Top positive review
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My Umbrella Of Choice For The Last 9 Years
on March 14, 2016
I bought a black Gustbuster umbrella in 2007. I still have that same umbrella now in 2016. That's nine years. Imagine going nine years without losing an umbrella!
— QUALITY —
While this umbrella has endured these past nine years, there are a couple of things from my experience that you should know about it. One, when you pop the umbrella opens there is a mechanism near the top that keeps it open. This mechanism works most of the time, but sometimes it doesn't lock into place and your umbrella top goes bouncing up and down until it randomly locks into place. I hope they have fixed this in the nine years since I bought it. Second, the button that unlocks the umbrella, on the shaft right above the curved handle, wore down over time and broke off, affecting the structural stability of the fiberglass shaft slightly [see photos]. This means that the umbrella will open automatically when you un-Velcro it, and when you close it it takes a little effort to hold it in place while you put the two Velcro straps back on. Minus a star for these two issues, but these two things don't affect the functionality of the umbrella, much.
Besides those two mentioned points, the umbrella works fine, and its condition still looks like the day I got it. The fabric looks the same, no seams have come undone, it looks great. The wooden handle looks weathered but is still as strong as ever. The umbrella tip end has worn down over the years from being dragged on the ground, but that has no effect on its use.
— WIND RESISTANCE —
Gustbuster's wind resistance was the primary reason I bought one. I saw their video testing this umbrella to 55+ mph winds and that impressed me. Their tear drop shaped vents and two layered top construction keeps wind resistance to a minimum. Wind blows and flows right through the holes. During a few extra windy days this umbrella did invert, and didn't break apart. It reverted back to its normal shape like nothing ever happened. Like a boss.
— FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS —
As an Industrial Designer, here's my two cents as to how to improve future models: One, fix the mechanism that keeps the top in place so it works at all times. Two, use better materials for the button and shaft that opens the umbrella up, or maybe use different mechanics. Three, maybe use a waterproof material for the fabric (website says it's waterproof, but maybe they added that later since the time I bought it); that way it will add another selling point: being wind and water resistant.
— HOW NOT TO LOSE AN UMBRELLA —
Honestly, I don't know how I managed not to lose this umbrella this entire time. However, one of my tricks whenever I take this umbrella out was constantly thinking to myself, "this is an expensive umbrella, don't lose it!", or, "you're carrying $40 around, don't lose it!" And thus, that's how I prevent myself from forgetting about it. There were a few close calls of me nearly forgetting it somewhere, but this is still with me.
— WARRANTY —
Gustbuster offers a "Limited Lifetime Warranty". If something happens to your umbrella, you mail it back with a $10 check, and they will send you a new or repaired one. Considering it probably cost $10 to ship it back, the total will likely cost you $20. A new umbrella cost $40. Whether that's worth it is up to you.
This is a quality umbrella—with the exception of the top portion that locks it in place when you close it, and the button on the shaft to open it. I will continue to use it, and should it eventually fall apart and be irreparable, then I'll probably end up buying another Gustbuster to replace it. Recommended.
*** NOTE ***
I noticed that this umbrella now has a lot of color options. Check Gustbuster's website for the official colors available for each model. I have a feeling some of the colors are third party manufacturers and sellers trying to cash in on Gustbuster's name. Buy it from Amazon as the seller, or from a reputable source.