You’re out shopping, sightseeing in a new city or on the way to a meeting and all of a sudden, the heavens open, but you don’t have an umbrella so you trudge on and arrive at your next stop soaking wet. Is there anything worse than being caught in the rain without an umbrella?
Yes; not having the best umbrella that you possibly could! The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to umbrellas, you really do get what you pay for. Many people don’t put much thought into even owning an umbrella, so they usually make an impulse buy at the first store they come across when it starts to drizzle, and choose the least expensive option available because they will only need it for a short while and an umbrella is an umbrella, right?
Wrong! A cheap product picked up for a few dollars is likely to turn itself inside out and break at the first sign of a light breeze, causing frustration and doing nothing to keep you dry. It ends up in the trash before too long; ultimately forcing you to buy another umbrella next time it rains and costing you more in the long run.
If you’re hoping to find yourself the best rated umbrella to invest in, our guide and product reviews will help ensure that you’ll never get caught out in the rain again.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN UMBRELLA
Although there is in fact many parts to an umbrella, we won’t bore you by listing them all; we’ve just listed the key parts that you should take note of.
- Canopy: The canopy is the fabric that covers you and keeps the rain out. As a general guide, you should look out for a product that has a deep canopy which allows for more protection from the sides than a flat design, and materials such as polyester and pongee are a better choice than nylon. Like Egyptian cotton sheets, the higher the thread count, the higher the durability of an umbrella’s canopy fabric.
- Ribs & Stretchers: These are the long, thin and usually metal pieces that are attached to the inside of the canopy and expand when you open the umbrella, giving it its shape and keeping it open. They are prone to rust which will reduce the lifespan of your umbrella; so, look out for rust-proof materials or treatments.
- Handle: The part you hold onto. When wet, your hands do get slippery, so a handle which provides additional grip using a material such as rubber will serve you better than a plastic handle.
- The Shaft: This is the stick part of the umbrella that holds the umbrella upright. It should be made of a material strong and durable enough to keep the umbrella up easily even in heavy wind conditions, without the need for you to support it with your hands.
WHAT DO YOU NEED THINK ABOUT WHEN LOOKING FOR AN UMBRELLA?
The main purpose of an umbrella is to keep you dry. However, there are a few other important factors related to its performance to consider such as how it holds up in harsh conditions and if it suits your daily activities and lifestyle.
We’ve detailed below a few points that you should keep in mind, and why.
WIND & WATER-PROOF
One of the worst things that can happen in the pouring rain is being hit by a gust of wind, causing your umbrella to become inverted which bends the ribs the wrong way. You spend an infuriating few minutes putting it right again, getting very wet in the meantime or the ribs snap and you can no longer use it.
If you would like to avoid this undignified situation, you should think about investing in an umbrella that has been wind-tested. This means that it’s been tested against winds of various speeds in a wind-tunnel, measuring its effectiveness in windy conditions.
In terms of design, some umbrellas have a canopy that is designed to further withstand strong winds, such as a vented or double canopy. Furthermore; some manufacturers are now also applying water-proof treatments to their products, which avoids the dreaded sodden fabric canopy and results in less mess and extra durability.
It’s a familiar scenario; you drag that bulky and annoying umbrella around for weeks and it never rains. So, fed up of carrying this umbrella that you never seem to need, one day you leave it at home, and what happens? It starts pouring down of course!
If this is all too true for you then you should look out for a compact umbrella and take note of its length when folded; these models are constructed in a way which allows them to fold down into a small and manageable size, meaning that you can stash it away for ‘just in case’ without weighing yourself down.
Speaking of weight, it’s also worth paying attention to the materials used in the construction of the product. Materials such as fiberglass and anodized aluminum weigh less than other materials, so are a good choice if you like to travel light.
AUTOMATIC OPEN & CLOSE
Imagine you’re caught in a rainstorm with your laptop bag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. When you have no hands to spare, an automatic open-and-close function comes in useful. Most high-quality umbrellas these days have this function, allowing you to open and close your umbrella at the touch of a button; best of all using only one hand!
