Crashing waves, ocean breezes, and the smell of sunscreen can relieve stress in minutes. You can enjoy them all in the shady oasis you create with your beach umbrella. The best beach umbrellas are portable, offer an escape from the sun and heat, and don’t require an engineering degree to set up. The best of the best are built to last and should withstand occasional gusts of wind and unexpected weather changes without turning inside out or tumbling down the beach.
Our team has researched umbrella design and compared product features and performance to find the umbrellas that stand out. You can find the best beach umbrella for your next seaside trip in this shopping guide, so you can enjoy your place in the shade.
- BEST OVERALL: BEACHBUB All-in-One Beach Umbrella System
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: KITADIN 6.5FT Beach Umbrella with Sun Anchor
- BEST UMBRELLA TENT COMBO: Sport-Brella Vented SPF 50+ Sun And Rain Umbrella
- BEST REFLECTIVE: G4Free Vented UV Golf/Beach Umbrella
- BEST OVERSIZE: EasyGo 8 Foot Heavy Duty HIGH Wind Beach Umbrella
- BEST WIND-RESISTANT: Ammsun 7 Foot Heavy Duty High Wind Beach Umbrella
- BEST BEACH CHAIR CLAMP-ON: Sport-Brella Versa-Brella 4-Way Swiveling Umbrella
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Beach Umbrella
Beach umbrellas are essential for relaxing on a hot beach. The umbrella type, materials, the frame’s stability, and even the color or the print help make an umbrella more useful and longer lasting. Family size, available storage space, and personal preferences should also factor into your final decision.
An umbrella is an umbrella, right? For the most part, yes. But some fall outside of the category of traditional beach umbrella that users can drive into the sand to anchor. And they might be worth a look, too.
- Clamp-on. Clamp-on umbrellas attach to a table, a chair, or other sturdy frame or surface. This type makes a great travel beach umbrella because they save you the trouble of anchoring the umbrella into the sand. However, they’re usually smaller than a standard beach umbrella. The clamps open only so far and may only work on a square or a tubular surface. Consequently, shoppers need an idea of where they’ll attach this type of umbrella before buying.
- Umbrella/tent combo. Umbrella/tent combos are basically an umbrella with additional sides on the canopy that anchor into the ground like a tent. They offer more protection from sun and wind than a standard umbrella. However, the pole is usually shorter than the average beach umbrella, so you can’t stand beneath these sunshades. Umbrella/tent combos offer some extra privacy, and their multiple anchor points provide extra stability.
- Solar reflective. Solar reflective beach umbrellas are some of the best UV umbrella options because they have a silver fabric that reflects a large percentage of the sun’s rays, offering protection from heat and sun damage. These umbrellas can’t reflect 100 percent of the sun’s rays, but they can often yield a noticeable temperature change within their canopies.
Size and Coverage
Beach umbrellas come in a wide range of sizes, from a portable beach umbrella to an umbrella/tent. Clamp-on models tend to be smaller with diameters of around 4 feet. Standard-size beach umbrellas are 6 to 7 feet in diameter, and oversize models reach up to 9 feet. When considering size, think about how much space you have for storage and transport and whether you need a lightweight beach umbrella or not.
Both the umbrella’s canopy size and the design of the pole or the frame affect the size of the umbrella when folded down. A large umbrella with a telescoping pole (one that folds or slides into itself) may take up less space than a model with a smaller canopy but a single pole design.
The canopy and frame design also affect the umbrella’s total coverage. Of course, a larger umbrella offers better coverage, but one with a tilting pole gives more control over that coverage. The sidewalls of an umbrella/tent combo extend coverage beyond the umbrella’s canopy, providing more space for multiple people to enjoy the shade.
The canopy’s fabric affects its ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), durability, look, and feel. The following are the most common canopy fabrics.
- Polyester is a lightweight synthetic fabric that resists heat and offers some natural sun protection—up to UPF 30. Polyester canopies usually have UV-protectant treatments or coatings to improve their sun protection. In time, UV rays break down polyester fibers faster than nylon.
- Nylon is lightweight with natural UPF properties. UV treatments and coatings can add to its UPF (also known as “sun protection factor,” or SPF). This sturdy material resists sun damage better than polyester.
- Cotton twill is a heavy cotton weave used to upholster outdoor furniture. Cotton twill canopies are heavier than polyester or nylon and don’t have as much natural UPF. However, UV-protective coatings or treatments help a lot. Cotton twill’s thicker weave, when used in a vented design, also withstands wind better than nylon or polyester, making for a more windproof beach umbrella.
