A lot of people set aside their beach hats when packing travel essentials. But did you know that by doing that, you’re putting your skin at risk?
According to Cancer Research UK, getting sunburns once or twice a year could cause melanoma skin cancer, and if you’re the type who gets sunburnt more easily, you’re at a higher risk!
To lessen skin damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays, you need to protect yourself by wearing accessories such as sunglasses and beach hats. Not only will they prevent life-threatening illnesses, but they would also add a little oomph factor to your summer outfit.
But with so many options in the market, which beach hats will give you optimal protection against the sun? In this guide, we’ll tell you what features of beach hats you should look for, including the best ones you can buy online today.
Why do you need to wear beach hats?
Sunlight is the main source of UV (ultraviolet) rays, and constant exposure to those harmful rays may damage the DNA of your cells. This can lead to skin cancer, sunburn, and skin aging.
Beach hats work by shielding your head and some parts of your face from the sun. The wider the brim is, the larger area it covers. Today, beach hats are commonly integrated with UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is an effective way to protect your skin against both UVA and UVB rays.
However, while beach hats have lots of advantages, some people don’t see their importance.
People with darker skin are less likely to have sunburns than those with lighter skin because they’re less sensitive to the sun. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not at risk for skin damage. Too much sun exposure can still cause cancer, no matter what the skin color is.
And even when you’re in shade, or the sun isn’t blinding, wearing sun protection like sunscreens and beach hats is a must. UV rays can bounce off from the pool, ocean, or sand. They can also penetrate through the clouds. You may not see the UVA and UVB rays with your naked eyes, but they’re there.
It’s also essential to wear beach hats if you just recovered from skin cancer or if you’re taking any kind of medication. This is because you’re more sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin damage.
Top 7 Best Beach Hats for Summer
Whether you’re going to the beach this weekend or you’re planning to sunbathe by a pool, wearing a beach hat is a must. This accessory does more than just enhance your look. It keeps your head cool and prevents sunburns from occurring.
We’ve found 7 of the best beach hats with cute and minimal designs that will complement any of your summer outfits.
- Lanzom’s Women Wide Brim Beach Sun Hat – Best Overall
- Camoland’s Large Brim Summer Beach Cap – Best Budget
- Wallaroo Hat Company’s Victoria Sun Hat – Best High-End
- Debra Weitzner’s Floppy Sun Hat with Wide Brim
- Einskey’s Sun Hat for Men and Women
- Furtalk’s Women’s & Men’s Wide Brim Straw Panama Hat
- Muryobao Women's Ponytail Sun Hat
#1: Lanzom’s Women Wide Brim Beach Sun Hat – Best Overall
- Material: 90% Straw, 10% Polyester
- Features: Pull-on closure, One size, Foldable, UPF 50+
Authentic Panama hats can be expensive, so if you’re looking for a cheap alternative that looks like the real thing, we recommend getting this beach hat from Lanzom. With this one, you don’t have to worry about getting it wet on chlorine-treated pools or how you’re going to clean it after a long day of outdoor activities.
This wide-brimmed hat is made from 90% natural paper straw that’s woven tightly to make it as sturdy as cotton canvas. However, it’s more breathable and comfortable to wear than its cotton alternative.
Since it’s also lightweight and foldable, this hat is highly recommendable for travel use. It’s easy to carry around, and much better, it can be rolled and tucked inside the luggage! However, we do suggest putting small items inside the hat instead to preserve its shape.
The circumference of this hat measures 22 to 22.8 inches (56 to 58 cm), which perfectly fits an average adult-size head. If you have a smaller head, this hat has a band inside that you can adjust according to your liking. The band also prevents the hat from being blown off by strong winds.
This hat gives full coverage to your face because of its brim which measures about 2.9 inches. It’s not too big that it hinders movement, nor does it gets in the way when you’re doing stuff.
