Lounge All Year Long in Our Favorite Adirondack Chairs

The Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair is a chair you can grow old in

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Best Adirondack Chairs Tout
Photo: People / Rachel Marek

When you picture chairs placed around a firepit, nestled among blooming hydrangea bushes, or sitting at the end of a dock, you're likely imagining an Adirondack chair. Originating in New England, these rustic chairs have become wildly popular across the U.S. Peek into the backyards of celebrities like Julia Roberts and Amy Schumer and you'll find some of these beloved chairs living there too.

"They look great outdoors in almost any environment," New England-based designer Desiree Burns tells PEOPLE. "The low maintenance required is also a big draw. People love them because they usually don't require constant scrubbing or fixing. You can leave them out and have a cozy space to relax with friends and family."

To put these chairs to the test (operation: L.O.U.N.G.E), we gathered a group of people who wanted to sit on something besides an office chair for the day. Our testers tested each Adirondack chair for qualities like setup, design, overall comfort and durability to see which ones stood out from the rest. At the end of the day, the Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair was the throne of choice.

Of all the Adirondack chairs that PEOPLE Tested, these were considered the best for design, comfort, and durability.

Best Overall: POLYWOOD Modern Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair
Amazon

Also available at Wayfair and Overstock.com

Pros: The Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair features a comfortable and sophisticated design, strong materials that can handle outdoor wear, and a competitive price compared to other premium Adirondack chairs.

Cons: It's not adjustable, and the setup is a tad time-consuming.

A backyard chair must be many things — durable, comfortable (hopefully!), and of course, pleasing to the eye — qualities that embody the Polywood Modern Adirondack Chair. One tester, a homeowner who's encountered many Adirondack chairs in her neck of the woods, loved this chair. "This chair was quite comfortable for an Adirondack. I felt the angle of the back of the chair offered some lumbar support and placed my body at a comfortable angle," she said.

Setup proved slightly challenging for a different tester, who said, "instructions were minimal" but assembly took about 20 minutes so it's not an insurmountable task. This chair earned high marks in design, comfort, and support. The polywood material is highly durable, resistant to splinters, cracking, peeling, and other weather concerns. "The material of the chair was smooth and felt fine on bare skin," our tester said. It also held up nicely against the stickier tests involving melted marshmallows and barbeque sauce. After a little work with a wet paper towel and a dab of dish soap, our tester said, "there was no residue or stains left behind on the chair."

While this is a simple chair — no special features like adjustability or cup holders — our tester said, "the arms are flat and wide enough that you can place a beverage on them without worrying about it tipping." The chair also passed our water-resistance test, with water from the hose beading immediately and easily wiping off. Our tester was able to sit immediately without getting her clothing wet, a bonus for those living in rainy climates.

"It's a basic chair, but feels supportive and comfortable," our tester said. "It looks sleek and modern and would be a great choice for a modern-style backyard," she added. Overall, we agree with her assessment that this is "an above-average chair for an average price." This is a chair that will be a staple in your yard for many years to come — a chair you can grow old in.

Adjustable No
Material Polywood
Water-Resistant Yes
Foldable No
Available Colors 14
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Best Budget: RealComfort Charcoal Resin Plastic Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair
The Home Depot

Also available at Lowes and Walmart

Pros: Thisbudget-friendly perch requires no assembly and offers a smooth and comfortable seat for your outdoor space.

Cons: It's not the sturdiest, and it doesn't look exactly like a classic Adirondack Chair.

While it may not last the test of time, this is a great option for those with a lower budget that still serves all the functions of a good Adirondack chair. An immediate bonus: it comes completely assembled. "This chair was comfortable and had good arm rests that would allow for a drink to sit as well," said one tester.

She thought the plastic material was fairly smooth when sitting. It survived all of our tests, with every messy ingredient wiping off with ease. The material isn't scratch-proof, but didn't suffer any damage after throwing a medicine ball at it. It held steady, though our tester noticed slight rocking when the ball was thrown. This light weight makes it a breeze to move around, and the gray color is a nice neutral that blends in with most landscapes. When sitting, our tester said, "The lumbar support is a great feature and makes it comfortable for most people."

