With summer in full swing, we’re all trying to take advantage of the sunny weather and get outside as much as possible. From slow mornings sipping coffee to hanging out with friends, having a designated outdoor space at your home is a game changer for getting the most out of summer. Whether you’re trying to revamp your outdoor space or make a new one altogether, when choosing outdoor furniture, you have to ask yourself questions that you wouldn’t when buying furniture for other parts of your home. How does this sectional withstand the elements? Is this chair water-resistant? Will these cushions fade easily in the sun? We asked Liz Toombs, certified interior decorator in Lexington, Kentucky, and founder of PDR Interiors, what advice she has for finding the ideal outdoor furniture setup, which according to her, is all about seating.
“I like to have a mix of seating, such as sofas and chairs with side tables and dining tables and chairs. This allows the patio to be multifunctional when entertaining,” she says. More seating in your outdoor space means more room for entertaining and lounging.
We tested a wide range of outdoor furniture — from modern sectionals to zero gravity chairs — to see how they held up to wind, rain, blazing sun, and, unintentionally (but perhaps most importantly), our pets.
Read on for the best outdoor furniture PEOPLE (and our pets) tested, including an outdoor sectional Christina Hall recommended for entertaining large groups.
Devoko Wicker Patio Conversation Set
The slight curve in the back of the chairs makes these surprisingly supportive.
Even in the rain, the cushions didn’t absorb water, so you don’t have to worry about them getting moldy due to moisture.
The glass top on the table makes it feel extra elegant and sturdy.
Are you looking for chairs to add to your patio setup? This three-piece set is a high-quality and affordable option, so it won our vote for the best value. Despite the low price tag, we were impressed by how high quality it felt. While it’s in no way bulky, the chairs and table feel sturdy and well-made. This is largely due to subtle details, like the glass top on the table, which adds an extra level of stability, especially for drinks. We also loved how supportive and comfortable these chairs felt, thanks to the slight curve in the back of the chairs. While wicker isn’t characteristically known for being super comfortable, we found that we could sit in these chairs for a while without discomfort.
We experienced quite a few rainy days during testing. Still, the water-resistant cushions did a great job of allowing most of the moisture to bead down off the surface, which means you won’t have to deal with soggy cushions if you forget to bring them inside ahead of a rainstorm.
The main con we encountered with this set was that, while they are comfortable for wicker chairs, this isn’t the kind of furniture you’ll want to lounge in all day long. You can’t recline, and the set doesn’t include an ottoman, so these are more of the kind of chairs you’d want as a supplement for any patio furniture you already have, or they’d be great on a front porch for your morning coffee or a short visit with a friend. All in all, if you want something inexpensive to finish off your outdoor space, this is a great choice.
Price at time of publish: $99.99 (orig. $140)
Number of Pieces: 3 | Material: PE rattan & polyester fabric and sponge padded cushion
Better Homes & Gardens Bryde Sectional Patio Set
This set has plenty of space so that you can accommodate lots of guests comfortably.
You can pull apart the sectional to become a sofa and loveseat so that you can customize the setup to your needs.
The dark cushions do a great job of concealing dirt.
Metal hardware heats up very quickly, so if this sectional is directly in the sun, use caution when approaching.
The cushions aren’t washable, so you won’t be able to deeply clean them if you need to.
Editor’s Note: Better Homes & Gardens is owned by PEOPLE parent company, Dotdash Meredith.
If you have a larger space and do a lot of entertaining, you’ll love this Better Homes & Gardens modern sectional. During testing, we had up to four adults and an infant sitting on it at once, and everyone could sit comfortably. We also loved how sturdy this outdoor furniture is — the steel frame means that you don’t have to worry about it blowing away in the wind, and the resin wood coffee table and attached end table feel sleek and stable as well. They’re easy to clean, too. The removable polyester cushions make it cozy enough to sit for hours without discomfort. They’re squishy enough to feel supported, but you don’t feel like you’re sinking in. Because they’re black, they also do a great job concealing any dirt and will go with any color scheme. It’s also important to note that this modern sectional can detach into a separate sofa and loveseat so that you can curate your seating for every occasion.
