Best Beach Blanket | Top 10 Compared | 2018 Update

by | bedding, blankets

The guide on the best beach blankets was long in the works (probably longer than we expected) because our rating methods we used for other blankets did not exactly “translate” to this category.

Besides tweaking our rating algorithm we got outside help from 4 material technology engineers (to make the initial choices of 22 beach blankets to be tested).

Once we had that part narrowed down, we proceeded to the testing phase. The testing phase included testing the blankets ourselves and sending them out to our featured testers.

wildhorn - voted best beach blanket overall

(Last updated: August 2018)

The bottom line is this – the results you’ll see are aftermath of over 4,000 work hours of statistical analysis of over 7,000 user experiences. We did our best to make the information we present as reliable as possible and eliminate any guesswork that you. the reader, need to choose right.

Best beach blankets – info & ratings of Top 10

 
Blanket
 
Info
 
Rating
& quick links
 
item 1 wildhorn sand escape
WildHorn
Sand Escape

 
 

‣ Material: parachute fabric
‣ Special features: sand-free,
quick-drying
‣ Size: 9 x 7 ft.
‣ Color choices: 3
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
9.6

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 2 fun n sun
Fun'n'Sun

 
 

‣ Material: microfiber
‣ Special features: quick-drying
‣ Size: 64 x 76 "
‣ Color choices: 10
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
 
9.53

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 3 sportlite
SportLite

 
 

‣ Material: microfiber
‣ Special features: quick-drying
‣ Size: 64 x 76 "
‣ Color choices: 10
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
 
9.52

Click here to skip to all ratings
item 4 kahuna sandless
Kahuna SandLess

 
 

‣ Material: parachute fabric
‣ Special features: send-free,
quick-drying
‣ Size: 8 x 8 ft.
‣ Color choices: 4
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
 
9.45

Click here to skip to all ratings
item 5 round circle beach banket by dock and bay blue
Dock & Bay
round blanket

 
 

‣ Material: microfiber
‣ Special features: quick-drying
‣ Size: 75 " (diameter)
‣ Color choices: 6
‣ Anchored: no

 
 
 
9.43

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 6 turkish cotton by cacala
Turkish Cotton
blanket by Cacala

 
 

‣ Material: Turkish cotton
‣ Special features: no
‣ Size: 59 x 79 "
‣ Color choices: 23
‣ Anchored: no

 
 
 
9.4

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 7 go waterproof blanket throw
GO Waterproof

 
 

‣ Material: Turkish cotton
‣ Special features: sand-repellant,
waterproof bottom
quick-drying top
‣ Size: 59 x 79 "
‣ Color choices: 4
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
9.4

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 9 seashore woven beach throw blanket
Seashell Woven
cotton throw

 
 

‣ Material: cotton
‣ Special features: no
‣ Size: 40 x 50 "
‣ Color choices: 1
‣ Anchored: no

 
 
 
9.26

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 10 ishoyu sand proof blanket for beach
Ishoyu Giant

 
 

‣ Material: parachute fabric
‣ Special features: sand-repellant,
quick-drying
‣ Size: 10 x 9 ft.
‣ Color choices: 2
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
 
9.25

Click here to skip to all ratings
 
item 10 matador throw water resistant
Matador 2.0

 
 

‣ Material: satin finish
‣ Special features: sand-repellant,
water-resistant
‣ Size: 163 x 44 "
‣ Color choices: 2
‣ Anchored: yes

 
 
 
9.25

Click here to skip to all ratings

The guide is updated on quarterly basis to keep the information fresh. You can see the last time this guide was updated just under the table of our top picks (green text above). So, without much ado, let us get to the results of the last update.

Just for reference (if you’re new to our site), we haven’t seen that much of a change in this guide and the ratinsg of Top 10 beach blankets for a while now. The ones that you are seeing now have been dominating the category with little change in ratings and minimal shifts in average rating of all quality aspects.

