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5 Best Beach Umbrellas for 2024

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Plus, even if your umbrella didn’t move, you’d still spend most of your day chasing the tiny, postage-stamp-sized patch of shade it cast, like a deranged sundial.

There’s a better solution: a sunshade.

A good sunshade should provide consistent protection from the sun over a wide area while still allowing enough headroom. It should also be easy to transport, intuitive to set up, and sturdy enough to withstand a strong breeze.

Of the seven shades we tested, two of our favorites, the Sun Ninja Tent 4 Person and Shibumi Shade, meet these requirements but are suited to different situations. The Sun Ninja Shade requires plenty of space on the beach but can handle changing wind conditions. The Shibumi model maximizes shade without bothering neighbors, but it does require a steady coastal breeze to work. It’s also more expensive.

in recent years, New Jersey counties and New YorkBetween othershave Banned Tents and shade of this kind. Maybe this is something we should have expected. Canopies and tents take up even more space on already crowded beaches, especially if used in a thoughtless or irresponsible manner.

This guide also includes two little rules in case the beach you visit has such rules. Tent-like option,and Umbrellas we’ve recommended in the pastThey also plan to retest traditional stand-up umbrellas, which are more suitable for beaches with stricter rules.

Our Recommendations

If your beach has plenty of space, this stretchy spandex canopy is easy to set up and provides great sun protection even in windy conditions, but it does take up a fair bit of beach space, which can be a nuisance to neighbors.

The Sun Ninja Tent 4 Person is incredibly stable in a variety of wind conditions, allowing you to stay comfortable under the tent no matter how strong the sun is, and it packs up into a small carry case (weighing just over 7 pounds) that’s easy to sling over your shoulder.

Setting up a spandex canopy is very easy: stretch the four arms of fabric onto the beach, fill the large pouches at the end of each arm with plenty of sand, place four foldable aluminum rods under the canopy, and angle the rods up and towards the top corners of the tent until you find the perfect balance of tension. Once you know how, one or two people can do the job in less than three minutes.

When set up, the Sun Ninja Tent provides enough shade for four people to lie down comfortably (the company also offers an eight-person model with even more space). In light to moderate winds, the flexibility of the Sun Ninja Shade allows it to protect against most gusts up to 15 mph without tipping over. Sitting under the tent makes you feel like a nomad in the wild, and it’s nomadic satisfaction.

That said, the Sun Ninja Tent’s stretched design inevitably takes up a significant portion of the beach to create a 7-foot by 7-foot patch of shade, which may not be to your liking if you frequent crowded beaches.

Choose your upgrade

With an attractive, minimalist design, this shade can be quickly and easily set up by one person, and as long as there is a steady breeze, the fabric will float overhead without bunching or collapsing, providing enough shade for six people.

If your favorite beach has a steady offshore breeze or gusts strong enough to topple an umbrella, Shibumi Shade is the obvious choice. Shibumi Shade’s beautifully simple design works, not against, the wind. This makes sense, considering the shade was conceived on the rugged beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The shade consists of three parts: a long arc of high-strength aluminum tubing (that folds up like a tent pole), a rectangular piece of parachute fabric measuring approximately 16 feet by 8 feet, and a sand anchor that doubles as a carrying case for the shade. One person can set it up in a minute or two.

We tested the Shibumi Shade in everything from a barely perceptible ocean breeze to gusts of up to 25 mph, and it worked beautifully, providing enough shade for six adults in an area roughly 15-by-10 feet when the sun was high. (If you don’t need quite as much shade, the similarly constructed Shibumi Shade Mini is designed for one person or a couple.) In strong winds, it produces more noise than you’d expect. But with a gentle ocean breeze, which is the case most days, sitting under the Shibumi Shade feels like lying under crisp sheets hanging on a clothesline in the summer sun.

While this shade is more expensive than other products, the quality of its materials, from the aluminum poles to the parachute fabric typically used in premium camping tents, means this shade will almost certainly last for many years longer than your average beach umbrella or tent.

Recommended for those on a budget

This easy-to-set-up shade features the basic design of a beach umbrella, but with the addition of a tent flap for extra protection from both the sun and light winds, it’s ventilated, and comes with a stake and sandbags to keep it from blowing away in strong gusts.

If you’re looking for a little extra protection from the wind, try the Sport-Brella Premiere, a long-time recommendation for anyone looking for a beach umbrella.

It looks like a regular umbrella turned on its side, with a flap to provide extra protection from wind and sun. Two people can comfortably fit under the umbrella, but it only has a modest footprint, making it ideal for crowded beaches.

It needs to be secured with stakes or sandbags to keep it from blowing away on a windy day. It has vents that you can open to reduce some of the resistance, but of course some wind will still get in.

The tent is also heavier and bulkier (due to its steel poles) than the Sun Ninja Tent or Shibumi Shade. Even when folded, the Sport-Brella Premiere is too long, at 40 inches, to fit in one tester’s trunk.

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Made from higher quality materials than cheaper models, this lightweight umbrella is perfect when you don’t need extra straps or flaps, or when your chosen beach only allows traditional umbrellas.

Not all classic beach umbrellas are created equal, and there are plenty of quality options for the price in this category. If you’re looking for a stand-up umbrella that can withstand the heat and wind, we recommend the Coolibar Intego Beach Umbrella.

It weighs just 4 pounds, folds into a slim nylon bag, and unfolds to provide 6 feet of coverage, which is big enough to shade two people, though the Coolibar Intego umbrella has a reflective outer layer that creates deep shade from the sun, and an almost entirely metal underside that can withstand high winds.

However, this umbrella is not height adjustable. Once secured, you will need to lower the umbrella deep into the sand. Also, all umbrellas of this design do not come with anchors or augers to secure them in the sand. (We are testing items in both categories and will have more picks available soon.)

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This polyurethane canopy sets up in seconds, provides shade and wind protection for two adults, and packs down smaller than any other tent-style shelter we tested.

Like the Sport-Brella Premiere, the Lightspeed Outdoors Bahia Quick Draw is designed to block wind and sun.

And the Bahia Quick Draw is really quick to set up, for starters – faster than the Sport-Brella shade, at least in theory: you roll out and lay the shelter floor, find the top of the pole assembly and pull two cords, and the poles pop into place, followed by the waterproof polyurethane shell.

But if you want to provide shelter from the wind, you’ll need to stake three corners, secure the overhang that juts out from the shelter’s opening, and hold down the base with three sandbags. It’s not as quick or easy as the name suggests, so don’t expect it to withstand a wind storm.

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