Summer Sizzlers including £3 sun cream, cheap fans & £2 disposable BBQs

Summer Sizzlers including £3 sun cream, cheap fans & £2 disposable BBQs

As summer is here, we've rounded up the hottest summer and outdoor offers. Scorching deals include 5* UVA sun cream from £2.79, cheap electric fans and £2 BBQs.

Sun cream, incl 5* UVA from £2.79

In bright weather even in the UK you should be wearing sun cream. Staying safe needn’t cost the earth though. If you’re willing to ditch the brands you know, you could downshift and save with sun cream from £2.79 without giving up five star UVA protection.

It sounds too good to be true, yet we've found a number of products available for around £3-6 rather than the usual £6-£12 branded products will set you back. We've contacted skincare experts to find out how safe the lotions are. You can find the cheap sun cream below, after the important safety info.

Are they safe?

We've been in touch with the British Skin Foundation (BSF) charity and the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) trade body. Both say people shouldn't be put off by low prices, as long as they check packaging for the UVA and SPF number.

The BSF says: "When choosing a sunscreen look for a high protection SPF (SPF 30 or more) to protect against UVB, and the UVA circle logo and/or 4 or 5 UVA stars to protect against UVA."

The UVA rating

This tells you how much protection the product is giving you from harmful long-wave ultra-violet UVA rays. Some bottles have a star rating (the BSF recommends four or more stars) – while others don't, they should at least contain a circle with the letters UVA inside, as this indicates the minimum level of UVA protection. Here are the logos you should be looking for...

The SPF number

This stands for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the level of protection against harmful medium-wave ultra-violet UVB rays. The label should also tell you whether the product provides "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" protection against UVB. See the CTPA's section on sun protection for more info.

You might be a bit sceptical about cheaper sun cream, we always are too, but we’re trusting that these big companies have done their own independent checks to ensure these sun creams are fully tested and are legit.

Important. As with any product, if you have sensitive skin it’s important to do a patch test before using any new skin care or hair care product and sun cream is no exception.

Note: Some sun creams can contain chemicals that hurt coral reefs and a few island countries ban them, so if you want to protect the environment and avoid them, watch out for ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. You can see the full list of 10 chemicals on the International Coral Reef Initiative's website.

How long will it last?

The period after opening (PAO) number should also be included on the bottle. This will be displayed as an 'open jar' symbol with a number inside indicating how many months the product will be safe for after opening, providing it is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Don't automatically chuck old sun creams away

Most of the cheap sun creams we found are good to use for at least 12 months from the date of opening, so don't throw away your excess sun cream, check the PAO as it's likely you can use it again the next time you need it.

Own-brand sun cream for less than £5.50

At MSE we're always trying to get you to think about downshifting, so we've had a look for the cheapest own-branded sun creams on offer, all under a fiver. 

Retailer/product Price UVA rating
Aldi* - Lacura extra sensitive SPF 50, 200ml £2.79 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tesco* - Soleil sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml £2.80 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Asda - Protect SPF 30, 200ml £2.80 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Morrisons* - Nutmeg sun lotion SPF 50, 200ml  £3.50 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sainsbury's - Sun protect SPF50, 200ml £4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wilko - Suncare SPF 50, 200ml  £4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Boots - Soltan SPF 30, 200ml £4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Superdrug - Solait SPF 30, 200ml £5.49 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Prices checked on Monday 8 August

Other low-cost branded sun creams

For those who just can't ditch a brand they know and trust, we've also compiled a list of the cheapest prices we found on some of the most popular products.

It's worth remembering that sprays and special formulations (eg, clear/coloured/sensitive) usually cost more, so check to see if your chosen cream could be cheaper in a different bottle.

