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Growing up in Florida, it was pretty common for me to get stuck in the rain, so I got into the habit of storing umbrellas wherever I could reach them: Closets, cars, purses and work desks, to name a few. I’ve spent a lot of money on flimsy umbrellas from the drugstore — usually on a whim because the previous one broke mid-walk — and they’ll typically keep me dry while trudging through the rain. But years of buying and then discarding them a few months later made me consider what makes for a great umbrella, regardless of the price point, that’s durable enough to withstand capricious weather.
And one year after stay-at-home warnings flooded the U.S., President Joe Biden directed states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May. With more than 46 million fully vaccinated adults and the spring season in full swing, many people are gearing up to spend more time outside of their homes — which can come with some level of preparation in case of rain to avoid rain-soaked clothes, shoes and items.
How to find the best umbrella for you
While umbrellas have one job — keeping you as dry as possible — there are plenty of other qualities that help an umbrella stand out.
- Size: Larger umbrellas like golf and stick umbrellas are best for extra coverage but can be a pain to lug around all-day. Compact umbrellas that can be stored in a purse or backpack are better for unexpected or upcoming storms.
- Durability: Finding last-minute tears or battling an umbrella that continuously flips inside-out can sometimes be worse than the rain itself. The durability of the umbrella’s canopy and stretchers will dictate how it holds up in heavy winds and rain.
- Opening Style: Depending on your preferences, you can choose between an umbrella that manually opens, auto-opens when you press a button or auto-opens and auto-closes.
- Appearance: With a variety of styles, patterns and colors on the market, including basic black umbrellas, vibrant yellows and oranges, kid-friendly prints and see-through options, you may want to consider what reflects your own personality and style.
- Price: While good quality umbrellas can be affordable, elevated appearance, durability, material composition and features will result in higher prices.
The best umbrellas in 2021
To help you narrow down to some of the best umbrellas, we’ve compiled highly rated options to consider at reputable retailers.
With a 4.6-star average rating from over 13,000 reviews, this lightweight, compact and travel-friendly umbrella from Repel folds to only 11.5-inches and weighs less than one pound. It features an automatic open and close button, a large, 42-inch canopy for coverage and a teflon-coated top to repel water. While the brand boasts durability with a double-vented canopy and sturdy ribs, Repel also offers a lifetime replacement policy.
This stylish option by Totes has an oversized dome shape that’ll provide extra coverage for your upper-body, while its transparent material will let you see exactly where you’re walking without obstructing your view or bumping into anyone. Totes also sells a rainbow polka-dotted version of its bubble umbrella and multiple kid’s options with easy-grip handles and fun designs.
As its name suggests, the Folding Double Canopy Umbrella by Balios has a vented double canopy, meaning there are vents on its top layer that allows strong winds to flow through the umbrella — ultimately decreasing its chances of flipping. The brand also notes a mostly fiberglass frame for durability. As for appearance, its wooden handle adds some elegance and the nine color options range from a simple black to a vibrant yellow.
This luxury umbrella by Davek has a 50-inch canopy arc diameter that provides a convenient amount of coverage for tough storms. According to the brand, the frame system is composed of steel, fiberglass, zinc alloy and aluminum and combats wind tension and avoids flipping. The Davek Elite also has an automatic open button and a genuine leather handle for comfort. If you’re looking for a more compact option, the automatic Davek Solo Umbrella and the Davek Mini Umbrella are smaller and more affordable. Davek also offers an unconditional lifetime warranty if your umbrella breaks for any reason, and loss protection that gets you up to 50-percent off one replacement.
This option by BetterBrella closes inside-out, forming a dome shape that collects the droplets that would normally go all over the floor and onto your clothes and shoes when entering a home or car. And to add some more convenience for long-haired people like myself, the metal rods of the umbrella are embedded within the double-layered fabric that prevents your hair from getting on them. If that’s not a problem you have, you can also opt for this more affordable and highly-rated reverse umbrella by Lanbrella.
Most umbrellas tend to have sharp, pointed tips that can be a hazard for anyone walking by, but the Blunt Classic’s “blunt edges'' make it worth considering if you walk in a group or in crowded cities. While the Blunt Classic’s standard size features a 48-inch canopy and 33-inch closed length, you can choose between five sizes, ranging from 41-inches to 58-inches, each with easy-grip handles for comfort. Blunt also offers a two-year warranty and repair system for peace of mind.
CORRECTION (March 25, 2021, 12:30 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated how many people have been fully vaccinated in the U.S. It is more than 46 million, not more than 49 million.