Meanwhile, its elegant design allows this hat to match any outfit. It can be worn for leisure traveling, sunbathing, or any outdoor activities like sailing, kayaking, and golfing. The best part about it? It has UPF 50+!
|Stylish design and flattering contour||It may not suit people with larger heads|
|Good value for money||The adjustable band may not work well|
|Adjustable||Product is often sold out|
#2: Camoland’s Large Brim Summer Beach Cap – Best Budget
- Price: $18.99
- Material: 100% Cotton, Elastic
- Features: Eco-friendly, Anti-sweat, Adjustable velcro closure, UPF 50+
This product from Camoland is great for people who have skin allergies from synthetic fabrics. This beach hat is made from 100% cotton canvas that’s not only skin-friendly but also eco-friendly!
This beach cap features an open-top design that’s great for head ventilation and dissipating heat. The opening’s also great if you prefer wearing buns or ponytails as it doesn’t get in the way of your hair. Since its design is minimal and it comes in various colors, both men and women can wear it alternatively.
With its adjustable velcro strap and crown size of 21 to 23.5 inches, this hat can accommodate small to large heads. It also comes with an elastic buckle and chin strap to prevent it from being blown during windy days.
What we also like about this hat is the large brim that measures 4.8 inches, which gives coverage on the face and neck area. It also has UPF 50+ for that extra skin protection.
This beach cap also features a breathable panel liner that helps absorb and prevent sweat from streaming down your face. It’s foldable as well and can be attached to your bag using its open-up tape.
Finally, if you’re not happy with your purchase, Camoland offers a 100% money-back guarantee. Now that’s what we call customer service!
|Can be used in any outdoor activities||Doesn’t give coverage on the top part of the head and sides of the face|
|Suitable for both men and women||The sizing is a bit large|
|Suits any head size and hairstyle|
|Doesn’t lose form when washed|
#3: Wallaroo Hat Company’s Victoria Sun Hat – Best High-End
- Price: $46
- Material: 100% Poly-straw
- Features: Packable, Lightweight, UPF 50+
Wallaroo is a hat company from Colorado. They’re known for their B Corp Certification, which means they have the highest standard of work performance. They also have a socially transparent workplace, too. Yay!
Wallaroo is most known for Victoria, which is their cool and fun take on the regular straw hats. This hat was designed in Australia, and it’s made from good poly-straw fabric integrated with UPF 50+.
Victoria was inspired by nature, such as the Rocky Mountains and skies. In 2020, Wallaroo added the colors Mixed Beige and Grey to their color options. All in all, Victoria comes in 22 different colors that can perfectly match any outfit.
The Victoria hat has modern aesthetics that don’t sacrifice comfortability. Its breathable material and lightly loose weaving work best for sweaty people who find wearing hats unbearable, especially during hot summers. The hat stays on the head, but it’s not too tight that it crimps the hair flat when removed.
This hat is also ultralightweight, so there’s a drawstring to prevent it from being blown off by the wind. With its 3.5 inch-wide brim and crown circumference measuring 22 ⅝ inches, Victoria gives full coverage to your face, ears, and neck.
Even though it’s quite a size, it’s packable and easy to store inside the luggage. All you need to do is put stuff inside it to help maintain its form.
|Easy to clean, can be hand-washed||Sun rays can penetrate through the loose weaves|
- Price: $21.99
- Material: 100% Polyester
- Features: Lightweight, Foldable, Detachable chin cord, UPF 50+
The Floppy Sun Hat from Debra Weitzner is a genius combination of style and function. Its large brim is a definite head-turner. At the same time, its full coverage gives the ultimate sun protection.
This hat features a design that can be worn with any beach summer outfit. For a touch of femininity, it is adorned with a bowknot ribbon wrapped around it.
Since it’s made from high-quality and handmade paper straw, this hat is kept flexible and lightweight. Even if it is massive, it’s easy to travel around with. It’s compact, too, and it doesn’t take much space inside a bag. It easily unfolds, and it gets back to its original form in an instant when unpacked.
This hat also features a drawstring closure and buckle hook where you can attach a chin cord. This keeps your hat in place, while the adjustable velcro gives it a better fit.
