The 20 Best Rash Guards for Men, Women & Kids [2021]

Best Rashguards

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These lightweight and breathable swim shirts are designed to be worn both in and out of the water to protect your skin from salt, chlorine, sand, and other irritants. Not only do these close-fitting, fast-drying swim shirts prevent rashes from rubbing and chafing, but they also provide excellent protection from the UV rays of the sun.

Things To Consider With Rash Guards

Whether you simply want to keep your skin safely hidden from the sun in the pool or you are planning epic adventures out on the water, a rash guard offers an additional layer of protection that can be worn either on its own or under your wet suit. Before you decide which type of rash guard suits you best, consider the following:

Fit

Most rash guards are designed to fit snugly against the skin to ensure that they offer maximum protection at all times.

The tight fit of these shirts also prevents them from ballooning up in the water, which would dramatically affect your performance as you swim. Conversely, rash guards that are too loose may not work as well at keeping uncomfortable chafing or rubbing to a minimum while you swim.

Hot Tip: If you don’t feel confident wearing a figure-hugging garment, you can always purchase the next size up to enjoy a little extra room.

Sleeves

Some rash guards come with short sleeves like a regular summer t-shirt, and this type of design offers more freedom of movement in the water. However, surfers, boarders, and those who like to partake in cold water activities might like to consider a long-sleeve rash guard that offers additional support, warmth, and protection in all weathers.

Style

Many rash guards come in a wide variety of colors and designs, and however cool you need to look in the water, there will be a rash guard to suit your style. Some come with board short connectors that attach the shirt to your shorts to stop it from riding up while you surf, and others have a heavy silicone hem to prevent the shirt from ballooning up around you in the water.

Turtlenecks are also common on rash guards as they give better coverage for protection from the sun, and whether you opt for a short- or long-sleeve design, you will find that raglan designs are popular as they offer increased freedom of movement around the chest and shoulder area.

Material

Your rash guard needs to feel soft against the skin while also being able to dry nice and quickly. Made from synthetic materials such as polyester, elastane, or nylon, these swim shirts come with flatlock seams to prevent chafing and have the same soft, shiny look and feel as your bathing suit might have.

Hot Tip: Many modern rash guards can be washed in the machine between uses, but some should be kept away from very hot water, so check your labels before buying.

UV Protection

One of the biggest benefits of wearing a rash guard is the amount of additional UPF protection it offers alongside your regular sunscreen. Some rash guards are made using special fibers and have a dense weave that helps to block out as much as 98% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, while others may have been treated with a UV-deflecting coating.

Much like sunscreen, the SPF protection number on the shirt will tell how much UV the rash guard can filter out. No matter how much protection a rash guard promises to offer, you should always remember to wear sunscreen as well.

The 8 Best Men’s Rash Guards

UPF Protection and Fashionable Good Looks

Quiksilver Men’s Solid Streak Long Sleeve Rashguard

As one of the biggest names in surfing accessories, it should come as no surprise that this awesome rash guard from Quiksilver has been made to last.

Featuring the iconic logo emblazoned across the chest, this long-sleeved shirt is made from a soft and skin-friendly blend of polyester and elastane, and the looser fit ensures that it always feels comfortable, even when wet. With 50+ UPF sun protection, this shirt will keep your skin safe from the harmful rays of the sun, and the pull-on closure makes it super easy to throw on in an instant.

Featuring moisture-wicking properties to help move sweat and dampness away from the skin, this rash guard is stylish, comfortable, and offers an excellent layer of protection from sun, salt, and sand.

What We Like

  • The loose-fit design feels super comfortable

What We Don’t Like

  • A board connector loop would be handy

Rash Guard for Supercool Surfers

O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard

This incredibly cool-looking rash guard has a performance fit that is designed to hug your body like a second skin.

Offering the same level of 50+ UPF protection that you would expect to find in the highly popular O’Neill wetsuits, this awesome rash guard is one of the few recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation to provide excellent protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Made with 4-way stretch in the polyester and spandex material, this shirt will move with you in and out of the water, and the minimal seam placement offers incredible protection against rashes from sand, salt, and chlorine on delicate skin.

What We Like

  • It fits flush against the skin while still feeling breathable and soft

What We Don’t Like

  • This shirt runs around 1 size small

Rash Guard Shirt for Use in the Pool

RVCA Men’s VA Rash Guard

Made from a breathable and chlorine-resistant blend of polyester and elastane, this long-sleeve rash guard features a delicate RVCA graphic on the front. Designed to feel super comfortable in the water, the flat seams and raglan design helps to reduce the risk of chafing and rashes, and the tight fit sits neatly against the skin in the water.

