Everybody wants good looking skin. However, it is very common to experience skin irritation if you are into water sports. Irritation may come from chafing when using your surfboard or even from exposure to the sun.
This is why you should have the best rash guards in your swim bag. Regardless of whether you are going for a surfing session, kayaking or visiting the beach, wearing a rash guard will do you much good. They are designed to protect you from chaffing and other annoying skin irritations. They are one of those things you need if you seriously care about your skin.
Now you are set to buy a rash guard! It really isn’t as easy as you think. You cannot just jump into the market without having foreknowledge of the market. If you have come here with questions on what you need to buy and what you need to consider, then you are in the right place.
I have researched the market and found the best rash guards numbering up to 17 that you should be using in 2020. I have a buying guide and FAQs section included in this article that you will surely find beneficial.
What Is Rash Guard Swim Shirt and Why is it Important?
Rash guards are any fabric worn to protect the skin from rashes which may be caused by chaffing or overexposure to the sun. Rash guards often come as shirts, however, they may also be available as shorts. They are made from fabrics such as polyester, spandex or nylon. They are mostly lightweight and can even be worn beneath wetsuits.
In warm conditions. Rash guards may be worn in place of wet suits. They are often lightweight and can be worn under wetsuits to keep the body warm. They also protect you from the sun and the efficiency of this is measured by Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
What is UPF Protection?
Rash guards are known to offer sun protection. They are capable of reducing or totally blocking out Ultraviolet rays from reaching your skin. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is a standard for measuring the effectiveness of a rash guard in blocking out Ultraviolet rays (A and B).
It tells how much UV rays the rash guard absorbs. The UPF rating is always in numbers. The higher the number, the higher the effectiveness. For instance, a rash guard having 50 as its UPF rating will allow just a tiny fraction, 1/50th, to reach your skin.
What Is the Best Rash Guards?
Rash guards are your best bet to protect your skin. Having done thorough research on the rash guard market, I have come with the best 17 products to buy. Below are some products to consider.
- Best Overall: Hurley Quick Dry Rash Guard
"Quick-drying, lightweight, can be used for almost all water sports."
- Best for Men: Speedo Men Short Sleeve Swim Tee Rash Guard
"Masculine design, durable, tight-fit, boost blood circulation."
- Best Budget: TSLA Women Athletic Rash Guard
"Budget-friendly, lightweight, durable enough to withstand rough handling."
- Best for Women: Sbart Women Rash Guard
"Great aesthetics, good design, available in many attractive feminine colors."
- Best for Swimming Laps: Sanabul Essentials Long Sleeve Rash Guard
"Lightweight, highly flexible, offers much freedom of movement to propel you for gold."
- Best for Snorkeling: Sbart Men Rash Guard
"Soft fibers, lightweight, provides you the comfort you need for snorkeling."
- Best for Surfing: Speedo Men Easy Long Sleeve Rash Guard
"Tough fibers, Long-sleeved, capable of providing protection from surfboard chaffing."
- Best With Hand Protection: O'Neill Men Long Sleeve Rash Guard
"High UPF, available in several colors, a long-sleeved design that offers protection to the arms."
- Best for Kayaking: DRSKIN Rash Guards
"Quick-drying, durable, can shield the user from 98 percent of UV rays."
- Best with Hood: Micosuza Full Body Women Swimsuit One Piece Rash Guard
"Full body, great aesthetics, designed for females, comes with a hood."
- Best for Toddlers and Kids: Kanu Surf Boy Platinum Rashguard
"Lightweight, super flexible, can be worn by children from age 2 to 16."
- Best for Scuba Diving: Gold BJJ Rash Guard
"Breathable, less restriction of movement, can provide insulation in cold water."
- Best for Sun Protection: Kanu Surf Men Short Sleeve Swim Shirt Rash Guard
"High UPF, loose-fitting, machine-washable, budget-friendly."
- Best for Open Water Swimming: Legend Men Long Sleeve Swim Shirt Rash Guard
"Super flexible, neat stitches, hydrodynamic, comes with a lifetime warranty."
Where to Buy Rash Guards Near Me?
