The Best Shade Sails of 2023

Shade sails offer an easy and affordable way to shade a deck or patio.

By Andreana Lefton | Updated Apr 21, 2023 1:45 PM

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The Best Shade Sail Option


Harness the same look of a sail shade’s beauty and ingenuity at home. A shade sail is similar to a boat’s sail except it’s attached to a roof or an outdoor structure to form a canopy. Tilted or twisted overhead, shade sails offer protection from the sun on hot summer days.

Constructed from ultraviolet (UV)-resistant high-density polyethylene fabric, these flexible membranes come in a range of colors, styles, and sizes. Read on for some tips on choosing the best shade sail for an outdoor space and some of the most popular options currently available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Artpuch 10′ by 13′ Shade Sail 
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Shade&Beyond 12′ by 12′ by 12′ Sun Shade Sail 
  3. BEST TRIANGLE SAIL: Love Story 16’5″ by 16’5″ by 16’5″ Shade Sail
  4. BEST FOR SMALL SPACES: Sunny Guard 16’5″ by 16’5″ by 16’5″ Shade Sail
  5. MOST VERSATILE: Love Story 12′ by 16′ Rectangle UV Block Awning
  6. BEST CUSTOM SIZES: Amgo 12′ by 16′ Rectangle Sun Shade Sail
The Best Shade Sail Option


How We Chose the Best Shade Sails

We researched the most sought-after shade sails in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their materials, size, shape, sun protection, grams per square meter (GSM) rating, and other special features included by select brands.

When we were searching for the best shade sails available, the rectangular and triangular options shared equal popularity and came with 185 GSM high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fabric for ample weather resistance. Each of our selected picks also comes with ample sun protection from UV rays as well as multiple size options and colorways. Select options come with D-rings attached in each corner for easy hanging.

For added durability, some of the shade sails above also have reinforced seams, nylon ropes, and/or drooping designs to prevent water from pooling and dripping all over patio furniture. However, be advised that many options do not come with hooks or hanging hardware.

Our Top Picks

Whether you have a postage-stamp garden or a sprawling lawn, these hand-picked recommendations for shade sails cover outdoor areas of most shapes and sizes. The selection criteria for the best shade sails focuses on high-quality material, UV protection (more than 90 percent blockage), versatile features (color, size, and shape), sag-proof design, and longevity (5-plus years of use).

Best Overall

The Best Shade Sail Option: Artpuch 10' by 13' Shade Sail

This Artpuch 10-by-13 foot 185 GSM rectangle shade sail has the materials, design, and specifications to meet nearly any outdoor space’s shade needs. The sail is made of 185 GSM in HDPE fabric with stitched seams for extra reinforcement and blocks up to 95 percent of UV rays during sunny weather.

Each corner has a durable stainless steel D-ring, making it safe and easy to hang and position the sail wherever it is needed without sagging or stretching. When measuring a space, allow for an additional 1.5 to 2 feet of space for the hardware and ropes (sold separately).

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 13 feet long by 10 feet wide
  • Shape: Rectangular


  • 185 GSM construction with reinforced seams for long-term use and durability
  • Blocks 95 percent of harmful UV rays; perfect for homes with children
  • Sturdy stainless steel D-rings included for every corner; can withstand inclement weather conditions


  • No hooks included for installation; may need to be purchased separately
  • Limited water resistance compared to other shade sails; may cause pooling

Get the Artpuch shade sail at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Shade Sail Option: Shade&Beyond 12' by 12' by 12' Sun Shade Sail

Buyers won’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability with Shade&Beyond’s triangle sun shade sail. Constructed of 185 GSM UV-protected HDPE fabric, this quality shade sail features stitched seams and stainless steel D-rings at each corner. Thanks to its breathable design, you’ll be able to enjoy a light breeze and won’t have to deal with pooling water (it’s not waterproof).

Buyers can choose from gray and beige.The sail measures 12 feet long on all three sides. The hanging kit isn’t included and will need to be sold separately. While the sail isn’t machine washable (or dryable), it’s easy to clean. A wet washcloth and some soap should do the trick.

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 12-foot triangle
  • Shape: Triangular


  • 185 GSM construction is durable enough to withstand long-term use
  • D-rings included at each corner; can withstand inclement weather and strong winds
  • Breathable design flows with the wind; no need to worry about strong winds pulling on the posts


  • Hanging kit is not included with purchase; may not be ideal for some users
  • Not waterproof and not machine washable; may be tricky to maintain

Get the Shade&Beyond shade sail at The Home Depot.

Best Triangle Sail

The Best Shade Sail Option: Love Story 16'5" by 16'5" by 16'5" Shade Sail

Love Story’s triangle shade sail (16.5 feet long on each of the three sides) offers versatility without sacrificing design. Made of 100 percent 185 GSM HDPE material, this sail’s breathable fabric allows both breezes and light to pass through. It isn’t waterproof, so there’s no need to worry about sagging. It also blocks up to 95 percent of UV rays to keep you cool and protected.