Available in black, red, and navy blue colorways, this rash guard comes in sizes S through to 2XL, and the incredible stretch the fabric offers makes it as suitable for use in the gym as it is in the water.

What We Like

  • The simple but effective design and performance fit

What We Don’t Like

  • The sizing seems a little small

T-Shirt-Style Rash Guard for Laid-Back Water Lovers

Hurley Men’s Americana Short Sleeve Rashguard

This quick-drying, short-sleeve t-shirt has been designed to offer practical and reliable protection against the sun’s harmful rays. The jersey knit fabric is soft and breathable, and the clever rash guard design makes it suitable for use both in and out of the water.

Easy to wash in the machine between uses, this t-shirt has a funky screen print graphic on the front and is available in sizes S to 2XL. This casual-fitting t-shirt looks good on the beach and offers quick-drying protection in the water.

What We Like

  • The casual fit and fashionable styling

What We Don’t Like

  • It doesn’t claim to offer high UPF protection

The Best Baggy Rash Guard

Billabong Men’s Classic Loose Fit Short Sleeve Rashguard

This soft and comfortable t-shirt is loose-fitting, easy to wear, and made from a blend of polyester and elastane.

Machine washable and available in a selection of designs and sizes S through to 2XL, this rash guard t-shirt offers UPF 50+ protection to help keep your skin safer in the sun. With a pull-on closure, it can be thrown on in an instant, and the casual styling looks great with shorts, jeans, and swimwear.

What We Like

  • The material is thick and substantial

What We Don’t Like

  • The fit is a little tighter than you might expect

Everyday Short-Sleeve Rash Guard Tee

Volcom Men’s Solid UPF 50+ Short Sleeve Rashguard

This rash guard shirt is made from a breathable and quick-drying blend of polyester and elastane with its super-snug fit. Available in a selection of colors and sizes XS through to 2XL, this t-shirt can be machine washed, and the pull-on closure makes it super easy to throw on, both in and out of the water.

Offering 50+ UPF protection against the harmful rays of the sun, this top is an excellent addition to your hat and sunscreen when you are spending a lot of time out in the heat of the sun.

What We Like

  • The colors stay bright and free from fading

What We Don’t Like

  • The sizing is a little on the small side

Tattoo-Effect Rash Guard for Supercool Dudes

LAFROI Men’s Long Sleeve UPF 50+ Baselayer Skins

This long-sleeve rash guard shirt comes in an amazing selection of colors and designs and gives the impression of a full-sleeve tattoo for seriously cool surfers and sportsmen.

Made from nylon and spandex, the tight fit wraps around your body like a second skin, and the UV 50+ protection helps to protect you from sunburn by creating a barrier above the skin.

Lightweight, comfortable, and incredibly quick to dry, this awesome rash vest has a high level of elasticity to ensure excellent compression for your muscles while simultaneously being super easy to wear. Perfect for wearing while surfing, paddleboarding, or even working out in the gym, this is an eye-catching alternative to more traditional rash guards.

What We Like

  • The tattoo sleeve-style designs

What We Don’t Like

  • The fit is designed to be pretty tight and unforgiving

Super-Stretchy Rash Guard for an Increased Range of Movement

Kanu Surf Men’s Long-Sleeve Platinum UPF 50+ Rashguard

Designed to be super soft against the skin, this rash guard helps to reduce the presence of skin irritation and rashes caused by salt, sand, chlorine, and other irritants. Made from polyester and spandex, the skin-friendly fabric also provides UPF 50+ protection to block up to 98% of the sun’s harmful rays.

The 4-way stretch lets the shirt move and flex with you and is available in a choice of colors and sizes from S to 2XL. This is a practical and super comfortable rash guard that is perfect for use in the water.

What We Like

  • Easy to wear with lots of fashionable colors to choose from

What We Don’t Like

  • Not everyone may love the high-neck design

Hot Tip: Pair your rash guard top with the perfect swim bottom. Check out our guide to the best swim shorts for men and women.

The 8 Best Women’s Rash Guards

One of the Best Budget Rash Guards Out There

O’Neill Women’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Available in a wide selection of colors and sizes XS through to 2XL, this rash guard is anything but basic. Made by the surfing experts at O’Neill, it is made from a comfortable and stretchy blend of polyester and spandex and features the most minimal seam placement for increased rash protection, both in and out of the water.

The form-fitting design fits like a second skin, and with UPF 50+ protection, this rash guard has been recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as one of the best out there.

