Best Folding Chairs

Updated December 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

38 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
135 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best folding chairs

Are you in need of more seating for your next gathering? Investing in a set of extra dining room chairs or patio seating can be pricey, especially if you only intend to use them occasionally. Folding chairs make affordable alternatives.

Folding chairs are versatile enough to be used for most events, ranging from casual holiday dinners to outdoor weddings. Once the event comes to a close, putting away the chairs couldn’t be easier: simply fold and stack them for storage. Some folding chairs come with stacking platforms or trolleys for more convenience, not to mention added portability. And as far as aesthetics go, folding chairs aren’t metal eyesores anymore. Many are now made of plastic or wood, some are painted and some feature ornate designs like scrollwork or engraving. 
 
If you’re thinking about buying folding chairs, give our buying guide a read. We introduce you to each feature you should examine, plus we share a few buying tips and favorites to help narrow your choices.

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Folding chairs are ideal for craft rooms or playrooms where space is limited. Once projects are completed or playtime is over, it’s easy to fold up the chairs to free up floor space.

Key considerations

Single chair vs. a set

Folding chairs are sold individually or as part of a set, and there are perks to buying them both ways. 

Single chair: Investing in a single folding chair is ideal if you value quality over quantity and only need one extra chair. Unfortunately, if the folding chair breaks, you won’t have a backup. 

Set: Buying a set of folding chairs offers more bang for your buck. Even if you only need a couple of chairs and the set includes four or six, you’ll always have spare seating on hand. Another perk of investing in a set is that all the pieces match, right down to the cushions. However, one of the pitfalls of buying a set is that the quality can be hit or miss. 

Weight capacity

It’s challenging to judge the sturdiness of a folding chair based on appearance alone. For that reason, it’s recommended you examine the chair’s weight capacity, which can range from 200 to 1,000 pounds. While those toward the lower end of the spectrum can support the weight of most individuals, many of these folding chairs are flimsy and end up warping or buckling. If possible, invest in a folding chair that supports no less than 300 pounds. These designs are much more stable and sturdy, not to mention they fare much better over years of use.

Materials

Traditional folding chairs are all metal, and what they lack in looks, they make up for in durability. Some metal chairs incorporate high-grade plastic or resin parts — namely, the seats and seatbacks — to improve their aesthetics. The use of plastic also keeps the folding chairs lightweight and easy to carry. Wooden folding chairs are the most attractive by far, which is why they remain a popular choice for indoor seating, especially at dining tables.

If you’re concerned that folding chairs may scratch or damage floors, invest in a set with rubber-capped feet.

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Features

Folding mechanism

Quality folding chairs have reliable folding mechanisms that won’t jam or catch. While they may feel a bit tight and require some effort to open and close, this is a good sign that they’re durable enough to last through repeated use. If the folding mechanism is too loose or seems too easy to open or close, it’s likely that the chair will end up swaying, wobbling, or collapsing.

Legs

Stability is of the utmost importance when it comes to folding chairs. In well-made chairs, the legs and feet touch the ground evenly to provide stable weight distribution. Unfortunately, some lower-quality folding chairs have one leg that’s shorter than the others. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the chairs are completely unstable, the constant rocking can be uncomfortable or distracting to the occupant. 

Seats and seat backs

If comfort is a top concern, take a good look at the seats and seat backs of folding chairs. Contoured seats and seat backs provide a natural shape for the occupant to enjoy a relaxed position. The contour of these areas doesn’t need to be extreme because a slight curve is just enough to provide ample comfort. 

In less expensive folding chairs, the seats and seatbacks are straight. These are particularly uncomfortable to sit in because the straight lines lack back and lumbar support. As a result, this may place the spine in an unnatural position and cause stress or tension during periods of prolonged sitting.

Cushions

Some folding chairs come with cushions, which are usually attached to the frame or integrated into the seat or seatback. They’re typically made of tightly woven materials with high tensile strength, such as canvas, polyester, or cotton. While they’re nowhere near as plush as the cushions on traditional chairs, the softness they provide can make a big difference in comfort. 

Accessories

Folding table: Office Star Multipurpose Table
In addition to folding chairs, consider investing in a folding table, too. This rectangular resin table is waterproof and can be used indoors or outdoors. It also folds in half and has handles for easy carrying and storage.

Chair cushions: Sweet Home Collection Memory Foam Cushions
Upgrade the comfort level of your folding chairs with these non-skid seat cushions that secure in place with ties. They’re made of a soft woven polyester, are filled with high-density memory foam, and are available in over 20 colors. 

Folding chair and table set for kids: Flash Furniture Kids’ Five-Piece Folding Set
Folding chairs for adults can be too big for kids, so consider investing in this charming child-sized set. The pieces are equipped with safety features that prevent them from accidentally collapsing. The set is available in three colors.

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DID YOU KNOW?
If the folding mechanism sounds squeaky, spray it with WD-40. This should eliminate the squeak, plus it will make the mechanism a bit easier to open and close.
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Folding chair prices

Folding chairs range in price from $25 to $300. For the most part, the overall quality and number of chairs included in a set determine the price.

Inexpensive: If you’re in the market for a single folding chair or a pair, you’ll spend between $25 and $75. Quality is hit or miss in this bracket, especially when it comes to stability and durability.

Mid-range: These folding chairs cost between $80 and $150. The sets include between four and 12 chairs. Some folding chairs in this bracket have cushions as well.

Expensive: Folding chairs in the $175 to $300 bracket mostly include high-quality deluxe sets. Since there are anywhere from 10 to 24 chairs in these sets, it’s common for them to have stacking bases or come with a trolley.

If the cushion of a folding chair slides around a lot, sew a nonslip shelf liner to the bottom to ensure it stays put.

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Tips

Give folding chairs as a practical gift. If you know someone living on their own for the first time, especially in a dorm or apartment, folding chairs make a great practical gift that will get plenty of use.

Pay close attention to care instructions. Not every folding chair can be cleaned with soap and water or an all-purpose cleaner. Be sure to read the cleaning instructions carefully to find a cleaning product that won’t damage the finish. 

Measure your dining space. Folding chairs are ideal for expanding your seating options, but make sure they fit in your intended space. If they’re too bulky, you might not be able to fit as many chairs around the table as you’d hoped.

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To add instant comfort and charm to folding chairs, invest in an attractive set of cushions. If you can’t find ones to fit the seats, it’s easy to sew your own.

FAQ

Q. Do folding chairs come in different colors?

A. Folding chairs are traditionally black, blue, cream or white. Newer metal and plastic designs may be available in a large assortment of colors. These are especially popular for companies and schools because the colors can coordinate with company or team colors. Wooden folding chairs are available in a variety of finishes and stains, ranging from light to deep brown. 

Q. Can all folding chairs be used outdoors?

A. Unfortunately, no. This is mostly due to the folding mechanisms, which may end up rusting or corroding in inclement weather. Only some plastic folding chairs or metal chairs with a powder-coated, weather-resistant finish are suitable for outdoor use. Most wooden folding chairs are intended to be used indoors unless otherwise specified.

Q. How do I improve the appearance of folding chairs?

A. Many consumers use decorative full-length seat covers. It can be tricky shopping for these, however, since there’s no standard shape or size of folding chairs. Consumers find the most success with seat covers that have adjustable details like tie-backs or elastic hems for a better fit. 
 

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