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The best sun hats are a not-so-secret style staple that do so much more than accent your favorite looks. They provide additional sun protection, keeping harmful UV rays from your skin, eyes, and hair. The best part is that there are numerous styles offered so you don’t have to compromise on what you love to wear when you’re doing what you love—whether that is lounging on the beach or poolside, gardening, hiking, or traveling. And if you’re worried about how to transport wide-brim sun hats, know that hat boxes, while beautiful, are a thing of the past thanks to packable sun hats that are meant to be folded up and pop right back into wide-brim hats when unpacked. Here are our picks for the best sun hats.

How we picked the best sun hats

As someone who has dealt with skin cancer, I hold sun protection near and dear to my heart. For this test, we focused on offering up picks that are both functional and relatively fashionable. We emphasized variables like price, durability, materials, design, breathability, and fit options. These recommendations are based on first-hand experience, user feedback, editorial reviews, and spec comparisons. I have been using our top pick for over a year and have been very pleased with it.

The best sun hats: Reviews & Recommendations

Before we get to the picks, we want to say that we’re proud of you for taking precautions against sun damage. We’re sure you’re already using the best sunscreen, and a sun hat will only add to that already essential choice. You’ll really appreciate the effort you’re making right now when you get older. Keep it up.

Best overall: North Face Horizon Breeze Brimmer hat

Stan Horaczek



  • Sizes: S/M and L/XL
  • Material: Recycled Nylon exterior, recycled polyester mesh interior
  • UPF rating: 40+


  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Adjustable
  • Sturdy chin strap
  • Wide brim for ample coverage
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Durable even after several washes


  • Expensive

I have been wearing this hat very regularly for months now, and it has taken a ton of abuse. It has sunscreen all over it, dirt ground into it, and lots of sweat. But this well-made hat didn’t flinch through any of it. The recycled nylon exterior can take an absolute beating despite its light nature. Built-in vents let lots of air through to keep your head cool on hot days. The UPF 40+ protection has proven extremely effective, and the wide brim provides ample coverage for my face and neck.

There are two adjustable straps on this hat, both of which rely on flexible cords. The chin strap holds the hat firmly on your head when worn in the front. When you don’t need it, simply move it around to the back and out of the way. The strap around the base of the brim allows for a more precise fit. I wear a 7 3/4 size hat, and the L/XL fits snugly but comfortably. If your head is bigger than that, you may want to look for another option.

The sweat band around the hat’s interior does an excellent job preventing perspiration from reaching the eyes, and it’s easy to wash once it gets too scummy. Even if this hat doesn’t match your exact style, it’s a great way to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.

Best budget: GearTOP Fishing and Safari Cap with Sun Protection




  • Sizes: One-size adjustable
  • Material: Polyester
  • UPF rating: 50+


  • Affordable
  • Wide brim
  • Pocket on top for hot or cool packs
  • Adjustable fit and chin strap
  • Ample ventilation


  • Polyester not as durable as some nylon options
  • Only fits up to roughly hat size 7 1/2

Don’t let the name of this fishing hat/safari cap fool you—it’s great for more than just anglers and adventurers. But if it’s good enough to protect you for the prolonged time you spend in the open on a fishing trip or a safari, it’ll be just fine for long walks, gardening, or camping. This 100-percent polyester hat, with UPF 50+ protection, has breathable mesh panels that allow for moisture and heat to escape your hat, keeping your head cool. It’s lightweight and quick-drying, so you can even wear it while you take a dip to cool off. The adjustable straps let you tweak the fit, but it may be too small for some with larger heads.

Best for the beach: Furtalk Women’s Wide Brim Sun Hat with Wind Lanyard




  • Sizes: M/L and L/XL
  • Material: Paper, polyester, and cotton
  • UPF rating: 50+


  • Attractive looking
  • Wide brim comes down far enough to protect neck and some shoulders
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Comfortable
  • Folds easily for transport


  • Not super durable so best for lounging

The Furtalk sun hat, made of eco-friendly recycled paper, has a UPF 50+—protecting you from the sun’s most harmful rays. To avoid being the person chasing their hat down the beach, this wide-brim hat has a wind lanyard chin strap and an inner velcro band, both of which you can adjust to fit your head and face comfortably. Additionally, the velcro band is sweat resistant and will wick away moisture, keeping you cool and comfortable. The best part is that you can bring your new packable sun hat wherever you go without worrying about folding it up to fit into your bag.

Best sun visor: Simplicity Hats for Women Convertible Beach Visor Hat




  • Sizes: One-size
  • Material: Cotton and polyester
  • UPF rating: 50+


  • Comfortable fit
  • solid coverage
  • Long brim provides face shade
  • Lots of color options
  • Breathable for solid ventilation


  • One-size may not work for everyone
  • Some of the colors are very ugly

If you can’t choose between a sun hat and a visor, this sun visor hat is for you. A zipper removes the top part of the hat, allowing you to rock a visor or wide-brim sun hat. Made of a cotton/polyester blend, this lightweight and breathable hat is quick-drying, so you can even take it for a dip. An adorable bow covers the adjustable velcro back closure. And yes, answering that $1 million question, it is UPF 50+ and can be rolled up (later to pop back to its perfect shape) for traveling.

