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AmazonBasics Automatic Travel Review

Compact, easy to use, and affordable, this umbrella gets the job done without costing more than it should
AmazonBasics Automatic Travel
Photo: Amazon
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $18 List | $14.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Compact, wind vent, adequate rain protection
Cons:  A touch heavier than other compact models, plain style
Manufacturer:   AmazonBasics
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Rain Protection - 30% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 5

Our Verdict

This automatic umbrella offers practical quality and affordability. Useful in a variety of contexts, from rain protection to shelter from the sun, you can easily carry this lightweight competitor around with confidence. The AmazonBasics Automatic Travel is designed with a vent to help the wind flow through instead of flipping the umbrella inside-out. While it is on the heavier end of the compact models we tested and not the most stylish, this budget-friendly pick is more than adequate for mild to moderate rainstorms and is built with long-term use in mind.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award   
Price $14.99 at Amazon$20 List$22.99 at Amazon$15.28 at Amazon$24.95 at Amazon
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Pros Compact, wind vent, adequate rain protectionStrong, excellent rain coverage, stylishClassy, durable, versatileLightweight, compact, automaticDurable, sufficient rain protection, auto open
Cons A touch heavier than other compact models, plain styleLarge, unwieldy in high windsOn the heavy side, larger for a compact modelMany metal joints, less durableHeavy, difficult to use
Bottom Line Compact, easy to use, and affordable, this umbrella gets the job done without costing more than it shouldThis is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgiaClassy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrellaSimple and ultralight with all the basics you need for rain protectionAn inverted design that is unique but also somewhat impractical, depending on your needs
Rating Categories AmazonBasics Automa... totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy Lewis N. Clark Umbr... BetterBrella Deluxe
Rain Protection (30%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
7.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
Durability (20%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Style (10%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Specs AmazonBasics Automa... totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy Lewis N. Clark Umbr... BetterBrella Deluxe
Measured Canopy Diameter 38 in 42 in 40 in 39.25 in 41.75 in
Depth of Canopy 8 in 10.25 in 9 in 6.5 in 4.5 in
Sleeve Included? Yes No Yes, with zip Yes No
Measured Weight, Including Sleeve 14.0 oz 18.5 oz 15.5 oz 10.0 oz 20.0 oz
Measured Length (collapsed) 11.5 in 36.5 in 14 in 11 in 32.75 in
Measured Length (deployed) 21.5 in 36.75 in 25.5 in 21.25 in 32.75 in
Handle Design Short, Comfort-Grip handle, inset button operation Wooden crook handle, button operation Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation Short, rubberized, non-slip handle, inset button operation Ergonomic rubberized grip, button operation
Canopy Material Polyester, velcro closure Polyester, velcro closure 300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener Polyester, velcro closure Polyester, velcro closure
Support Structure Steel Wood and aluminum Steel and fiberglass Zinc alloy and steel Unknown metal

Our Analysis and Test Results

Made of polyester and steel, the AmazonBasics umbrella is a true competitor on the market. This model is simple, compact, and easy to use. With the press of a button, the canopy automatically deploys. Press again, and the canopy collapses. The durable steel design flexes if the canopy is ever flipped inside-out, and the wind vent helps mitigate the chances of this happening.

Performance Comparison


Water beaded beautifully and with the added wind vents, the worry...
Water beaded beautifully and with the added wind vents, the worry over inversion is less than those without them.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Rain Protection


Taking into consideration elements beyond mere rain (such as wind and sun), overall weather protection is a relatively strong suit for this competitor. Ranking above-average for its combination of canopy depth, circumference, and wind vent feature, it fares well in inclement weather. When compared to longer, more traditional options — particularly those with deeper and broader canopies — the Automatic Travel isn't as thoroughly protective, but this is to be expected.


