When you need protection from the sun, “seek out umbrellas that have a UPF rating, which refers to the Ultraviolet Protection Factor,” recommends Marisa Garshick, M.D., a dermatologist with MDCS Dermatology in New York City. “UPF values of >40, 45, 50, 50+ offer excellent protection, protecting against 97.5 - 98% of UV rays.” Beyond UPF rating, look for larger umbrellas, which block more rays than smaller ones (whether you choose a beach-sized or handheld umbrella), and think about whether you’d prefer your umbrella to have a black or reflective coating.
What Criteria To Consider
Umbrellas designed for sun protection typically use lightweight polyester or nylon with a black or reflective coating to block rays. Without this coating, ordinary polyester or nylon umbrellas only block 77% of UV radiation. However, the coating you choose depends on your priorities. Dr. Garshick notes that “black coating may offer higher UPF protection and is less likely to peel off” than reflective coating. That said, while reflective coating may eventually peel, it also “keeps the area under the umbrella cooler, particularly when the weather is very hot.” So, umbrellas with a reflective coating are ideal when you’re looking to keep cool as well as protected.
When it comes to the size of your umbrella, know that bigger is better for UV protection. Handheld umbrellas range from 23 to 68 inches, and you should err on the larger side when you can. A lightweight, collapsible umbrella helps make wider canopy sizes more manageable. Though beach umbrellas are usually bigger than handheld ones, you should still look for the most coverage possible, which could simply mean taking care to sit toward the center of the umbrella. The closer you sit to the edge of the shade, the less protection the umbrella provides.
Beach umbrellas tend to provide UV protection from overhead, but your umbrella may also need an adjustable pole or side flaps that form a beach canopy for continued protection as the sun’s angle changes. In windy areas, windproof umbrellas usually feature a double-canopy design that prevents the umbrella from inverting.
Whether you’re walking through the city or lounging on a beach, these UV umbrellas with high UPF ratings will keep you safe from sunburns and skin damage — but, Dr. Garshick notes, “while an umbrella is a helpful addition to protect against UV exposure, it may not provide sufficient protection for extended exposure,” so it’s always good to use a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen, too.
Shop The Best UV Umbrellas
In a hurry? These are the best UV umbrellas:
- A Portable UV Umbrella With A Wide Canopy: Umenice UPF 50+ Travel Umbrella
- A Beach Umbrella With Side Panels For Extra UV Protection: Sport-Brella Umbrella Shelter
- A Budget-Friendly All-Weather UV Umbrella: ABCCANOPY Compact Teflon Umbrella
- A UV Umbrella That Mounts To Your Beach Chair: Sport-Brella Versa Brella
- A Windproof UV Umbrella: G4Free Extra Large Windproof Golf Umbrella
- An Adjustable Beach Umbrella: AMMSUN 7ft Heavy Duty Windproof Portable Beach Umbrella
Here are some of the best UV umbrellas with specs determined by a dermatologist, ready to help protect you from the sun’s rays in almost any situation.
1. A Portable UV Umbrella With A Wide Canopy
With a 42-inch diameter and a reflective coating that provides UPF 50+ protection, the Umenice UV umbrella casts ample shade and helps keep you cooler on scorching hot days, too. The portable design collapses down to less than 12 inches long so it can fit easily in a handbag or backpack. There’s also a handy wrist strap.
With a carrying case, a comfort grip handle, and an automatic open button, this is a convenient on-the-go design, so you’ll always have sun protection at hand when you’re out and about. Plus, you can pick from a handful of different designs.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Reflective | Canopy size: 42 inches
One reviewer wrote: “Having a heat wave in SoCal and received this just in time. I am often out walking or dining outside, and this umbrella completely blocked the suns rays. It’s also cute with the slight pink interior.”
2. A Beach Umbrella With Side Panels For Extra UV Protection
This unique UV umbrella from Sport-Brella is a great pick for beach days and outdoor hangouts. The reflective coating on the durable polyester canopy provides UPF 50+ protection and helps keep you cool when the sun is bearing down in the process.
The 53-inch canopy expands to give you a total of 8 feet of shade coverage when you put the side flaps down. These flaps can be held in place with the included ground stakes to provide all-around coverage that doesn’t require adjusting as the sun moves in the sky. It also has a tilting mechanism so you can aim your shade perfectly, as well as a twisting auger on the base of its pole to easily anchor it to the sand.
