What Is The Difference Between A Sun Umbrella And A Regular Umbrella?

What Is The Difference Between A Sun Umbrella And A Regular Umbrella?

To some, all umbrellas may look the same. After all, they have the same shape and look.

However, it may surprise you to learn that though they look similar, sun umbrellas and regular umbrellas are different products that should be used in different situations. 

If you think that sun umbrellas and regular umbrellas are the same, this informative guide will explain the difference.

This will allow you to differentiate between these two separate items. Here is everything that you need to know about these two varieties of umbrellas.

What Is A Regular Umbrella?

As you may already know, the purpose of a standard umbrella is to protect people from the rain.

These objects are made up of a circular piece of fabric, which is designed to repel the user from rain.

This material is spread across hinges, which allows the umbrella to keep its shape.

These hinges are connected to a pole, the section of the umbrella that the user holds. 

Many umbrellas are designed to be portable so that you can keep them on you and use them whenever it begins to rain.

In fact, many people prefer mini umbrellas that can be kept in one’s bag or handbag.

These umbrellas come in different sizes and colors, often having decorative patterns. 

What Is A Sun Umbrella?

In terms of design, sun umbrellas are remarkably similar to traditional umbrellas. However, they perform different functions, as mentioned earlier.

As suggested by the name, sun umbrellas are designed for use in sunny conditions.

These umbrellas can protect you from the sun, preventing your skin from being damaged by UV rays.

Depending on the quality of the sun umbrella and its level of protection, you can be defended from 99% of UV rays.

If you live in a hot country or are planning a beachside holiday, you may want to purchase a sun umbrella. 

Sun Umbrella Vs Regular Umbrella: What Is The Difference?


As you can see from the descriptions above, the primary difference between these two umbrella models is that they are used for different weather conditions.

While the sun is used for sunny weather, standard umbrellas are used for rain, hail, and snow.

There are other differences between them, though they are based on their separate functions.

Because they have distinctive uses, sun umbrellas and standard umbrellas are designed differently. 

Regular umbrellas are often made to be more durable than sun umbrellas.

This is because they will need to be sturdy enough to face the harsh weather conditions.

They must be able to survive strong winds, heavy rain, and hail.

In comparison, sun umbrellas do not need to be as durable since they won’t be used in violent conditions. 


Despite this, sun umbrellas are usually constructed from thicker materials. This is because they need to be capable of defending the user from UV rays.

These rays can penetrate thin materials, so sun umbrellas tend to be thick or have multiple layers of fabric.

UV And Rain Protection

Consequently, sun umbrellas have a much higher level of sun protection than standard umbrellas. Standard umbrellas will have a degree of sun protection.

Some studies have shown that a typical umbrella can offer around 70% protection from UV rays.

In contrast, sun umbrellas will offer more protection than an everyday umbrella. As stated, these umbrellas can even reach 99% UV ray protection.

As a result, we recommend using a sun umbrella in the summer months. Though standard umbrellas offer protection, they will not be enough to protect your skin from UV rays.

If these rays reach your body, they can damage your eyes and skin. In serious cases, this can lead to cancer.

Other effects include wrinkles, liver spots, and genetic defects. Therefore, it is important to use a sun umbrella instead of an average umbrella.

They usually feature UV-repellent coatings that black out the sun’s potentially harmful rays. 

Likewise, you should use a traditional umbrella in rainy conditions.

Though a sun umbrella will supply some level of defense from the rain, it will not be as well suited to the job as regular umbrellas.

The materials used for these umbrellas are not intended for use in the rain, so they may become damaged. This may be particularly true in the wind. 

Traditional umbrellas are made with waterproof materials. Otherwise, they would not be able to withstand the rain.

In contrast, the materials used to make sun umbrellas are not always waterproof. 


Another quality that separates the umbrellas is that sun umbrellas tend to be more lightweight.

As a consequence, you can more easily take your sun umbrella with you wherever you need it.

Again, this is so that standard umbrellas are heavy enough that they won’t get swept away by the wind. 

