Get a Good Sunscreen at a Great Price
Consumer Reports’ tests show that several sunscreen products protect really well for far less
No doubt about it: If you’re using sunscreen properly, you’re going to go through a lot of it over the course of a summer.
Let’s do the math. It takes a full ounce to cover your body, and you need to apply that amount every 2 hours you’re in the sun. Most sunscreens come in 4- to 6-ounce containers, so a family with four members who each spend 8 hours a week in the sun should easily use 37 to 56 bottles of sunscreen from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Sunscreen can be pricey, but here’s the good news: You can get a good product for a lot less than you think. In fact, according to Consumer Reports’ tests, you can’t judge a sunscreen by its price at all.
“We found protective sunscreens priced at over $12 an ounce and ones that cost as little as 44 cents an ounce,” says Susan Booth, the project leader for CR’s sunscreen testing. To illustrate how price and performance don't go hand in hand, consider that our two top scoring lotions cost $7.20 and $2.50 per ounce, and the bottom two scorers cost $1.17 and $9.75 per ounce.
How We Test Sunscreens
Price vs. Performance
Our overall sunscreen ratings are a combination of the results from our UVA and UVB tests as well as variation from SPF, a measure of how closely a sunscreen’s tested SPF matched the SPF on the label.
When we plotted the scores against the price per ounce for all of the sunscreens we tested, we saw no clear relation between price and performance. In our ratings this year, six sprays and lotions that received Excellent or Very Good overall scores cost $1 per ounce, and eight cost even less than that. Here are a few of them.
Do sunscreens really protect as much as their manufacturers claim? On the "Consumer 101" TV show, a Consumer Reports' expert, Sue Booth, breaks down what you need to know to keep you safe from the sun's harmful rays.