IF THERE'S one thing you can count on in the UK it’s regular rain and there’s probably not a household in the country that doesn’t have an umbrella.
The best compact umbrellas stand up to the vagaries of our climate, but at the same time, they’re easy to store away, avoiding the need to juggle bags, shopping, phone and unwieldy umbrella all at the same time.
Though they’re compact however, they need to be up to the task – there’s no point in an umbrella that cowers at the first sign of wind, won’t stay up or lets in the rain. The best compact umbrellas are strong, waterproof and preferably, UV-resistant.
There’s so much choice, you’re sure to find something to match your workwear, favourite jeans, spotty raincoat or leopard-skin leggings. They come in at all price points so you can afford to have several budget models to ring the changes depending on your outfit, and they’re available in designs to suit men, women, children and teens.
Even those people who generally prefer a large umbrella will find a compact version to suit their lifestyle, offering the same amount of coverage from the weather, but without the cumbersome size. After all, sometimes less is more.
Don’t get caught out in the rain – take a look at our roundup of the best compact umbrellas on the market and stay dry when the storm clouds gather.
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Best compact umbrellas at a glance:
- Best mini umbrella: Uniqlo Compact Umbrella
- Best folding umbrella: Repel Umbrella with Teflon Coating
- Best windproof umbrella: BLUNT Unisex Metro Umbrella
- Best handbag umbrella: M&S Stormwear Compact Umbrella
- Best pocket umbrella: Hunter Compact Umbrella
Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella
- Rain-Mate Compact Travel Umbrella, from £33.48 at Amazon – buy here
The ribs of an umbrella are the metal pieces that make up the support structure of the shell when it's opened, so they're pretty important.
This umbrella has reinforced ribs that make them extra durable when gales (inevitably) strike.
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Rain-Mate describes it as a "virtually indestructible weatherproof canopy", which is a big claim, although one that has been supported by Amazon reviewers, who confirm it's great in strong winds.
It has a lifetime replacement guarantee too, so no need to buy another if the pop-up mechanism suddenly gives up the ghost.
If pink isn't your colour then no worries, as Rain-Mate offers a whole range of other colours, patterns, themes and styles — including rainbow stripes.
Size: 30cm, material: polyester, UV protection: no
Suck UK Colour Change Folding Travel Umbrella
- Suck UK Colour Change Folding Travel Umbrella, from £21.88 at Amazon – buy here
The main draw of this umbrella is its creative design.
When it's dry, the water droplets that stud the canopy remain white, but when the rain starts pouring, they change colour and each section sports a different hue. They offer a compact version, too, to pop in your work rucksack for those just-in-case days.
Suck UK also has a magic polka dot theme that brightens up bad weather and a super high reflective brolly that will be a light source when you're outside in the dark, rainy months.
With this umbrella in hand, we just couldn't wait for it to start raining — and you don't often hear anyone saying that.
Size: 25cm, material: polyester, UV protection: no
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Uniqlo Compact Umbrella
- Compact Umbrella, £19.90 from Uniqlo – buy here
When an umbrella is really compact, it can sometimes compromise its quality.
That isn't the case with this brolly from Uniqlo – it's designed for windy days, so it shouldn't collapse or let you down in bad weather.
When folded away, it's less than 11 inches long, so it's one of the handiest umbrellas going as you can pop it into your briefcase or handbag, without it taking up too much room.
It's also on the smarter side, coming in all black or navy to colour-coordinate with any formal attire.
Features a water-repellent coating and UV protection.
Size: 27cm, material: 100% polyester, UV protection: yes (UPF 40)
Balios Travel Umbrella
- Balios Travel Umbrella, £25.99 at Amazon – buy here
This travel umbrella is the last one you'll ever need to spend money on.
It features a hand-crafted wooden handle and its metal rib support frame is reinforced with sturdy fibreglass.
