There’s one piece of furniture that can instantly turn your regular run of the mill patio into a backyard oasis: the Adirondack chair. This chair gives your outdoor space a sense of home and comfort, the perfect place to curl up with your favorite drink and submerge yourself into a novel.
But if you google the search terms ‘adirondack chair’, you’re met with 3.9 million results in half a second and somehow finding your next favorite seat just got a little harder. To make shopping for your new Adirondack chair pain-free, there are some criteria you should keep in mind to be sure to find the chair that’s right for you and your home.
A key factor when trying to choose an Adirondack chair, or any outdoor furniture for that matter, is durability. This is where it’s important to select chairs made from quality, weather-resistant materials to ensure longevity. While wood or brittle plastic can be popular choices, it doesn’t always last as long compared to chairs made from plastic or poly lumber. Keep in mind, while poly lumber can be more durable outside than wood, not all poly is created equal. Adirondack chairs made with cheaper poly lumber can crack and break easier than those made with a higher quality poly lumber. Most poly lumber has color dyed throughout the boards, disguising any nicks immediately.
It’s also worth noting that while some manufacturer’s may not come out and say what the average lifespan of their chair is, you can garner how they feel about its quality by reading into the warranties. If it is a good chair that’s made well, you’ll see warranties that range from 20 years to limited lifetime coverage. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, you see chairs that only come with a one or two year warranty, which can be telling that the manufacturer doesn’t have a lot of faith in the durability of their product. Some companies may have a different warranty policy when it comes using their chairs commercially, but this is often due to the harder wear and tear in a commercial environment vs a home.
An Adirondack chair is an investment so be sure to treat it that way when you’re deciding on which one to purchase. As we mentioned earlier, you should be on the hunt for durable, weather-resistant materials like domestic poly lumber that can hold up being outside year after year that is well worth your investment. But another key factor in how long your chair will last can be seen in its construction.
If you’re looking at an Adirondack chair, check out the thickness of the boards. Some companies cut corners by using thinner boards of poly lumber. Even ¼” can make a big difference! Using thinner boards can lead to the chair wearing out and breaking at a quicker pace. Be mindful about the number of slats on the back of the chair. Combining thicker boards with more slats (seven is a good number) can reduce how far a chair bends when pressure is placed on the back and keep the shape intact for longer.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it…well, that’s what’s helping hold Adirondack chairs securely together! Look for chairs that use #316 stainless steel hardware for optimal strength. This hardware is designed to be used in a range of climates, from your coastal deck to your mountain abode.
The color or possible accessories may not be at the top of your list when you’re looking for a reliable Adirondack chair, but they should be close! Again, this chair is an investment and you want to be able to find one that you can customize to your needs as much as possible without breaking the bank and color is a great way to do that. Depending on the maker of the chairs, poly lumber and wood (painted) can come in a variety of colors to suit your home and patio. This is where you get to have a little fun and choose whether to go monochromatic or get a mix with your Adirondack chair. Besides color selection, you can find some Adirondack chairs that offer built-in features or add-ons that make the chair truly great. Here are some of the options that may be possible when you’re purchasing an Adirondack chair:
- Integrated footrest or the ability to purchase a matching standalone footrest
- Cup holder
- Folding capabilities
- Wine glass holder
- Cell phone holder/stand
Not all chairs will have these options, but do your research to find ones that either come with these options or let you add them on later.
The whole point of an Adirondack chair is to give you a space to relax and enjoy the outdoors alone or with friends and family. What you don’t want to do is buy an Adirondack that you’ll have to be constantly scrubbing, maintaining, or fixing. This harkens back to the importance to choosing an Adirondack chair that’s made from a high-quality material. While wood is a common choice, it isn’t as easy to maintain as poly lumber.
Poly lumber, though widely used, is still a newer material for outdoor furniture having only been around for the past thirty years. Because it’s made from certified recycled materials, poly lumber does not need to be waterproofed, extra painting, or staining. Poly lumber also does not run you the risk of splintering or rotting. To clean, soap and water will take care of any dirt on your Adirondack chair and if necessary, pressure-washing is ok with most Adirondack chairs. If the wood look is a must for your patio, there are poly lumber options out there that look exactly like wood, without the intense maintenance routine.
Purchasing an Adirondack chair can be a daunting task when you look at how many options are out there. But if you consider the durability, construction, customization, and maintenance of the chairs on the market, it’s much easier to find the Adirondack chair that fits into your lifestyle the best.
At ECCB Outdoor, we are confident in our poly lumber products. We encourage you to check out this video where we compare our Adirondack chairs to the biggest names in the industry.