During our tests, we purposefully inverted the canopy. Compared to models without wind vents, it isn't as easy for this canopy to flip inside-out, which is a good thing. And when it is inside-out, we found the steel structure to be flexible and sturdy enough not to break or become deformed. We did find that the black canopy is a tad see-through, especially in the bright sun, which means it is not as protective against those solar rays as a more opaque option. Something else to keep in mind about automatic umbrellas is the button on the handle. If you were to accidentally press it during a rainstorm, with the canopy already open, the ensuing collapse would yield an unpleasant downpour.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Transport


Weight is what typically influences this metric the most. The compact category is inherently lightweight, and this umbrella is no exception. Weighing in at 14.1 ounces, the Automatic Travel comes with a sleeve and has a wrist strap. Packing and carrying it around is convenient, sleek, and rather unassuming. When related to the other quick-travel models, it is heavier by a few ounces. Still, having a packed length of only 11.5 inches makes it an easy grab-and-go choice.


We found that fitting this umbrella into a backpack, tote bag, or purse is effortless. Carrying it by the wrist strap or merely holding it in the hands is not burdensome either. After using it, leaving it to dry by the door or on the floor of the car never became a tripping hazard, nor did it feel like it ever got in the way.

Narrow and short, the travel aspect is light and easy.
Narrow and short, the travel aspect is light and easy.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Durability


We noticed that many of the models we tested have a slight give when the canopies are open, where the handle rotates independently of the rest of the structure. This is a worry in regards to stability during high wind events. Despite this being a concern for the Automatic Travel, the steel shaft and telescoping mechanism provide durability that is just above-average, especially for such an affordable option. Nonetheless, this contender is not as durable as those built with fiberglass construction which imparts more natural resistance to corrosion.


Since the polyester on this umbrella is a darker color, dirt and wear won't show up as easily as some of the brighter models. We didn't notice any wear whatsoever during the time of our testing. The automatic open and close feature has more mechanical parts than a more classic non-moving shaft, which could cause it to jam up eventually. During our testing period, however, this compact traveler opened and closed fluidly and without issue, even if operating manually. This instilled more confidence in our ability to operate it if, for some reason, the button and its automatic function were to stop working.

Constructed to automatically open and collapse the canopy, the...
Constructed to automatically open and collapse the canopy, the button is easy to press but adds more moving parts.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Ease of Use


The main attraction of an automatic model versus one that requires manual operation is quick deployment at the press of a button. Even better is when the button can also collapse the canopy back down. If only they also telescoped and stuffed themselves back into their sleeves — now that would be magic. This automatic traveler packs a punch when deployed, which provides quick and sturdy protection.


The soft, comfortable grip on the Automatic Travel is a nice touch, but it isn't as long as some of the other handles in our lineup. Sometimes this left our hands a bit tired because the relative weight of the umbrella wasn't as easily managed with only a 2.5-inch grip. It's a trade-off, however, because adding more length to the handle only adds weight.

Something else to consider for the long-term: we noticed that it took a lot longer for this umbrella to dry off than others. The chances of other things getting wet because of this are much higher and more annoying overall. With above-average scoring for this metric, the main drawback for the Automatic Travel is how difficult it is to manually close the entire umbrella for redeployment or storage. We often found ourselves having to use two hands and a hip to close it all up.

The Balios model dried off much faster than the AmazonBasics, which...
The Balios model dried off much faster than the AmazonBasics, which speaks to the quality and design of the canopy fabric.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Style


As is the case for most wardrobe and accessory items, black or generally darker tones are more easily versatile. We appreciate the practical design, but others might prefer something more bold and fun. The wind vent helps break up the monotony of the canopy, though, and the steel is also painted black, which offers a sleeker look.


Very tidy, this competitor isn't loud or excessive. At the time of publishing, the manufacturer makes a small handful of block color options.

Not meant to stand out or be bold, the simple style is either a plus...
Not meant to stand out or be bold, the simple style is either a plus or a minus.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Value


Highly competitive and highly rated online, this AmazonBasics umbrella is a quality and practical choice. Adding to its value, of course, is the incredible price. If you're looking for a reliable option that won't break the bank, this is it.

Designed with a comfortable balance between diameter and depth, the...
Designed with a comfortable balance between diameter and depth, the Amazon model is more than adequate.
Photo: Sara Aranda


Conclusion


As the travel-companion market expands, the AmazonBasics Automatic Travel umbrella is a product worth owning. The compact versatility and ease of use are where this model stands strong, even if it's not the lightest on the market. With standard and minimalist style, it holds up to the best while leaving some change in your pocket.

Sara with a lucky rainbow!
Sara with a lucky rainbow!
Photo: Sara Aranda

Sara Aranda