The canopy is made from an ultra-lightweight but high-density fabric to keep you dry in the rain. Its double-vented design means it shouldn't blow inside out on a windy day, but if it does, simply press the open-close button on the handle and the brolly will correct itself.
Also available in grey, navy and a rather fetching shade of olive green.
Comes with a one-year warranty and an easy-access zipped storage sleeve.
Size: 35cm, material: water-repellent fabric, UV protection: no
Repel Umbrella with Teflon Coating
- Repel Umbrella, from £24.99 at Amazon – buy here
This compact umbrella is designed with a Teflon coat to be ultra-fast drying. So, even after it gets soaked, all it needs is a quick shake and you can pop it back into your tote. Not a soggy belonging in sight.
With an easy open and close button, this brolly is perfect for when your hands are full with shopping bags so you don't need to fiddle around trying to get it open.
It's also windproof, thanks to the vented double canopy, so you can carry it confidently even in gusty conditions.
Size: 29cm, material: Teflon-coated fabric, UV protection: no
BLUNT Unisex Metro Umbrella
- BLUNT Unisex Metro Umbrella, from £63.11 at Amazon – buy here
This umbrella combines an impressively strong and spacious canopy when opened – it extends to 101cm – with a relatively compact silhouette, measuring just 37.5cm in length.
Made with six hardwearing fibreglass ribs and high-density water-repellent fabric, this quick-dry umbrella also has a UV-protection coating.
We won't lie, it is pricy, but it's a pretty neat brolly. It's big, but not boisterous enough to take up space on the street and doesn't have any eye pokingly sharp arms.
Plus, it has been tested in winds up to 55mph.
It's available in a good selection of colours and features one-button open and closure. Storage sleeve provided.
Size: 37.5cm, material: unknown, UV protection: yes
M&S Stormwear Compact Umbrella
- Printed Stormwear Compact Umbrella, £9.50 at M&S – buy here
This eye-catching polka dot umbrella from M&S costs less than £10 and is one of the smallest umbrellas in our roundup so it’s a great size for your handbag or briefcase.
The polyester fabric contains at least 30% recycled material and it’s treated with water-repellent Stormwear technology to help protect you from the rain.
It has a wrist strap to keep it secure, even if the wind takes hold of it and it comes with a matching storage sleeve.
The white polka dot on the navy background design is formal enough for work, but fun enough for weekend wear.
Size: 22cm, material: 100% polyester, UV protection: no
Fulton Auto Release Umbrella
- Fulton Auto Release Umbrella, £22.04 at Amazon – buy here
This compact umbrella with a crook handle has an auto-release function and boasts the Fulton brand name, known for its longevity.
The canopy is made from high-performance polyester on a steel frame, to withstand the worst weather conditions.
Reviewers on Amazon are impressed with the quality and the design, saying that it's stood firm and sturdy against winds and gales.
One happy shopper states: “Very sturdy construction which given past performance will stand up to very, very windy conditions without turning inside out. Overall a light but a great umbrella.”
It's UV-rated too, up to UPF30+, meaning it'll help keep you protected on those brighter, rainy days.
Size: 30cm, material: polyester, UV protection: no
Davek SOLO Umbrella
- Davek SOLO Umbrella, £114.83 from Amazon – buy here
Why not bring a little bit of luxury to your rain-dodging schedule, with this seriously good investment from Davek?
Any umbrella from Davek comes with a lifetime guarantee – so if it breaks, it is replaced for you, no questions asked.
With this investment, you can be confident your umbrella will withstand any seriously windy or rainy conditions.
Davek claims its flagship, SOLO umbrella is durable, yet sophisticated, and features a unique wind-resistant RigidFlex Frame System. It also has a one-touch open and close button.
The canopy is made from tightly woven micro-weave fabric, and it comes with a clip to attach to your belt, or inside your bag. What more could you ask for?
Size: 30cm, material: micro-weave fabric, UV protection: no
Monki Cloud Print Umbrella
- Monki Cloud Print Umbrella, £9 at Monki – buy here
This pretty cloud print umbrella from Monki is a welcome change from the usual dark umbrella colours available and would make a great addition to your child’s school bag on rainy days.
