The Best Shade Sail – Top 5 Models Including Waterproof Sails
Choosing The Best Patio Shade Sail and Everything You Need To know
We all love hanging out on the patio in the garden, whether barbecuing with friends, having a few drinks on a bank holiday or entertaining a childrens birthday party. It's a great place for watching the kids play or just relaxing out on a weekend afternoon.
However, sometimes the conditions outdoors are very unwelcoming; it gets too hot yet there's no shade in the garden. If that's the case, then a shade sail becomes a handy shelter to make the environment comfortable.
A shade sail is a durable, weather-proof cloth that can be stretched across a patio or a section of the garden to provide cover. Based on the technique of a ship's sail, shade sails use a flexible sheet tightened between several anchor points. Anchor points can be house columns, fence posts, trees, or any stable place in the garden.
Do you even need one? A shade sail provides an affordable, simple and fantastic way of making your garden/patio cool, unless you never hang out outdoors. If you are ready to bring a shade sail into your lifestyle, this article guides you on how to buy the best shade sail.
We also handpicked five of the best shade sails from a plethora of products in the market just to ease your decision making and many of them are available in different sizes too.
Before we get into our buyers guide, below you will see a quick summary of the winner of our 'Best Pick' the Clara 3.6m Shade Sale which we think is a great option for most people, plus its waterproof.
Our Best Pick
Our top 5 shade sails which provide affordable garden shade that are included in our review:
- 1Clara 3.6m Square White Waterproof Shade Sail
- 2Greenbay 3m x 3m Sun Shade Sail
- 3Kookaburra 3m x 2m Waterproof Sun Shade Sail
- 4Kookaburra 4m x 3m Waterproof Sun Shade Sail
- 5Kookaburra 5.4m Waterproof Terracotta Shade Sail
Shade Sail Buyer's Guide
This shade sail buying guide delves into why you should buy one and the things to consider when buying a shade sail.
5 great reasons for buying a shade sail
Best Budget Pick
Best low-cost shade for versatile applications
This shade sail makes a great choice for small spaces but the best part is that it can fit anywhere the space is available. It can make use of posts, fences, trees or anything sturdy enough to support the sail. The material's UPF50+ rating ensures maximum UV protection and the fabric is machine washable for super easy cleaning. All these amazing attributes come at a decent price and are covered with a 2 year warranty. Also available in smaller and larger sizes.
What kind of shade sail is right for you?
Choosing a shade sail from a variety of different kinds can be overwhelming. Every shade sail has its own positives and negatives. For you to arrive at your best shade sail, ask yourself the following questions:
How large is my garden or patio area?
Shade sails are available is all sorts of shapes and sizes and determining the size of your back garden can help you narrow down to an ideal size. A rectangle or square-shaped sail would match a large patio really well, whilst triangle sails and other shapes are good for smaller outdoor spaces. obviously the size of the shade sale you choose is determined by the area to want to cover.
How much shade do I need?
The size of your garden does not precisely determine the amount of cover that you want your shade sail to provide. Maybe you only want to cover a section of your garden above your patio set or perhaps you want to cover a large area of the lawn for children. Go with what fits best to your coverage needs. Don't forget that you can always have more than one sail if you want to shade an entire garden.
What's my favourite colour?
Some people are attached to certain colours whilst others don't mind. If you care about colour, then your options may be a little bit limited. Perhaps you want a shade sail that conforms to your patio's decor or one that matches well with your garden scenery. If that's the case, you will have to shop around till you land on the right shade sail.
How long can I leave it intact?
Some shade sails feature durable fabric, which allows them to withstand the elements even when left out for months - most won't last for the UK climate though if left out of winter so its a good idea to take it down. Most shade sails will need to be taken down and stored during the off-season. No need to expose the fabric to harsh weather that may limit the sails durability. You can get more commercial grade shade sails but these are very expensive but they can be left out all year round.
Will I need to cover a pool?
Pool party enthusiasts may fancy covering their pools if your lucky enough to have one. That's okay but not all shade sail fabrics are good for this scenario. Some fabrics may be damaged by the evaporating chlorine from pool water so it's best to find out whether or not the sail you want to buy can be used over a pool. Not a problem for most people but something anyone with a pool needs to take into consideration.
