BetterBrella Deluxe Review
Cons: Heavy, difficult to use
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|Pros||Durable, sufficient rain protection, auto open||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Classy, durable, versatile||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection||Lightweight, compact, automatic|
|Cons||Heavy, difficult to use||Large, unwieldy in high winds||On the heavy side, larger for a compact model||Heavy, not as easy to transport||Many metal joints, less durable|
|Bottom Line||An inverted design that is unique but also somewhat impractical, depending on your needs||This is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgia||Classy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrella||Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection||Simple and ultralight with all the basics you need for rain protection|
|Rating Categories||BetterBrella Deluxe||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||BetterBrella Deluxe||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||totes Clear Bubble||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||41.75"||42"||40"||33.5"||39.25"|
|Depth of Canopy||4.5"||10.25"||9"||16.75"||6.5"|
|Sleeve Included?||No||No||Yes, with zip||No||Yes|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||20.0 oz||18.5 oz||15.5 oz||16.0 oz||10.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||32.75"||36.5"||14"||35.75"||11"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||32.75"||36.75"||25.5"||35.75"||21.25"|
|Handle Design||Ergonomic rubberized grip, button operation||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Plastic crook handle||Short, rubberized, non-slip handle, inset button operation|
|Canopy Material||Polyester, velcro closure||Polyester, velcro closure||300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener||Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener||Polyester, velcro closure|
|Support Structure||Unknown metal||Wood and aluminum||Steel and fiberglass||Unknown metal and carbonfiber||Zinc alloy and steel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The BetterBrella Deluxe is constructed with polyester and unknown metal components. The most notable aspect of this model is its inverted canopy, collapsing upward instead of downward to collect the water. Uniquely, the ribs and stretchers are hidden between two layers of canopy since the skeletal structure would otherwise be exposed in this inverted design when closed up.
We measured the BetterBrella canopy diameter to be 41.75 inches with a depth of 4.5 inches — the shallowest of the bunch. This shallowness is due to the concealment of the ribs and stretchers, necessary to help protect them when the canopy is collapsed in its inverted position. In a way, we feel this isn't as effective for rain protection to have to eliminate depth for the sake of an inverted design. The diameter is quite large, which is great, but because you can't hide away under a dome, more of the upper body is left exposed.
Ease of Transport
This metric is where this model suffers the most. The length of the entire umbrella is 32.75 inches, and it weighs in at 20 ounces. Needless to say, this umbrella is not at all compact or lightweight, proving cumbersome to carry. Additionally, most traditional fixed-length models tend to also have a crook handle to help stabilize the grip or offer alternative means of hanging. The straight grip handle of the BetterBrella doesn't do much to help in this sense, and even the small lanyard attached to the handle is only useful if there are hooks already available — not quite as versatile as a crook handle.
The metal on this product is notably sturdy, which is likely why it's so heavy. The feel is smooth for the most part, and we were pleasantly surprised with the results of the high wind test. We hit 45 mph before noticing the canopy dramatically change shape, which means it can likely hold up to even faster speeds. It did invert fairly easily at 15 mph, which seems to be standard for most umbrellas. Overall, durability is this model's greatest attribute.
Ease of Use
This is another metric where performance for the BetterBrella isn't the best. The handle isn't the most comfortable to hold, and our arms tired quickly due to the weight (this model is a two-hander for sure). The automatic deploy button is easy to use, but it is a little inconsistent and sometimes we had to help the canopy fully open. Manually closing it up isn't a hassle, but what to do afterward is where things get really tricky. The inversion becomes questionable because now that you have water pooled into the canopy after you've collapsed it, now what? There's no means to hang the umbrella in this position to keep the water there, which means you have to dump and shake like you would for any other. Also, if you ever have to stash the canopy with other umbrellas, this means exposing the underside of the canopy (since the inversion exposes it) to the wet outers of any neighbors in the bin.
We're not quite sure how to describe the style. It's already unique due to its inverted design, so it looks a little odd at first glance. The handle is quite masculine when compared to the doily-like, and therefore more feminine, cutouts in the under-canopy. The cutouts make us think vintage, but the overall design is definitely not that, since inverted canopies aren't traditional at all. Interesting to say the least.
If you really want something more novel or against the status quo, the price here is certainly affordable. With sufficient rain protection and durability, the value is decent enough, but there are lighter and more practical products out there.
The BetterBrella Deluxe is quite the invention. Unique in style and function, its rain protection and ease of use are sufficient but just average. The weight makes this model very cumbersome, but it's still a decent accessory for casual use around town.
— Sara Aranda
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