The 6 Best Adirondack Chairs for Lounging, According to Our Testing
Adirondack chairs add an instantly cozy feel to any outdoor space, whether you're sitting around an open fire pit or enjoying a cup of coffee on the front porch. These deep-seated chairs are unrivaled when it comes to comfort—not to mention durability. To find the best, we tested 20 Adirondack chairs in our Lab and evaluated them based on setup, comfort, support, adjustability, design, durability, and value.
Your choice of Adirondack chairs will come down to personal taste and style, but according to Jane, you should always look for an Adirondack chair that's both durable and portable: "A lot of Adirondack chairs are very heavy and are therefore hard to move around for gatherings. But, at the same time, they should be heavy enough to sustain winds so they can be left outside."
Our top pick is the Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair because it has a sleek, modern design, yet remains comfortable and durable, in part thanks to its poly lumber material that is weather- and UV-resistant. Plus, it's available in over a dozen color options.
Keep on scrolling to find more of our favorite Adirondack chairs based on our testing. You'll also find expert tips to keep in mind as you shop.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Adirondack Chair: Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair
- Best Budget Adirondack Chair: RealComfort Plastic Adirondack Chair
- Best Wood Adirondack Chair: Grandin Road All-Natural Teak Adirondack Chair
- Best Plastic Adirondack Chair: Yefu Plastic Adirondack Chair
- Best Folding Adirondack Chair: Christopher Knight Home Hanlee Folding Adirondack Chair
- Best Adirondack Chair With Color Variety: ECCB Outdoor Outer Banks Oversized Folding Adirondack Chair
Our top pick is the Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair because it offers style, support, and stability. Plus, the poly lumber material is extremely weather-resistant and easy to clean. For something more budget-friendly, we recommend the RealComfort Plastic Adirondack Chair, a lightweight option that's easy to move around.
Our Testing Process
We acquired 20 Adirondack chairs and put them through a series of rigorous testing in our Lab, starting with setup: Our testers used the manufacturer's instructions to assemble each chair (given it did not come pre-assembled) and timed how long it took to build.
Once each chair was built, we assessed its design, including whether it came with any additional features, such as cup holders. Our testers sat in each chair for five minutes to assess its comfort, using any adjustment features and bearing in mind that Adirondack chairs will be by nature more or less comfortable for some people.
Next we performed what we called a "tip test" to determine how steady and durable each chair was: We tossed two 15-pound medicine balls into the seat of each chair and tried pushing each chair back with medium force, and noted whether it stayed in place, rocked, or fell over.
To evaluate how easy each chair was to clean, we simulated everyone's favorite fireside snack: roasted marshmallows. We smeared one roasted marshmallow and one tablespoon of barbecue sauce on the arm of each chair, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Our testers then used a damp towel and dish soap to clean the stains, taking note of any change in color or texture.
Finally, we carried each chair outside—folding it when applicable—and evaluated it for portability. Once outside, testers hosed off each chair, taking note of whether the water soaked into the wood or beaded up, and whether the moisture had any ill effects on the chair.
How to Shop for Adirondack Chairs Like a Pro
Adirondack chairs come in two broad categories—wood and plastic—which can be broken down even further depending on the type. Teak is among the most durable of all hardwoods: "Selecting teak is probably your best bet for a long lifespan of the chairs and we always recommend covering furniture when not in use, especially in areas with harsher weather," says Delane. "Other hardwoods like cedar and redwood are also great options as they naturally resist insects, sun, and weather damage." Some people prefer the rustic look of real wood, which will only gain character with time. However, wood requires regular refinishing or treatment with a wood sealer or conditioner to keep it in top-notch shape.
Plastic tends to be more affordable and easier to clean, although it's prone to chipping or cracking with time and may require replacing every few years. Jane recommends poly lumber (commonly referred to by the name brand version, Polywood), a durable, weather- and UV-resistant material made from recycled plastic that is designed to emulate the look of wood. It makes a great wood alternative if you want to avoid regular maintenance but prefer the durability and stability of wood. Some poly lumber furniture can even be embossed with a grain texture for a real-wood look.
When it comes to Adirondack chairs, it's important to strike the right balance between portability and stability. By nature, Adirondack chairs tend to be more bulky and hefty, so that they'll stay secure to the ground. However, you want to ensure that they're still lightweight enough to move for outdoor gatherings or for storage during the winter months. Folding Adirondack chairs collapse for easier storage and carrying, making them ideal for bringing to and from the lake and/or mountains or just moving around the backyard.
Size and Comfort
The appeal of Adirondack chairs lies primarily in their comfort—there's nothing better than sinking into the spacious seats by the fire with a glass of wine or warm cup of tea. Traditionally, Adirondack chairs have deep, angled seats, with straight angled backs and wide armrests. For those with limited mobility, a shallower seat angle will make it easier to transition from sitting to standing. A chair with a wider seat will accommodate loungers of all sizes and make for a more comfortable experience in general, and a smaller seat will be better for seating children. Some chairs even feature waterfall front slats, curved backs, lumbar support, and more. For added lumbar support and comfort, both Delane and Jane suggest adding pillows and keeping blankets nearby.
You'll find Adirondack chairs in a variety of shapes and colors, from the traditional rounded-top Adirondack chairs to the more modern straight-top chairs. For a more rustic look, a wood chair with a natural stain is a great choice, while a colorful chair is well suited to an urban outdoor space.
In terms of styling, Adirondack chairs are statement pieces in themselves: "I think Adirondack chairs are best left untouched," says Jane. "The beauty of them is in the design and the simplicity." Delane says arranging four chairs around a firepit has a classic look and feel, and adding pillows and blankets can create a more warm and inviting atmosphere.
Some Adirondack chairs come with bonus features for added comfort and convenience, such as built-in cup holders, ottomans or footrests, and reclining or rocking abilities.
More Adirondack Chairs to Consider
Highwood Hamilton Folding & Reclining Adirondack Chair: If you're willing to spend a bit more for an Adirondack chair with more than one seating option, this one has three reclining positions and folds completely flat for easy storage.
Highland Dunes Welshire Adirondack Chair: This chair has a similar modern design to our best overall pick, but at a lower price point. It's also made from solid wood as opposed to Polywood lumber, but we do have doubts about the longevity of the paint.
Questions You Might Ask
How do you clean Adirondack chairs?
It depends on the material of your chair, but most Adirondack chairs can be cleaned with a quick wipe down: "You can wipe down your chairs with a damp cloth and should cover them during the winter months or when not in use to preserve their lifespan," says Delane. To remove stains, gently wipe down the surface with a combination of mild soap and water. For all-over messes, such as pollen or dirt, most Adirondack chairs can be sprayed down with a hose—but always be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions, especially for wood chairs, which will require the occasional refinishing.
Can Adirondack chairs be used inside?
While you can technically use Adirondack chairs inside, their bulky build makes them better suited for outdoor use. "However, covered patios or porches would be a great place for an Adirondack chair as well," says Jane.
Can you leave Adirondack chairs outside?
Most Adirondack chairs are designed to withstand all kinds of weather, so you can leave them outside year round. However, no matter the material, your chair will last longer if you store it under a protective cover or in a storage closet during the off-season.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 20 Adirondack chairs in our Lab, evaluating them based on setup, comfort, support, adjustability, design, durability, and value. For expert advice on what to look for when shopping, we consulted Talie Jane, owner and principal designer at Lake Tahoe-based Talie Jane Interiors, as well as Lisa Delane, chief of operations and marketing at Living Gardens Landscape Design.
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