Short sleeves leave my arms exposed to the sun (this means reapplying sunscreen constantly). Long sleeves mean I get too hot too quickly (this equals grumpy Meg).
A while back a friend told me about sun sleeves (or UV sleeves) and I haven’t looked back. Seriously you will love them! They’re a fitted sleeve that will protect your arms from the sun’s harmful UV rays, cool you down, and, as an added bonus, may have compression benefits like assisting with circulation and keeping your muscles warm during exercise.
So I’ve written this guide so you can find the best UV sleeves for you!
When I look at sunscreen versus sleeves the choice for me is so easy for certain outdoor activities. Sunscreen requires reapplying which isn’t ideal if you’re golfing, cycling, or rock climbing, to name a few!
Sunscreen also means you have to carry it around with you which, depending on the adventure you’re headed out on, this might not be ideal. You also need to ensure that it offers broad spectrum so it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays (you can learn more about this on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website).
We all know that skin cancers can happen anywhere on our body! However, different types of skin cancers are commonly found on different areas of the body. My Skin Centre gives us a breakdown of the commonly found areas these are found on.
And guess what?! Melanoma, the most dangerous and deadliest skin cancer, is commonly found on the arms. This makes it even more important to cover them up when outside!
After thorough research into the requirements for the best sun sleeves, SimplySunSafe recommends the Aegend UV Arm Sleeves as the champion sun sleeve. Read on for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 UV protection sleeves.
Before I make a few detailed recommendations, let’s take a look at what you should be searching for when shopping for sun sleeves. Here is a breakdown of the important features and what you need to know about each:
Wait, what’s a UPF rating?
Let me explain, UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and provides important information on how much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate your clothing and potentially harm your skin. Put simply – it’s like SPF for clothing.
It is important to remember, UPF rated clothing can be ineffective if you don’t use it correctly so it’s important to remember the following:
- Clothing should fit well and not be pulled too tight as it may become thin and transparent, resulting in less effective protection.
- Clothing might become significantly less effective when it becomes wet
- Old clothing should be replaced as it may lose its ability to protect you from those rays. Never an excuse needed to go shopping right!
See the table below for a detailed UPF rating breakdown:
|UPF Rating||Protection Category||Percentage of UV Blocked|
|15-20||Good||93.3 – 95.9%|
|25-35||Very good protection||96.0 – 97.4%|
|40 and over||Excellent protection||97.5% or more|
Quick Drying / Moisture Wicking
I don’t want to be uncomfortable when out and about on sunny adventures – and neither do you!
Being in wet clothing sucks and that is why I always look at moisture wicking or quick drying options for anything I know might be getting sweaty or wet(ty).
If you know you are going to get hot, sweaty or wet this will be something for you to keep an eye out for.
You might be a bit confused by this one! How can putting on a layer help you be cooler. Well thanks to some amazing technology, some sun sleeves actually assist in cooling you down when outdoors.
If you plan on getting hot and sweaty check if your arm sleeves will help with keeping you cool.
Look / Fit
Some of you may think these look silly but others may think they make you look like they give you a sporty look. Either way they have a purpose that is more important than how it looks.
There are plenty of color options available for UV sleeves that you can nearly have any look you like. A few other things you may to consider are do you want the sleeves to go over your hand, perfect for cycling, or have adjustable sizing.
When searching for the best UV arm sleeves some of these additional features may be your decision makers!
Budget is often the first thing we think about when going on the hunt for a new item. We are all thinking about our wallet at some point so this is an important one.
Fortunately there are lots of fashionable and budget friendly options for us that still provide great UV protection.
If you have found a higher priced item but are trying to convince yourself to hit that ‘add to cart’ button, compare the cost of applying sunscreen on your body every time you head out into the sun.
Best Sun Sleeves Comparison
|Aegend UV Arm Sleeves||Tough Outdoors Arm Sleeves||Hairwilly Anti-UV Shawl||Columbia Freezer Zero Arm Sleeves||O’Neill Hybrid Sun Sleeves|
5 Best Sun Sleeves
After careful research that combined discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, participating in safe sun practices forums, SimplySunSafe has chosen the 5 best UV sleeves.
These sun sleeves provide a great UPF rating, come in a range of fit types and colors, are reasonably priced, and have additional features like quick drying or cooling.
This is our champion sun sleeve. The Aegend arm sleeves are a great option as they have different variations depending on what you are after. Firstly, the fabric mix of polyamide fiber and spandex ensure a snug fit which is also great for absorbing moisture.
They feature an anti-slip gel to ensure that the sleeve does not roll down your arm. They also gently compress your arms so they also provide muscle relief in addition to providing sun protection.
