The best shade sail
A shade sail is an affordable and decorative way to keep your porch, patio, or yard out of the sun so you can enjoy the summer weather without getting burned. Installing a shade sail is fairly straightforward, and you can use any sturdy anchor to attach the corners of the sail to position it however you like.
Shade sails come in rectangular, square, and triangular shapes and vary in size and color. In addition, the amount of UV rays they are capable of blocking can vary. One large shade sail may be sufficient to cover your porch or patio, but multiple smaller sails can work just as well and look quite charming. Our top pick is the Shade&Beyond Sun Shade Sail Triangle, which is made of durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that blocks 98% of UV rays. To learn more about the types of shade sails available and their features, continue reading.
Considerations when choosing shade sails
When shopping for a shade sail, you should carefully measure the area you plan to cover and look for a sail (or sails) that are a sufficient size and shape to provide shade to the area. While all shapes provide shade well, triangles only have three anchor points, making them easier to set up but no less stable. Shade sails vary in size from those big enough to cover only a couple of chairs to larger sails that can shade your whole patio.
The material of the sail determines its capability of blocking UV rays and its waterproofing. HDPE is a fabric that stretches easily and is breathable to allow a slight breeze. Meanwhile, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will block wind and rain as well.
Take note of the percentage of UV rays a shade sail is capable of blocking. More is more, especially if you don't want to have to wear sunscreen under your shade sail -- which can defeat the purpose.
Shade sails vary in their color, washability, and installation method.
Many manufacturers offer a variety of shade sail colors so you can easily find one that suits your preferences.
You will likely need to wash your shade sail at least once a year, and not all shade sails are machine washable.
Though installing a shade sail is straightforward, you may not get all of the equipment you need out of the box. Many sails include hardware and ropes for installation, but some do not. Keep this in mind when weighing the cost of different sails.
Shade sail prices
Shade sails for $20 to $30 tend to be smaller in size and may not offer the same UV protection as larger models. You may need to purchase several sails in this range to adequately shade your area.
For $30 to $60 are moderately priced shade sails that may be large or small in size and are made from fairly durable fabrics.
Shade sails for $60 to $100 are generally large in size and are made from long-lasting fabrics that block most harmful UV rays. These sails work well for long-term installation and are often machine washable.
Q. Can I use a shade sail over a pool?
A. You can, but you will need a shade sail designed specifically for the job. Some materials may be damaged by the chlorine vapors from pool water.
Q. Is it safe to leave my shade sail up for extended periods?
A. Yes, provided the sail is made of a durable material and you have anchored it securely. Be sure to install your sail at a slight angle so that rainwater does not pool, or the sail can come crashing down.
Shade sails we recommend
Best of the best: Shade&Beyond Sun Shade Sail Triangle
Our take: This extra-tough shade sail provides a soothing shade that keeps you from getting burned, and its largest size is big enough to shade a large area.
What we like: The number of size and color options make it easy to find a sail that works for your yard, porch, or patio.
What we dislike: There is a seam running down the middle of the sail that disrupt its otherwise basic design.
Best bang for your buck: Love Story Triangle Sand UV Block Sun Shade Sail
Our take: If you are looking for an affordable smaller sail, this is a reliable option that comes with everything you need for installation.
What we like: Despite the low price, the HDPE fabric is of good quality and is available in seven different colors.
What we dislike: A few customers have reported that the colors may not match their selection.
Our take: These rectangular sails are some of the largest available, making them an ideal option for pools and large porches.
What we like: With the largest size measuring 24' x 24', it's hard to find a bigger shade sail than this. The permeable fabric prevents rainwater from pooling on the sail, and installation hardware is included.
What we dislike: The thinner fabric of this sail can rip in strong winds.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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