The Best Sun Hats to Block UV Rays and Keep You On-Trend
Credit: Nordstrom/ Revolve/ InStyle

The Best Sun Hats to Block UV Rays and Keep You On-Trend

The celebrity-loved Panama hat gets top honors.
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The warm weather months are upon us! But for all the mood-boosting benefits the sunshine provides, it also brings squinting, sweat, and sunburns. This is where sun hats make their grand entrance.

To make it easier to find a sun hat that suits your style, we spent hours reading reviews and rounded up the best options for all head shapes and sizes. The Nordstrom Straw Panama Hat is a crowdpleaser thanks to its classic, compact design and adjustable inner drawstring. Meghan Markle and Jennifer Aniston are often photographed in Panama hats as the design is forever in style and suits casual looks and dressier occasions alike, like when Markle famously wore one to Wimbledon. 

Here are the best sun hats for staying cool and keeping your face protected against UV rays.

Our Top Picks

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Nordstrom Paper Straw Panama Hat
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Best Overall: Nordstrom Paper Straw Panama Hat

View at Nordstrom ($39)

What We Love: It's versatile in both style and functionality. 

What We Don't Love: It doesn't pack super well. 

A Fedora-style hat is classic and a must-have accessory of summer. Whether you're exploring a new city or relaxing on the beach, this hat has you (literally) covered. It's available in two colors, including traditional tan and light pink options. Both colors are accented with a black band that's knotted at the side. 

Even though the exact UPF isn't listed, it features a very tight weave of paper straw, which means that it's also flexible and will maintain its shape. It has a 3-inch brim, which is great for ample sun protection while still being small enough to suit any activity. It has a fedora shape for a hint of polish, as well as an adjustable inner drawstring so that you can tailor it to your head size. 

UPF Level: N/A | Material: Paper Straw | Brim Length: 3 inches

Lanzom Womens Wide Brim Straw Hat
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Best Value: Lanzom Womens Wide Brim Straw Hat

View at Amazon ($20)

What We Love: It has a wide brim and holds its shape when packed. 

What We Don't Love: It's made for a smaller head.

This classic floppy sun hat comes complete with the most adorable black ribbon that gives it a timeless appeal. It's made of straw, however the lightweight material can be rolled for easy packing. Then, it springs back to shape when it's unfolded. The hat has an adjustable strap in the inner band so that you can make sure it's tight enough to take on that oceanside breeze. 

At 7.25 inches, it also has a super wide brim so that even your shoulders are shaded from the sun. The neat stitching gives it a UPF of 50, so you're very protected from UV rays. 

UPF Level: 50 | Material: Paper Straw | Brim Length: 7.25 inches

Eugenia Kim Bunny Hat
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Best Splurge: Eugenia Kim Bunny Hat

View at Revolve ($465)

What We Love: It has a timeless silhouette. 

What We Don't Love: The high price point. 

This is a great option if you're looking for a truly splurge-worthy hat because its silhouette will never go out of style. In fact, it's probably very close to the exact image that came to mind when you read the words sun hat. This one is made of tightly-woven paper straw to protect you from the sun. It also features a small band that holds crystals and beaded embellishments that will glisten in the rays. 

The light cream hue makes it an ideal choice if you're looking for an option that will pair well with just about any outfit. It would look just as amazing with wide-legged linen pants for a breezy summer dinner date as it would with a bikini and a pina colada. 

UPF Level: N/A | Material: Paper Straw | Brim Length: 5.5 inches

Vineyard Vines Whip Stitch Brim Straw Sunhat
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Best Straw: Vineyard Vines Whip Stitch Brim Straw Sunhat

View at Vineyard Vines ($118)

What We Love: It has a large brim and stand-out stitching.

What We Don't Love: It would be difficult to pack. 

This classic straw sunhat is absolutely gorgeous. It comes in two colorways, both of which are incredibly fashion-friendly: a blue with white stitching, and a classic straw with bright pink stitching. 

The blue option would look beach perfect with a nautical striped shirt, linen pants and boat shoes, while the straw one is fit for a picnic. The wide brim and tight straw weave will protect you from the sun so that you can focus on how great your outfit looks, instead of a sunburn. 

UPF Level: N/A | Material: Straw | Brim Length: 5.25 inches

Nikki Beach Versilia Hat
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Best Cooling: Nikki Beach Versilia Hat

View at Revolve ($82)

What We Love: It's great for keeping you cool or wearing your hair up.  

What We Don't Love: The opening at the top could be a deterrent for some. 

This hat offers up a UPF of 50, and the top is completely open so that you don't have to worry about sweating. The brim perfectly tows the line between long and short, and settles at a length of 4.5-inches, which makes it much more functional and wind-resistant. 

We loved this option because it would be perfect if you wanted to throw your hair into a top knot at the beach or even back into a ponytail if you were gardening. The best part is that it also has an adjustable drawstring that's hidden on the inside so that it's not an eyesore. The black stitching around the brim makes it a great option for pairing with an array of outfits – even if you decide to venture away from the pool. 

Keep in mind that the open top isn't protecting your scalp, so comb your hair back to cover it or spritz on a scalp sunscreen. 

UPF Level: 50 | Material: Raffia | Brim Length: 4.5 inches

Florabella Tracey Hat
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Best Large Brim: Florabella Tracey Hat

View at Revolve ($119)

What We Love: More brim means more sun protection. 

What We Don't Love: The oversized design might not flatter all face shapes. 

This wide-brimmed hat features a statement-making metal band with beads around the center. The brim is 7-inches in length, which provides lots of coverage and lends itself to the lovable floppy look. It's definitely large enough to provide the back of your neck and tops of your shoulders from the sun as well. 

