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totes Auto Open Wooden Review

This is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgia
totes Auto Open Wooden
Photo: www.totes.com
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $20 List | $20.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish
Cons:  Large, unwieldy in high winds
Manufacturer:   Totes
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Rain Protection - 30% 8
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 5
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The totes Auto Open Wooden is both classic and modern in style, with reliable rain coverage and a nostalgic feel. While it is not as versatile due to its large size, it gains significant ground for its generous canopy and excellent rain protection, durability, and smooth and simple operation. We enjoy the wood accents and gentle color tones, which can accommodate both a business casual and a hip vintage vibe. This model reminded us that the crook handle and full canopy size remain a timeless and functional umbrella style. This is an excellent choice for the casual user, from the office to the coffee shop and beyond.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $20.00 at Amazon$48 List
Check Price at Amazon
$22.99 at Amazon$19.50 at Amazon$14.08 at Amazon
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Pros Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylishLightweight, durable, easy to useClassy, durable, versatileAffordable, stylish, ample rain protectionCompact, wind vent, adequate rain protection
Cons Large, unwieldy in high windsFixed shaft length makes it a bit longer, not as stylishOn the heavy side, larger for a compact modelHeavy, not as easy to transportA touch heavier than other compact models, plain style
Bottom Line A more traditional, quality model at a great priceSimple and protective with exceptional quality for the low weightReliable automatic open and close capability with added style notesThe see-through canopy on this fun umbrella is more protective against the rainA great price for an automatic compact umbrella that works well
Rating Categories totes Auto Open Wooden Swing Trek Liteflex Balios Double Canopy totes Clear Bubble AmazonBasics Automatic Travel
Rain Protection (30%)
8
7
6
9
6
Ease Of Transport (25%)
5
6
6
5
7
Durability (20%)
7
9
8
6
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
8
9
7
6
7
Style (10%)
8
7
8
6
5
Specs totes Auto Open... Swing Trek Liteflex Balios Double Canopy totes Clear Bubble AmazonBasics...
Measured Canopy Diameter 42 in 37.5 in 40 in 33.5 in 38 in
Depth of Canopy 10.25 in 9.75 in 9 in 16.75 in 8 in
Sleeve Included? No Yes, w/ shoulder sling Yes, with zip No Yes
Measured Weight, Including Sleeve 18.5 oz 10.0 oz (w/case); 8.0 oz (w/o case) 15.5 oz 16.0 oz 14.0 oz
Measured Length (collapsed) 36.5 in 25.25 in 14 in 35.75 in 11.5 in
Measured Length (deployed) 36.75 in 25.38 in 25.5 in 35.75 in 21.5 in
Handle Design Wooden crook handle, button operation High-density EVA hardfoam Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation Plastic crook handle Short, Comfort-Grip handle, inset button operation
Canopy Material Polyester, velcro closure Teflon-coated polyester, velcro closure 300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener Polyester, velcro closure
Support Structure Wood and aluminum High-density fiberglass Steel and fiberglass Unknown metal and carbonfiber Steel

Our Analysis and Test Results

The totes Auto Open Wooden brings together high function with high style. It is both elegant and reliable, scoring well in all metrics except ease of transport, which, due to its relative length and weight, makes it more cumbersome than what is currently standard for today's on-the-go market. The materials used are polyester, aluminum, and wood. Even though wood adds to the style, it is a heavier material to use and less resistant to visible wear.

Performance Comparison


An expansive canopy and wood accents make for an excellent...
An expansive canopy and wood accents make for an excellent combination.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Rain Protection


The Auto Open Wooden scored high in this metric thanks to its 42-inch diameter and 10.25-inch depth. These dimensions create approximately 7 square feet of coverage, the largest of all the models we've recently tested. We measured the arc length to range between 45 and 49.5 inches from the shortest to longest points. The circumference is 130 inches and is comprised of an octagonal shape.


The deep and wide canopy of this umbrella protected us very well. For a single-person canopy, you can't expect much more coverage without using a giant bubble, and that would make daily life terribly awkward. Too, we have found that the lack of folds on straight-shaft models makes them easier to shake dry, reducing pockets that could hold water and drip on a car seat. This model is a great example of this, aided by the smooth polyester canopy.