While the steel hardware does mean that it’s durable, it also retains heat. During the assembly process, we found it hard to hold onto the pieces for too long because they were so hot to the touch. Also, the cushions aren’t washable and don’t have removable cases, so you won’t be able to give them a deep clean if something is spilled on them or they inevitably accumulate dirt. Luckily, the cushions are dark in color, so they won’t show stains easily. If you buy this sectional, you should keep the couch in a shady spot and have cleaning wipes on hand to spot-treat messes. With all this being said, we found this sectional to be an amazing value. From detachable and customizable features to its comfort and spaciousness, we think this is a great purchase if you’re looking for an outdoor sectional.
Price at time of publish: $698
Number of Pieces: 3 | Material: Resin wood with steel frame with an e-coated and powder-coated finish
Better Homes & Gardens Willow Sage All-Weather Wicker Outdoor Loveseat & Ottoman Set
The included ottoman allows for lounging and maximum comfort.
The cushions are made of fade-resistant and water-repellent polyester so that they’ll last in the elements.
The compact size is ideal for apartment patios or smaller spaces.
The light-colored cushions show dirt and require frequent cleaning.
The loveseat doesn’t fit more than two people comfortably, so it’s not ideal if you’re going to be doing a lot of entertaining.
Editor’s Note: Better Homes & Gardens is owned by PEOPLE parent company, Dotdash Meredith.
Known for its durability, wicker is a common material for outdoor furniture and ideal if you want something low maintenance and affordable that will last you for many years. This Better Homes & Gardens loveseat and ottoman set won our vote for best wicker outdoor furniture because it’s not only all those things but also very comfortable. You can stretch out on the ottoman and cozy up with a cold drink and good book for an idyllic summer afternoon. The light color of the fabric on the cushions also means it stays nice and cool, and you won’t get overheated. The cushions are also fade-resistant and repel water, which we discovered when it rained during testing. In addition, the cushions are nice and thick, so the rigid wicker pattern won’t press into your skin.
However, one con about the light-colored cushions is that they show dirt easily. We placed the loveseat under a tree, which exposed it to debris, especially after it rained. Throughout the testing period, we cleaned the cushions quite a few times. We followed the manufacturer’s instructions by cleaning them with soap and water on a rag, and all the stains did come out fairly easily, but this is something to keep in mind if you end up purchasing this loveseat. Additionally, while the seat is comfortable, it is on the smaller side. We found that no more than two people can sit on it comfortably, so this wouldn’t be the best choice if you plan on having a lot of guests over. However, we found that one person could curl up and nap on it quite easily. This loveseat would be great for someone furnishing a small outdoor space or looking for a piece that won’t break the bank. Overall, we found this loveseat reasonably priced for wicker outdoor furniture and well worth the cost.
Price at time of publish: $298 (orig. $349)
Number of Pieces: 2 | Material: Steel, wicker, solution-dyed polyester
Grandin Road Amalfi Bench
The bench provides a surprising amount of support, so you can sit for a long time without discomfort.
It’s spacious enough to seat three people comfortably or stretch out lengthwise if you’re by yourself so you can prop up your legs and read a book.
It’s extremely durable and hasn’t shown any signs of damage, even after a year of use.
Benches are a great addition to any patio setup, and this one by Grandin Road won our vote in this category because of how durable it is. We already owned this bench for more than a year ahead of testing, and we absolutely love it. It hasn’t shown any signs of chipping, scratches, or molding in that time, although it’s been consistently exposed to the elements. It also provides a surprising amount of support, even though the back of the seat only comes up to the middle of your back. Aside from feeling well made, it looks great, too — the classic, preppy design will spruce up any space and add a level of luxury. We also love how spacious it is; it can fit two to three people comfortably, and if you’re sitting by yourself, you can easily prop your feet up and relax.