Though the chair doesn't have any extra features and isn't adjustable, it "still has a good value for what you pay for," said our tester. She noted that her family has purchased similar chairs and she's enjoyed reading in them — meaning they're comfy enough to get lost in a book and lose track of time. "This chair won't stand out, but it does a good job of fulfilling its purpose of being cheap and comfortable," she concluded.

Adjustable No
Material Plastic
Water-Resistant Yes
Foldable No
Available Colors 1
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Best Splurge: Highwood Hamilton Made in the USA Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair
Amazon

Also available at Highwood

Pros: This is a well-built Adirondack chair that's adjustable, comfortable to sit in, and easy to maintain.

Cons: It's expensive, and the adjustments take some effort.

For a chair that moves with you, look no further than this Adirondack chair from Highwood. "Nearly foolproof" to set up, this chair was assembled in less than 15 minutes. Its smooth texture and wide base makes it comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time. But what really makes this chair stand out is its adjustability. "It has three positions you can place the back of the chair in, lowering it to catch some rays or raising it up for a better position for eating," said our tester. She noted it does take a minute to get the chair into each different position.

This chair can hold up to tough messes because during the cleaning test, the marshmallow and barbeque sauce came off with a wet paper towel and a little bit of elbow grease. It also dried rapidly after the water test, and our team could sit on it right after without getting their clothes wet. "There are no extras, like cup holders, but the arms are parallel to the ground and wide enough to hold a beverage steady," said the tester, adding that it felt sturdy when sitting.

Overall, this is a well-designed chair that offers durability and easy maintenance. Our tester's only complaints were the price and the effort that goes into making the chair adjustments. However, it's made from recycled materials which we love, and it has that signature classic Adirondack design. We think it would make a welcome addition to any backyard or patio.

Adjustable Yes
Material Recycled plastics designed to look like wood
Water-Resistant Yes
Foldable Yes
Available Colors 1
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Best Plastic: YEFU Adirondack Chair Plastic Weather Resistant

Adirondack Chair
Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Pros: This chair is easy to set up, fairly comfortable and sturdy, cleanable, and has the traditional look of an Adirondack chair.

Cons: It's a little pricey, but we think the price matches the value.

Our team swooned over this chair. "I love the design of this chair," said one tester. "The material has the appearance of real wood and even feels like wood to the touch. It has a traditional Adirondack look and sits low to the ground with a deep recline." She also said the arms are wide enough to hold objects, and she prefers the no-cup holder look because it looks "classier."

Setup only took 30 minutes — "This chair was a breeze to put together and I was able to manage it by myself," said our tester, adding that the instructions were clear, parts were labeled, and tools were included. Comfort-wise, this chair earned high ratings. Our tester noted that the recline supports your back well and can be adjusted slightly for different sitting positions. She cautioned that while the deep slant of the seat is relaxing for some, it could pose a challenge to stand up for older individuals with mobility issues.

During testing, our team had no problems cleaning this chair, although it did suffer some scuff marks after the medicine ball impact test. It dried quickly after being hosed off, and is very lightweight — meaning it's easy to move around, but could be blown over by strong winds. "It is not the cheapest option on the market, but has a nice look and seems like it would hold up well for multiple summers," our tester said.

Adjustable Yes
Material Plastic
Water-Resistant Yes
Foldable No
Available Colors 8
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Best Wood: Grandin Road All-Natural Teak Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair
Grandin Road

Pros: This wood chair is a high quality seat that offers support, stability, and a solid design.

Cons: It's expensive, not adjustable, and needs to be sanded regularly.

If you're looking for a classic Adirondack chair that will hold up for many years, you can't get much better than teak wood. This teak chair earned good scores during testing for its design, sturdiness, and level of comfort. "This chair is actually a good height for sitting, not too low to the ground," our tester observed after setting it up (in 15 minutes!).

As she pointed out, "there are no bells and whistles to this chair, but it is quite comfortable." The structure of the chair provides a sturdy base and wide arms for placing drinks and other items. The natural teak wood "has a good look to it", but isn't stained, and has to be sanded regularly to stay in peak condition.

Our tester was impressed with how easy the marshmallow and barbeque sauce mess could be cleaned off the chair, and said the chair dried fairly quickly after hosing it off. She critiqued the lack of adjustability and the fact that its lack of staining can cause it to change colors slightly over time. Given the regular maintenance, our tester thought the price was a little high, but appreciated the overall value of the chair and the other qualities it possesses.

