totes Clear Bubble Review
Cons: Heavy, not as easy to transport
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totes Clear Bubble
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|Pros||Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection||Strong, excellent rain coverage, stylish||Classy, durable, versatile||Clean design, fairly easy to use, large canopy||Lightweight, compact, automatic|
|Cons||Heavy, not as easy to transport||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||Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection||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||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||totes Clear Bubble||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||G4Free Golf Umbrella||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Rain Protection (30%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||totes Clear Bubble||totes Auto Open Wooden||Balios Double Canopy||G4Free Golf Umbrella||Lewis N. Clark Umbr...|
|Measured Canopy Diameter||33.5"||42"||40"||52"||39.25"|
|Depth of Canopy||16.75"||10.25"||9"||12"||6.5"|
|Sleeve Included?||No||No||Yes, with zip||Yes||Yes|
|Measured Weight (including sleeve)||16.0 oz||18.5 oz||15.5 oz||24.6 oz||10.0 oz|
|Measured Length (collapsed)||35.75"||36.5"||14"||39.75"||11"|
|Measured Length (deployed)||35.75"||36.75"||25.5"||40.0"||21.25"|
|Handle Design||Plastic crook handle||Wooden crook handle, button operation||Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation||Long foam handle and plastic trim, inset button operation||Short, rubberized, non-slip handle, inset button operation|
|Canopy Material||Thermoplastic polyurethane, snap fastener||Polyester, velcro closure||300 Thread count water repellent fabric, snap fastener||210T pongee fabric (polyester)||Polyester, velcro closure|
|Support Structure||Unknown metal and carbonfiber||Wood and aluminum||Steel and fiberglass||Fiberglass and unknown metal||Zinc alloy and steel|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The totes Clear Bubble is a trendy model that will certainly turn heads as the rain falls. The diameter isn't particularly wide, yet its deep canopy performs better than you might expect, especially in horizontal rain. You can also rest assured that it won't spontaneously fail or flip inside out on windy days. However, it lacks the ease of use of some of the other models we tested and takes up a lot of space and weight. We also found the skeletal design to be less durable than its nylon and polyester competitors.
With a 33.5-inch diameter, the Clear Bubble has one of the narrowest canopies of all the products we tested. We had to pay close attention to the length of our stride so our legs wouldn't extend too far outside the protection of the canopy and become soaked. Despite this smaller diameter, the bubble design of this umbrella forms a hemisphere that is deep enough to fit over the head and shoulders — a depth of 16.75 inches, which our testers found to be very advantageous. If the wind picks up and the rain starts coming in sideways, you have the option of ducking inside the bubble canopy and at least saving your upper body from being soaked. However, if you are going to hide inside the bubble, there is a chance that the canopy will become foggy from body heat, forcing you to tip the front end upwards and thus reducing its actual coverage area.
We are positively impressed that this model refused to invert during wind testing. We took it out in stormy conditions and purposely attempted to flip it inside-out, to no avail. Not once did it flip on us during use, and at this point, our testers don't think it's even possible without physically breaking the spokes supporting the canopy.
Ease of Transport
This product suffers the most in this metric. Of all the models we've tested thus far, the Clear Bubble is one of the longest and heaviest. It measures 35.75 inches no matter if it's packed or deployed, and it weighs in at 1 pound. Though our testers find it easy to stash this umbrella in the trunk of a vehicle and in various places about the house, it is a little cumbersome to be carrying around all day.
The crook handle on the Clear Bubble definitely helps in the ability to carry it more easily. You can hang this umbrella on your arm, and once you've reached your destination, it can easily hang on a chair or coat hook. The handle also aids in the ability to steady the canopy while using it, making for a more pleasant experience.
Despite being tossed around cars and tested in stormy conditions, this product held up well. If you live in a windy environment, this piece will be able to stand up to intense gales. We never experienced any problems with the spokes that support the canopy, which are made of carbon fiber.
We did find a drawback in the canopy material, however. When we received the product, the inside of the canopy was coated in a powdery substance. Wanting to have a clear view from inside the canopy, we used a wet washcloth to remove the powder. Apparently, the powder is there to keep the thermoplastic polyurethane canopy from sticking to itself after resting in its closed form. After removing the powder, we had to physically pull apart the canopy before deploying. It actually clings to itself so strongly that we feared we might break either the stretchers or the canopy itself. Because of this, we do not recommend trying to remove the powder and feel that the visibility overall is still quite adequate. Some testers hardly noticed the powder at all.
Ease of Use
The Clear Bubble has a classic and straightforward design for opening and closing the canopy. A sliding collar moves up and down the stem to open and close. The collar locks securely into place when the canopy is fully deployed, which means the collar won't dislodge on its own and cause the user to become exposed to the rain. Additionally, the cane-shaped plastic handle is easy to grip and long enough to allow both hands to be used at once, which is of great help when the wind picks up and tries to steal the umbrella away.
Unfortunately, this model doesn't have any soft foam for a comfortable grip, and the non-ergonomic plastic is slick at times. Additionally, during our 30-times open-and-close-in-a-row testing session, we found that the plastic clasp for the shaft wasn't as user-friendly as we would like. We pinched ourselves a few times when collapsing the canopy, which is not fun. Too, we noticed new squeaks developing over time, detracting from fluidity.
The Clear Bubble has a very youthful design that'll stand out in a crowd from the more simple and stereotypical umbrellas. Its bubble shape is complemented by the J-shaped handle. Our testers felt that this model looked a bit more feminine than masculine, but we don't think that should stop anyone from using it. It's fun and quirky, but the design is also very functional. Whether walking through a park or through the city, you'll definitely stand out!
This product offers a good value, especially if style matters to you. Not only will this umbrella keep you from breaking your bank account, but it'll also give you repeated protection from the rain through the worst spring showers and summer storms, thanks to its deep canopy.
With some of the highest rain protection due to its deep and bubble-like canopy, we highly recommend the totes Clear Bubble for anyone wanting something more physically encompassing and fun. It also offers decent ease of use and durability. However, it is quite large and heavy to continually keep by your side and not the most versatile. Still, the flashy looks and affordable price tag make this piece a justly tempting choice.
— Sara Aranda
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