The main downside to this bench is that it doesn’t include a cushion. If you’d like a bench cushion, you can purchase one separately from Grandin’s website for about $100, depending on the pattern and thickness. It is fairly comfortable on its own, but adding a cushion makes a world of difference and makes it easier to sit for longer. Despite the lack of cushion, we found it worth the price. This is a great investment if you’re looking for a single piece for a small space or want to supplement your outdoor setup.
Price at time of publish: $209 (orig. $299)
Pieces: 1 | Material: Mahogany and eucalyptus construction with weather-ready polyurethane finish
Best Wood Sofa Set
Christopher Knight Home Carolina Acacia Outdoor Sofa Set
The wood is resistant to condensation, so you don’t have to worry about damaging moisture.
The cushions repel heat, so your skin won’t get too hot from sitting for too long.
This set is highly durable and easy to clean; although the cushions are light, they released any stains with a wet paper towel.
If you like the look and feel of wood furniture but are worried about its longevity in the outdoors, worry no more! This Christopher Knight sofa set is made of wood, so it’s dense and water-resistant. This allows you to have the aesthetic benefits of wooden furniture without worrying about damage in harsh elements. Each piece requires full assembly, but the process was very straightforward, although it would probably save you time if you had a second person helping with setup. Additionally, because it’s made of wood, it won’t get too hot under the sun like a metal frame. The light color of the fabric cushions also stays cool in the heat so that you can lounge for hours. While it doesn’t allow for a full recline, the cushions are pillowy, comfortable, and provide generous support.
Although any staining (like bird droppings and paw prints) did come out fairly easily with a wet paper towel, the light color of the fabric cushions will naturally accumulate dirt more frequently, so be prepared to clean it more regularly than you would a darker fabric. Our other gripe is that the sofa is a little bit small, and the wood framing doesn’t allow for much give. You can only fit two people comfortably, three if you squeeze, so you’ll likely need more seating options if you want to do lots of entertaining in your outdoor space. But we found this set to be incredibly comfortable for patio furniture — this, combined with its chic look and reasonable price point (especially for wood patio furniture), made it a winner if you like the aesthetics of wood patio furniture.
Price at time of publish: $399.99 (orig. $515)
Pieces: 4 | Material: Acacia
Best Zero Gravity Chair
Amazon Basics Textilene Outdoor Zero Gravity Chairs
The removable pillow headrests, cup holders, and a natural recline mean you’ll be able to get maximum relaxation and comfort.
The Textilene material is breathable and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about rot or molding due to moisture.
It easily folds up, so you can store it in the off-season or if you’re working with a small space.
The lockable recline setting doesn’t stay very well, especially if you change positions.
The built-in cup holders may not hold all cup and bottle sizes.
Are you looking for a lounge chair you can sunbathe in or want new chairs for your RV setup? This zero gravity lounge chair set made our list because of how comfortable, affordable, and space-saving it is. It certainly lives up to its name — we found the chairs stayed consistently comfortable, even after sitting for hours. Whether you’re lounging with friends or laying out with a book and a drink, you’ll love the added support of the removable headrests and the built-in cup holders on the attached side tables. Also, the polyester Textilene material is incredibly breathable and water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too hot or too wet. Another thing we appreciate about this set is how spacious the seats are, so you don’t have to worry about feeling constricted.
Although the chairs are comfortable, we felt that the adjustable recline setting could be better. It’s supposed to be lockable, but we found that if you change positions or make any sudden movements, it lifts you back to the upright setting. Also, while we did love the cup holders, they don’t fit larger cup sizes, which is something to keep in mind. If you’re looking for something that you can fully lounge in and folds up, we recommend this set as a great choice to take camping, to set up outside of your RV, or to keep on hand if you need furniture for a smaller outdoor space.
