Everything about an Adirondack chair, from the low, reclined back to the wide arms, says relaxation. Despite their laid-back look, they’re quite stable, making them ideal for use on a sandy beach, lakeside, or in the yard. Once you’ve slid into an Adirondack chair’s natural recline, it’s hard not to close your eyes and doze. The best Adirondack chairs have a classic look with durable materials that hold up to sun, changing weather, and heavy use.
The following top picks represent the best of what Adirondack chairs have to offer, including their telltale silhouette.
- BEST OVERALL: Lifetime 60294 Adirondack Chair and Ottoman Set
- RUNNER-UP: Signature Design by Ashley Outdoor Adirondack Chair
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Best Choice Products Folding Wooden Adirondack
- BEST PLASTIC: POLYWOOD AD5030GY Classic Folding Adirondack
- BEST WITH CUP HOLDER: OT QOMOTOP Oversized Poly Lumber Adirondack Chair
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Adirondack Chairs
Adirondack chairs can represent a major investment in backyard seating. To make sure you’re getting the best of the best, check out the following guide to help you understand the features and considerations that should factor into your decision.
Traditionally, Adirondack chairs were made of wood, preferably cedar, teak, redwood, or shorea (a tropical hardwood similar to teak) because these woods naturally resist insects, sun, and weather damage. More exotic woods like eucalyptus and acacia have been added to the list of bug- and weather-resistant woods used for Adirondack chairs. Oak and pine are also common. Oak is strong and durable but doesn’t resist sun damage as well as other woods. Pine is an inexpensive option but doesn’t hold up well in sun or poor weather.
All wood requires yearly maintenance, including restaining and/or a wood sealer if you want to preserve the wood’s color and integrity. If a wooden chair won’t be used for several months, it’s best to cover it to protect it from the elements.
Various plastics from new (virgin) to recycled are other material options. Plastics vary in quality, but some of the highest-quality resins cost almost as much as wood and can imitate it in appearance and feel. Plastic chairs are often easier to maintain than their wood counterparts because plastic doesn’t require staining or sealing.
These synthetic materials are usually lighter than wood, though some of the more durable resins can weigh almost as much as wood. Plastic Adirondack chairs may have a UV-protective coating or protective additives in the pigments to increase their weather- and sun-resistance. If well cared for, plastic chairs can last for 10 years or more, and their lifespan can be increased if they’re covered during the harshest weather to prevent fading and wear and tear.
Features and Accessories
Various manufacturers change up the classic Adirondack design to add a few unexpected perks. Built-in cup holders, for example, are a simple addition that let you truly relax with your iced tea close by. Folding designs and built-in or separate ottomans are a couple of other design options.
Adirondack chairs may be comfortable to sit in, but they’re awkward to move and a pain to store. Folding models let you pack the chair to the beach or park or simply put it away in the garage without breaking a sweat.
Ottomans and built-in footrests are two other features that have grown in popularity. If you like to put your feet up, it’s worth splurging on an ottoman or a chair with a footrest. These chairs will take up more storage space and might be heavier than average. However, they’re often worth it for the added comfort they provide.
Weather resistance usually comes down to material, material quality, and extra finishes. Cedar, acacia, eucalyptus, and redwoods offer the best weather resistance and also have properties that naturally repel bugs. However, they need restaining at least once a year. Also, keep in mind that cedar fades to a natural gray with sun exposure. If that’s not your style, you’ll need to use a wood sealer to protect the natural color.
Plastics have come a long way in the last decade. High-quality plastics are weather resistant and don’t attract bugs. They’re also lighter to carry. Plastic also offers a wide range of color choices that you can’t find with wood. Chairs made with plastic that’s been treated with UV- and weather-resistant coatings can rival wood in durability.
A full-size Adirondack chair isn’t the easiest thing to carry. They’re long and sometimes heavy. If you want to take your Adirondack chairs with you to the beach or lake, look for small, foldable models. These models collapse in on themselves for easier storage and carrying when you’re on the go.
Adirondack chairs are made in every color of the rainbow. Wood chairs often keep things natural with various stains. However, sometimes they’re painted in different colors to add weather resistance. Plastic can either mimic wood to blend with the outdoors or stand out in a crowd. Red, pink, blue, white, black, and any other color are possibilities with plastic Adirondack chairs.
Our Top Picks
The chairs that made it onto this list combine high-quality materials with a comfortable design. Some include extra perks like ottomans and cup holders for those who demand a little more from their favorite chair.
