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If you need a chair for the outdoors, you may just assume some discomfort comes along with the territory. Most people know those classic hard, plastic loungers all too well. And then there are those metal folding chairs that can’t even stand up to wind, much less you. Finally, there are canvas chairs with zero lumbar support – and the majority of them don’t recline. Not exactly great chairs to kick back and enjoy nice weather.
Luckily, manufacturers have addressed these issues by making zero gravity chairs. The main appeal to these chairs is that the back of the chair and footrest move back and forth in one graceful motion to keep you in a coordinated ergonomic position at all times.
This design is based on how astronauts reclined while going into space, when comfort is a must. It’s comfortable because reclining back evenly doesn’t put too much pressure on any single part of the body, hence the name “zero gravity chair.”
Zero gravity chairs have several other features to keep you comfortable for hours, from quality craftsmanship to padded chair backs and headrests. Choosing the perfect one can be a little difficult, so we’ve tried them and selected our top picks for you.
At BestReviews, we buy and test products so you don’t have to, because no one wants to buy a product and have it wind up a dud. We don’t accept manufacturer samples, thus our analysis of each product is impartial and you get objective recommendations of the best zero gravity chairs according to your needs. Check out our top picks in the product matrix above, and keep reading to find out about zero gravity chairs in depth.
This type of chair looks downright space age.
Two metal rings intercross with each other to form a sphere shape. Two sides of the metal rings act as armrests and the other two sides support the chair on the ground.
They do not recline as much as the more traditional zero gravity chairs, but they sure look cool.
For added lumbar support, shift the removable pillow down to the lower back region on the chair’s back.
This model is like the chair above, but it’s extra wide to fit two people. These chairs can usually support up to 600 pounds.
A common way to buy zero gravity chairs is in pairs. Two packs are the standard recliners that come together, which is convenient for couples, groups, or families and ends up saving money.
If you often have company, live with another person, or want to give a chair as a gift, opt for two-pack chairs.
Patio recliners are the most common type of zero gravity chairs. These chairs consist of a mesh fabric that is suspended to a durable steel frame with stretchy cording. It’s almost like sitting on a very comfortable trampoline molded to your body. The chairs recline back, taking the pressure off of the back. The whole chair is weather proof and can last years with good care. They tend to hold up to 300 pounds.
Extra large patio chairs support larger people, or loungers who simply want more room to sprawl out. The chairs come built with a little extra width, but are still meant for one person. These chairs typically hold up to 350 pounds.
If you don’t need an extra large size and/or you plan to move it often, opt for a traditional patio chair. These tend to be more lightweight and easy to carry.
You might be surprised to learn that there are indoor zero gravity chairs. The chairs look like traditional furniture pieces. Indoor zero gravity chairs are made out of high-end materials like leather covers with a wooden base. The seats are padded; however, they recline back just like patio chairs, with the chair back and foot rest moving together to keep you in a specific ergonomic position that alleviates extra pressure off the body.
Massage chairs also fit in with the zero gravity designation. Massage zero gravity chairs are padded leather or faux-leather chairs that encase the arms, legs, and neck. Then the chair gives a complete, full-body massage. Because they recline back in the same fashion as the other types, they count as zero gravity chairs.
Some indoor zero gravity chairs have electronic recline controls.
These chairs tend to come with a lot of different head and neck support add-ons. The standard head and neck option is simply a padded pillow addition strapped to the top of the chair. Another option includes flatter padding wrapped around the whole top third of the chair’s back. Some pillow attachments may also be wider and puffier that the standard pillow additions.
A popular feature is the canopy attachment for those who don’t want to be fully exposed to the elements. It’s a sheet of fabric that’s attached to two metal rods and a frame. Those rods attach to the back of the chair, holding the fabric above your head to block the sun.
Keep an eye on the length of the chair, as these can vary. You don’t want a chair that’s uncomfortably short.
Many models come with padding in the fabric for extra comfort. Depending on the model, the padding may be more pronounced (looking like an outdoor padded recliner) or have some understated padding built into the mesh.
Some chairs focus on the breathability of the material. Zero gravity chairs typically come in mesh material, but some use a type of mesh that is so breathable you can see right through the chair due to wider holes in the material. The breathability helps prevent overheating on hot days.
Zero gravity chairs are made to stand up to the elements. The mesh on the chair is typically UV-resistant and the steel frame is powder coated for weather resistance. Many zero gravity chairs are made out of PVC mesh material that’s extra resistant to weather wear.
One feature that appeals to the style-conscious consumer is the vast array of colors the chairs come in. From understated neutral shades to wild neon pinks and blues hues, there’s a chair to fit into any color scheme. If the chair is going to be a key piece on your patio, deck, or porch, the color is important.
Some chairs have a place to keep a drink – a simple but often important extra. You can usually find these around the arm rest somewhere, usually built right into the end.
Some chairs come with a system that allows you to lock into several different positions between the sitting-up position and the full-reclined zero gravity position where the legs are above heart level. This feature is important if you plan to recline and don’t want the chair to move out of position until you want to sit up.
Amenities like cup holders and angle locks may seem frivolous, but can be important for those who use zero gravity chairs frequently.
Prices of these chairs range widely. Most chairs can be priced as low as around $40 to $200, but can be as high as $1,000 for indoor models. Zero gravity massage chairs can be upwards of $3,000. Below is a price tier breakdown of certain chairs.
This price range contains basic zero gravity patio chairs. Extra large chairs are in this price range, as well as sets of two chairs. Two-person zero gravity chairs are also at the top of this price range, as are orbital zero gravity chairs.
Opt for a more expensive chair if you want one that will last and stand up to the elements better. Less expensive chairs are a good option for casual, infrequent use at events.
This range pertains to chairs with more advanced materials, like highly breathable mesh. Most indoor zero gravity chairs sit at the top of the price range.
Many types of indoor zero gravity chairs will be at this price point, which can exceed $1,000 in some cases. Zero gravity massage chairs can cost more than $3,500, though some limited massage features (ie. just encasing the legs) put the price around $1,000.
Q. I’ve heard zero gravity chairs are good for pain relief. Is that true?
A. Zero gravity chairs can help with back pain. The chair reclines the back and feet together so that you are putting even weight on all parts of the body. That lessens the strain you put on your back, especially your lower back.
Q. How much weight can a patio zero gravity chair support?
A. Most zero gravity chairs will hold up to 300 pounds, though you may want to check the specifications of the chair to be sure. Extra large varieties can hold up to around 350 pounds. Two-person zero gravity chairs will hold anywhere between 450 and 600 pounds.
Q. I’ve just seen the patio chairs. Can I use zero gravity chairs inside?
A. Yes, there are indoor zero gravity chairs. These come in typical furniture materials, with wooden frames, padding, and leather or faux leather coverings.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.