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The early 1900s were an exciting time to be alive. People were inventing things like air conditioning, tractors, and blimps, often with mixed results. At the same time, an upstate New Yorker named Harry Bunnell was credited with inventing one of our favorite pieces of furniture: the Adirondack chair. Supposedly, the design he patented actually came from a friend who was trying to help him make some extra cash; if that’s true, it makes him a bit of a bastard. In either case, the chair was a smash hit. The Adirondack chair is still a staple of backyard renovations today, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t advise you to pick up a few of your own.
Whether you want a traditional chair or loveseat, wood or synthetic materials, there are plenty of great Adirondack chairs available.
Outdoor Interiors CD3111 Eucalyptus Adirondack Chair
For purists who want real wood furniture, Outdoor Interiors’ Adirondack chair is just the ticket. To make your backyard lounging even more relaxing, kick out the built-in ottoman and raise your feet for a good old-fashioned power nap. The eucalyptus used to build this chair is a dense hardwood that can withstand the elements. Whether your climate is hot, cold, wet, or dry, this eucalyptus chair will hold up better than most natural materials. For best results, find a hardwood oil you like and apply it frequently to preserve the wood. Eucalyptus does resist mold naturally, but it will develop a gray sheen if it’s not oiled on a regular basis. Durable hardwood tends to be heavy, so be prepared for a chair that weighs about 40 pounds. [Buy]
Polywood modern Adirondack chair
For all-day comfort and four-season durability, we recommend a Polywood Adirondack chair. Man-made planks are extremely durable and resist extreme temperatures and humidity levels much better than real wood. It’s also made from recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles, so you can feel better about buying plastic over wood. That means no oiling, no staining, no painting, and (most importantly) no splinters. Choose from 14 colors that won’t fade, chip, or peel. When it gets wet, just wipe dry and have a seat. Letting water sit on this chair won’t hurt it, so there’s no rush. This design uses a contoured seat and flat back, but Polywood has several options available. Some assembly is required; it’s easy and only requires basic hand tools. [Buy]
Lifetime Adirondack chair
This Adirondack chair from Lifetime has a bang-for-the-buck factor that can’t be overlooked. A curved seat and backrest provide a comfortable place to sip a drink, read, or just soak up the sun. The artificial wood offers the same perks as more expensive chairs at a competitive price. The imitation wood grain is surprisingly realistic, so people who aren’t a fan of flashy colors might prefer this Adirondack chair over some of the other synthetic options. The material is protected against UV damage and can be left outside year-round with confidence. You’ll need to assemble this chair at home, but the process is pretty self-explanatory and an instructional video is provided. Lifetime offers matching ottomans and end tables that can be purchased individually or as a set. [Buy]
Qomotop Adirondack chair
The Qotomop Adirondack chair combines traditional design with modern touches to stand out from the crowd. It starts with 100-percent recycled plastic that’s strong, UV-resistant, and environmentally friendly. Unlike wood, this material is impervious to water and extreme temperatures. It also includes design elements meant to make you more comfortable. The backrest is designed to place your back at an angle that relieves pressure on your lower spine, for a more comfortable seating position. A fold-out cupholder offers a sturdy place to keep your drink without taking up space on the armrest. Maintenance is as simple as a quick wash with soap and water. This chair comes in six pieces that you’ll need to assemble with the provided hardware. [Buy]
Outer Banks oversized Adirondack chair
For a little extra space, check out this Adirondack chair from Outer Banks. This option might be the perfect way to relax poolside. The plastic components are resistant to water and heat, and they’re built with heavy-duty plastic that uses 95-percent recycled materials. All hardware is made from stainless steel, so you won’t get unsightly rust stains from cheap screws rusting. Underneath the chair is a pull-out footrest. One armrest features a flip-out cup holder, and the other has a flip-out support designed to hold stemware or your phone in a position that makes it easy to read or control your music. We would leave this chair out year-round, but it can be folded up for off-season storage if you prefer. [Buy]
Lokatse Home Adirondack loveseat
Save a seat for someone special with Lokatse Home’s Adirondack loveseat. This two-person Adirondack chair is built from fir, an attractive type of knotty wood that looks great anywhere. The seat is 50 inches wide, giving two people just the right amount of room without being too big. Each oversized armrest offers plenty of space to keep a drink. Some assembly is required, and instructions are available online. The manufacturer also sells coffee tables and traditional, single-person Adirondack chairs. Because this is a natural product, the wood is not waterproof and will weather over time. That’s part of the charm, though, and we think you’ll enjoy this classic take on the Adirondack chair for years to come. [Buy]
Types of Adirondack chairs
Adirondack chairs are characterized by a specific design. They create a very low, relaxed seating position with slightly raised knees and a reclined back. Wide armrests are comfortable and large enough to hold a drink. Classic Adirondack chairs are built for one person, but some interpretations are large enough for two. You’ll find them in fixed or folding options. Where they tend to differ is in materials. Naturally, the original chairs used wooden planks, regardless of which shape they took. Now, synthetic materials and recycled plastic are popular for their weather-resistance and ease of upkeep.
Key features of Adirondack chairs
- Materials: Adirondack chairs are commonly available in wood or plastic. Wood chairs are very attractive and more traditional, but they require frequent maintenance to keep them looking their best. Plastic options come in a wide variety of colors and can be almost impervious to water and sunlight.
- Craftsmanship: Adirondack chairs are comfortable by design, but craftsmanship will be apparent in the details. Look for things like rounded edges, countersunk hardware, and deep finishes on wood chairs. On plastic chairs, denser material will cause the chair to hold up better after years of use.
- Intended Use: Before buying, consider whether or not you plan to move your chairs. If so, a folding option might be the way to go. You’ll also want to think about the effect weather might have on wooden outdoor furniture.
- Features: Adaptations to the original design include features like rounded backrests, seating for two, and cupholders. Several kinds of wood are used to create variety in weight, color, and price. Some plastic chairs are built from recycled materials, which is a nice perk.
Benefits of Adirondack chairs
The design of Adirondack chairs is deceptively simple. The enduring shape offers one of the most comfortable places to sit outdoors. As a result of simple materials and a proven design, build quality tends to be high. There just isn’t that much to mess up, and they tend to last a very long time. With a low seating position and broad armrests, it’s perfectly acceptable to set a few chairs on your porch and skip the table altogether. Folding options make transportation easier, but these aren’t meant to be hauled to every soccer game and outdoor concert, so keep that in mind.
Adirondack chair pricing
There are some premium Adirondack chairs with prices high enough to make your eyes water. Fortunately, there are also plenty of reasonably priced alternatives that still offer lasting quality. The concept behind these chairs is more than a hundred years old and simple to execute, so there isn’t a great deal of variation in design. Prices are affected by the type of materials used, and where the chairs are made. Premium Adirondack chairs are worth the money if you prioritize craftsmanship, but less-expensive options can be just as comfortable and durable. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $350.