Great choice for patios and swimming pools
This shade sail is available in different colour variations and sizes. It makes a great choice for patios, gardens, swimming pools, bbqs and more. Nylon ropes on every corner makes for straightforward set up, whilst the UPF40+ fabric blocks out harmful UV rays. The shade sail can be left out as long as it's installed at an angle. Easy to clean as well and fairly priced.
What to look out for when buying a shade sail
You have finally decided to buy a shade sail but a few important considerations can help you select a product wisely. Here is where you pay attention to the product itself and the following are the things to remember;
Are you so much into specific brands? If so, you may want to stick to your brand but keep in mind that you limit your options in so doing.
What's more? Basic carpentry skills will help you a lot especially if plan to install the shade in an open space. That includes setting up anchor points. A set of handy tools will be required for the job too. Otherwise, you can always make use of trees, fence posts, and wall columns.
How much should you pay for a shade sail?
This depends on various aspects including the quality of the fabric and supplied accessories. Also, do you want to create one yourself or you'll just buy a ready product? This is what you should expect:
Top 5 Shade Sail Reviews
Clara 3.6m Square White Waterproof Shade Sail Review
OUR BEST PICK
This DIY shade sail comes in various sizes and it literally meets all shading needs. A handy plastic case is part of the package with nylon ropes and D rings also included for straightforward installation. Can be left out in the rain if properly installed but not during extreme weather and winter months. Overall a great choice and probably the best choice for most gardens.
This 3.6m Clara White Waterproof Shade Sail is a stylish replacement of a garden umbrella yet being extremely versatile. This shade sail is designed for both outdoor and indoor use where they can be a great option for conservatories. Its perfect for patios, terraces, gardens, balconies, swimming pools, conservatories, and virtually anywhere sun shade is needed. Furthermore, the shade sail comes with a carry case, which allows you to fold it down and take it with you on camping trips, beach holidays, and even picnics.
The ease of installing and taking down the shade sail is another thing many will appreciate. Simply tie each corner of the sail to poles or existing structures using the included 1.5m nylon ropes and create a temporary shade. Durable, stainless steel D rings are also supplied which are designed to last and ensure it can be pulled tight. Larger shade sails may need extra secure installation using established, concrete secured metal poles, turnbuckle fixings and snap-hooks. If leaving the shade outside, be sure to fix the sail in a 30 to 40-degree angle so that water can run off. The Clara Shade Sail is rain proof thanks to a woven, PU coated fabric that can help protect from the typical British summer rain showers.
In addition, the material is high-density yet lightweight (160 gsm) and dries quickly when rained on or washed. Cleaning simply involves wiping down down with water mixed with a mild detergent. The shade sail provides UV protection too, blocking up to 98% of harmful UV rays which not only protects you from the UV rays but also helps prolong the life of the shade sail. A great piece for enjoying events outdoors with family and guests. In fact, you could use multiple shade sails if you plan to cover a large outdoor space. Make sure to store away your shade during the extreme winter months to ensure it last for many years.
Thoughts and recommendations
This shade sail is really large so you ought to ensure there's enough space in your patio, garden, or wherever you may want to install it. Some smaller versions of this shade sail are really easy to install but larger ones my need a bit of work. UV protection and rain proof are excellent features of this shade sail as not all are water proof, some are only water resistant, whilst the supplied carry case is additionally handy we also like that its super easy to maintain.
We did see a few comments online says that the shade sail tends to sag in the middle when set up, however we think this is because they were not fitted correctly, most likely not tight enough.
Overall we think this is a decent mid-range shade sail and its even available as a 3.6m triangle or 3m triangle as well.
Greenbay 3m x 3m Sun Shade Sail Review
This an affordable piece that can be used for a range of applications, such as shading bbq areas, and patios. The shade sail is made from durable, water-resistant fabric and the fittings are durable too. You will love the ease of installation and take down. The only downside to this sail is that its not waterproof, only water resistant why is why it did not win out 'Best Pick' spot.
The Greenbay 3m x 3m Shade Sail is a low-cost product that will offer decent protection for the sun when you want to enjoy time outdoors. It's a really versatile shade sail that suits a range of applications including covering bbq areas, outdoor dining patio sets, and anywhere in the garden you need a little shade.
