Balios Double Canopy Review
Cons: On the heavy side, larger for a compact model
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|Pros||Classy, durable, versatile||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection||Clean design, fairly easy to use, large canopy||Lightweight, compact, automatic|
|Cons||On the heavy side, larger for a compact model||Large, unwieldy in high winds||Heavy, not as easy to transport||Heavy, not as easy to transport||Many metal joints, less durable|
|Bottom Line||Classy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrella||This is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgia||Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection||A great option for those wanting extra room or coverage that can be easily shared with another person||Simple and ultralight with all the basics you need for rain protection|
|Rating Categories||Balios Double Canopy||totes Auto Open Wooden||totes Clear Bubble||G4Free Golf Umbrella||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Balios Double Canopy||totes Auto Open Wooden||totes Clear Bubble||G4Free Golf Umbrella||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||40"||42"||33.5"||52"||39.25"|
|Depth of Canopy||9"||10.25"||16.75"||12"||6.5"|
|Sleeve Included?||Yes, with zip||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||15.5 oz||18.5 oz||16.0 oz||24.6 oz||10.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||14"||36.5"||35.75"||39.75"||11"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||25.5"||36.75"||35.75"||40.0"||21.25"|
|Handle Design||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Plastic crook handle||Long foam handle and plastic trim, inset button operation||Short, rubberized, non-slip handle, inset button operation|
|Canopy Material||300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener||Polyester, velcro closure||Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener||210T pongee fabric (polyester)||Polyester, velcro closure|
|Support Structure||Steel and fiberglass||Wood and aluminum||Unknown metal and carbonfiber||Fiberglass and unknown metal||Zinc alloy and steel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Balios is a nice-looking umbrella with solid construction at a low price. It is made with a 300 thread count water-repellant fabric, steel, fiberglass, and wood. With the press of a button, the canopy automatically deploys, and with another press, it collapses, only requiring some muscle to then telescope the shaft back down toward the wooden handle.
The Balios is one of the better collapsible umbrellas for its performance in the rain. This model has a relatively large and adequately deep canopy to allow you to nestle inside and have decent coverage. We measured the diameter to be 40 inches, one of the larger spans of the group. The depth is 9 inches, giving it extra structure to protect you from the rain. The circumference measures approximately 124 inches and is in an octagonal shape. The canopy also has wind vents, promoting air to flow through the umbrella as opposed to inverting it if things get gusty.
With a deployed length of 25.5 inches and a more expansive canopy, you wouldn't necessarily think this is a true compact model, which we find impressive. This allows for more versatility in the elements, ranking above average as compared to the others in our group.
Ease of Transport
Due to its size, the Balios is not a lightweight compact umbrella. It is on the heavier side, weighing in at 15.5 ounces. The packed length measures 14 inches, which also isn't as compact as some of the others. Nonetheless, the sturdy design and quality materials used are well worth the additional size and weight.
Despite the bit of extra heft and length, this model is relatively easy to travel with due to the telescoping design. It also comes with a handy zippered sleeve that is easy to slide the umbrella into, making it quicker to access or stow without much effort. The wooden handle is very pleasant to hold as well, and improved our experience when toting it around. We found that this smooth feel made us more likely to reach for the Balios when we wanted a compact umbrella for the day. For us, a good score for "Ease of Transport" means that we favor a product due to an agreeable set of features which, altogether, make it enjoyable to take on a variety of casual adventures. The Balios fits this bill decently and is easy to carry in a bag, backpack, or to hang it from its own zippered sleeve with its sewn-in leash.
The Balios has a fairly solid feel to it, as much as a telescoping shaft can feel. The wooden handle is classy and durable, notably well made. We prefer products that hold up well with time and use, and better yet, those that look good while doing it!
The telescoping shaft is made of durable steel. The ribs are mostly fiberglass, but the stretchers and the inner segment of the ribs are steel as well. This is actually not our favorite use of steel — we prefer a more flexible material here, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber. If the steel stretchers become damaged, it is often irreversible as the metal will bend and snap.
In our high wind test, however, this umbrella performed relatively well. It wasn't particularly strong or confidence-inducing at 40 mph (with the canopy directed head-on into the wind), and it inverted at 25 mph when we had the canopy catching the wind. It did, nonetheless, revert easily and without any signs of damage. Roughly two-thirds of the ribs are made of fiberglass, with the rest steel, and this appeared to be adequate to resist damage to the metal parts. The double/split canopy design helped diffuse some of the energy of the wind as well, helping to avoid true damage. Of the compact umbrellas, this model is among the best for durability.
Ease of Use
As mentioned before, the telescoping design of the Balios means it easy to pack and carry, making it all the more useful. We also like the auto-open and auto-close functions of this umbrella. It is easy to deploy at the press of a button and also easy to collapse the canopy with a push of the same button. You still have to telescope the shaft closed manually, and this takes a little bit of muscle. The best way to do this is to put the flat top of the umbrella against one palm and the edge of the handle against the other palm, then compress everything together in one motion. You cannot re-deploy the canopy with the shaft extended, so you'll have to completely reset everything if you want to reopen it.
We found everything to remain consistent during our test of opening and collapsing 30 times in a row. The mechanism felt strong the entire time. The button itself is slightly more work to press than some of the other compact models, but not by much.
The Balios gets very high marks for style. The wooden handle is timeless and classy, lending to a very elegant look and feel. The black canopy is classic as well, and of course, more versatile and unassuming.
This model comes with a sleeve to make it slimmer and more tidy looking, and it features a half-zipper to aid in the process of packing and unpacking. Great for fancier events as well as a casual commute through town, we feel the simple yet tasteful design is much more likely to be appealing to the masses than particular patterns or bright color blocks.
Good looks and fair price combine here for a great value. We think this competitor is a steal for the quality you get and cannot recommend it enough.
The Balios Double Canopy umbrella is a good quality, collapsible umbrella with subtle but notable style features. The mechanics of the auto open/close function are sound, and the materials are durable. This is a great compact umbrella that you can dress up with if needed. All around functional and travel friendly, this canopy will reliably protect you from the elements.
— Sara Aranda & Lyra Pierotti
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