The Lifetime Adirondack chairs are made with a high-quality plastic that mimics real wood. Treated with a protective UV coating, this chair withstands sun and weather damage and doesn’t require wood’s yearly maintenance. At only 9.5 pounds per chair, they’re easier to move than wood chairs, too.
The Lifetime chair comes as part of a set that includes a matching ottoman. It’s perfect for relaxing on the deck or poolside or at the beach. They’re not only weather durable, but people durable too, with a 300-pound weight limit. It comes in five colors, including black, brown, rustic brown, gray, and light brown, with each showcasing a real wood feel.
The textured grain finish of this chair’s high-quality, high-density polyethylene provides durability for heavy use and long-term weather resistance. The textured design doesn’t mimic wood, though the grayish-brown color could be viewed as a wood tone. The chair also comes in white, turquoise, and red.
This chair may be made of plastic, but it’s not particularly lightweight: each chair comes in at around 39 pounds. That doesn’t make them most portable, but it adds stability in a stiff wind.
The Best Choice Products chair is made of hemlock, a wood that’s rot- and pest-resistant. A natural finish provides a traditional look with the added bonus of a folding design. At 18.75 pounds, it’s relatively lightweight in comparison to other wooden chairs, allowing you to move it around your yard or pack it up with relative ease for a day at the beach. That folding design also creates a chair that’s easier to store in the off-season.
Sturdy, strong construction gives this model a 350-pound maximum weight limit. A tall backrest supports tall users and lets you sit back with proper posture and relax. You save money with hemlock wood. However, you’ll need to regularly apply a weatherproofing treatment to prevent rot. It’s also best to store this model in a covered area in the off-season.
This Polywood chair provides the look and feel of real wood but is made with recycled plastic that isn’t susceptible to bugs and has good weather- and sun-resistance. UV inhibitors and stabilizers built into the pigments add extra fade-resistance.
However, one of the best features of this chair is the foldability. When it’s folded, it’s easier to store, move around the yard, or take on a trip. At 37 pounds, it’s not exactly lightweight, but that weight gives the chair added stability.
The OT QOMOTOP is another plastic chair that’s hard to distinguish from wood. The plastic cuts the price and reduces yearly maintenance. But it’s the cup holder and sheer size of this chair that makes it a standout. The cup holder slides in or out and holds everything from your favorite drink to your smartphone.
And they’re not kidding when they say oversized. A 22-inch seat width offers a full 2 inches of extra space over that of a standard-size Adirondack chair. The 350-pound maximum weight capacity adds a full 100 pounds over some models. Like other plastic chairs, there’s little maintenance except for covering them in the off-season.
FAQs About Adirondack Chairs
You may recognize an Adirondack chair when you see one, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions. We answered a few of the most common to help you decide if Adirondack chairs are in your future.
Q. What is the difference between Adirondack and Muskoka chairs?
Adirondack chairs were named for the popularity they gained in the Adirondack mountains. In Canada, this same chair design became popular in the Muskoka region, which is the name by which they are commonly referred to in that country.
Muskoka chairs can look just like an Adirondack chair but sometimes have a lower back and seat. The names are largely based on the region in which their popularity took hold.
Q. Can you leave Adirondack chairs outside?
The materials and where you live determine if the Adirondack chair can stay outside year-round. There are both wood and plastics that withstand inclement weather and sun damage well enough for year-round outdoor storage. However, any chair, no matter what material it’s made of, will last longer if it’s covered when not in use.
Q. What color Adirondack chair should I get?
Adirondack chairs can blend with the color of your home or stand out as a pop of color. It depends on how you want to use them. If you want a natural look, invest in cedar, teak, or acacia. However, if you’re looking to add fun colors, plastic offers the most options, or you can paint a wood chair.
Q. How long do Adirondack chairs last?
It depends on how well they’re maintained, whether the chair is outside year-round, and the material of which they are made. In general, cedar Adirondack chairs that are properly stained each year should last about 10 years. Redwood, acacia, and eucalyptus may have a longer lifespan at 15 years or more, but it depends on how well they’re maintained. Pine and other less hardy woods may only last four or five years. Exposure to salt water and harsh winters can drastically reduce a chair’s lifespan regardless of the quality of the materials.
High-quality plastics rival hardwoods in durability, and sometimes in price. However, plastic also requires some care, though not as much as wood. Plastic can get brittle if repeatedly exposed to changing temperatures and intense weather. The chairs will last longer if they’re put in storage or covered in the winter. A high-quality plastic chair that’s covered during inclement weather has the potential to last 10 to 20 years.