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The Best Shade Sails of 2021 | Get Outside and Enjoy the Fall

We take a loot at the Best Shade Sails of 2021. A backyard isn’t complete without some shade. If you’re putting the finishing touches on your outdoor space and are trying to decide on the perfect shade sail, read ahead for our top tips and best picks!

One of the best parts of enjoying the outdoors is feeling the sun on your skin. But everyone knows too much of a good thing isn’t much fun. Sunburns, overheating and discomfort can be avoided with a simple and often cost-effective solution: Shade Sails!


What is a Shade Sail?

Simply put, a shade sail is a piece of fabric that is based on the same technology as a ship’s sails. They are designed to create shade in outdoor areas. They offer relief from the sun in places where something like a built-in structure wouldn’t be appropriate. Since they’re permeable, they let air transfer in and out, but most do offer some protection from light rain. The breathable nature of a shade sail allows heat to enter and exit, keeping you cooler underneath.


What are the Benefits?

Shade sails aren’t the only shading/cooling option on the market. So why go with one, when you could get a gazebo, pergola, or even just a plain patio umbrella? Shade sails offer a variety of advantages. For starters, they can be hung from a variety of heights, making them customizable for your specific space. They come in an array of sizes– from a few feet squared, to big enough to cover an entire swimming pool. Another great thing about them is the price. While exceptionally large pieces or specialty fabrics can get pricey, most are extremely budget-conscious when compared to structures. Shade sails can be permanent but are simple to move if you want to rearrange your outdoor space or take the sail in for the winter. Most are meant to brave the elements fairly well and can last for many years.

What Kind of Shade Sail is Best?

Shade sails come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and specifications, there is something for everyone. An important consideration is budget. They are one of the most budget-friendly outdoor shade options for overall shading and cooling. Since you don’t have to worry about building out, as you would with something like a gazebo, this saves a lot of work and money. However, it is commonplace for mounting, hardware, brackets and the like to be sold separately. This is a good thing because you can buy only what you need rather than getting a kit with extra materials. However, if you require professional help, or want a more permanent mounting, this will be more costly.


Space & Usage

What space you are covering and the size of the space you are covering is another essential point to consider. Shade sails are an awesome choice to cover a pool or a garden area. A covered driveway can protect your vehicle from sun-related damage. What kind of outdoor space shouldn’t be covered with a shade sail? Anything that includes heat or open flame is not compatible. This means that if you’re looking to cover your grill area or a fire pit, something like a pergola or grill gazebo would be a better bet. Next question: square, triangle, or rectangle? Any of these can be good options, but you will want to measure out your space to see what will fit best. Many people buy multiple triangles. Not only does this offer great coverage, but it is aesthetically pleasing as well. Every color of the rainbow is available, so picking the right one will give you the option to bring your outdoor décor together as well as complement your particular style and furnishings.


UV Protection & Other Considerations

By nature of their design, all shade sails will offer UV protection and be significantly cooler underneath, compared to sitting in direct sunshine. However, some makes and models offer higher levels of protection. If you live in a climate that is often rainy or windy, take this into consideration when picking not only your sail but also the mountings. These outdoor fixtures are meant to last, but not all are meant to fully withstand inclement weather.


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Since 2013, we have been providing truly objective insight into our reviews and recommendations. Our authors and product experts spend many hours researching, analyzing, and testing products. After our extensive research on shade and outdoor spaces, here are some of our best picks.


The Best Shade Sails to Beat the Heat 2021


Budget-Friendly Shade Sail

Amgo shade sail 10x13

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The Amgo gets a lead role on our list thanks to its inexpensive price, but that is not all that this shade sail is bringing to the table. Packed with features such as 95% UV reduction and small size, these features make for easy installation as well as fit for a variety of uses.

  • Size is perfect for patio coverage
  • 5 year warranty
  • 95% UV coverage



Versatile Shade Sail

DIIG sunshade 10x12

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This rectangular shade sail is the perfect fit for a driveway, but can also be used in a backyard or over a garden. It comes in multiple colors so you can match the trim of your house or the seat cushions to your patio set. The air-permeable design keeps you cool and comfortable while lounging.

  • High-density polyethylene material
  • Can be used in conjunction with a pergola
  • Air-permeable


Basic Square Shade Sail 

10 square shade sail

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For small to mid-sized spaces that require a square-shaped shade sail, look no further than the Colourtree 10×10 foot model. Created from sturdy fabric and featuring 316 stainless steel D-rings, this sail is built to last. This is another air-permeable model, which is beneficial because it prevents pooling water and will not succumb to gusting winds.

  • Made to resist wind
  • Reduces ambient temperature up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Easy to install with Colourtree installation kit (sold separately)


Waterproof Shade Sail

waterproof 9.5 sun shade

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What if you want protection from more elements than just the sun? This waterproof shade sail literally has you covered. Guaranteed to not pass water through, this sail will keep you cool, shaded and dry as you need it.

