Last updated: August 4, 2021

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As soon as the cool winter months are over, the need to spend time outside and enjoy the first warm rays of sunshine increases. The right garden furniture, such as a garden chair, is ideal for this. With back and armrests, they are designed to relax and offer the highest possible seating comfort.

With our garden chair guide, we give you detailed information about what you should look for when buying. We have compared a large number of garden chairs and show you the highlights of our research in our guide. We also answer the important questions and help you find the perfect garden chair for you.




Summary

  • Garden chairs offer you a special comfort for relaxing in the garden, on the balcony or the terrace.
  • Since garden chairs are sometimes exposed to strong weather conditions, their resistance to wetness, cold and sunlight is one of the most important purchase criteria.
  • They are available in a variety of shapes, colours and materials to suit your individual needs.

The Best Garden Chair: Our Choices

Garden chairs: buying and evaluation criteria

Garden chairs are available in a variety of different designs. So that you know what to look for when buying a garden chair, in addition to the design criteria, we will discuss the most important features of outdoor furniture in this section.

The following criteria determine the quality and comfort of your garden chair:

We summarise for you what lies behind the purchase and evaluation criteria and how you can recognise and take them into account during your product search.

Weather resistance

Placed outside of sheltered living areas, a garden chair is completely exposed to the elements. It affects the longevity of your garden furniture and the time required to maintain it. For this reason, high weather resistance can be a decisive purchase criterion for you.

The main criterion for the necessary resistance to strong weather is the choice of material.

Sunlight, wetness and cold contribute to the stress on furniture caused by weathering. They attack the materials and thus promote undesirable consequences, such as premature fading of textiles, rust or roughened wooden surfaces.

Consequently, the choice of material for a garden chair is primarily decisive for its weather resistance. Furthermore, weather damage can be prevented by care and protective measures.

Weight

If the garden chair has to be repositioned in extreme weather conditions, for reasons of space or on other occasions, the weight is decisive. With a low weight, excessive strain and stress can be avoided.

Similar to weather resistance, the material also determines the weight of the furniture. In addition, castors under the chair are conceivable to reduce the amount of force required.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the garden chair are an essential feature of its usability.

It is important to pay attention to the dimensions of the garden chair when adapting it to your own requirements and the available space. Another criterion for the seat can be that it is suitable as a complement to existing furniture. Here, for example, the design and the height of a nearby table are decisive.

Finally, an important function of the garden chair can be that it has an appropriate height so that it is easy to sit down or stand up.

Comfort

Beyond the pure functionality of the garden chair, other extra functions and a well thought-out design can influence the comfort.

These can include additions such as a footrest, a particularly high or adjustable backrest, as well as castors for effortless repositioning.

The ease of care also influences the comfort of the chair. For example, easily removable textiles and simple washing instructions can save a lot of time.

Sustainability

Plastic or rare woods are often used in the manufacture of garden furniture. Both are not at all environmentally friendly and do not pose a health risk, or only under certain conditions.

By using certified garden furniture, you contribute to the prevention of environmental damage.

In order to avoid chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment, such as plasticisers, it is worthwhile to avoid plastic materials or to avoid them as far as possible. Besides the obvious use of plastic, the material is often used as a wood imitation or for coating wood and in upholstery.

When buying a wooden garden chair, FSC certifications can again be a helpful guide to avoiding environmental damage. This is because only a few garden furniture items meet minimum ecological and social standards. Manufacturers sometimes disguise this by creating their own eco-labels.

FSC certification also prevents overexploitation, preserves valuable habitats for endangered animals and promotes sustainable forest management.

Garden chairs: frequently asked questions and answers

In the following section, we answer the most important questions about garden chairs.

What is a garden chair?

A garden chair is a seat that is intended for outdoor areas such as the garden and balcony.

It is characterised by back and armrests and is often softly upholstered. The seat height is usually low, while the seat is designed to be deep.

This favours a particularly comfortable sitting position and a possibility to let oneself fall, similar to a sofa.

What types of garden chairs are there?

In addition to extra features, such as castors and a particularly high or adjustable backrest, the material is a main feature for distinguishing garden chairs. These include wood, metal, natural rattan and polyrattan.

