The 10 Best Patio Chairs
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Grab a book and a cool drink, as it's time to kick back on one of these comfortable and sturdy patio chairs. Available in rocking, reclining, or upright and stationary designs, they’re ideal for lazy days spent enjoying your lawn or garden. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, with some featuring pillows and pop-up trays for an outdoor oasis that’s both stylish and relaxing. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 20, 2020:
Whether you entertain frequently or just like to kick back in solitude after a long day, a comfortable patio chair will allow you to relax while you enjoy some fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature. Some, like the Jack Post Country and the Outdoor Interiors Resin Wicker, are made to rock or glide, to produce a calming effect similar to that of a porch swing. Others, like the Lakeland Mills Log, are stationary models that are relaxing in their own right, thanks to curved slats that foster a natural reclining position.
Today we added the La-Z-Boy Outdoor to the list. Its long-lasting resin wicker and sturdy frame can last for many years, making it worth the investment. Its hand-woven construction stands up to the elements, and its aluminum frame is resistant to rust. It sports cushions made of hard-wearing Sunbrella fabric in your choice of red or tan. We also added the Furniture Barn USA Adirondack Glider, which is not only one of the most popular designs for a lounge chair, but this one moves smoothly back and forth. You’ll sit for hours taking in nature and staring at the night sky. It’s constructed in the United States by Amish craftspeople, and is made of 90% recycled materials. It’s refreshingly maintenance free and will not crack, fade, or splinter.
These two new models replace the currently unavailable Kettler Roma High Back, as well as the Buzfi Zero Gravity, which is very similar to the other zero-gravity chair on our list, the Timber Ridge Lounge. Speaking of which, this oversized recliner moved down several places in our selection, since it’s hard to beat its stylish color scheme and its comfortable reclining mechanism. It’s made with a sturdy steel tube frame, high-quality elastic cord, and weather-resistant polyester fabric.
For another wicker model, this one with legs, look to the BrylaneHome Roma, which comes with a piped cushion with a zippered cover, along with a matching zippered pillow. It’s great on your deck or a screened-in porch, and can accommodate users of up to 250 pounds. The wicker frame is available in an assortment of colors, including black, cornflower blue, lemon, and white, so you’re sure to find the right one to match your decor.
L.L.Bean All-Weather Classic Adirondack Chair Made of partially recycled high-density polyethylene, this rugged piece of furniture can be kept outdoors all year long. It’s designed not to rot, splinter, warp, or crack, and conveniently folds for storage, when you do decide to put it away. It’s easy to get into and out of, and can be paired with L.L.Bean’s Casco Bay cushions, which are sold separately. llbean.com
Ikea Skarpo Armchair This simple, solid white piece of furniture is made of fade-resistant, 20%-recycled plastic and is UV-stabilized to prevent it from cracking and drying out. It features a convenient, stackable design and a small hole in the seat to let rainwater drain out. It couldn’t be easier to clean; just wipe it with a cloth that's been dampened in a mild soapy solution. ikea.com
Ethan Allen Nod Hill Chaise This aluminum outdoor lounger is both designed for comfort and to enhance any outdoor living space, whether it’s on a patio or next to a swimming pool. Its classic design incorporates an elegant interlocking circle pattern on its back, and a gentle curve in the arms. It’s easy to move around, as needed, and its backrest is conveniently adjustable, so you can recline as much as you like. The cushions are covered in color-fast performance fabric, so they won’t fade over time. ethanallen.com
A Brief History Of Patio Furniture
That meant, of course, that you needed a place for everyone to sit.
The story of lawn furniture doesn't reach too terribly far back in history — largely because people haven't had lawns for very long.
For most of our time on this planet, any open patches of grass were used for grazing, not for lounging. Beyond that, most people didn't have the means to support yards, as it takes quite a bit of time, effort, and water to keep grass green, so lawns were strictly reserved for the rich and powerful.
