Best Beach Umbrella – Reviews & Buying Guide
Outlinist's team and our families are supported thanks to affiliate commissions that we may earn when you buy through links on our site. Read more

Best Beach Umbrella – Reviews & Buying Guide (August 2019)

Updated: January 7, 2019

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

After 45 hours spent researching the best beach umbrellas, we think Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: pole material, rib material, metallic undercoating, tent design, wind resistant, capacity, anchor system, tiltable, width, zippered door/windows, UV protection, internal pockets, stability, accessories, and carry bag, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingProtectionQualityAppearanceSturdinessValue for Moneypole materialrib materialmetallic undercoatingtent designwind resistantcapacityanchor systemtiltablewidthzippered door/windowsUV protectioninternal pocketsstabilityaccessoriescarry bag
Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaCheck Price4.24.54.04.04.54.0StrongStrongYesLightweightYes3 to 4 peopleYesYes7 feetNoSPF 100NoYesNoYes
Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaCheck Price4.55.04.54.04.54.5AluminumFiberglassNoClassicYes3 to 4 peopleScrews into sand or earthYes8 feetNoSPF 50NoGoodNoYes
Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaCheck Price4.85.04.54.55.05.0MetalMetalYesXLYes3 to 4 peopleScrews into sandYes9 feetYesUPF 50+YesGoodYesYes
Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaCheck Price4.14.04.53.54.04.5MetalStrongYesPrivacyYesTwo adultsStake and tethersYes8 feetYesYesYesGoodNoYes
Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaCheck Price4.14.04.04.04.54.0StrongStrongNoPrivacyYes3 to 4 peopleStakes and sandbagsNo7.5 feetYesLimitedNoYesYesYes
Best Beach Umbrella

Have you been baffled by the scores of beach umbrellas online, leaving you unsure about the features which make certain products stand out from the crowd?

In this buying guide, we’ll be examining how to pick the right umbrella for your needs.

Of course – plush features aside – the real issue you’re going to be concerned about as a consumer is whether or not the beach umbrella will be nice and simple to set up when you arrive at your destination.

Always check that the beach umbrella can be put up in just a few simple steps.

Picture the scene: you just arrived at the beach after pulling your beach cart for a mile while wearing flip flops, beach sandals, or water shoes. Despite wearing a sun hat, you’re drenched in sweat… The kids are really enthusiastic to jump in the sea, but you need to make sure that they have their sunscreen on first.

You first need to unpack everything that’s in your cart and your beach bag, and set up every beach chair, beach table, beach towel, beach mat, beach cooler, beach ball, beach toys, and the beach umbrella along with the beach umbrella anchor (or the beach tent) – but the kids are itching to go, and almost on the verge of dropping everything and running towards the waves.

Ask yourself this: are you really going to want to have to contend with five pages of instructions on how to erect the beach umbrella? Definitely not!

Always check that the beach umbrella can be put up in just a few simple steps. Normally, you’ll have two poles which snap together (they aren’t usually joined to ensure that the product is portable when carrying it from A to B,) and that it slots safely, securely and easily into the canopy itself, which can then be opened in a similar fashion to a normal umbrella.

There are products like this out there – and they take mere seconds to erect.

Selection Of The Best Beach Umbrellas

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella
(rated 4.2 / 5)
Protection
Quality
Appearance
Sturdiness
Value for Money
Check Price

A beach umbrella is a must if you are planning a day by the ocean, but how do you know which one to choose?

Look for one that has the features that are important to you, after all, a beach umbrella is no longer the simplistic product of yesteryear.

Information

This beach umbrella from Tommy Bahama offers 7 feet of shade even on the hottest of days, and with an SPF of 100, more protection from the sun than some other beach umbrellas are able to do.

The Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella is instantly recognizable by the distinctive branding.

As well as looking good, this beach umbrella is functional and will help to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

This is achieved by the special aluminum undercoating on the umbrella that has been designed to offer sun protection – although you should also wear sunscreen.

This beach umbrella from Tommy Bahama offers 7 feet of shade even on the hottest of days, and with an SPF of 100, more protection from the sun than some other beach umbrellas are able to do.

According to the manufacturer, this beach umbrella has been designed and constructed to withstand pressure from the wind and will not bow or, even worse, bend. If this works as well as the claims say it will, this is a great plus.

Keeping the umbrella upright is easy – it features two fold down handles that help you to easily twist the pole into the sand for a firm anchorage that will keep it in place without any movement.

pole materialStrong
rib materialStrong
metallic undercoatingYes
tent designLightweight
wind resistantYes
capacity3 to 4 people
anchor systemYes
tiltableYes
width7 feet
zippered door/windowsNo
UV protectionSPF 100
internal pocketsNo
stabilityYes
accessoriesNo
carry bagYes

The umbrella then simply clips into the pole and you choose the angle of the tilt. Having optional tilt means that there will never be a time when you have to endure the sun; you can always enjoy the warmth while staying in the shade.

Removing the base of the umbrella from the sand isn’t difficult. It is likely, however, that it won’t just pull out – that would mean that it was less secure, but all that you need to do is to unscrew it.

There’s no need to worry about the wind creating a missile out of this umbrella, either. It features vents in the canopy that allow the wind to blow through it rather than against it. This means that the wind can’t find purchase and rip it out of the sand.

Pros

Weighing in at just 4lbs, the Tilt Beach Umbrella is surprisingly lightweight considering the amount of shade that it provides.

It is so annoying when you buy an item and it doesn’t do what you expect to. That is why we try to provide you with all the information – both good and bad – that we can so you can make an informed decision.

  • Comes in a choice of two colors: This Tommy Bahama beach umbrella is available in two striking colors – bright and trendy red or calming and relaxing light blue and both are a perfect match for all of the other summer items from this manufacturer – perfect if you like to have sets that complement each other well.
  • A lightweight shade providing solution: Weighing in at just 4lbs, the Tilt Beach Umbrella is surprisingly lightweight considering the amount of shade that it provides. Because of this, this product is perfect for those who have to walk to find their perfect beach lounging spot.
  • A beach umbrella that works just as well by the lake: As long as the ground is soft enough to push the spiral base into it, you can use the Tilt beach Umbrella anywhere you choose – so a trip to the lake sounds just as great as to the beach!
  • If you purchase a patio umbrella stand, this will even work on decking: Some shoppers have reported that they have bought a patio umbrella stand in addition to this Tommy Bahama umbrella for using on a traditional patio or on decking.
  • Packing it away is as simple as putting it together: When you have spent the day at the beach (or the lake) the chances are that you will hot and tired – and as great as your day has been, the idea of packing everything away is not high on your list things that you want to do – fortunately, this beach umbrella is simple to fold up and deal with.
  • Great value umbrella for your bucks: Who doesn’t enjoy getting a bargain? And that’s exactly what you will get with this moderately priced beach umbrella that carries a great name and has so much to offer. There are many umbrellas on the market that don’t give as much bang for your buck.

