Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
Sturdy and simple to use, these beach umbrellas are true summer stars.
Beach days are for unwinding by the water with friends or a great book — not worrying about sunburns and the hazards of flying umbrellas. In order to peacefully indulge in some fun in the (indirect) sun, secure beach umbrellas are essential.
We put nine beach umbrellas to the test, assessing models from tried-and-true brands like Tommy Bahama and BeachBub in order to compare their portability, ease of use, durability, value, and overall performance over several hours and uses. Each of the items gathered here earned our top picks in various categories. Our testing is ongoing to ensure our rankings hold up over repeated use, and our list will be updated accordingly.
Whether you’re looking for a massive cover or something better suited for solo use, these are the best umbrellas for every sort of summer getaway.
Best Overall: BeachBub All-In-One Beach Umbrella System
Why We Love It
This heavy-duty umbrella is shockingly portable and was the sturdiest we tested.
What to Consider
This was one of the more expensive umbrellas that we tested — but it’s worth the value if you frequent the beach.
Security is a huge factor in selecting a beach umbrella — no one wants to deal with a product that needs to be constantly readjusted or, worse, that might fly away in a sudden gust of wind. BeachBub’s All-in-one Umbrella System is extremely sturdy, thanks to a bag at the base that weighs 125 pounds when filled with sand. When not in use, the bag compacts nicely and weighs less than 1 pound. For the number of features included in the purchase — an oversized carrying case, the sand bag, towel hooks, plus a gopher tool and shovel to dig into the sand — the entire package is surprisingly lightweight at just 9 pounds. It’s also impressively easy to carry with the spacious case that has a padded shoulder strap, making it one of the most comfortable options to tote around for extended periods of time.
The setup is also simple, with easy-to-follow instructions and tools provided to help secure the pole about 12 inches deep into the sand. We appreciated the convenience of the attachable hooks, which are sturdy enough to hang towels or beach bags on. While this umbrella is double the price of most of the other models we tested, it’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who spends a lot of time at the beach, as it feels significantly more durable thanks to a 220G commercial grade PA-coated fabric with a UPF 50+ rating, and it’s capable of staying solid in winds of up to 44 miles per hour. It also comes with a three-year protection plan, in case you run into any unexpected issues.
Price at time of publish: $157
The Details: 7.5 foot diameter | 9 pounds | 2 towel hooks
Best Overall, Runner-up: OutdoorMaster Beach Umbrella
Why We Love It
Its adjustable feature is super easy to maneuver, so you can maximize your sun protection throughout the day without having to reinstall the umbrella.
What to Consider
You’ll want to fill up the sand bag entirely in order to secure it fully.
OutdoorMaster’s Beach Umbrella is a close second to our top pick in terms of stability and durability, thanks to the included 44-pound sand bag — and, better yet, it’s less than half the price. In addition to the sturdy base weight, the steel pole and the 160G PU-coated canopy fabric are both very durable, with the latter offering UPF 50+ sun protection.
That coverage is maximized thanks to the umbrella’s 6.5-foot diameter, which comfortably shades two adults. The canopy is easily adjustable, ensuring you’ll feel protected from the sun all day long. We love that this model is available in 12 vibrant colors, from nautical blue-and-white stripes to a chic black-and-white option — and it includes a handy cup holder. It’s also intuitive to set up, taking just a moment or two despite instructions that aren’t particularly clear or helpful. Beyond the peace of mind offered at the beach, you can feel good about your purchase from Outdoor Master, as it partners with Protect Our Winters in the fight against climate change.
Price at time of publish: $60
The Details: 6.5 feet diameter | 6.96 feet high | 6.19 pounds | Cup holder
Best One-person: Sport-Brella Versa-Brella Personal Sun Shade
Why We Love It
The ultra-portable and compact design makes it easy to travel with and to set up solo.
What to Consider
It’s designed to attach to a beach chair rather than be inserted into the sand.
If you’re heading to the beach solo or just want your own personal sun shade, Sport-Brella’s Versa-Brella stands out for its super-compact design and barely-there weight (just 1.8 pounds!). It’s incredibly portable and, crucially, easy to set up on your own: Just double-click it into place and attach the universal clamp to your beach chair. The opening is compatible with tubular or square surfaces, allowing for versatile use on everything from bleachers to golf bags — just note that it cannot be buried directly into the sand. As a result, it offers less coverage than a classic beach umbrella but can be easily adjusted to protect either your upper body or your legs with the 360-degree swivel canopy. If you’re heading on a beach vacation, it’s great to toss this in your luggage, as it packs up easily and holds up well for us in transit.
Price at time of publish: $54
The Details: 40 x 42 inches | 3 feet high | 1.8 pounds | Universal clamp
Best Grounded: Sport-Brella Premiere UPF 50+ Umbrella
Why We Love It
Zippered windows help prevent this extra-large umbrella from blowing away.
What to Consider
It can only be used at an angle rather than upright like a standard beach umbrella.
Grounded beach canopies are super versatile, offering a generous amount of shade as well as protection from the elements. This model is particularly well made, featuring an 8-foot canopy crafted with UPF 50+ protection and a heavy-duty pole. At 8 pounds, it’s slightly heavy if you’re trying to juggle it with other beach accessories. However, there’s a handy carrying strap that allows you to sling it across your body or over your shoulder — just note that the straps aren’t padded and can dig into your shoulder after a while. Unique features which set this apart are the zippered windows that maximize airflow and help ensure that excessive wind won’t dislodge the canopy, as well as internal pockets where you can tuck your phone or other small essentials. This canopy also comes with a small bag of four standard ground spikes, four heavy-duty ground spikes, and three tie-down cords for added security.