All is set and you are ready to get a rash guard prior to your next water-sport event or vacation. It is advisable to purchase from a reputable store to ensure credibility. The store should be nearby and must have impressive customer service and positive reviews.
Online shops may be utilized if you have a tight schedule. Before settling for one, ensure that they have great customer and delivery service, and a good reputation. You should also check the customer review section and the rating of any product you want to buy.
You should also take note of important information s such as their opening periods. You can use my map below to find the nearest shop to you.
Comparison of Top 17 Best Rash Guards 2020
You might love to take a quick glance at the features and characteristics of the selected products. Hence, I have made a comprehensive comparison table with all the important criteria listed. However, it will be better to read the detailed reviews of each product to ensure more accurate decision-making.
The Best Rash Guards
Although rash guards may seem lightweight and airy, they offer premium protection to the skin, allowing it to remain as clean and fresh as possible. They are not just clothes but protective clothing, offering protection against the mechanical abrasion and overexposure to the sun.
Hurley Quick Dry Rash Guard
(Best Overall - Editor's Choice)
If you are looking for a comfortable rash guard, you may start considering the Hurley Quick Dry rash guard. As the name suggests, the wear is quick-drying wear, however, it is lightweight and doesn’t compress your body. It is made from the combination of polyester and spandex, perhaps the reason for all these characteristics.
One noticeable attribute of the wear is its flexibility which makes it easy to fold into your bag. Due to its thin fabric, it absorbs less water. This way, it doesn’t stay heavy whenever you leave the water or constitute any drag when in action. It also doesn’t retain odor i.e. it is odor-resistant.
The Hurley rash guard is a long-sleeve type and is sold in different sizes, making it available for teenagers and adults. It is also available in various colors.
- It is sold in 5 different sizes and colors.
- It is lightweight and thin.
- It is quick-drying.
- It is odor-resistant.
- It has a high UPF rating.
- It doesn’t come with a warranty.
- The stitches are exposed.
Speedo Men Short Sleeve Swim Tee Rash Guard
(Best for Men)
From swimming to sitting on the beach, you can have the Men’s Short Sleeve Swim Tee Rash Guard to cater to your needs. It is made from polyester and is fairly elastic. The quality of the fabric is impressive and the fact that it comes from Speedo breeds some level of confidence.
However, if you worry about breathability, this product is made to be loose enough to offer that much-preferred comfort. This together with its lightweight and quick-drying attributes ensure that the shirt remains as comfy as it can be.
It provides much protection from UV rays since it has a UPF rating of 50+. The fabric is dense and will still provide protection even it is stretched. It is sold in nine different colors and available in sizes starting from small to 4X-large.
- It comes from a reputable brand.
- It is very breathable.
- It is lightweight.
- It has a UPF rating of 50+.
- It offers many color options.
- It is short sleeve doesn’t offer full protection to the arms.
TSLA Women Athletic Rash Guard
Ladies have gotten all they need to for almost all activities. Even if it is surfing, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking or diving, you are good to go. The TSLA rash guard is a long sleeve wear. With a polyester-polyurethane build, the rash guard offers both lightweight and durability. The fabric is dense enough to provide guarantee you 98% protection from ultraviolet rays.
Since ladies are more fashionable, TSLA ensured that the product is available in 19 different colors, as well as, 5 different sizes. That’s quite massive! The fabric is quick-drying and absorbs little water. It doesn’t hug the body tightly and it offers breathability.
- It has a high UPF rating.
- It is slim-fit and still breathable.
- It is quick-drying.
- It is available in many different colors.
- It absorbs less water.
- No warranty.
Sbart Women Rash Guard
(Best for Women)
The Sbart women rash guard is one of the most fashionable rash guards available for females. Interestingly, almost every female can enjoy this budget-friendly luxury as it is available in various sizes from xx-small to 4x-large. It has an impressive design and is available in nine attractive feminine colors. You should definitely find the one you love.
The rash guard is manufactured from spandex and polyester and made to be lightweight. It is fabricated to be dense enough to shield you from 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. The comfort level in this wear is pretty high as it is breathable and also dries fast.