The fabric used in the making is polyester, which has been PU coated (160 gsm) to protect against abrasion and other degrading elements. In addition, the cloth is sun protective with a UPF 40+ rating which is good, meaning very little UV rays passes through the fabric, if it does at all. Featuring grade 4 colour fastness, the fabric should barely ever fade which is a big plus, thus you can rest assured the shade sail should also preserve its original appeal for a many years. It has a water-resistant rating of 400mm HH, which means it may not stand heavy rain but will keep you dry from passing showers. In fact, remember to install this shade at an angle so that rainwater runs off as you should with all shade sails.
Each corner of this shade sail has a stainless steel D ring, grade 304, which is the same quality that you see in pans and cookery tools. This material is loved by welders because of its oxidation/corrosion resistance, which is a desired characteristic for fixtures that are often left outside to the elements. The D rings are durable as well and can withstand very low temperatures. Also supplied are 2m nylon ropes, with one at each corner.
Thanks to the supplied accessories, this shade sail couldn't be easier to set up and take down. And if you thought cleaning is a hassle, all you have to do is set your washing machine at 30 degrees celsius and it'll finish the job for you which means no hand washing.
Thoughts and recommendations
The Greenbay 3m x 3m Sun Shade Sail is a great choice for a few individuals who need a shade outside. It will protect really well against harmful UV rays whilst remaining a sturdy fixture if rain comes. We still advice against leaving it out in heavy rain but this is the case for most shade sails not just this model. The fittings supplied are quite handy, we really like the convenience brought about by easy installation/take-down and being able to machine-wash the shade sail is a huge plus. Whilst some may consider this a small shade sail, it's not really a negative because the product does suit someone else's needs plus its actually available in many sizes up to a very large 5m x 5m x 5m. Overall, a nice kit at reasonable prices
The only situation we would advise not to consider this model is if you need a fully waterproof shade sail, its ok for the odd shower but not for longer periods of rain as it will start to seep through. Remember its water resistant not waterproof.
Kookaburra 3m x 2m Waterproof Sun Shade Sail Review
A low-cost shade sail with excellent UV protection and waterproof properties. The product is made of heavy density fabric, which is also rot-resistant. Machine washable for easy cleaning and covered by a 2-year warranty. Comes at a good price too.
The Kookaburra 3m x 2m Waterproof Sun Sail Shade Canopy also comes in on the lower end of the price, and the dimensions suggest a rectangular shade sail. The fabric has been woven to create an effective shade sail that provides optimum UV protection. We are talking about high density polyester cloth, 160gsm that tested UPF50+ to ensure that these shade sails are almost impenetrable by harmful uV rays. As a result, over 98% of harmful UV rays are blocked out.
Alongside the heavy construction, this shade sail is also waterproof and that makes it ideal for unpredictable weather, come shine come rain. Worth mentioning is that the fabric has been designed to resist rot so you can be at piece with your shade sail exposed to the British weather more long term The full length of each side is strapped for tension whilst there are 4 stainless steel D rings grade 304 attached to every corner of the shade. These are tough even to the harsh British weather.
This versatile shade sail is easy to install and especially as with most shade sails it can make use of walls, posts, fences, or even trees. However, you will have to purchase separate fixing kits for installing this shade sail so this will be an extra cost. The kits are readily available on Amazon.co.uk but they cost nearly the price of the shade sail itself.
Note that this is a low maintenance shade sail that can be machine-washed for maximum convenience. The product has a 2-year manufacturer's warranty, which is to say it can last for a few years if well-maintained.
Thoughts and recommendations
The Kookaburra 3m x 2m Waterproof Sun Sail Shade Canopy we reviewed is a sizeable device for covering small spaces. It has a wooven fabric that results to something quite thick that guards well against UV whilst remaining waterproof. The shade sail can be installed anywhere, taking advantage of any nearby sturdy structures as with most sails. Its easy to maintain and the product has a decent warranty which covers you for 2 years.
Unfortunately, some fixing kits ought to be bought separately but how much they cost is a shame - you are better off with a shade sail supplied with all components if you can. Apart from that, the fabric is high-quality and that's why we have this product in our list. Finally the 90+ reviews on Amazon.co.uk only further confirm our finding, its also available in many other sizes if you need a larger or smaller version.
