The 8 Best UV Umbrellas of 2024 | by TripSavvy

Add another layer of protection from the sun's rays

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The 8 Best UV Umbrellas of 2024 | by TripSavvy

Whether golfing or strolling along the beach, a UV umbrella is a simple, portable shade solution that helps protect you from overheating, damaging your eyes, or getting burned. An umbrella isn’t perfect nor a substitute for sunscreen, UV-blocking clothing, or sunglasses—but it can block most direct UV rays. When researching products for this article, special attention was paid to the type of materials used, whether they featured vents, and their Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF rating. Read on to discover our top picks across several key categories as well as helpful tips for making the right choice for you.

Also protects against the rain

A premium product with a price tag to match, the UV-Blocker Compact Umbrella is not a cheap option. However, its sizable 42-inch arc is paired with a folding design that reduces the total length from 21 to 11 inches—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 when it's windy.

The top layer is made from silver Solarteck fabric, which reflects most UV rays, reducing the temperature beneath the umbrella by up to 15 degrees (according to the brand). The blue underside of the canopy absorbs any remaining UV rays, giving an overall UPF rating of 55+. You can also use this umbrella to stay dry.

"The astronaut silver of the UV-Blocker UV Protection Compact Umbrella might initially make you a little self-conscious. But it's a well-made, portable umbrella that keeps you safe from UVA and UVB rays as well as the occasional surprise rain shower," our tester reported. "While it might not be your first choice in terms of visual appeal (particularly when considering the massive UV-Blocker logo across the canopy), it does serve a purpose. The silver exterior is designed to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption, and the navy blue interior is supposed to absorb the sun's reflection from below."

Canopy Dimensions: 42 inches | Folded Dimensions: 11.5 inches | UPF Rating: 55+

Too big for busy urban settings

The G4Free Windproof 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+. The brand claims it blocks 99.95 percent of the sun's rays, so you can spend hours outside without getting burned. The 62-inch arc is big enough to accommodate two comfortably, making this product ideal for beach trips, golf tours, and sports matches. However, some may find it too unwieldy for city living.

While it doesn't have vents, the umbrella has eight reinforced fiberglass ribs, which allow for flexibility in windy conditions to prevent inversion or breakage. Another great feature is 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. The umbrella is available in various colors, including Coffee, Sapphire, and Red Wine.

"We found that the 52-inch diameter of the G4Free was sufficient for two people to walk under comfortably without touching. The 40-inch shaft length meant it didn't matter who carried the umbrella—the shortest of us could comfortably hold it over much taller heads. As long as you're in a less crowded environment, the size of this umbrella is great for full-coverage protection and sharing," our tester reported.

"According to the manufacturer, this umbrella is windproof—a quality we got to test firsthand when a thunderstorm blew in at the beach," the tester continued. "A vented double canopy would've been nice to cut some of the wind resistance, but the fiberglass frame never inverted, even as it pulled us down the beach in a powerful lead wind."

Canopy Dimensions: 52 inches | Folded Dimensions: 39 inches | UPF Rating: 50+

Underside offers a pop of color

Can double as a golf umbrella

Could be easier to open/close

Those who want maximum coverage should opt for the SunTek Canopy Umbrella, whose 68-inch arc can accommodate at least two people. The 100-percent-nylon double canopy features a silver coating that reflects heat and provides UPF 50+ protection from UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. 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 inches high and features an easy-to-grip 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.

Canopy Dimensions: 57 inches | Folded Dimensions: 42.5 inches | UPF Rating: 50+

While most UV umbrellas on the market are travel friendly, the Umenice UV Protection Travel Umbrella stands out for its light weight of 12.8 ounces. Its aluminum frame is also less than 12 inches long, meaning you can easily tuck it into your handbag and whip it out when needed. Plus, the umbrella has a double-coated silver canopy with UPF 50+ protection that blocks more than 98 percent of UVA/UVB rays. It can also stand up to strong winds, thanks to its strong fiberglass frame, while a PU-coated handle makes the umbrella easy to grip.

Canopy Dimensions: 36 inches | Folded Dimensions: 11.6 inches | UPF Rating: 50+

Woven UPF coating increases longevity

Handle could be more comfortable

Rain or shine, the Sodalis Travel Umbrella from Coolibar has got you covered. It boasts a high-tech coating with UPF 50+ protection that blocks 98 percent of UV radiation, and its underside absorbs UV rays. And for rainy days, the umbrella's water-repellent, durable nylon fabric comes in handy. With a 42-inch arc and a 38.5-inch diameter, this umbrella's double-canopy design with mesh inserts also offers ventilation for hotter weather. Its soft-grip handle and auto-open/close button make the umbrella great for travel, as it collapses into a compact 11 inches.

