The Best Color Patio Umbrella to Block the Sun
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Choosing the right color for your patio umbrella is essential to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Not doing so will not only keep you hot under the umbrella but can also cause skin issues. So, what's the best color patio umbrella to block sun?
Black does the best job in providing protection from UV rays and sunlight. You can't go wrong with black as the color of your patio umbrella. Besides the fabric's color, its quality also plays a great role in determining how much UV protection you'll get from it.
Keep reading this article to find out all about the importance of the color and quality of fabric when picking out a patio umbrella. We'll also discuss other color choices if you're not into black and some great fabrics for your patio umbrella. Let's dive in!
What Color Patio Umbrella is Best for Sun Protection?
Do you remember the science lesson in your childhood in which you learned that black absorbs light and white reflects light? That lesson will come in handy when you try to figure out the best color for your patio umbrella so that it can block sunlight.
The short answer is that black is the best color for a patio umbrella if your goal is sun protection. That's because black color has the highest ability to absorb the sunlight and block maximum UV rays. It also absorbs heat better than the other colors.
The level of sun protection that you'll get also depends on the quality of the fabric along with its color. The more tightly woven the fabric is, the more it'll absorb light and heat.
A black patio umbrella will also reflect less heat and light toward you. When light hits a surface, and it's reflected, the light bounces at the same angle it came in. The angle at which it came is called the angle of incidence, and the angle at which it goes back is called the angle of reflection.
Light is reflected in white color. But when it hits a black surface, the light is actually refracted. The angle of incidence and the angle of refraction isn't the same when the light goes through a black surface. That's how it absorbs most of the UV rays and sends even lesser ones to you by changing the angle of them.
How Reliable is a Patio Umbrella for UV Protection?
If you have sensitive skin, you'll most likely be concerned about the capability of patio umbrellas to block UV rays. Thankfully, they do a pretty good job at it. A normal patio umbrella made with good fabric can easily block 75% of all UV ray radiation coming from the sun.
One of the most outstanding studies on this topic was done at Emory University in Atlanta, in which it was found that most of the typical patio umbrellas stopped between 73 to 95 percent of the UV rays. The fabrics that were woven tighter gave more protection than the ones woven lightly.
Consider that the sun will move over time, so you either need to move yourself, move the patio umbrella, or have some larger types of awning to sit under if you want to maintain your highest levels of UV protection.
Does a Black Patio Umbrella Give Better UV Protection Than Other Colors?
The short answer is yes, it does. Going back to the 2013 experiment done at Emory University, there are conclusive results that black color gives better UV protection than the other colors. The umbrellas that performed the poorest were able to block 73% of the UV rays.
But when black umbrellas were tested, they all prevented at least 90% UV radiation, while most gave 95% UV protection. So, clearly, black is better than the other colors. It also minimizes the reflected light that goes on you, which keeps you cooler in summer.
How Important is the Color of Patio Umbrella for Sun Protection?
The color of a patio umbrella dictates to a large degree how much it'll protect you from the UV rays. But it's not the end-all-be-all deciding factor. Another important factor you must consider before getting a patio umbrella is its fabric quality.
When choosing the fabric for your patio umbrella, you want to choose one with at least a UV protection factor of 50 or higher. It indicates that the fabric is tightly woven and will protect you from the most harmful UV rays.
Does it Get Hot Under a Black Patio Umbrella?
All the dark umbrellas will typically do a great job at keeping you cool on summer days. And black is the darkest among them. So, it's the best option you can go for as long as the quality of the fabric is top notch.
If you feel hot even under a black patio umbrella, keep in mind that it's the best you're going to get. Patio umbrellas that have colors other than black will only make you hotter and let more UV rays pass through them.
It does help tremendously, if you're the kind of person that likes to kick off their flip flops and relax bare feet outside. You will undoubtedly have your feet on your hot patio surface and some patio surface alternatives get even hotter. So keep that in mind or have a rug under you, and especially have a rug on a concrete patio if your feet are real sensitive to heat.
What Other Patio Umbrella Colors Can You Choose?
Even though black is clearly the best choice from a functionality perspective, you may not want to use it for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe, you don't like the color black. Or, you want the umbrella to be of your favorite color. So, does your patio umbrella have to be black?
It's not written anywhere that black should be the only color of patio umbrellas. Keep in mind that if you plan to hang out on your patio for a long time, black is still the best option, as it'll give you maximum protection from UV rays and sunlight and keep you cool.
But if you don't intend to spend much time on the patio, sun protection may not be the most important factor to you. In that case, you can select patio umbrellas of other colors. Even though what you want to choose is solely your decision, here are some recommendations for you:
Go for Darker Colors
All the dark colors do an excellent job at sunlight and UV protection. If you don't like black for any reason, you can choose another dark color. Navy blue, brown, and dark green are some great options. You'll get good sun protection by choosing these colors and also avoid black color at the same time.
Color of Your Home
Rather than choosing a random color, let the aesthetics of your house guide you. Go for a color that complements the style of your home.
If your deck, types of deck railings, or house are dark, having a light patio umbrella will make it stand out. If your house or types of patios are light, it's a good idea to choose a dark patio umbrella for contrast.
Even if you're keen on selecting a light color for your patio umbrella, we recommend that you at least steer clear of white. While a white patio umbrella will also block the sunlight, it'll make you hotter under the umbrella.
Which Umbrella Fabrics are Ideal for UV Protection?
The color of the patio umbrellas should have a strong weight in your final decision. But as you should know by now, you also have to care about the fabric you're choosing if you want to get UV protection.
Check whether your fabric is UV resistant or not. A good UV-resistant fabric will only let 2-10% of UV rays pass through it. As UV rays have short wavelengths, some of them can pass through the tightest of fabrics. But here are two good choices of fabric for you for UV protection:
Sunbrella is the combination of the words - Sun and Umbrella. It's a dedicated fabric made for patio umbrellas to provide great UV protection, though they have since branched out. The sewing thread made for this fabric is called Tenara. It's been painted with acrylic dyes. So, you don't have to worry about the colors fading anytime soon.
As for the main part, it can block 98-99% of UV rays. It has a certification from the Skin Cancer Foundation that it's safe to use. So, this is the ideal fabric for you if you have sensitive skin and want UV protection.
Terylast is a UV-resistant fabric brand made from polyester that can block off 98% of UV rays. It's a heavy-duty fabric that will last for a long time and won't get easily corroded. It comes in many color variations. So, you can choose your favorite color if you select this fabric.
Black is the Best Color Patio Umbrella to Block Sun
If you don't like black, you have many other choices. As long as you pick a dark color, you'll have enough protection from UV rays and sunlight. Moreover, you can also choose a light color if you don't care about UV protection.
Getting a good quality fabric will go a long way in protecting you from UV rays as well. Pick the one that fits your needs the best. Now you know beyond any doubt that the best color patio umbrella to block sun is black.