The Sharpty Inverted umbrella solves a problem in umbrella design that likely didn't need to be solved. Instead of closing toward the handle, the canopy closes upward. They say this allows you to deploy the canopy more quickly when exiting a car. In reality, this design creates more problems than it solves. The upward facing tips snag easily. The shallower canopy protects less from rain and catches the wind easier. The circular handle also makes it easier to control in the wind because the handle is offset from center, rather than being aligned with the shaft of the umbrella. If your main focus in umbrellas is getting out of your car without a single raindrop hitting you, this might be the right design for you. Otherwise, we urge caution.
Sharpty Inverted Review
Cons: Inconvenient, less durable
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sharpty turns the concept of closing and opening umbrella literally upside down, but misses the mark on a number of other details.
The Sharpty umbrella is an unusual take on the traditional waterproof canopy. Since it closes in the opposite direction of a traditional umbrella, it has to have a piece of fabric to protect the stretchers and ribs, as they are now on the outside of the umbrella when you close it.
To accommodate this design, it seems that it was easier to make the canopy depth shallower, which reduced rain protection in our field tests. The canopy is a wide 42 inches in diameter with only a 5-inch depth.
On our Walking Rain Test, we got raindrops at the forearm and upper thigh, a bit higher than most umbrellas. Additionally, due to the shallower canopy and that layer of fabric on the underside of the opened umbrella, it caught the wind much easier, bucking it around and making it more difficult to keep it overhead, thereby also reducing the reliable rain coverage of this umbrella.
Ease of Transport
The Sharpty umbrella closes upward as if it were inverting, but it's supposed to do that. This puts the tips of the umbrella at the top when the umbrella is closed and makes it particularly prone to snagging. This also makes it more challenging to slide it back into its (otherwise handy) carrying case with shoulder strap.
The Sharpty is a fixed length shaft umbrella, nearly 32 inches long and over a pound at 18 ounces. This means it's not an umbrella you're going to tuck into a briefcase, bag, or purse, but rather carry it by hand. Fortunately, it has a circular handle that is easy to slip over your wrist. We don't like this design as much as a simple crook handle, but it still works well enough (see Ease of Use below).
The Sharpty has 8 carbon fiber stretchers and ribs, a material we like for the durability of a canopy. In our Wind Test, the Sharpty did not invert or buckle at 15-25mph, but it got bucked around so much it was difficult to keep it centered overhead. In part, this was due to the circular handle which means you're holding the umbrella at an odd angle to the shaft, instead of in line with the shaft as in a crook handled or traditional straight handled umbrella. Sharpty advertises that their Inverted umbrella is windproof to 60mph, yet we question just how they define "windproof."
When we deploy the canopy of the Sharpty, it waves and wobbles into place slowly. This does not inspire confidence over the long term, though during our testing we observed no demise in the open and closing function.
At some point during testing, we also noticed that the shaft was bent. It still operated, but this added another question about the durability of materials used.
Ease of Use
The Sharpty opens and closes manually, but has a button on the runner that locks it into place at either end of the shaft. This was relatively smooth, though the opening function, as mentioned in Durability above, was slow and awkward as the inner material flexed and flopped into place.
The circular handle design is not our favorite. It can be hung from or set atop your wrist, but the circular design means that when you hold the handle, your grip is not in line with the shaft itself—it is offset. This ultimately made it more difficult to maintain control of the umbrella in the wind and often required two hands to steady it.
The Sharpty umbrella is certainly interesting. We like the two-tone color scheme with the inner fabric contrasting the outer, as well as the decorative and functional air vents in the inner lining fabric. Otherwise, the umbrella looked a little funny in our opinion with the cumbersome and bulky circular handle. The bright red open-and-close button also didn't add much to the style.
The Sharpty is a good umbrella for those whose major rain pet peeve is having to open the car door wide in order to deploy their umbrella. The inverted design allows you to crack the door open and deploy the umbrella above you as you exit the car.
At almost $21, the Sharpty is not our top pick for value. It is bulky, awkward, not very versatile, and designed in a way that does not inspire confidence in its long term durability. There are numerous umbrellas for half the price that perform better than this one.
The Sharpty is an intriguing take on the classic umbrella. Many of the features that catch our attention end up being gimmicky or awkward. The circular handle is difficult to hold, and the inverted design makes the umbrella challenging to stow without snagging. Overall, if you really just want something that is goofy, different, and specifically deploys sooner as you exit the car, this might be a fun option for you, but we doubt this will be a functional choice for all your umbrella needs.
— Lyra Pierotti