How much for an . . . Umbrella?
Which umbrella reigns supreme – the Blunt, Senz XXL, Totes or Penneys? Let’s compare
This is described as the company’s classic umbrella – and with good reason. It is exactly the kind of umbrella we like to imagine passing on to our children when we grow old and infirm and no longer need to brave the elements – although we know it is more the kind of umbrella we will soon leave in a taxi and then be sad. While we are no experts in umbrella engineering, we are pretty sure this is very well made and it certainly looks pleasingly sturdy. So far so good, right? But then there is the price. It will last for years and it will definitely keep you dry, but do you really want to spend this much on an umbrella? We certainly don’t.
Verdict: Excellent but very expensive
Star rating: ★★★
The Senz XXL
This asymmetrical, aerodynamic thing looks less like an umbrella and more like a stealth bomber. Its peculiar shape apparently allows it to adapt to changing wind positions, and the promise the makers make is that it will never let you down. It is, by their account, stormproof “and will never go inside-out even at winds of up to 100km/h”. That means it is something you could easily hoist in a storm as lesser umbrellas go with the wind. It is wonderfully lightweight and delivers on the promise that it almost “floats on the wind”. Unsurprisingly given its name, the XXL is the largest umbrella in the Senz stable and will offer sufficient cover from the rain for two people – or even three. The big umbrella is a bit too rich for us but we did see smaller versions selling for less than €30.
Verdict: High tech, high quality
Star rating: ★★★★
Totes is – as far as we can tell – among the most popular umbrella makers in the world. It certainly is the only umbrella brand we could have identified up until this moment – and you don’t get to be in that position of pre-eminence by making a truly terrible product. Sadly (for it) it falls between two stools. It is neither very good nor very cheap, and we’d have concerns about it if it had to deal with anything more threatening than a gust of wind. It is lightweight and folds up small, but we are not entirely convinced this would see us through a harsh month in an Irish winter.
Verdict: Neither the cheapest or the best
Star rating: ★★★
Penneys Black Umbrella
By far the cheapest of the umbrellas we reviewed and while it is also the worst, in pure quality terms, it sort of works. It is a no-nonsense product that should see you through a few showers. You won’t be unduly concerned when it eventually goes to the great umbrella graveyard in the gutter and it is unlikely to break your heart if you leave it in a cab. But being disposable, it will find its way to landfill faster than its rivals, and that is not something we should celebrate.
Verdict: Cheap but . . .