Adirondack Chair vs Rocking Chair: What’s the Best for My Patio?

Adirondack chairs or rocking chairs? Two beautiful options, and only one patio. But you need to choose something to sit in on these crisp fall days before it gets too cold, and you like both of these traditional styles. 

What to do?

There are certainly benefits to each of these lovely chairs! So to help you decide, here are some things to consider for both of these American classics. 

Adirondack Chairs

Originally created in 1903 by a Massachusetts native, the Adirondack chair is a true piece of American craftsmanship. The design departed widely from the ornate Victorian style popular at the time. Made from 11 flat panels of wood with no decoration, it was built as a simple, comfortable place to sit outdoors and enjoy the view from a New York lake house.

So is the Adirondack chair a good choice for your patio?

To start, think about your home’s environment. Adirondacks are sturdy chairs, with four legs firmly on the ground. This could make them a good choice in windy areas, as they’ll be less likely to blow around the patio. 

Next, consider how you like to use outdoor furniture. If you want a flat place to rest a book or cup of tea, the Adirondack chair’s flat arms make a great surface. Some Adirondacks, like our Deluxe Oversized Poly Lumber version, even have cupholders! 

Adirondack chairs are low to the ground and have a sloping back, making them perfect for lounging. They offer comfortable back support, letting you relax in them for a long time. Some versions also come with leg rests where you can stretch out and wrap up in a blanket on cool days. 

There are also folding Adirondack chairs, making them a great choice if you want your furniture to be portable. This is very handy if you live somewhere snowy. You can fold up your chairs and stow them away in winter to help prolong their life. 

One final consideration for Adirondack chairs — they sit very low to the ground. So if you have regular patio guests with limited mobility, they may have a hard time getting in and out of these chairs. 

Rocking Chairs

Who doesn’t love a classic rocking chair? This is another American original. Although it’s often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the first rocking chair actually appeared when the great inventor was only a child in the early 18th century. The inventor is unknown, but these chairs quickly grew in popularity and were used in gardens throughout the U.S. in the 1700s.

If you’re thinking about putting a rocking chair on your patio, here’s what you need to know.

Rocking chairs come in a variety of styles, from light and delicate to heavy and sturdy. So if you’re going to put one on your patio, make sure it’s heavy enough to withstand the weather. 

Rocking chairs require a flat, even surface so they can rock freely. A gravel or natural stone patio may not be the best location for this type of chair. But a wood or concrete surface will be perfect.

Because of the rocking motion, there is usually nowhere safe to place a drink on a rocking chair. So you’ll want to have a small side table next to your chair. Make sure there’s room in your patio layout for enough seats and tables. 

Rockers have higher seats and an upright back. They may not be as comfortable as Adirondack chairs for lounging all afternoon, but they are much easier to get into and out of.

Finally, you may just enjoy the simple comfort of the rocking motion. The soothing back and forth helps us to relax and unwind after a long day. That could be reason enough to put a rocking chair on your patio. 

Finishes and Materials

Fortunately for the chair shopper, both Adirondack and rocking chairs come in plenty of materials and finishes. 

They can both be found in solid wood or long-lasting poly lumber. They can have natural wood finishes or be brightly colored, depending on your budget

This means you can always find an option to work with your home’s design. A modern house may look nice with a simple black straight-backed Adirondack chair, like this Creek Side version. And a cozy lakeside cottage may be the perfect setting for a rocker from our Harbor Collection.  

And they can both be found in either single seats, or in bench-styles big enough for two. For example, this two-seater rocker and this two-seater Adirondack are both perfect for sharing with someone special.  

Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these classic chair styles. There are reasons why both have endured for as long as they have — they’re beautiful, versatile, and comfortable!

If you really can’t decide between the two, why not a couple of each? Having seating options for your friends and family can make your patio a welcome hangout spot all season long.

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