The Best Cheap Sunscreens for Your Money in 2020

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Consumer Reports is out with its latest ranking of the best cheap sunscreens — proving once again that you don’t have to pay big bucks to protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune for Good Sunscreen

Want the best sunscreen for your money? Check out these options below.

To see the full list of Consumer Reports’ rankings, you can visit Consumer Reports online and purchase a digital subscription for $10/month or $39/year.

Lotions

Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70

Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 captures the top spot on a new list of best cheap sunscreen lotions.
Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion

Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 captures the top spot in the lotions category this year after being the runner-up in last year’s tally.

Scoring a 94 out of 100 in the magazine’s rankings, this Coppertone option costs $1 an ounce.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (10%) and Oxybenzone (6%).

CVS Health Ultra Protection Sun Lotion SPF 70

CVS Health Ultra Protection Sun Lotion SPF 70 was the runner-up in a new tally of the best cheap sunscreen lotions.
CVS Health Ultra Protection Sun Lotion

CVS Health Ultra Protection Sun Lotion SPF 70 scored 76 out of 100 in the Consumer Reports tally.

But despite being a store brand, the $1.13 per ounce price is more expensive than the Coppertone product that leads the list.

And get this: The active ingredients are exactly the same to boot. So why pay more for the same thing?!

Meanwhile, at the other extreme…

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Premium brands MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 50 and Bare Republic Mineral Face Lotion SPF 30 will set you back $9.75 an ounce and $8.24 an ounce, respectively.

In their defense, both products contain active ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. So they’re entirely different formulations than the Coppertone or the CVS Health options.

Sprays

Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+

Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ was named best sunscreen spray in a new tally of the best cheap sunscreens.
Trader Joe’s Spray

When it comes to sprays, Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+ scored a perfect 100 from Consumer Reports.

At $1 an ounce, it might be worth a look. Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%) and Oxybenzone (6%).

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Spray SPF 70

Neutrogena
Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Spray SPF 70 is the runner up in the spray category. Consumer Reports gives it a score of 82 out of 100.

But the price is twice as high as the Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+: $2 per ounce.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (4%) and Oxybenzone (6%).

Again, why pay more for basically the same stuff that’s in the spray that scored a perfect 100?

How Much Can You Save With the Best Cheap Sunscreens?

In this chart, we compare the best cheap sunscreen vs. a mid-priced one vs. a high-priced one:

SunscreenUnit Price Per OunceSize in OuncesFinal CostOverall Score
Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70$18 $894
Kiss My Face Organics Face and Body Mineral Lotion SPF 30$53.4$1732
MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 50$9.754$3925

Let’s say you have a favorite brand and you buy 12 bottles of sunscreen a year. If you purchased the Coppertone, you’d pay $96 annually for great skin protection, according to Consumer Reports.

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The Kiss My Face Organics, meanwhile, will set you back $204 for a year of mediocre sunscreen protection.

And finally, with the MDSolarSciences, you’d be paying $468 a year for what Consumer Reports estimates is downright poor protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

The results are clear: You’ll save anywhere from $100 to almost $400 a year — and get a highly rated product — if you stick with the Consumer Reports recommendations for best cheap sunscreens!

Final Thought

Clearly, it’s possible to get all the protection from the sun’s harmful rays you need and not break the bank.

Just be sure that whatever sunscreen you get says “Broad Spectrum” on the label to protect against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. You also want to see SPF 30 (or higher) and “water-resistant” on the label.

Do you have a favorite budget sunscreen or tips for staying safe in the sun? Let us know in the comments below!

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