You’ve made the decision to invest in a good quality product, so you expect it to last awhile. Keep in mind that an umbrella is always out in the rain and while in use it is constantly wet. That moisture can result in rust.
When the metal parts of your umbrella rust, they become weak and damaged, and it won’t be long until the umbrella becomes useless. Look out for umbrellas which incorporate materials or treatments that prevent rust, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a product that will give you value for your money.
Now that you’re aware of what you should be looking for, here are some of the top rated products in the market.
GustBuster Metro Automatic Umbrella
FOLDED LENGTH: 16 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 43 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: 100% nylon canopy, award-winning double canopy design, conveniently folds for easy transportation, fits in a briefcase or handbag, reinforced shaft, hardened-steel ribs, wind-proof up to 55 miles per hour, includes carrying case that can be used as a backpack or shoulder sling, automatic open & close function, lifetime warranty
DESCRIPTION: The compact and handy GustBuster Metro umbrella is a god-send when a downpour hits while you’re running around with your hands full. One of its key features is its carrying case which can be slung over your shoulder or carried like a backpack.
Furthermore, it’s small and compact enough to be carried in your briefcase, backpack or handbag but large enough to shield up to two people from the rain. A strong and sturdy product, it is wind-proof up to 55 miles per hour and benefits from heavy-duty steel ribs and a reinforced shaft.
Its award-winning double canopy design provides additional protection and durability. This umbrella also boasts a convenient automatic open and close function as well a sure-grip handle which ensures comfort.
euroSCHIRM Light Trek Automatic Umbrella
FOLDED LENGTH: 11.4 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 36.6 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Compact and light, corrosion resistant frame made of aluminum, fiberglass polyamide and metal, strong and sturdy aluminum shaft, EVA hard foam handle, includes a waterproof nylon storage case with polyester mesh sides that can be attached to a backpack or belt, aluminum carabiner, UV protection, automatic open & close function
The compact euroSCHIRM is light as a feather, and a tough yet flexible foldable umbrella due to the use of lightweight fiberglass polyamide, anodized aluminum and metal in its frame. In addition, these materials are also highly resistant to erosion, rust and decay, guaranteeing durability you can depend on.
This product also comes with a waterproof carry bag for mess free storage which is easily and conveniently transported by attaching it to a belt or backpack with its carrying loop or aluminum carabiner, making it an ideal and fuss-free essential if you’re out hiking. It is impressively compact, when folded it is half its length when open.
Not only does it keep you protected from the rain, it also keeps you protected from the sun; its silver metallic color is designed to shield harmful UV rays & heat. It’s also comfortable to carry and will not slip from your hand even while wet due to its hard-foam handle, plus it opens and closes at the push of a button. The automatic open and close button even works when a strong wind blows the canopy inside out, avoiding damage and ensuring safety.
totes Auto Open Wooden Stick Umbrella
FOLDED LENGTH: 36 inches (does not collapse)
CANOPY SIZE: 48 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Polyester canopy, water-repellent treatment, automatic open & close function, traditional wood crook handle, lifetime warranty
A stylish and functional product, the totes Auto Open Wooden Stick Umbrella combines classic design with a high level of durability. The lightweight polyester canopy has been treated with a water-repellent application, further protecting you from the elements and guaranteeing a long-lasting product.
It benefits from an automatic open and close function which can be operated one-handed making this umbrella a breeze to use. The classic wood crook handle looks great but is also ergonomically designed, resulting in a secure grip and ease of use.
This product can be hand washed, and has a wide tie strap for easy storage. It is better suited for light to moderate rain and wind, so it’s the ideal choice for everyday use in the city and is available in a range of fashionable colors.
ShedRain WindPro Mini Umbrella Auto Open & Close
FOLDED LENGTH: 11 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 43 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: WindPro® polyester & vented canopy, automatic open & close function, 3-section electrostatic steel shaft, fiberglass frame and ribs, cushion-grip handle, includes carry case with belt loop attachment and snap-on swivel hook, lifetime warranty
The ShedRain WindPro® Mini Umbrella is built to withstand the harshest of conditions. It boasts WindPro® technology which means the canopy is vented, delivering a high level of resistance to strong winds and stops it being turned inside out.