Simply speaking, the best ones are here and the choice comes down to preference, “scenarios” and taste.

Now, let’s get to a more detailed analysis of each.

Top-rated beach blanket overall – Wildhorn Sand Away

If you’re not fan of sand filling your bags and sticking to your blanket, your search probably ends here. No blanket (or even towel for that matter) we looked it as sand-proof as the colorful Wildhorn.

The material used to make the Wildhorn Sand Away is parachute-grade rip-stop fabric. Based on what we’ve seen, if you buried this blanket in a pile of sand you could pick it up using two fingers without a single grain sticking to it.

wildhorn sand free beach blanket
sandless beach blanket full top view

The combo of the material and size is unique and the extra pockets for small items like sunscreen, phones and keys are a nice plus.

The one downside is that in only comes in one size (oversized, 9 x 7 ft.) and if the beach you’re traveling to is crowded, you might have a hard time finding enough space to fully spread it.

Folded in half, it’s just right for a couple but fully spread, it can comfortably fita family of 4.

  • Comfort 96%
  • Packing & Travel 98%
  • Sand repellent 98%
  • Heat isolation 95%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Washing / maintenance 95%
  • User satisfaction 96%
  • Value for money 96%

Bottom line

Wildhorn Sand Away is one of the largest blanket we looked at, but the surprising part is how light and small it packs (approximately 1.3 lbs in a cylinder pouch of about 5.5 in diameter and 8.5 in length)

With all that said, we found it to be solid value for money and a smart buy. Overall rating 95 / 100.

sand away throw packed

FunN’Sun beach towel blanket

Most of the blankets we listed are made of modern materials that are all about repelling sand, drying quickly and, in some cases, being waterproof.

The FunN’Sun is different and will be the choice of people looking to stand out but still prefer the cozy feel of a towel to the parachute nylon fiber. It’s top-to-bottom premium microfiber.

We did see some great microfiber blankets (we’ll talk about one more in a minute) but the colors are usually not much fun.

fun n sun microfiber beach towel blanket
sand pockets of sun n fun colors

There’s a reason behind that – if not treated to be color-fast, microfiber tends to bleed color (especially when greens & red are combined with white).

That’s why you’ll see it used mostly in one color pieces or combos of akin colors, like hues of blue and turquoise.

The blankets that don’t bleed in the white-vivid combo are much more expensive but we’ve seen no significant difference in the quality compared to the FunN’Sun.

  • Comfort 96%
  • Packing & Travel 98%
  • Sand repellent 98%
  • Heat isolation 95%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Color-fast: 96%
  • Washing / maintenance 95%
  • User satisfaction 96%
  • Value for money 96%

Microfiber is a combo fabric (between polyester and polyamide) and, over the last decade, we have seen a surge of low quality fabrics onto the market. We’re basing this on other blanket types we’ve tested and reviewed over the years, but the criteria is the same.

The color-fast issue we mentioned above might not be much of an issue for one-season blankets of akin colors but if you want to get a blanket with whites included without breaking the bank.

Last but not least, the FunN’Sun is one of the most popular choices among users since the range of colors appeals to beach-goes of all types and sizes, from surfers to families and couples. It has hundreds of review on Amazon – you can see them all by following one of the links below.

SportLite Extra Large

The SportLite Microfiber large beach blanket is the highest rated in the category of user satisfaction and packing size. The thin microfiber packs extremely small and, in that quality, it has no real competition – it’s as seamless and as ease to carry and use as they come.

Microfiber is so popular that we have even seen some companies trying to imitate the look and feel with other fabrics (like plain polyester) and pass it as micro. In the case of a beach blanket, the first thing you’d notice with one of these is how poor the insulation from the heat of the sand or pebbles is and that it doesn’t absorb water.

sportlite extra large throw beach blanket
sandless sportlite blanket

If the imitation of the product is well-finished you won’t even be able to tell until you try to dry water from your body. If it just pushes the water around, you probably have a polyester fabric on your hand “posing” as microfiber.