  • Water resistant
  • Can withstand all seasons
  • Easy to take down for portability


Foldable Design Shade Sail

16 x16 shade sail

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Large enough to cover the majority of the average inground swimming pool but easy to store with its foldable design, the Yescom shade sail delivers the best of both worlds. Though it is breathable, it boasts a whopping 97% UV blockage, making for a serious reduction in harmful rays.

  • Blocks 97% of UV rays
  • Foldable design stores away easily
  • Triple stitched to avoid ripping and fraying


Large Triangle Shade Sail

20x20x20 sun shade

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This triangular shade sail can cover nearly 200 feet, making it a phenomenal choice for larger areas. There are also fourteen colors to choose from, so you’re sure to find something to compliment your outdoor space. Of course, offering up to 98% UV blockage and a five-year warranty are nice perks as well.

  • Easy to clean with mild detergent; no harsh scrubbing needed
  • Up to 98% UV blockage
  • Wind resistant



Basic Rectangle Shade Sail

asteroutdoor shade sail

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Rectangular shade sails are a convenient shape to cover many areas such as decks and patios. This model from Asteroutdoor is sturdy enough to stay outside but easy to store away in the provided bag. It can even fit in a backpack if you’re looking for a portable option to bring camping or to the beach.

  • Made for portability
  • Allows some light to come through, making it a good choice for gardens
  • Comes with ropes for hanging (hardware sold separately)


Triangle Shade Sail with Hardware Included

20x28.6x20 triangle shade sail

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While shade sails that require hardware sold separately allow you to customize what you buy, sometimes it’s nice to take the guesswork out of the equation. The Colourtree triangular ones includes everything you need but the posts. Its large size makes it ideal for big backyards and family gatherings.

  • Made for year-round use
  • Includes hardware for easy setup
  • Large size provides plenty of coverage


Rectangle Shade Sail with Hardware Included

quictent 26x20 shade sail

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This impressively sized shade sail can cover over 500 square feet. It can be attached to your house, or other structure, like an awning. Again, hardware is included so there are fewer purchases to make. In addition to these great features, this model blocks up to 98% of UV and sunlight.

  • Offers extensive protection from damaging rays
  • Able to be attached to a structure or freestanding
  • Large size can cover a swimming pool or large backyard


Reinforced Super Ring Shade Sail

reinforced 9x24 shade sail

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Shade sails are made to withstand the elements in general, but the reinforced super rings on this model make it built to last. Created from heavier duty metal and thicker material, this sail is extremely difficult to damage and will stay looking nice for years to come.

  • Five-year warranty
  • Reinforced super rings are of higher quality than the average
  • Nine-foot by 24-foot size is perfect for shading a walkway or other long space


Commonly Asked Questions About Shade Sails

Question: Are shade sails good for plants?

Answer: Shade sails are a great option for the outdoor garden cover. They can prevent scorching and burning. Since the temperature is lower under the sail, this can help less hearty plants survive brutal summers. You can keep the sail up for the entirety of the gardening season, or put it up during particularly sunny weather, giving you the versatility to protect your plants as you see fit.

Question: Do shade sails really work?

Answer: Shade sails are the real deal. Based on technology used in boating, these sails are designed specifically to keep you comfortable and protected from the sun. If you have specific needs, make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications, which will tell you what kind of temperature reduction you can expect, the estimated UV blockage, and other functional details.

Question: How large can a shade sail be?

Answer: Shade sails range in size from three feet to thirty-two feet or even more. The larger you go, the more engineering is involved in set-up. Make sure you pay attention not only to what size your is but also the shape. They usually come in triangles, rectangles and squares. Measuring your space is your best bet to find the correct size to purchase.

Question: How do I choose a shade sail?

Answer: Choosing the right shade sail for your outdoor space is going to be dependent on a few different factors. Make sure that it makes sense for your space. Putting a sail over an outdoor BBQ kitchen island, smoker or grill is not advisable. Shade sails are not meant to withstand open flame or direct heat. Next, measure what area you want to have covered. Once you have an idea of what you need, decide upon a budget. They are among the most affordable outdoor cover options since you don’t have to worry about building a whole structure, but larger sizes and specialty fabrics can cost more. Oftentimes, anchoring and mountings are sold separately, so that you can choose specifically what you need. If you do require professional installation, this will increase the cost quite a bit. While the function is usually the deciding factor, don’t forget the decorative aspect. There are plenty of patterns and colors to choose from, making this a great way to liven up your backyard.

Question: What color shade sail is best?

Answer: Dark colors actually maximize cooling and UV protection and make for the best option. Dark colors like our dark blue, brown, black, or dark red, will also absorb more UV rays than the lighting whiteish colors.


Shade sails offer plenty of benefits, including reducing UV rays, lowering temperatures, and improving the ambience of your outdoor space. What’s even better is that they can be used in places where you cannot have a structure. They’re also one of the most cost-effective outdoor coverings available. With so many redeeming qualities, there’s sure to be a shade sail that’s just right for you.

What is your backyard shade solution? Let us know in the comments! 

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