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Let’s face it, an umbrella is a handbag essential all year round in the UK. Never ones to let a bit of rain stop us getting out of the house, a trusty umbrella can mean the difference between a good day out and a miserable one.
Whether you’re shivering in the playground, walking the dog or travelling to work, there’s nothing more infuriating than being let down by a flimsy umbrella getting blown inside-out. Luckily, there are plenty of umbrellas out there that come with clever design features to save you from soggy hair disasters.
From aerodynamic canopies to innovative quick-drying fabrics, there’s a lot more to modern umbrellas than first meets the eye. Of course, there are also classic styles built with lightness and good looks in mind too.
We’ve trawled the internet, as well as the Mumsnet Talk forums to find the umbrellas that are worth having when you head out.
Here are the best umbrellas to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall umbrella: Gustbuster Metro Folding Umbrella
Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon
"I have a Gustbuster - horrid name but fabulous brolly" - Crikeyblimey
"I have a Gustbuster too. Think it's 10 years old now. Stands up to very strong winds without being caught by them. Nothing pretty about it but definitely sturdy. Will fit in a tote bag" - nothingwittyhere
With its unique, vented double canopy design, the Gustbuster is our pick for the best all-round umbrella. Mumsnetters say it lives up to its name, withstanding blustery weather conditions while still folding up small enough to carry around as an everyday umbrella.
Because of its double layer and robust construction, it’s not the lightest umbrella, but if you’re looking for something that will last for years and won’t let you down, go for the trusty Gustbuster.
- Canopy size: 109cm
- Folded length: 40cm
- Weight: 500g
2. Best budget umbrella: SY Windproof Unbreakable Umbrella
Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon
While cheaper umbrellas are usually not to be trusted, this one by SY is the exception to the rule. It’s got a flexible construction that means it can withstand up to 60mph winds, plus the canopy is made of quick-drying fabric so you won’t have to carry around a dripping brolly for the rest of the day.
The automatic open and close button makes it easy to use, even if your other hand is full, plus it’s pretty lightweight while being sturdy enough to keep you sheltered from the elements. At under £15, it’s a bargain too.
- Canopy size: 104cm
- Folded length: 27.5cm
- Weight: 345g
3. Best windproof Umbrella: Senz Original Umbrella
Price: £48 | Buy now from Amazon
"I've had my one for years and walk for several hours outside every week" - Thisenglishlife
Designed to withstand gusts of up to 62mph, the Senz windproof umbrella does not mess around. With its distinctive shape, tough-as-nails construction and soft, grippable handle, it’s perfect for keeping relatively dry on windy walks in the countryside.
Senz has thought of everything - the spokes have special “eye-safe” covers so there’s no danger of poking your eye out when the weather gets wild. The fabric of the quirky, aerodynamic canopy is SPF50 too, showing just how well Senz understands the changeable British climate.
- Canopy size: 90cm
- Folded length: 28cm
- Weight: 500g
4. Best lightweight umbrella: Muji Lightweight Foldable Umbrella
Price: £15 | Buy now from Muji
"Muji makes good foldable umbrellas. They're the only ones I don't manage to break within a couple of weeks" - DistanceCall
Japanese brand Muji is loved for its high-quality, understated homeware, and this umbrella is no different. At only 161g it’s super light, and Mumsnetters say it lasts, too.
With a classic design and lots of colours available, this is a brilliant everyday umbrella to keep in your bag in case of emergencies.
- Canopy size: 50cm
- Folded length: 22.5cm
- Weight: 161g
5. Best big umbrella: Fox Golf Umbrella
Price: £128 | Buy now from Fox Umbrellas
"Fox umbrellas are infallible. The only reason I've had to replace mine is because DH left it on the train" - Arseface
A Fox umbrella is built to last a lifetime and we love this bright golf-style one. With its chestnut handle and infinitely customisable colour scheme (you can have each panel a different colour if you like), this is an umbrella that’s made to be noticed.
It’s got a double-rib frame, meaning it’s super strong and reliable, and it has a good sized canopy that the whole family can squeeze under. At £130, it’s certainly an investment, but you’ll get an exceptional quality umbrella for your money.
