Best Bistro Sets

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
245 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best bistro sets

Last Updated September 2019

When the weather is nice, you want to take advantage of it as much as possible. A bistro set, which includes two chairs and a small matching table, is perfect for those lazy afternoons when you want to read a book on your patio or dine alfresco with a friend.

While they’re commonly thought of as being only for the patio or porch, their compact nature means they can squeeze into any small space outside (or even inside) your home. Indeed, bistro sets are real space savers, especially the folding sets, which are popular choices for tailgating, camping, and studio apartments. Larger outdoor bistro sets are designed to give the ultimate relaxation experience. Their advanced comfort features and somewhat bigger tables invite you to stay a while and dine at your own leisure.

Want to hear more? Read our shopping guide on how to find the best bistro set for your needs. When you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

Bistro sets come with two chairs and a table, but if you expect company more regularly, you may wish to buy more than one set. Keep them near one another for intimate conversations or place them around your patio to spread out the seating.

Key considerations

Table dimensions

  • Surface area: If you don’t expect to do much dining, then you might not require a table with a large surface area. Some bistro sets come with small tables with just enough room for a couple of wine glasses. Others are large enough for two-person dining. If you’re concerned you might need more table space in the future, err on the side of caution and opt for a set with a larger table.  
  • Height: Bistro tables vary in height quite a bit. In some sets, they’re the same height as the seat of the chair, particularly in low-seated models. In others, they’re significantly lower and harder to reach. When it comes to high-top models, though, the tables tend to be waist-height, so you can eat comfortably either sitting or standing.

Brings elegance to your patio

More of a luxury patio addition, the Hanover Traditions Three-Piece Aluminum Rust-Free Patio Bistro delivers a comfortable outdoor leisure experience with swivel chairs with 360° of spin and padded cushions in three colors. Its heavyweight construction holds up against weather and wear with rust-resistant aluminium in an attractive brushed finish. This set also features a well-supported matching table, which can handle a full load of food and drinks, perfect for a poolside patio meal.

Portability

  • Folding sets: Some bistro sets are foldable for easy storage in the garage or can be neatly packed away for camping and tailgating. As they’re more compact, they’re also ideal to provide seating solutions in smaller spaces. For the most part, folding sets are relatively lightweight for practical reasons. Some sets are slightly sturdier, and the added durability of better-constructed frames makes these more expensive.
  • Stationary sets: If you want your bistro set to take up permanent residency on your patio, then a stationary set is ideal. They’re heavier and tend to come with padding or cushion options to offset their harder frames. These sets also offer a wide variety of colors and finishes to match your décor.

Weatherability

As outdoor furniture, bistro sets are designed to have a degree of weatherability. That means they’re specifically manufactured to withstand moderate rain and wind. In fact, some bistro sets are treated with unique UV-protective powders to keep paint from bleaching or chipping.

Generally speaking, some bistro sets are designed to handle harsher weather conditions than others. Lightweight folding sets could be too flimsy to be left out on a windy day. Some are strong enough to be left outside year-round, even when it snows. No matter which type of bistro set you have, though, when it’s supposed to rain or snow, it’s a good idea to bring the cushions inside so they don’t get soaked.

EXPERT TIP

While bistro sets hold up fairly well to various weather conditions, you could invest in outdoor furniture covers for an added layer of protection.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Materials

Wood, bamboo, eucalyptus, and rattan are popular bistro set materials if you’re going for a natural look. Aluminum is also a popular material and is used in both lightweight foldable sets as well as in heavier upscale ones. Synthetic materials, like polypropylene, are also well-liked for bistro sets since they’re extremely low maintenance and retain their brand-new look. Synthetic bistro sets are usually wipe-and-go, too.

Cushions

Some bistro sets are outfitted with padded seating or cushions. They either come in the form of a simple seat cushion or span the seat and chair back as one piece. For the most part, cushions are secured in some way through ribbon ties or Velcro closures. When it comes to cleaning, some are easier to maintain than others, as certain cushions are machine-washable whereas others require dry cleaning or spot cleaning.

Chair adjustability

Bistro set chairs sometimes offer adjustability features, the most popular of which are swivel and reclining options. These options tend to be present in more upscale models, as their advanced mechanisms to accommodate adjustability are a more expensive feature to engineer and include. If you don’t need adjustability features, though, you’ll find reasonably price bistro sets that still provide excellent seating.

