Finding the Right Beach Umbrella for You
Anyone who travels to the beach these days often takes either a Beach Umbrella or Beach Shelter to get some protection from the harsh Aussie sun. Unfortunately not all Beach Umbrellas are created equal and not all information given by manufacturers is easy to decipher and compare so we are going to try and help you out with making you choice a little easier.
Some of the main things to consider when buying a Beach Umbrella is Size (do you want to cover yourself or a whole family?), Ease of Use (is it easy to get the lower pole securely into the sand?), Sun Protection and Value for Money (is a $100 umbrella going to last twice as long as a $50 umbrella?)
Size – When considering size you will need to think about how many people are likely to be using the umbrella. If it’s only going to be one adult or one adult and one child you’ll normally get away with a 180cm to 210cm umbrella. If you are looking to cover a family or two adults you are best off going for a larger size like 220cm to 240cm. A very important factor when considering the size of which beach umbrella to buy is what the manufacturer actually means by “diameter”. Even though diameter is generally considered to be the measurement in a straight line from one point to another for some reason a lot of umbrella manufacturers like to call “diameter” the measurement up over the arch of the umbrella so if buying online it is important to get the seller to clarify what the canopy measurement is that they are giving. Here at The Shade Centre like to give both measurements in our ads so that you know both the actual diameter and the arch diameter and can get a better idea of the umbrella size.
Ease of Use – Beach Umbrellas tend to come with different options on the lower pole to secure it into the sand. When you are at the beach you want to be relaxing and enjoying yourself not running down the beach chasing your umbrella after it’s been blown away in a gust of wind. If you can find an umbrella with a large auger (screw in part) on the bottom pole that will make it a lot easier to get it a decent depth into the sand. If there is a metal rod to go through the lower pole (check our Beachkit and Shelta ads to see pics) then that makes it easier to twist the lower pole into the sand, just make sure you take pressure off when you feel it getting a bit hard to twist into the sand otherwise you may bend your lower pole (which isn’t a warranty claim). Having a carry bag for your beach umbrella will also make things easier as you just sling it across your shoulder to travel to and from the beach.
Sun Protection – There’s no point having a beach umbrella if it’s not giving you maximum sun protection (UPF50+/ over 98% UV Protection) so make sure whatever beach umbrella you buy offers that. Most beach umbrellas will have a silver lining inside, which is what gives most of the protection from the dangerous UV rays. Having said that, it’s important to keep up the use of sunscreen and wear polarised sunglasses even when under a beach umbrella due to the reflection of rays off the sand and water.
Value for Money – There is such a wide range of beach umbrellas on the market ranging from $10 up to $200, the hard part is working out whether buying a $150 umbrella is going to mean it lasts longer then a $50 umbrella. In theory you would think the more expensive an umbrella the better the quality but that’s not always the case. Sometimes more expensive umbrellas are simply more expensive or they have a fancy pattern that you have to pay for or it could even be the manufacturers have had to pay to get it approved by one of the cancer/melanoma foundations. The main thing that affects how long a beach umbrella will last is how well you look after it and what sort of weather conditions it goes through. Most beaches are open windy places so there will always be a bit of wind pressure on both the frame and canopy. If the umbrella you buy has a narrow pole and arms then it will take less wind to damage those then something stronger. If your canopy has a wind vent you have more chance or a gust of wind exiting the vent and relieving pressure on the canopy rather then blowing the umbrella inside out or down the beach. As far as we are aware, no beach umbrellas have spare parts available for them (in some cases replacement lower poles are available but that’s about it), so having a longer warranty isn’t necessarily worth paying for, especially when warranties usually only cover manufacturing faults and not wind damage, wear and tear or misuse.
Accessories – Due to the popularity of Beach Umbrellas there are now a wide range of accessories available to make them even more useful for long days at the beach. You can get Beach Umbrella Tables to store your drinks on as well as things like a Brella Brace or Sandbags to help secure the umbrella better while at the beach.
Hopefully this guide has helped guide you as you look at buying a Beach Umbrella and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us here at The Shade Centre Australia