Cons

Now it’s time to have a look at the disadvantages of owning the Tilt Beach Umbrella by Tommy Bahama. Every product comes with its downfalls, but knowing if you can manage with this product’s will help you to decide whether or not to purchase it:

  • Anchor’s quality could be significantly improved: While the anchor on the Tilt Beach Umbrella works well, owners of this product have reported that it could be of better quality. Made of plastic rather than metal, the corkscrew design makes the umbrella look a little cheap, and throws a shadow over its durability.
  • The umbrella does shake in the wind: While people are confident that this umbrella won’t actually go anywhere when the wind kicks in, the product does start to move quite a lot in the breeze. This can be quite unnerving, especially if you have children underneath it.
  • Comes with a cheaply made carry bag: Unfortunately, Tommy Bahama have decided to include a badly made carry bag with this product. Even though the umbrella fits inside it quite well when collapsed, it doesn’t seem to be able to handle the product’s weight very well, resulting in tearing.

Comparison

 

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
pole materialStrongAluminumMetal
rib materialStrongFiberglassMetal
metallic undercoatingYesNoYes
tent designLightweightClassicXL
wind resistantYesYesYes
capacity3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
anchor systemYesScrews into sand or earthScrews into sand
tiltableYesYesYes
width7 feet8 feet9 feet
zippered door/windowsNoNoYes
UV protectionSPF 100SPF 50UPF 50+
internal pocketsNoNoYes
stabilityYesGoodGood
accessoriesNoNoYes
carry bagYesYesYes

Summary

Available in two great colors, this umbrella offers great value for money and is easy to put together.

The Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella offers an SPF of 100 and 7 feet of glorious shade. Push down handles help to anchor the umbrella into the sand or other soft ground and the vents in the top of it mean that it won’t blow away.

Available in two great colors, this umbrella offers great value for money and is easy to put together. This lightweight option is as easy to put away as it is to put together, and can be used in many different locations.

On the downside, however, some shoppers have reported that the carry bag doesn’t seem to have the quality it needs to carry the umbrella without tearing. Others are not happy with that the anchor is made of plastic and that the umbrella has a tendency to shake in the wind.


Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella
(rated 4.5 / 5)
Protection
Quality
Appearance
Sturdiness
Value for Money
Check Price

With the peak of summer fast approaching, many people are turning their thoughts to spending long, lazy days lounging in the sunshine.

However enjoyable it is, making sure you still have some shade to retreat to is both safe and practical – but doesn’t have to be boring!

Information

A beautiful umbrella, the Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor adds some brightness to staying safe this summer.

This in an umbrella that will get you noticed: it isn’t called a giant rainbow for nothing! The vibrant colors are eye catching and fun.

Not just for use at the beach, this umbrella will not look out of place on fishing vacations, trips to the Lake, or any outdoor event.

Or, if you don’t have the inclination to move, use it at home in your yard. Get the grill out too for a perfect day.

A beautiful umbrella, the Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor adds some brightness to staying safe this summer. A light weight design, this product from EasyGo is a massive 8 feet in diameter, maximizing the amount of shade you get, while making sure there’s room for all the family underneath.

The bright and cheerful rainbow design combines good looks and practicality. With an SPF of 50, it doesn’t just keep you in the shade, it reduces the risk of burning and the consequences of that from harmful rays. We must stress, however, that sun protection should also be worn.

pole materialAluminum
rib materialFiberglass
metallic undercoatingNo
tent designClassic
wind resistantYes
capacity3 to 4 people
anchor systemScrews into sand or earth
tiltableYes
width8 feet
zippered door/windowsNo
UV protectionSPF 50
internal pocketsNo
stabilityGood
accessoriesNo
carry bagYes

This umbrella also boasts an impressive 16 fiberglass ribs and spreaders to increase its structural durability and to stop it from blowing in on itself if the wind becomes brisk. Too many breach umbrellas are guilty of this and it makes them totally impractical.

Another disadvantage to typical beach umbrellas is the way they take off if the wind gets too strong and gets under the fabric. This model from EasyGo is vented so that the wind will have somewhere to go rather than sending your umbrella into orbit.

A locking lever holds the two parts of the pole together for extra stability and anchorage, so you should have total confidence in this umbrella’s ability to go anywhere.

Although not the cheapest beach umbrella on the market, the Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor is by no means the most expensive and offers great value for money if it lives up to all of EasyGo’s claims.

Pros

The Giant Rainbow Umbrella is big enough to cast enough shade to keep you cool in the mad hot summer months.

Take a closer look at this feature-rich product so that you will have a better idea of whether it will live up to your needs and expectations. Here are six advantages of choosing this umbrella over any other on the market.

  • A very tall umbrella, even when buried: Measuring in at 98 inches tall when placed on concrete, or 90 inches when buried into sand or soil, the Giant Rainbow Umbrella is big enough to cast enough shade to keep you cool in the mad hot summer months.
  • New pole design makes it far stronger: After taking on board previous customers’ comments that the stand was too weak to last, EasyGo have redesigned it to ensure that the two connecting poles will not come apart anymore, even in the strongest of winds.
  • The pole will not rust over time: Made out of dull anodized aluminum, this umbrella’s pole will not start to rust the minute it comes into contact with water or humidity. Its composition also makes it extremely light weight, too – perfect for carting it off to your local beach.
  • Comes with its own heavy duty screw: Perfect for those windier days, the Giant Rainbow Umbrella comes with its own heavy duty screw to anchor it firmly and securely into the ground, making sure it does not blow away as soon as the weather turns bad.
  • Tilt the pole without moving the umbrella: If you’re planning to spend whole days somewhere bright and hot, then this feature is for you: track the sun as it moves across the sky with the easy tilt stand top, without having to move the whole umbrella to maximize shade.
  • Not happy with the umbrella? Receive a refund: The company are so confident that you will like this product that if for whatever reason you aren’t happy when you receive it or try it out, you can return it to EasyGo within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Cons

Despite the Giant Rainbow Beach Umbrella having some fantastic features, it does come with a few flaws, too. Here are three of the biggest to help you make an informed decision on this product based on all of the facts:

  • Supplied carry bag is not well made: While it’s great that it comes with one, the carry bag supplied with this umbrella is not of the highest quality; some users reported that, after just a few outings, it started to rip under the weight of the main product itself.
  • The anchor works, but needs to be used carefully: Even though it does a great job of keeping the umbrella firmly in the ground, you need to be careful when putting it up and taking it down; quite a few owners have said it has broken under the pressure of doing so.
  • Not designed to be used with a patio umbrella stand: Unfortunately for most, this beach umbrella will not double up to be used with an umbrella stand as the pole is too thin, and the anchor is not detachable. This may lead you to needing to purchase a second to be used at home, taking up more storage space and more of your hard earned cash.