What We Like

  • This shirt offers excellent protection

What We Don’t Like

  • The sizes come up small

Eco-Friendly Rash Guard

Roxy Women’s Beach Classics Long Sleeve Rashguard

Super stylish and incredibly practical, this brilliant rash guard has a luxuriously snug fit that feels soft and breathable against the skin. Made from traceable, recycled polyester that originally comes from plastic bottles, this awesome swim shirt is excellent in the water and incredibly eco-friendly.

Offering UPF 50+ protection will help to keep your skin nice and safe from the harmful rays of the sun, and the discreet but fashionable rubber logo looks good in a selection of colors and sizes from XS through to XL.

What We Like

  • The comfortable fit lets you move around easily

What We Don’t Like

  • It is quite wide across the shoulders

Brightly Colored Rash Guards for Women

Platinum Sun Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Offering a heady mix of fashionable good looks and high-performance protection, this rash guard offers unlimited movement in and out of the water. Made from super soft and stretchy fabric, it comes in a choice of bright and colorful, eye-catching designs in sizes S through to XL.

The high neck design and longer length offer incredible UPF 50+ protection from up to 98% of the sun’s harmful rays, and the silicone hem prevents the shirt from riding up in the waves. With thumbholes at the cuffs for increased practicality and comfort and a super quick-drying construction, this shirt is perfect for diving, surfing, sailing, and so much more.

What We Like

  • The designs are breathtaking and really unique

What We Don’t Like

  • The sleeves are a little long

High-Neck Rash Guard for Extra Protection

TSLA Women’s UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard

With a high neck and long sleeves, this rash guard offers reliable protection from up to 98% of harmful UV rays, and the tight-fitting design is perfect for wearing while enjoying a wide range of water sports and swimming.

The high-density, high-stretch fabric is durable and fade-proof and will help you to keep your skin safe against rashes and abrasion caused by sand, sun, salt, and other irritants along the way. With a twisted 3D pattern and flatlock stitching, this top comes in a selection of beautiful designs that all perform brilliantly, and the moisture-wicking, 2-way circulation lets your skin breathe in the heat of the sun.

What We Like

  • The longer length is really practical

What We Don’t Like

  • Some designs seem to come up smaller than others

Best Rash Guard for Layering Up

Isnowood Women’s UPF 50+ Long Sleeve UV Sun Protection Shirts

With a casual fit and an easy-to-wear crew neck, this comfortable swim shirt is made from quick-drying spandex and elastane.

This shirt is available in a wide selection of colors and in sizes and offers UPF 50+ protection to help your skin stay safer in the sun. Designed to block out as much as 98% of the UVA and UVB rays that can cause painful sunburn, this shirt also offers extra moisture-wicking properties to keep the buildup of sweat away from the skin.

With no nasty tags to rub against your skin, and flatlock seams to ensure reduced friction, this lightweight rash guard can be worn on its own or as an additional skin-friendly layer underneath your wetsuit.

What We Like

  • Comfortable, practical, and lots of great colors to choose from

What We Don’t Like

  • Sizing runs a little small

Super-Adjustable Rash Guard

HISKYWIN Women’s Long Sleeve UV Sun Protection Rash Guard Shirt

With a half-zip and adjustable sides, this rash guard is perfect for use in the water while also offering incredible versatility and fashionable styling.

Made from a high-quality blend of spandex and polyester, this shirt feels soft and lightweight against the skin, and the moisture-wicking properties help to keep sweat at bay for a more comfortable feel all day long.

With UPF 50+ protection against the sun, you can wear this shirt on its own or as an additional layer over your bathing suit or under your wetsuit, and the thumb holes and drawstrings help you find a more customized fit for the shape of your body.

What We Like

  • The design is really cute and practical

What We Don’t Like

  • This shirt can run a little on the big side

Body-Hugging Rash Guard

Body Glove Women’s Smoothies Long Sleeve Rashguard

Supersoft and incredibly stylish, this long-sleeved rash guard really has been designed to fit your body like a glove.

With a no-closure closure, it is comfortable to wear and easy to throw on in and out of the water, and the low-profile crew neck design makes it versatile enough to be worn every day.

In addition, the flatlock seams will help to reduce the risk of chafing and rashes, and the machine-washable fabric has been designed to look as good as new time after time. Available in a wide choice of colors to suit every wearer, this shirt is available in sizes XS through to XL.

What We Like

  • Looks great and is really stylish

What We Don’t Like

  • The colors have been known to run in the washing machine

Bathing Suit With UPF 50+ Protection

swimall Women’s One Piece Rash Guard

This bathing suit combines all the benefits of a rash guard with the freedom of a regular bathing suit. Made from soft and stretchy polyester and spandex, it is available in sizes S through to XXL, and there are lots of stunning colors and designs to choose from.