Gartensessel-1

In public places, cast-iron benches stand up to any weather. For garden chairs, however, the heavy material is less popular - too solid, not very comfortable.
(Image source: Alexis Mora Angulo / unsplash)

We present all the important advantages and disadvantages of the materials below.

Wooden garden chairs

Wood is a material that has a warm aura and is primarily used for classic furniture design. Due to its natural colouring and grain, the untreated surface of wood is ideal for a wild garden or as a contrast to modern patio design.

Advantages
  • High weather resistance
  • Classic furniture design
  • High-quality appearance
Disadvantages
  • Mostly not FSC-certified
  • Often high-priced
  • Partly heavy weight

Due to their high weather resistance, tropical woods such as teak are often used for garden furniture. Acacia wood, mostly from south-eastern Europe or the USA, or eucalyptus wood from Australia are also common. These woods also have a high resistance to fungi and insects.

Given the easily permeable surface of wood, it is advisable to maintain the material regularly and to keep it away from heavy moisture. While it can be similarly resistant as steel, it can be preserved in this way for longer and looks inviting in the long term.

When buying a wooden garden chair, always look for FSC certification.

This prevents environmentally harmful overexploitation, preserves valuable habitats for endangered animals and promotes sustainable forest management.

Metal garden chairs

Metal garden furniture has a restrained and simple design. They can be made of aluminium, wrought iron or steel. Depending on the material processing, the surface can be weather and rust resistant in the long term.

Advantages
  • High weather resistance
  • Simple furniture design
  • High-quality appearance
Disadvantages
  • Partly susceptible to rust
  • Often high-priced
  • Partly heavy weight

In most cases, outdoor furniture made of metal is combined with plastic materials or wood. Incorporated into the backrest and seat, they promote a comfortable sitting position and reduce the overall surface area of the conductive material - a useful detail on particularly hot days.

Their weight varies greatly, which is why if you specifically want a low weight, you should pay attention to the manufacturer's specifications.

Garden chairs made of rattan

Rattan is traditionally made from the so-called rattan palm, i.e. palms of the genus Calamus or the subfamily Calamoideae. It is woven into a dense fabric and usually finished in natural brown-beige tones.

Advantages
  • High-quality appearance
  • Light weight
  • Hard-wearing
Disadvantages
  • Often high-priced
  • Difficult to clean

When used properly, the densely woven material is very hard-wearing. However, its irregular structure, sometimes interwoven with intricate weaving patterns, makes it difficult to clean.

A decisive advantage of the material is its lightness.

Accordingly, it is ideal if you are looking for a natural alternative to solid wooden garden furniture.

Garden chairs made of polyrattan

Polyrattan has the same visual advantages of natural rattan, but is often cheaper to buy and can be more weather-resistant.

Advantages
  • High weather resistance
  • Light weight
  • Durable
Disadvantages
  • Difficult to clean
  • Contains plasticisers

The disadvantages of polyrattan are the plasticisers it contains and harmful vapours, which are particularly promoted by strong sunlight.

What does a garden chair cost?

The price range for garden chairs is wide. It depends primarily on the choice of material, workmanship and furniture brand.

The following table gives you an idea of how prices can vary depending on the manufacturer within the types of garden chairs mentioned.

Type price range
Garden chairs made of wood 60 to 250 euros
Garden chairs made of metal 50 to 200 euros
Garden chairs made of rattan 100 to 150 euros
Garden chairs made of polyrattan 50 to 200 euros

Gartensessel-2

With the right garden chair, you can enjoy your garden, balcony or terrace even more.
(Image source: Deborah Lehmann / unsplash)

What are the alternatives to a garden chair?

A garden chair requires space, which can be scarce, especially in the garden or on the balcony. In addition, small outdoor areas depend on flexibility of use, which massive garden furniture cannot offer.