The design is fantastic. It comes with a zipper at the front to allow more fresh air. It also comes with cords on both sides, allowing you to adjust it into a dress.
- It has a UPF rating of 50.
- It comes in nine attractive, feminine colors.
- It comes with a zipper in front.
- The length of the cloth is adjustable.
- It comes in many sizes.
- No warranty.
See Also: 19 Best Water Shoes for Women
Sanabul Essentials Long Sleeve Rash Guard
(Best for Swimming Laps)
If you are the type that sweat so much, this product from Sanabul is the best for you. Although it is a long sleeve rash guard, it offers much ventilation. The underarm of the shirt has a mesh panel that allows ventilation and also eliminates moisture.
The rash guard is a compression type that helps to improve blood flow and muscle performance. The shirt is made from polyester and designed to provide premium protection from the sun. It has a UPF rating of 50.
The shirt has anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties. It is available in different colors and sizes. It can be used for both light and heavy activities including swimming, surfing, sitting on the beach, etc.
- It has a stylish appearance that is available in 6 colors.
- It has anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties.
- It has a UPF rating of 50.
- It has insulating properties.
- It comes with a mesh panel under the arm to eliminate moisture.
- It is less stretchy.
- One might have trouble taking it off.
See Also: Top 7 Best Swim Lap Counters
Sbart Men Rash Guard
(Best for Snorkeling)
Here is one of the best rash guards in the market designed for men. The Sbart men rash guard is a very versatile option as it can be worn for almost any activity. It constitutes less burden since it is lightweight, and doesn’t restrict movement since it is stretchy.
The wear is made from 18% spandex and 82% polyester and is for those interested in long sleeves. It offers a snug-fitting and breathability is top-notch. It is quick-drying and you should get going again in no time. It has a UPF rating greater than 50 which means you have 98 percent protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
It flaunts a great design that is available in three colors and two sizes. The stitches, though visible, also contributes to its aesthetics.
- The UPF rating is greater than 50.
- It flaunts a decent design.
- It is breathable, quick-drying and lightweight.
- It is available in different colors.
- It is stretchy.
- It is made for men.
- Not many sizes are available.
Speedo Men Easy Long Sleeve Rash Guard
(Best for Surfing)
Speedo is a popular brand that I’m sure you have heard about. They offer quality products within the sphere of water-sports. The Easy long sleeve rash guard is just another product for men from Speedo that doesn’t disappoint.
Of course, it is a long sleeve shirt made from 100% polyester. The build-material is less elastic than the previous products, hence, the shirt is loose to allow more breathability. It is available in 5 sizes, making the product available for teens and adults. If you also worry about colors, this shirt has got you covered as it is sold in nine plain colors.
The cloth is lightweight and quick-drying. It has a UPF rating of 50+. It can be worn for almost any activity and even if you just want to sit at the beach. However, it’s loose-fitting may affect hydrodynamics when swimming or snorkeling.
- It is quick-drying and lightweight.
- It has a loose-fitting design which allows more breathability.
- It is available in various colors and sizes.
- It has a high UPF rating.
- It comes from a reputable brand.
- The shirt is loose and may not be too hydrodynamic when used for swimming.
O'Neill Men Long Sleeve Rash Guard
(Best With Hand Protection)
Just like most of the products on my list, this O’Neill rash guard is made from spandex for elasticity and polyester for durability. It is a long sleeve wear designed for men. It can be worn by teens and adults, thanks to its availability in various sizes.
It is one of the attractive wears on this list with neat stitches and is available in eight different colors. The stitches are minimal to ensure better freedom of movement. The fabric is also made lightweight such that you won’t remember you are wearing it.
It is very effective in keeping out UV rays with its UPF rating pegged at 50+. Interestingly, it is also recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Breathability is good with this product and it is slim-fit for almost all activities.
- The fabric is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
- It offers so much freedom of movement.
- It is available in eight attractive plain colors.
- It has a UPF rating of 50+.
- It is breathable and thin.
- Fairly easy to take off.
DRSKIN Rash Guards
(Best for Kayaking)
The DRSKIN product is a rash guard for active swimmers. It is quite attractive and is available in seven alluring color schemes, both plain and multiple colors. It is a short sleeve shirt that offers great fitting due to the inherent elastic property.