We felt very protected beneath the geometry of this model.
We felt very protected beneath the geometry of this model.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Ease of Transport


As one of the largest in this review, the Auto Open suffers the most in this metric when compared t others. However, what it lacks in ease of transport, it makes up for with an old-school crook handle. You can easily hook it on an arm to free up your hands while browsing or paying for coffee. It is also easy to hang on the back of a chair or banister. Warning: if toting around an umbrella is not in your normal scope of practice, it may be easy to hang it somewhere, but just don't walk off without it.


With a packed length of 36.5 inches, this model really isn't convenient for tote bags, backpacks, or even the front floor area of a car. Space is a big requirement when transporting, and if you don't have a generous back seat or the desire to hold it in your hands, then this might not be the best umbrella for you. In addition, if you're commonly walking through narrow places or even among trees and tall bushes, having such a wide and spacious canopy can become a nuisance for catching onto things around you.

The hook handle made it easy to hang this model out of the way while...
The hook handle made it easy to hang this model out of the way while we poured ourself a cup of coffee on these long, rainy days in the Pacific Northwet. (No, that was not a typo.)
Photo: Lyra Pierotti

Durability


The Auto Open proved to be impressively durable throughout our wind tests and daily use. The fiberglass framing makes it fairly strong and resistant to damage. However, there are reports online of users breaking the wooden shaft. This did not happen to us, but in our testing, we did discover that the handle will scuff relatively easily, revealing a much lighter color underneath. So, while this product has a nice wooden veneer, it is not a solid hardwood handle. Too, some users find this product to be handy as a pseudo-cane, but with rumors of the shaft snapping, we don't feel comfortable putting much of our body weight into it, so proceed with caution. However, the metal tip will hold up to periodic tapping on the ground as you walk with it or set it in a stand.


Nonetheless, this model displayed an impressive resistance to inverting in the wind, and during our high wind test, we had to slow down the car (from 30mph) out of fear it would rip our tester out the window before anything else. Mary Poppins would certainly approve.

The deploy button is powerful and responsive, much more than others in this review: it is fast, tight, and smooth. It reliably deploys with the same power every time; most of the other automatic umbrellas would hiccup and hesitate, or the stretchers would stick at some point in our testing. That said, using wood inherently lessens durability due to its very nature. Wood just isn't as strong as steel or fiberglass, and with the fairly thin way it is used on this model, there is potential for it to break.

The tip of the shaft also displays thoughtful design and material...
The tip of the shaft also displays thoughtful design and material use, though we don't recommend using it as a cane.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Ease of Use


When the winds kicked up, we found this contender to be incredibly strong. The crook handle helps with the steadying and control of the canopy, which we appreciate because of its large size. When closed up, the handle also helps free up the hands, as previously mentioned, by hanging it on an arm. Again, however, the larger canopy diameter can make it hard to fit through narrow spaces or when you have to deploy in small spaces.


We really like the automatic deploy feature and manual collapse combination of the Auto Open. The button makes a very satisfying "thunk" upon opening, and we didn't observe any noticeable changes in consistency during our testing. The slider collapses easily and doesn't require a ton of muscle like many other compact models often need.

The button isn't hidden within the handle like many of the compact...
The button isn't hidden within the handle like many of the compact models but it is very easy to press.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Style


The Auto Open Wooden has a classic, elegant design that garnered many compliments at coffee shops and downtown shops. It deploys with grace and fluidity and is suitable for any event, fancy or otherwise. If the distinct style makes you feel too much like a grandpa, make sure to check out the more modern, smaller umbrellas in our review.


Value


A major concern is how easy this umbrella can be to forget and leave behind since you can't stash it inside a backpack or handbag when sitting down for lunch or taking a break indoors. Brushing aside these fears, we appreciate the high taste without the major price tag. Being so affordable for such high quality offers excellent value.

Traditional as traditional gets with this design, but at the same...
Traditional as traditional gets with this design, but at the same time, we can also see how the vintage look is very appealing.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Conclusion


The totes Auto Open Wooden is a pleasant reassurance in the rain. We originally weren't sure how it would compare to the rugged designs of trekking models and the convenience of compact ones. Putting it through our rigorous tests, however, we've become quite smitten with this product: it is strong, has a vintage appeal, and offers reliable protection from the elements.

Overall an excellent accessory for rainy outings.
Overall an excellent accessory for rainy outings.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Sara Aranda