Price at time of publish: $149.59
Pieces: 3 | Material: Alloy steel, Textilene
Article Calicut Loveseat Set
The cushions are easy to clean; everything from wine spills to pet stains to bird droppings came out easily.
The set feels comfortable and supportive to sit in, so much so that we think they could be indoor pieces.
From rain to harsh sun to wildfire smoke, this furniture has not waivered in its quality, so you know it’s built to last.
It’s only available in two colors.
It’s expensive, but we think the high price reflects the quality.
When we say this Article Calicut set is life-changing, we mean it. From the moment of delivery — a breeze thanks to the company sending movers who set it up for us — we found that everything about this loveseat set was high quality. The cushions provide generous support and are incredibly comfortable; they don’t get too hot or sticky, and while they aren’t something you could curl up and nap in, you could certainly spend an evening or an afternoon lounging on them. The furniture itself is also very durable: From cat scratch claw marks to spilled wine to smoke and smog-filled air, it hasn’t missed a beat, and it still feels as high quality as it did the day it was delivered. The cushions are easy to clean, and any spills or messes were easy to wipe away with a wet cloth. While the set is only available in two colors, coast sand (a gray shade) and black, the darker cushion colors are great for concealing dirt.
This Article outdoor seating set did win our vote for best investment, so naturally, it’s on the pricier side. However, this is the kind of outdoor furniture that will last for years and years. While it isn’t necessarily luxury, it is incredibly well made in a way that you can see and feel. If you’re looking to furnish a permanent outdoor space and want something that will last, you can’t go wrong with this set.
Price at time of publish: $2,088
Pieces: 3 | Material: Powder-coated aluminum frame, woven polypropylene rope, includes loose seat and back cushions with removable covers
Best Choice Products 7-Piece Modular Outdoor Sectional: HGTV’s Christina Hall recommended this wicker sectional last summer, so naturally, we had to test it out for ourselves. It comes in seven pieces, which means it’s spacious and great for anyone who does lots of entertaining. The U-shape is conversational and ideal for propping your feet up or sprawling out if you’re lounging solo. With all this being said, there isn’t anything securing the fabric cushions onto the plastic wicker, and the rain cover didn’t fit the entire sectional. We loved that it could furnish a bigger space and is conducive for socializing, but ultimately, we didn’t feel it fully aligned with the price point. However, if you can find it on sale (which, right now, it’s $200 off), then we say go for it.
Others We Tried
Sunjoy Zero Gravity Chair: We liked this zero gravity chair because it was very comfortable and great for lounging: The reclining settings under the armrests stayed locked, even when changing positions or getting in and out of the chair. However, it didn’t make our list for one reason — after just a few exposures to rain, it started to rust significantly. For a piece of furniture that’s supposed to be outdoor friendly, this isn’t very encouraging, so we recommend the Amazon Basics Adjustable Zero Gravity Chairs instead.
Devoko 5-Piece Outdoor Sectional: While this set was priced well for the size and everything you get, the cushions are fairly thin and don’t add much comfort. Also, they did initially repel water, but once they got wet enough, they started to get soggy. For this reason, we chose the Better Homes & Gardens Modern Sectional as our favorite sectional option.
Better Homes & Gardens Carrara Springs 4-Piece Outdoor Set: We liked how heavy and sturdy this set was, especially in the face of storms and heavy winds. The same is true for the cushions — they’re thick and supportive, which makes the seating very comfortable and easy to spend a whole summer afternoon lounging on. However, assembly was challenging, and the wood had some rough spots. However, we think it’s a worthwhile buy if you can find it on sale.
Things to Consider Before Buying Outdoor Furniture
Most outdoor furniture will require some amout of setup. To avoid any frustration or delays in enjoying your outdoor space when your patio furniture arrives, look closely at the product description on the manufacturer’s website to see what exactly you’ll be working with when you open the box. Make sure that you have the proper tools and available space needed to assemble the furniture. If you’re working with materials that heat up, such as the metal in the Better Homes & Gardens Modern Sectional, make sure to assemble it in the shade or on a cloudy day.