Price at time of publish: $65
The Details: 8-foot diameter | 4.4 feet high | 8 pounds | Internal pockets
Easiest Setup: Tommy Bahama 7-ft Fiberglass Beach Umbrella
Why We Love It
Beyond the ease of set up, this umbrella boasts an integrated table with two cup holders.
What to Consider
It measures just over 4 feet long when broken down, which may be cumbersome depending on your height.
Tommy Bahama is one of the most trusted brands in beach apparel, and their beach umbrella only furthers that reputation. Crafted with fiberglass ribs that maintain their shape in strong winds, this is designed to withstand a serious breeze thanks to a strong built-in anchor. We love how intuitive the setup and breakdown is: It only requires one person and takes less than five minutes to secure the umbrella in the sand without even glancing at the directions. We love that the height is adjustable up to 13 inches, allowing for a customized amount of shade. Above all, the integrated table is what takes this umbrella to the next level, which offers two cup holders that we loved for storing our water bottles and phones.
Price at time of publish: $116
The Details: 7 feet diameter | 7.4 feet high | 4.7 pounds | Built-in table with cupholders
Other Beach Umbrellas We Liked
There were two other beach umbrellas that we enjoyed testing but had a few features that kept them from our list of recommendations. Still, they each boast certain qualities that may better suit some beachgoers and travelers.
Blissun 7.2' Portable Beach Umbrella with Sand Anchor: For the impressive diameter of this umbrella, it’s shockingly easy to tote around because of the convenient carrying case. While we loved the larger size (and color options) of the shade and felt that the easy tilt-feature made it a solid value for the price, it scored poorly during our performance tests on a particularly windy day. This knocked it off our list of top recommendations, but it would still make a great option on average to low-wind days.
Aoxun Beach Umbrella: This was one of the most portable options on our list, weighing just 4.2 pounds, which initially made it a favorite for solo use. Unfortunately, it required a fair amount of effort from two people on an average wind day to set it up, which took it out of the running of our list.
Our Testing Process
Over the course of two weeks, we tested 21 total beach shade products, including nine beach umbrellas, to compare and contrast them all based on portability, durability, ease of setup and breakdown, and stability over time. Testing is still ongoing to see how our initial impressions hold up over extended periods of time. While examining the nine beach umbrellas, we paid close attention to the quality of the materials, noting unique features like UPF protection, tear-resistance, or storage pockets in order to select the most convenient and durable models for you to bring along on your next beach day.
Our testing process began at unboxing, when we carefully took note of the pole, fabric, and any included sandbags or anchors to ensure that buyers would be confident their items will arrive in excellent condition. Next, we paid close attention to the instructions before heading out to the beach to see how our umbrellas performed. We tested them out on a handful of occasions for at least three hours each time, evaluating the ease of carrying them while walking on sand, setting them up and securing them, and breaking them down. When rating the overall value of the umbrellas, we prized their durability, ease of setup, and value for the price.
Tips for Buying a Beach Umbrella
Look for a UPF rating
UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings indicate how well the umbrella’s fabric protects against UV rays. Ideally, you want a UPF 50+ rating, which ensures that only 1/50th (about 2 percent) of the sun’s rays can get through. At a minimum, look for a UPF of 30 and up, which is the baseline rating that is approved by The Skin Cancer Foundation. In addition to taking advantage of your umbrella, you should be using sunscreen.
Know what kind of ground you'll be using it in
Most beach umbrella tips are designed for use in sand, whether its smooth or slightly rocky. If you plan to use your umbrella in dirt — perhaps for a park picnic — be sure to purchase an umbrella anchor that’s designed for use in soil rather than sand in order to keep things secure.
Don't forget about weight
No one wants to lug around a cumbersome umbrella while struggling in the sand in search of a place to set up for the day. A fairly standard weight for a beach umbrella is 6 to 9 pounds — anything above 9 pounds will likely feel heavy and a bit unwieldy for one person to tote around. Look for compact models that also feature a convenient carrying strap (bonus points if it’s padded!).
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all beaches allow umbrellas?
Not all beaches allow umbrellas — certain areas have banned them entirely, either as a safety precaution for the hazard they pose in high winds or as a result of complaints of them blocking the view. For the most part, they are allowed under specific parameters: there can only be one anchor point, and the maximum diameter is typically 8 feet. Be sure to check your local beach to see if they have any specific regulations in order to avoid a potential fine.
How do you put a beach umbrella in the sand?
First things first: read the instructions! They may have valuable information about how to set up your beach umbrella. The key to inserting your beach umbrella in the sand is rocking it back and forth in order to bury about a third of it into the sand.
At that point, point your umbrella towards the wind and open it up, so that the wind pushes it deeper into the sand. Fill in any gaps with extra sand.
How do you stop a beach umbrella from blowing away?
Sand anchors are your best bet for securing your beach umbrella. Typically designed to withstand up to 50 miles per hour of wind, these offer a hefty dose of added protection and come with a screw tip that is easy to set into the sand. They enable you to simply twist your umbrella pole into the anchor rather than rocking it back and forth. Just be sure that your pole is also designed to withstand high winds so that it doesn’t bend while inserted into the anchor. Alternatively, you can attach sand bags to the umbrella pole and fill them with to weigh it down.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
For this story, T+L contributor Sophie Dodd extensively researched the most important things to look for when purchasing a beach umbrella, from portability to wind-resistance, sun protection, and more. She also worked with our editors and deep dived into testing notes to curate a list of the absolute best beach umbrellas we've tried in the sand.
Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.
For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.