The Floppy Sun Hat comes in two sizes, which isn’t very common because other brands only offer one-size-fits-all. The available sizes are Medium, with a crown that measures 21 to 22 inches (56 to 57.5 cm), and Large that measures 22 to 23 inches (57.5 to 59.5 cm).
|Comes in neutral colors for easy outfit matching||The wide brim makes it uncomfortable when lying down|
|Doesn’t lose its shape even when folded||Inner bands may fray after a few uses|
|Can be worn for any outdoor activity||Has a synthetic smell|
- Price: $14.44
- Material: 100% Polyester
- Features: Drawstring closure, Unisex, Waterproof, UPF 50+
With a brim that’s 3.7 to 3.9 inches wide, this beach hat from Einskey has the widest brim on this list by far. It also has UPF 50+, which further protects your face and neck from sunburns.
Being outdoors during summer means lots of sweat. And to keep them from getting into your face, this hat comes with a built-in sweatband inside that helps absorb moisture. Meanwhile, the mesh panels surrounding it give your head proper ventilation, so it keeps your head cool even on the hottest days.
The hat is also made from 100% polyester fabric. It’s moisture-wicking and quick-drying, which is good if you want to prevent your hair from getting wet.
Einskey’s sun hat comes with a neutral style and design that’s suitable for both men and women. It comes in one size only, with a circumference measurement of 22 to 24 inches (55.88 to 60.96 cm). There’s a drawcord located at the back of the hat and a chin cord for easy adjustments.
This hat can be used for any outdoor activity. It’s easy to carry and travel with because it’s compact and folds in half, which saves space in your bag.
|Comes in neutral colors for easy outfit matching||Other variants come with a mesh top|
|Brim can be folded upward or downward|
|Comfortable to wear for any activity|
- Material: 90% Paper straw, 10% Polyester
- Features: Foldable, UPF 50+
It’s not just for the summer — this Panama beach hat from Furtalk can be worn even in spring or fall if you like to. It’s got a neutral design that goes well with any outfit, and its classic cut and black ribbon wraparound is a style that’ll never get old!
This hat has a brim size of 2.75 to 3.15 inches (7 to 8 cm). Though it’s wide, it’s not floppy and it holds its form even in strong winds. It also comes in two adult sizes: medium and large. The medium size has a circumference of 22.1 to 22.8 inches (56 to 58 cm), while the large measures at 22.8 to 23.6 inches (58 to 60 cm).
For better fitting, this hat’s interior includes an adjustable velcro. It also has a detachable chin strap to help keep the hat in place and prevent it from being blown away by wind gusts.
This hat is good for daily use or longer days in the sun. It is made from lightweight and breathable paper straw that’s tightly woven for durability and strength. The fabric also comes with UPF 50+ to prevent harmful UV rays from penetrating through your skin.
Although the hat is sizeable, it easily folds when being packed so it’s easy to carry around. It also keeps its form even when stored for too long.
|Comfortable to wear, provides good head ventilation||Not eco-friendly packaging|
|Comes in two sizes|
|Flatters any outfit|
- Price: $15.99
- Features: Ponytail hole, Built-in sweatband
Last but not least, we have Muryobao’s sun hat. This one has a special feature that active and stylish women will surely love. Ready? It comes with a ponytail hole!
Now, if you’re not a fan of this hairstyle, you can leave your hair down and the hat will still look great. This hat comes with fun colors and a classic design that can complement any swimwear or outfit.
This beach hat comes in one size only, though. It has a crown circumference that measures 21 to 23 inches, which will fit most adult heads. For easy adjustment and a more secure fit, it comes with a chin strap and an elastic buckle behind it.
This hat’s brim is not that huge, but it gives ample coverage on the face. The 3.35 inches (8.5 cm) wide brim has foldable sides, so you can choose to go for a flat brim or a cowboy style.
The sides of this hat also consist of mesh panels that help with breathability. This extra ventilation prevents bad smells from forming, and it also keeps your head cool and airy. Inside the hat is a quick-drying band that absorbs sweat.
