WindPro Compact Auto Review
Cons: Flips inside-out, lacks unique style
Our Analysis and Test Results
The WindPro Compact Auto is a lightweight model that offers substantial rain protection with its 38 inch canopy span, while still condensing to a small and easy-to-transport size. Although not impervious to strong gusts, the vented canopy did make a bit more capable of handling moderate winds. Its scores landed in the middle of the pack in pretty much every metric, yet with a list price of $41, we expected better performance.
While out in the rain, we were happy to have the WindPro's 38-inch polyester canopy above our heads. The canopy is the fifth largest of all the products we tested, and we were satisfied with its coverage area. Additionally, we never had any water leak in through the vent flap.
Due to the fact that this umbrella can invert under strong winds, it lost a few points in rain protection. When it was breezy, our testers found that it didn't take much wind-speed to flip the canopy. We were even able to flip it inside-out without any wind, merely by flicking a wrist. However, this product does offer a quick fix; at the press of the button on the handle, the canopy will auto correct itself by snapping into its collapsed form. You'll need to compact the it before you can open it again, but we still found this to be faster than fighting to manually correct the canopy as you get soaked by the rain. Other models with this feature are the Kolumbo Travel Umbrella, LifeTek Traveler Compact, and REI Travel Umbrella.
Ease of Transport
This product is easily transportable inside a bag - it's only 11.5 inches when fully collapsed. The sleeve has a stitched loop with a plastic clip, so you could clip it to your backpack or person, while on the move. Unfortunately, unlike the REI model, the WindPro doesn't come with a small and nifty carabiner and the opening on the small plastic clip is a little small, which makes it difficult to clip or unclip from anything.
The WindPro fell in the middle of the pack in durability. The spokes supporting the canopy are constructed of fiberglass and the stem is made of steel; both materials add some rigidness, but we could still feel the stem flex under strain from the wind. Luckily, no pieces or parts failed during testing, despite repeatedly forcing the canopy inside-out, along with continuous use. Our testers did notice, however, that the handle and stem are loose enough to rattle against each other. Although this didn't present a problem during testing, we think it could become an issue after prolonged and repeated use. Somewhat to our surprise, this model performed very well in our extreme wind test. It survived without collapsing, bending, or breaking in wind speed up to 50 mph. Impressive! One of the only other contenders to perform so well was the GustBuster Metro, our Top Pick for Compact Wind Resistance.
Ease of Use
Our testers found this product quite easy to use thanks to its auto open/close feature. One annoying drawback, however, is noticed when opening the umbrella. We frequently needed to manually push the canopy up the final inch to fully extend the canopy. We think that the automatic function should take care of this on its own.
Otherwise, the handle of this product is comfortable to grip - soft foam on the lower half of the knob adds some comfort (especially in extremely windy conditions). However, we wished the entire handle had soft foam wrapped around it, not just the lower half. Lastly, the polyester canopy of this model was the quickest to dry, taking only 15 minutes.
The WindPro Compact Auto has a classic and sleek look. The company didn't break the mold with this design, but the added air vent, makes an improvement on a classic style without sacrificing that old-time look. If your aim is to blend in with the crowd and maintain a professional appearance, this model may be for you. But if you don't want to be a sheep in the crowd, check out the Blunt Metro and its eye-popping design!
This product is a great companion to have anytime you may be caught in a storm, as long as high winds aren't expected. It's small and fairly durable. It easily fits in a backpack, a purse, a car, or on a coat rack. You can keep it in your office, or with you at all times. Despite its name, the WindPro can only help you so much in keeping you dry during a gusty downpour. That said, in light windy conditions, this product excels.
At $41, this piece does not offer the best performance to price ratio. It's a fine umbrella, but we found for the same (or cheaper) price. For a few dollars less, you could purchase the REI Travel and benefit from a slightly larger canopy. Or if you don't need a collapsible model, the totes Blue Line is also a great value.
This product is a great option if you're looking for a small and compact way to stay dry in the rain. The vent flap on the canopy allows this piece to stand up against the wind better than some of the other collapsible models we tested. Though the canopy is smaller than some of its direct competitors (specifically the REI Travel), it is a decent enough size to let you move freely under the canopy, while still keeping you dry.
— Ross Robinson