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I Tried A Fancy $100 Umbrella To See If It Was Better Than A $20 Umbrella

Why is it so embarrassing when your umbrella turns inside out? I don’t know, but it is, and I never want to deal with it again!

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Look, I like a good rainy day as much as the next guy.

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

But historically speaking, I’m not great with umbrellas.

My super-cheap umbrellas tend to get quickly and totally destroyed, assuming I don’t lose them first (it’s about a 70/30 split). So recently, I vowed to invest in more durable bad-weather gear — but I wondered exactly how much a superior umbrella experience was really worth.

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Let's take a look at the Totes Titan first.

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

The Totes umbrella is 44 inches in diameter and about 1 pound, thanks to its aluminum frame. It features an elastic wrist strap, a canopy made of NeverWet fabric, and a matching sheath for storage.

It has auto open and close features, and is designed to withstand winds up to 70 mph.

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

(Why is it so embarrassing when your umbrella turns inside out? I don’t know, but it is, and I never want to deal with it again!)

Its lifetime warranty covers manufacturing defects, though not “normal wear and tear.”

Next up, the high-end Davek Solo:

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

The Davek umbrella is 40 inches in diameter and 1.2 pounds, thanks to its heavy-duty steel frame. Features include a stitched leather wrist strap, a 190-thread count canopy (fancy!), a matching storage sheath, and a handle that clips onto your belt or bag.

Like the Totes, the Davek opens and closes automatically via a single button.

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

Its ~patented WindFibre system~ makes it similarly wind-resistant; however, should its canopy invert for whatever reason, the aforementioned button also turns the umbrella right side in again. (Well, sort of. More on that in a moment.) It has an unconditional lifetime guarantee “with proper use,” and comes with a loss protection card for a single replacement umbrella at 50% off.

The verdict: Both umbrellas seem similarly strong and durable, but one is $80 less, and way more comfortable to carry — which is why I’d recommend the Totes Titan.

Nora Whelan / BuzzFeed

Having used the Totes Titan and Davek Solo on multiple occasions, it seems like both live up to their promises of sturdiness and wonderfully water-resistant fabric. The only time either one inverted was when I attempted to carry them behind me like a parasol (rather than upright to keep me dry) during somewhat heavy winds — a method that makes no sense unless you’re working very hard at your umbrella-reviewing job. Each survived the wind and continued to function without issue, though I can’t say I found the Davek’s auto-reversion feature (which collapses the umbrella’s canopy entirely, leaving you vulnerable to pouring rain) to be as helpful as I’d hoped.

The Davek’s warranty and loss protection program are undoubtedly sweet and I’m sure worth $99, including the umbrella, for the right people. That said, between my particularly prolific track record of umbrella-losing and how surprisingly difficult the Davek’s extra 0.2 pounds and teardrop-shaped handle made it to use for long periods of time, those people are not me. It could, however, make for a classy (and practical!) gift for someone, especially considering its sleek packaging.

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Get the Totes Titan pictured from Amazon for $20.34, or a similar version (in black and four patterns) from Amazon for $13.09. Get the Davek Solo umbrella from Nordstrom for $99 (in black, black and blue, and black and green).

The umbrellas were provided to BuzzFeed free of charge but we were not obligated to positively review them.

CORRECTION

The link to the Totes Titan umbrella pictured has been updated; a previous version of this post linked to a slightly different model without a wooden handle.

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