The 6 Best Patio Dining Sets for Outdoor Entertaining
To find the best patio dining sets, we thoroughly researched the category and considered factors like style, material, size, and maintenance. We also looked at added features, like umbrella holes and cushions, when making this list. These factors affect whether you keep your outdoor furniture for a year or a decade, so we took them all into account when coming up with our recommendations. For expert insight, we spoke to Kathy Kuo, an interior designer with more than 20 years of experience and the CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.
Our top choice is the Frontgate Cafe Five-Piece Dining Set, which comes with curved-back chairs and a round table that seats four people. It's made of exceptionally durable materials, like powder-coated aluminum and resin wicker, that can survive in most climates. It's also easy to clean and comes in three neutral colors.
Learn more about the best patio dining sets below, and keep reading for tips on how to choose a set that's best for your needs.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Patio Dining Set: Frontgate Cafe Five-Piece Curved-Back Chairs and Table Set
- Best Budget Patio Dining Set: Style Sections Three-Piece Bistro Set
- Best Wood Patio Dining Set: Oval Eucalyptus Lira Seven-Piece Folding Outdoor Dining Set
- Best Metal Patio Dining Set: Red Barrel Studio Jobye Long Dining Set With Cushions
- Best Patio Dining Set With Umbrella: Hanover Lavallette Black Steel Five-Piece Outdoor Dining Set
- Best Patio Dining Set With Benches: Walker Edison Extendable Table and Bench Dining Set
Best Overall Patio Dining Set: Frontgate Cafe Five-Piece Curved-Back Chairs and Table Set
Best Budget Patio Dining Set: Style Sections Three-Piece Bistro Set
Best Wood Patio Dining Set: Oval Eucalyptus Lira Seven-Piece Folding Outdoor Dining Set
Best Metal Patio Dining Set: Red Barrel Studio Jobye Long Dining Set With Cushions
Best Patio Dining Set With Umbrella: Hanover Lavallette Black Steel Five-Piece Outdoor Dining Set
Best Patio Dining Set With Benches: Walker Edison Extendable Table and Bench Dining Set
Overall, we recommend the Frontgate Cafe Five-Piece Dining Set With Curved-Back Chairs because it's made with durable materials and has a versatile yet stylish design. It comes in three neutral colors, and we love that the stackable chairs and folding table make it easy to store when not in use.
How to Shop for Patio Dining Sets
When shopping for a patio dining set, one of the most important factors to consider is the number of seats. Small families and couples who occasionally have a guest or two over will likely find that four seats are enough, while anyone who lives alone and couples who rarely have people over should choose a two-seat option. Sets with six to nine seats (or more) are best for big families and people who frequently entertain.
Kuo says that one of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing patio dining sets is not measuring out their outdoor space beforehand. You'll want to make sure that your patio can accommodate a set with that many chairs and still have enough space for people to comfortably move around. While a large table and plenty of chairs may technically fit on your patio, you and your guests won't enjoy it as much if you feel cramped and need to squeeze through to get to your seat. Kuo suggests leaving at least 2 feet of space to walk around your patio dining set, and perhaps more if there are any swinging doors nearby.
Since patio dining sets stay outdoors, it's important to pick one made with materials that are durable enough for the climate you live in. "Treated metal, wicker, and wood are usually my go-to materials for outdoor furniture frames," says Kuo. All of those materials can hold up outdoors, but their performance can vary based on the weather.
Metal is one of the most popular materials for patio tables and chairs, and we suggest specifically looking for options made with aluminum. That's because aluminum doesn't rust, corrode, or get hot to the touch the way that other metals do when exposed to high heat. It's also lighter in weight, so dining sets made with it are easier to move around. But because aluminum isn't as heavy as other types of metal, aluminum patio dining sets may not hold up as well when faced with high winds. If you live in an area that experiences this type of weather frequently, be prepared to regularly move your outdoor dining table set inside. You could also invest in a heavier steel set. Just keep in mind that steel will rust unless it's powder-coated.
