It’s one of those typical mornings. You’ve put on one of your favourite outfits, picked out a matching purse and shoes, grabbed a bagel and some orange juice and are just about to step out the door to get to work when…it starts raining. No problem. You grab your $5 black umbrella off the coat rack and head out to the bus. As you’re walking, the rain gets stronger and the wind picks up, until eventually your umbrella is inside out. You pull on it to fix it, but one of the ribs snaps! Frustrated, you toss your broken umbrella into the trash and run the rest of the way to the bus stop. What a terrible start to what should have been a fantastic day. That was clearly not the best umbrella choice.
- The Handle
- The Ribs and Stretchers
- The Shaft
- The Canopy
- The Rivets – are they rustproof?
- The Design
- The Bottom Line
Buying an umbrella is too often an impulse purchase. Of all the umbrellas on the market, the majority of them are flimsy, of poor quality, and have such bland designs that you might as well hold a newspaper above your head and you’ll achieve the same results. In order to save yourself the money and disappointment that comes with impulsively buying an umbrella that just isn’t right for you, La Bella Umbrella is here to guide you through buying the best rain protection.
THE PERFECT UMBRELLA
The best umbrella should be waterproof (seems obvious, but you would be surprised…), small enough to fit in a bag but large enough to protect you from the rain, and light enough to actually carry it with you. There are over 100 parts to each umbrella; here’s what to look for to ensure you found a good one.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE PERFECT UMBRELLA
You want an umbrella that is easy to hold, even when it’s wet. The handle should always have a comfortable grip and be large enough to fit nicely in your hand. If you find you’re holding the umbrella by the shaft instead of the handle – get a new umbrella.
A rubber coated handle is usually the best option for a reliable grip even when it’s wet. But be careful! Low quality rubber can also attract dirt and become sticky over time. If the handle is soft, smooth and easy to run your hand over, it’s usually a sign of high quality rubber – your best umbrella choice.
The Ribs and Stretchers
These are the umbrella parts that often break in a gust of wind. They’re thin and can easily snap when your umbrella (inevitably) inverts. That’s why, the ideal material for these sections is flexible fiberglass that will bend with your umbrella but won’t snap. Fiberglass ribs on an umbrella aren’t too hard to find, so take the time now and save yourself the trash can full of broken umbrellas later.
The shaft should be sturdy enough to keep your umbrella upright in all sorts of weather. A shaft that is too light won’t hold up against the wind and you’ll need to hold it with two hands to keep it where it should be – above your head. An umbrella shaft should also withstand wear and tear from all sorts of weather and be RUSTPROOF.
Look for an umbrella shaft made of anodized aluminum if you’re looking for something lighter but still durable. Otherwise, an umbrella shaft made of nickel plated steel, or even better, a fiberglass shaft (more for stick umbrellas than telescoping ones) is the best option for real durability.
The umbrella canopy or cover is one of the most important features because at the end of the day this is what keeps you dry. The canopy should be large enough to cover your body (not just your head!) and should be relatively deep rather than flat. In terms of the best waterproof fabric for your umbrella, the best quality umbrellas are made of Polyester or Pongee. Look for a higher thread count that indicates durability as well as softness, and avoid nylon! Most umbrellas have 190 thread-count fabric – if your umbrella has a 200 to 300 thread-count, you’ve got yourself a keeper!
The Rivets – are they rustproof?
Something that is often ignored as an important feature of umbrella quality is whether or not it is rustproof. When water gets into the metallic elements of your umbrella, it weakens them and makes them more likely to break. Copper rivets, as well as solid rivets instead of the hallow kind, will prevent water damage from affecting the small, breakable parts of your umbrella. This will also keep rust stains from ruining the umbrella canopy itself.
Your umbrella is something that you’re going to use on every rainy day, and sometimes for the sun as well, since sun umbrellas are becoming more and more popular! On these days, like every other day, you take the time to choose your outfit, your bag and your shoes. Don’t drown out the style and personality in your “look” just because it’s raining! Opt for a beautiful, colourful umbrella design that makes you smile! Choose one that reminds you of a city you visited, your favourite flower or animal, or a unique and creative pattern.
The Bottom Line
There’s no such thing as the perfect umbrella, but next time you’re in the market for a new one, keep these things in mind and opt for the best umbrella for your money. You’re probably going to need it throughout the year for all sorts of weather, so choose to stay dry in style and find one that speaks to you!
The wonderful people at The Wirecutter have created a list of good quality umbrellas. If you’re looking for the same quality, but would also like a unique design that puts a smile on your face, check out the umbrellas at La Bella Umbrella.
By: Viki Aizenstadt