Why wait for May flowers? These bold blossoms bloom in any weather. This Teflon-coated automatic-open-and-close umbrella expands to a full 44-inch canopy and collapses to a compact 12 inches with barely an effort. To buy: $45, txtlart.com.
2 of 5Alison Gootee
Best Overall Protection
You can see clearly now with this transparent vinyl manual umbrella. Thanks to a bubble canopy that has a 19-inch depth, it will shield your face and hair from mist or side-swept rain and let you maneuver through dark or crowded streets without bumping into strangers. To buy: $28, umbrellastand.com.
3 of 5Alison Gootee
Best Windproof Stick
This heavy-duty automatic-open model blew away the competition. Favored by pro golf players for its dependability during rainstorms, it features a double canopy with air vents and a flexible frame to prevent it from flipping inside out. It's guaranteed to hold up in winds of more than 55 miles an hour. To buy: $35, executiveessentials.com.
4 of 5Alison Gootee
Best for Two
You've heard of bicycles, shower stalls, and sleeping bags built for two, but a double umbrella? The angled 72-by-36-inch canopy ensures that both users stay dry, which will be a new experience for the person not holding the handle. To buy: $49, umbrellastand.com.
5 of 5Alison Gootee
If your umbrellas disappear into the same black hole where socks and mittens go, there's no sense in splurging. This automatic-open umbrella is surprisingly sturdy for one at such a low price. To buy: $4, Wal-Mart, walmart.com for store locations.