If the blanket genuine microfiber, the quality is determined by the denier and % of material. We found the SportLite to be super absorbent and great at heat insulation from the sand.

  • Comfort 96%
  • Packing & Travel 97%
  • Sand repellent 96%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 95%
  • Color-fast: 96%
  • Washing / maintenance 98%
  • User satisfaction 97%
  • Value for money 92%

The result came as no surprise since SportLite is known for their beach products (it’s the brand that makes the official towels for the LA Lifeguard Association).

To be clear, there’s nothing revolutionary about this SportLite, there are dozens of good microfiber blankets and beach throw out there. The main difference here is the quality of the microfiber and the “value for money.

We do know of similar products, but a vast majority of them costs much more than this SportLite. This brought their rating in the “Value for $” down and knocked them right out of the Top 5, making the SportLite the only product among the top picks that’s made of microfiber.

Kahuna Next Gen sand proof beach blanket

The Next gen by Kahuna is a similar product to the Wildhorn SandAway and will appeal to people with similar taste and needs (the main advantage being the sand-proof material).

Again, the material & sand-repelling properties are similar, as you can see in the ratings below. You’ll notice that we don’t rate the products made of parachute nylon fiber in the category of “color-fast.” That would make very little sense since the material simply does’t bleed color and that’s true even for product of significantly lower quality than the Kahuna.

The main (objective) PROs of the Kahuna are the drying (takes only minutes), the ability to repel sand. On the subjective side, we have to say that we prefer the triangular patterns and colors of the Kahuna, but that’s just us.

kahuna next gen giant beach blanket
kahuna blanket sack blue
  • Comfort 94%
  • Packing & Travel 96%
  • Sand repellent 97%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 95%
  • Washing / maintenance 98%
  • User satisfaction 97%
  • Value for money 92%

You can find both Wild Horn & Kahuna describing their blankets as “giant” or “over-sized” but there is significant difference in shape (9×7″ vs. 8×8″).

Kahuna is one of the most popular brands in the arena –  you can see what owners are sharing about it by following the links below.

Round beach blanket by Dock & Bay

The only round beach blanket on the list comes from one of the most trusted companies in the industry “Dock & Bay.” It currently has by far the highest number of reviews from all the listed products.

The material is microfiber and you can choose between 10 round cross and 6 round maze patterns. Another company that was bold enough to combine colors that can bleed with whites. We already talked about the additional treatment this entails before the products can hit the stores.

Sizes: Large, Extra Large & Round (the circle is 75 ” in diameter).

round blanket for beach
dock and bay circle beach throw pouch
  • Comfort 95%
  • Packing & Travel 94%
  • Sand repellent 92%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Color-fast: 97%
  • Washing / maintenance 94%
  • User satisfaction 95%
  • Value for money 94%

What stands out about the Dock & Bay is the fact that this round beach blanket is the only on the list that has a 30-day return policy and full year of warranty.

We’ve seen no better return and warranty policy. In fact, you rarely see one at all with products like this.

Kudos for that, Dock & Bay.

Turkish beach blanket by Cacala

Turkish beach blanket is a throw made of 100 % Turkish cotton. They’re light, the tight weaving leaves little room for stretching which also means they don’t dry as easily as the modern material listed here.

Typically, a person getting a Turkish beach towel will know exactly what they’re looking for. Th feel of the fabric is hard to explain and the closest we can get is that it resembles a slightly more rugged cotton throw.

The right weave and the color-fast cotton allow for the most expressive range of colors. Our top pick here, the Cacala Turkish beach towel, is available in 24 colors and measures 59 x 79 inches.

