Nothing soothes and relaxes like spending a lazy day at the beach. Beaches are truly spectacular feasts for the eyes, nothing beats the spectacle of waves washing over the sand and life seemingly standing still.
But, during summers, we need to be extremely wary of the colossal burning giant above our heads that can cause some real damage to our delicate skin.
The sun is the highest during the 10-2 pm period and around noon, the sun is at its highest in the sky. This means that its UV rays are extremely potent and can damage your skin in no time. It is enormously important to have a layer of protection and regularly apply a good SPF cream.
While you’re at it, protecting your body from long periods of exposure to heat is another thing to keep in mind. This is why you need that extra layer of protection above your head.
We decided to give you some tips and tricks about beach umbrellas, probably the most overlooked part of your stay at the beach. Keep reading to find out what to look for when buying a beach umbrella and what are the best ones on the market.
The Best Beach Umbrellas
The best overall option
The WikiWiki Beach Umbrella is a lightweight aluminum frame and pole umbrella coated with polyester with a silver shine that guarantees strong protection.
WikiWiki even has storage space and is easily foldable. We find it to be great when it comes to tackling wind and its metal elements are rustproof.
WikiWiki starts with 6.5-foot umbrellas which are ideal for two people, but you can also find WikiWiki umbrellas up to 9 feet.
Best beach umbrellas for wind
The Blissun 7.2′ beach umbrellas have a proven track record when it comes to battling wind. It has been designed to withstand winds moving from any direction while allowing air circulation and ventilation.
Why we like them
Wind resistant beach umbrellas are great because they can withstand the the ocean’s temperamental gusts. They also provide protection from sunburns and other weather-related issues while you’re out on your vacation or at the pool.
If you want an easy setup that is portable then consider purchasing one with wheels so it will be easier to move around when needed. You should always check the UPF rating as well as how much shade it provides before making any purchase decision.
Best large beach umbrellas
The AMMSUN umbrella has a double function, you can use it both as a beach umbrella and as a patio umbrella because it has a removable anchor. The best thing about it is that this umbrella is 8 feet in diameter, so you do not have to worry about having to squeeze in under this one.
Why we like them
The larger umbrella provides shade for more people at once. It also makes it easier to get into the shade when you want to sit down or lie down. And we all know that when the sun is burning hot, you want more shady space on the beach sand.
The larger size allows you to set up multiple chairs in different areas without having to worry about them being too close together.
This makes large umbrellas perfect if you have friends who like sitting near each other but who need their own personal area.
Best small option
The Sport-Brella Versa-Brella is a handy umbrella that comes with a clip-on instead of an anchor so you can easily attach it to a chair.
The clip-on is very handy because you can attach it to your beach chair but be careful with the clip as some screws might be loose when adjusting the clip-on.
Why we like them
Conventional beach umbrellas are great, but they take up a lot of room and can get tangled. They’re hard to store and take up valuable space at the beach.
Smaller umbrellas fold up into a compact size that takes up less than half the space of a regular umbrella. They’re also great if it’s just you and maybe one other person sunbathing- no need for something huge!
Best Tommy Bahama option
The Tommy Bahama 7’ Beach umbrella is a convenient beach umbrella that punches above its weight. It is a compact umbrella made out of lightweight aluminum and comes in quite distinctive and vibrant colors making it very easy to spot in the crowd, we thought that was a cool touch.
This beach umbrella is perfect for a nice sunny day and has a great anchor, but we suggest you be careful while using it in high winds.
Best beach umbrella with sand anchor
The ROWHY 7.5ft Beach Umbrella is a true gem when it comes to sand anchors. It is outfitted with a convenient anchor with a handle in the middle of the pole that can be easily twisted and fixated into the sand. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty!
Why we like them
Sand anchors are used to secure an umbrella to the ground when not in use. They are also used to prevent the umbrella from blowing away in strong winds. It’s a smart investment if your travel destination has gusty winds.
Best portable travel option
The Bumblr 6.5ft Beach Umbrella is a three-piece umbrella that is easily foldable and comes with a neat handle bag that can be carried around your shoulder. It’s an extremely convenient and lightweight umbrella that weighs around 4.4lb.
Why we like them
Portable beach umbrellas are great for protecting you from the sun while sitting on the beach or at a poolside bar. They also offer protection against windy conditions. You won’t find many portable umbrellas that will withstand strong winds because they tend to blow away easily if the winds get too violent.
However, this doesn’t mean that all portable umbrellas aren’t suitable for windy weather. There are some models available that do well in those types of situations.