If the outdoor furniture you purchase isn’t comfortable, you’re not going to want to sit on it, and it’s as simple as that. When curating your space, comfort should be the top priority. Looking at the product reviews on the manufacturer’s website and confirming the measurements is a great way to ensure that it will be comfortable for you, especially if you’re on the taller side. Also, look at the materials used to make the furniture — does it come with cushions? If so, how thick are they? How tall is the seat back? Is it possible to recline? Does it come with an ottoman? Of course, your answers will depend on your needs and expectations for an outdoor space, but these are all good questions to ask when shopping for new outdoor furniture.
Shopping for outdoor furniture is completely different than shopping for something you’d keep in your home. You have to remember that this furniture will likely remain outside, exposed to the sun, heat, snow, and wind, depending on your climate. And if you have pets or small children, you’ll want to look for extra durable materials. Look at the products the furniture is made with, whether or not the pieces are water resistant, and the color when considering outdoor furniture. If you keep it in a particularly sunny spot, it will be more prone to fading, so any dark fabrics may change color and vibrancy over time. Wicker is known for its durability, so a set like the Better Homes & Gardens Willow Sage Loveseat and Ottoman, will likely last you a long time.
If you place your outdoor seating under a tree, it will be exposed to more debris, like bird droppings and falling leaves or sap, so it must be cleaned more frequently. In that case, picking a set that’s easy to clean, like the Christopher Knight Acacia Set, would be ideal.
How We Tested
Our PEOPLE Tested team researched the most popular outdoor seating and tested 11 different options in a wide range of materials (metal, wood, wicker) and styles (benches, sectionals, loungers). We spent over 288 accumulated hours testing these products, in varied environments across the country.
We evaluated all the outdoor furniture for setup, comfort, and durability. We exposed the furniture to rain, sun, wind, wildfire smoke, pets, children, and lots of guests to see how well it held up against real-life wear and tear. We very closely simulated the use that you might face in your backyard so that we could give authentic and honest reviews on each product. After the testing period was over, we rated each piece from one to five, with one being the poorest performing and five being the best. Our top picks made this list.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of outdoor furniture is the most weather-resistant?
We asked Toombs what material she recommends for outdoor furniture, and she said, “I love Polywood and teak patio furniture. Both hold up very well in all of the elements and last longer than other materials.” However, the weather you’re preparing for will vary depending on the kind of climate you live in. For example, if you live somewhere with a lot of rain, ensuring the furniture you buy is water treated is key. If you don’t care for patio furniture with cushions, a durable Adirondack chair could be a great option for your space.
What outdoor furniture is best for high humidity?
Metal is prone to rust, which is the direct result of moisture, but powder-coated steel is designed to resist humidity and stay looking pristine all year long. The Better Homes & Gardens Modern Sectional is made with a powder-coated finish, making it a great option if you live in a particularly humid environment and want to make sure you get the most out of your furniture.
What outdoor furniture won’t fade in the sun?
Wicker is a great choice if you’re looking for something that won’t fade in the sun. It’s known for its durability in the face of sun or rain, so you can rest assured that it won’t fade or lose its quality, both in its look and feel. Additionally, if you’re purchasing a piece that comes with cloth cushions, you should avoid any dark fabrics with patterns, as these will most likely fade and start to look more weathered over time. Opting for solid, light-colored fabrics is best if fading is a concern.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Olivia Avitt has written about a wide range of subjects, from the best home products to wellness and art. For this piece, she thoroughly researched and reviewed each outdoor furniture product and the insights provided by the PEOPLE Tested team. She provides an unbiased editorial view and provides only the facts so that you can make an informed purchase that meets your needs.
We also consulted Liz Toombs, a Certified Interior Decorator in Lexington, Kentucky, and founder of PDR Interiors, for advice on finding the ideal outdoor furniture setup.
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.