The 10 Best Outdoor Bistro Sets
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in January of 2017. If you don't have the space for a full-size dining table outdoors, or you have one corner that's looking a bit bare, a bistro set is a smart way to provide a little extra seating and a surface for food and drinks. We've selected models in a range of styles and made of materials that can withstand the sun's rays, rainfall, and harsh winters. They come in prices to meet all budgets. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 14, 2020:
In selecting our outdoor bistro sets, we prioritized weatherproof materials that can stand up to both rain and harsh UV rays. We also looked for features that make these comfortable, so that nothing would be sacrificed simply because you want to enjoy some meals or drinks outdoors. Finally, we wanted to include several styles, from rustic to modern, to suit a variety of preferences.
The Flamaker 3 Pieces Patio Rattan stood out right away for durability because it has tightly-woven synthetic wicker over its strong steel frame, and each of its chairs can support up to 285 pounds. Another robust option is the Grand Patio Premium Steel, which also earned points for longevity. The Lokatse Home, though attractive, doesn't have the most sturdy of materials, so it had to go. While we appreciated many features of the Adams Cafe Sage, including its umbrella opening, it shows scratches quickly, so it lost its spot. However, those who need the umbrella opening can turn to the Best Choice SKY1693, which also features one, and it shows less wear from regular use. We had to remove the Finnhomy Backyard, too, because it rusts.
We wanted to include some sets that are generous in size and meant for extended periods of relaxation, so we added the FDW Rocking Rattan, which has seat and back cushions, and the Hanover Traditions, which has curved armrests and thick pillows. For those looking for something comfortable that doesn't take up much room, there is the Giantex Convention, which has chairs that tuck almost entirely under the table for storage, and the Best Choice Woven SKY2601, which folds up compactly for storage.
August 02, 2019:
As they were no longer available, we removed the Giantex Rattan and the Cosco Lakewood Ranch. Quality concerns also spurred the elimination of a couple items, such as the Keter Chelsea. With this set, multiple reports indicate that the chairs tend to deteriorate and even break suddenly after only a few months of use.
Since we got rid of the only wicker sets on the list, we added multiple replacements that are designed with this material — which is well suited for outdoor furniture, both in terms of durability and aesthetics. A sharp-looking tempered glass tabletop is a nice selling point that’s shared by the FDW Poolside and Flamaker Rattan, while the Best Choice Woven’s simple folding design makes it a favorite of those who value versatility.
At first, the OC Conversation seems to have it all: a classy contemporary appearance, reliable stability, comfortable cushions, and a table with shelving for storage. Reports suggest, however, that it’s a bit smaller than many users expected. Because it’s set low to the ground, tall individuals and those with physical limitations may have difficulty with this model, which is something to keep in mind when considering it.
Living Spaces Flip Top Outdoor 3 Piece Charcoal Bistro Set With Lemon Chairs This bistro set combines a muted charcoal table with yellow chairs for a pop of color, and each piece is made of steel, making it quite durable. The table has a wide and stable base, its top is large enough for a full meal, and it folds up for storage, while the chairs can be stacked when not in use. livingspaces.com
Lifetime 60074 If you balk at picking up a folding bistro set for fear of instability, this model from Lifetime may change your thought process. It’s made with strong polystyrene simulated wood; has a sturdy steel frame; and has a strong, weather-resistant finish that helps prevent cracking, chipping and rusting. lifetime.com
Why You Should Dine Outdoors More
Perhaps you aren't convinced you need a dedicated set of table and chairs, just for your patio.
Perhaps you aren't convinced you need a dedicated set of table and chairs, just for your patio. You might think that you can simply drag some indoor furniture outside when you feel like being there. However, you know you never feel like going through the hassle, and so then, you just don't eat outdoors. That is a shame not just because everyone enjoys a nice meal al fresco, but eating this way is also good for you. If you've noticed an improved sense of wellbeing after dinner under the stars, it's not just a coincidence.
