Rash guards are one of the best ways to protect you or your kids from the elements (sun, water, sand) when out on the water. These fitted, athletic shirts come in both short and long sleeve versions and are worn over a normal bathing suit top (for women). Not only do rash guards protect against sunburn, they shield you and your kids from painful chafing that can occur from long days at the beach.
Did you know that rash guards and swim shirts aren’t only for surfers? Some of the best rash guards will provide protection from the sun, rashes, and scrapes whether on land or in the water. They are designed to dry fast and wick moisture, like sweat, away from the body while remaining lightweight and breathable. If you also want to cover up for modesty, rash guards are a great solution.
Throughout this article, you’ll notice that we refer to the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of these products. UPF is the rating given to clothing and fabrics that protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. A UPF rating of 50 means that only 1/50th of the sun’s harmful UV rays can get through that particular fabric.
Our 6 Favorite Rash Guards
|Kanu Surf Men's Swim Shirt||Men||Polyester||13||Short|
|Tesla Men's Rash Guard||Men||Polyester||25+||Long|
|Sbart Women's Rash Guard||Women||Nylon/Spandex||7||Long|
|Tesla Women's Rash Guard||Women||Polyester||30+||Long|
|Kanu Surf Boys' Rash Guard||Boys||Polyester/Spandex||10||Long|
|Baohulu Girls' Rash Guard||Girls||Polyamide/Elathane||7||Long or Short|
Rash Guard Reviews
#1 – Kanu Surf Men’s Rash Guard Swim Shirt
The Kanu Surf men’s swim shirt is available in 13 colors and sizes small thru xx-large. This rash guard shirt has short sleeves and is made of 100% polyester with a crew neckline. It offers an Ultraviolet Protection Factor(UPF) of 50+. This shirt dries fast and is great not only for swimming and surfing, but also for running and working out. The quick-dry fabric features wicking technology that pulls moisture away from the skin and it’s loose fitting, making it very breathable, cool, and comfortable.
We’re big fans of Kanu Surf swim shirts because they don’t fade in chlorinated water and they hold their shape well after washing. The stitching doesn’t come loose in the wash, and they’re a great value for the money. The sun protection of this shirt is very good, and we love that you don’t need to apply sunscreen to your torso when wearing it. Going kayaking? This Kanu Surf swim shirt is perfect for paddlers.
Wearers of this shirt felt safe from sunburn with this water shirt, and most love the loose fit. However, some users noted that they wished the shirt was a bit more form fitting, like a traditional swim shirt. Some recommended purchasing a size smaller than normal if you like the form fitted look. Also, be aware that some of the lighter colors might be see through when wet. If that will bother you, choose a darker color option.
#2 – Tesla Men’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard
The Tesla Men’s long sleeve rash guard is available in over 25 colors and sized small thru xx-large. This long sleeve shirt is made of 100% polyester for quick drying. The durable, high-density fabric protects against rashes and abrasions, while providing an UPF of 50+, making it perfect for wearing under a snorkeling vest so your back doesn’t end up like a lobster.
This shirt is great for swimming and surfing, too, because the sleeves fit snuggly but don’t restrict movement.
We love this shirt’s ability to shed water and dry fast. Just give it a quick towel dry when you get out of the water and you’ll be dry in no time! The shirt has great elasticity that allows for freedom of movement and a comfortable fit. The breathability and great ventilation make it very cool, even when you’re not in the water. The Tesla rash guard fits true to size, and is long enough in the sleeves and torso for bigger guys. This shirt has a snug fit, like a traditional water shirt.
Those who own this shirt mentioned that they love the extra neck protection this shirt offers, while still being easy to take off. They found it to be comfortable for even non-water activities, like biking and working out.
However, there is a lot of confusion about the sizing. As mentioned above, the shirt is meant to fit snuggly, so don’t purchase a size up unless you want it a little baggy. Also, some users felt that the lighter colors stained too easily, so you may want to consider a darker color option to avoid that problem. We find this shirt to be the best men’s rash guard shirt for those looking for a snug fit, good value, and full sun protection!
#3 – Sbart Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard
This long sleeve women’s rash guard shirt is made of 82% nylon and 18% spandex, making it very flattering and form fitting. This shirt provides a UPF of 50+, and it’s perfect for water activities as well as yoga, running, and working out. The fabric is soft and breathable, but still durable enough to last a long time. The wicking quality of the shirt makes it very cool in the sun, even when out of the water.
