Best car window shades 2018

We test the best car sun blinds to decide which product you need to keep your passengers in the shade

Long journeys on hot summer days can be a nightmare, especially for rear seat passengers if tinted glass hasn’t been fitted. The sun’s ultra-violet (UV) A/B rays can cause sunburn or even skin cancer, and the glare itself can be very unpleasant.

In addition, the sun will heat up a car’s interior, even with the air-con working. So it makes sense to add sunblinds, especially where children or pets are likely to be in the car. When choosing, ensure you get the right size – a people carrier obviously needs larger blinds than a city car – and using too small a blind could leave a gap which might let the sun through.

• How to choose the best baby car seat 

How we tested them

With the sun at its highest, we used a sensor and iPhone app to measure the UV Index through the glass before and after each shade was fitted. Outside the car, the UV meter registered approx 5.0, defined by the World Health Organisation as moderate risk, but where shade and sunscreen is recommended.

Each sunblind was marked on ease of fitting and stability once in place. We considered the size and whether a window could be opened for fresh air, and rated price.


Halfords takes the top two places. Both its blinds are effective and easy to fit. The large, competitively priced Sumex blinds lost a few points on build and design, and finished third.

  • 1. Halfords Rear Window Sunshades
  • 2. Halfords Side Window Black Out Sunshades
  • 3. Sumex Lateral Sunshade 4410008
  • ReviewsHalfords Rear Window Sunshades

    Price: £10
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 5.0

    Halfords offers three sizes, so you need to measure carefully before buying. The instructions are sparse and there is no diagram for the Velcro straps. We liked that the shades covered the window and door frame with no gaps and, uniquely, the windows could be opened.

    Flying bugs were blocked as well. The blinds cut 100 per cent of the UV, although with one layer either side of the window, seeing out wasn’t very easy. On sporadically cloudy days, there’s no easy option to roll up or remove, but at this price/performance, it’s hard to argue. 

    Buy now from Halfords

    Halfords Side Window Black Out Sunshades

    Price: Around £11
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 4.5 

    You won’t see much through these very black shades and, unsurprisingly, they cut all the UV. Virtually square in design and sized at 36 x 44mm, they fitted to the glass using two pre-fitted suction cups. These were positioned halfway down near the sides and, usefully, had two large loops with which to pull the shade back off.

    We liked the instructions and diagrams, which are far better than those in our Best Buy. Despite the size, with a little practice, they could be twisted and folded into the remarkably small fabric carrier.

    Buy now from Halfords

    Sumex Lateral Sunshade 4410008

    Price: Around £7
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 4.0 

    These were similar in essence to the Halfords Black Out, but were longer and thus covered a bigger area. Similarly, two large rubber loops made removing the shade easy. Although fitting was simple enough, there were no instructions or other information.

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    And while they were black and cut all the UV, we could see out through them fairly well. On a pounds per sq cm basis, the Sumex blinds were good value, but where the loops pass through the fabric it was only plastic, which might cause it to rip before long, and there was no storage bag.

    Buy now from Amazon

    Safety 1st Deluxe Roller Shade 

    Price: Around £8
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 4.0 

    Our pick of the rollers, the 42 x 36mm blinds from Safety 1st covered a similar area to most of the others we tried. Vision out was good through the semi-transparent vinyl, the outside of which was white, which doubtless helped reflect some of the glare and cut all UV.

    Twin suction cups held the roller at the top with the blind secured either by a suction cup or Velcro, the corresponding section being stuck to the top of the door trim. We noted that the ratchet wound the blind up quickly, a possible problem for small fingers.

    Buy now from Amazon

    Diono Starry Night Sunshade

    Price: Around £8
    No of shades: 1
    Rating: 3.5

    Easily up there with out favourite roller blinds, with the build quality evident from the start. The mechanism was solid and the blind accurately made, but the top mounting suction cups were awkward to remove. Younger passengers would like the Starry design. The UV cut was 100 per cent and the size typical, but the price on the box was its biggest drawback, as it included just one blind, when all the others packed two. 

    Buy now from Amazon

    Sakura Static Window Sunshades SS5338

    Price: Around £5
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 3.0

    These vinyl shades were the first to ‘cling’ to the glass statically, making fitting/removal easy, but getting all the creases out was tricky. This two pack is the cheapest here, and covered the third largest area. Useful instructions suggested the shades could be made pliable in the cold by being held over hot air vents. Like the Cool Shade, the UV cut let this down, at just 85 per cent. Folding for storage is said to be okay, but they may be hard to keep clean.

    Buy now from Amazon

    Diono Cool Shade

    Price: £5
    No of shades: 2
    Rating: 3.0

    Pack claims this static cling shade fits in seconds, which it does, but it takes a lot longer if you want to get rid of all the creases. Even more so if your window glass is curved. It came wrapped around a column of foam, which would be a good way to store it, out of dust and grit, but the instructions suggest folding it. On first glance, it appears to be solid black, yet we could see through it; probably too much, as it cut only 85 per cent of the UV. 

    Buy now from Amazon

    Sakura Roller Sunblinds SS5286

    Price: Around £11 (Amazon)
    No of shades: 2  
    Rating: 3.0  

    A conventional pair of rollers, similar in concept to our other two, with an owl design kids will love. We liked the nodules on the suction cups, making them easy to pull off, although like the others, the action was fierce. The blind could be secured by a suction cup or Velcro lower down. The fabric along one of the edges frayed, but visibility was good. What let these down was the 71 per cent UV cut.

    Buy now from Amazon

    Now you can keep the sun out, why not look at how to choose the best child car seat? 

    Next: Shevron Window Sox

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