Canopy Dimensions: 38.5 inches | Folded Dimensions: 11 inches | UPF Rating: 50+

Not very compact when closed

With a double-walled canopy, the Sharpty Inverted Umbrella is great for blocking the sun on sizzling summer days, but also has a brilliant design if it does happen to start showering. While most umbrellas close from the inside out, this one has an easy button that closes from the outside in, trapping the water so that your car seat, luggage, and floor don'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 is made from carbon fiber and allows travelers to attach it to one of their forearms to free up their hands.

Canopy Dimensions: 42.5 inches | Folded Dimensions: 31.9 inches | UPF Rating: Not listed

Doubles as a beach shelter

Included stakes have limited utility

Many sun umbrellas are too small to realistically double as beach umbrellas. Many beach umbrellas are too large and heavy to realistically carry on a walk. The Sport-Brella tries to bridge this gap with a large but lightweight sun umbrella with built-in flaps for converting to a wind- and sun-blocking shelter for the beach, concerts, and anywhere you can take it. At 8 feet wide, it’s big enough for two, and it comes tent-like, with stakes and poles to secure it in place when used as a shelter.

Canopy Dimensions: 96 inches | Folded Dimensions: 55 inches | UPF Rating: 50+

Not sturdy enough for daily use

Fashionistas will love the retro look of this beautiful parasol, with its peaked pagoda shape and 16 slender metal ribs. It offers protection from UV rays and rain (although its delicate construction is not intended to withstand strong winds). It's made of 210T pongee fabric, which is waterproof and keeps the rain off you. Choose yours in Ivory, Black, Pink, or Purple. Whichever color you go for, the matching hooked handle, ribs, and canopy trim are contrasting, thereby increasing the parasol's visual impact. It measures 35 inches in diameter and 33.5 inches in length.

Canopy Dimensions: 35 inches | Folded Dimensions: 33.5 inches | UPF Rating: Not listed

If you're in the market for a UV umbrella that offers ample coverage, stands up to wind and the surprise shower, and packs down small, the UV-Blocker Compact Umbrella is ideal. For UV protection on the links, we recommend the G4Free Golf Umbrella.

Nothing ruins a good umbrella like a stiff gust of wind. Look for vents (sometimes referred to as a “double canopy”), which allow air to pass through your umbrella instead of taking it for a ride or inverting it.

Polyester and nylon are two of the most common fabrics used in umbrellas. Polyester is affordable but can sag and stretch more than nylon if soaked. Pongee is a lesser-known material with a higher thread count than nylon or polyester; as such, it's very thin, silk-like, and better equipped to repel water.

Often associated with sun-protective clothing, UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor measures how much sunlight penetrates a particular fabric. It's not to be confused with SPF, which is associated with sunscreen and measures how long it takes for UV-exposed skin to redden. UPF rating is affected by the construction, color, treatments, and type of fibers used in a product.

A rating of 20 means 1/20th (or 5 percent) of available UV radiation will pass through the fabric, therefore blocking 95 percent of harmful rays. A protective fabric needs a minimum rating of 15. An item with a 30 rating will receive the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation, while 50+ is considered excellent protection. The best way to find the rating of an umbrella is simply to check the product details since manufacturers generally advertise this information.

Yes, definitely. While a good sun umbrella will block most direct rays, UV radiation comes in several forms and can easily reflect off surfaces. And, because the sun moves, you may not always be able to stay perfectly under the shade of your umbrella.

Yes, if you're going to be in the sun for long periods, a layer of sunscreen is necessary. A good pair of sunglasses is perhaps even more important—glare and reflections from intense rays can easily hit your eyes, even with an umbrella. And don't discount sun-protective clothing, which can be one of your best defenses against UV radiation.

Almost any UV umbrella will also shed rain, though they may not be as purpose-built for that as a true rain umbrella. High-quality rain umbrellas will use tight fabrics and coatings meant to block rain and stay dry. 

A rain umbrella will certainly block some UV rays, as will nearly any fabric. The advantage of a UV umbrella is that it is made for sun protection and will likely block more than 99 percent of direct UV rays. Many also have reflective coatings that help keep the air underneath cool.

Justin Park is a Breckenridge, Colorado-based writer and videographer who learned to respect the sun when he lived in Honolulu, Hawaii. He now lives at 10,000 feet in the Rockies, where reflective snow and water conspire to make the sun an even more formidable foe.

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