The best umbrella 2017: shelter from the showers with these raining champions

Which umbrella will keep you dry, look stylish and withstand the test of time?

Want to know which umbrella is the best and which umbrella you should buy? If you want a quick answer, the Blunt XS_Metro is our favourite. The long answer involves lots of variables – namely how much you have to spend, your aesthetic tastes, how much you’ll be using your umbrella, how much room you have to spare in your bag or if you’d prefer to carry it as a standalone item. We are here to help!

How to choose the best umbrella for you

We tested five unisex umbrellas from five well-known, quality brands. These range from the household umbrella brand, Fulton (and the Royal household too no less – more on that later) to Davek New York – a much higher price point but designed to last a lifetime. The cheapest umbrella we tested was the Samsonite Rain Pro at £15. Generally speaking, we wouldn’t look at umbrellas much cheaper that that unless they’re on sale – you get what you pay for and there is nothing sadder than the sight of someone sopping wet about to take flight thanks to an inverted brolly! The inside out, broken prong look just isn’t for us.

A good umbrella should be brought in the same way you’d buy a coat. You need to think about when you’ll use it and how long for? Is it for work and does it need to be smart? Should it be funky and fun for winter weekend dog walks? Or, is just an everyday ‘just in case item’ that’s going to live in your day bag? Before you choose an umbrella, think about your requirements and consider your budget. Would you like this to be your last ever umbrella purchase or are you happy to upgrade in the future?

Testing was done by us in deepest darkest Devon, which always seems to catching the tail end of some hurricane or other. We used each umbrella in normal circumstances – rain and wind in the course of daily life – walking to the office, walking to the shops, walking to the car and walking the dog. Lots of walking in the rain, basically. We also opened and closed each umbrella more times than we care to remember – just checking they were all up to the job.

All of the umbrellas we’ve selected as our top five will keep you dry and won’t let you down when the weather is blustery either. We found things to like about them all but we can only crown one king of the rain and that’s the Blunt XS_Metro, which is super strong, looks great and even has its own app… The top spot was hotly contested though and we really did love the Davek Solo too. See which model fits your lifestyle and budget…

The 5 best unisex umbrellas you can buy today 

1. Blunt XS Metro

If ever there was an umbrella for urban dwellers – this is it!

Incredibly strong
No sharp points
On the bulky side of compact

The funky styling of the Blunt XS Metro is mainly down to the rounded safely tips, so we didn’t feel like an accident waiting to happen using it on a busy commute We used it on windy days and it didn’t even wobble – it’s aerodynamic handling is to be commended and it feels reassuringly well-made in the hand too. The high tension canopy is perhaps the perfect size - keeps you completely dry but isn’t cumbersome. Opens and closes instantly by pressing a single button. Better still…Blunt has teamed up with Tile, so that you can track your umbrella when lost via the Tile app (there’s a tile embedded in a specially designed pocket) – nifty.

2. Davek Solo

A luxury item with lifetime guarantee

Ultra strong
Lifetime guarantee
Very expensive

There’s no disputing the fact that at £89 the Davek Solo certainly is an expensive umbrella. However, it looks and feels expensive with it’s understated styling and high spec materials – zinc alloy hardware with black leather, anyone? It opens and closes by pushing the button and should it ever invert you press the button and the ribs will automatically correct themselves to closed position. It showed no signs of inverting when we tested it though – as tough as they come with steel shaft and flexible carbon polymer ligaments so it holds up in strong winds. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, so providing you don’t loose it; it should be the last brolly you buy!

Price: £89 | Buy Davek Solo

3. Fulton Birdcage

Best for blustery walks in the country

Full coverage
Affordable quality
Too big to carry around in case it rains

Once you’re in the umbrella – thanks to the funky full coverage dome design you feel like you’re in a bubble - you aren’t getting wet. The transparent cover means that despite this being the brolly offering the most coverage visibility is great. The build quality is impressive with fiberglass ribs for flexibility and strength in high winds. The Queen uses one of these (Fulton are a Royal Warrant holder) and we can see why! Our only issue - it’s big at 94cm long when closed, 84cm when open which is great when it’s raining but it’s too cumbersome to carry everyday.

4. Victorinox Automatic Umbrella

Strong yet light for everyday use

Well made
Push button opening
Handle shows usage marks

This Victorinox umbrella opens with the push of a button but you close it manually (unlike the Davek and Blunt models). Build quality is great – the strong frame held up very well in the wind despite being lightweight at just 0.4kg – a real plus if it’s going to live in your bag.  We liked the look of the double canopy design which features the Victorinox logo and it’s very nice to hold with the moulded finger grips and rubberised feel of the handle. Said handle did show light general usage marks quite quickly though.

5. Samsonite Rain Pro

Compact size
Inexpensive
Nothing special to look at

If you’re looking for an inexpensive take-everywhere-just-in-case type of umbrella this is the one for you – it even comes with a nice neat carry case. It’s much better made than those you can pick up anywhere for a couple of quid but at just £15 it doesn’t have button opening or other fancy features. It doesn’t look cheap at all but it’s design is nothing special either. A good no frills choice.

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