Adjustable No
Material Teak wood
Water-Resistant Mostly
Foldable No
Available Colors 1
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Best Foldable: Outer Banks Deluxe Oversized Poly Lumber Folding Adirondack Chair

Pros: This foldable chair offers a comfortable and spacious seat, durability, and extra features like cup holders.

Cons: Setup had a few hiccups.

This Outer Banks-inspired Adirondack chair offers a classic design and a frame that's sturdy, comfortable, and foldable for easy storage. Regarding comfort, our tester said the chair is "roomy" with "arm rests at a comfortable height and position." The seat is wide enough to lounge in, and all the surfaces are smooth against your skin.

Though setup presented challenges via a defective screw, the assembly was pretty straightforward. Our tester also said it would have been nice to have additional tools to secure the bolts in the chair better. The structure was very solid and scored well in our testing for durability. The back has a scalloped design on the top edge, and there are cup holders with a special notched perch for stemmed wine glasses (versatile!). It aced our cleaning tests with all messes coming off with a wet paper towel.

While the tester pointed out that the chair doesn't have adjustments, she said "none were necessary" because she's fairly tall and found it extremely supportive. Overall we believe this is a great Adirondack chair for a reasonable price. "I would recommend this chair to friends and family, and would buy it myself," said our tester. "It was durable, good-looking, had the wine and cup holders, folds for storage, and was very comfortable (the most important feature!)."

Adjustable No
Material High Density Polyethylene
Water-Resistant Yes
Foldable Yes
Available Colors 23
Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

Things to Consider Before Buying Adirondack Chairs

Durability

As chairs that live outdoors, Adirondack chairs get exposed to all kinds of hazards. Considering that, you'll want a chair that is highly durable and can hold up to rain, gusts of wind, extreme sunlight (in terms of staining the color), bugs, and general wear and tear from kids, pets, flying objects and toys, and any activities that take place in a backyard. Finding a sturdy chair with a solid structure will ensure many years of use. Burns says it depends on "the quality of the chair and outdoor elements it's exposed to," but that a good well-made chair can last anywhere up to 20 years.

Comfort Level

Adirondack chairs have a unique design, and while they look gorgeous in backyards, they're not always conducive to those with long legs. The front of the chair is very low to the ground, so if you are tall, you should keep in mind that these types of chairs may not be comfortable for extended periods of time. That being said, the seats are generally supportive as the reclined back position provides mild lumbar support and plenty of room to lounge.

Material

Part of the durability (as well as comfort!), depends on the material of the Adirondack chair. "Look for weather resistant materials to ensure longevity," says Burns. "Durable, weather-resistant materials like poly lumber are great for being able to hold up outdoors year after year." If you want a more sophisticated design, teak wood provides stability, holds up against bugs and inclement weather, and is generally smooth on the skin when sitting. Plastic or recycled materials have a more casual appearance, but offer similar durability and comfort when in use. Burns also cautions to "pay close attention to the thickness of the boards. Chairs made with thinner boards can lead to the chair wearing out or breaking at a quicker pace."

Adirondack Chair Testing
People / Rachel Marek

How We Tested Adirondack Chairs

We brought together a group of testers including several homeowners to try out 21 top-rated Adirondack chairs. Looking at the setup, overall comfort and support, adjustability, design, durability, and value — as well as quality of materials, ease of cleaning, and extra features like cup holders — our team narrowed the list to the six best Adirondack chairs.

Using the manufacturer's instructions (because when in doubt, read! the! manual!), our testers assembled each chair. They measured how long the setup took, and how much labor was involved, as well as the quality of materials and hardware. Our testers judged how each chair looked and what features it came with (if any). Settling into the chair, our testers rated each on how comfortable, adjustable, and supportive they were. They also examined the durability, checking for any unsteadiness when pushed and seeing how the chair held up against impacts (like a medicine ball tossed onto the seat). To test their ability to be cleaned, our team melted marshmallows and smeared them and some barbeque sauce on the arms, and then cleaned the mess off after letting it sit for 10 minutes. They also brought the chairs outside and hosed each one off to determine how they held up to water, and how quickly they dried.

What Is People Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

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