Therefore, we list possible alternatives to a garden chair below:

type Advantage
garden chair A garden chair is space-saving, often foldable and thus easy to store as well as to place. It is available in a variety of colours and materials. In this way, it is highly adaptable in terms of price and design.
Hammock A hammock is ideal for relaxing and getting some holiday feeling. It can be folded effortlessly and reattached at any time as needed.
Hammock chair A hammock chair is suitable for a special eye-catcher. A special feature of this piece of furniture is that it usually has a light roofing and thus serves as a source of shade.

Which garden chair is suitable for senior citizens?

Common garden furniture often conforms to a design that can only be used by senior citizens to a limited extent and with a high degree of compromise. However, the number of manufacturers who adapt garden furniture to the needs of older generations and demanding customers is increasing.

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With increasing age, the demands on furniture can change massively.
(Image source: Joyce Huis / unsplash)

We have summarised below what you should look for when buying a garden chair for seniors:

  1. High seat: To be able to get up from the comfortable furniture without any problems, a high seat is useful. It should be at about the same height as your knees. The rule is: the higher, the better. This also makes sitting down easier.
  2. Low weight: Especially if you live alone, it is a relief if the outdoor chair can be lifted and moved easily. Aluminium can be the right choice of material here, or integrated castors.
  3. Upholstered cushion: An upholstered cushion increases seating comfort, especially when spending longer periods of time on the garden furniture. To ensure long-lasting comfort, the cushion should be of high quality. The material should therefore not give way quickly and at the same time be adaptable.
  4. Ease of use: If extra functions such as an adjustable backrest are available, ease of use is essential. This is best checked by independent testing or by asking the manufacturer.

The choice of particularly comfortable and user-friendly garden furniture is increasing. In some cases, however, a simple design in combination with small additions can be sufficient. Here, an additional footrest, a sunshade for hot days or an external construction as an aid for standing up can be helpful.

How do I care for a garden chair?

Since outdoor furniture is consistently exposed to the elements, a garden chair requires more care than conventional domestic furniture. Care is carried out on the one hand through preventive measures, and on the other hand through gentle routines for long-term maintenance. In this way, you can ensure the longest possible enjoyment of your garden furniture.

Preventive measures

Covers can help prevent damage and signs of age on the furniture.

  • Cover: A cover encloses the entire piece of furniture and protects it from strong weather conditions such as rain, snow and sunlight. This prevents rust, splintering wood and faded surfaces.
  • Overlays: Anoverlay, such as extra padding from a cushion, serves as protection during use. It can protect against scratches, light rain and reduce exposure to sunlight.
  • Rust protection: Rust protection applies equally to metal and wooden furniture, albeit to a different extent. While one piece of furniture should be protected over its entire surface, the other is only affected by small areas such as screws. Paint or spray products are available in specialist shops.

Particularly effective protection is offered by rooms such as a garden shed, but also a covered terrace. The garden chair can be stored here when it is not in use.

Care routine

In addition to preventive measures, it is advisable to adopt a maintenance routine for garden furniture. It can be used to prevent damage or to repair it, the latter applies especially to wooden surfaces.

  • Cleaning: In most cases, outdoor furniture can be cleaned of superficial dirt deposits with a brush and a little water. However, depending on the material and the severity of the dirt, a light solution of curd soap may be useful.
  • Wood care: Wood requires special attention. Natural wood surfaces treated with beeswax or linseed oil not only give the furniture a new shine, they also protect it from the weather and revive the colour and grain of the wood. Roughened surfaces can be sanded down.
  • Rust protection: You can use paint or spray products for this purpose. Smaller areas can be painted with a brush. It is important that rusty areas are removed in advance with a wire brush, a single-handed angle grinder or a rotary tool with a grinding attachment.

Even though maintenance may seem tedious, it is worth it. Well-maintained garden furniture lasts longer and thus saves a lot of money that would have to be spent on a new purchase.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a garden chair, there is a good chance that you will find the ideal model for you at a good price-performance ratio. The choice is only limited if you have a small outdoor area or furniture that is suitable for older people.

The material of the garden chair has a significant influence on both the design and the handling of the piece of furniture. It determines the weight, resistance and sustainability of the chair. Regular care of your garden furniture is always advisable. In most cases, simple household remedies are sufficient for this, especially if you have a practised care routine.

Image source: Białasiewicz/ 123rf

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