Comparison

 

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
pole materialAluminumStrongMetal
rib materialFiberglassStrongMetal
metallic undercoatingNoYesYes
tent designClassicLightweightXL
wind resistantYesYesYes
capacity3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
anchor systemScrews into sand or earthYesScrews into sand
tiltableYesYesYes
width8 feet7 feet9 feet
zippered door/windowsNoNoYes
UV protectionSPF 50SPF 100UPF 50+
internal pocketsNoNoYes
stabilityGoodYesGood
accessoriesNoNoYes
carry bagYesYesYes

Summary

It has some well thought out features, such as the easy tilt adjustment and pole anchor.

The Giant Rainbow Beach Umbrella by EasyGo is a good looking product that complements the rest of the EasyGoBrella range perfectly. It has some well thought out features, such as the easy tilt adjustment and pole anchor that help to make a day trip out to the beach a stress-free and shady experience.

It is great to see that the company has taken on board previous customers’ experiences with this umbrella and improved the quality of the stand, making sure that it is now durable enough to withstand wind.

However, they still have some improvements that need to be made before it can be considered a perfect choice: the anchor needs to be made sturdier, and the quality of the carry bag needs to be improved.


Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella
(rated 4.8 / 5)
Protection
Quality
Appearance
Sturdiness
Value for Money
Check Price

A beach umbrella often offers unrivaled protection from the sun – however, the grim reality is that the weather may not always be this favorable.

As we’re going to find out, this Sport-Brella product prepares you for the unexpected.

Information

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 from whatever elements might be thrown at you on your holiday.

Whether it’s baking sunshine, blustery winds or unwanted downpours, you can enjoy as much (or as little) protection as you want due to this shelter’s innovative design.

And thanks to how stable it is, you won’t be left exposed at the worst possible time.

Given how you’ll normally be checking the weather forecast to make sure that it’s a good day to head to the beach, let’s examine how the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella effectively shields you from the scorching midday sun.

Well, 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.

pole materialMetal
rib materialMetal
metallic undercoatingYes
tent designXL
wind resistantYes
capacity3 to 4 people
anchor systemScrews into sand
tiltableYes
width9 feet
zippered door/windowsYes
UV protectionUPF 50+
internal pocketsYes
stabilityGood
accessoriesYes
carry bagYes

It’s important to remember how it’s all too easy for your legs and arms to become sunburned when you’re sat under the shade, because of how certain parts of the body have been left exposed.

Coupled with this, you’ll notice that the fabric offered by Sport-Brella is of an exceptional quality. It has a magnificent UPF rating of 50+ – and according to the manufacturer, this “protects over 99.5% of UVA and UVB rays.” This is also in line with the recommendations that have been made by several skin care foundations.

Inside, you’ll notice that there’s ample room thanks to the storage pockets included. You will normally find this particularly helpful for storing any excess stakes that you didn’t need to use when erecting the Sport-Brella in your chosen sunspot. It’s a nifty feature which guarantees that nothing will get lost in transit – as this could render your product unusable in the years to come, and replacement parts can be costly.

Now that we’ve given you a whistle-stop tour of the product overall, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages on offer.

Pros

This Sport-Brella folds away effortlessly, and this makes it nice and simple to stow away in the included case.

First up, let’s talk about style. This Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella comes in seven colors overall – including black, two shades of blue, deep red, green, and two shades of orange. Some of the other advantages include:

  • This beach umbrella also has waterproof qualities: If the weather does turn against you, bear in mind that this Sport-Brella product won’t let water seep in through the seams. As such, it can also be a great tool to take with you when camping in the great outdoors.
  • A nifty little carry bag has been included: This Sport-Brella folds away effortlessly, and this makes it nice and simple to stow away in the included case without too much stress and hassle. That way, it’ll be nice and intact for when it’s time to whip it out again.
  • With a width of 9ft, it’ll fit two to four people: In terms of size, the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella is perfect for a family of two adults and two young children, without feeling cramped underneath. In promotional photos, you can even see that there’s ample room for storing a cooler, too!
  • The fabric has been reinforced with a metallic undercoating: To doubly ensure that the Sunbrella fabric will shield you from unwanted UVA and UVB rays, you’ll be delighted to know that the material has a metallic undercoating for additional shade. This, thankfully, doesn’t add to much to the product’s weight – at 11.5lbs.
  • The zippered windows open up easily: Want a few patches of sunlight as you luxuriate on the beach? Not a problem. The windows found to the left and right of this three-sided umbrella open up smoothly, allowing you to get plenty of fresh air and extra warmth.
  • It’s an umbrella that’s also beach chair friendly: If you want to bring along your own furniture to use with the umbrella, allowing you to recline and save money on sun bed rentals, this Sport-Brella Sun Shelter has your back. You can lie down and relax without compromising on shade.

Cons

According to shoppers who have had the opportunity to use the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella over several seasons, there are a few quirks which can diminish how useful the product is overall. In a nutshell, they include:

  • You won’t really be able to track the sun: As you’ll know, the levels of shade you’ll be able to enjoy will change throughout the day – as the sun moves. This can mean that you’ll need to practically dismantle the beach umbrella and erect it at a different angle.
  • This beach umbrella needs all the stakes to be used: Unlike other products where you can cut a few corners and normally get away with it, the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter needs to be set up by following instructions carefully and using all the parts. That means if you accidentally lose a stake, it could become unstable.
  • Although a carrying bag is included, the umbrella’s long: Unfortunately, this beach umbrella does have a rather unusual shape, meaning that you’ll probably need two hands to get it to your chosen sunspot. Other products have far more friendly dimensions, and this is because of how the poles snap in half.

Comparison

 

Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
pole materialMetalStrongAluminum
rib materialMetalStrongFiberglass
metallic undercoatingYesYesNo
tent designXLLightweightClassic
wind resistantYesYesYes
capacity3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
anchor systemScrews into sandYesScrews into sand or earth
tiltableYesYesYes
width9 feet7 feet8 feet
zippered door/windowsYesNoNo
UV protectionUPF 50+SPF 100SPF 50
internal pocketsYesNoNo
stabilityGoodYesGood
accessoriesYesNoNo
carry bagYesYesYes

Summary

It’s not a sun umbrella per se, but offers the versatility needed to handle wind, rain and other unpleasant weather conditions.

