One of Amazon’s bestsellers, with a wealth of positive reviews to prove it, this triangular sail is made from a high-density woven polyester and boasts an impressive 96.5 per cent UV protection with a UPF of 34. With a tighter weave than some, the sail is ideal for our unpredictable British weather, giving us shelter from the odd downpour but without the fear of overheating when the sun finally decides to shine. This one features tough webbing loops with a 1.5m rope supplied for each corner, and it proves a toughie in windy weather, too. It’s available in a range of muted tones as well as some playful brights including the summer-ready yellow.
If you’re looking to up your outdoor entertaining game this spring and summer, guests will be seriously impressed with a thoughtfully positioned shade sail overhead. Not nearly as popular as the garden parasol, this is a product that’s all too often overlooked. But it comes with a wealth of benefits, not least the absence of an intruding pole, which can interrupt your sightline when you’re deep in conversation.
Another win for the shade sail is that you can easily cover dedicated areas of your garden or patio space. That means you can make sure the kids stay protected from the sun while they play, or create a cool shaded area with hammock, hanging egg chair or bistro set to give you respite from those harmful rays.
Most are made from a tough and tightly woven polyethylene fabric, which gives you excellent UV protection, and should also offer water-resistance and weatherproof qualities, too. Typicallyrectangular, triangular or square in shape, a shade sail is tied to supports from its corners, which are often reinforced with double stitching and have either metal D rings or integrated webbing loops for a secure fit.
But when it comes to hanging your shade sail, this is where you might have to get creative. If you’re lucky enough to have mature trees in your garden, look for a shade sail with a good length of rope ties – some reach an impressive 2.5m, which is more than enough to tie around an old tree trunk.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to hang your shade sail directly from the back of your property, make sure you fix it with hooks strong enough to withstand heavy winds. And whether you’re tying your sail to existing structures or specially bought poles, make sure you angle it at around 30 degrees for drainage.
How we tested
We tried a range of shade sails in different shapes and sizes on our patio space, looking for durability, quality of finish, weather resistance, ease of use, and importantly, whether the sail gave us adequate cover from the sun. We weighed up affordability with great design, looking for the best value and quality combined.
The best shade sails for 2023 are:
- Best overall – Kookaburra 3m triangle shade sail: £16.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best decorative shade sail – VonHaus Aztec print 2m x 3m shade sail: £22.99, Vonhaus.com
- Best for larger spaces – Swift sun shade sail 4m x 6m, rectangle: £59.99, Diy.com
- Best heavy duty shade sail – Dakota Fields minquadale 4m x 5m rectangular shade sail: £139.99, Wayfair.co.uk