Best for babies: SimpliKids UPF 50+ UV Ray Sun Protection Baby Hat




  • Sizes: 0-12 months, 12-24 months, 2-4T
  • Material: Polyester
  • UPF rating: 50+


  • Three sizes to accommodate most kids
  • Lots of colors, including many neutral options
  • Sturdy laces to tie around baby’s chin with no plastic clasp for them to choke on
  • Neck and face coverage


  • Getting the chin strap tied may be a battle, but that’s more of a “con” for babies than this specific hat

This best-selling UPF 50+ protective baby/toddler sun hat with neck flap and drawstring uses a moisture-wicking material that is breathable and quick-drying, keeping your kid cool in the summer. It is offered in sizes from newborn to 4T, and with the wide selection, there is sure to be a color or pattern that will be the perfect fit for your child (notable prints include a shark print and a pineapple print). The hat has an adjustable chin strap to secure the hat so it doesn’t fly away or get pulled off. It’s the perfect hat to take on the go, as it can be easily folded up and packed for you and your little one’s next big adventure.

Best color options: Jane Shine Outdoor Sun Hat Bucket Hats

Jane Shine



  • Sizes: One-size
  • Material: Polyester
  • UPF rating: 50+


  • Tons of colors to choose from
  • Brim extends more than three inches for solid coverage
  • Chin strap with simple clasp
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to pack
  • Lots of ventilation


  • Only one size available
  • Polyester isn’t as durable as other Nylon options

This best-selling UPF 50+ bucket hat is made of 100-percent polyester, with a breathable nylon mesh top panel and an inner cotton sweatband to keep you cool during camping, hiking, or biking. You can adjust the hat to fit your head comfortably with the internal drawstring and rope chin strap. Amazon sells nearly 30 different colorways of this hat, so you can get one to match any outfit you want.

What to look for when shopping for the best sun hat

While our individual recommendations are a great place to start, it’s worth knowing some of the essential variables and jargon you’ll find when you’re out there shopping. Here are some things to consider before making a purchase.

UPF rating

Look for sun hats that have a UPF level over 30. UPF, which stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is how much a fabric prevents UV radiation from hitting your skin. Most sun hats for protection have a UPF of 50, blocking 98 percent of UV rays, reducing your exposure exponentially. If you want to take sun protection a step further, and purchase some sun-protective clothing—consider darker or brighter colors over lighter ones because they will absorb the UV rays rather than allow them to penetrate your skin.


Chin straps may not look very cool, but they can really come in handy if you’re planning to wear your sunhat at the beach or in some other location where wind is an issue. Some hats also offer straps around the base of the brim in order to make a secure fit. Most sun hats only offer limited sizes, so adjustability is a nice addition if you want things to stay comfortable and secure.


Q: Does a sun hat block UV rays?

Most sun hats will provide some additional protection from harmful UV rays, especially if they are a wide-brim hat. The larger the brim, the more sun protection you will have. To get the most protection from UV rays, you should opt for a sun hat with UPF 50+ and always apply sunscreen. When sun hats or sun protective clothing have a UPF 50+, you know that 98 percent of the sun’s rays are being absorbed into the fabric, leaving only 2 percent to penetrate your skin.

Q: What should I look for in a sun hat?

To narrow your search, you should first know where you’ll wear your sun hat most. If you plan on doing more movement-based activities—think hiking, gardening, fishing, camping, etc.—you’ll want to look for a sun hat with lightweight and breathable fabrics and some mesh paneling. It might be helpful that your sun hat is quick-drying and has an inner sweat-resistant strip and a chin strap to prevent it from flying off. If the beach or poolside is where you want to be, again, you’ll want a sun hat designed with breathable fabrics. A wide-brim sun hat would also be a good selection to protect you from those UV rays. If you have a lot of travel plans coming up, consider a packable hat that folds and unfolds easily while keeping its original shape.

Q: Do sun hats work?

In short, sun hats work … if you want them to protect your skin, hair, and eyes. If you want them to teach you Spanish, then no, they probably won’t work. But to ensure they are doing their job, help them out by applying sunscreen throughout the day and throwing on some shades as well. Make sure to choose the best sun hat that fits your head and has the best characteristics to protect you during those long walks on the beach, bringing that vegetable garden back to life, or going on a long fishing trip. 

The final word on shopping for the best sun hats

The best sun hat will keep your head cool and provide additional protection from harmful UV rays. And while you’re shopping, remember which activities you’ll need a sun hat for during the warmer months, and select the hat with characteristics that best caters to that activity.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.