Aesthetic Appearance

While the general shape and appearance of these two different umbrellas are roughly the same, they can also look quite different.

This is mainly because traditional umbrellas tend to be more decorative than sun umbrellas.

Sun umbrellas can be quite boring since they are designed more for practicality than aesthetics.

Sun umbrellas can come in different colors, though shimmering silver or dark colors. This is because silver is a color that is adept at reflecting the sun.

Black sun umbrellas are also widespread, as they offer a high degree of UV protection.

You might also notice that the two versions have slightly different shapes.

Standard umbrellas are usually reinforced to a higher degree than sun umbrellas.

This is to give them more strength, enabling the umbrella to resist tough weather. 

What To Look For In A Good UV Umbrella

Now that you know how to tell the difference between a standard umbrella and one made for use in the sun, you should now find out what makes a good UV umbrella.

After all, you won’t want to end up with a rubbish umbrella that doesn’t properly protect you from the sun’s rays.

Here are some of the things that you should look out for when shopping for a UV umbrella. 

UV Protection

To keep yourself as healthy as possible, you should look at the UV protection of an umbrella.

The higher the UV protection, the better. Otherwise, you may be vulnerable to the sun’s rays.

In most cases, it is recommended that you get an umbrella with at least 90% protection from UV rays.

Most of these umbrellas should be at least SPF 50 (sun protection factor) and UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of at least 50.


You should also consider the price of the umbrella. These products can be sold at a wide variety of prices.

Though UV umbrellas that are more expensive are often higher-quality, this is not always the case.

As a consequence, you should instead try to find an umbrella that is within your price range. 


Umbrellas come in an array of colors.

Though you may be tempted to purchase the one that is sold in your favorite shade, this is not recommended if you want to maximize your sun protection. 

In general, darker colors offer more protection from UV rays than lighter colors. This is why black sun umbrellas are quite popular.

If you wish to be well-protected from the sun, it is recommended that you avoid light-colored umbrellas.

For instance, a pale blue UV umbrella will generally be less effective than one that is black.

Black umbrellas tend to be capable of blocking out 90% of UV rays. 

Silver is also a commonly found color for UV umbrellas. This is because these umbrellas are designed to reflect the sun’s light.

These sun rays will hit the silver umbrella and be evenly distributed, thus stopping them from reaching your skin. 

Quality Materials

To ensure that your umbrella is of good quality, you should look at the materials used to construct it.

This includes not just the fabric made for the top of the UV umbrella, but also the pole and grip.

What Makes The Best UV Umbrella?

Once you understand what makes a good quality UV umbrella, you can now move on to looking at the best UV umbrellas on the market.

These products are a step above the average sun umbrella.

They will be more useful and practical than regular sun umbrellas. Unfortunately, this can have an adverse effect on the cost.

These UV umbrellas tend to be more expensive than decent-quality ones. 

Nonetheless, if you are searching for the best UV umbrella on the market, then here are some of the qualities to check out. 

High UV Protection

As you can imagine with UV umbrellas, the level of protection is essential for these umbrellas to be useful.

You should research the UV protection level before you purchase an umbrella. 


The sturdiness of an umbrella is important. If an umbrella is not durable, then it will not be very long-lasting.

Plus, you will need to waste money on replacing a UV umbrella.


Though we recommend prioritizing the practicality of a UV umbrella, you should also find one that appeals to you on an aesthetic level.

After all, you have to use these umbrellas in public. If you do not enjoy the look of an umbrella, you will likely enjoy it less. 


If you have to carry an umbrella, it must be comfortable. Otherwise, your hands may feel uncomfortable.

Therefore, the best UV umbrellas will have comfortable grips.

One way of determining this is by reading reviews, which showcase whether or not the grip feels agreeable. 

What To Look For In The Best UV Umbrella

If you wish to have the top UV umbrella, then there are some factors that you should look for.

Some of these have already been discussed, but you should consider all of these features if you wish to maximize your UV umbrella. These include:

  • A price that is suitable for the quality of the umbrella.
  • A UV umbrella that is long-lasting.
  • A high level of UV and UPF protection.
  • A color that adds to the sun protection.
  • A product that is portable. 
  • Good customer reviews. 

