15 Best Rash Guards in 2022

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Australians know them as rashies, divers around the world know them for their helpfulness when putting on tight wetsuits, and swimmers love them for their UV protection.

The humble rash guard (or rash vest) is a beloved bit of water-lovers kit that will stand you in good stead no matter your preferred water activity.

To help you pick out a new rash guard, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s top offerings.

Go further down to read our in-depth reviews.

All are from well-known brands renowned for their high-quality gear. But before we take a look at the rash vests themselves, let’s go over a few considerations that will help you with your purchase.

What is a Rash Guard?

Rash guards (sometimes known as swim shirts) are multi-purpose shirts that are designed for in-water activities. The name comes from the fact that surfers were the first to use them a lot. To protect themselves from rashes brought about by friction and the board, surfers would wear a lycra shirt.

Today’s rash guards are designed for multiple uses. Children are often told to throw one on to stop their chest and arms being burnt, swimmers and beachgoers choose to wear a rash vest for UV protection too, and divers and snorkelers use them instead of wetsuits in warm water. These are just a few instances when rash vests are useful.

Rash guards are typically made from nylon, lycra, spandex, neoprene, and polyester (or a combination of these materials) and can offer thermal protection, sun protection, and, of course, rash prevention.

The Top 7 Rash Guards in 2022

All the Rash Guards We've tested

Oneill Mens Premium Featured Image
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O’Neill has used a four-way material that helps cool you down as moisture evaporates from its surface. The fabric seems quite thin but it still gives plenty of protection. Flatlock stitching means there’s less of the chafing you get with some other rashies and seamless paddle zones give a greater range of movement. Again, the downside is no board short connectors.

But this is still a great value rash guard that will keep you cool, especially if you’re surfing somewhere tropical.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 91% Nylon 9% Elastane
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Four-way quick-dry stretch material
  • Long sleeves

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8
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oneill-mens-premium-skins-rash-guard.jpg

O’Neill Men’s Premium

Roxy Womens Whole Hearted Featured Image
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This super stretchy rash guard is made from polyester and elastane. We love the cut of this rashie, which tends to run a bit small so buy a size up if you’re not sure. We also love the simple Roxy heart logo on the front. With 50+ UPF sun protection, this is the perfect choice for a day in the sun.

Plus, with around 12 colors to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Specs & Features

  • Material: 92% Polyester 8% Elastane
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Long sleeves
  • Designed specifically for women

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8
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roxy-womens-whole-hearted-long-sleeve-rash-guard.jpg

Roxy Women’s Whole Hearted Long Sleeve

hurley-mens-nike-dri-fit-featured-image
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This rash guard and swim shirt for men boasts sweat-wicking, four-way stretch material that stays super comfortable both in and out of the water. The hood means that this rash guard looks a lot like a shirt and since it dries so fast thanks to Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric, it’s perfectly acceptable to head for a late afternoon beer directly from the beach.

We like the relaxed fit and Hurley’s reputation for long-lasting sportswear.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 100% Polyester
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Quick-dry material
  • Long sleeves

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.7
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hurley-mens-nike-dri-fit-long-sleeve.jpg

Hurley Men’s Nike Dri-Fit Long Sleeve

Volcom Womens Simply Featured Image
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If you’re a woman who wants to stand out from the crowd, you will definitely like the Volcom Simply Solid Body Suit. Designed like a long-sleeved swimsuit, this rash guard is stylish but also highly practical as there’s no chance of it rolling or riding up. We were worried the front zipper would dig in when lying on your front but that’s not a problem as it sits flat. The downside is that it’s only available in a couple of different colors.

The more reserved lady may think the suit rides a bit high at the rear but we say what’s wrong with showing a little cheek?

Specs & Features

  • Material: 78% Nylon 22% Elastane
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Full long-sleeved swimsuit style
  • Front zipper

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.6
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volcom-womens-simply-solid-body-suit.jpg

Volcom Women’s Simply Solid Body Suit

scubapro-mens-upf-50-featured-image
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This Scubapro offering provides UV protection to snorkelers and added warmth to divers who wear it under a wetsuit. The polyester material hugs the skin comfortably and is highly durable and abrasion-resistant. Even after using it for a few years, this rashie kept its shape.

We like the high neckline for diving as it prevents your wetsuit from rubbing.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 100% Polyester
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Quick-dry material
  • Durable

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4
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scubapro-mens-upf-50-long-sleeve-rash-guard.jpg

Scubapro Men’s UPF 50 Long Sleeve

scubapro-womens-everflex-featured-image
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Scubapro has knocked it out of the park with their Everflex jacket and, in our opinion, this diving brand has beaten some serious competition from the dedicated surf brands. This rash guard is made from neoprene for warmth and features a zip-up styling. The material is, as the name suggests, incredibly stretchy and will not inhibit freedom of movement in the arms, which is important for surfers.