Kookaburra 4m x 3m Waterproof Shade Sail Review
This mid-range version of Kookaburra shade sails provides shade from the sun and shelter from the rain simultaneously. It offers maximum UV protection (UPF50+) and the fabric is rot proof for prolonged use. Easy to install and clean too.
This larger 4m x 3m Kookaburra Waterproof Shade Canopy is another product in the mid-range price and it has a black stylish look which is like charcoal. Just like the smaller version, this shade sail features woven fabric, something that is known to offer maximum UV protection as we have already discovered. The super-tight weave has been tested to UPF50+, which is the highest rating given to clothing fabric, thus very little of the sun's radiation can reach your skin.
The fabric is additionally waterproof, thus you'll not have to worry if you get caught out by rain showers. The polyester shade has a density of 160gsm, which ensures rain water runoff and might be very effective if set up at an angle. Installation can be done anywhere in the garden by fixing the corners to posts, fences, trees or solid tall garden structures. The entire length is strapped for tension, whilst premium stainless steel D rings, grade 304 are fixed at each corner. The versatile shade sail is also rot proof.
Another impressive thing of this shade sail is that it's quite easy to maintain. A simple wash inside a washing machine will go a long way towards keeping the sail looking attractive. Make sure the temperature is set at 40 degrees C. Kookaburra provides a standard 2-year warranty for this product, therefore, you can trust the quality.
Thoughts and recommendations
The Kookaburra Waterproof Sun Sail Shade Canopy 4m x 3m covers a good area and provides great protection from harmful UV and the rain. A great piece of kit made from high-density fabric, this will last a long time as far as it's well-maintained. Maintenance is just cleaning inside a washing machine. This shade can be set up anywhere in the garden and that's a major benefit. However, some fittings must be bought separately, therefore, spiking the overall price of the shade sail. In conclusion, a good choice for hanging out in summer months.
Kookaburra 5.4m Waterproof Terracotta Shade Sail
This large shade sail from Kookaburra offers plenty of coverage from the sun and rain simultaneously for those with a large area to cover. The fabric is designed with UV protection properties whilst it's also rot proof. Product maintenance is easy and Kookaburra's warranty is a good addition to a already quality product.
The Kookaburra Waterproof Terracotta Shade Sail 5.4m square is an ideal choice for those in need to cover a larger area. The fabric has also been woven so as to create an ultra-tight weave that provides maximum UV protection. This tight weave is ideal for the British weather, where we tend to have more rain showers than most. You get a shade sail that has been tested to UPF50+ for excellent protection against UV rays while staying dry.
Waterproofness is a core shade sail requirement and this Kookaburra version excels in that department, thanks to high-density polyester material that promotes rainwater run off. Another major attribute of this product is that it's rot proof, therefore, you can be certain it will last even when abused by the elements.
There's a stainless steel D ring , grade 304 at each corner, which not only enhances set up but they are non-corrosive too. Strapping done on the full length of each side makes tensioning really easy. The shade sail looks very attractive when installed in its terracotta colour and square shape.
The fabric is low maintenance and even machine washable for straightforward cleaning. Kookaburra's 2 year standard warranty is a bonus too because not every other product has a guarantee.
Thoughts and recommendations
In terms of how much shade you can get, the Kookaburra 5.4m shade sail makes a great choice for larger areas. The provides provides basic shade from the sun and protection from the rain showers. Installation can be done anywhere there are sturdy supports and maintenance is really simple overall. The only downside is that it does not come with any fixing so these need to be purchased separately.
Our Final Conclusion
We believe you now have all the information you need before buying a shade sail. The best shade sail is simply one that suits your personal and space requirements as covered in the buyer's guide further above.
You can see the distinctiveness of these products from each shade sail review above. Note that some shade sails will require you to purchase fixing kits which can cost around £15-£30.
All in all, you can find shade sails of all budgets but it ought to be durable enough so you can enjoy value for your money. One brand that kept impressing was the Kookaburra shade sails, mainly because of there high quality materials and the fact they are fully waterproof.
Thats it for now, we hope you have found our reviews helpful.
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