Best Beach Umbrellas

 Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella
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Pole materialMetalStrongMetalStrongAluminum
Rib materialStrongStrongMetalStrongFiberglass
Metallic undercoatingYesNoYesYesNo
Tent designPrivacyPrivacyXLLightweightClassic
Wind resistantYesYesYesYesYes
CapacityTwo adults3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
Anchor systemStake and tethersStakes and sandbagsScrews into sandYesScrews into sand or earth
TiltableYesNoYesYesYes
Width8 feet7.5 feet9 feet7 feet8 feet
Zippered door/windowsYesYesYesNoNo
UV protectionYesLimitedUPF 50+SPF 100SPF 50
Internal pocketsYesNoYesNoNo
StabilityGoodYesGoodYesGood
AccessoriesNoYesYesNoNo
Carry bagYesYesYesYesYes
 Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

Best Beach Umbrella

Updated: January 15, 2017

Best Beach Umbrella on Amazon

Best Beach Umbrella

Every beach umbrella manufacturer goes to great lengths to try and persuade you that their product is the best.

But this can become confusing, especially if they are throwing features at us that we have never heard of before, so we are going to break down some of those.

If you are looking for a beach umbrella, then you want one that is going to do the job that you are forking out good money for. Now that might sound like a no-brainer but there are far too many out there that will let you down.

First off, have a look at the construction of the umbrella and what it has been made from. It isn’t uncommon for more than one material to have been used – and although that is fine, some are better than others.

First off, have a look at the construction of the umbrella and what it has been made from. It isn’t uncommon for more than one material to have been used – and although that is fine, some are better than others.

The ribs of the actual umbrella are important in order to keep it open. Wood and steel are in common usage but by far the best material to use here is fiberglass. Once upon a time, this used to be prohibitively expensive but modern production techniques mean that they are much more attainable.

Fiberglass has much more give in it so it can withstand heavier winds than other substances, and beach umbrellas that use this will last for many more years than others (as long as the rest of the construction is up to the same standard).

Think about how you want to anchor your beach umbrella. Choose from a traditional spike that you drive into the sand; sand bags that weigh the umbrella down, or an auger that screws into the sand.

The final option is the one that seems to be the most popular, but have a look at what it is made from. Although metal ones can rust if they haven’t been treated, they are stronger than plastic and could have a longer life span.

Another important part of a beach umbrella is the pole. This should come in sections that fit together securely and if it has any components such as a lock down handle, then they need to be solid rather than flimsy.

Best Beach Umbrella Characteristics

Tilting

2-best-beach-umbrella-tiltingNot all beach umbrellas are able to tilt; some just stand there like palm trees casting a shadow depending upon where the sun is. We’re not saying that these are not useful, but they do mean that you need to keep moving and that some shadows are going to be bigger than others depending upon the time of day, which could be a problem if more than one person wants to use it.

There is a way, of course, of casting a shadow where you want it with an umbrella that doesn’t tilt, and that is to push the pole into the sand at an angle. Doing this also means that the umbrella can also act as a windbreak but it is still time consuming.

A beach umbrella that tilts is a much better option because once you have positioned the pole, all that you need to do is to alter the angle of the umbrella.

A beach umbrella that tilts is a much better option (if you don’t want it to double up as a shield against the wind) because once you have positioned the pole, all that you need to do is to alter the angle of the umbrella by using the mechanism on the pole.

Having said this, there are some beach umbrellas that, in addition to their tilting abilities, also have a telescopic pole. This means that you can also adjust the height of the pole – and of course, the lower you have it the better it is at keeping wind-blown sand off you.

The wind is a never-ending problem for beach umbrellas – it is always breezier on the coast than inland so there is no getting away from it. When an umbrella tilts it is offering a larger surface area of canopy for the wind to blow into, which increases the chances of it tipping or taking off.

To try and combat this problem, choose a beach umbrella that has vents in the canopy so that the wind can blow through it rather than having a head on collision.

