Hate getting into a hot car? These are the 12 best car sun shades to use this summer | CNN Underscored (2024)

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By Jolie Kerr, CNN Underscored

Updated 2:02 PM EDT, Thu June 20, 2024

What's in this guide

  • What to look for in a car sun shade
  • Best car sun shades for windshields
  • Best car sun shades for side windows
  • Best car sun shades for rear windows
  • Best car sun shade for babies
  • Best reflective car sun shades
  • Best mesh car sun shades
Hate getting into a hot car? These are the 12 best car sun shades to use this summer | CNN Underscored (1)

Car sun shades quick picks

Getting into a hot car in the summer can feel like stepping into a sauna. Fortunately, car sun shades can help with that: Not only do they help keep the interior temperature comfortable, but they also offer UV protection to prevent damage to plastic and leather components. Sun shades can be used on windshields, side windows and rear windows to provide cooling shade.

With the help of two experts, we’ve rounded up the best car sun shades for every need, along with tips for what to look for when shopping for them.

What to look for in a car sun shade


“The most important thing to look for in a sun shade is durable, high-quality material,” says Nigel Tunnacliffe, co-founder and CEO of Coastline Academy driving school. “Not only do high-quality sun shades last longer, they are also better at protecting the interior components of your car from warping, cracking and other forms of heat damage, saving you money on repairs in the long run.”

Reflective shades are typically made of aluminum, while mesh shades are often made of polyester. Tunnacliffe recommends avoiding fabric sun shades, which he says, “are more customizable and visually appealing than reflective sun shades, but do a poorer job of insulating the car.” However, fabric sun shades tend to be less expensive and, Tunnacliffe says, are “preferable to not having a sun shade at all.”


When selecting a car sun shade, Tunnacliffe emphasizes the importance of getting the right fit. “These shades often come in generic sizes and shapes,” he says, “for this reason, it is highly recommended to carefully measure your car’s windshield and windows before making a purchase, as even small gaps in coverage will reduce the screen’s overall effectiveness at insulating heat.” Some brands even make custom sun shades, where you can get one designed to fit the exact make and model of your car.

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Best car sun shades for windshields

Tunnacliffe says this reflective polyester option is the best windshield car shade. He calls it "a highly versatile, convenient and effective option," and praises its ease of use. "It is simple to install and can be quickly folded and stored in a compact pouch," he says, "making it much more convenient than traditional accordion-style sun shades, which can be quite bulky."

For a custom windshield shade designed to fit your car perfectly, try Covercraft. “It provides excellent UV protection and fits well for various models, ensuring your vehicle stays cool and protected​,” says Paul Knoll, a marketing director at AmericanTrucks. The selection on Amazon is a bit limited, but the brand’s site allows you to enter your exact make and model for more options.

This highly rated windshield sun shade is made of five thick layers of aluminum and fabric, making it effective at protecting against the sun’s damaging UV rays. It even comes in fun statement colors, like Blue and Pink.

Best car sun shades for side windows

Tunnacliffe recommends this double-layered mesh sun shade for side windows. “It offers high-grade protection against UV rays while also stretching to accommodate most car windows,” he says. “Its dense spandex mesh reduces heat while also allowing the windows to be rolled down, letting cool breezes in to increase passenger comfort.”

WeatherTech’s full vehicle kits come with sun shades for the windshield, rear window and side window, so you don’t have to worry about buying each shade separately. “The Weathertech side-window shades are effective and easy to install,” Knoll says, “providing comprehensive coverage and protection.”

Best car sun shades for rear windows

Tunnacliffe recommends this rear-window sun shade for its versatility. “It has the advantage of being able to stretch to fit both passenger windows and rear windows without compromising its effectiveness,” he says. “It features five powerful magnets that attach to the inside of the car, allowing users to easily maximize coverage and customize the shade to fit windows of varying shapes.”

This set of mesh sun shades for back windows and the rear windshield are made from an adhesive material that allows you to simply press them against the glass to stick them to the windows.

Best car sun shade for babies

Families taking young children on road trips might want something more exciting to keep them entertained in their car seats. “For little ones,” Knoll says, “there are even special shades with fun characters and extra protection from the sun’s rays.” This one has the alphabet on it, but other options include animals, dinosaurs and maps.

Best reflective car sun shades

“Reflective sun shades are designed to redirect the sun’s UV rays in order to minimize heat buildup within the vehicle,” Tunnacliffe says. Reviewers praise Kinder Fluff’s windshield shade for its coverage, flexibility and lightweight fabrication. It folds easily when not in use, and its compact storage bag allows you to stash it in an armrest compartment, side door panel or under your seat.