Durability is further enhanced by its lightweight fiberglass frame and its electrostatic steel shaft provides additional strength and sturdiness. The cushion grip handle guarantees easy handling and it’s a pleasure to use because of its automatic open and close function.
It can be used with one hand only leaving your other hand free to carry a bag, briefcase, a cup of coffee or open a door. Furthermore; the polyester canopy is fast-drying due to a Teflon™ brand finish, ensuring less mess.
Kolumbo UltraSlim WindMaster Travel Umbrella with Auto Open Close
BEST FOR: A high-tech umbrella that will withstand the harshest of conditions.
FOLDED LENGTH: 11 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 39 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Wind-proof up to 55 miles per hour, wind-resistant frame system, stainless-steel construction, pongee water-repellent canopy, One Handed™ open & close function, lifetime guarantee
The Kolumbo UltraSlim benefits from the latest in umbrella technology, which makes for a heavy duty and reliable product. It has been wind-tested for wind speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, and passed with flying colors.
Further keeping the wind at bay, its frame is made with stainless steel and fiberglass, making it highly resilient to strong winds and incredibly flexible; meaning the ribs will not break and will bounce back into shape with ease when necessary. Its stainless-steel construction is rust-proof which makes this a long-lasting and good value product.
The canopy is made from high quality pongee fabric which is lightweight, hard-wearing and water-repellent. The One Handed™ Operation makes opening and closing this umbrella fuss-free, especially when you get caught in a downpour with your hands full.
Blunt XS_Metro Umbrella
FOLDED LENGTH: 14 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 37 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Polyester canopy, BLUNT Tips and Radial Tensioning System, wind-proof up to 55 miles per hour, two-stage collapsible, includes storage sleeve for convenient carrying
The Blunt XS_Metro Umbrella serves up the ultimate in protection against the elements and has been proven to stand winds of up to 55 miles per hour while keeping you dry. The canopy has a robust aerodynamic structure due to tensioning within the construction of the frame.
Furthermore, the product benefits from the patented Radial Tensioning System which works by distributing the effort required to open the umbrella throughout the surface of the canopy, resulting in a tighter surface area and less chance of the canopy flipping inside out in a gust of wind.
The feature that sets this umbrella apart from its competitors is the blunt tips rather than the traditional pointed tips; no need to worry about harming someone walking past whilst you open your umbrella, nor yourself for that matter!
REI Travel Umbrella
FOLDED LENGTH: 12 inches
CANOPY SIZE: 43 inches
SPECIFIC FEATURES: Polyester canopy, WindPro® system, iron shaft, steel & FRP ribs, compact and lightweight, automatic open & close function, three-stage collapsible, includes an umbrella strap, carry strap & carabiner clip
The REI Travel Umbrella is a fantastic choice for travelers due to its ability to fold up small; despite a large 43-inch canopy, it collapses in three sections to a convenient and compact 12 inches. Designed to withstand the heaviest of storms, it has been wind tested and has proven itself to provide reliable protection against the elements due to the WindPro® vented canopy and sturdy iron shaft.
Furthermore, it benefits from a cushioned handle which ensures secure and safe grip, even when wet. It can be opened and closed at a touch of a button using the automatic open and close function. You will appreciate this feature more when hit by sudden downpour while out and about.
In addition to its compact size, further making it the perfect umbrella to take while traveling, you can carry it anywhere and keep it with you all the time without taking up any space by utilizing the included storage case and carabiner clip to secure it to your backpack or suitcase.
a high quality and sturdy umbrella will be a worthwhile investment, and save you from wet hair, soaked clothes and a lot of frustration. We hope that after reading our guide you’ve now got a list of features noted down to keep in mind during your quest to find your new umbrella from the ideal length that will fit into your bag to your desired canopy size for maximum coverage.
You may have even found the perfect choice for you in our list of product reviews. It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself needing shelter from the rain sooner or later, and you’ll thank yourself later for arming yourself before that downpour hits!
Have you tried any of the products we’ve reviewed? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.