These types of beach umbrellas are only as good as the mechanisms that operate them so before you buy, check out some reviews to see what other people think about how they work otherwise you may have a useless contraption on your hands.

When the canopy on a beach umbrella is tilted it can put some stress onto the pole so having a lock-down system in place is useful so that the pole can deal with an unbalanced weight load.

Tent design

3-best-beach-umbrella-tent-designTent design? But you thought you were reading about beach umbrellas! You are – there are some beach umbrellas that are more like a sun shelter. Typically, they have three side panels that create a cabana.

You will achieve as much shade as a traditional beach umbrella, although some shoppers have said that it can feel like less because it is a more enclosed area. The shade is consistent, however, as long as you are not facing directly into the sun, which means no tilting or moving about.

Again, there are different features to look out for in this type of beach umbrella, such as whether it offers an SPF, and if does, how high?

Again, there are different features to look out for in this type of beach umbrella, such as whether it offers an SPF, and if does, how high?

Other things to look out for include how it is anchored? Some use stakes and tethers like a tent, while others also have sandbags to weigh them down. Find out whether it is waterproof – you don’t want to get caught in a shower of rain and then have it drip on you for the next hour.

Ideally, this type of umbrella will have vents so that the air will circulate and keep you cool – and to stop the wind gusting into it and making it unstable. Zippered windows are another option for more air flow.

Some of these umbrellas allow you to lift the sides and peg them out so that you have a larger area of shade, while others let you close the entire thing up like a tent so that you can use it as a changing room.

This type of beach umbrella is popular with many people but people with babies especially like them because of the consistent shade that doesn’t get too hot like a tent would.

They are also very popular for people who like to use them for other things besides the beach. The tent-like structure makes these sunshades perfect in cold and wet weather as shelters when you are on the side lines of a game.

Capacity

4-best-beach-umbrella-capacityThe bigger the beach umbrella, the more people it will give shade to. That’s the basic premise, but there are other considerations too. For example, the umbrella that we have already discussed – the one that doesn’t tilt, will cast different size shadows depending upon the time of day.

As the sun gets higher in the sky, shadows will shorten before getting longer again as the day draws on, so this needs to be taken into consideration if you are hoping for more than one person to benefit – unless you happen to like up close and personal.

Another thing that makes a difference to a beach umbrella’s capacity is what you are going to be sitting or lying on.

Another thing that makes a difference to a beach umbrella’s capacity is what you are going to be sitting or lying on. The larger the chair or lounger, the less room there will be underneath the umbrella.

One thing that we do feel necessary to bring to your attention is the capacity for the cabana sunshades we have just discussed. Very naughtily, some manufacturers make extravagant claims about the numbers of people that will fit inside but users refute this.

According to shoppers, you can comfortably fit two adults into a 7.5ft sunshade if they are using loungers, but more could use it if the sides were lifted. Some reviews also mention baby chairs and dogs fitting inside, but we advise that you make a realistic judgement based on the actual size and your expectations.

The other thing to consider, of course, is the size of the people who will be using the beach umbrella. Obviously, the smaller they are, the more will be able to get into the shade – but the smallest people of all, the children, are the ones that tend to move around the most.

For infants (and toddlers needing a nap), users tend to recommend the cabana style umbrellas but for older children a more typical beach umbrella will probably be the better option because they like to be ‘outside’.

Remember, too, when you are making your decision, that although a bigger umbrella will cast more shade than a smaller one, it also makes a bigger target for the wind so choose wisely.

Metallic undercoating

5-best-beach-umbrella-metallic-undercoatingOnce upon a time, people used to grab a towel and head out to the beach at the first sign that the sun was going to break through the clouds. No sunscreen (just oil to hurry up the baking process) and certainly no beach umbrella unless it was just to keep the sun out of their eyes.

Nowadays, however, we are more enlightened and although we still want to enjoy the sun, we are much more aware of the damage it can cause – not just by premature ageing, but because of the skin cancers it can be responsible for.

