Published on May 11, 2021

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From sunbathing sessions to cocktail cookouts, the season of alfresco gatherings is about to be in full swing—and with it the mad dash to find outdoor seating that doesn’t cramp your style. For all of those times when sitting on the ground just won’t cut it this summer, we suggest swapping your throw blanket with another tried-and-true portable classic: the lawn chair.  

Foldable lawn chairs have become synonymous with retro camp outings and backyard barbecues, but today’s sleek styles work just as well for casual meetups at the park and day trips to the beach. Typically made from lightweight materials, the best lawn chairs can be easily towed in the crook of an arm or slung across your back, and are compact enough to easily store away during the colder months. And lawn chairs don’t have to look like the ones gathering cobwebs in your grandparents’ garage, though there will always be a place in our hearts for vintage finds. Here are nine modern lawn chairs for every outdoor space, from the colorfully customizable to the casual throwback. 

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

The most important thing to consider when selecting the best lawn chairs depends on where and how you intend to use them. Relaxing by the pool? You’ll need a seat that can stand up to splashy high dives and damp swimsuits. If you’re just reclining on the front porch, there’s no need to worry about the rust factor. But for all intents and purposes, comfort, durability, and functionality are always paramount, says Gaby Zone, merchandise director of home at Terrain. Here are three more factors to weigh when making your decision.

Seat Height: Seat height—and size more generally—is closely tied to comfort. “A well-designed chair considers how one sits and what makes them comfortable,” says Zone. “I always like to look at where the frame hits to consider if it will dig into my leg or backside and cause discomfort.” Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation: A comfortable seat height simply depends on how you like to sit. If you’re petite, for example, Zone suggests choosing a chair low enough for your feet to rest flush with the ground. Optimal comfort, according to Zone, occurs when your knees naturally rest below your hips.

Material: “Material composition is really what separates the average chair from the exceptional chair,” explains Zone, pointing out that Terrain only uses durable teakwood, which is less likely to become brittle thanks to its high natural oil content. Other popular wood frames include acacia and eucalyptus, but these require regular oiling to keep them looking fresh (and functional) season after season. Aside from steel, aluminum—the original lawn chair material, revered for its light weight and affordability—is making a comeback. When going the metal route, just make sure it’s powder coated to avoid rusting, says Zone. 

Fabric: Fabric is equally important when it comes to finding the best lawn chairs. Whether it’s a classic webbing, durable nylon, or soft canvas, Zone says it’s wise to select something that won’t get too hot or stick to your skin.

Our Favorites:

Best Overall: Terrain Weekender Backpack Lounge Chair

Is there anything Terrain hasn’t thought of in this chair? The Weekender is like the MacGyver of loungers: It has padded backpack straps for easy transport; a head pillow and armrests for added comfort; and a large, zippable back pocket for stowing away sunscreen or a corkscrew for the rosé that will no doubt be flowing. The easy-to-clean umbrella canvas comes in three summer-worthy color lines (sailcloth white, cabana-striped yellow, and tiki-flora blue) stretched over a durable hardwood frame. It’s also UV-, mold-, and water-resistant, making it an ideal choice for the beach or the backyard. Did we mention it can recline in three different positions? Outdoor naps never felt so good.

Best Value: Sun Squad Webstrap Folding Beach Sand Chair

Why mess with a classic? Like the lawn chairs of your youth, this no-frills seat more than pulls its weight. At just under 8 pounds, it can hold up to 200. Touting a nostalgic blue webbed fabric made from weather-resistant polyethylene on a foldable steel frame, it’s a simple, transportable piece that brims with old-school cred. And at just $20, it’s an affordable option that would make your grandfather proud.

Best Customizable: The Inside Cabana Chair

If you’re searching for a lawn chair that feels more like something you’d keep indoors—and that everyone else won’t have—the Inside’s cabana chair is it. The machine-washable, UV-protected fabric won’t fade in the sunshine and comes in 109 patterns, including iconic prints by Scalamandré and Sheila Bridges, each handmade on demand; if you’re torn between two favorites, you can order an extra sling (for $35) for next season without purchasing a new frame. And the sleek, minimalist design makes it super-easy to set up and put away.

Best for Camping: Parkit Voyager Chair

Parkit’s outdoorsy Voyager chair is designed to tag along on even the most intense camping and recreational excursions thanks to a durable, aircraft-grade aluminum frame. The detachable insulated cooler under the seat keeps everything from water to wine bottles ice cold for more than eight hours. But the best part is that Parkit plants a mangrove tree for every chair sold, making this perch perfect for eco-warriors with a conscience.

Best Retro Classic: Lawn Chair USA Folding Aluminum Chair

Family-owned Lawn Chair USA makes just one product—the classic American lawn chair—and the company’s attention to detail is impressive. This foldable, stackable seat is one of the lightest on the list (just 6 pounds) and the most durable thanks to a rustproof aluminum frame and an ingenious surprise feature: Instead of rivets, clips hold the webbing in place, making it a cinch to replace whenever you need a quick refresh.

Best Convertible: Spaghetti Outdoor Lounge Chair

The Ferrari of lawn chairs—and not just because it’s made in Italy—MoMA’s iconic design was introduced in 1975 by Francesco Favagrossa with springy PVC bands that recall the country’s favorite noodle. But there’s more to the Spaghetti chair than meets the eye. It exudes comfort with an ergonomic backrest, a foldaway footstool, and six adjustable positions. Use it as a permanent statement piece on your patio, or simply collapse it and stow it when space is of the essence.

Best Double-Wide: Sun Squad Web Strap Love Seat

Need more seating room on a budget? Sun Squad’s extra-wide version doubles down on our love for the traditional lawn chair with retro woven web straps and a powder-coated steel frame that’s spacious enough to seat two adults or three kids. Yet at less than 8 pounds, it’s still light as a feather to carry wherever you need it. Combine that with 5-star ratings and a price that’s just right, and you’ve got a great choice for those who don’t want to lug multiple chairs to park hangs and beach clambakes.

Best Durable: REI Outward Classic Low Lawn Chair

Hikers, backpackers, and adventure enthusiasts know REI for its quality outdoor gear. A neutral, minimalist take on the classic lawn chair, this seat is no exception. It can withstand the elements and be carried along on excursions like a heavy-duty rucksack, and the wood armrest detail is a nice nod to the natural setting this chair was born to be in.

Best Compact: Lafuma Maxi Transat Folding Sling Lounge Chair

Real Adirondack chairs are notorious for both their bulk and heft, but this French version of the outdoor staple is the slimmest seat on the list. Its low profile makes it a practical option for unsteady surfaces like sand, and it folds up flat for easy portability but is still comfortable enough for full lounging. Constructed with a Titane steel frame, the Lafuma Maxi Transat chair is also super-easy to clean, and a quick-dry, weather-resistant Batyline fabric means summer rain showers are no sweat.

How We Vetted These Products

Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:

  1. They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
  2. They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
  3. They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.

The products in this story are independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

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