- Oxford is a lightweight cotton shirting material. UV treatments or protective coatings can improve its sun protection and weather resistance. While it’s lighter than cotton twill, oxford is heavier than polyester or nylon.
The fabric isn’t the only thing that matters about the canopy. Models with vents in the canopy make the best beach umbrellas for wind because they let the wind pass through, which prevents the umbrella from blowing away or turning inside out.
Canopies come in a variety of colors. You won’t be as likely to find cotton twill in fun prints beyond a stripe. But oxford, polyester, and nylon come in bright colors, prints, and patterns to add personality to your beach trip. A unique color or print can also make it easier to spot your umbrella on a busy beach.
Pole, Frame, and Anchor
The umbrella’s pole, frame, and anchor system determine how well it stays in place. Telescoping poles tend to be easier to set up and adjust than a single-piece pole or one that comes in several pieces.
The umbrella’s frame consists of the arms that extend the canopy. Carbon fiber offers good strength without adding too much weight, making for some of the best portable beach umbrella options. Frames and poles may also include aluminum, wood, or steel.
Some umbrellas come with anchors to hold them into the ground. Umbrellas with built-in anchors have a large screw-like device at the end of the pole. Others have an anchoring system that usually consists of stakes, tie-downs, and an auger (the screw-like device) that plants the pole into the ground. The best beach umbrella anchor designs have multiple anchor points to create more stability.
Another type of anchoring system involves attached bags or small tarps that users fill with sand to keep the setup in place. Sandbag systems may also include a more traditional auger pole design and tie-downs to further secure the umbrella.
Some umbrellas do not come with their own anchoring system. These models require the use of a shovel or a separately purchased auger/screw anchoring device.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)
A fabric’s UPF tells you how much UV radiation (both UVA and UVB rays) will reach your skin. Not all beach umbrellas offer adequate UPF protection, but many do. A fabric that is UPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UV rays. Any protection is better than none, but a UPF of 30 to 49 gets the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) approval. Fabrics rated UPF 50+ offer the very best protection and get an excellent rating from the SCF.
The best umbrella for beach use is one that’s easy to set up, which will make it a well-loved beach companion for many years. Those with built-in anchors and no tie-downs are the quickest to set up. However, they’re not always the most stable. Models with multiple tie-downs, stakes, and sandbags may take longer to set up, but they’re more likely to stay put when the wind picks up. Umbrellas that include everything you need to set them up, including a shovel, will make beach life easier, too.
The most portable umbrellas include a bag for transporting the whole setup—stakes, poles, sandbag, shovel. Other factors like telescoping poles and lightweight canopies also make a difference.
However, there’s a fine line between weight and durability. An oversize umbrella made of a heavy fabric may weigh over 10 pounds. With all the other gear you take to the beach, that could get cumbersome. But heavier models can still be super portable if they come with a good carrying bag or multiple carrying bags to break up the weight.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve got the 411 on beach umbrellas, here’s a list of top choices. From oversize to clamp-on, these umbrellas are UV-protective, portable, and durable, and some are simple and easy to set up.
The Beachbub UPF 50+ umbrella is 7.5 feet wide and comes with an extra sun-protective (SP) coating that provides ample shade and resists winds up to 35 miles per hour. But a canopy alone does not make a sturdy, durable umbrella. Add in this model’s complete setup system, and your chances of having a torn or a runaway umbrella plummet.
The setup system includes a “beach gopher” to dig the initial umbrella hole, a triangle tarp, and a sturdy stainless steel and aluminum frame. After a hole is dug in the sand with the gopher, users can lay down the tarp and insert the pole through a hole in the center. Each of the tarp’s three points attach to the pole, creating a sandbag that holds up to 120 pounds of sand. The process creates a sturdy umbrella, but the process can take a while.
Everything needed for setup fits inside a padded carrying bag that can be slung over the user’s shoulder for easy transport. When fully loaded, the bag weighs 9 pounds. Sturdy, easy to set up, and easy to carry—that’s a winner.
- Width: 7.5 feet
- SPF: 50+
- Frame and pole material: Fiberglass, stainless steel, and aluminum
- SPF 50+ with protective coating
- Complete setup system, including sand gopher and attached sand bag
- Sturdy fiberglass and aluminum frame with stainless steel components
- Excellent wind resistance, for gusts up to 35 miles per hour
- Setup and assembly can take a long time
Get the Beachbub beach umbrella on Amazon and at Bed Bath & Beyond.