Sun Umbrella Buyer’s Guide

Whether you want the best sun umbrella or one that is just an acceptable quality, here is a list of the main qualities that we believe should be present in every sun umbrella:

  • Must have a high UPF of 55+: though lots of sun umbrellas have a UPF factor of 50, we recommend getting one that is higher. As a minimum, you should aim for an umbrella with at least 55 UPF. If you are exposed to UV Rays, you can have some severe health conditions, such as cancer. That is why it is important to find an umbrella with suitable ultraviolet protection. This information should be listed in a product’s online description. 
  • Must have a ventilated canopy to allow the trapped heat to escape out the top: these vents, located at the top of the umbrella, allow hot air to escape. If you are feeling warm, then this will enable you to cool down a bit. 
  • Material thicker fabric with a silver reflective top: though black sun umbrellas are great at blocking the sun, we find reflective silver umbrellas to be superior. As stated earlier, this silver fabric is able to reflect sunlight, thus giving you increased protection. We do not recommend choosing a UV umbrella based on its aesthetic, but rather on its practicality. 
  • Color should be a darker color underneath to absorb the bouncing ground UV: while you may not realize this, UV lights can bounce off the ground, thus exposing you to UV rays even if you are using a sun umbrella. To prevent this, the bottom of the UV umbrella should be a darker color, namely black. 
  • Should be dermatologist recommended: as skin experts, dermatologists will have an understanding of how well certain products can shield your skin. Therefore, dermatologist recommendations are essential for finding the best umbrella. These recommendations practically guarantee that your skin will be well shielded by a product. 
  • One-year warranty: nobody wants an umbrella that will break after just a few uses. To ensure that you don’t waste money on a faulty UV umbrella, you should search for one with a warranty. Ideally, it should be a one-year warranty. This ensures that if your UV umbrella unexpectedly breaks, you have financial protection. 
  • Knowledgeable customer service: have you ever had to deal with a customer service team that is unhelpful? This can be really annoying. Therefore, you may want to research a brand’s customer service before buying from them. One way of doing this is by reading user reviews, as these often contain user information about the quality of a customer service department.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Else Can You Protect Your Skin From the Sun?

Aside from using sun or UV umbrellas, there are a few protective measures that you can take. One way of doing this is to use sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen liberally to any parts of your skin that are exposed.

Most people only do this when they are at the beach, but you should do it whenever the sun is in the sky.

In fact, many experts recommend using sunscreen daily. 

On sunny days, remember to top up your sunscreen, roughly every 2 hours.

As with sun umbrellas, the higher the SPF of the sunscreen, the more defense you will have.

It is recommended that you use a water-resistant sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF.

If you have sensitive skin, you can find moisturizing sunscreens that are better suited to your skin. 

You may want to wear clothes that protect your skin.

Though it can be hard to wear long and dark clothes in the sun, this is one way of ensuring your skin’s protection.

You can also utilize clothing accessories that are designed for use in sunny conditions, such as hats and sunglasses. 

Where Can I Buy A Sun Umbrella?

The best place to purchase a sun umbrella is online. There are lots of different online retailers, giving you a wide selection of products to choose from.

They come at different prices and utilize different features. The great thing about online sites is that you can easily check the details of a sun umbrella.

Also, you can read customer reviews, enabling you to read user experiences.

There are also some stores that sell sun umbrellas, such as department and outdoor stores. 

What Are The Best Fabrics For UV Protection?

Most materials will offer some protection from UV rays, though certain materials are better than others.

Some of the most protective fabrics include denim, linen, canvas, and wool.

Therefore, you may want to wear clothes made from these materials if you plan on going outside in the sun. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, while you may have been struggling to differentiate between sun umbrellas and traditional umbrellas, hopefully, this guide will have given you a deeper understanding of them.

When selecting an umbrella, you should not just think about whether it has been constructed for use in sun and rain.

As this article demonstrates, there are tons of other considerations that can affect your purchase.

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