The unique design has curved sides to enhance pull strength and prevent drooping. This also means that the actual shading area shrinks slightly—between 4 and 6 inches per side. Nylon rope and clips to stretch the sail tightly are sold separately. With a choice of six sizes and 11 colors or patterns, you can find a style and hue that works best for your outdoor space.

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 16.5-foot triangle
  • Shape: Triangular


  • 185 GSM construction provides users with long-term durability and use
  • Waterproof design helps to avoid pooling and damage due to inclement weather
  • Blocks 95 percent of harmful UV rays; especially suitable for homes with children
  • 6 size options offered to accommodate any home’s backyard or patio size


  • Installation can be tricky for some buyers; nylon rope and clips sold separately

Get the Love Story triangle shade sail at Amazon or Wayfair.

Best for Small Spaces

The Best Shade Sail Option: Sunny Guard 16'5" by 16'5" by 16'5" Shade Sail

A quality shade sail like the Sunny Guard’s 16.5-foot triangular shade sail can transform a small patio into an oasis. With UV protection of up to 90 percent, this sun sail is made of 160 GSM HDPE. It’s easy to set up in spring or summer and should be taken down in the winter.

The sail works best when hung with sturdy nylon ropes (included) at a 20- to 40-degree angle to allow water and dew runoff. The triangular shape is highly versatile, and several of the sails can cover various spots around a home or backyard. With the right hardware kit (sold separately), this sail should last for at least 5 years.

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 16.5-foot triangle
  • Shape: Triangular


  • Protects against 90 percent of UV rays; perfect for homes with children
  • 160 GSM construction provides ample durability for long-term longevity
  • Nylon ropes included for installation; edges can withstand inclement weather


  • Not suitable for use in the winter; must be taken down when the temperature drops
  • Hardware kit not included; may require additional tools to install

Get the Sunny Guard shade sail at Amazon.

Most Versatile

The Best Shade Sail Option: Love Story 12' by 16' Rectangle UV Block Awning

Whether you need a shade sail that blends perfectly into your home’s facade or are interested in finding a colorful way to add a bit of shade to a backyard or patio, Love Story’s rectangle sail is the perfect size (16 feet long by 12 feet wide). The brand’s rectangle awning comes in 13 different colors and patterns. Similar to a few of the other top picks on this list, this shade sail is made of 100 percent 185 GSM in HDPE fabric, has stainless steel D-rings at each corner, and sports a slight curve to prevent drooping.

This sag-free design shrinks the overall shaded area slightly (4 to 6 inches per side), so it requires careful measurement before purchasing, allowing 1.5 to 2 feet of extra space on each side to accommodate hardware and rope. Installing two or more of these sails side by side can shade larger areas. The Love Story sail includes nylon ropes, but the hardware is sold separately.

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 16 feet long by 12 feet wide
  • Shape: Rectangular


  • Comes in 13 different colors and patterns to match any backyard’s fixtures
  • 185 GSM construction provides lasting durability for long-term use
  • Stainless steel D-rings on every corner can withstand strong winds and inclement weather
  • Nondrooping design keeps the sail in place and water from pooling


  • Hanging hardware sold separately; may not be ideal for some users

Get the Love Story rectangular shade sail at Amazon.

Best Custom Sizes

The Best Shade Sail Option: Amgo 12' by 16' Rectangle Sun Shade Sail

Fit is essential when it comes to shade sails, so if you’re not willing to leave fit to chance, you’ll appreciate Amgo’s rectangle sun shade sail. Choose from dozens of unique sizes, unlike other brands that come in just a few standard sizes. The Amgo sail also boasts six color options, all of which block UV rays by up to 95 percent.

This sun shade sail’s measurements run from D-ring to D-ring, and the actual sail should be 0.5- to 1-foot shorter than the distance between mounting points. While hardware does not come with this sail, it has durable, breathable HDPE fabric. Amgo finishes the sail with heavy-duty webbing inside the seamed edges to prevent fraying and help keep the sail taut in sun, wind, or rain.

Product Specs 

  • Materials: HDPE fabric
  • Size: 16 feet long by 12 feet wide
  • Shape: Rectangular


  • Comes in 6 colorways to match any backyard or outdoor space’s current fixtures
  • Protects against 95 percent of UV rays; perfect for homes with children
  • Heavy-duty webbing in the seamed edges provides long-term durability against inclement weather
  • Comes in multiple sizes to accommodate and cover any backyard’s size


  • Hanging hardware not included; needs to be purchased separately
  • Limited waterproofing; may become damaged over time if exposed to storms and inclement weather

Get the Amgo shade sail at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Shade Sail

If you’re looking for a way to add shade to an outdoor space, a shade sail may be the best solution. These beautiful backyard canopies block out harmful UV rays while adding elegance to an outdoor area. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a quality shade sail.

