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Beach umbrellas are an essential beach item so we’re reviewing the best beach umbrellas under $50. If you’re going to the beach you expect to have fun in the sun, however, too much sun can cause a burn and quickly ruin a holiday.
One thing you can count on is there will be little shade on the beach (unless you bring your own). An umbrella gives us an opportunity for a break and keeps us cool.
For families this is extremely important. If we’re accompanying young children or older adults they can’t handle the sun for long periods of time and they will need an occasional break.
My experience with beach umbrellas have been hit and miss. We wrote this article so others can learn what factors to look for when buying a beach umbrella. There is one factor that really stands out and I’ll highlight it below.
What Makes the Best Beach Umbrella – My Experience
Over the years we’ve used many beach umbrellas. Most were cheap brands that we picked up at the local grocery store or bought at discount in the low season.
For the most part, we never really paid attention to beach umbrellas, until we realized we needed one when going to the beach.
The funny thing is, we always ran into problems with beach umbrellas. From speaking to others, many people have encountered the same problems. The most common problems are quality and pole issues.
I remember the wires on the umbrella always getting twisted or bent. It becomes problematic with the repetition of opening and breaking down.
Once the wires are bent the fabric is next. We’ve experienced many umbrellas that had problems opening and closing after only a few uses. I’d recommend focusing on a better quality canopy with strong wires that attach to the fabric.
The 2nd problem we’ve had, and the most annoying, is putting the umbrella pole in the sand. The sand on beaches can be fickle.
If the umbrella pole isn’t deep enough then the loose upper sand can’t hold it and the umbrella will blow over. However, when pushing the pole deep into the sand, the deep sand becomes so hard it’s impossible to push down.
We’ve solved the sand problem by using a corkscrew anchor. I recommend also purchasing a screw similar to the one mention below – they are made so all types of poles will fit inside the anchor. Problem solved!
Related: Best Beach Chairs Under $50
Factors to Consider When Buying an Umbrella for the Beach
One thing you’ll want to consider is the weight of the umbrella. Thankfully, most beach umbrellas have considered the fact that you’ll be walking to and from your vehicle and they’ve created lightweight options that fit in a bag.
You’ll likely have bags, coolers, chairs and towels, so finding a lightweight beach umbrella is a must.
Does it break down (compact)
Is the umbrella compact? Similar to weight, you won’t want to carry a long pole from the car to the beach. It should have a canopy that breaks down flat, and a telescopic pole.
As mentioned above, most beach umbrellas will fit into a small carry bag, making carrying easy and convenient.
Fabric/Material (UPF protection and Wind)
The fabric should be strong but also lightweight. Nylon is the most common used fabric for umbrellas but stronger, commercial grade umbrellas also use marine-grade acrylic fabric that holds up well over time.
Depending on the thickness and the color of fabric, it will provide UPF protection that filters out most UV rays. Usually the protection will be around UPF 50.
A white fabric will provide less protection, but might be cooler under the canopy while a darker color will give more UV protection but might get a little hotter.
Consider the other materials used to attach the fabric. Will it use rust-proof metal and joints? Are they plastic or metal? Many beach umbrellas use painted aluminum because it’s a strong, lightweight material and the paint prevents rusting.
The option to tilt an umbrella is important. If your beach umbrella merely stands straight up and down, it won’t provide much protection at 3pm in the afternoon.
The best beach umbrellas offer a tilt option so the umbrella can stay in the same position in the sand but turn according to the position of the sun. A tilt option will also reduce to the need to move your beach chair over and over again.
Instead of you moving with all your belongings, just tilt the umbrella.
Sand – Best Beach Umbrella Anchor
Lastly is the sand. No, sand isn’t part of the umbrella but it should be a consideration when you make your purchase. An umbrella with a standard pole can be a real headache – just try to push it in the sand. I’m a tall and heavy guy but even I have problems sometimes.
I mentioned earlier that a beach umbrella anchor is an inexpensive add-on product. It’s a wise move to make sure your beach umbrella doesn’t fall over or fly away.
The Best Beach Umbrella For Fun In the Sun
No. 1 Tommy Bahama Sand Anchor – 7 feet with tilt and telescoping pole
Tommy Bahama makes beach gear fashionable. They’re a lifestyle brand, based out of Seattle, Washington that prides itself in “never leaving the beach”. They were founded in 1993.
Since inception they are a company that stresses high-quality, whether it’s shirts, shoes, short, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and yes even rum.