We like this Sport-Brella product for its vast array of colors and intuitive design. It’s not a sun umbrella per se, but offers the versatility needed to handle wind, rain and other unpleasant weather conditions. Plus, it’s really roomy – unlike some of the other umbrellas on the market which can be rather claustrophobic.

In terms of improvements, we’d probably want the manufacturer to assess the way the umbrella is assembled – and the carrying bag that it comes in.

Some of the pieces included to connect the pole to the canopy are also a little shoddy, and this could do with some improvement. Overall though, you’ll find the Sport-Brella XL Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella is great for chilling out in the sun.


Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Protection
Quality
Appearance
Sturdiness
Value for Money
Check Price

If you are looking for an umbrella that will offer you much more than protection from the sun, then look no further.

This offering from Sport-Brella is the go-anywhere solution to staying out of the wind, rain and, of course, the sun.

Information

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 parties – or even your own back yard.

The Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella is a lightweight at just 9lbs making it perfect to take anywhere.

Use this item, loosely described as a beach umbrella, for instant protection from the elements – just about anywhere you go.

And when we say instant, that’s just what we mean – it takes just three seconds to get this baby up and at it.

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 parties – or even your own back yard.

The Sport-Brella has a diameter of 8 feet when it is open, but it folds down to a manageable 54 x 4 x 4 inches (W x H x D) when it is folded away – and it comes with its own carrying case with shoulder strap for transportation and storage.

Although this beach umbrella is useful for the entire family, it is particularly helpful when it comes to keeping infants and small children safe from the rays of the sun. A typical sun umbrella isn’t sufficient and a tent would be much too hot – this is a great solution.

pole materialMetal
rib materialStrong
metallic undercoatingYes
tent designPrivacy
wind resistantYes
capacityTwo adults
anchor systemStake and tethers
tiltableYes
width8 feet
zippered door/windowsYes
UV protectionYes
internal pocketsYes
stabilityGood
accessoriesNo
carry bagYes

And, although it has so much more to offer than a regular beach umbrella, it can be used upright should you choose to, but for added protection, lie it on its side and tether it sown – quickly and easily.

If you choose to use it on cold days (to watch a game, for example) the curved shape means that the Sport-Brella will capture the warmth from a heater should and keep you snug – as well as protected from wind and rain.

Setting up is easy – open it like a normal umbrella – three seconds, max – and then stake it down if necessary. The whole thing will take around two minutes – but remember you will need a mallet for the larger stakes.

Pros

If the wind gets up or it starts to rain, simply fold down the side flaps to provide a barrier against them.

The Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella sounds too good to be true, but right now we are going to look at more of its great features so you will get a better idea of whether it is the sun shade for you.

  • Amazing sun protection to keep your family safe: The Sport-Brella is constructed from 210 denier polyester fabric and has a metallic undercoating that gives an SPF of 125. This means that it is able to protect users from 99.5% of dangerous UVB and UVA rays.
  • More than an umbrella; this thing has sides: The trouble with a traditional sun umbrella is that you have to keep repositioning it as the sun moves, but the Sport-Brella has canopied sides that offer all-day shade and act as a shield from the wind.
  • Keep your cool on a hot day: It can get more than bit stifling under canvas when it is hot, so the Sport-Brella features side zippered windows and top wind flaps for cross-ventilation and efficient airflow so that you sit or lounge comfortably regardless of how hot it gets.
  • Stay warm on a cooler day: If the wind gets up or it starts to rain, simply fold down the side flaps to provide a barrier against them. The Sport-Brella means that something like inconvenient weather doesn’t have to spoil your outdoor fun anymore.
  • Tethers and stakes mean that this umbrella is going nowhere: As well as a central pole that will push into the sand or ground, the Sport-Brella also comes equipped with tethers and stakes for extra stability and security so that it stays where you put it.
  • Internal pockets mean you won’t lose your valuables in the sand: There are internal pockets in the Sport-Brella that serve a dual purpose. When the umbrella is stored, these pockets are home to the pole and stakes; when it is in use, these pockets are perfect to keep your possessions together.

Cons

Up to now, this sun shelter beach umbrella sounds like every family should own one, but there must be some things that don’t quite measure up. Now is the time to take a look at those to see if it does deserve a place in our lives.

  • The shoulder strap is too long and is uncomfortable: The shoulder strap on the Sport-Brella is long, which means that unless you are exceptionally tall it isn’t the easiest thing to carry. Additionally, it is quite thin, which makes it uncomfortable because it digs into the shoulder.
  • Room for how many? We don’t think so: Much of the literature and images that used to advertise the Sport-Brella imply that this umbrella is big enough for lots of people to sit under with ease. This is absolutely not the case; it fits two adults comfortably; anymore would be a squash.
  • The zippers corrode when exposed to ocean air: Some shoppers have reported that the zippers on the windows have a tendency to corrode when they have been exposed to damp ocean air, which makes them difficult, if not impossible to use.

Comparison

 

Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach UmbrellaSport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
pole materialMetalStrongAluminum
rib materialStrongStrongFiberglass
metallic undercoatingYesYesNo
tent designPrivacyLightweightClassic
wind resistantYesYesYes
capacityTwo adults3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
anchor systemStake and tethersYesScrews into sand or earth
tiltableYesYesYes
width8 feet7 feet8 feet
zippered door/windowsYesNoNo
UV protectionYesSPF 100SPF 50
internal pocketsYesNoNo
stabilityGoodYesGood
accessoriesNoNoNo
carry bagYesYesYes

Summary

UV protection makes it a safe place and windows and flaps either encourage air circulation or create a wind barrier depending upon their position.

The Sport-Brella Portable Sun Shelter Beach Umbrella is quick and easy to set up – and comes equipped with everything you need to do it (apart from the mallet). Storage is easy because it has its own bag, and it has pockets to carry the stake and other bits and pieces.

These pockets double as somewhere to store your cell phone and other items when the umbrella is in use – and that can be pretty much whatever the weather. UV protection makes it a safe place and windows and flaps either encourage air circulation or create a wind barrier depending upon their position.

On the downside, users have found that the zippers on the windows can corrode quite easily, which makes using them problematic, and the shoulder strap is not the best. The capacity of this umbrella is often overstated, too, which is not a good thing.


Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella

Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Protection
Quality
Appearance
Sturdiness
Value for Money
Check Price

Now that everyone’s thoughts are turning to summer and the fantastic leisure days that come with it, it’s time to start thinking about keeping safe in the sun.

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.

Information

This shade shelter features an attached, therefore sealed, floor so you don’t have to worry about bugs getting in from underneath the shelter.

Coming in four bright and vivid colors – green, orange, pink or blue and lime – this shade shelter adds a little fun to the relieving shade it provides.

With an SPF of 50+ thanks to the UV Guard protection, this product from Coleman helps to keep skin from burning when used, although sunscreen should also be used.

Four external pockets provide a safe place for your bits and pieces so that they don’t become covered in sand.

Although the Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella has been designed to offer shade and protection from the sun’s rays, it has the added benefit of being waterproof so if you get caught in the rain (or it gets splashed with sea water) it won’t matter.

This shade shelter features an attached, therefore sealed, floor so you don’t have to worry about bugs getting in from underneath the shelter, nor do you need to lie directly onto the sand.

pole materialStrong
rib materialStrong
metallic undercoatingNo
tent designPrivacy
wind resistantYes
capacity3 to 4 people
anchor systemStakes and sandbags
tiltableNo
width7.5 feet
zippered door/windowsYes
UV protectionLimited
internal pocketsNo
stabilityYes
accessoriesYes
carry bagYes

Although this Coleman shelter has been designed for beach use, it is tethered by pegs so you could also use it on grass – which opens up the possibilities from having some shade in your own yard to the side lines of a Little League game.

The carry bag makes this shelter perfect to throw in the trunk of your car for days out or longer road trips, but the shelter will also fold down to sit into a standard suitcase should you wish to take it on a vacation that involves flying.

When you use any item outside on a regular basis, there’s more than a good chance that it is going to get grubby. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to get this shelter clean again. Set it up in your yard and hose it down – simple.

It isn’t recommended that you use beach chairs inside this shelter because the legs may damage the flooring. Of course, this is a decision you will have to make for yourself depending upon the construction of your chairs.

Pros

Tall enough for adults to sit under as well as children thanks to its 57 inch center height.

Knowing the positive factors of a shade shelter can help you to make a more informed decision on which style and make to go for. Here are some of the best things users found when using the Coleman Compact Beach Umbrella:

  • Very quick and easy to set up: Thanks to its simple yet effective design, this compact shade shelter is quick to assemble, with some users reporting that it took only ten minutes to get up. This, in part, is due to the instructions being logical and easy to follow.
  • Shade Shelter has two zippered doors for privacy: Fantastic if you want to let a little air flow into the tent-like structure, or need a little privacy for an afternoon snooze or to change into your swimsuit. This product has two doors either side for added practicality.
  • Big enough when up, yet small when down: Tall enough for adults to sit under as well as children thanks to its 57 inch center height, this shade shelter packs away to just 2 feet long and 5 inches wide in the provided carry case.
  • Has its own fitted floor: So that you don’t have to sit on hot burning sand, this shelter comes with its own floor mat that spreads outside of the tent. Quick to dry and easy to clean, this is a great feature that brings a little luxury to any avid beach-goer.
  • Can handle being in the seaside wind: Coming equipped with six sandbags and plenty of sturdy metal stakes to help anchor it down, this shade shelter can handle being in anything from a slight breeze to a strong wind – great if the weather turns while you’re on your summer trip out.
  • Fantastically light to carry: Weighing in at just 5lbs when in its carry case, the Coleman Compact Shelter is light enough to carry easily from the car to the beach. And as its shipping weight is light too at just 6lbs, having this product mailed out to you should be cheap enough.

Cons

As with every product, there are bad things to consider as well as good. Now we’re going to take a look at what lets down the Compact Shade Shelter so that you can decide if it really is right for you and your needs:

  • Not as quickly assembled as it could be: Despite it being easy to set this shade shelter up, this product does not benefit from the instant relief of pop up technology, whereby you could be lounging in the shade in seconds, rather than minutes.
  • Poles may just not be sturdy enough: Despite seeming sturdy enough when up, many owners of this product have reported that the poles that come with it seem fragile and may splinter and snap when being constructed, which means that this beach umbrella may not be for you if you’re looking for a long term investment.
  • Tent quality could be a little better: Again, if you’re looking for something that will last season after season, then this product probably isn’t the best choice. After multiple uses, owners of this shade shelter have found the tent material has started to pull away at the seams.

Comparison

 

Coleman Compact Shade Shelter Beach UmbrellaColeman Compact Shade Shelter Beach Umbrella

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach UmbrellaTommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella

Giant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach UmbrellaGiant Rainbow Sand Anchor 8′ Beach Umbrella

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
pole materialStrongStrongAluminum
rib materialStrongStrongFiberglass
metallic undercoatingNoYesNo
tent designPrivacyLightweightClassic
wind resistantYesYesYes
capacity3 to 4 people3 to 4 people3 to 4 people
anchor systemStakes and sandbagsYesScrews into sand or earth
tiltableNoYesYes
width7.5 feet7 feet8 feet
zippered door/windowsYesNoNo
UV protectionLimitedSPF 100SPF 50
internal pocketsNoNoNo
stabilityYesYesGood
accessoriesYesNoNo
carry bagYesYesYes

Summary

Able to handle most wind strengths, you can be confident that this product will not let you down should the weather turn.

The Compact Shade Shelter by Coleman is a good product that doesn’t take an age to construct. With its own fitted floor and two zippered doors, you can feel like you’ve taken your own miniature home from home with you on your beach day out.

Able to handle most wind strengths, you can be confident that this product will not let you down should the weather turn – helping to keep your family and possessions safe and dry for a short while why you wait it out.

Unfortunately though, this shade shelter hasn’t been designed with longevity in mind, and so isn’t something you should consider unless you can accept it probably won’t last very many years with plenty of use.

How To Choose The Best Beach Umbrella

2-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-choiceNow that we’ve established that simplicity is the one thing you should be focused on with your beach umbrella, let’s move on and talk about the other factors that should play into your decision. They include:

Price: Of course, you’re going to want to strike the balance between getting an umbrella that’s nice and affordable, and one that’s going to be able to tide you over for a couple of seasons at the least.

There’s no point getting a product that offers the narrowest width on the market if you have a family of four who are going to need protection from the shade.

Capacity: Think about why you’re buying this beach umbrella, and more importantly, who you’re buying it for.

