Types of Rain Umbrellas

Rain umbrellas are available in a myriad of styles, colors, shapes, fabrics and sizes. While their primary function may be to protect you from inclement weather, they can also serve as an expression of individuality as well as a fashion statement. Umbrellas are sold at a variety of price points, ranging from a few dollars at a discount shop or sidewalk vendor to a few hundred dollars for a designer model at a high-end boutique or luxury outlet. For most people, a well-made, moderately priced umbrella will provide years of use.

Classic or Traditional Umbrellas

Classic umbrellas, or traditional umbrellas as they are sometimes known, offer full rain coverage.They usually feature a U-shaped handle, though some are stick or cane style. The handles on classic umbrellas are usually made of hard wood, though they can also be made of plastic, rubber-coated plastic or even Lucite. This simple style has been popular for generations.

Automatic Umbrellas

Automatic umbrellas are easy to open and close simply by pushing a button on the base or handle of the umbrella. These sturdy, nylon umbrellas can be opened or closed with one hand. Automatic umbrellas are often compact, which means they will fit neatly into a purse, briefcase, backpack or diaper bag after use. They are available in full size as well.

Compact Umbrellas

Compact umbrellas are small, lightweight and portable. They fit neatly into everything from a handbag to briefcase or suitcase pocket. While they typically measure about 9 inches long when closed, once opened they extend and afford ample coverage and protection from the rain. Many brands have an automatic open-and-close feature that makes them simple to use. While these umbrellas are ideal for occasional use or light rain, they may not be suitable in heavy rain or during high wind.

Bubble Umbrellas

Bubble umbrellas are clear, semi-circular in shape and sometimes feature a delicate design or stripe. They are available in vinyl and plastic and provide additional coverage to protect the user from the rain while allowing her to see through the umbrella. The domed shape also provides some protection from wind.

Children's Novelty Umbrellas

Umbrellas for children are intended to be easy to carry, lighthearted and fun. They feature everything from colorful decorative designs to cartoon characters, ruffles, sports themes and even three-dimensional toppers such as butterflies or bears. Some even have a plain exterior design but feature a colorful rainbow or decoration on the underside. Websites such as www.rainydaykids.com specialize in decorative rain gear for children.

High Fashion, Designer and Artistic Umbrellas

Aside from being functional, umbrellas can also serve as fashion accessories. They can be found in a wide array of colors and styles to suit just about every taste and price range. Many luxury brands, such as Coach and Louis Vuitton sell designer umbrellas that include such high-quality features as brass hardware and leather wrist straps.

High Wind Umbrellas

Some locales are prone to high winds, which can make trudging through the rain with an ordinary umbrella a difficult ordeal. When wind gusts are fairly severe, it is not uncommon for a typical umbrella to blow inside out, rendering it useless. Specialty companies such as GustBuster, whose website is www.gustbuster.com, produce umbrellas that are designed to withstand winds of up to 55 miles per hour.