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The Best Patio Shades For Sun Protection: Our Top 4 Picks

There’s nothing like enjoying the sunshine in the comfort of your backyard! The sun aids in vitamin D creation, which keeps your skeletal and immune systems healthy. But too much of it can lead to problems. That’s why shade is essential, especially in the summertime. Patio shades are a simple and efficient way to offer some shade and UV protection.

Keep reading to learn about some great patio shade options to keep your skin cool and safe!

Patio Shades

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
GARDEN EXPERT 23 FT x 23 FT Sun Shade Sail

Budget Option:
SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail

Best Retractable Shade:
Outsunny 10 FT x 8 FT Manual Retractable Awning

Best for Porches and Pergolas:
RYB HOME Extra Wide Outdoor Curtains

Best Overall

GARDEN EXPERT 23 FT x 23 FT Sun Shade Sail

GARDEN EXPERT 23'x23' Sun Shade Sail with Grommets Large Square Canopy Shade Cover for Patio Garden Outdoor Backyard, Sand

If you’re looking for a large amount of shade coverage, the Garden Expert sail is perfect! It’s a whopping 23-foot square that’ll cover most patio spaces or at least a large portion of them.

The permeable material of this patio shade consists of polyethylene threads, which is a durable plastic. It allows water and air to pass through it, which keeps the sail from blowing away or collecting rain. You can expect to stay cooler as well since the summer breezes can make their way through the material.

This sail can be a great addition to patios, decks, and even carport areas. It’ll keep the space below it cool and protect your skin from UV rays. So you can enjoy your backyard without hot feet or sunburns. Using it may even prevent sun damage to outdoor furniture, which allows it to last much longer.

Set-up for a patio shade like this should take little to no time. The sail package comes with the required ropes and built-in rings to hang it up. You’ll just need to be sure you pull the ropes tightly to create tension. You don’t want the sail to sag, as this won’t be efficient in providing the much-needed shade you’re looking for.


  • Easy installation
  • Blocks 95% of the sun and offers a large amount of shade
  • Permeable material, which allows airflow and prevents pooling


  • Small amounts of sunlight can seep through
  • It won’t protect you from rain

Budget Option

SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail

SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail 12'x12'x12' Triangle Sand UV Block Sunshade for Backyard Yard Deck Patio Garden Outdoor Activities and Facility(We Make Custom Size)

The Sunny Guard sail is one of the best options if you want to enjoy shade but also save money. You don’t always need to spend a fortune to stay cool and safe from the summer sun! A triangular patio shade like this is an excellent option for the corners of patios, decks, and backyards. It’ll be the perfect fit! But you can, of course, use it in non-corner areas too.

The sun’s radiation is strongest from 10 A.M.-4 P.M., which is when most people spend time outside. Luckily, the tightly-knit polyethylene material will keep your skin safe during this time, as it blocks 95% of UV rays.

It’s slightly porous to allow air and water flow but still offers 85% of shade beneath it. This shade percentage works wonders for hot, sunny days, as it lowers the temperature beneath it significantly.

The cool area this patio shade creates is especially great for outdoor furniture, such as a dining set. You can relax comfortably and enjoy your delicious meal without sweating or overheating. It may also be a good spot for pet beds and play areas to keep body temperatures normal.


  • It blocks about 95% of UV rays and provides 85% shade
  • Can withstand up to about 30 MPH winds
  • Drops temperature below the sail by up to 20ºF


  • It’s a little small
  • Offers an uneven amount of shade due to its triangular shape

Best Retractable Shade

Outsunny 10 FT x 8 FT Manual Retractable Awning

Outsunny 10' x 8' Manual Retractable Awning Sun Shade Shelter for Patio Deck Yard with UV Protection and Easy Crank Opening, Brown Stripe

If a sail doesn’t fit your needs, a retractable awning is another great patio shade option for adequate shade coverage.

Outsunny’s awning is extremely easy to operate once you hang it on your house or another structure. It has a manual crank, so you won’t need to worry about electricity or batteries. This makes it easily adjustable and allows you to quickly close the awning if bad weather makes an appearance. Its manual operation also helps keep the price down, making it an affordable choice.

The awning shade’s material is all polyester, which has tight threads and stitching. Due to this, you can expect almost no ultraviolet radiation to make its way through the awning. It also has the helpful feature of a waterproof coating. So, you won’t get soaking wet if a light rain shower does decide to pass. Just be sure to close it if you’re expecting harsh weather to keep it from deteriorating.

Not only is this patio shade efficient in blocking the sun, but it also looks great! The decoratively-trimmed design will add some personality to your backyard space. It even comes in nine colors, so you can coordinate it with your home or other outdoor decor!