There’s no point getting a product that offers the narrowest width on the market if you have a family of four who are going to need protection from the shade. Equally, you might get disgruntled looks from other beachgoers if you pitch up with a tent that can fit 10 people, and it’s just you and your partner.

Materials: It’s a smart move to get a beach umbrella that’s lightweight – especially if you’re going to be walking long distances from the car to your favorite sunspot. You can normally get a firm idea of how much an umbrella is going to weigh by looking at the materials which have been used for manufacturing the poles.

Steel and aluminum are fairly lightweight and they’re also durable. They often have an anodized or a powder coated finish for extra resilience. Wood, although it looks brilliant, is incredibly heavy, and these poles will usually only be suitable if you’re planning on keeping the umbrella in the garden.

Design: And last but not least, don’t forget about the umbrella’s appearance. There are some nice, bright colors out there that you can choose from – and these work wonders, especially considering the tastes of most shoppers these days. Enjoy it… it’s the only chance where canary yellow can actually be acceptable!

Does it come with UV protection?

3-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-uv-protectionIf you’ve bought a patio umbrella in the past, you probably would have seen UV protection as a nice feature, but not something that’s compulsory on your list.

However, beach umbrellas are a completely different kettle of fish – and this is owing to how you’re going to use this product on sunny days in places where there are hot temperatures. Giving your children protection needs to be a number one priority.

Thankfully, most manufacturers have ensured that their umbrellas use materials such as Sunbrella, which come with a clear SPF rating.

Thankfully, most manufacturers have ensured that their umbrellas use materials such as Sunbrella, which come with a clear SPF rating.

This, as you may already know, stands for Sun Protection Factor – and it works on a numerical scale from 2 to 100. The higher the rating, the more effective it’ll be at protecting you from UV rays that are otherwise able to penetrate through the material and leave you with a nasty case of sunburn.

As a rule of thumb, you should remember this at all times: if you can still see the sun in the sky, you’re still being exposed to UVA and UVB rays. That’s where zippered doors and windows can come in handy for giving you 360-degree protection when the midday sun is at its peak and you want a break from sunbathing.

If you see a reference to UPF on the product descriptions issued by manufacturers, don’t worry: it isn’t a typo. This is simply a different measurement used for assessing a beach umbrella’s effectiveness at shielding your skin from the sun.

In many cases, you will also find that beach umbrellas come equipped with a metallic undercoating that further stops the unwanted penetrating of harmful UV rays – and this should be at the top of your wish list when buying an umbrella for kids.

What accessories does the beach umbrella offer?

4-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-accessoriesWe all like getting value for money – and when it comes to some beach umbrella companies, they are more than happy to offer this to you in spades.

For example, some products come with a nifty line where you can dry your clothes, eliminating the need to put wet swimsuits and towels in your hold-all before you head on home. In other circumstances, there are also nifty internal pockets for storage – and we’ll be discussing that in our next section.

You should also see whether or not a carrying bag for the beach umbrella is included in the box.

You should also see whether or not a carrying bag for the beach umbrella is included in the box. Most of the time, it will be – but there are some manufacturers who will not provide you with this accessory. In such cases, they’re typically sold separately – and buying a carrying bag from a different manufacturer can prove challenging because of the many different dimensions that beach umbrellas can have.

Although the carrying bag shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when you’ve got your heart set on a certain beach umbrella, don’t be afraid to ask the company what options they provide. Given how there will be poles and the canopy itself to lug around, it’s important to have some solution for getting it from A to B.

Other accessories will include the anchor systems which are used to secure it to the sand – or in some cases, even the ground.

Such anchors should be able to penetrate deeply, as this enhances wind resistance, improves stability and stops the beach umbrella from blowing away in the breeze.

Given how coastal areas are often more blustery than their inland counterparts, good tools to keep your beach umbrella grounded really won’t go amiss.

Are there any internal pockets provided?

5-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-internal-pocketsAs you’d imagine, this feature is normally found in the larger beach umbrellas on the market – and they can be nothing short of a lifesaver in terms of functionality.

When you’re at the beach, you’ll normally be in and out of the sea, wearing clothes which are short of pockets and not waterproof. Carrying your keys, wallet, important documents, cash and even wearing your wedding ring can all be a risky business – especially if something goes missing in the sea, or an item falls out of loose pockets as you take a stroll along the coastline.

I don’t know whether you’ve tried looking for a valuable item on a vast expanse of sand before, or donning goggles to pore over the seabed, but believe me when I say it’s a stressful experience and often one that ends disappointingly.

I don’t know whether you’ve tried looking for a valuable item on a vast expanse of sand before, or donning goggles to pore over the seabed, but believe me when I say it’s a stressful experience and often one that ends disappointingly.

However, beach umbrellas can come to the rescue here, giving you a suitable place for storing all of your items as you seek shade or sunbathe close by. It’ll be a lot safer than placing your gear in a tote bag that lies close by to a sun bed, especially if you’re planning on chilling out with some headphones in.

Although you should always be vigilant and never complacent, a beach umbrella is not really a place where opportunistic thieves would look for cash, jewelry, or other items which prove pivotal to your vacation or day out. That’s mainly because not all products provide such a nifty feature.

Don’t forget that if your beach umbrella is big enough, you may be able to use some of the room for storage even if you don’t have internal pockets.

After all, it’s a great place to put a cooler!

Does the beach umbrella have zippered doors or windows?

6-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-zippered-doorsIn many ways, this transforms your beach umbrella into more of a tent – but this certainly shouldn’t dissuade you. A product that boasts zippered doors and windows provides loads of great advantages.

For example, when it’s time to change from your normal clothes into a swimsuit, you can apply the zippers for instant privacy – without having to awkwardly erect some sort of barricade so you can remain decent as other holidaymakers walk on by.

These doors and windows can also be tucked away whenever they are not needed, meaning you’ll still be able to get plenty of sunlight, fresh air and ventilation when it’s wanted.

These doors and windows can also be tucked away whenever they are not needed, meaning you’ll still be able to get plenty of sunlight, fresh air and ventilation when it’s wanted.

Earlier, you’ll remember we were also talking about UV resistance – and zippered doors and windows are the ultimate solution for protecting your children from the sun when they need a break.

They can also provide the levels of shade you need to read your book – as trying to become absorbed in a paperback or your Kindle can become near impossible when you’re contending with direct sunlight.

In terms of durability, the one thing you need to be sure of is that the zips are resilient and not cheaply designed. Always check reviews for any reports that the zips can begin to jam and become unusable as time wears on.

Hopefully, this will be covered in the warranty that’s offered by your manufacturer if you are dissatisfied for any reason – so at least you can take comfort in that.

