We've all been there. It's pouring rain, and you're umbrella-less. Maybe you forgot your umbrella at home, or maybe you haven't purchased a new once since that last storm reduced your old (and favorite) umbrella to bits of shredded cloth and a broken post. Guess you'll have to duck into the nearest pharmacy or gas station to buy another cheap umbrella and just pray that a single gust of wind won't turn it inside out and render it useless... again.
Why do we keep buying the cheap umbrellas? It's presumably for the same reason we buy cheap sunglasses or gloves that barely keep our fingers warm. They will get scratched, broken, or most likely, lost in that vortex of the backseat of the car or left behind in a restaurant. We live in a disposable society for the most part, but there are some products that are still made to last, or at least have some sort of guarantee to give us peace of mind if we decide to fork over the cash for quality and durability. Umbrellas shouldn't be any different.
With hurricane season kicking into full gear, we've rounded up a few high-quality umbrellas that are actually guaranteed to last. Unless you're the type to lose belongings, a sturdy umbrella can actually save you money in the end.
Made from some of the strongest components in the world, ShedRain umbrellas are designed to protect you from the elements and are super easy to open and close. The company is also committed to fair labor practices and fair consumer prices. We like the ShedRain Windjammer 43" Arc Compact Umbrella ($13.97 with $6.64 s&h, a low by $4) for its auto open-and-close function and vented canopy that resists windy conditions. We also found a wide selection of ShedRain umbrellas at Umbrellas and Beyond and eBags.
Totes umbrellas are sold at a number of major retailers from Sears to Amazon, and come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Totes also offers a lifetime warranty, but charges a $5 shipping fee and stipulates a return time of four to six weeks to replace a broken umbrella. However, The Consumerist reports good customer service on behalf of Totes; the company refunded a customer her shipping and sent her a bonus umbrella. For a different take on the traditional umbrella, the Totes Bubble Umbrella ($15.20 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $7) in Clear features a birdcage canopy that will keep you dry down to your shoulders.
If you are willing to spend a little more money, GustBuster umbrellas are scientifically tested and guaranteed to withstand gusts up to 55mph. Plus they are designed to shed rain better than most umbrellas on the market. They tend to be on the larger size, and most of the models start around $30, like the GustBuster Classic 48" Automatic Golf Umbrella in Black ($34.95 with free shipping, a low by $7).
For those of you who are willing spend for quality and style, Davek New York backs the durability and elegance of its products with a lifetime guarantee and loss prevention service. All of its styles feature a 100% solid steel shaft, 190-thread count microweave fabric and the Davek lifetime guarantee. The most basic umbrellas start at $49: Davek Mini Umbrella, ($49 with free shipping, a low by $1). However, a mid-size umbrella, like the pictured Davek Solo Umbrella in Black/Pale Blue ($99 with free shipping), not only features a unique carbon WindFlex Frame System and automatic-open and automatic-close button system, but also boats a genuine leather hand strap; it makes for a great personal or corporate gift to boot.
Any umbrella, according to the ShedRain website, has over 75 working parts, which means there's 75 reasons yours could break — no matter how much it costs. Fortunately replacing or repairing these umbrellas is a guarantee, even if you have to pay for shipping... and that's better than spending $25 or more each year to replace all of the bargain umbrellas you've had to scramble for in a moment of downpour desperation.
Note that this feature has been updated since it was originally published last year.
Ashley Watson is a contributing writer to Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared.