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Best Beach Chairs with Canopies: Tested and Reviewed

Best Premium Choice

GCI Outdoor Waterside Sunshade Backpack Beach Chair

Best Overall Choice

Sport-Brella Beach Chair

Best Budget Choice

WGOS Beach Chair with Umbrella

Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on September 16, 2022. In Beach

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Sometimes hitting the beach with a comfy chair just isn’t enough. You need to do something to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun. But at the same time, maybe you don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a beach tent or beach canopy. Luckily there is another option. There are a number of high quality chairs that come complete with their own canopies to provide personal shade.

Keeping yourself out of the harsh UV rays of the sun is incredibly important, so anything you can do to stave off a burn and future health problems is a great idea. Let’s take a look at some of the best beach chairs with canopies on the market today.

Best Premium Choice

1. GCI Outdoor Waterside Sunshade Backpack Beach Chair

GCI Outdoor has one of the best overall shaded beach chairs you’re going to find. It balances price, comfort and function exceptionally well compared to many other beach chairs. This is a beach specific chair so it’s going to sit a lot more comfortable in the sand and offer great sun protection, thanks to those cross bar legs and the lower to the ground size and shape and the adjustable canopy.

The frame is aluminum so it’s durable but also lightweight, but there is also some steel in there. Pay special attention if you’re using this around salt water. Consider using a weatherproof coating to keep any corrosion at bay.

The canopy hooks over the top and is adjustable back and forth to make adjusting to the sun’s position pretty easy without having to get out of your seat at all. Because of the arch shape, it also offers side shade which is nice on those days when you’re at the beach either early or late and the sun is coming at you from a lower angle.

With an SPF rating of 50, the canopy does a good job of shielding you from those UVA and UVB rays. The chair folds right up and out of the way if the sun isn’t an issue as well.

The chair features four reclining positions so you can either sit up and watch the world and lean back and take a nap as you like. There are cup holders as well as pockets to hold some gear like sunscreen or a phone. There’s also a pillow so you can make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.

The total weight is just under ten pounds, so it has some weight to it but it’s not over the top. It also features backpack straps making carrying the extra weight a breeze. Overall, a great beach chair.

Pros

  • Adjustable shade
  • Recliner
  • Well made
  • Extremely comfortable

Cons

  • Some steel in construction
  • Pricier than other chairs
Best Overall Choice

2. Sport-Brella Beach Chair

If you’re looking to maximize your beach comfort, look no further than Sport-Brella. When it comes to making a killer beach chair, this company has it in the bag. This thing looks like it came from a sci-fi future where comfort has been perfected and everyone is relaxed.

It weights under 8 lbs so it’s not too bulky to be carrying around. It reclines to three positions so you can sit up, lean back or lay right back to enjoy a nap with your feet up on the detachable foot rest. From the reclining position you may not be able to adjust the umbrella, however. It may not be as low to the ground as the low profile beach chairs like the kind from Tommy Bahama, but it will definitely enhance your beach experience.

The personal canopy is fully adjustable and offers SPF 50+ protection to keep you away from harmful UVA and UVB rays. You can set it and just lay back in the shade and sleep. Moving it may require you to get up and make an adjustment, depending on how you want it moved and to wear.

Not only does it feature a built in cup holder for your drink but there’s an insulated pocket where you can hold up to four more drinks (or anything of that size) to keep it cool until you need it. There’s even a built in bottle opener so you don’t have to worry about getting up to crack a cold one.

The joints of the chair are plastic and there are some steel parts to the aluminum frame as well. Keep that in mind if you’re in and around salt water. You’ll need to make sure you clean it off after a trip to the beach and giving it a rustproof coating wouldn’t hurt, just in case.

The chair comes with a carry bag for transportation. Fold it up and slip the bag over your shoulder and it’s pretty easy to maneuver.

The chair can easily hold up to 250 lbs but pay attention to those legs and feet. The greater the weight the more likely you are to sink the legs into the sand, so keep that in mind.

With the footrest up and the back reclined all the way, this is probably the most comfortable chair I’ve tried. The added features are just a nice touch that put it over the top and make it my best overall choice.

Pros

  • Super comfortable design
  • Cooler bags
  • Foot rest

Cons

  • Steel may corrode
  • Need to get up to make umbrella adjustments
Best Budget Choice

3. WGOS Beach Chair with Umbrella

You’ll notice that canopy beach chairs are usually a bit of an investment compared with plain, every day beach chairs. But if you’re looking for a good chair that’s closer to the price of a typical beach chair, WGOS has what you need with this low rise foldable beach chair and umbrella combo.

With a mesh back, low center of gravity and a weight capacity of 250 lbs, this chair offers comfort for nearly anyone who wants to use it. The separate umbrella is easy to plant in the sane and the canopy tilts to allow for shade regardless of the sun’s position.

The frame is steel so keep that in mind if you’re near salt water. Make sure you wipe it down and dry it off after use, and consider using a rust proof coating to help extend the lifespan of the chair.

A word of warning with this one is that you absolutely need to make sure you anchor this umbrella well. Some beaches will actually fine you if your umbrella is not properly anchored and it blows away. Beach goers have actually been killed by free flying umbrellas and it’s a very serious issue. With that in mind, I very much recommend you get a sand anchor to attach to the base of the umbrella pole. Dig a hole in the dry sand until you hit that harder packed wet stuff. Screw the sand anchor down into the sand and then pile all the sand you moved around the base of the pole. That will help ensure your umbrella is rooted firmly in place and unlikely to fly away.

The chair itself had padded armrests and a cup holder. There’s also a storage bag you can use for sunscreen, your phone, or whatever you like. The umbrella offers SPF 50+ protection from the sun’s rays so you don’t need to worry about getting a bad burn.

In terms of portability, the chair weighs just over 8 lbs and comes with a carry bag and shoulder strap. It folds up pretty small and should be easy to pack, carry and store away during the off season. There’s a good chance this will soon become your favorite beach chair.

Pros

  • Well-priced
  • Separate beach umbrella won’t tip whole chair if wind picks up
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Umbrella needs to be anchored before use
  • Steel frame has corrosion risk

4. Alpha Camp Canopy Chair

If you want a serious chair that can handle a lot, the Alpha Camp Chair may be what you need. Yes, the name says camp chair and this is designed more for camping than the beach. However, its sturdy design really holds up and so you could do a lot worse on your next trip to the beach than to use this chair.

Weighing in at over 14 lbs, this is one of the bulkiest chairs you’ll find. That said, it’s oversized and big for a reason. It has lots of space so you don’t feel squished like you might with some smaller chairs. It can also support up to 350lbs while most beach chairs handle far less, so most people can comfortably sit on one of these chairs with no worries.

Because this is not a beach specific chair, you may have issues with the feet and legs in loose sand, so keep that in mind. Especially with more weight put on them. They may sink a little lower than you’d like so you might need to move it around a bit to find the perfect place to set it up. That said, if you dislike how low to the ground many beach chairs are, this may be a really great option.

The heavy duty steel frame is large and even doubled up in places for strength and durability. It’s also powder coated to protect the metal from the elements and prevent corrosion, which is a welcome feature. The chair has two sized drink holders to handle various types of beverages, and the large awning style canopy offers SPF 50+ protection from UV rays.

The company offers a 1-year guarantee against defect, which should make you feel better about your purchase as well.

Pros

  • Large size
  • Rust proof coating
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Not beach specific
  • No pockets
  • Doesn’t recline

5. DoalBun Double Picnic Chair with Umbrella

This here is a fun one that comes right out of left field. The Doalbun double portable picnic chair is unlike any other you’re likely to see and, of course, requires a friend to fully enjoy. With side pockets, cup holders, a built-in cooler, an adjustable umbrella, a carrying bag and the ability to hold over 400 lbs, or 250 lbs per chair, this chair is a great choice for a day at the beach or anywhere else.

Because it’s a seat for two, this is a bit bulkier than your average chair. It weighs just over 17 lbs in total. That said, once it’s all bagged up, a comfortable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry around from one place to another.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a beach-specific chair. The feet and legs are not designed for loose sand, so getting it secure and even on loose sand may take you a few minutes of adjustment.

The frame is steel, so as with any chair, make sure to wipe it down if you were near salt water and consider a rust proof coating of some kind.

Pros

  • Cooler included
  • Room for two
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • Not beach specific
  • Steel frame may need waterproofing

6. Swimways Kelsyus Canopy Chair

Another low cost option for a single chair is the Swimways Kelsyus. The canopy can be folded down out of the way when not needed or raised to provide SPF 50+ protection from the harmful rays of the sun.