The Kitadin umbrella brings together portability, easy setup, and a sturdy vented canopy. It comes in three sizes—6.5-, 7.5-, and 8.5-foot umbrellas.
This inexpensive umbrella has an integrated sand anchor and foldable handles on the pole. Fold out the handles to get a good grip, and twist to secure the pole into the sand. The pole also tilts, offering three canopy positions to keep users shaded throughout the day.
The telescoping pole reaches a maximum of 5.6 feet and collapses down to 3 feet to fit inside the carrying bag. With everything inside, users can sling the bag over their shoulder. Users also have the option of dividing components into two parts for lighter, easier transportation.
- Width: 6.5 to 8.5 feet
- SPF: 50+
- Frame and pole material: Fiberglass and plastic
- Telescoping, tilting pole allows users to adjust height for better coverage
- Lightweight, weighing only 4.4 pounds
- Carry all parts in the carrying bag or divide into 2 parts for transportation
- Plastic anchor can be a weak point in strong winds
Get the Kitadin beach umbrella on Amazon.
Sport-Brella’s UPF 50+ fabric blocks the majority of the sun’s harmful rays, and the tent-like side flaps extend that protection. Ground stakes hold the sides down, and tie-down cords create tension against the telescoping umbrella pole and steel alloy frame. The pole has a pointed tip to penetrate the sand, but it needs help from the stakes to stay in place.
The canopy has windows and vents to let wind pass through, which will keep users cool and prevent the umbrella from flying away. It also contains “tip pockets” to fill with sand for added stability in higher winds. Once this umbrella/tent combo is open, it offers 8 feet of protected shade.
- Width: 8 feet
- SPF: 50+
- Frame material: Steel alloy
- Tip pockets provide added weight in inclement weather
- Side windows and top vents allow users to adjust the ventilation as needed
- Steel frame, tie-down cords, and ground stakes keep it in place
- Pole tip does not have a screw head to hold it in place
Get the Sport-Brella beach umbrella on Amazon and at Bed Bath & Beyond.
The G4Free umbrella features a reflective outer surface that’s SPF 50+. This multipurpose model includes a beach extension piece that takes the handle from 44 inches to 69 inches. The extension has a pointed end so users can dig it into the sand and add stability in inclement weather. The extension can also be inserted into a table for use as a patio umbrella.
When not on the beach, users can remove the extension and use the umbrella to watch outdoor sports or for standard rain protection. A vented top keeps air flowing, reducing the chances of it inverting or blowing away. It’s supported by a fiberglass frame with a pop-up control button on the handle. The downside—it has an odor that takes time to dissipate.
- Width: 5.5 feet
- SPF: 50+
- Frame and pole material: Fiberglass and rubber
- Reflective SPF 50+ material reflects UV rays and heat
- Versatile uses thanks to the handle extension
- Vented top reduces wind forces
- Highly portable
- Has an odor when first opened
Get the G4Free beach umbrella on Amazon.
The EasyGo has a large and colorful appearance and an 8-foot circumference that makes it easy to spot. It creates ample shade for a family, a group, or a beach lover who likes to sprawl. The multicolored canopy rests atop an aluminum pole that tilts and offers several height adjustments, and its UV coating boosts the sun protection.
An umbrella this large becomes a runaway fairly quickly without a good venting system. This model’s vented top lets air pass through to decrease the chances of chasing it down on a windy day. It comes with its own setup system that includes a screw handle to reach deep into the sand, anchoring the umbrella and adding stability. However, pins and sharp edges on the screw handle can cause minor injury.
- Width: 8 feet
- SPF: Not specified, but UV-protective coating is included on the material
- Frame and pole material: Fiberglass and aluminum
- Large coverage area
- Sturdy aluminum pole
- Excellent vent design helps withstand strong wind gusts
- Sharp edges on installation system can cause injury
Get the EasyGo beach umbrella on Amazon and at Walmart.
The Ammsun umbrella’s 7-foot radius is supported by strong but lightweight fiberglass ribs, giving the umbrella the strength and durability to withstand wind gusts. The frame attaches to a sturdy aluminum pole that tilts to get the best sun-blocking angle. Vents at the top of the umbrella let wind pass through to further strengthen its wind resistance.
The Ammsun also features a strong screw anchor that’s easy to set up. When users are ready to go home, the umbrella easily breaks down for quick transport. However, if there’s a weak spot, it’s the plastic handles on the anchor. They require a soft hand when setting up the umbrella.