Colors

Outdoor furniture has become just as trendy as indoor furniture, and bistro sets are no exception. Neutral, earthy tones are popular due to their versatility, and trending colors like neons and pastels are also available in a number of sets. As some bistro sets come in more than one textile choice, too, that opens up the range of colors. Wood, metal, and rattan offer a variety of finishes as well as colors.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re sharing snacks with a friend, put a lazy Susan on your bistro table. Instead of passing a plate between the two of you, simply spin it to indulge.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bistro set prices

Inexpensive: For sets under $100, expect to find simple, lightweight folding sets that tend to have smaller seats and tables.

Mid-range: Between $100 and $200, bistro sets are either high-end folding models or simple stationary ones with sturdier tables. They don’t have too much design detail, though you’ll see a range of options when it comes to colors and seating choices. The matching tables in this category are remarkably better than less expensive sets and offer more surface area to accommodate dining.

Expensive: Between $200 and $700, these bistro sets are much heavier and are constructed more like furniture than temporary seating. There’s a noticeable increase in features, particularly with swivel and reclining features for the chairs. The tables are also larger to accommodate dining for two and could have a hole in the middle if you’d like to add an umbrella to the set.

EXPERT TIP

Try to keep your electronics off the bistro table. They could sustain damage from being exposed to long periods of direct sunlight or can absorb heat if you have a metal table.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Pack away off season. Even if your bistro set can handle pool water and rain, it may not fare well in the snow. Store your set indoors during the off-season to protect it from harsh winter conditions.
  • Pick up citronella candles. Once you get comfortable, you don’t want to jump off your chair dodging bugs. Invest in citronella candles to keep near your bistro set or on the table to divert bugs elsewhere.
  • Maintain the cushions. If your bistro set has cushions, properly maintain them during the season. You could opt to spray-treat them to repel water if they’re not already water-repellent. Some have removable cases that are machine-washable or require dry cleaning, whereas others could require simple spot cleaning.
  • Hang bathing suits elsewhere. Chlorine and pool chemicals could damage the finish of your bistro set, so hang your bathing suits elsewhere for them to dry.

Durability at a good price

For a minimalist bistro set, the OC Orange Casual Three-Piece Set is ideal for spaces of all sizes. Whether you’re sprucing up a patio or need outdoor breakfast seating on an apartment balcony, it’s a bright and compact addition. The foldable, lightweight set comes in three colors and keeps its vibrancy with a durable rust and fade-resistant powder-coated steel.

 

Other products we considered

We also liked Outdoor Interiors’ Eucalyptus Three-Piece Square Bistro Set, largely due to its simplicity and high table surface that is ideal for dining. This eucalyptus hardwood folding set is easy to move, yet it’s attractive enough to be a permanent addition to your outdoor space. It’s also well reinforced, as it’s equipped with a unique under-table locking mechanism. There’s also a one-year warranty, and its customer service has a reputation for responding within 24 hours.

If you’re looking for seating in between lounge chairs and upright seating, the Keter Rio Three-Piece All-Weather Outdoor Patio Set is an ideal compromise. The molded rattan is made of all-weather polypropylene for exceptional durability and easy cleaning. Its seats have a comfortable L-shaped design that are low enough to accommodate a variety of leg positions. The matching table is the right height to make reaching for your drinks or snacks a total breeze.

Think about your patio or garden surface when buying a bistro set. If it’s made of stones, bricks, or wood slats, choose a set with chair and table legs that won’t fall between cracks or spaces.

FAQ

Q. If I’m power-washing my deck, can I also give my bistro set a good cleaning that way?
A.
It’s probably not a good idea, since the force of the water and the cleaning products could be too harsh for your bistro set. Manufacturers often include specific cleaning instructions that are uniquely tailored to properly maintain the finish and paint on your bistro set.

Q. How can I choose the best portable bistro set for camping?
A.
An ideal portable bistro set for camping has strong, sturdy legs on the chairs and table so they don’t wobble too much. While it’s expected you’ll be on uneven territory, ones that sit lower to the ground and have thicker legs tend to be more stable.

Q. I love my bistro set, but all my drinks wobble on the table because of the holes and grates of the design. What are my options?
A.
If you’re not already using outdoor-friendly drinkware, pick up a new set that has some weight to it. You could also invest in a Plexiglas cover to achieve a flat surface, and it’s transparent so it shouldn’t be too noticeable. Another option is to keep your drinks on the arm of your chair with the help of a detachable cupholder.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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