Most of the categories we used to rate the products don’t really apply to Pestemal throws (another word for a Turkish beach towel) so we’ll only reporting on the user satisfaction rating here.

cacala turkish beach blanket purple
  • User satisfaction 94%
turkish cotton throw blue

Giant GO sand-free waterproof beach blanket

GO is a different product compared to blankets we talked about thus far. While parachute fabric and microfiber are designed to be quick-drying, they have no backing or layers that would be waterproof.

The material of the GO is Oxford Polyester (Ripstop), the GO offers more insulation and the moisture of the surface underneath (whether it’s sand, grass or ground) practically has no chance of “breaking through”. On the other hand, the top finish is still quick-drying.

The blanket is kept in place with either sand-pockets (which will be enough for a trip to the beach) or small stainless steel pegs you can use to secure the blanket even better by attaching the corner loops.

go waterproof beach blanket

Oxford ripstop polyester is a peg stronger than parachute nylon fiber and is likely to last longer. Since it’s a different type of material, you’d see the rating of “water absorbent” change to “waterproof.” The ratings we reached are below.

  • Comfort 95%
  • Packing & Travel 95%
  • Sand repellent 93%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Washing / maintenance 92%
  • User satisfaction 95%
  • Value for money 94%

Beach throw blanket – Seashore woven by Manual Woodworker

Turkish beach blanket is a throw made of 100 % Turkish cotton. They’re light, the tight weaving leaves little room for stretching which also means they don’t dry as easily as the modern material listed here.

Typically, a person getting a Turkish beach towel will know exactly what they’re looking for. Th feel of the fabric is hard to explain and the closest we can get is that it resembles a slightly more rugged cotton throw.

The right weave and the color-fast cotton allow for an expressive range of colors. Our top pick here, the Cacala Turkish beach towel, is available in 24 colors and measures 59 x 79 inches.

Most of the categories we used to rate the products don’t really apply to Pestemal throws (another word for a Turkish beach towel) so we’ll only reporting on the user satisfaction rating here.

seashore beach throw blanket
  • Comfort 95%
  • Packing & Travel 95%
  • Sand repellent 93%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Washing / maintenance 92%
  • User satisfaction 95%
  • Value for money 94%

Bottom line

This throw is in a category of its own and most of the quality ratings don’t apply, so we’re only reporting on its owner satisfaction rate.

You can read what users are saying about by following one of the two links below.

Ishoyu Giant

ishoyu
  • Comfort 95%
  • Packing & Travel 95%
  • Sand repellent 93%
  • Heat isolation 94%
  • Water absorbency / drying 94%
  • Washing / maintenance 92%
  • User satisfaction 95%
  • Value for money 94%

Matador 2.0

matador blanket 2 0
  • Comfort 90%
  • Packing & Travel 94%
  • Sand repellent 87%
  • Heat isolation 90%
  • Color-fast 93%
  • Washing / maintenance 92%
  • User satisfaction 93%
  • Value for money 90%

Reference info on choosing the best beach blanket – types & materials

Types by material used

Parachute nylon

Probably the most popular type of sand free beach blankets today are the ones made from parachute nylon. The main reason behind the trend are the sand-repellant and quick-drying properties of the materials. More about materials type here.

The material is at the “sweet spot” between comfort, weight, toughness and longevity.

It retains color very well and doesn’t change, which leaves room for using vivid colors and patterns varying from cute (soft pinks that most women will like) to and expressive for the youngsters. The nature of parachute nylon also allows for small and light packing. More about it here.

Polypropylene

The main PRO of blankets made of polypropylene are the longevity and toughness. The secondary benefit is the stylish look and feel similar to that of a woven beach throw blankets.

Polypropylene is waterproof and the little water absorbed dries quickly. It’s also naturally resistant to temperature changes and makes for a great insulator from the scorching heat of the summer beach sand.

Microfiber

None of the materials we talked about above compares in softness to the cozy feel of micro fibers.