We like the fleecy, soft interior and the fact that this jacket dries so quickly. We just wish there were board short connectors at the bottom of the rash guard but that’s the only downside for us. That said, this is a thicker jacket so it won’t roll up as thin rash guards can.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Neoprene and fleece interior
  • Thermal protection? 1.5 mm
  • Sun protection? Yes
  • Quick-dry material
  • Long sleeves

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.4
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scubapro-womens-everflex-1.jpg

Scubapro Women’s EverFlex

Quiksilver All Time Featured Image
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Another solid offering from Quiksilver. The All Time Long Sleeve rash guard is a classic design which comes in loads of different colors. Quiksilver may be better known for their surfwear but this rashie is especially good for snorkelers. We like the fact that it’s lightweight and super comfortable.

The only downside is that the material is very stretchy and you end up losing the snug-fit over time.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 92% Polyester 8% Elastane
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Snug-fit design
  • Flatlock seams

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.3
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Where to buy:

quiksilver-all-time-long-sleeve-rash-guard.jpg

Quiksilver All Time Long Sleeve

Sanabul Essentials Long Sleeve Featured Image
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Although initially designed for martial arts and crosstraining, we think this Sanabul rash guard is ideal for surfers and as an all-round swim shirt. It allows for great flexibility and the material has anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties. We like the underarm ventilated mesh which is there to let moisture escape. As a compression vest, it’s also meant to improve blood flow throughout the body to increase muscle performance.

We’re not sure it will tone your muscles, but the Sanabul rash guard will give you protection from the sun without restricting your movements.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Polyester/Nylon/Spandex
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Underarm mesh
  • Long sleeves

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2
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sanabul-essentials-long-sleeve-compression-rash-guard.jpg

Sanabul Essentials Long Sleeve Compression

Kanu Surf Womens Keri Featured Image
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Although initially designed for martial arts and crosstraining, we think this Sanabul rash guard is ideal for surfers and as an all-round swim shirt. It allows for great flexibility and the material has anti-odor and anti-bacterial properties. We like the underarm ventilated mesh which is there to let moisture escape. As a compression vest, it’s also meant to improve blood flow throughout the body to increase muscle performance.

We’re not sure it will tone your muscles, but the Sanabul rash guard will give you protection from the sun without restricting your movements.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 86% Polyester 14% Spandex
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Long sleeves
  • Available in a wide range of colors

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2
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Where to buy:

kanu-surf-womens-keri-long-sleeve-upf-50-rashguard-1.jpg

Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+

Mares Womens Trilastic Featured Image
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The Mares Trilastic is a great rash guard, especially for female divers. The flatlock seams don’t dig into your skin when worn under a wetsuit and we were able to tuck the shirt far enough inside the suit so it didn’t ride up while diving.

Although it has a lower UPF than the other rash guards we’ve looked at, it still gives excellent UV protection. It’s quite a tight fit across the chest so if you’re well-endowed it’s advisable to go a size or two up.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 85% Polyester 15% Spandex
  • Material: 85% Polyester 15% Spandex
  • Sun protection? 30+ UPF
  • Flatlock seams
  • High neckline

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.1
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Where to buy:

mares-womens-trilastic-rash-guard-shirt.jpg

Mares Women’s Trilastic

Quiksilver Mens Always There Featured Image
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This long-sleeve rashie from Quiksilver is made from stretch polyester blend material that gives loads of flexibility whatever activity you’re into. It’s also a moisture-wicking fabric so sweat is quickly transferred from the inside to the outside of the vest. The snug-fit design looks great but it does mean the rash guard can feel a bit too tight, so you might want to consider going up a size.

With Quiksilver being a market leader in surfwear, you know you’re getting a quality product.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 92% Polyester 8% Elastane
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Long sleeves
  • Moisture-wicking material

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.1
Read full review

Where to buy:

quiksilver-mens-always-there-rash-guard.jpg

Quiksilver Men’s Always There

oceanic-lavacore-lavaskin-womens-featured-image
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The Oceanic Lavacore Lavaskin has a fleece inner that feels really nice on the skin. The added bonus is that it will keep you warmer than regular rash guards whether snorkeling or diving. Thumb hooks make it easy to get into a wetsuit, too.

We love the cut of the Oceanic and the stretch-fit that feels more like you’re wearing a t-shirt. It’s available in three attractive pastel shades.

Specs & Features

  • Material: Polyester with fleece inner
  • Thermal protection? Yes
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Long sleeves
  • Thumb hooks

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4
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oceanic-lavacore-lavaskin-womens-rashguard.jpg

Oceanic Lavacore Lavaskin Women’s

City Threads Little Boys Featured Image
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This is a great uni-sex rash guard for kids. The silky-smooth material is nice and stretchy so your child will be comfy playing around on the beach, by the pool, or in the water. These rashies come with long or short sleeves.

The one downside we noted was that the long sleeves are a bit too long. However, this was easily fixed by rolling them up. There are plenty of bright colors to choose from making it easier to keep an eye on your little one!