The canopy itself actually converts to the carrying case for the chair, which is pretty clever and convenient. It comes with a shoulder strap to allow for easy transport and at just under 12 lbs it’s not the lightest chair out there but it’s not too overbearing either. Once set up, the chair itself can handle about 250 lbs of weight and features a cupholder for your drinks

Keep in mind, despite the name which brings to mind beachy imagery, this is not a beach specific chair. That means the feat on this chair may dig into the sand in an uneven way. It’s an easy enough fix to get a chair like this level, but it does take a minute or two to adjust is all.

If you want a bare bones chair that has a good sized canopy but not many other bells and whistles at a pretty reasonable price, give this one a try.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Canopy converts to carrying case
  • Easy set up and take down of canopy

Cons

  • Not many extras
  • Steel frame may not stand up to salt water

Things to Remember About Finding the Best Beach Chairs

Here are some things to keep in mind when you try to track down the best canopy beach chair out there.

Shade

This is obviously the biggest one, but a lot of people take it for granted. You see a canopy and figure that will be good enough, but is it? Make sure the canopy is actually big enough to provide coverage for you when you’re in the chair. Some cheaper canopy chairs are very small and you’ll just get a patch of shade at best. In the end it’s hardly worth the effort.

Likewise, make sure you can adjust that canopy. If it’s stationary and not big enough, the moment the sun moves you’ll be twisting your chair around to find the best shade again. It’s much easier if the shade itself is adjustable. You don’t want your back to the ocean midway through the day, do you?

Weight

One of the big things that separates a beach chair from the average lawn chair is weight. Lawn chairs and camping chairs are usually bigger and bulkier. Beach chairs work best when they are lighter because you’re going to be carrying them through the sand, probably with a bunch of other gear. You want a chair that’s easy to move around.

With the added canopy, you’re adding weight to your beach chair. Keep that in mind because it can alter your plans. Maybe not a ton, but it may be the difference between taking everything from the car to your spot in the sand in one trip or two. It may also mean you’re taking up extra space in the trunk or back seat and so now everything you want won’t fit.

Size

Beach chairs run the gamut for sizes and it can be daunting if you’re not paying close attention. You buy a chair and realize when it arrives that it’s barely a foot off the ground. Make sure you check the overall height with and without the canopy. Usually a beach chair is lower than normal chair so it can be stable on uneven sand. That said, some get so low you are basically sitting on the ground and not everyone likes that style.
Check those weight limits as well if that’s a concern for you. Check to see if it can fold completely flat or goes into a bag for storage.

Material

Check out what the entire chair is made out of to ensure it’s going to serve you well for many seasons to come. You want a canopy that’s made from something durable and able to handle long term exposure to UV rays and potentially wind and rain as well. The chair frame, as with any beach chair, needs to be sturdy and resistant to the elements. If it’s aluminum you want to make sure all the joints and connectors are rust resistant. If it’s wood, make sure it’s treated to handle the elements as well.

It’s always a good idea to check to see how a chair is meant to be cleaned when you buy one as well. In case you get stains that need to be spot cleaned or if you develop some mold or mildew on the fabric, it’s good to know what is and isn’t a good idea when it comes to cleaning.

Added Features for the Perfect Beach Chair

Any good beach chair will come with a handful of extras. You can go bare bones if that’s what you want too, of course. But if you want more, make sure you’re looking for things like a beverage holder, head pillow, or the ability to recline. Other extras can include simple items like carrying straps and pockets to hold your phone and sunscreen or other gear that you may have with you.

Attaching the Canopy

The canopy on many chairs is attached separately so you’ll need to know exactly how to attach it to make the most of it. Sadly that is sometimes easier said than done. How many times have you bought something and looked at the instructions and they barely explained what you needed to do? It’s weirdly par for the course these days.

Luckily, many beach chairs with canopies are covered online these days. Check out the specific model you’re buying on YouTube and you may be surprised to see someone has already uploaded a video explaining how to assemble it.

Canopy Style

As you can see, canopies can vary greatly. Some are like large beach umbrellas while others are more a true canopy like you’d find over a window. Depending on how they are attached, some are adjustable and can be moved as you like, while others are fixed in place meaning you’ll need to move with the sun. Personal style and budget will have the biggest influence over which works best for you here.

The Bottom Line

A canopy chair is a great way to enjoy the beach without putting yourself at risk of a bad sunburn. With such a wide variety of styles, you’re bound to find one that meets your budget while also offering the features you need. As always, stay safe and have fun.

About Ian

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

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