Best Outdoor Area Rugs

Updated August 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.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

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

86 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
53 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.

Buying guide for best outdoor area rugs

Last Updated August 2019

What’s an outdoor space without an outdoor area rug? It’s possible to take as much care with decorating your outdoor space as you do your interior rooms. Add an outdoor area rug to your deck or patio, and you bring instant pizzazz to your yard.

The rug itself ties together your furniture and accessories and sets parameters to transform the area into a warm and welcoming space. With the vast selection of colors, patterns, and sizes available, it’s a challenge to choose just one.

Outdoor rugs are made of either natural fibers (bamboo, jute, sisal, etc.) or synthetic materials (nylon, polypropylene, polyester, etc.). Synthetic fibers are colorfully designed and tightly woven to reduce tearing, absorb water without damaging the carpet, and withstand heavy foot traffic. Synthetic rugs are known for being UV stable, which means those vibrant patterns and colors shouldn’t fade so fast in direct sunlight.

When you choose the right outdoor area rug, it can be one of your home’s most beautiful yet functional accessories. Our shopping guide does all the footwork for you, providing the information you need to select the right outdoor area rug.

Adding an outdoor area rug on a hot deck or patio creates a cool spot to rest your feet on a sunny day.

Key considerations

In addition to considering the color, size, and material of your rug, decide how fast you need an outdoor rug to dry after being drenched in rain or by pool water. You may want a carpet that’s also considered suitable for indoor use.

Color

Outdoor area rugs come in a vast array of vibrant colors, patterns, and solid weaves to coordinate with your furnishings. The colors are woven in, not printed on the synthetic fibers. Because the fibers are not dyed, the colors won’t fade easily — even under harsh sunlight and with constant cleaning.

Size and shape

Though outdoor area rugs are found in every imaginable size, not every outdoor area rug is available in every size. You’ll find small outdoor area rugs starting at 2 x 3 feet and large outdoor area rugs starting at 8 x 11 feet.

Square outdoor rugs can be found in sizes including 6 x 6 feet and 5 x 5 feet. Outdoor runners are long and rectangular; dimensions of 2 x 6 feet are common. These rugs are also popular for indoor spaces, such as hallways and kitchens.

Hoping for a round outdoor area rug? Though rare, they can be found in various sizes, including those that are 8 feet in diameter.

Materials

  • Synthetic: A large percentage of synthetic outdoor rugs are made from polypropylene (also known as olefin), which is a solution-dyed fiber commonly found in commercial settings thanks to its ability to hold up under high traffic. It also doesn’t absorb liquids, it doesn’t fade, and it resists stains, mold, and mildew. Manufacturers favor making polypropylene rugs from recycled plastic bottles.

    You’ll also find nylon rugs, which produce strong outdoor carpets but tend to create static electricity. Polyester rugs are durable but may hold on to oil stains or pill. Acrylic rugs are softer than other synthetic carpets and just as durable, but they also tend to pill.
     

  • Natural: Some natural fibers and materials add a rugged yet timeless look to an outdoor room. Most perform well as outdoor area rugs, but they’re best under covered spaces to avoid becoming waterlogged. Sisal rugs, for example, may become water-stained. If you want the look of sisal, there are plenty of durable synthetic all-weather sisal look-alikes that perform well outdoors.

    Jute is fire-resistant and ideal as a choice if you want something near (but not next to) an outdoor fireplace. Jute is also susceptible to mold and mildew in humid and wet conditions. Seagrass is more durable and performs better than jute in humid climates.

    Bamboo outdoor area rugs are popular because they’re easy to wipe clean. They may not last as long as natural fiber rugs. If you love the look of natural fibers for an outdoor room, your best bet may be to buy a thick, oversized coir (made from a coconut’s husk), coco, jute, or seagrass doormat.

Ability to dry

Outdoor-only flat weave area rugs rarely have a backing, which is why they’re able to quickly dry. However, some indoor/outdoor rugs may have a latex backing to prevent slippage and may take longer to dry if used outdoors.

Indoor/outdoor rugs with backing are safe to use on a covered porch, patio, or even in a gazebo. A fast-drying flat weave outdoor rug is also thin; the average thickness is one-sixth of an inch.