If you plan on using your beach umbrella outdoors during inclement weather, make sure that you get a sand anchor to use with it.
What To Look For
#1 Make sure it’s weather-resistant
A beach umbrella needs to be sturdy enough to go through all sorts of weather, whether it is the high sun, or a sudden heavy rain followed by strong gusts of wind, you need to look for a weatherproof design.
Check whether your umbrella is waterproof and if it is made from a light but strong material that can ideally withstand any type of weather and sun intensity.
#2 Don’t forget the UPF rating
Your beach umbrella is your biggest ally at the beach. With your SPF cream, it adds an extra layer of protection to your skin. Regardless of whether you use good SPF or not, it wouldn’t hurt to have an umbrella covered with a fabric that does not allow the harmful radiation to get to your skin.
While scouting for beach umbrellas, try to look for a UPF label. UPF labels are used to describe the fabrics that protect from harmful UV radiation. You should set your standard no lower than UPF 50 which allows only 1/50th of the Sun’s radiation to pass through the fabric of the umbrella.
Your SPF and a UPF 50 umbrella should protect you throughout the day and you can rest assured that your skin is taken care of. You can also supplement with a beach tent for complete sun exposure coverage!
#3 Ask yourself, can I carry this?
Your selection should ideally be light, compact, and easy to install and use. When we say this, we truly mean it. The last thing you need at your beach day is having to carry an extremely heavy beach umbrella and then carry it back to your car after a tiring fun day.
This is why a good beach umbrella should not have too many integrated elements, or at least comes in a handy bag that preferably has shoulder straps o that it can be carried more easily. A beach umbrella should never be hard to assemble and instal and if it looks like a puzzle game, then the seller might have missed the point with their umbrella.
A good option can tackle most weather situations fairly easily without you having to fidget with it constantly and take it out of the sand, so it does not break.
#4 Material type
The material type of beach umbrellas is often one of the most overlooked elements of an umbrella. Many buyers do not really pay attention to what type of material their umbrella is covered with. We already mentioned the importance of the material that guarantees UPF protection.
Although cheaper umbrellas are typically covered with nylon or thin polyester, you can get top-notch umbrellas that are not as expensive but are covered with marine-grade acrylic fabrics that have strong UPF protection capabilities.
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing one is that the material is not transparent and that it actually blocks the sun. This fabric should ideally be waterproof as well.
The most common kind of fabric that is used to make beach umbrellas is anything from polyester, nylon, pongee, you name it. All of these can be acceptable as long as they can guarantee UPF protection and block harmful UV radiation.
#5 Size and coverage
Depending on how many people you’re looking to fit underneath, the size of the umbrella can greatly vary. We find that the most comfortable size of an umbrella is around 6 to 7 feet in diameter.
However, if you do expect more people sitting under that umbrella then you can explore options that are up to 9 feet in diameter. The size determines its coverage so try to find an umbrella that is large in diameter and can be easily adjusted to give the best shade.
#6 Don’t forget about the frame, anchor, and the pole
When buying a good beach umbrella, there are three fundamental things you need to look at. These are the pole, the frame, and the anchor.
Look for a pole that is not very heavy or is not made from a very heavy material but can sustain gushes of wind and can hold the umbrella together. An aluminum pole can be an ideal option, however, there are beach umbrellas that are even sturdier and are made from top-notch steel.
The frame is an important supporting element of your umbrella so you should look for beach umbrella frames that are easy and convenient to work with and that do not contain too many parts. Frames that are made from a very light material can be easily broken by gushes of wind.
Those with wooden frames are a timeless classic but they might also get damaged by water or rot. An aluminum frame is always an inexpensive option but if you’re really looking for an umbrella that can survive everything then look for a tough umbrella with fiberglass or metal steel frames.
Your choice needs to have a very good anchor if it’s supposed to support itself in the sand and survive the wind. An umbrella with a pointy anchor and an element for drilling the sand will do the job.
Now that we have all of that cleared up it’s time for us to declare the winners.
There you have it, our mission of turning you into a beach umbrella expert is done. We are sure you will be able to make an informed decision when making your purchase and we wish you many warm and sunny days under your new umbrella!
Hi, I’m Ryan Nelson! I live in the Hamptons, out on Long Island, near Ponquogue Beach. The beach is a place where I can find peace and serenity. It’s a place where I can sit and clear my head. The waves crashing on the shore somehow helps me to relax, while also reminding me that I am far from the stressors of daily life.