With a front zipper that allows the suit to slip on and off easily, as well as UPF 50+ protection to block the harmful rays of the sun, this is an excellent choice for wearing while surfing, swimming, diving, and so much more.

What We Like

  • Very practical for freshwater swimming

What We Don’t Like

  • The suit is quite short on the body

Hot Tip: Water shoes offer protection from hot sand, sharp rocks, and stones when you’re at the beach or lake. Check out our recommendations for the best water shoes for men and women.

The 4 Best Kids’ Rash Guards

The Best Protection for Supercool Boys

Kanu Surf Boys’ Platinum Rashguard

This long-sleeved rash guard will help keep your youngest swimmers safe from the sun, and is made from a skin-friendly mix of nylon and spandex materials.

Offering UPF 50+ protection from up to 98% of UVA and UVB rays, this shirt has a tight fit to prevent it from rising up in the water. Available in a choice of bold colorways, this shirt has a high neck design and full-length sleeves and comes in sizes to fit boys from age 2 through to 16 years old.

With an easy-to-wear, machine washable construction, this rash guard will continue to offer kids protection from salt, sun, and sand for many more adventures to come.

What We Like

  • The longer-length design offers great coverage when it’s needed the most

What We Don’t Like

  • The design is slightly oversized, so you may want to size down

Super Trendy Rash Guard for Girls on the Go

Roxy Girls’ Whole Hearted Short Sleeve Rashguard

This super trendy swim shirt features the iconic Roxy heart logo and comes in a choice of stylish black, blue, or white colorways. Made from polyester and elastane, the fabric will feel soft against your child’s skin, and the snug fit will help to keep their skin safe both in and out of the water.

For your reassurance, this shirt offers UPF 50+ sun protection to help protect your child’s skin from the harmful rays of the sun, and the higher-collar design stops sand from getting in as they play on the beach.

What We Like

  • This rash guard shirt is made from high-quality materials

What We Don’t Like

  • It is a little pricier than some of the less fashionable brands

The Best Rash Guard for Younger Girls

UNIFACO Toddler Girls Rashguard Swimsuit

This protective swimsuit is perfect for little girls between 2 and 8 years old and comes in a variety of supercute designs and colorways.

This 2-piece garment is made from soft and skin-friendly fabric, and the UPF 50+ protection offers effective protection against ultraviolet rays to help keep your little princess nice and safe in the sun. In addition, the long-sleeve design is practical for use in all weathers, and the tankini bottoms can be worn over a swim diaper if necessary.

What We Like

  • The cute design

What We Don’t Like

  • The bottoms are a bit snug

2-Piece Rash Guard Set for a Fashionable Young Man

Simple Joys by Carter’s Boys’ Assorted Rash Guard Set

This superb safety set is perfect for boys between 3 months and 5 years old and comes in a selection of attractive designs. The long-sleeved, high-necked shirt has a raglan shape that lets the shirt move with your child, and with matching swim shorts included, this set can be worn both in and out of the water.

With a pull-on closure and adjustable drawstring, this set is practical, protective, and so comfortable that your little one won’t want to take it off.

What We Like

  • Quality 2-piece set that comes in lots of child-friendly designs

What We Don’t Like

  • The shirts run true to size, but the shorts come up big

Final Thoughts

These close-fitting swim shirts are made from fast-drying material, making them perfect for frequent trips in and out of the water, and the breathable design ensures that they still feel extremely comfortable even when wet. Choose from long or short-sleeved designs for maximum protection and comfort, and play safer knowing that your upper torso is well-protected in the sun.


All information and content provided by Upgraded Points is intended as general information and for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as medical advice or legal advice. For more information, see our Medical & Legal Disclaimers.


Frequently asked questions

What does a rash guard do?

Rash guards have 2 functions and are a necessity for those who like water sports. As the name suggests, the first thing it does is protect your skin from rashes. Secondly, it provides excellent protection against UV sunlight.

What is the difference between a rash guard and a swim shirt?

Rash guards differ from swim shirts in that they act more like athletic compression shirts. They offer a tighter, almost skin-tight fit, but rash guards and swim shirts will both protect against UV rays.

Should rash guards be tight?

Yes, rash guards should be tight as any loose material can cause chafing and rubbing.

Can you tan through a rash guard?

Given the material that rash guards are made from, most offer a UPF of at least 50, which means sunlight won’t be getting to your skin. It’s very difficult to get a tan through a rash guard.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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