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totes Clear Bubble Review

Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protection
totes Clear Bubble
Photo: totes
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $26 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Affordable, stylish, ample rain protection
Cons:  Heavy, not as easy to transport
Manufacturer:   totes
By Sara Aranda ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2021
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Rain Protection - 30% 9
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 5
  • Durability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Although its non-telescoping shaft classifies it as a traditional umbrella, the totes Clear Bubble has a unique appearance that defies the classic look. Offering a deep dome for a canopy, this model has exceptional rain protection, and the plastic handle and metal shaft provide plenty of support. In terms of wind resistance, this product never flipped inside out on us. All these things considered, this piece does have some significant drawbacks, including its size and weight. If you need something lightweight and compact, this probably isn't going to work for you. But for those that want a fun and functional design for casual outings, this is a great choice.

Compare to Similar Products

 
totes Clear Bubble
This Product
totes Clear Bubble
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $26 List$20.00 List$22 List
Check Price at Amazon
$18.00 List$16.73 at Amazon
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Pros Affordable, stylish, ample rain protectionStrong, excellent rain coverage, stylishClassy, durable, versatileCompact, wind vent, adequate rain protectionLightweight, compact, automatic
Cons Heavy, not as easy to transportLarge, unwieldy in high windsOn the heavy side, larger for a compact modelA touch heavier than other compact models, plain styleMany metal joints, less durable
Bottom Line Fun style with a more encompassing bubble canopy for greater rain protectionThis is a fun, well-made umbrella that provides classic rain protection and nostalgiaClassy style and reliable rain protection with all the perks of a compact, automatic umbrellaCompact, easy to use, and affordable, this umbrella gets the job done without costing more than it shouldSimple and ultralight with all the basics you need for rain protection
Rating Categories totes Clear Bubble totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy AmazonBasics Automa... Lewis N. Clark Umbr...
Rain Protection (30%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
5.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (20%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Style (10%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Specs totes Clear Bubble totes Auto Open Wooden Balios Double Canopy AmazonBasics Automa... Lewis N. Clark Umbr...
Measured Canopy Diameter 33.5 in 42 in 40 in 38 in 39.25 in
Depth of Canopy 16.75 in 10.25 in 9 in 8 in 6.5 in
Sleeve Included? No No Yes, with zip Yes Yes
Measured Weight, Including Sleeve 16.0 oz 18.5 oz 15.5 oz 14.0 oz 10.0 oz
Measured Length (collapsed) 35.75 in 36.5 in 14 in 11.5 in 11 in
Measured Length (deployed) 35.75 in 36.75 in 25.5 in 21.5 in 21.25 in
Handle Design Plastic crook handle Wooden crook handle, button operation Wooden ergonimic grip, inset button operation Short, Comfort-Grip handle, 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 Polyester, velcro closure Polyester, velcro closure
Support Structure Unknown metal and carbonfiber Wood and aluminum Steel and fiberglass Steel 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.

Performance Comparison


Bubble canopies are not only fun but all the more protective against...
Bubble canopies are not only fun but all the more protective against the rain.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Rain Protection


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.

We love that we can tuck ourselves inside and still see where we're...
We love that we can tuck ourselves inside and still see where we're going.
Photo: Sara Aranda

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.

It doesn't come with a carrying sleeve or case but the handle makes...
It doesn't come with a carrying sleeve or case but the handle makes it easier to hang and wield.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Durability


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.

The construction appears well made and the ribs are rather flexible.
The construction appears well made and the ribs are rather flexible.
Photo: Sara Aranda

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 manual operation is decent in its design. The slide is somewhat...
The manual operation is decent in its design. The slide is somewhat smooth but can also pinch the skin.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Style


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!


Value


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.

Certainly very youthful, we enjoy the cute and fun touches.
Certainly very youthful, we enjoy the cute and fun touches.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Conclusion


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.

A great option for more thorough rain protection and fun flair.
A great option for more thorough rain protection and fun flair.
Photo: Sara Aranda

Sara Aranda