It’s just as suitable for you too, as it’s lightweight and small so simple to fit in a handbag or tote, and the matching wrist strap means you can easily hold on to it even on blustery days.
It has matching storage and it’s also a great price – which is always a bonus.
A practical yet fashionable addition to your rainy-day wardrobe.
Size: unknown, material: polyester, UV protection: no
Hunter Compact Umbrella
- Hunter Compact Umbrella, £38 at Office – buy here
If you’re a fan of Hunter wellies then you’re going to love the fact they sell umbrellas too – complete with the iconic logo.
The frame is a mix of fibreglass and fibre-reinforced plastic for strength with flexibility, which means the umbrella will give, or move, with the wind, but won’t break. The canopy is made from 100% waterproof polyethene.
This is great for your daily commute as it won’t take up much space in your bag and of course, you can also coordinate it with your wellies on rainy days! What’s not to love?
Size: 18cm, material: 100% waterproof polyethene, UV protection: no
Next Leopard Umbrella
- Leopard Print Umbrella, £10 from Next – buy here
If you want your brolly to be a fashion statement as well as keeping the rain off you then look no further.
This umbrella from Next has been finished with a cool twist on the classic leopard print that blows all the other brollies out of the water, looks-wise.
Practically speaking, the canopy is Teflon-coated so dries quickly and is 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottles, so it stands up on the sustainability front, as well as keeping you dry.
It has a rounded handle for easy grip and a wrist strap to keep the umbrella securely with you.
Size: unknown, material: 100% recycled polyester, UV protection: no
The 'Flip' Ultimate Umbrella
- The 'Flip' Ultimate Umbrella, £33.99 at the Brolly Store – buy here
Heralded as the 'ultimate umbrella', the flip has so many cool features, you may never go back to using a standard umbrella again.
The flip reverse 'folds in' when you close it, which means the wet part is concealed so you won't get your bag or car wet. You can also then stand it up to dry if you wish.
The reverse-fold function also means the umbrella is easy to open and close in tight spaces like trying to get out of the car or through narrow doorways without getting soaked.
The flip also has a clever handle that you can hook on your arm to keep your hands free and concealed parts so you won't catch your hair or clothes on anything.
It's also windproof, can't turn inside out and comes in a wide range of designs. Sounds like a winner to us.
Size: 80cm, material: Weatherproof 190T Pongee fabric, UV protection: yes (UV 50+)
Where to buy compact umbrellas in the UK
Compact umbrellas are widely available in the UK, both in high-street stores and online. You can even pick one up with your weekly grocery shop at the supermarket.
We found the umbrellas in our roundup at:
- The Brolly Store
How much do compact umbrellas cost?
Compact umbrellas range in price from inexpensive to luxury. The cheapest umbrella in our round-up costs less than £10 while the most expensive is more than £100.
Generally speaking, the more you pay the better the product. The best compact umbrellas are those that combine reinforced ribs with a waterproof canopy so they can stand up to the worst windy conditions while keeping you dry.
You may pay more for a compact umbrella with one-touch operation, UV protection and luxury touches, such as a leather wrist strap or a wooden handle.
What is the best umbrella brand?
While it all comes down to personal preference and which umbrella will see you through many a storm, some umbrella brands are favoured over others.
Davek umbrellas come with a lifetime guarantee, and have sophisticated, patented systems in place to handle wind and storms, no matter how severe.
Other go-to brands for umbrellas that get consistent rave reviews are Samsonite and Fulton – you'll have spotted their clear, birdcage umbrellas used by royals like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
For handcrafted umbrellas, try London Undercover.
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Which is the best windproof umbrella?
In addition to Davek, Blunt Umbrellas are known for their windproof designs.
Each umbrella undergoes a 38-point quality control check and is designed with materials which can withstand the harshest elements. They also win points in the style stakes.
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