“Oh. It’s raining. Time to hit the corner store and grab an umbrella. $20? Eh, fine.” That’s what usually happened in my head when there were sudden downpours in New York. A month later I’d bring out the same umbrella and it’d already have small rips on the canopy or the stretchers would break and make a floppy mess in the wind. Rinse and repeat.
I’ve wasted a lot of cash on cheap umbrellas, and I’m here to warn you not to make the same mistake. There actually are plenty of decent affordable umbrellas, you just need to know the right brands to buy from. I do also think it’s worth spending a little more on a high-quality umbrella that will last a while. My colleague Louryn Strampe and I have researched extensively and tested more than a dozen umbrellas for over a year—these are our favorites at various price points.
Be sure to check our many other guides, including our picks for the best rain jackets.
Updated April 2021: We’ve added the Unbreakable Umbrella, Weatherman, Senz, and removed the Muji Remarkable as it’s sold out.
Louryn Strampe also researched and reviewed umbrellas to contribute to this guide.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.