What makes a “good umbrella”, good? It can depend on what you need it for – but in the end, it’s all about the design and construction.
There are personal umbrellas, designed for one. There are umbrellas that you need to carry in your briefcase or totebag. There are umbrellas that you need to cover a whole crowd. No matter how big or small and even though it’s audience may be different, the main purpose is to keep dry. Keeping the rain off depends on how well it is made.
The shape of your umbrella’s canopy determines how the rain slides off. A flatter canopy is ideal if you are protecting more than one person. It is ideally carried as close to the head as possible, allowing for a variety of heights in your group but hold it too high and it can catch the wind. An umbrella with a “curvier canopy” works better for one, but can restrict your vision unless it is see-thru. The largest umbrellas for golf or large crowds, may be best designed with a “double” canopy – which can allow wind to escape from the top but keeps you dry at the same time.
It is great to be able to offer space under your umbrella to a coworker or friend but providing a
roof for everyone isn’t possible. The more people your umbrella covers, the larger it will be when collapsed. If storage space is a premium and you mainly need it for yourself – go for a smaller, foldable version. On the other hand, if your umbrella is needed for the whole family to go to the game or for all your golfing buddies – get one that has a large canopy spread and store it somewhere with plenty of room.
You want your umbrella to last more than one season. This means you need to pay close attention to the construction. The shaft should be strong and made of high-quality stainless steel, graphite or something that won’t easily bend. The ribs which provide support to the expanding canopy should be solid enough to stand up to the weather but not so heavy that you can’t carry it. The rivets that keep the canopy from flying off of the frame should be solid and not see-through. It should easily slide and not stick, collapse and inflate without too much effort but the most important feature is – it should be waterproof!
Your umbrella’s main job is to protect you from rain. Big or small, for short trips or long events – your umbrella must stand out in a crowd by standing up to the weather.