With its high elasticity, it offers compression which packs the muscles and improves blood flow. It is great for competitions as it helps you to remain hydrodynamic. If you are all about catching fun (e.g. surfing), the wear can help you maintain your body temperature. However, it is available in six different sizes from small to xxx-large.
The rash guard has a turtle-neck design which ensures that your money protects your neck. It comes with a full-length zipper, making it easy to put on or off. It has a UPF rating of 50.
- It is easy to wear.
- It is available in seven color schemes.
- It is available in six sizes.
- It has a UPF of 50.
- It features a turtle-neck design that protects the neck.
- No warranty.
- Not the best in hot weather.
- The zipper may snap under intense use.
Micosuza Full Body Women Swimsuit One Piece Rash Guard
(Best with Hood)
One thing makes the Micosuza rash guard different – it is a full-body rash guard with long sleeves. This rash guard almost every part of the body. It is designed specifically for women and is available only in nine attractive feminine color designs. It has a design just like a wetsuit and even comes with a hood.
The Micosuza rash guard is made from nylon and spandex. This means you get both performance and freedom of movement. Interestingly, the fabric is chlorine-resistant for added durability. Like most of the rash guards on my list, it has a UPF rating of 50+. It is tight-fit and can be worn alone in cold weather or under wetsuits as insulators.
Since its fabric is 18% spandex, it offers some level of elasticity that makes it easy to wear. This, together with its zipper, makes it easier to wear or take off. The rash guard is odor-resistant and chemical-free. To cap it all, the manufacturer offers a one-year warranty on the product.
- It comes with a one-year warranty.
- It offers full protection to the entire body.
- It has more chlorine tolerance.
- It is useful for many purposes.
- It comes with a zipper, making it easy to take off.
- Not ideal in hot weather conditions.
- It is not unisex.
Kanu Surf Boy Platinum Rashguard
(Best for Toddlers and Kids)
Looking for a small present for your boy? Then I think you need to have this rash guard on top of your list. The Kanu surf boy platinum is a long sleeve rash guard designed for boys from ages 2 to 16.
From its looks, one can be confident that its inherent quality can match up with your child’s needs. Well, it doesn’t disappoint as it is built from quality spandex and polyester.
Of course, you want the best comfort for your child. This is probably the same belief Kanu shares as the surf boy platinum is lightweight and highly breathable. While it protects your child from abrasion, it also offers premium protection from the damaging effects of the sun.
- It offers more insulation.
- It has a high UPF rating of 50.
- It is super stretchy.
- It is available in many colorful designs.
- It is sold in various sizes for kids from ages 2 to 16.
- It doesn’t have much tolerance for chlorine.
- The colors may fade faster depending on the frequency of use.
Gold BJJ Rash Guard
(Best for Scuba Diving)
The Gold BJJ Rash Guard is a decent product for men as it offers good value for money. It can be worn for almost all purposes including cycling, swimming, snorkeling, surfing and more. It is made from polyester and spandex, which justifies its durability and elasticity. It comes with a printed design that, impressively, doesn’t peel off regardless of washing or usage.
It comes with fewer stitches and the stitches are neat and flat to offer good aesthetics and hydrodynamics. It comes in just two colors and could have been more. The wear is a tight-fit and it is available in both long and shorts, as well as, different sizes.
The underarms of the wear have meshes sewn into them for optimum ventilation. In addition, the product comes with a money-back guarantee.
- The wear comes with a printed design that doesn’t peel.
- It comes with mesh on the underarms.
- The stitches are neat.
- The product comes with a money-back guarantee.
- The product is available in both long and short sleeves.
- It is not available in many colors.
Kanu Surf Men Short Sleeve Swim Shirt Rash Guard
(Best for Sun Protection)
Here is another from Kanu, but this time for men. The Kanu surf shirt is a budget-friendly option for those looking for short sleeve rash guards. It has a loose-fitting on the body and it offers both breathability and comfort. It is constructed from polyester and made dense to block out almost all the sun’s harmful rays.
