Everyone wants something different in an umbrella. Some prefer style, while others prioritize substance, but we can all agree that umbrellas should keep you dry and hold up in moderate wind. While no umbrella is perfect in a heavy downpour, a good umbrella will prevent you from showing up to your destination looking like a wet rat.
Umbrellas have been around for thousands of years, but after testing 11 of the top umbrellas on the market, we found many still fall short of protecting you from the rain and wind.
After months of research, obsessively checking weather reports, and stomping around in our Hunter rain boots, we found that the best umbrella is the Davek Solo Umbrella(available at Davek for $115.00) for its quality, aesthetics, and performance. It's perfect for someone who wants to be sleek and stylish, yet its luxurious fabric and sturdy frame will still keep you dry.
Here are the best umbrellas we tested ranked, in order:
Davek Solo Umbrella
Totes Ultra Clear Bubble
Totes Titan Open/Close Foldable Umbrella
G4 54 Inch Automatic Stick
Samsonite Windguard Auto Open/Close Umbrella
Lewis N. Clark Windproof Water Repellent Travel
Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella with Teflon Coating
AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella
Sharpty Inverted with Handle and Carrying Bag
Swing Trek Umbrella Liteflex Trekking Umbrella
Leighton Doorman Manual Crook Handle
When it comes to protecting yourself from the elements, our testing found that the Davek is the best. It held up in the wind and opened and closed with ease, especially when we needed to pull it out quickly for an unexpected downpour. During testing, we walked over a mile with the Davek and everything except our feet managed to stay dry.
The high-grade microweave fabric also dried quickly so the Davek won’t soak your bag if you’re transporting it. It has a frame system made It has an automatic open and close frame system, which is made of strong fiberglass - and is its secret to protecting you against strong winds and rain - that also automatically opens and closes with a simple click of a button. The canopy fabric is also wind resistant for extra protection.
The Davek is definitely the fanciest umbrella we tested. It comes in a beautiful red box complete with a protective sleeve. The only downside is its higher price, but our testing has proven it's a quality umbrella worth the investment. If you're not prone to lose it, you're unlikely to need another umbrella for many years.
Totes Titan Large Auto Open Close Neverwet Umbrella
The Totes Neverwet Umbrella did a respectable job of protecting us from the elements. This isn't a surprise as Totes is a reputable umbrella manufacturer. While we tested the basic black version, it comes in a wide array of attractive colors and patterns. This traditional umbrella’s winning feature is its portability—it easily fits into your bag, while still unfolding large enough to protect you from the rain.
The Totes Neverwet didn’t dry as quickly as the Davek because its canopy lacked the quick-dry microweave fabric, but the water-resistant Teflon coating did a good job of deflecting the rain. The frame is made of steel as opposed to a cheaper aluminum that some umbrellas have and, despite occasional creakiness when opening, the Totes wasn’t difficult to open quickly during an unexpected downpour.
I’m Cailey Lindberg, a writer and lifelong New Englander who hates the rain more than anything. I currently test, edit, and write about products for Reviewed, as well as dive deep into the inner workings of the restaurant industry over at Boston-based software company, Toast.
I moved to Boston over a decade ago and went without an umbrella for quite some time. Why would I do this to myself, you ask? Because every drugstore umbrella I purchased during a downpour would soak through, flip upwards in the wind, or break when opening it. In an effort to keep more people dry, I used my years of frustration and bad purchasing choices to systematically find a perfect umbrella for you at the right value.
We looked ahead at the often unpredictable Boston weather reports and got our shoes wet a number of times to find the best umbrella. Testing took place both in our lab using a rain station we built to simulate a downpour and outdoors in casual rain over several weeks of real world application. We asked questions like, does this umbrella stand up to strong winds and gusts? Will this umbrella hold up for a casual rainy day as well as during a torrential downpour?
We assessed how easy the umbrella was to open and close for quick use, and how neatly it would fit into your bag. After carrying 11 umbrellas through the subway in a backpack, it’s safe to say I got a good handle on each product's convenience. We also assessed how easy (and comfortable) each umbrella was to hold and carry, as well as how quickly it dried. Build quality and ease of use were of the utmost importance during our testing in the quest to find the top umbrella.
What You Should Know About Umbrellas
No umbrella is perfect and each one has its limitations, but there are concrete things you can look for when purchasing one. To keep you dry, an umbrella needs to have a strong waterproof coating such as Teflon. The type of handle you choose is also very important since the rain can make it slippery, so find one that you’re able to grip well.
An umbrella consists of about 150 parts and each one has to survive the elements. Rain and wind are especially hard on the ribs, stretchers, and springs. Heavy wind puts stress on your umbrella’s joints and can invert it.
Solid rivets and a quality frame will protect your umbrella from strong winds. Rivets tie the ribs, stretchers, and ligaments of the frame. To prevent getting an umbrella that is likely to break in a gust of wind, don't purchase one if you can see through the rivets on the frame. It is best to choose umbrellas made with steel, nickel, brass, and fiberglass to ensure you get more than one use out of your umbrella.
It is important to choose an affordable umbrella since it is an easy item to forget during your commute, but make sure the one you choose is well-constructed. For example, you could purchase five bargain umbrellas you’ll use once for our favorite, the Davek, which will last you a long time—just be careful you don’t forget it in a cab.
How to Fix a Broken Umbrella
You can save yourself a lot of money if you’re willing to put the effort into repairing your umbrella. It is easy to break an umbrella, so repairing one can be a a multi-step process. While you might not want to go through the trouble of repairing an umbrella unless it was expensive or has sentimental value, it is useful to know that it can be done.