- Canopy size: 120cm
- Folded length: 97cm
- Weight: Not stated
6. Best colourful umbrella: Blunt Metro Umbrella
Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon
The Blunt Metro’s curvy edges are made for city living. With no sharp spoke ends to worry about poking passers-by with, it’s a great umbrella for the school run or a busy commute.
We love the bright colours and perfectly-proportioned canopy. It has a one-metre diameter so it’s big enough to keep you dry without taking up an obnoxious amount of pavement space. Opened and closed at the touch of a button, the Blunt Metro isn’t just a pretty face, it’s really user-friendly, and we give it a big thumbs up.
- Canopy size: 100cm
- Folded length: 37.5cm
- Weight: 385g
7. Best transparent umbrella: Fulton Birdcage
Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon
"I've just got a Fulton birdcage brolly from Amazon. It's not the smallest of brollies but in terms of keeping me dry it's brill. Less likely to be blown inside out because of the design (apparently)" - Lolislovely
"I also have a Fulton birdcage for walking days (when I won't be in and out of shops etc) which is lovely" - RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie
For an umbrella with a view, Mumsnetters love the Fulton Birdcage. As used by HM the Queen herself, and available in a range of colours, this umbrella is designed to give full head and shoulder coverage, while still allowing you to see where you’re going.
The high dome shape makes it very wind-resistant, so it’s a good choice for long walks. The size means it’s not so practical if it needs to be folded up and down a lot, but it’s a well-made brolly that’ll keep you dry all year round.
- Canopy size: 83cm
- Folded length: 94cm
- Weight: 530g
8. Best pocket umbrella: Fulton Tiny-1 Umbrella
Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon
"Another vote for Fulton. I figure if they're good enough for the Queen then they're good enough for me" - Libitina
"Get the mini one, it’s brilliant, so light" - piddleypower
At an incredibly dinky 15cm when folded, the Tiny-1 is Fulton’s second entry on our round-up of the best umbrellas to buy this year.
Neat, compact and reliable, this is the kind of umbrella you can take anywhere, just in case. The polyester canopy dries quickly, and as it’ll fit in your pocket, you’re less likely to leave it behind. As you’d expect from an umbrella designed for compactness, it’s not the most robust on our list, but as a practical brolly that takes up barely any space, it’s a lifesaver.
- Canopy size: 87cm
- Folded length: 15cm
- Weight: 160g
9. Best quality umbrella: James Smith Walking Length Umbrella
Price: £85 | Buy now from James Smith
"It’s not the lightest hand-bag-sized umbrella in the world but it’s sturdy and top quality and even when flipped inside out by the wind it doesn’t break (you can just flip it back again). Have had it for five years or so and it’s good as new, should last me for years and years" - JennyHolzersGhost
"DH bought a James Smith umbrella with his first "proper job" pay check. Still looking like new 32 years later" - HortonWho
For a proper old fashioned umbrella, look to James Smith to make all your Mary Poppins-themed fantasies come true. This ‘walking length’ umbrella is made from malacca cane and looks beautifully elegant while keeping you dry.
Owing to the quality and craftsmanship, it’s not particularly lightweight and definitely won’t fit in your handbag, but if you’re looking for an umbrella that’ll last a lifetime, this is a great investment.
- Canopy size: 93cm
- Folded length: 87cm
- Weight: 380g
How to buy the best umbrella
When it comes to choosing an umbrella, it’s best to consider your lifestyle. Naturally, you’ll be looking for one that keeps you dry and won’t turn inside-out at the slightest breeze, but different umbrellas have different strengths. For example, a light, compact umbrella is perfect for keeping in your bag for emergencies, but a larger, more sturdily built one will serve you better on regular walks.
What features are worth spending money on?
A windproof design is worth spending extra money on, otherwise you may find yourself having to bin your umbrella after a couple of outings.
What’s the best umbrella to buy?
We think the Gustbuster Metro is the best umbrella to buy. It’s a reliable all-rounder that can hold its own on a windy day, but still folds up relatively small.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which umbrellas discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their gardens. We compiled a list of umbrellas they recommended for being reliable, practical and offering value for money.
We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which umbrellas had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.
Having collated all that information, we picked the umbrellas we thought would make the best buys.
Why you should trust us
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