  • You can attach it to many different surfaces
  • Has a waterproof coating
  • You can easily adjust it with a crank to fit your needs


  • It’s a little difficult to assemble
  • It can’t handle snow or downpours

Best for Porches and Pergolas

RYB HOME Extra Wide Outdoor Curtains

RYB HOME Extra Wide Outdoor Curtains for Patio Waterproof Windproof Blackout Curtains for Porch Pergola Arbor Lanai Pool House Outside Deck, 100 inch Width x 84 inch Length, 1 Pc, Biscotti Beige

While porches and pergolas can offer some relief from the sun, it often isn’t enough. The sun moves throughout the day, so its rays are always changing directions. And you cannot adjust stationary structures to accommodate these changes. That’s where outdoor curtains can compensate and provide shade throughout the day.

These RYB Home curtains can block up to 95% of the sun due to their thick, blackout material. This can significantly cool down your porch or the area below your pergola.

The patio shade curtains can double as a privacy fence or help create a closed-in space. You can also expect to be sunburn-free, as UV rays are no match for these curtains!

Fabric generally gets quite dirty outside, whether it’s for the outdoors or not. But these curtains are waterproof, and you can throw them in your washing machine! You can dry them too, but there usually isn’t a need for it as the curtains will air dry quickly.

Set-up is effortless, as you’ll simply need to get shower curtain rods to hang them. It will likely take less than ten minutes to hang your curtains, giving you some cooling shade almost immediately.


  • Waterproof and machine-washable
  • They block 85-95% of the sun
  • Easy to set up


  • You’ll need curtain rods, which don’t come with the curtains
  • They might fade

Patio Shade Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider

Yellow sun sails shade party area behind privacy fence of landscaped house surrounded by leafy trees

Patio shades aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase. You’ll need to consider a few things, such as size, materials, hanging methods, and even washability. Assessing what you need in a shade will help you make the correct and final decision.


Take a look at your backyard. Do you know its measurements? Or do you at least know how much of it you want shaded? Measurements are key when finding the right-sized patio shade for your outdoor space! Even if you don’t have exact measurements, it is best to at least have an idea. A shade that’s too big will droop, and one that’s too small won’t provide enough coverage.

As you look at your options, you should compare each shade’s measurements to your backyard. Doing this will help you decide which shades will fit and aid in narrowing your list down.


You’ll want a shade that uses UV-blocking materials for optimal sun protection. Polyethylene and polyester are the most common patio shade materials. And both of these options can do a decent job of blocking the sun.

Try to stay away from cotton and other loosely-threaded materials. They still allow UV rays to penetrate through, offering little protection from the sun.

Considering the frame materials of your shade is also important (if the shade has a frame at all). Look for powder-coated and rust-resistant metals like steel. They’ll last much longer in harsh weather.

Set-Up Method

Always find out how to hang the shade in the description before purchasing. Some methods require tools and extra materials that don’t come with the shade. And some shades are just generally difficult to set up. Reading the set-up method ahead of time will help you prepare and determine if you need help.


No matter what patio shade you choose, it’ll probably get dirty at some point. The changing weather and birds are usually the primary culprits. Due to this, it might be in your best interest to choose a washable shade. This could mean machine-washable or washable with a hose.

Moldy, dirty shades aren’t pleasant-looking, and they can even be harmful to your health. So, washability should be on your requirement list to keep everyone safe and keep your shades looking new.

Patio Shade Frequently Asked Questions

Modern house terrace in summer with table and shade sail

What’s the best type of shade for the sun and wind?

A sail tends to be the best type of shade for both sun and wind. They typically block most UV rays and use permeable materials. So your skin will be safe from sun damage, and the sail won’t flap around in the wind. Other types of shades may break or blow away in the wind, but sails will stay put.

What shade material is best for blocking UV rays?

Polyester is usually the best shade material for blocking out the sun and its harmful UV rays. This is because the threads are tightly woven together, which leaves less room for the sun to shine through. It’s a material that almost completely blocks the sun, which is something you always want in a shade. Fewer sunshine rays mean cooler temperatures under the patio shade and safe skin.

What color shade is best at blocking sunlight?

You should always pick a dark color when choosing the right shade for your backyard. Think along the lines of black, charcoal gray, navy blue, etc. Dark colors can absorb more UV rays than lighter colors like white or yellow. The absorption prevents sunlight and UV rays from reaching your skin.

Wrapping Up the Best Patio Shades

Spending time in the sun is important to your physical and mental health. However, overexposure can cause skin damage and overheating. It’s important to take breaks and spend time in the shade.

Do you need more patio furniture suggestions or some outdoor project inspiration? Take a peek at our Backyard Living page for more backyard-related fun!