Finally, you should check that the fabric is strong and resilient, as you don’t want this extension to increase the likelihood that the beach umbrella could begin to tear at the seams.

Will it guarantee wind resistance?

7-beach-umbrella-buying-guide-wind-resistanceStrong levels of wind resistance are key in a beach umbrella – there’s no two ways about it. Always check to see whether the product you’re interested in comes equipped with wind vents, as this allows air to circulate consistently. Also remember that the more anchor points that the beach umbrella has, the higher the chance that it’ll be able to hold its own whenever a gust rears its head.

Just remember that very few beach umbrella makers – if any – will provide guarantees in their warranty against damage to the product that has been caused by wind damage.

If the fabric for the umbrella is strong, and the product boasts a floor that can be placed on the sand to keep your belongings protected, you also have the added advantage that you’ll be keeping the beach umbrella weighted down whenever you’re sitting or lying inside.

Just remember that very few beach umbrella makers – if any – will provide guarantees in their warranty against damage to the product that has been caused by wind damage. As such, it’s recommended that you use your judgment to decide if the weather is suitable for using the beach umbrella.

The rib material on the beach umbrella will also add to the product’s overall stability. If it’s made out of fiberglass, the canopy is less likely to lose its shape as time wears on – a crucial consideration given how most umbrellas are carefully designed to have a shape which makes them resistant to the wind.

So – in summary, there are five different specifications to look for when you’re on the market for that first beach umbrella.

Check out to see whether the fabric offers ample UV protection, and whether you’ll get any accessories in the box. Wind resistance is crucial for ensuring that your beach umbrella has longevity, and internal pockets will enable you to relax.

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella
Our pick for the best beach umbrella is: Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching beach umbrellas.

Best Beach Umbrella Characteristics

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.

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.

Stability

2-beach-umbrella-reviews-stabilityWhen you are choosing a beach umbrella, have a look at its construction. Something that appears to be flimsy probably won’t stand up to the rigors of your time at the coast. Even if you are planning on buying online, try to check them out in-store, or read the reviews of people who already own the umbrella you are considering.

It is important that your umbrella is stable; nothing takes the fun out of a day at the beach quite like having to chase after your beach umbrella because it has taken off – again!

The construction of the pole on your beach umbrella plays an important role in its stability.

It can get quite windy by the ocean even on the hottest of days and this can create problems for the stability of beach umbrellas causing them to bend, bow or even blow away. To reduce the likelihood of this from happening some umbrellas are vented so the wind will blow through them rather than against them.

The construction of the pole on your beach umbrella plays an important role in its stability. For ease of transportation and storage, beach umbrellas come apart so have a look at (or read reviews) at how they connect, particularly if the umbrella tilts because this will have an impact up its stability.

The better beach umbrellas have pole pieces that link together with an interlocking button that gives them extra strength and stability. You may have to fork out a few more bucks for this feature but you will probably be glad that you did.

Instead of this interlocking button, some beach umbrellas feature a locking pin to hold the poles together. Although this can work well, it doesn’t make the umbrella as stable as the interlocking button and the umbrella could tip over.

The poles on some beach umbrellas break down into three pieces, which is great when it comes to smaller storage, but it also means that there are more points that could let down the stability of the umbrella.

Remember, too, that some beach umbrellas have sides on them, making them more of a sunshade shelter. If you are interested in this type, ensure that it has enough stakes and/or sandbags to hold it in place.

Width

3-beach-umbrella-reviews-widthThe width of a beach umbrella has a direct impact upon how much shade it provides, so obviously the wider it is the more protection it gives. On that premise, then, it would appear that you should buy the widest umbrella that you can afford.

Before you do, however, there are some things that you should consider. For example, the wider the umbrella, the more it is going to be affected by the wind because it is offering a bigger area.

The beach umbrellas that have sides on them, giving them the appearance of a three-sided tent can offer a greater width than a more usual beach umbrella, but these have other issues that you need to consider.

Other issues concern the stability of the umbrella: the bigger it is the better the pole construction needs to be to carry the additional weight and diameter. Weight, too, could make the umbrella a real burden on your trek to the beach so make sure you look at the manufacturer’s statistics before you buy.

The beach umbrellas that have sides on them, giving them the appearance of a three-sided tent can offer a greater width than a more usual beach umbrella, but these have other issues that you need to consider.

Choose one that has vents or zippered windows that can open. These serve a dual purpose; they allow for better air circulation and prevent the wind from threatening to snatch it from its tethers.

The side panels on these types of beach umbrellas offer more privacy than traditional beach umbrellas but because the area they cover is enclosed, you may feel that the width is actually smaller than some others. Some, however, will let you raise the sides and peg them out so you have a much wider area of shade.

Some beach umbrella users have commented that they are perfectly happy with the beach umbrella that they have, apart from the fact that it is no longer wide enough. Perhaps they bought it when they were single and now they have a partner, or perhaps there has been an addition to the family.

Whatever the reason, manufacturers have listened, so if you are in this position you will be delighted to learn that you can now purchase beach umbrella add-ons. These are constructed from durable fabric and attach to the umbrella and pin to the ground for added privacy and a wider shade area.

Rib material

4-beach-umbrella-reviews-rib-materialThis might seem like an odd thing to consider when you are looking for the ideal beach umbrella – or it may just be something that it hasn’t occurred to you to think about, but the ribs of a beach umbrella are a vital part of its structure.

Traditionally, the ribs on a beach umbrella are constructed from steel or wood but there are issues with both of these materials. Steel ribs are vulnerable to corrosion and rust – and because they are used in a location with damp air, this can happen quickly.

Wooden ribs can look attractive but they make the umbrella heavy and they are not impervious to the damp and humidity at the shore and can start to rot.

Wooden ribs can look attractive but they make the umbrella heavy and they are not impervious to the damp and humidity at the shore and can start to rot.

The best material for beach umbrella ribs is fiberglass but in the past this has meant exorbitant prices. New methods of manufacturing, however, means that the price of this versatile material has been drastically reduced and is much more affordable.

The beauty of having fiberglass ribs on your beach umbrella is that they have been proven to be (in tests conducted by the University of Miami) four times stronger than ribs of other compositions and can cope with winds of over 50mph.

The ability of fiberglass ribs to flex and bend in the winds that would break the ribs of other compositions is an obvious advantage, and it has been estimated that fiberglass ribs will last up to five times longer than any others.

These ribs won’t rot or rust, and they are also much lighter than steel or wood, which gives them two great advantages over traditional beach umbrella ribs – they are much more durable and so will have a longer lifespan, and they are easier to carry.