The shirt is made from high-quality polyester to ensure durability. It has a UPF rating of 50 which implies that you get about 99 percent protection for the UV rays. The shirt is lightweight, low absorption and its fabric dries out quickly.
It also provides you the chance to improve your aesthetics with a number of attractive color variants to choose from. It is also available in various sizes. It is easy to maintain and even machine washable.
- It is available in many color and size variations.
- It is loose-fitting, hence, very breathable.
- It has a UPF 50+ rating.
- It is budget-friendly.
- It can be machine washed.
- It doesn’t protect the arms.
Legend Men Long Sleeve Swim Shirt Rash Guard
(Best for Open Water Swimming)
If you want a rash guard with exactly the same effectiveness as a sunscreen, this should top your list. This Legend product is a long sleeve rash guard designed for men. It is made in different sizes and available for teens and adults. Its fabric is manufactured from spandex and polyester and made denser to offer 98 percent protection from UV rays.
The soft fibers are kind to the skin and it doesn’t absorb much moisture. Although it is tight-fit, it offers ventilation and its thin fabric guarantees comfort. The fabric is quick-drying and easy to fold into your bag. The rash guard, due to its tight-fit, improves blood circulation and muscle performance.
It is lightweight and super elastic, and it should not restrict your movement. Hence, it can be used for many activities including cycling, surfing, canoeing, etc. If you care about aesthetics, you will be delighted to know that it is sold in six different colors and neat stitches. However, it doesn’t come with any prints. Lastly, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- It has a high UPF.
- It is super flexible.
- The stitches are neat.
- It is available in seven colors and sizes.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- It comes with no prints or color designs.
Hayabusa Metaru Men Rash Guard
Most people want products that offer much value for money. This Hayabusa Metaru rash guard is specially made for men and its masculine design further confirms it. It is long-sleeved and tight-fit. It is manufactured from elastane and polyester, which explains the reason for its high elasticity.
The rash guard, due to its elasticity, can act as a compression shirt which helps to boost blood circulation and maintain body temperature. The material comes with fibers coated with titanium which has antibacterial properties and provides more insulation.
The hems are made of silicone that keeps the shirt firm on you. The product is fantastic with impressive designs numbering up to four. It also comes in five sizes.
- It flaunts an impressive design.
- It is stretchy and comfy.
- It can be washed with your machine but cold wash.
- It comes in four color designs.
- It comes with silicone hems.
- The UPF rating is could not be ascertained.
CharmLeaks Womens Long Sleeve Rash Guard
(Best with Great Aesthetics)
The Charmleaks rash guard is a nice product for women to “leak their charm”. In terms of aesthetics, the rash guard is well-designed with great stitches and good front prints, and it is available in seven different colors. It is also available in various sizes to give both teens and adults access to the Charmleaks experience.
The rash guard is double-layered with the outer layer made from nylon and spandex, and the interior lining from polyester. Its long sleeves, together with the fabrics’ UPF rating of 50, offer premium protection from UV rays.
It is not a tight-fit shirt but it fits properly and doesn’t run around. This allows for more ventilation and moisture control. It has great elasticity and it dries well after use.
- It is slightly loose.
- It is highly elastic.
- It offers enough ventilation.
- It has a UPF 50 sun protection.
- It flaunts a decent design and neat stitches.
- Slightly heavy.
BALEAF Men Short Sleeve Quick-Dry Rash Guard
(Best with Ventilation)
The Baleaf rash guard for men is just like your regular t-shirts – no collars and short-sleeved. However, this is more as it comes with a UPF rating of 50+, which implies you have the best protection from UV rays.
The shirt is not too tight or loose, it is just as moderate as possible to allow ventilation. It is made from polyester and it is lightweight and quick-drying. It doesn’t come with a zipper but it is very easy to take off. It has a soft feel on the skin and you will definitely love it.
One unique feature of this shirt is its connector loop. It allows you to tie your shorts to your rash guard, thus preventing it from sliding. Just like most rash guards here, it is available in various sizes and colors. It is quick-drying and machine-washable.
- It comes with a connector loop.
- It is slightly loose.
- It offers good ventilation.