Tommy Bahama clothes don’t come cheap, however you’ll be pleased to find their beach gear (including umbrellas and chairs) are quite affordable – of course their products are quality with warranties.
- 7 foot diameter
- Breaks down with carry bag
- Sand anchor included
- 4.2 lbs
- 4.3 x 3.6 x 48.4 inches
- Pole extended is 82 inches
We like the Red Stripe umbrella best, and it’s a great attention getter on the beach. If you have young children, they can easily keep an eye on red umbrella so they don’t get lost.
For a more beachy feel, the blue and green Tommy Bahama beach umbrella will suffice (check blue and green price). Hundreds of reviews agree it’s a high-quality beach umbrella. They comment on the quality (sturdy), screw in aspect, and that it is fine against light wind.
Both the Red Stripe and Green/Blue umbrella have the same great features. Pick one that suits your style best.
We’ve highlighted 2 beach umbrellas from the brand, called “Tommy Bahama San Anchor”. They are both 7 foot beach umbrellas that have all the features you’d want in a beach umbrella.
Yes there’s a tilt option to move with the sun and it has a telescoping, adjustable height pole that helps it break down and fit inside a handy bag (with strap).
It uses a special aluminum undercoating to protect against the sun while keeping the equipment strong and functional. What I like best about this Tommy Bahama beach umbrella is it includes a 2 meter sand anchor that can be twisted into place.
Most beach umbrellas won’t come with the sand anchor, but Tommy Bahama has you covered. I’ve used Tommy Bahama’s exchange policy before with a faulty product and they have good customer service.
If there’s a problem with the umbrella, by no fault of your own, send them a message and get great customer service.
No. 2 EasyGo Heavy Duty Beach Umbrella
The EasyGo beach umbrella advertises itself as a “heavy duty” beach umbrella. It is indeed.
The canopy is a whopping 8 feet in diameter and has many of the same extras we saw on the Tommy Bahama beach umbrella. It includes an option for tilt and a sand anchor to help keep it down in the sand.
I can tell the sand anchor pole is strong with a 35mm diameter. The poles are lightweight aluminum and have various height adjustments.
- Measures 56 x 6 x 6 and when upright stands 90 inches tall
- Tilt and sand anchor options
- 7.3 lbs
- Breaks down with carrying bag
- 8 foot canopy
- Great reviews and durable
I like the ventilation on the top of the umbrella – strong wind has an opportunity to exit out of the top of the umbrella and makes it more unlikely the umbrella will blow away.
Because it has a large canopy, this beach umbrella will be a little larger and heavier to carry. It measures 56 x 6 x 6 inches and weighs 7.3 lbs.
Screwed into the sand it stands about 90 inches tall. The reviews have consensus that it is strong and durable and many people mention it withstands use for multiple years.
It breaks down to a smaller size and fits over the shoulder for easy carrying. I like the colorful rainbow design – bright colors for the beach are always fun.
One thought is to check your local beach rules – some rules prohibit umbrellas over a certain size. One beach I know has a 7 foot diameter limit.
No. 3 Sport-Brella All Position Beach Umbrella with Clamp (pole free)
The is a quality company that puts a spin on traditional products. Rather than provide another beach umbrella that sticks into the sand, they try to solve a problem and provide an alternative.
We introduce the clamp beach umbrella. From reading this article, it’s obvious that putting a pole in the sand is one of the biggest challenges with umbrellas.
If it’s windy, or if the sand is too loose, then you might run into some problems with your umbrella. But you might not have that problem if you’re using the Sprot-Brella.
- Clamp attachment (no need for sand)
- Compact, 40 inches diameter (smallest on our list)
- Measures 40 x 42, when closed 36 x 3.5
- Great for other uses – golf and stadiums
- 1000’s of positive reviews
The important thing to mention about this product is you’ll need something to attach it to. If you are a minimalist at the beach and don’t take a beach chair or ice chest, finding a place to clamp the umbrella might be tough. However, if you’re like most people and have other sturdy beach gear around, this beach umbrella is perfect.
It easily attaches to a beach chair or ice chest handle and has most of the other features you’d want – tilt and breaks down. It’s lighter than the other umbrellas on our list too, weighing only 1.8 lbs.
If it’s fully opened it is 40 x 42 inches, so it’s not a huge beach umbrella like the others on this list. Broken down it is only 36 x 3.5 inches.