Wood is another classic choice for patio furniture because of its natural beauty, but note that it holds up best in temperate climates. Kuo prefers using teak, cypress, mahogany, and acacia for outdoor spaces. Teak is often considered the best type of wood for patio furniture because of its ability to withstand all types of weather. It requires little maintenance and is naturally resistant to rot and termites, but it's usually much more expensive than other types. If you're looking for something more affordable, acacia is typically less expensive but still rot- and water-resistant. The catch is that acacia doesn't do well in high heat. If you live in an environment that does experience high heat regularly, go with eucalyptus—it's similar to acacia in cost and quality, but it doesn't do well in icy conditions. If you get an outdoor dining set with either of these wood types, we suggest buying a cover to protect it or storing it inside when not in use.
Wicker is another patio furniture material that's loved for its appearance. Like wood, wicker is a natural material that will react to outdoor temperatures. Natural wicker simply won't survive outside over time, so you should look for patio dining sets made with synthetic or resin wicker. This type of wicker is made of plastic, so it stays strong no matter what type of weather is thrown at it.
In addition to having weather-resistant properties, you also want your dining set to look good in your outdoor space. If you're not sure which dining set will look the best, Kuo suggests thinking about what your patio and overall home look like. "Consider the finish and material that already exist outdoors," she says. "Are the floors or walls in stone/wood? Make sure there's no overwhelming element or material that will clash with each other when picking furniture."
Wood, wicker, and metal are pretty neutral, so they look great in all spaces, especially among the greenery of the outdoors. But if you don't have a lot of leafy plants growing in your backyard, consider getting a colorful patio dining set that stands out among the more barren landscape.
Patio furniture is built to withstand the elements of the outdoors, so it probably won't be as comfortable as the pieces in your living room. Most sets aren't made with any fabric, but some do come with chairs that have removable cushions and back pads for added comfort.
It's also important to consider coverage and sun protection. Sitting outside on a hot day can quickly become uncomfortable if you're directly in the sun (especially if your seats are made of metal). The last thing you want while dining alfresco is to feel like your table and chairs are burning your skin. If your patio doesn't have an awning, consider choosing a dining set with an umbrella hole—some even take it a step further and come with an umbrella.
Questions You Might Ask
Do you need cushions for patio dining chairs?
If you're planning on using your patio table and chairs for short periods (like while eating a quick meal), then your guests will probably be fine without cushions on their chairs. However, if you're planning on entertaining often or sitting at your outdoor patio table for longer, we recommend looking for chairs that come with cushioning. You can also purchase patio chair cushions separately—many brands offer durable cushions that are compatible with a variety of chair types, and some sites (like Wayfair) even make custom outdoor cushions.
"Though more comfortable, cushions do come with the added responsibility of storing them in a dry place with climate changes," Kuo says. So before you buy a patio dining set with cushions, make sure you have enough space indoors to store them while you wait for rough weather to pass through.
How do you clean patio dining sets?
If you want your patio dining set to last multiple seasons, then it's important to regularly clean it. Since the type of maintenance your furniture needs can vary based on the material it's made of, you should always check the instructional manual before using any cleaning products.
You can usually use mild soap and water to clean metal, faux wicker, and wood, but the latter requires an extra step: oiling. In addition to keeping wood hydrated, oil also helps wood maintain its color. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations to see if oiling is necessary. If the wood is finished with a seal, then there's no need to oil it because it won't be able to penetrate the seal anyways. The manufacturer might recommend a specific type of oil and tell you how often to apply it, but if not, twice a year is a good rule of thumb. For more tips, check out our guide on how to clean outdoor patio furniture.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. She spent hours researching all the components that make patio dining sets great, ultimately choosing the products on this list based on materials, style, size, and ease of care. Rachel also received expert tips from Kathy Kuo, an interior designer with more than 20 years of experience and the CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.