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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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. 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 
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Why trust BestReviews?
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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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 we never accept free products from manufacturers. 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 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
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208 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 sideline benches

Last Updated July 2020

Whether you’re a coach trying to lead your team or a fan trying to cheer them on, a decent sideline seat is great to have. For the coach, seated bench players will pay better attention to the game and rest more effectively between playing times. For the fan, spectating will be much more comfortable when seated.

A folding sideline bench is an excellent way to meet either need. These affordable and lightweight multi-seat benches typically hold four to eight people. They are perfect for sporting events, but they can also work wonders for other functions where you need some quick, portable seating — from concerts in the park to tailgate parties to outdoor weddings.

This folding sideline bench buying guide will help you sort through the features and factors you need to consider before purchase. From construction and weight capacities to storage and pricing, we cover all the variables to help you find the best bench for your needs. We also highlight a few of our favorite sideline benches in case you want to further streamline your search.

Folding sideline benches are a great tool for coaches, allowing them to keep the team organized, together, and focused on the game.

Key considerations

Construction

Because folding sideline benches are largely used outside and subject to a range of weather conditions, durability is vital. The ruggedness of the frame and the seating material deserve the most careful scrutiny when choosing a sideline bench.

Frame material: A strong frame — such as one made from steel — is the key to holding the chairs together. A folding sideline bench needs to be rugged enough to support four to eight adults, or an average of roughly 1,200 pounds. A powder coating here can also add life to the frame and protect against the elements. For added strength and stability, search for a bench that uses vertical support poles.

There should also be “feet” on the bottoms of the pole intersections where they meet the ground. These keep the chair from sinking into soft sand or soggy grass. The best feet will also feature a nonslip surface.

Seating material: Some material used in the seating and backrest construction is solid, and some is mesh fabric. While materials will vary bench to bench, both nylon and polyester are commonly used for the seat backs and bottoms. Both materials are durable and hold up well regardless of the weather. Signs of quality here include double-layering of material and double stitching, both of which will improve the comfort and long-term wear of a sideline bench. Benches may also include UV resistant materials, which can lengthen a product’s working life.

Weight

Sideline benches are made to be lightweight and easily transportable. The majority of folding sideline benches weigh 15 to 25 pounds.

Appearance

While these benches are all quite similar in appearance, there are some color choices. Check with the manufacturer to determine whether your team’s color is available. If your organization’s favored hue isn’t an option, most folding sideline benches are available in basic black.

Comfort

While chairs or benches of this type won’t win awards for comfort, any bench you purchase should be comfortable enough to sit on for two to three hours at a stretch. The best way to maximize the comfort of folding sideline benches is by choosing the widest individual seats available. While wider seats can add to the overall weight and bulk, the compensation in comfort is probably worth it. Users will enjoy the event more if they don’t feel sardine-squeezed into their chairs. The standard width-per-seat for folding sideline benches is around 17.5 inches, so anything wider will improve the overall comfort level. Sideline benches that are equipped with backrests and armrests also tend to be more comfortable.

Seating and weight capacities

The recommended number of users and their maximum weight varies by bench. While folding sideline benches typically hold from four to eight people, the majority of these benches are built to seat six. In terms of allowable weight per seat, limits generally range from 200 to 250 pounds per person.

Setup and assembly

These benches generally ship in a folded position and easily fold open and lock into a seating position, requiring no assembly or tools. Setting them up right out of the box — or anytime you take the bench out of storage — should take no more than a couple of minutes.

Storage and transport

Similarly, a sideline bench should quickly fold down or collapse into a size that can easily fit into a car trunk or backseat. A bag for transport and storage of benches is standard with all benches, but the quality of bag materials may vary. The best bags will easily fit the folded bench, have a zipper or cinch string to secure it, and feature a comfortable shoulder strap to free up your hands while carrying it.

Back and arm rests

Some of these folding sideline benches have built-in backrests, but others do not. A backrest can help improve support and comfort. The rule of thumb here is: the higher the backrest, the better the support. Armrests for individual seats are less common for sideline benches, although some do include them on either end of the bench.

Cup holders and other options

Some folding sideline benches offer various built-in storage options. The most common option will be mesh storage bags on either end of the bench. These can be used to store cell phones, magazines, playbooks, or other items. A few benches also include individual cup holders for each seat.

EXPERT TIP

If you are storing your folding bench horizontally (as opposed to standing it up vertically), be sure not to place any weight atop it, as this can damage the bench.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Folding sideline benches work great for temporary team seating at tournaments, where the team regularly has to move from one field to another.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Benches with backrests are best for watching sporting events, while those without backrests are more often used for players on the sidelines waiting to play.


Staff  | BestReviews

Folding sideline bench prices

Folding sideline benches cost from $45 to $120. The average price is around $65. At lower price points, you will find simple backless benches, usually with four seats and no built-in storage. As prices rise, you will find larger and more durable benches. High-end benches will generally have backrests and accommodate more people.

Tips

  • Play it cool. Benches constructed with a mesh material instead of a solid fabric on both the seat and the backrest will tend to be much cooler in hot weather.
  • Setup is easier for two. Because of the overall size of these benches, your best bet is to have someone help you to set it up and fold it down when finished.
  • Beware of gale fail. If you will be using the bench in windy conditions, consider picking up canopy weights to keep the bench from tipping over when you jump up to cheer.
  • Opt for a wide-strap carry bag. If you plan to carry this bench frequently from event to event, try to find one with a bag that offers a wider or padded carry strap for comfort.
  • Protect against sun damage. To keep your folding sideline bench from fading in the sun, consider using a UV protection spray to maintain the fabric in a like-new condition.
  • Keep it tight. If your folding sideline bench is held together with screws, check each one carefully when you first receive the bench to verify that they are all completely tightened. To avoid losing screws, you should also check and tighten them all periodically.
  • Air it out before first use. Some of these benches have a strong manufacturing odor right out of the box. Leave the bench out and unfolded for several days to air it out, and the odor should dissipate.
Consider going with a travel and storage bag that uses a cinch string to secure it, as the zippers on these bags can be fairly flimsy.

FAQ

Q. Can you attach umbrellas to the backs of these benches?
A.
There really isn’t a set way to attach something like an umbrella to the backs of these folding sideline benches, and that is by design. Anything affixed to these benches would make them top-heavy and prone to toppling over. If you need to protect those in the seats from sun or rain, opt for a stand-alone canopy instead.

Q. Can the fabric backs or seat covers be removed for cleaning?
A.
The fabric of these benches is usually permanently affixed. As such, there is generally no way to remove the fabric from the frame. You can easily clean the fabric, however, with a soft brush, warm water, and a hose. Or you can spot clean as needed with a fabric spray. After washing, be sure the bench is completely dry before storing it away to avoid mold and mildew.

Q. If you are using this for kids, can you fit more than the recommended number of users on these benches?
A.
While you could cram more little ones onto a bench, the kids may not be all that comfortable. That’s because these are not really benches so much as side-by-side seats separated by supports. If you try to squeeze in more folks than you have seats, some will be sitting on the metal supports between the seats.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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