter and 32.5” in length.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent eight hours testing one of the most popular UV umbrellas on the market. To get the most well-rounded results, they used it on both sunny and rainy days and observed how it protected them from the elements. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this UV umbrella — from its performance to its portability — and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a UV Umbrella
Travel size vs. standard If you’re planning to use your umbrella on a trip, it’s probably best to head straight for the travel-size models. Plenty of people use these small umbrellas at home too — they tend to fit in bags and totes more easily — but standard-size umbrellas are sturdier and more durable.
Value How often do you expect to use your UV umbrella? Your answer might help determine what you’re willing to spend. Although some options are more expensive — depending on size and features — there are plenty in the $25-and-under category.
Durability The only thing worse than not having an umbrella in the rain is having one in the rain, feeling proudly prepared, and then having it turn inside out with the first big gust of wind. Pay attention to what weather conditions you might be exposed to and consider whether your chosen umbrella can handle them.
Test Results: Portable Sun Umbrella with Anti-UV Coating (Best Overall)
What We Like
What We Don't Like
No button to open it
Locking it in place takes extra effort
Elastic band for wrists is flimsy
According to our testers, this umbrella was the perfect combination of portable and durable: “It’s perfect for commuters and travelers,” one reviewer said. “It can easily fit in a big purse or backpack. I've actually fit it in my back pocket at times, too.” They also found it to be “extremely effective” at blocking UV rays and the sun. This umbrella’s main drawbacks were “minor design flaws,” like the fact it had no opening button: “It’s very frustrating manually opening and closing it,” one tester explained, “especially while on the go. Commuters tend to walk and do things at the same time, but I found myself having to step to the side and open the umbrella.”