Use the two halves, strong adhesive glue, and some extra tough tape to repair a broken stem. Glue the broken stem together and finish by wrapping it tightly with strong tape.
What To Do If Your Umbrella Turns Inside out
It is very inconvenient (and annoying) when an umbrella turns inside out in heavy rain. A potential quick fix is to stand still, fold the canopy inwards, and hold it in the direction of the wind. This works about half of the time if you are using an umbrella with a poorly made frame.
When an umbrella canopy flips up in the wind, fix the spokes by weaving a thin wire in place of them and tightly fasten it to the center. Repairing rips in the canopy fabric is another quick fix if you have a simple sewing kit and an arsenal of patches at your disposal. To keep yourself dry, sew the patches directly into the canopy using waterproof fabric.
Other Umbrellas We Tested
Totes Signature Manual Bubble Umbrella
Despite appearing to be more of a fashion accessory, the Totes Ultra Clear Bubble Umbrella did surprisingly well during testing. It’ll hold up in the wind and protect you from heavy rain with its unique bubble design. Stylish and fun, you can see outside of the clear plastic sides instead of putting your head down and trudging through the rain.
The design is also ideal for wind protection and the waterproof plastic will keep you completely dry. The only downside to the Bubble Umbrella is how impractical it is at lugging around, it was the largest full-size product we tested and wouldn’t fit neatly into even the largest backpack.
The G4 Umbrella scored high because of its unique double-frame design, which makes its canopy resistant to strong winds. This umbrella also had a sturdy, fiberglass frame and an easy-to-grip handle. If you live in a windy area, this is the umbrella for you!
The G4 also features high-density pongee fabric and fiberglass ribs, which provide you with good rain protection. Like the Bubble Umbrella, the biggest downside of the G4 is that it's inconvenient to carry around and doesn’t fit in most bags. While the canopy fabric provides good rain protection, it doesn’t dry quickly, which is likely due to its size.
The Samsonite umbrella scored the highest among all the portable umbrellas we tested, with decently waterproof polyester Teflon fabric and a good quality spine. The handle was easy to grip and slip-proof in heavy rain. It was also the smallest out of all the umbrellas we tested and was even more portable than the Totes Foldable.
The Samsonite scored fine in most categories and was comparable to the other portable umbrellas in terms of rain protection and wind resistance. It isn’t likely to hold up in a strong gust, but you will get the slightly above average umbrella you paid for with the Samsonite.
Lewis N. Clark Windproof and Water Repellent Travel Umbrella
The Lewis N. Clark was a solid little number and the least expensive out of all the products we tested. Its quick-drying polyester and Teflon water-resistant fabric will keep you mostly dry during a strong downpour. One complaint we had about the Lewis N. Clark is that it did not dry quickly despite touting “quick dry” fabric. It was probably the most average of all of the umbrellas we tested, but we do like its compact size and lower price point.
The Repel isn’t as compact as the Samsonite or the Lewis N. Clark, but it did fit neatly into a bag. The water-resistant Teflon coating made it decently waterproof and kept us from getting completely drenched in the rain. The spine, however, was cheaply made despite its fiberglass ribs, making it less likely to hold up in strong winds.
The Repel was also tough to open and we could feel the spine creaking when releasing the handle. While it is easy to carry around and offers decent rain protection, the Repel was only a step or two above the disposable umbrellas you’d buy at a drugstore.
AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Small Compact Umbrella With Wind Vent
The AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Umbrella felt like a cheap umbrella you’d buy at the corner store during a downpour. Despite its steel frame, it felt flimsy and we suspected it might flip up in strong winds. The polyester canopy felt thin and soaked through quickly when we used it in the rain. While it was reasonably priced and portable, it offered little else over a disposable umbrella you’d buy at a drugstore.
The Sharpty Inverted Umbrella is sleek, stylish, and high-end, much like the Davek, but that's where the similarities stop. The inverted design is probably the coolest looking of all of the products we tested and could be ideal for wind protection, but the Sharpty wasn’t well made enough to deliver.
The Sharpty is too large and isn’t even remotely portable despite coming with a small carrying bag. It did an average job protecting us from the rain but the fabric just wasn’t as high a quality as other models. The fiberglass ribs didn’t feel sturdy and despite the inverted design we believe it would probably flip up in extended wind and rain. While the Sharpty might make for some fun photos on social media, we don't think it's an umbrella that will keep you dry long term. We felt the umbrella may be getting so many good reviews because of how cool it looks as opposed to how well it holds up in strong winds and rain.
The only upside to the Swing Liteflex umbrella is that its light. This umbrella was flimsy and the fabric wasn’t even remotely waterproof considering its price. The handle was small which could make it slip out of your hands during a strong rainstorm. Despite being marketed as an umbrella made for adventure, our testing shows the Liteflex would probably not withstand the elements for very long. Out of all of the products we tested, the Liteflex had the weakest frame and we suspected it would be the first to flip upwards in strong winds.
The Leighton Doorman was our least favorite full-size umbrella to use. The polyester pongee and Teflon coating were decently waterproof and its frame was made from good quality steel, but it was just extremely inconvenient to use. Its curved wooden handle made for major hand slippage during a rainstorm.
The Leighton would have scored higher if we were basing the tests on just water resistance and build quality, but the difficulties in actually using this very average umbrella put it at the bottom of our list.
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