There are many types of umbrellas on the market today depending on your needs and climate. Some locations are rainy and windy while other destinations, like Seattle, are cloudy and drizzly. Here is a list of different types of umbrellas so you can hopefully find the best umbrella for your climate and rain gear needs.
High Wind / Wind Resistant: Wind resistant umbrellas are designed to hold up well in windy weather. Some umbrellas can break in the wind rendering the umbrella useless against the rain. High wind umbrellas are engineered with a vented, double, canopy to allow wind to pass through but not water. A wind resistant umbrella may also be designed with a sturdy frame and ribs made from a material such as fiberglass.
Auto Umbrellas: Automatic umbrellas can open up with a push of a button with a telescopic shaft. Usually automatic umbrellas have a straight handle with a button located on it. When you push the button the umbrella opens in a two part motion. The shaft of the umbrella becomes longer and the canopy of the umbrella opens up. Automatic umbrellas open up faster than mechanical ones for those unexpected downpours. Since the shaft can shorten, it makes for a more compact umbrella that can be carried in a purse or briefcase.
High fashion / Designer / Artistic: Designer umbrellas are not only functional, but also fashionable. High fashion umbrellas will have a beautiful design on the tent of the umbrella, sometimes with the designers logo. Designer umbrellas may have intricate handles or ferrules (top) made out of hand carved wood. These pricey umbrellas will be made from fine materials such as leather and maple wood. However, fashion umbrellas also come with a steep price tag with some designers charging upwards of $1,000 for their umbrellas.
Golf: Golfers often carry a special, over sized, umbrella with them when they are on the course in case of unexpected showers. Golf umbrellas have an extra large canopy with a diameter of about 70 inches across. The shaft of the umbrella is longer as well. This umbrella can be carried in a golf bag with golf clubs. When the rain begins, the umbrella can be opened up and put in the golf bag to keep clubs and golfers dry. The canopy of a golf umbrella has a signature design featuring two colors, with each panel of the umbrella alternating colors.
Compact / Mini: Compact umbrellas are small umbrellas engineered with convenience and portability in mind. Compact umbrellas fold down to make to make the umbrellas smaller and are lightweight for carrying. The arc of a portable umbrella is usually smaller at about 30 to 40 inches, yet still offers ample coverage. The drawback of a mini umbrella is that it is not as durable and won't stand up as well to high winds.
Child / Novelty: Child Umbrellas come in bright colors and a variety of fun designs, such as dragons, fairies, frogs, sports, etc. Umbrellas made for kids will have a smaller arc size of the canopy. Child sized umbrellas are designed to be lightweight and will have a shorter shaft to make it easier to carry and be stowed away in a child's backpack. The tips, or tin cups, of the ribs will have safety tips on the end so that a child doesn't accidentally poke themselves or a classmate. The handle will also be smaller to accommodate child sized hands.
Bubble: Bubble umbrellas have a full round dome. The canopy of the umbrella is very rounded like a bubble. The tent of the umbrella is usually clear, plastic and cartoonish looking. Bubble umbrellas can offer more coverage and you can see through the canopy's panels.
Sun: Sun umbrellas are designed to protect users from UV lights of the sun. Sun umbrellas are shaped much like rain umbrellas, but may have a special canopy to reflect UV light from the sun. Large sun umbrellas can be put on a patio to shield many people from the sun while eating outside and smaller personal sun umbrellas can be carried by an individual.
Beach: Beach umbrellas are meant to shield users from hot sun while enjoying the sandy beach. Beach umbrellas will have a wide, flat canopy and an extra long shaft. A beach umbrella may come with an umbrella stand so it can stand alone at in the sand, or it may have a clip to be clipped to a beach chair.
Parasol: Parasols are the first umbrella originally designed to protect users from tanning in the sun and later becoming a fashion accessory for the upper class. In Western culture, in the early 1900s the parasols slowly came out of fashion while tanned skinned gained popularity. Parasols were then replaced by the rain umbrella that we use today. Today parasols are making a slight comeback in western culture because of the fears of skin cancers from UV sun rays.