Product Price Next cheapest
Piz Buin moisturising lotion SPF 50, 200ml £4.99 at Asda* £5 at Ocado (currently out of stock), £6 at Tesco* (currently out of stock)
Nivea Sun protection lotion SPF 30, 200ml £4.99 at B&M £5 at Asda*, Tesco* and Sainsbury's
Garnier Ambre Solaire ultra-hydrating sun cream SPF 30, 200ml £4.99 at B&M and Superdrug £5 at Asda*, Boots* and Sainsbury's
Garnier Ambre Solaire kids moisturising spray SPF 50, 200ml  £4.99 at B&M £5 at Boots*, Tesco* and Sainsbury's
Hawaiin Tropic silk hydration sun lotion SPF 30, 200ml £6 at Asda* (currently out of stock) £6.50 at Amazon* and Ocado
Prices checked on Monday 8 August

£1 sun creams

In previous years, we've spotted Poundland and Savers selling suncreams for £1. We've not spotted them yet this year, but have left them here for reference in case you're near one and can check your local store's stock.

It's worth noting these bottles were slightly smaller (40ml-120ml) than some of the better-known brands (norm 200ml). They may not be brands that you recognise, but all had the UVA rating symbol to indicate they meet at least the minimum level of UVA protection. 

🧴 Poundland - Sun & Sand

🧴 Savers - EAD sunscreen

Cheap electric fans, from £3

As soon as a heatwave hits, we start seeing fans flying off the shelves. If you've not already got one, you might want to beat the rush before they're out of stock later on in summer. If you're wondering how much it costs to run an electric fan, see our Energy mythbusting guide where we've done the maths on this. 

Here's our round-up of the four main types of fan (prices checked on Thursday 14 July).

Mini desk fans (4in)

These small fans are a good size to sit on your desk or table. They're usually powered by USB. Here's our round-up of the best prices from big retailers:

Retailer Price
Home Bargains £2.99
The Range* £4.99
Dunelm* £5
Homebase* £5 (currently unavailable) 
Wickes £6

Small desk fans (6-7in)

These small fans are a good size to sit on your desk or table. They're usually powered by USB. In 2020 we saw B&M sell these cheapest for £7.99, with the most expensive being around £10. However, we've not spotted any that cheap yet this year. Here's our round-up of the best prices from big retailers:

Retailer Price
B&M (6in) £10
Wilko* (6in) £11
The Range* (6in) £10 
Argos (7in)  £17

Medium desk fans (11-12in)

This is probably one of the most common size fans, but also probably the ones that sell out the quickest. In 2019 we saw Screwfix drop the price of this fan to £9.99, but they became very hard to get a hold of. Prices at other retailers were around £14-£16, so now could be a decent time to buy based on the prices at the moment:

Retailer Price
Argos £10
Home Bargains £12.99 (currently out of stock)
Screwfix £14.99
B&Q* £15
Wickes* £17

Large pedestal/standing fans (16in)

In 2020, we saw Home Bargains selling the cheapest pedestal fan for £14.99, followed by Screwfix at £17.99. At other retailers we saw these selling for around £17-£19, so the prices now aren't too expensive. They could drop lower later on in the year, but there's the risk of them selling out.

Retailer Price
Home Bargains £16.99 (currently out of stock)
Screwfix £19.99
B&M £20
Wickes* £20 (limited stock only)
Homebase £20

Cheap BBQ deals

With the weather getting warmer recently and us spending more time at home, now could be an ideal opportunity to light up the barbecue. We've rounded up some of the cheapest barbecue deals we could find, including 5kg bags of charcoal from £4.

5kg charcoal  for £6 or less

The hottest deals we found on 5kg bags of charcoal, which are sure to get you sizzling, include:

Retailer Price
The Range* £4.99
B&M £5
B&Q £7

Instant lighting charcoal bags

If you don't want family members barbe-queuing up for a sausage whilst you're still trying to light the grill, then you might want to opt for the easier option of instant lighting charcoal bags. We checked the prices at these retailers:

Retailer Price
B&M £2.50 for 2kg
Sainsbury's £5 for 2kg
Wilko £5 for 2.5kg
Tesco* £3 for 1kg (currently out of stock)
The Range* £3.99 for 2kg