So, although fiberglass ribs have been proven to be the most effective, they only make up part of the umbrella’s structure so don’t just rush out and buy the first one you see that has this feature; there are other things to consider, too.

Anchor system

5-beach-umbrella-reviews-anchor-systemThe way the beach umbrella is anchored is one such consideration; a beach umbrella is only ever any use if it can stand up and do the job for which it is intended – if it keeps falling over it is useless.

Traditionally, the bottom pole of the beach umbrella is a spike that sticks into the sand. If you have the strength to drive the spike far enough into the sand, and the sand isn’t too fine, this can work quite adequately.

To cater for those who prefer an easy time of it, beach umbrella manufacturers have come up with a solution.

However, some of us are not strong enough – and even if we were, the idea of a day at the beach is to relax not go into training for an Olympic event. So, to cater for those who prefer an easy time of it, beach umbrella manufacturers have come up with a solution.

This is the beach umbrella that features a corkscrew-like bottom pole. This rotates into the sand (or earth if you are using your umbrella by the lake or in your back yard). This method makes it easier to get the pole deeper into the sand for a firmer grip, and is easier to do than the spike.

Some beach umbrellas boast collapsible handles for you to hold onto while you rotate the pole. Once you have got it as you like it, simple push the handles down and attach the rest of the umbrella to the bottom pole. These ‘corkscrews’ are usually constructed from plastic or steel; plastic is lighter than steel but not as hardy, although steel can rust.

There are two obvious disadvantages of this type of anchor system: if you want to use your beach umbrella on your patio it won’t fit into an umbrella stand so you would have to push into your lawn, and it has to be unscrewed to get it out – so no quick grab and go.

There is also another anchor system that you may or may not be interested in. It isn’t as common as those already mentioned and the reason for that may be that it isn’t as effective.

You can buy beach umbrellas that have sand bags attached to weigh them in place. Obviously, the more sand you put into the bags, the better it will be at staying put – but this is quite labor intensive – and you have to empty them again (although you could make this into a game for the kids)!

Pole material

6-beach-umbrella-reviews-pole-materialWhat the pole on your beach umbrella is made from matters. Even if you are only looking for a cheap beach umbrella to last one season, if the pole isn’t up to the job then you may as well not bother having a beach umbrella at all.

Wooden poles are still popular, and there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing this option. The most obvious plus is that it won’t rust – but it will take longer to dry than a pole made from something else, and that could make it rot if you put it away when it is still damp.

Even if you are only looking for a cheap beach umbrella to last one season, if the pole isn’t up to the job then you may as well not bother having a beach umbrella at all.

Wooden poles do come apart for easy storage but the connection tends to be much more simplistic than on other poles, which, depending on the wind strength could have an impact upon its stability.

Aluminum poles are lightweight but if you are looking for one with a long life, make sure that it has been anodized to prevent rusting no matter how often it comes into contact with sea water, rain or is in a humid environment.

It isn’t unusual to get beach umbrella poles that have components made from different materials. For example, an aluminum pole may have a plastic anchor and/or connections and tilt mechanisms.

Plastic is something that can work exceptionally well or is a cheap disaster, so it really does pay to check out any plastic parts on the umbrella’s pole before you buy. If you find one that has been well made and is sturdy, then you should have nothing to fear because plastic does have a part to play. It won’t rot, is easy to dry and it is lightweight.

As with anything, very often the idiom is, you get what you pay for, and up to a point this is true with beach umbrellas. A cheap construction of the pole material and other parts is going to impact upon the price – and how effective the umbrella is.

But, don’t just be swayed by price alone. Cheaper material production means that many of the mid-range beach umbrellas have lots to offer and will last for many years to come.

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella
Our pick for the best beach umbrella is: Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching beach umbrellas.

Summary

beach umbrella reviews

Are you looking for a new beach umbrella? If you are, you have probably discovered that they are no longer simply an umbrella.

It’s not just a case of choosing one that you like the color of anymore; nowadays beach umbrellas come with a multitude of features.

Of course, the color still has to be right and manufacturers won’t let you down on this one – beach umbrellas come in a vast range of color combinations, all designed to create an impact on the beach.

The main purpose of a beach umbrella is to provide shade and protection from the sun, so many of them now have a metallic coating on the underside of the fabric to provide a barrier against ultra violet rays.

The main purpose of a beach umbrella is to provide shade and protection from the sun, so many of them now have a metallic coating on the underside of the fabric to provide a barrier against ultra violet rays.

It is likely that this will be advertised as SPF followed by a number – the higher the number, the better the protection, but it is still advisable to use sunscreen, especially for younger members of the family who are less likely to remain under the umbrella.

In order to get the most shade from your beach umbrella, it will help if it has the ability to tilt. This is enabled by a mechanism on the pole that will let the umbrella change position without you having to move the entire thing.

If you are looking for a beach umbrella that will double as a patio umbrella, you will need to take a look at the pole to see whether it can be adapted to fit a patio umbrella stand as not all of them can.

Think, too, about how you are going to transport your beach umbrella. In most cases you are going to have to walk some of the way to your ideal spot so a carry bag is a useful accessory.

Before you buy the first umbrella that has a carry bag, however, check out the shoulder strap and consider how far you will have to carry it. Weight, naturally, is important but if you are going to be carrying it far, the strap should be wide enough not to dig into your shoulder and not too long.

Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella
Our pick for the best beach umbrella is: Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor 7′ Tilt Beach Umbrella. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching beach umbrellas.

Sources

  1. Ultraviolet Radiation Protection By A Beach Umbrella, National Institutes of Health, April 1, 2010
  2. For Your Safety: Protect Yourself From Sun, National Park Service
  3. Study Reveals What Is More Effective Against Sunburn, University of South Florida, January 26, 2017
  4. The 6 Best Beach Umbrellas, Ezvid Wiki, September 27, 2017
  5. Best Beach Umbrellas - Top Rated Portable Beach Umbrellas, Good Housekeeping, May 12, 2009
  6. The Best Beach Umbrellas, Chairs, and Accessories, The Wirecutter, October 5, 2017
  7. 10 Health Benefits of Hitting the Beach, The Fact Site, June 10, 2015
  8. Health Benefits Of The Beach: 3 Reasons To Hit The Beach This Summer, Medical Daily, June 14, 2013
  9. How Do I Protect Myself from UV Rays?, Cancer.org, March 19, 2017
  10. Beach Benefits: Oceanside Living Is Good for Health, Live Science, June 27, 2013

Pin this article now!

Click this link to enjoy Exclusive AUGUST 2019 Deals »