It's made of stretchy raffia, which means that it's great at maintaining its shape and it's super lightweight. It has an inner-drawstring band so that you can adjust it for a customizable fit. 

UPF Level: N/A | Material: Raffia | Brim Length: 7 inches

Columbia Bora Booney
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Best for Hiking: Columbia Bora Booney

View at Amazon ($24)

What We Love: It's lightweight, moisture-wicking and breathable.  

What We Don't Love: It prioritizes function over form.

With fourteen different color options available, you're bound to find a shade to match your hiking 'fit. It's completely waterproof for unexpected rain showers, plus features an adjustable drawcord and a toggle at the back so that you can truly personalize its fit. 

It has a mesh vent-panel to keep you cool while you're exploring, and a sweat-wicking headband. And don't worry, the 3-inch brim will definitely keep the sun off of your face. It's made of omni-shade textured nylon, which is a fabric that was created solely for the purpose of blocking harmful UVA and UVB rays. You'll be the most protected hiker on the trail.  

UPF Level: 50 | Material: Omni-shade textured nylon | Brim Length: 3 inches

Boderier Casual Bucket Hat
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Best Bucket Hat: Boderier Casual Bucket Hat

View at Amazon ($12)

What We Love: It's super easy to pack. 

What We Don't Love: The shorter brim provides less sun coverage. 

Summer is definitely the time to embrace the bucket hat trend that has made a full-throttle comeback all the way from the 90s. This option features a slightly frayed brim for that care-free and cute vibe. It's also available in nine bright colors – so go ahead and buy the full rainbow as your signature look. 

Prevent your head from overheating with this super breathable cotton and linen blend. That said, bucket hats are the best options if you're looking for something to wear that will accent your outfit since they are cute and incredibly on-trend. Pair it with jean shorts, a cropped tank and a smile.  

UPF Level: N/A | Materials: Cotton, linen | Brim Length: 3.25 inches

Madewell Packable Straw Fedora Hat
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Best for Travel: Madewell Packable Straw Fedora Hat

View at Nordstrom ($40)

What We Love: It rolls up to pack, but still maintains its shape.

What We Don't Love: It has a shorter brim, which isn't ideal for those seeking lots of coverage. 

It can be difficult to make even the most expandable suitcase accommodate just about any hat. The bigger problem is that once you get the hat slammed into your bag, there is a high likelihood that you just crushed it and ruined its entire shape. This little guy is here to change that. 

While this hat is partially made of straw (and definitely looks like straw), the material is combined with polyester so that it is much more durable and stretchy. Not only is this great because it accommodates different sizes, it also helps the hat maintain its shape. It can be completely rolled up, which makes it incredibly easy to travel with. The black stretchy grosgrain band also acts as a tie that keeps it rolled. While it isn't adjustable, it does have small/medium and medium/large size options. 

UPF Level: N/A | Materials: Straw, polyester | Brim Length: 2.25 inches

Joywant Wide Brim Visor Hat
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Best Sun Hat-Visor Combo: Joywant Wide Brim Visor Hat

View at Amazon ($16)

What We Love: It has a sleek design and velcro fasteners.

What We Don't Love: The oversized brim and open top might not be to everyone's style taste. 

Not only is this hat available in four neutral color ways, it easily rolls up, which makes it a true cinch to pack. Thanks to the fact that it's made with polyester, it maintains its shape really well. This visor also features a sweatband, so you never find yourself with droplets dripping down your face, and it even adjusts to your size with velcro fasteners at the back.

This hat is also a great option for those that want to wear their hair up or for those who can't stand the heat that comes with a full hat. The tan and black option would pair perfectly with a swimsuit and brightly-colored sandals.

UPF Level: 50 | Materials: Paper straw, polyester | Brim Length: 4.13 inches

What to Keep in Mind

Fabric and Material

The first component to look for when shopping for a sun hat is what fabrics and materials are used. Effective sun protective clothing has a weave tight enough to block the sun's rays from reaching your skin. In addition to a tight weave, opt for polyester, nylon or silk, for even better protection. Ventilation in a hat might be important for cooling air flow, but keep in mind that it has a more open weave that exposes your scalp to a potential sunburn. 

UPF Level

While sunscreen is your first line of defense against sun damage, a full day in the sun requires even more protection. If you're wanting more than a stylish shady cover, you'll need to look for a UPF rating between 30 and 50 for max sun protection.

Brim Length

Sun hat brims generally span 2 to 5 inches in length. A wide brim hat is 5+ inches. A wider brim hat will not only cover your face, but also help to protect your ears, neck, and potentially even the tops of your shoulders. Because the wider brim will block more of the sun's rays throughout the day, it can also hinder your peripheral vision. If you're doing an active adventure, like a hike or wandering a city on vacation, a smaller brim may be a better option. Versus a full day at the beach may require a larger brimmed hat to keep you cool and sunburn free. 

Your Questions, Answered

Do sun hats block UV rays?

Not only are sun hats stylish, they are an extremely effective way to protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays. While sunscreen is always an absolute must, there's no better way to ensure that your skin stays protected than with a physical barrier. The American Academy of Dermatology even considers protective clothing a necessary component to keeping your skin safe in the sun. 

What is a UPF rating? 

Much like SPF, these ratings indicate how much sun you'll be exposed to – only UPF is used in reference to fabrics. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that the number is in reference to the amount of UVB and UVA radiation capable of reaching the skin through different fabrics. For example, if a fabric has a UPF of 50, this means that the fabric blocks 98-percent of UV rays, and allows 2-percent of the rays to reach the skin. 

What UPF rating is good?

The Skin Cancer Foundation actually grants a seal of approval to fabrics that have a UPF rating of 30 or more. They specify that "a UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection," while ratings of 50 or more are considered excellent.