Though this may compromise the side sun protection, the canopy has mesh side windows on either side that you can open to create airflow when you need extra help staying cool. These windows along with the double canopy design also prevent the umbrella from blowing down in strong winds since wind gusts can pass through the umbrella instead of catching on it.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Reflective | Canopy size: 53 inches
One reviewer wrote: “Very happy with this purchase. So simple to set up and LOVE that it can be either a regular umbrella or a half tent.”
3. A Budget-Friendly All-Weather UV Umbrella
For less than $10, this affordable UV umbrella from ABCCANOPY uses a long-lasting black glue coating to provide UPF 50+ protection in a convenient collapsible design. The 40.5-inch canopy is large enough to provide plenty of shade for one person, and the thick, multilayered fabric provides added UV protection while also making this umbrella extra durable.
The compact umbrella is also waterproof and has flexible resin-coated fiberglass ribs that make this a good pick for windy or rainy climates as well. The all-weather design works in any season so you can keep UV rays off you no matter what time of year it is. Choose from several solid-colored picks, or some with vibrant designs.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Black | Canopy size: 40.5 inches
One reviewer wrote: “It's an adorable design, and it's compact and suitable for sun and rain—great little umbrella.”
4. A UV Umbrella That Mounts To Your Beach Chair
The Versa-Brella from Sport-Brella boasts a UPF 50+ rating (thanks to a reflective coating underneath) and a universal clamp that makes this great for beach days or just a long, lazy day of relaxing outdoors. Mount it to a chair or put it on a stroller, golf cart, or anything else with a place to clamp this umbrella.
The broad asymmetrical canopy is 38 inches by 39 inches so there’s plenty of shade coverage. It also has a 360-degree swivel joint near the top so you can adjust the angle of the umbrella as needed to keep the sun off even as it moves.
The popular UV umbrella has earned 4.3 stars on Amazon overall after more than 45,000 reviews. It also comes in nine different colors and an extra-large size that’s 44 inches wide and 44 inches long.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Reflective | Canopy size: 38 x 39 inches
One reviewer wrote: “They thought of everything with this one and the umbrella can be manipulated in which ever way to get proper sun coverage no matter which way the sun is directing. Love it and would recommend to friends and family!”
5. A Windproof UV Umbrella
An extra-large canopy that measures 52 inches in diameter (with a 62-inch arc) provides UPF 50+ protection with this UV umbrella from G4Free. The dense fabric is a thick barrier that is made even more protective with the addition of a silver reflective coating that repels UV rays away from you.
The double canopy design and durable yet flexible fiberglass ribs also make this a great option for windy days. The double-canopy allows air to pass through to prevent the umbrella from inverting. But if winds are strong enough that it inverts, the fiberglass frame can simply be flipped back down into shape without breaking like other frames do.
Thanks to that reflective coating, this umbrella can help you stay cooler, and you can also choose between three sizes to find the right balance of portability and coverage. Go down to a 54-inch arc if you want something a little easier to carry, or up to a 68-inch arc if you want an even wider shade area for your handheld umbrella.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Reflective | Diameter: 45, 52, and 59 inches (arc measurements: 54, 62, and 68 inches)
One reviewer wrote: “I love playing golf and when I’m at the practice range, I’m there for 3+ hours. I wanted this umbrella to block the UV rays while I’m there and it does a great job. I have a push cart and the handle fits perfectly in the holder. While under it, the temp is at least 10° cooler. It also holds very well on a breezy day.”
6. An Adjustable Beach Umbrella
This classic beach umbrella offers UPF 50+ protection and a 7-foot canopy that can be adjusted as needed to keep the sun out no matter where in the sky it is. This beach umbrella uses polyester fabric with a silver coating to block harmful rays.
An air vent near the center creates airflow and adds wind resistance without reducing the UV-blocking powers of the umbrella. The adjustable pole can be easily tilted to block the sun with the push of a button, and it comes with an anchor to keep it firmly in place in the sand. It’s available in eight beachy color combinations.
Sun protection: UPF 50+ | Coating: Reflective | Canopy size: 84 inches
One reviewer wrote: “After years of frustration with different types of beach umbrellas blowing away in average windy days, I chose this model because of the screw-in base and sturdy construction. It lives up to its promise as a heavy wind beach umbrella. Easy to assemble and provides plenty of shade for two people. Highly recommend.”
Also available on: Walmart, $50
Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology
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