- Width: 7 feet
- SPF: 50+
- Frame and pole material: Fiberglass and aluminum
- Strong fiberglass frame and aluminum pole
- Tilting mechanism allows for adjustment of angle
- Vent system lets air pass through to increase wind resistance
- Weak plastic handles on anchor
Get the Ammsun beach umbrella on Amazon.
The SPF 50+ Versa-Brella features a 32-inch arm and a durable clamp that connects to square and tubular surfaces. This gives users the option of anchoring this sunshade to either chairs or tables.
This umbrella’s unique shape might be unwieldy if it weren’t for the 360-degree swivel and the two push-button hinges that adjust the angle.
The entire umbrella, frame, and clamp system fold down into a small carrying bag that, when fully loaded, weighs only 1.8 pounds. From its easy setup to its simple, light portability, the Versa-Brella offers versatile sun protection in a small package.
- Width: 40 inches by 42 inches
- SPF: 50+
- Frame and pole material: Not specified
- Versatile fit options
- 360-degree swivel and 2 adjustable hinges
- Lightweight and easily portable
- Simple, fast setup
- Clamp cannot fit all tables or chairs
Get the Sports-Brella beach umbrella on Amazon and at Bed Bath & Beyond.
The Beachbub beach umbrella gets the top spot thanks to its SPF 50+ sun protection, anchor system, and vent system that allow it to withstand strong gusts of wind. The quality is such that it can take heavy, regular use. For those on a budget, we recommend the Kitadin beach umbrella. Its integrated anchor system gives it a sturdy base that’s much stronger than its price suggests.
How We Chose the Best Beach Umbrellas
The best umbrella for the beach requires a mix of strength and quality materials. We considered over 30 umbrellas, from umbrella/tent combos to golf umbrellas that double as beach models.
We looked for high-quality fabrics with coatings and treatments that help the umbrella resist damage from UV rays. The frame helps prevent the umbrella from inverting. It should be made of a sturdy but lightweight material that can withstand wind gusts, such as fiberglass or aluminum. Aluminum or stainless steel poles have the best durability and strength. We also considered pole length and features like tilting or telescoping.
No one wants to fiddle with an umbrella for 30 minutes when there’s a beach waiting for you. Features like built-in anchor screws and pre-attached sandbags make setup easy. Anchors keep the umbrella from blowing away. Everything from sand bags to screw anchors were considered as well as how well they functioned with the rest of the umbrella’s design.
The Advantages of Owning a Beach Umbrella
The beach is relaxing and fun, but without shade, skin can turn an angry red. Beach umbrellas give users a way to enjoy the sun and protect their skin. They’re portable, lightweight, and thanks to the various materials used to make them, they are colorful and fun.
Beach umbrellas aren’t just for the beach. Picnics, backyard BBQs, and outdoor events are just a few of the places to use a beach umbrella to give users a little cooling shade. They’re a great option for families with children who aren’t old enough to wear sunscreen, too.
- Beach umbrellas provide protection from heat and harmful UV rays.
- They stake out the user’s territory on the beach and give families a gathering spot.
- They’re handy to have available for sporting events and outdoor gatherings.
Beach umbrellas make a day in the sun more comfortable while users mark their spot on the sand. Users can carry some models over their shoulder and set them up within minutes, while others require a little more planning and preparation.
Q: Which material is best for a heavy-duty beach umbrella?
Heavy-duty beach umbrellas are typically made of cotton twill with a fiberglass or an aluminum frame on the inside of the canopy. The thick fabric, especially if it has a UV-protective coating, resists wind and UV damage better than other umbrella types.
Q: How do I anchor a beach umbrella?
The anchoring process depends on the type of anchor that comes with the umbrella. Some are as simple as pushing the pole into the sand and twisting it to activate the auger/screw at the end of the pole. Others require filling a sandbag or extending tie-downs and planting stakes into the ground.
Q: Do all beach umbrellas come with UV protection?
All beach umbrellas offer some UV protection; even a rain umbrella on the beach blocks harmful rays. Some materials block more rays than others, and extra UV coatings and treatments can further enhance the umbrella’s ability to keep harmful rays away from the user’s skin.
Q: Can I use my beach umbrella as a patio umbrella?
Most beach umbrellas have an anchor system at the bottom of the pole that won’t work on a patio. However, it depends on the umbrella design. For example, clamp-on umbrellas will work on a patio chair or table, and some umbrellas have a pole that can fit in a patio table that has a pole opening.