We yearn for sunny days, but when the sun finally comes out, we go to great lengths to protect ourselves from its rays. This is especially true in cars, but a pair of sunglasses and a sun visor can only go so far. Which is where the car sun shade comes in, especially if you’re travelling with young children in the back. Not only can they be used on the side windows to keep your children cool, but windscreen shades can be sued to keep your car cool when your car is parked up.
But which car sun shade should you buy?
There are hundreds of different car sun shades available. Although it’s a relatively inexpensive product, it’s easy to get the wrong one. In fact, we’d take price out of the equation and instead consider the level of UV protection, how much of the window it covers and the ease of use. We’ve sifted through hundreds of car sun shades so you don’t have to be, ahem, blinded by the range of options.
So why do you need a car sun shade?
You need a car sun shade to block out the sun, but there’s more to it than that. Many people believe that privacy glass protects occupants from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but it doesn’t. The clue is in the name: privacy glass is designed for privacy. It is possible to source tinted windows that block UV rays, but this is a more expensive solution than fitting a sun shade.
The advantage of a sun shade is that they are guaranteed to block UV rays, but they can be removed when the sun stops shining. They are also good at cooling the cabin, which means your car’s air conditioning won’t have to work so hard, so you’ll use less fuel. They add some darkness to the rear seats, which will be music to your ears if you want a baby to drift off to sleep.
The best car sun shades
1. DIZA100 Car Side Window Sun Shade
The Diza100 offers a level of versatility you don't get from many other sun shades. It's actually a net that stretches over the entire upper section of the door, so it can be used with the window up or down. This means you can allow fresh air to enter the car without fear of UV rays or insects joining in. There are no suction cups to leave a residue on the glass, plus the net can be removed for washing.
2. Goosky Car Window Sun Shades
There's little to choose between the Diza100 and the Goosky car sun shade, but you do get a storage bag with the Goosky. It also has a comedy name, which has to be worth something. Again, it can be used with the rear window up or down, and the manufacturer claims it will fit 98 percent of cars.
3. JELLYBABABABY Car Window Shades
What is it about car sun shades and comedy names? The Jellybabababy sun shade has been updated with a new double-layer material, which its manufacturer claims makes it unique in the market. The large size makes it ideal for SUVs, while the larger holes improve rearward visibility when reversing or pulling out of junctions.
4. ADORIC Car Window Shades
While most sun shades come in a pack of two, you get three for the price of one with this solution. The Adoric blocks 98 percent of sunlight and harmful UV rays thanks to its 80gsm woven mesh material. Because you have an extra shade, it could be used to provide some protection on a sunroof, or one of the additional side windows in an estate car.
5. Car Window Shade (2 Pack)
The Fast Mile baby car window 'sock-shade' is designed for children, but it's worth noting that sun shades are also useful when travelling with dogs (NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car, whatever the weather). The airflow and protection from the sun's rays will be good for your dog, as will the reduction in cabin heat. The Fast Mile sun shade comes with a storage bag that's small enough for most gloveboxes.
What about a windscreen sun shade?
If you don't have the luxury of parking your car in a garage then you'll quickly realise that your car will be exceptionally hot when you get into it after leaving it for a while. A windscreen sunshade will keep the car cooler as it reflects the sun away from your interior. It will also protect your dashboard from cracking or discolouring from the sun.
The best windscreen sun shades
FREESOO Car Windscreen Sun Shade
All-weather windscreen protection
Made of aluminium foil, spunlaced cotton and black lining, this clever windscreen cover will keep the temperature in your car low. Place it over the top of the windscreen (it's secured in place under the doors) and it will stay in place offering sun protection. It is also good for keeping your windscreen clear of snow in winter. It folds away into a bag when not in use too.
Car Windshield Sun Shade Umbrella
If you need your windscreen cooling while you're sat in it then this umbrella will do the trick. Designed to cover a windscreen and cool a car down someone will need to hold it in place but it does work well. It can be used as a regular umbrella too.
Amazon Basics Car Windshield Sun Shade
A good budget option
Simple to use and easy to store, this windscreen sun shade keeps your car cool with its reflective and durable fabric. It measures 167.6 by 92.7 cm meaning it should fit the windscreen of most cars and it folds away for easy storage.
Amazon Basics UV Reflecting Foldable Front Windshield Sun Shade
The best budget choice
While this option won't cover your entire windscreen it will help stop the sun from heating your car up. It features an aluminium coating that will reflect heat away and provide protection from harmful UV rays. And when not in use you can fold it up for easy storage.
How to buy the right car sun shade, and how to use it
There are two basic types of car shade. One uses a stretchable material to cover the entire top half of the door, while the other uses suction pads to stick to the window. We’d favour the net design for its uniform protection and the ability to use it with the window up or down. Although it’s a small point, we also prefer a solution that doesn’t leave marks on the glass when not in use.
To use, you simply slide the door shade over the top of the door frame. After this you pull the shade over the window, before following the instructions for fixing it to the car.
Fixing a sun shade with suction pads is even easier. You simply remove the shade from its packaging, before using the suction pads to fix it to the screen. We’d recommend removing any grease from the glass before use as this will prevent the screen from falling off.
What to consider when choosing a car sun shade
Don’t favour a fancy design over function. It’s essential that a sun shade stops harmful UV rays from entering a cabin, so make sure that the product is fit for purpose. Protection first, a colourful design second.
Also make sure that the sun shade can be used on your car. Although the stretchable shades fit most cars, they’re not suitable for vehicles with sliding rear doors. You could also find that they’re not stretchable enough for large saloons and people carriers. If this is the case, you’ll need a car shade with suction pads.