That began to change once municipal water supplies became more reliable, causing many regular people began to treat their lawns as status symbols, as well. In many rural areas, the quality of your garden was indicative of how you were faring in life, so people went to great lengths to spoil their plants.
After WWII, American prosperity reached record heights, and owning a house with a yard was viewed as the new normal. It was expected that you'd keep your lawn well-tended, and invite friends and family over for barbecues on the weekends.
That meant, of course, that you needed a place for everyone to sit. People started buying lawn furniture, with hard-backed metal chairs being especially popular. These quickly became ubiquitous, thanks in large part to their incredible durability — although they did tend to rust if left out in the rain.
Lawn chairs quickly transitioned to being made of plastic in the 1960s, as improvements in manufacturing technology made the material easier to produce. Once factories mastered injection molding, it became possible to create an entire chair or bench made of plastic.
While these chairs weren't as sturdy as their metal counterparts (and they certainly lacked panache), they were nevertheless successful, in large part due to the fact that they were extremely cheap. Many were also stackable, allowing homeowners to purchase several without needing to dedicate an entire section of the yard to furniture.
Patio furniture nowadays is often made out of wicker or even metal, but plastic remains the dominant material. Lawns are seen as a refuge from the grind of the workweek, and relaxing on your patio is one of the best ways to relax and shed stress.
Plus, sitting out on the patio lets you spy on the neighbors. What could be more American than that?
What To Look For In A Patio Chair
While buying patio furniture might not be as high-stakes as purchasing stuff for the interior of your home, getting the wrong piece can still be an expensive mistake. If you know what to look for, though, you can get the right model the first time around.
Consider your price range, and this should be dictated by how often you expect to actually use your furniture. If you plan to be out there all weekend, every weekend, then it's smarter to invest in quality material than to constantly need to replace cheap plastic chairs.
If you find pieces that are light enough, you can even take them with you when you go camping or to the beach.
Your climate should factor into the material decision, as well. If you live in a humid climate, you might want to avoid most metal options, with wrought iron and aluminum being the exceptions. Materials like wicker and teak can handle just about any weather, but they'll cost more as a result.
Decide how much space you're willing to devote to your furniture — and not just when you're sitting in it, either. If you're going to store it for part of the year, make sure you have enough space for it, or find pieces that can be folded up or stacked on top of each other.
It may be worth it to scour the internet for pieces that can serve multiple purposes. You can likely find an ottoman that doubles as a storage container, or a bench that can serve as a table. If you find pieces that are light enough, you can even take them with you when you go camping or to the beach.
The last consideration is also the most important: the sit test. It doesn't matter how attractive or durable your furniture is if sitting in it is literally a pain in the butt. If you find something comfy, you'll look for every excuse to use it, ensuring the expense pays off over time.
That's a great excuse when your spouse asks you why you haven't done your chores — you're too busy getting your money's worth from your chairs.
Other Ways To Make Your Patio Comfy
You spend so much time ensuring your yard looks perfect that it would be a shame not to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Now that you've got a patio chair, here are a few other pieces that can make your deck as comfy as your living room.
You're not always going to be out there at night, though, so make sure you have plenty of shade for those hot summer afternoons.
There are few things more relaxing than sipping a cold beverage and watching a hot fire, but if you don't want to risk burning your house down, you can always get a tabletop fireplace. They offer all the beauty and elegance of a regular fire pit, with almost none of the upkeep and labor.
Make sure you have ample lighting besides the fire. This prevents you from stumbling around in the dark, while also helping to highlight your decor.
Of course, all that light is likely to attract winged visitors, so you'll want to install some countermeasures. A bug zapper can help reduce the fly and mosquito population while providing some low-cost entertainment. You can also light some citronella candles and stash them around the patio.
You're not always going to be out there at night, though, so make sure you have plenty of shade for those hot summer afternoons. This can be as simple as hanging a canopy, but a roof extension might be worth considering if you're going to be out there a lot.
If you're willing to spend a little money up front, you can easily transform a basic deck into a lavish refuge from the rigors of the day. The hard part, of course, is finding a reason to get up.