It’s only natural that they make one of the best beach blankets if you think about the absorbing properties of microfiber cloths. The important part here is knowing how to recognize the real thing from cheap imitations. It’s one of the few materials that allows for a circle stitching to hold well and most of the round blankets are made using microfiber.

If you get that part right, you’ll end with soft blanket that will last for summers with minimal changes.

Fleece and polar fleece

Because of the similar properties, fleece often plays the role of wool and offers a great substitute for those who are not fans (or are allergic) of the prickly wool fibers. It’s used for beach throw blankets, especially its sub-type polar fleece.

Polar fleece is a bit more rugged and stronger than regular fleece, hence the more common use for clothes and clothes. The direction of the fibers defines the stretching – it usually stretches more along one of its dimensions (depending on the weave).

Compared to wool, it’s far lighter and easier to wash and clean.

Oxford Ripstop fabric

Oxford ripstop is used for backing of waterproof beach blankets. Not only does it make them waterproof and more durable.

It’s typically paired with parachute nylon on the top, making the bottom waterproof while the top remains breathable enough to dry easily, especially under the beach sun. You can read more on the difference between regular and rip-sotp nylon here.

Cotton – used mainly for beach throw blankets

Most of us remember the days when all you could see on the beach were cotton towels. Cotton is absorbent but retains water and sand. In that quality aspect, it’s fair to say that it’s not as beach-friendly as other modern materials.

Today, it’s used for cute beach blankets – the kind you’d use for a picnic and not rarely on its own for a full day on the beach. You can read more here.

More about our review process and ratings

We already talked about the basics of the methodology we use to rate the blankets, but in the section below we’ll dig deeper and explain the nitty-gritty of it all – from the moment we decided to review the products to the moment we first had a list of Top 10 best beach blankets.

One of our editors is a Materials technology engineer and, in guides like this, it’s usually him and a few of his colleagues (that we bring in for the project) who make the initial picks.

What are “initial picks?”

The initial picks are the products that passed the first “filter” and qualified to be looked into closer.

In this case, the broad list included over 120 products (based on user satisfaction data). The shortlist are the blankets we analyze and review in more depth. In this case that list consisted of 20 products.

  • We favor no brands and nothing can influence our ratings. To ensure that, we follow a few rules:
  • We accepted no “free samples” in the initial phase (and trust us, since we first compiled this guide, we’ve had many offers for that). That might change in the next update since we now have more data available and the rating algo is tweaked t make the testing blind.
  • Blind testing means that the ratings are reached by marking the blankets as Sample 1, Sample 2, etc & removing all visible tags. We learned so much about the blankets that this practice doesn’t make much of difference anymore for in-house testing since we know the look and feel of all the blankets we list. However, it does make all the difference if we send the product out to our featured testers. If we don’t share the brand, there’s little to no chance of them looking up the product and basing their reviews and rating on existing data.
  • We update this guide on quarterly basis to include new data and accurately reflect the market. In terms of re-testing the products in the field and in-house, our budget allows us one update per year. The exception to that rule are cases of products that see an significant change in user satisfaction %s between the “small” quarterly updates. If we see any red lights here (usually a drop in ratings) we re-test the said product. Reasons for this are usually a change in price that affects the user satisfaction and, more often, a change in manufacturing or outsourcing practices.

For this guide we had no unscheduled testing so far.

Our review and rating algorithm is a “living” thing. That’s especially true for this guide since the products and quality aspects are unique and the methodology we use to rate, say, heated electric blankets, hardly applies.

For this guide, it was back to the drawing board and the changes were more than tweaking since we had to include categories we’ve never used before like the blankets being “sand-free” (you might see this aspect referred to as “sand-repellent”) and waterproof.

Ask us anything

If you reached our page and still have doubts about what you’ll bask in for the few summers to come, drop us a line anytime (the comment section is below). We’ll do our best to help.

If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find out and get back to you within 24 hours.

Bob, James and Katia aka. the blanket review team at TheSleepStudies