These have a UPF rating of 50 which is great protection! This means your arms will be protected from more than 97.5% of the sun’s rays.
There are 4 color options of white, black, pink or gray for the standard arm sleeve and the over-hand option is available in black. There are 4 different sizes available so get someone to help you measure up, however, there is a 30 day no hassle return available on these if you don’t have the perfect fit.
- UPF 50
- Moisture absorbing
- Budget friendly
- Anti-slip gel to prevent slipping
- Over hand option available
- Not many color options
I was searching for sun protection sleeves for driving for a friend. They wanted all the great sun protection features but didn’t want anything obvious or fancy. Thes Tough Outdoors sun sleeves cools and provides a great UPF 50 protection – a perfect fit.
These sun sleeves are also seamless so they will be super comfortable during the longest golf games, rock climbs and drives. This also means when you stop for a drink at the clubhouse or reach your final destination you won’t have seam marks all over your arms! Added bonus!
Available in 4 different colors including a light beige natural color if you don’t want to make a statement. The stretchy 89% polyester 11% spandex blend are a one size fits all option for both men and women, which might not be your thing if you want added compression for sporting.
They’re Super budget friendly which means you can buy more than one, leave one pair in your golf bag and one in your car.
Ultimately this one just missed out on top spot because it is limited with sizes and didn’t have an over hand option available.
- UPF 50
- Budget friendly
- One size fits all
- Limited color options
Here is one for the ladies. This shawl design arm sleeve option is a great choice for those of you who are worried about your arm sleeves slipping down. It is a great option across a huge amount of activities from jogging, golfing, all the way to fishing.
Made from high-grade material it also assists with cooling you down while you are outside with the shawl and sleeves being 3 degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature making it by pick for the best sun sleeves for golf as it will not only cool you down but also won’t slip down with your swing.
Rated UPF 50, this shawl will provide you with huge sun protection while also being super comfortable. Color options are blue and white with sizes ranging from medium to extra large.
Due to the design of this one the budget is a little higher than our first pick but if your love the shawl look I would definitely recommend you pick this one!
- Shawl option means arms will not slip down
- Great for a wide range of sports that involve lots of arm use
- Limited color options
- Limited sizes
- Higher cost than other options
The Columbia Freezer Zero arm sleeve is a great option for those who don’t need any extra fancy options. It might look like a basic option but the incredible Omni-Shade fabric that combines 92% Polyester and 8% Elastane creates a cooling effect which lowers the material’s temperature to help you keep cool.
On top of that amazing technology it is rated a beautiful UPF 50 for the maximum UV protection on the market. If you are after cooling and sun protection these have to be your pick!
Color options are white and a vivid blue print for those looking for that extra ‘wow’ factor. Two sizes are available Small/Medium and Large/Extra Large so for those of us that want a perfect snug fit this may not be the option for you.
This sleeve, as amazing as it is, is a costly option. This came in as the most expensive on our list which is why it came in at 4th spot so if you are looking for more change in your wallet check out some of the other budget-friendly options.
- UPF 50
- Cooling technology
- High price
- Limited color choices
- Limited sizing options
This well known brand has created the ultimate sun sleeve for those of us that want the perfect fit. It is an over the hand style sleeve which means it’s a great option for driving and cycling.
This Skin Cancer Foundation recommended product is made from Heathered HyperDry fabric. It feels like cotton but dries 3 times quicker so a great option for those intending to get wet! Its UPF 50 rating ensures you’ll be protected from the sun’s rays in an out of the water.
Now for sizing – there is a huge array of options with narrow, wide and regular fits. 8 color options available mean you are spoilt for choice.
This O’Neill sun sleeve comes in the mid-high budget range depending on your color and size selections.
- UPF 50
- Quick drying
- Different colors available
- Skin Cancer Foundation recommended
- Higher end of the budget
This guide was written for those of us searching for the best sun sleeves. It can be completely overwhelming when starting your search for a new item so I hope it has provided some useful guidance on what to keep your eyes peeled for when starting your search.
SimplySunSafe recommends the Aegend UV Arm Sleeves as our champion pick and the sun sleeves you should definitely consider purchasing. After taking into consideration all the features that make sun sleeves great, this was the product that came out on top. If one of the other four better suits your needs, go ahead and choose that one because ultimately the decision is about you and your needs.
Remember sun sleeves are not your only defence against the sun’s harsh rays. To refresh your memory on skin cancer prevention recommendations see the Centre for Disease Control and Preventions tips on protecting yourself when outdoors.
I love hearing from my readers, so if you make a purchase or find another option you think is better please let me know about it in the comments. I’ll do some additional research and add these to the guide. I hope you enjoyed my article on the best sun protection hats I hope it has helped you make better choices about your sun protection.