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The Best (and Worst) Affordable Sun Creams

Picking the perfect sun cream for your family can be such a minefield!

From SPF to the star rating system, ingredients, allergens, scent and consistency, and whether it's a waterproof formula for water-loving kids or not, there's so many questions we ask ourselves when contemplating purchasing sun cream. After all, it's incredibly important to protect our skin from UV rays, particularly when we go abroad on holiday. On top of all of this though, value for money is one of the top priorities - we need something that covers all of the important bases, without costing a fortune!

Which? have us covered when it comes to trying, testing and evaluating products. They've released a report going through the best, and the worst, affordable sun creams available for families in 2023. We'll take a look at what they found here to help you in your holiday planning!

All sun creams rated retail at £4 per 200ml or less, making them great value for money, and they looked at SPF30 and 50+ sun creams.

The Best Value Sun Creams, Tried & Tested By Which?


These four sun creams trumped the rest in the Which? testing, all passing their stringent testing and proving themselves to be excellent value options for families.

Two products from ASDA came out on top, with their ASDA Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray SPF 50 High passing testing and being noted as a 'good price' for a spray product, which usually retail slightly more expensive. The ASDA Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 30 High also did well, passing UVA testing and hitting the correct level of SPF. For £3 a bottle, this is a really good buy.

Soltan also performed well in the Which? testing, with their Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF30 200ml ticking all boxes during testing, at £4 a bottle making it great value for money, along with the Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF50+ 200ml, also £4 per bottle and fab for sensitive skin, albeit slightly 'greasy'.

  1. Buy the ASDA Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray SPF 50 High*
  2. Buy the ASDA Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 30 High*
  3. Buy the Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF30 200ml*
  4. Buy the Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion SPF50+ 200ml*
Which Sun Cream failed Which? testing?


This Avon Refreshing 3-in-1 Face and Body Sun Lotion SPF30 sun cream failed the Which? testing based on the stated SPF - independent lab testing showed that it 'didn't come close' to SPF30, after being tested twice. Which? have given it their 'Don't Buy' warning.

Avon's response to Which?;

'The safety of our customers is our priority and that’s why our expert skincare team produces the most effective sun care formulas. Upon hearing from Which? Avon has engaged its quality and research and development teams to investigate the specific batch of product that Which? tested. Avon stands behind its data and that of the independent labs which conduct our testing.'

A List Of All Passing Sun Creams...

Here is a list of all of the good value SPF30 and SPF50+ sun creams that Which? tested, in addition to those that we've already mentioned above.

SPF30 sun creams

  • Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30, £3/200ml - available from Asda.
  • Asda Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Spray SPF30, £4/200ml - available from Asda.
  • Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Lotion, SPF30, £4/200ml - available from Boots.
  • Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Spray SPF30, £4.50/200ml - available from Boots.
  • Nivea Sun Protect & Moisture SPF30 lotion, £6/200ml - available from Asda, Boots, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug, Tesco.
  • Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Cream Lotion SPF30, £3.59/200ml - available from Superdrug.

SPF50+ Kids’ sun creams

  • Asda Kids Sun Lotion Spray SPF 50+ High, £4/200ml - available from Asda.
  • Boots Soltan Kids Protect & Moisturise Lotion, SPF50+, £4/200ml - available from Boots.
  • Childs Farm 50+ SPF Sun Lotion Spray, £12/100ml - available from Childs Farm, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
  • Childs Farm SPF50+ Kids Roll-on Sun Lotion, £10/50ml - available from Childs Farm, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
  • Nivea Sun Kids Protect & Care SPF50+ Spray, £6.50/200ml - available from Asda, Boots, Sainsbury’s, and Superdrug.
  • Sainsbury's Sun Protect By Sainsburys Kids Lotion Sun Spray SPF50+, £5.00/200ml - available from Sainsbury’s.
  • Superdrug Solait Kids SPF 50+ Roll-on Sun Lotion, £3.72/100ml - available from Superdrug

Source: Which?

How does Which? test sun cream?

Great question! Which? is a trusted source for parents everywhere but it's worth asking how they ascertain whether a product is safe, or reliable. They've explained their testing procedure;

"Our independent lab tests are designed to find out how effectively popular brands of sun cream will protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Tests are carried out to recognised British and International test standards, including:

SPF tests - we shine a UVB lamp on to volunteers’ backs. We note the point when skin begins to redden, and compare the smallest amount of UVB needed with and without sunscreen for that to happen. The SPF we calculate is based on the difference between the two points.

UVA tests - we coat a glass plate with sun cream and then use a spectrophotometer to record the amount of UVA absorbed by the sun cream.
Any products that fail either test are subject to a repeat test. If a product passes the second test, we'll do a third to determine the final results.

Application tests

In addition to the core safety tests, we also assess how easy and pleasant each sun cream is to apply. A product is only good if you'll use it, so our Best Buys are the ones that get the highest scores for these measures, on top of passing SPF and UVA tests.

We use a panel of at least 10 people to trial each sun cream and tell us how easy it was to apply, how easily it absorbs into the skin, greasiness, residue and tackiness."

Source: Which?

Our Verdict...

We're so glad to be able to turn to Which? whenever we need information on products we need for our families. Sun cream is certainly a tricky area to navigate as there's so many different types to choose from - Which? give us the power of knowledge, allowing us to make a truly informed choice using unbiased information.

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