On a side note, this hat is not waterproof. However, it’s very comfortable for sunbathing and daily use.
|Made from lightweight fabric||May not fit larger heads|
|Easy to clean, washable|
|Comfortable to wear|
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in Beach Hats
A beach hat, for the most part, is an affordable accessory. But it can also be a good investment that could last you for years. More so if it serves its purpose of preventing sunburns and skin cancer.
Before purchasing, here are things you need to consider when choosing a beach hat.
Brims are the horizontal part of a hat that’s meant to protect your eyes from the sun. It could be turned up or down, depending on your style and purpose.
When it comes to beach hats, those with wide brims provide the ultimate sun protection because they can shade your entire face, neck, and ears. Ideally, beach hats should have a brim that measures about 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide, while a bucket hat should have around 2 inches (6 cm).
Beach hats must be packable and easy to store because they are often kept inside bags and luggage. It should also be foldable (doesn’t lose form easily) and lightweight, too.
Wide-brimmed hats are often made from synthetic or natural straw material for decorative purposes. When choosing hats like that, don’t pick those that have loose weaves because they can only give little protection from the sun. If light can penetrate it, then the UV rays can, too. You can also choose beach hats with dark underbrims if you want to lessen glares and reduce light exposure.
We don’t recommend wearing baseball caps as beach hats. These caps only protect the scalp, eyes, and forehead, leaving your neck, ears, and most parts of your face exposed to the sun.
Beach hats that are made from fabric that’s integrated with UPF 50+ can block 98% of the sun’s rays. But what does that exactly mean?
UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor is the fabric’s rate of how much ultraviolet rays can penetrate it. The higher the rate is, the more protection it gives against UVA and UVB. Fabrics like wool, nylon, and polyester are typically more effective because they have higher UPF rates than fabrics like cotton, linen, and hemp.
Your beach hat must fit you perfectly since you’re going to use it outdoors. It must be able to stay on top of your head and endure whatever activities you have planned for the day. To know your exact head measurement, take a look at the video below.
When choosing a beach hat, you must take into account the different elements of the outdoors. Since you’re constantly exposed to water, the fabric material of your beach hat should be moisture-wicking and fast-drying. Those that are made from cotton canvas and synthetic straw are good options because they’re easy to clean and they’re waterproof, too.
Style & Versatility
Comfort and breathability are important, but since a hat is a fashion accessory, its style and versatility also matter. Aside from sunbathing, you should also be able to wear your hat even when you’re gardening or having a walk in the park. It should also be able to match any of your swimwear outfits.
There are different kinds of beach hats you could choose from, such as visors, brims, floppy hats, fedoras, Panama hats, etc. There are also reversible ones that can be worn in two ways, which really gives excellent value for your money.
Wearing a beach hat is the best way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause skin damage and cancer. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to purchase expensive or designer ones to get better sun protection, as manufacturers have already developed affordable fabrics that are integrated with UPF 50+ technology.
We hope that this guide enlightened you about the benefits of wearing beach hats. And if you’re looking for surfing hats, you may want to check this article, too!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much do beach hats cost?
Beach hats are generally affordable, with prices ranging from USD 20 to USD 50. Meanwhile, designer brands may cost higher because of the fabric material they used and the warranties included with the purchase.
Q: Does beach hats prevent tanning?
Yes, wearing a beach hat provides shade from the sun, therefore they can prevent tanning in some parts of your face.
Q: If you wear a beach hat, can you omit wearing sunscreen?
Beach hats with UPF protect against the sun, but they can only prevent 98% of the UV rays from getting in contact with your skin. Also, they can only cover some parts of your upper torso, specifically your face, eyes, and neck.
For added UV protection to other parts of your body, such as your legs and arms, experts recommend applying waterproof sunscreen with SPF values of 30 to 50. This will also protect against sunburns and other skin damage.
Q: Should kids wear beach hats, too?
Yes, kids are also prone to skin damage, therefore they must wear skin protection such as sunglasses and beach hats at all times. Since they’re more active than adults, it’s also recommended to re-apply their sunscreen every two hours.