Luckily, beach umbrella manufacturers are helping to make it easier to get our daily dose of Vitamin D without burning by providing metallic undercoats to their products.

Luckily, beach umbrella manufacturers are helping to make it easier to get our daily dose of Vitamin D without burning by providing metallic undercoats to their products. Not all beach umbrellas have this, however, so check out the list of features on each umbrella that you are interested in before you buy.

These other thing to remember is that not all metallic undercoatings have the same resilience even though they work in the same way, so this something else to look out for. You will see the umbrella’s ability to protect you from harmful rays described as SPF (sun protection factor)- followed by a number.

The higher the number, the more effective the beach umbrella will be at providing protection but some descriptions can be vague. For example, SPF 50+ tells us nothing apart from the minimum protection this offers.

The one thing that you can be certain of with that measurement is that the SPF is no higher than 100, because then the manufacturer would be all over that with a description of SPF 100+ because this is a better level.

Some manufacturers are more explicit, especially if the SPF is high, and for clarification an SPF of 125 will provide 99.5% protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Even though these beach umbrellas offer protection against harmful sun rays, and therefore, burning, they are not the total answer, especially for younger members of the family who are likely to be on the move in and out of the shade that the umbrella offers.

Carry bags

6-best-beach-umbrella-carry-bagsHaving a carry bag for your beach umbrella means that you have something to store it in and it is much easier to tote it to the beach. As with the umbrella, though, if you want it to last, then it has to be up to the job.

Unfortunately, some manufacturers seem to look upon the carry bags as a bit of an after thought so don’t make the assumption that if the umbrella ticks all of your boxes, the carry bag will too.

Ideally, the handle will be a shoulder strap so that you have both hands free to carry other things or to hold the hand of a child.

The things to look out for are the overall construction of the bag, its closures and the handle. Zippers should be stitched in securely and look strong enough to withstand multiple openings and closings. If they are metal, try to keep them dry otherwise they could rust and become unusable.

Ideally, the handle will be a shoulder strap so that you have both hands free to carry other things or to hold the hand of a child. If the strap is adjustable, all the better but if it isn’t, make sure that it isn’t too long because otherwise the bag could become a trip hazard.

Another thing to check on the shoulder strap is the width: the wider it is the more comfortably it will sit on your shoulder without rubbing or cutting into you – this is a big enough issue with an everyday bag, but if you are wearing your bathing suit, this is potentially a lot more painful – especially if you have been a bit sparing with the sunblock.

Even though a beach umbrella can be taken apart, its overall height will have an impact upon how long the carry bag will be. This is something to bear in mind if you are going to the beach in your car – and the trunk is tiny.

If you think this may be a problem, you can get beach umbrellas that will break into three pieces rather than just two. The average length of the carry bag will then be around 24 inches, which is much more manageable than some.

Bear in mind, however, that the more parts there are to the umbrella, the more there is potentially to go wrong with the connections.

Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

This offering from Sport-Brella is the go-anywhere solution to staying out of the wind, rain and, of course, the sun. Introducing the Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella Available in both red and blue, this beach umbrella is perfect for the beach, when you are camping, on the sidelines of your favorite team, for tailgating […]

Pro: More than an umbrella
Con: Zippers corrode

Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella

Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella

One of the best ways to do that is to make sure you always have access to shade, something that the Coleman Compact Shade Shelter can provide. Introducing the Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella This shade shelter features an attached, therefore sealed, floor so you don’t have to worry about bugs getting in […]

Pro: Its own fitted floor
Con: Slow assembly

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

As we’re going to find out, this Sport-Brella product prepares you for the unexpected. Introducing the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella It comes equipped with side flaps which provide you with all-round shade, unlike other beach umbrellas that only protect your head from hot temperatures. This beach umbrella offers generous amounts of shade […]

Pro: Metallic undercoating
Con: No tracking the sun

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