If you’re looking for a women’s rash guard that has a flattering fit, this one is sure to please! We love the zipper neckline and adjustable gathered tie sides! You can wear it long like a dress, or shorten it with the side cords to make it fit like a shirt. The gathered fabric even helps to hide your tummy! With seven beautiful colors and six sizes to choose from, you really can’t go wrong with this shirt.
Wearers love the versatility of this rash guard. They felt safe relying on it to prevent sunburn. Many users even said they love it so much they’re buying it in multiple colors! The only drawback of this rash guard is that the manufacturer says it must be hand washed only. Machine washing could weaken its sun protection ability.
#4 – Tesla Women’s Long Sleeve Rash Guard
This women’s rash guard shirt made by Tesla comes in a ton of different colors and designs to choose from (over 30!). It’s available in sizes x-small thru x-large. The UPF is 50+, so it’s great for water sports and other outdoor activities. It dries fast and is very breathable, making it great for workouts, too. The fabric is very durable to protect against rashes and scrapes.
We love how this top has a slightly looser fit but still manages to be form fitting and flattering on a woman’s figure! It’s so comfortable and light weight, you’ll forget you are even wearing it. There’s no need to wear sunscreen on your torso area when wearing this shirt, and that’s a great benefit for those who always forget to reapply and end up with a sunburn!
Purchasers of this shirt found it to be an excellent value for the price and very well made. They all love the bright, beautiful colors and the durability of this shirt. However, some users had trouble finding just the right size and found themselves returning it to try a size either smaller or larger depending on their build. Try to give yourself some extra time when ordering just in case you find you need to exchange it for a different size.
#5 – Kanu Surf Boys’ Platinum Rash Guard
The Kanu Surf Boys’ Platinum Rash Guard is available in both toddler boys’ and big boys’ sizes x-small thru x-large. The long sleeves and UPF 50+ will provide great sun protection for your little one. The shirt is 86% polyester and 14% spandex and it is machine washable for easy care. This water shirt is lightweight, breathable, and soft, making it super comfortable for a day at the beach or pool. Boys will love the bright, fun colors, too!
We’re impressed with the durability of this shirt. It holds up well to chlorine, saltwater, sun and machine washing. Your child can wear it for anything from rough sand play to ziplining! It’s nice not having worry about applying and reapplying sunblock to your child’s torso and arms, too. As parents, we’ve all been there where your child has gotten a bad sunburn because we forgot to reapply sunscreen.
Moms were very impressed with the sunburn protection this shirt gives. They stated that even after a full day at the beach their child had no sunburn where this shirt was covering the skin. Some owners of this shirt did recommend line drying to prevent the logo from melting off in the dryer. Also, keep in mind that the sleeves run a little long when deciding what size to order.
#6 – Baohulu Toddler & Big Girl Swimsuit Rash Guard
The Baohulu two-piece tankini is a super cute rash guard for little girls! It comes in girls’ sizes for 3-12 years. You can choose from shorts and short sleeves or pants and long sleeves in several color options. Your little one will be protected from the sun by the UPF 50+ this suit offers. The high collar even gives extra protection for the neck area.
The suit is stretchy, soft, and lightweight so it’s very comfortable for all day wear. The quality of the suit is excellent and it holds up well to rough play and machine washing. It should be laid flat to dry, but it dries super-fast so that’s not an issue. Putting sunscreen on a child can be a challenge at best, so we love that it’s only needed on the hands, feet, and face if you choose the long pants and sleeves option! Or add a cute sun hat for almost full coverage.
Moms who reviewed this suit said their kids love it! It’s very comfortable and soft on the skin. They love the drawstring waist that keeps the bottoms from falling down in the water. Several purchasers felt that the sizing ran a little small, so consider ordering a size larger than you normally would. Also, the top is not lined, so it might be a little sheer for an 11 to 12-year-old girl without a swim top underneath it.
Does a rash guard keep you warm?
Rash guards are made to dry fast, but they do not generally provide a lot of extra warmth. If you are looking for something to keep you warm in very cold water, look for a wetsuit.
Should I get the long or short sleeve version?
It really just comes down to personal preference, but a long sleeve version will provide more protection from the sun and rashes and scrapes than a short sleeve one will.
Can a rash guard be used for non-water activities like running, hiking, or biking?
Absolutely! Rash guards are designed to dry fast and wick moisture away from the skin, so they are great for any activity that involves sweating.
Consider purchasing a rash guard for each member of the family! The sun protection and comfort are well worth the investment.