5 Things Every Good Umbrella Should Have
The truth is many of us don't think about buying a new umbrella until the sky turns black or, worse, when the one you have suddenly breaks in a downpour. But snapping up the first umbrella you find means it'll likely end up broken and tossed in the trash. We've tested many compact and mini umbrellas for water repellency, durability, size, weight, ease of opening and closing, and more in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. After putting all those umbrellas through the wringer (and our rain tester!), we learned a thing or two about what makes a good one.
Here's what we recommend:
1. A model that's about 10 or 11 inches long
A large, domed canopy is one key to good protection. In our test, umbrellas that were in this size range offered the best combination of coverage and compactness.
2. A vented canopy
When you are battling wind and rain, a vented or two-layer fabric canopy helps keep the umbrella from flipping inside out. You stay dry while the wind passes through it instead of inverting it. The Double Layer Inverted Umbrella ($34.95) has a vented canopy and was a top pick in our test.
3. A handle that's comfortable to hold in either hand
Chances are you'll be carrying bags and other items when toting your umbrella, so it has to work in both your right and left hands. Look for a grip that's slim and cushioned for maximum comfort. Skip umbrellas with handles that seem heavy, bulky, or hard to hold.
4. A shaft that collapses in only two sections
A frame that folds into lots of pieces generally isn't as sturdy and may not operate as smoothly as one with fewer bends and breaks. More sections can also mean more places for fingers to get pinched.
5. A $30 to $40 price tag
Price is not the best indicator of quality, but umbrellas in this range generally offer good coverage, durability, and convenient features like automatic open and close.
To see which umbrellas aced our tests, check out our full umbrella lists.