In addition to making cars more comfortable for drivers and passengers, reflective sun shades “also protect critical interior components like leather and hard plastic, which can absorb high amounts of heat, leading to degradation in the long term,” Tunnacliffe adds. This one is made of reflective polyester and comes with a steering wheel cover too.

Best mesh car sun shades

“Mesh sun shades are a popular option for car windows,” Tunnacliffe says. “Whereas reflective sun shades are often attached to the windshield and used while the car is parked, mesh sun shades attach to the side and rear windows and can be used while the car is in motion.” This one clings on to the window by itself —no suction cups or adhesive needed.

Tunnacliffe says to look for mesh sun shades made of high-density polyester mesh, which reduces glare and heat from the sun while also allowing air to flow into the car. “This makes them highly effective at maintaining passenger comfort.” The Britax window shades also provide UPF 30 protection but are still sheer enough to see through the window.

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Hate getting into a hot car? These are the 12 best car sun shades to use this summer | CNN Underscored (2024)


Hate getting into a hot car? These are the 12 best car sun shades to use this summer | CNN Underscored? ›

Reflective or metallic sunshades: Reflective sunshades avoid a buildup of heat by redirecting the UV rays rather than absorbing the majority of them. On the other hand, metallic sunshades absorb the heat instead.

What type of car sun shade is best? ›

Reflective or metallic sunshades: Reflective sunshades avoid a buildup of heat by redirecting the UV rays rather than absorbing the majority of them. On the other hand, metallic sunshades absorb the heat instead.

What can I use to block the sun from my car window? ›

Use Window Shades

A simple way to protect your car's interior from the sun and heat would be to invest in a windshield sun protector and window sunshades.

Do window shades keep a car cooler? ›

A good car sun cover or shade can reduce cabin and dashboard temperatures by about 8% to 25%.

How to make car sun shade stay up? ›

Place your shade flush against the windshield and move your sun visors down to hold the shade securely against the glass. Certain shades feature small suction cups that should be pressed firmly against the glass.

What is the best color for sunshade? ›

Dark colors like black or brown are preferable if you want to protect yourself from the sun's UV rays as much as possible. Lighter colors can be riskier.

What to look for in a sun shade? ›

Check its heat reduction and UV protection ratings against competitors. This layer of protection, much like you'll find with UV-coated driving glasses, is essential for blocking the damaging effects of the sun. Remember to shop for a shade that is quick to install and stash away.

Are sun shades for cars worth it? ›

A sun shade blocks direct sunlight and helps prolong the life of vehicle electronics. Protect the interior: The sun can also do a lot of damage to your car's interior. Dashboards and seats can fade as the sun saps the color out of them. They can even crack and warp from the extreme temperature.

Does window tint really keep a car cooler? ›

These studies have shown that window tinting can reduce the temperature inside a car by up to 60%, depending on the type of tint and the level of sunlight. A car with tinted windows can also stay cooler for a longer period of time when parked in the sun.

Can sunshade crack a windshield? ›

Don't use a reflector shade cover especially if you have a windshield glass chip - A shiny shade cover intensifies the heat on your windshield and it can turn a little ding into a full on crack, especially in triple digit heat.

Why won t my car shade stay up? ›

You can quickly fix loose fixed-mounted sun visors by tightening their screws or adding some rubber material to the clips to increase their grip. Get them replaced if the damage has become too severe to repair.

How to keep sunshades from blowing? ›

A bungee cord will hold your shade in place during any heavy winds or inclement weather. The looped cords on the bottom of either side of your shade will secure the bottom bar in place to prevent your shade from moving.

What is the best material for sunshade? ›

  • Canvas. The most common material for shade structures is the canvas. ...
  • Aluminium. Another popular choice for shade structure is aluminium because of its rust resistance, low maintenance, and durability. ...
  • Steel. Steel is another strong and durable material for shade structures. ...
  • Wood. ...
  • Polycarbonate. ...
  • Final Takeaway.
Mar 31, 2023

What is the best material for car shades? ›

PVC shade fabric is known for its strength and weather-resistant properties, making it an ideal choice for car parking shade structures in harsh environmental conditions. The material is highly durable and can withstand extreme temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Which car color is best for sun protection? ›

Believe it or not, the colour of your car cover can make a difference in how well it protects your car from the heat. A lighter colour, such as white or silver, will reflect the sun's rays, keeping your car cooler. Darker colours, such as black or navy blue, will absorb heat and make your car hotter.

Are car sunshades worth it? ›

In fact, your car temperature can double in just five minutes. Without a sunshade, the black interior of cars which readily absorb more heat (think the steering wheel and dashboard), can reach 85 degrees. But with the use of a sunshade, studies have shown that temperatures can decrease by 40 degrees or more.


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