Form and Function

Most shade sails are made of tightly woven high-density polyethylene fabric, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or nylon fabric. Shade sails are installed by stretching the fabric and using tension to attach the corners of the shade to a stable structure (such as a roof, post, wall, or tree) via stainless steel D-rings and turnbuckles (stainless steel devices to adjust tension). If installed correctly, shade sails should provide a perfectly taut canopy.

Shade sails come in a variety of shapes and styles but are typically sold in three shapes: triangle, square, and rectangle. Of the three, the triangular sail is the most popular. This is because square sun shade sails tend to bow in the middle due to a buildup of water. (They’re also not as elegant as their three-pointed counterpart.) Triangular sails are perfect for both small and large areas and can be layered for a more dramatic effect.

Weather Resistance

All shade sails should offer maximum sun-blocking power. Look for fabrics with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 90 percent or higher. Like sunscreen, sun shade sails are designed to protect the skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Beyond UV protection, shade sails are built to withstand varied weather conditions, especially rain and wind. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you may want to stow your shade sail until spring.

The benefit of HDPE material is its stretchy breathability, allowing wind and rain to pass by without harming the shade itself. Although HDPE sails can withstand heat, wind, and rain, they’re not equipped to protect users during a storm. If there’ll be a strong thunderstorm or hurricane coming through, you should take your shade sails down to prevent them from getting damaged.

PVC is less breathable, but it creates the perfect waterproof shade sails. This is helpful if you want to use your shade sail during summer showers. In this case, position the sail at a slant so it doesn’t collect water (leading to a heavy, sagging canopy).

Measurement and Installation

Before settling on a sun shade sail, be sure to measure the outdoor space correctly. Leave a perimeter (1.5 to 2 feet) around the shaded area for the turnbuckles, which will attach the sail to a roof or other elevated structure. Remember: Shade sails are measured from the edge of their D-rings, which are fitted to each corner for hanging purposes. In most cases, you’ll need to purchase a hardware kit intended for either a triangle or rectangle sail.

Make sure to attach the hardware to a structurally sound point, like a home’s roof. Both rectangle and triangle shade sails are often installed at a slant to prevent rainwater from pooling. However, many residential shade sails are made with HDPE material, allowing water to pass through.

In this case, it is also possible to position them flat or twisted into a hyperbolic paraboloid (also known as a hypar twist). This three-dimensional shape is achieved by attaching one or two corners higher than the other corners. The benefit of a twist is a greater distribution of surface tension and a stronger shade sail overall. The end result is also beautiful aesthetically.

For another bold architectural effect, try installing overlapping shade sails. This extends a shady area without putting too much tension onto a single big sail. When installing overlapping sails, make sure to leave a minimum of 12 inches between them. If not, wind and weather conditions can cause the sails to rub against each other, damaging the fabric over time.


These sleek architectural canopies are a beautiful addition to any home. But before you click “add to cart,” here are a few common questions and their answers to read over before making your final purchase.

Q. How do I choose a shade sail?

Choosing the best shade sail for your home should start with measurements. Be sure to take down the measurements of where you hope to place the shade. Then, determine whether a triangular or rectangular shape would be better and where you would fix the corners to keep the shade sail taut.

Q. Do shade sail posts need to be angled?

If your shade sail is waterproof, you’ll need to angle it so that the water can run off and not pool. In most cases, the best way to achieve this is by angling the posts 5 degrees away from the direction of the load. For square-shaped sails, keep two corners at a high height and two corners at a low height. For triangular options, keep one corner at a low height and two points at a high height.

Q. Do shade sails keep rain out?

It depends. Shade sails made of HDPE are typically breathable, allowing rain to pass through. Sails made of PVC or explicitly labeled as “waterproof” will keep the rain out (but should be installed at an angle to prevent rain from pooling in the canopy).

Q. How do you install a shade sail?

Installing a shade sail may take more than one set of hands, but it can be an easy task if done right:

  1. Make sure that you have a shade sail that covers the desired area.
  2. Measure the sail and then dig 3 to 4 holes for the corner posts. Ensure that the posts are installed on a 5-degree angle to prevent pooling.
  3. Insert the posts into the holes and fill any outstanding area in the hold with cement to keep the posts in place.
  4. Install the eye hooks or D-rings to the posts.
  5. Secure the shade to the eye hooks or D-rings. Enjoy!

Q. How long does a shade sail last?

The longevity of your shade sail will depend on the weather conditions of your hometown and whether you leave it outdoors all year long. But, typically, a shade sail will stay in good condition for 5 to 10 years if properly cared for.

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