Think of how much time you spend indoors. Between work, driving, the gym, and relaxing and cooking at home, you usually have a roof over your head — and that's standard for most Americans. That means that, unless you sit by an open window, you spend most of your day breathing in stale air, which is quite unfortunate since being exposed to trees and fresh air is important for your health. If you also eat all of your meals indoors then, you're missing a golden opportunity to breathe in fresh air.
If you're looking for a way to spend more quality time with your family, taking your grub outside could be just the ticket. You know that when you eat inside, somebody keeps getting up to unmute the television because something interesting comes on the news, to answer the phone, or to run to their laptop to do one last thing they forgot. When you're outside, neither you nor your family has any of those technological interruptions in their field of vision. You'll notice that everyone is so much more mentally present at an outdoor meal versus an indoor one. Distance from distractions isn't the only thing at play here — people also feel more relaxed in the presence of nature. That means they'll slow down in everything they do, from chewing to chatting. Don't be surprised if outdoor meals with your family last longer than indoor ones, providing that quality time you were hoping for.
What To Look For In An Outdoor Bistro Set
You'll have different requirements for an outdoor bistro set than those of your indoor dining table and chairs because it will be exposed to the elements, and is meant to complement a more natural setting. First, ask yourself if this set will be a permanent installment of your outdoor relaxation area or a more seasonal one. There are sets that are simple to fold up and store away, taking up very little space in a shed or garage. These are ideal for those who live in areas with extreme weather, who know they won't possibly eat outdoors more than a few months out of the year. Should you be fortunate enough to live somewhere with milder weather, and know that you'll spend a lot of your recreational hours outside, there are more permanent sets. These might mimic some of the more formal chairs and tables from your indoor dining area.
First, ask yourself if this set will be a permanent installment of your outdoor relaxation area or a more seasonal one.
Weatherproofing will be important, no matter where you live. You'll want a UV-resistant coating so that the sun's rays don't cause the color or material of your set to diminish over time. Water-resistant materials will also be paramount. Even if you live in a place that sees almost no rain all year, you never know when your sprinklers or a garden hose will accidentally hit your outdoor furniture. If you live in a windy climate, then make sure your set is made from heavy-duty materials like cast iron or aluminum. You don't want to wake after a storm to find your bistro set in the pool or your neighbor's yard (although that'd be an interesting way to make that important introduction). If strong gusts aren't a concern, then you can go for eco-friendly bamboo-based furniture or more classic wicker.
Your style, and how you plan on using your set, is also important. If it's just for enjoying a quick cup from your Nespresso machine in the mornings, then a casual breakfast set — with a smaller table, and perhaps chairs without armrests, is for you. Meanwhile, should you anticipate having long, leisurely meals with friends, you might want a set with a bigger table, for all of those side dishes, and broader chairs with armrests and comfortable cushions. You might also appreciate a decorative design if you'll often use the set for hosting guests.
Other Items That Improve Outdoor Dining
If you're working on mastering your skills at the lost art of throwing dinner parties, there are a few products that will help you look like a highly experienced host. These will also make the evening easier for you.
That being said, you might want to keep a natural aesthetic and avoid switching on those bright patio lights.
Let's first discuss ambiance. While the sounds of crickets and buzzing power lines have a certain allure, they can also grow boring fast, which is why a good pair of outdoor speakers is critical so you can set the mood with music. Lighting is also something to be considered. The stars, of course, are gorgeous and provide a little illumination, but perhaps not enough. That being said, you might want to keep a natural aesthetic and avoid switching on those bright patio lights. Lovely LED candles will come in handy there.
Once you're seated, you probably wouldn't mind relaxing. Though a host's job is never done, you shouldn't have to get up each time a guest wants more salsa or the salt shaker. Adding a tabletop lazy susan to your bistro set will be very helpful here. Just spin it around to give your friend access to her desired item, and you can stay seated. Temperature is another thing with which guests might take issue, so make sure you have an outdoor heater for those cooler nights. However, if you're dining during the day, and trying to fend off the hot sun, add a patio umbrella to your dining area. With the right products, you won't miss eating inside one bit.