With sunny days ahead, it’s time to start thinking about shading your outdoor living spaces. A patio umbrella is a great way to block those harmful UV rays while relaxing or entertaining outside. But not all umbrellas are created equal when it comes to UV protection.
Choosing one made with special fabrics and features to prevent UV exposure is crucial to truly safeguard your skin. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top five UV-blocking patio umbrellas on the market. You’ll also find helpful tips for picking the perfect UV-safe umbrella for your needs and style. Let’s dive in!
Why UV Protection Matters
Before we reveal our top umbrellas, let’s discuss why UV ray blocking is so important. The sun emits three types of ultraviolet light – UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVA and UVB are the main causes of sunburn, skin aging, wrinkles, and increased skin cancer risks. Just 10-15 minutes of exposure on a sunny day can cause skin damage.
Using an umbrella that offers UV protection is one of the best ways to prevent this. By creating shade, a UV-blocking umbrella can reduce your exposure by up to 90%. That shade coupled with UV-fighting fabrics can provide excellent skin safety.
So don’t just look for any old patio umbrella. Seek out ones made specifically to block or reduce UV light. Your skin will thank you!
Rating UV Protection – The UPF System
Now let’s talk about how UV protection is measured. The rating system you want to look for is UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor. This indicates how well fabrics can block UVA and UVB rays.
UPF works on a scale from 15 to 50+. The higher the UPF, the more UV radiation is blocked. You want an umbrella with a UPF rating of 50+ to get the highest level of protection.
Fabrics with UPF 50+ allow less than 1/50th (or 2%) of UV rays to pass through. That’s an excellent safeguard for your skin!
The Top 5 UV-Blocking Patio Umbrellas
Ready to see our top recommendations? We’ve selected five excellent patio umbrellas that offer UPF 50+ protection. They come in a range of styles and price points to suit any outdoor space.
1. California Umbrella Sunbrella Patio Umbrella
California Umbrella is a leader in UV-blocking patio umbrellas. Their premium Sunbrella fabric line is made from solution-dyed acrylic that carries a UPF 50+ rating. It’s also fade and mildew resistant.
These durable umbrellas come in tons of colors and designs, like stripes, solids, and geometric patterns. They have aluminum poles, auto-tilt features, and sturdy resin joints. You can choose from 7.5′ diameter options starting at around $270.
2. Coolaroo Shademaker Patio Umbrella
The Coolaroo Shademaker umbrella uses a knitted HDPE fabric that is UV stabilized and provides 90% UV blockage. The thick 8-rib square design allows for more shade coverage than traditional umbrellas.
Some standout features include push-button tilt, anodized aluminum framework, and resin reinforced ribs. These modern-looking umbrellas come in 5 colors and have dimensions of 11’2″ x 11’2″. Price is around $299.
3. Le Papillon Cantilever Umbrella
For unobstructed views while in the shade, cantilever umbrellas are a great pick. The Le Papillon Cantilever has a tilting arm so you can adjust the angle as needed.
It uses an anti-UV powder-coated polyester fabric with UPF 50+. The crank lift operation makes opening and tilting easy. This stylish umbrella costs about $389 for a 9′ x 9′ size.
4. Treasure Garden AKZ Plus Auto-Tilt Umbrella
Treasure Garden’s AKZ Plus umbrella delivers excellent UV protection with its UPF 50+ canopy fabric. The auto-tilt function allows you to open the umbrella at the perfect shade angle each time.
With its durable aluminum pole and sturdy 8 rib joints, this umbrella can withstand winds up to 22 mph. Available in round or rectangular shapes, multiple colors, and sizes up to 11′ x 13′, costing around $500.
5. Blissun 7.5′ Umbrella
For budget-conscious shoppers, the Blissun 7.5′ Market Umbrella gives you great sun protection without breaking the bank.
The polyester canopy offers UPF 50+ UV blocking and water-resistant properties. An aluminum pole, steel ribs, and double wind vents provide stability in winds up to 35 mph. With a crank lift and push-tilt function, it’s easy to operate. Get this value-priced umbrella for around $70.
How to Pick the Right UV Protection Umbrella
Now that you know some excellent UV umbrella options, let’s go over the key factors to consider when making your choice:
- UPF rating – Always look for UPF 50+ for the highest UV protection.
- Canopy fabric – UV-resistant solution dyed acrylics, polyesters, and HDPE are common.
- Canopy shape and size – Consider round, square, rectagonal, or octagonal to suit your space. Diameters typically range from 7′ to 11′.
- Tilt mechanism – Push-button or crank tilting allows shade adjustment. Auto-tilt is convenient but costs more.
- Height – Standard is 7′ to 8′. Taller 9’+ umbrellas provide greater coverage.
- Ribs and poles – Go for strong metals like aluminum, steel, or fiberglass. More ribs offer durability.
- Vents – Vents allow airflow to prevent inversion during wind gusts.
- Extras – Lights, side panels, and misting systems are popular add-ons.
Your climate, decor, and budget will help determine which UV umbrella works best for you. Always check company warranties too for assurance of long-lasting performance and durability.
Caring for Your UV-Blocking Umbrella
Once you’ve got your UV-blocking umbrella ready to enjoy, be sure to follow proper care guidelines:
- Open and close it slowly and fully to prevent damage.
- Use included ties and weighted stands for stability in windy conditions.
- Clean the canopy periodically with a hose, mild soap, and soft brush.
- Allow the fabric to fully dry before closing to prevent mildew.
- Use fabric protectants to guard against fading.
- Take down umbrella in inclement weather and store indoors or with a cover.
- Check for wear and tear each season. Re-apply UV-coating if needed.
With proper care, a quality UV-blocking patio umbrella can give you years of protection. Just be diligent about replacing the umbrella once the fabric loses its UV-fighting effectiveness.
UV Protection Umbrella FAQs
Do you still have some questions about finding the ideal UV-blocking umbrella? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much shade does an umbrella really provide?
A standard 7-8′ diameter patio umbrella will shade 42-64 square feet, enough for a 6-8 person outdoor dining table. For larger shade areas, opt for 9-11′ umbrellas.
Which parts of an umbrella offer UV protection?
Look for UV-blocking features in both the canopy fabric and the finishes/paints on the umbrella frame.
Are clear vinyl umbrellas good for UV protection?
Vinyl and other transparent fabrics typically have low UPF ratings. Opaque fabrics, especially in darker colors, tend to provide better UV blocking.
Do umbrella stands have to be weighted?
Yes, secured umbrella stands are safest to prevent blowing over in wind. Choose a stand that weighs at least 40-50 pounds when empty.
How long should a patio umbrella last?
With proper care and maintenance, quality UV umbrella can last 4-6 years before needing replacement. Check fabric often for wear and reapply UV treatments as needed.
Stay Cool in the Shade
Spending sunny days outside should be relaxing and worry-free. With a durable, UV-blocking patio umbrella, you can skip the sunscreen and soak up the breezes from the comfort of your outdoor living space.
Our top picks offer premium shade and safety from harsh UV rays. The California Umbrella Sunbrella line is a classic choice with dozens of style options. Or for modern curb appeal, the Coolaroo Shademaker has sleek design with thick UV protection.
No matter which quality UV-blocking umbrella you choose, just remember to lift the canopy fully when not in use. This protects the umbrella during storms and extends the lifespan of your shade investment. Soon you’ll be lounging without a care beneath your stylish sun protection!