Sun shade panels perform one simple task: keep sunlight off anything underneath it. A good sun shade is great for keeping people cool on a hot day and preventing sunburns. But shades can also protect things like patio furniture, and even extend the life of your deck. For those things, you need a sun shade that blocks a certain percentage of UV light, is made of breathable materials and is easy to set up. Here are a few other considerations before you buy.

This model blocks 95 percent of damaging rays and is made with breathable fabric. Patio Paradise

Ultraviolet (UV) light is one of the most dangerous sun rays to humans. It’s what leads to sunburns and may elevate your risk of getting skin cancer. It’s brutal on the eyes, too. That’s why the main feature you need in a shade is the ability to block a high percentage of UV light. Look for shades that block 90 percent or more.

This is made with breathable polyethylene and won’t fade, rot, or accumulate mold. Garden EXPERT

You might think you need a waterproof sun shade. While that may be true for something like a sun umbrella, it’s actually a bad thing when it comes to large sun shades. If it rains, water can pool on top of your shade, making it prone to tearing sometime in the future. Look for shades with breathable materials. Not only will the fabrics let water pass through, but they’ll also let hot air escape and cool breezes in.

This model has an aluminum head for added strength and durability. Coolaroo

Your shade is only going to work when it’s set up. Some shades can remain up all the time, so you just set it up once and leave it, though remember it’s more prone to wear and tear even when you aren’t using it. If you don’t want your shade deployed all the time, because they disrupt your view or obstruct the pathway on your patio, a retractable shade may be right for you. Most mount either vertically or horizontally and are easy to set out or put away with the aid of a hand crank.