Beach umbrellas allow you to bring your shade and UV protection to the shore with you. They are also indispensable if a sudden rainstorm appears of if blowing sand threatens to spoil your enjoyment of a nice day at the beach.
A beach umbrella differs from a traditional outdoor or patio umbrella because it anchors deep into sand and does not use a weighted base. When purchasing a beach umbrella, there are several considerations you should keep in mind.
First, you want to select an umbrella that is easy to use. You might be carrying the umbrella from your car to the beach or from a cabana so you need to be aware of the weight you will be toting around. Next, assess how easy it is to install your beach umbrella at your chosen location. Beach umbrellas will have a tapered or pointed tip to make it easy to insert into the sand. Also, take note of how the canopy is raised – is it by crank or push up mechanism? You will want to be comfortable performing this operation several times in a day.
The next items you need to evaluate are the strength and stability of the umbrella frame itself. Beach umbrellas have either aluminum or fiberglass canopy ribs, with fiberglass being the strongest and most flexible for windy locations. Similarly, beach umbrella poles usually come in two or more sections and you’ll want to ensure that the sections join securely and solidly. Many beach umbrella poles are crafted of solid ash wood - one of the strongest hardwoods. You can also find aluminum poles which are lighter weight.
The canopy of your beach umbrella should be made from fabric that is designed to withstand a constant beating from elements such as wind, blowing sand, salt spray and driving rain. You will want a fade-resistant fabric that is also water-repellent. Many beach umbrellas offer marine-grade, Sunbrella-quality fabrics which also have very quick drying times. This is important to keep mold and mildew from forming.