On the market for a new folding umbrella? These can offer some of benefits over full-length umbrellas, including being much more portable, and easier to store at home, in the office or even in the car. Of course, the chances are good that you’ve never really thought all that much about how to choose the best quality folding umbrella. The guide below will help ensure you can make an informed decision.
The umbrella’s frame is the network of metal rods that hold the canopy in place and folds it open or closed. The number of sections in the frame is something to consider – more sections means a more compact umbrella that’s easier to carry and store, but it also means a greater chance for something to go wrong. You also want to consider the material of the frame. Aluminum is light, but weak, while steel is heavier but stronger.
To prevent the umbrella from folding inside out the first time, a gust of wind touches it, there must be some degree of flexibility. The ribs should ensure that the umbrella canopy can flex with the wind, as too much rigidity can lead to problems like bent ribs and a misshapen umbrella. Metal ribs work well, but fiberglass may be an option to consider for even more flexibility.
Fabric design is largely a personal preference – you can choose from any number of colors, designs, and styles. Solid colors are classic and timeless, but you can add some fun with bright colors, color patterns, and even animal prints.
You will have the opportunity to buy a folding umbrella with a vent, or with a single canopy. The vented design is supposed to help allow wind to pass through the material more easily, while still ensuring that you stay dry underneath. The problem is that sacrifices strength for that capability. A single canopy is much stronger and more durable.
Finally, consider the shaft that ties the whole thing together. Avoid handles made from aluminum – while it’s light, it’s just too weak. Steel tube shafts are much stronger and almost as light as aluminum.