- It has a UPF rating greater than 50.
- It is budget-friendly.
- No warranty.
- Your arms are left unprotected.
Rash Guards Buying Guide
Rash guards can be used for almost any function including surfing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, etc. Even if you will be laying on the beach, you should be wearing a rash guard. They are made of neoprene, polyester, nylon or spandex, and are expected to be as lightweight as possible.
They are incredibly rugged may also product and may provide warmth if worn under wetsuits. Now you are set to buy your rash guard, however, you do not know what things to consider. Although your budget is the biggest determinant, buying a rash guard also comes a few things to consider. Below are things to put into consideration.
Type of Rash Guard
Rash guards are available in various styles to meet your preferences. However, I advise that you select based on the weather or climate of your environment. Rash guards are available as short sleeves, long sleeves or vests.
If you perform water sports more frequently, you may want to stick to the long sleeves. You may also wear in place of a wet suit especially when the temperature is low. The short sleeve rash guards will do just fine in hot conditions, offering more breathability. They can also be worn under your wetsuits for added protection and warmth.
There are also full-body styles – they cover almost every part of the body. They come with the most amount of protection and can be worn alone for any sport. They can also be worn under your wetsuits.
Just like your regular clothing, rash guards come in various sizes too. However, I suggest you pick your rash guard based on your activities.
If you are going to be doing intense activities or competitions such as swimming, surfing or kayaking, it is best to stick to rash guards that fit tightly. It doesn’t dance around your body hence you enjoy more hydrodynamics and less possibility of chaffing.
Rash guards are made from polyester, spandex, nylon, neoprene or a combination of the four. Generally, rash guards are lightweight and airy, therefore, you should be comfortable in them. The choice is yours to make in this case (personal preference).
Rashguards, as earlier said, should offer UPF protection, meaning that that should protect you from UVA and UVB. However, the rating varies from product to product. Rash guards with higher UPF often provide the best protection. Below is a chart for UPF ratings and their effectiveness levels.
|UPF rating||Effectiveness||% of UV rays blocked|
|15 -24||Good||93.3 – 95.9|
|25 – 39||Very Good||96.0 – 97.4|
|40 – 50+||Excellent||97.5 – 98.4|
How to Wash Rash Guards?
Rash guards are just like your regular clothing. You need to maintain them if you are really going to get so much from them. One of the ways to maintain them it by washing. Washing helps to keep it fresh and odor-free. It removes dirt and eliminates the effects of chlorinated water.
However, you might be doing more harm than good to your rash guard if you do not wash properly. You can treat your rash guard the way you do to your clothes. You might damage the fabric or compromise its UPF protection. Below are simple instructions to follow.
- After every use, you should rinse your rash guard in freshwater. Even if you won’t be washing it, rinsing will help to reduce the effect of chlorine and also remove dirt. Never use hot water. Do not soak the fabric.
- To wash, get a bowl and fill cool fresh water.
- Handwash with a mild soap (particularly biodegradable soaps). Machine washing seems faster and easier but it can damage the fabric and its UPF protection.
- Turn the fabric inside out and dry. Do not dry directly in the sun or with a dryer.
- When dry, always store on a hanger in a cool dry place. Do not squeeze, fold or tie the fabric as it may weaken it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have come here looking for answers, this is the right place. I have compiled the top most frequently asked questions. However, I recommend going through my comprehensive article for detailed answers to your questions.
Swim Network Overview
Those really serious about protecting their skin will love to get a rash guard. Rashguard offers more than what they are intended. Primarily, they protect the skin for chaffing and the damaging effect of the sun. However, you can wear rash guards to provide more insulation and also to prevent foreign particles in water from reaching your skin.
I have done your assignment for you by researching the best rash guards available in the market. I was able to collate 17 fantastic products. The Hurley Quick Dry Rash Guard is the best overall. It is followed closely by Speedo Men Short Sleeve Swim Tee Rash Guard. However, I also included a comprehensive buying guide in case you need to know how I came about these products.
Help get your friends and relatives find the best rash guards by sharing my post with them on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms as listed below. Have you used any of the products listed? Kindly share your experience in the comment section below.