You might be thinking “this umbrella is too small”. It might be small for a family, but for 1-2 people it’s great. We should also consider that a smaller umbrella will hold up much better in wind than the bigger, bulky options.
This beach umbrella has other good applications for golf (attache to bag), and sporting events (attach to bleacher pole). We like the ingenuity and style of this beach umbrella.
No. 4 Rio Brands – Beach Umbrella 6 foot canopy with tilt
Rio Brands has been around the beach for decades. They are a long-standing U.S. company that makes beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and other beach gear.
Their products are everywhere and chances are, if you frequent the beach you’ve used one of their products.
We’re familiar with them from their patented backpack beach chairs. Rio makes affordable and super lightweight beach chairs that are made from simple aluminum.
They also make higher-end chairs but we’ve only used their basic options (and they are good). On an interesting note, Rio Brands also distributes some beach gear for Tommy Bahama and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville brands.
- 6 foot canopy
- 72 x 72 x 80 inches, closed 4 x 4 x 80 inches
- Tilt option
- No sand anchor
- UPF protection
- 3.9 lbs
What we like most about Rio’s beach umbrellas is they’re affordable and have a variety of color options to choose from. The styles are mostly in stripes with blue, yellow, and green hues.
The material used is polyester and provides a UPF 50+ for protection (blocks 99% of sun rays, that’s great). The fabric is dense 300 denier to withstand wind and use throughout the summer. As expected, the aluminum and steel parts are coated to avoid rusting.
Although this beach umbrella has the tilt option, it does not have the sand anchor. We believe the price reflects this fact. It’s a great deal but you’ll want to purchase a separate sand anchor (see below).
When the umbrella is open it is 72 x 72 x 80 inches, while closed it measures 4 x 4 x 80 inches.
No. 5 Frankford Umbrellas – Concession/Commercial Grade Beach Umbrella
Frankford Umbrellas are the highest quality on our list. We’ve ranked it No. 5, but only because most people prefer the smaller and cheaper options.
This beach umbrella uses a strong ash wood pole unlike the others on our list that use a lightweight metal frame. For long-term use, whether at the beach or in the pool, this is umbrella was built to last.
- Numerous color patterns (10+)
- Marine-grade Acrylic with ash wood pole
- Carrying bag
- Various sizes (7.5 feet)
- Zinc plated joints and rivets to deter rust
- 6 x 6 x 56 inches
- 14 lbs
- Strong enough to handle wind (vents)
Because it uses wood, it doesn’t break down like a metal-framed pole wood. It will be slightly heavier too. With this said, it does have a nice carrying bag and can easily be taken to and from your car in a bag.
For casual beachgoers, this is probably not the beach umbrella for you. However, if you frequent the beach, or live near the beach, this is the perfect beach umbrella. It will last a number of years and the price shows the quality.
If you’ve ever been to a beach where they rent out beach umbrellas for $20-30 dollars a day, then you know what to expect – this is the same style beach umbrella. The fabric is thick acrylic with fade proof technology.
It comes in over 10 styles. Frankford sweetens the deal with a generous warranty. We like Frankford beach umbrellas best on our list for long term use and quality.
No. 6 Sport-Brella All Weather and Portable – 8 foot canopy
Yep, we’ve put Sport-Brella on our list 2x – and for good reason. This beach umbrella is unique just like their other umbrella. How about an umbrella-tent hybrid?
This is it. It’s a fun design that can work at the beach, park, or athletic field.
- Hybrid umbrella/tent
- Multiple colors
- Broken down 54 x 4 x 4 inches (8 lbs)
- Great for the beach, park, and athletic games
- Ventilation windows and stakes to tie down
The features of this beach umbrella/tent are spacious. Sport-Brella comes in 3 colors and uses a UPF 50+ sun protection with interior lining for added UV protection.
There are side flaps that can be folded down, allowing air to pass through the umbrella. There’s an 8 foot canopy made from polyester which actually gives more protection than some of the umbrellas on this list.
It’s water repellant so if the weather changes abruptly your family will be covered. It measures 54 x 4 x 4 when broken down and 8 lbs.
It comes with 8 steel stakes and anchor cords to keep the umbrella firmly on the ground. If you have a small hatchback it may be difficult to fit in the car, however 4 doors and SUVs are not a problem.
With 1,000s of positive reviews this is a unique take on the beach umbrella – it has a cult-like following. I like this company’s creativeness so even though it’s not a standard “beach umbrella” it still makes the list.