Specs & Features

  • Material: City Threads’ own unique fabric
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Made with safe dyes and no harsh chemicals

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

3.9
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city-threads-little-boys-girls-rash-guard-swimming-tee.jpg

City Threads Little Boys

Swimzip Little Boys Featured Image
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This SwimZip rash guard is something your little boy will enjoy wearing. But we think your daughter will also like it, though you may have to buy a size down for girls. It’s very comfortable, there’s no neck tag, and a zipper flap prevents it from rubbing on your kid’s skin.

The best feature of the SwimZip is the full-front zipper. Super easy to get on and off when you have a wriggling child who just wants to run off and have fun!

Specs & Features

  • Material: Polyester
  • Thermal protection? No
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Short Sleeves
  • Full-front zipper

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

3.8
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swimzip-little-boys-short-sleeve-zipper-rash-guard.jpg

SwimZip Little Boys’

Oneill Mens Thermo X Long Sleeve Insulated Featured Picture
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O’Neill certainly knew what they were doing when they designed the Thermo X Insulative Top. The material is a 220g mix of nylon and spandex that’s soft, stretchy, low-bulk, quick-drying, water repellent, and odor resistant.

We love that it’s thin enough to fit under a wetsuit and the neckline is low cut so doesn’t interfere with the neck of your suit. For surfers, there are seamless paddle zones and boardshort connectors.

There is also a women’s version of the Thermo X, which you can find here. This reviewer has been using hers heavily for more than three years and the rash guard is still in excellent condition.

The O’Neill Thermo X is a top choice rash guard and swim shirt no matter what outdoor or water activities you’re doing. You will not be disappointed.

Specs & Features

  • Material: 220g Nylon/Spandex mix
  • Thermal protection? Yes
  • Sun protection? 50+ UPF
  • Long sleeves
  • Boardshort connectors

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

3.8
Read full review

Where to buy:

Oneill Mens Thermo X Long Product Image

O’Neill Men’s Thermo X Long Sleev Insulative

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Choosing a New Rash Guard

Your choice of rash guard will likely come down to what you want a rash guard for. You might choose a sport-specific model or one that does double duty. In any case, there are a few common considerations. Let’s take a look at those now.

Fit

Rash guards are meant to be tight and snug-fitting. Too loose and they’ll likely annoy you when you swim, or, if you’re diving, they will bunch up under your wetsuit. On the other hand, rashies that are too tight may roll up at the bottom which is a bit annoying. This is less of an issue for surfers as many rash guards have board short connectors at the bottom to stop this happening.

Hate tight clothing even at the beach? Rash guards can be worn loose too if you prefer.

In any case, check the manufacturer’s sizing guidelines carefully before you pick a size and/or brand.

Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve Rash Guard?

This really comes down to personal preference. A long sleeve rash guard will protect your arms fully from the sun but some people prefer a short, tee-shirt style. Others complain that long sleeve options hinder their freedom of movement but because rash guards are snug-fitting, this is really only apparent with thicker rash vests that offer thermal protection.

Sun Protection in a Rash Guard

Even if it’s not explicitly stated by the manufacturer, all rash guards provide some level of sun protection. That said, some rash vests are specifically designed for maximum sun protection and boast 50+ UV Protection Factor (UVF).

Thermal Protection

If you’re swimming, diving, snorkeling or surfing in cooler water, you might prefer a rash guard that helps keep you warm. In these cases, the rash guard is usually (but not always) made from neoprene and/or a fleecy material.

The thickness of a wetsuit-like rash guard, and neoprene in general, is always measured in millimeters (mm). Rash guards range from around 0.5 mm – 4 mm thick. The thickness of a rash vest is directly related to how warm it will be.

If you’re buying a rash guard for diving, remember that neoprene compresses with depth. This is because of all the tiny air bubbles inside the material. As you get deeper, your suit compresses and you lose buoyancy.

Features of a Rash Guard

We don’t mean literal bells and whistles, unless you’d like to jingle your way along the beach! We mean any additional and useful features a rash guard has. These include:

  • Thumb hooks, ideal for stopping the rash guard from riding up when you pull on a wetsuit
  • Hood, good for keeping hair out of the way when swimming and protecting the back of your neck from the sun
  • Board short connectors, handy if you’re surfing. Particularly for women as our hips can make it easy for thinner rashies to roll up
  • Pockets for stashing important stuff

Now that you’ve got an idea of what to look for, let’s go over the rash guards. We’ve broken our list of 2022’s best rash guards down into sports-specific categories and included options for both men and women. But remember, rash guards are really versatile bits of kit so most are perfect for multiple sports or activities.

Rash Guards for Men and Rash Guards for Women

For the best possible fit, choose a rash guard that’s designed specifically for your sex. Women’s rash guards are cut in such a way that is comfy across our chests, just like shirts are. For children, any rash guard will get the job done and sex-specific models are more to do with colors and patterns than anything important.

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