Accessories For The Beach
Rio Brands Umbrella Sand Anchor (holds umbrella, canopies, flags, fishing poles, pet leash, volleyball net)
As I mentioned earlier, one of my biggest problems with beach umbrellas are keeping them in the sand. Sand can be soft, unable to hold an umbrella upright. Wind can also impact weather if the umbrella stays upright – I’ve spent too much time chasing umbrellas on the beach.
An umbrella anchor, or umbrella holder, can help. This option is lightweight, and made of plastic so there’s no need to worry about salt water damage.
Its main use is as an umbrella holder however it can hold just about any pole on the beach that you need it to, including fishing poles, flags, and dog leashes.
The sand anchor is 12.25 inches tall. The umbrella anchor uses a thick thread to stay firm in the sand and works for umbrellas that have a maximum pole diameter of 1.3 inches.
The handle allows kids and adults to easily twist the anchor into the sand. With a 12 inch depth it gets deep enough where there the sand is more firm.
Umbrella Hooks – Ammsun Beach Umbrella Hanging Hook
We’ve mentioned beach umbrella hooks in other articles because we like keeping expensive gear out of the sand. These umbrella hooks attach onto most umbrella poles with a diameter of .75 inch to 1.26 inches – so don’t worry about being limited to buy a specific brand.
The beach umbrella attachment has 4 hooks perfect for sunglasses, shirts, hats, and electronics. The other great thing about this product is it hides important things, keeping them out of site from people walking the beach and from those pesky seagulls that scan the beach looking for bags of food.
I like that these beach umbrella hooks are inexpensive, practical, and can be used on various umbrellas – a solid beach umbrella add-on product.
Alternative Beach Shade Options
If you’re ok with trying other products that cover a larger area than a beach umbrella, the following 2 products come well-reviewed, are easy to carry, and easy to set up. In many ways, they work better than beach umbrellas, especially for a large family.
Beach Sunshade by Otentik
Otentik has offices in Florida and offers a stylish beach shades with minimal parts. It only weighs 6 pounds and once broken down it’s easy to carry for 1 person (basically the same size as a beach towel).
One person can set it up. Rather than using stakes like umbrellas, this sunshade uses bags that are filled with sand – why use poles when there is so much sand to use.
The non-rip fabric is UPF – 50 and supported by 2 poles and the sandbags.
I think it’s a pretty good alternative to using a beach umbrella and might be easier too!
Pacific Breeze Easy Beach Tent
Beach tents have gained popularity over the last few years. Beach tents are great for families with young kids who can’t be in the sun all day.
There are various sizes and some are “pop up tents” that require no set up time at all. There are even baby beach tents that are great for toddlers.
The Pacific Breeze tent is the most popular beach tent on the market. It’s made by Pacific Breeze Products, a company with offices in New Jersey. Although the tent may look complex, it’s really simple to set up.
It literally takes a few seconds and can be done by 1 person. Similar to the sunshade we mentioned above, this beach tent breaks down to fit in a bag – easy to carry (folds down to 40 x 5 x 5 inches).
There are ventilation windows inside the tent, a moisture proof floor, and a wide door to keep a large view of the water. This tent is great for kids that need a mid-day nap, or older persons that might need the occasional break from the sun.
Lastly, the reviews are stellar with customers agreeing on its “ease of use” and that it’s compact and lightweight. Another great option in case you aren’t set on the beach umbrellas
In this article we took a closer look at beach umbrellas, the factors that should be considered, and personal experience that provides insight to buying the best beach umbrella.
Throughout my years at the beach I’ve used cheap beach umbrellas and quality umbrellas. When I’ve experienced issues it’s usually due to the wires that help expand and contract the umbrella.
The fabric can come unattached and once that happens wind can reek havoc on the umbrella.
The other problem I’ve experienced is getting the pole deep enough in the sand. A regular (aluminum) beach pole is tough to stick deep in the sand. We recommend using a beach umbrella holder (or umbrella anchor) to help get the beach umbrella deep enough in the sand.
Lastly, make sure the beach umbrella is lightweight, breaks down, and has the “tilt” option so you won’t have to spend time moving as the sun moves – simply move the umbrella as the sun moves.
We hope this article was helpful. We’re here to provide the best beach information so you can enjoy your time at the beach. Whether it’s safety information like beach sunscreen, sports, or the best gear, feel free to use us as your beach resource. Thanks for reading!