Indoor/outdoor use

You can get a true outdoor rug or an indoor/outdoor one that may have a non-slip backing. It depends where you want to use your area rug. You may also spot something called an outdoor patio mat with loops at the corners for staking it down. It’s made for RV camping, not for everyday use at home outdoors.

EXPERT TIP

Eliminate any creases by rolling, not folding, your outdoor carpets when storing them off-season.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

When comparing outdoor area rugs, keep an eye out for these features that’ll help you decide if the carpet is right for your space, indoors or outdoors. Note that all synthetic fibers should be labeled as inherently resistant to mold, mildew, stains, and fading.

Antimicrobial

Not every outdoor rug has antimicrobial properties, but in some rugs, an antimicrobial agent is added to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Outdoor rugs with latex backings may also be treated with antimicrobial agents. This feature helps prevent musty odors from forming.

Waterproof

Synthetic and natural fiber outdoor area rugs are designed to let water soak through, which prevents the carpet from becoming waterlogged. You won’t have any water issues with synthetic flat-weave outdoor rugs. A synthetic outdoor rug absorbs water and quickly dries. If the carpet has a backing, water may become trapped in downpours.

Bamboo and seagrass outdoor area rugs perform best in wet environments because they won’t become waterlogged. It’s always best to check your outdoor rugs after heavy rain to determine if you need to hang it on a line for extra drying time.

Reversibility

Choose a reversible outdoor area rug if you want to vary your décor. You can get double duty from an outdoor area rug if you select a flat-weave carpet that doesn’t have a backing. Flip a reversible rug over, and you’ll find a slightly different shade and pattern. Both sides of a reversible outdoor rug make your outdoor space look fresh.

Edging

Synthetic and natural outdoor rugs tend to fray when the sealed edges wear down. Consider a rug with a woven edging that can further protect the edges. Natural outdoor rugs are edged with outdoor fabric to create a finished look that’s also durable. Look closely at the rug’s edges to examine how it’s finished.

Carrier bag

Some carpets in certain smaller sizes have a carrier bag with a shoulder strap so you can take your rug along on camping trips, picnics, or to the beach.

Matching pillows

Some manufacturers of outdoor carpeting also have a separate line of matching pillows to coordinate with your décor.

Outdoor area rug prices

Inexpensive: From $15 to $70, you’ll find basic indoor/outdoor synthetic or natural fiber area rugs that are solid or have one or two colors in them. The less-expensive versions aren’t as vibrantly colored or intricately patterned. Synthetic rugs in this range also come in smaller sizes, including 2 x 3 feet, 3 x 5 feet, 5 x 7 feet, and some runners. Natural fiber doormats that run about 1.5 x 2.5 feet, as well as bamboo mats, fall in this price range.

Mid-range: From $70 to $240, you’ll find the bulk of synthetic indoor/outdoor area rugs in all different sizes, colors, patterns, and with varying features, such as reversibility and carrying bags. The larger the rug size, the more you’ll pay in this price range.

Expensive: From $240 to $500, you’ll find more textured outdoor rugs, elegant patterns, and 8-foot and 9-foot round and oval outdoor area rugs from well-known and high-end designer brands. The larger the rug, the pricier it will be. Sizes in this price range may be 5 x 7 feet to greater than 9 x 13 feet. For over $500, you’ll begin to see extra-large natural fiber coir and coco mats for indoor/outdoor use.

DID YOU KNOW?

Outdoor area rugs made of natural fibers aren’t always as durable or comfortable on the bottoms of your feet, nor are they as stain-resistant as synthetic outdoor rug materials.

DID YOU KNOW?

Polypropylene outdoor area rugs hold up well, even when doused with chlorinated pool water.

Tips

  • Do not put any type of outdoor area rug under a fire pit. You need a special fire pit mat for that purpose. Embers and sparks can melt an outdoor rug, even if you use a fire pit screen. The same goes for a grill, which needs a grill mat beneath it — not an outdoor rug.

  • Outdoor area rugs aren’t just for your backyard. Use an outdoor area rug to frame your welcome door mat. Layering door mats is a way to mix and match color and texture at your entryway. Layer your welcome door mat on top of a coordinating outdoor area rug for fresh, updated, and seasonal curb appeal.

  • It’s tempting to store your outdoor rug in your shed or garage for the winter, but little critters love nesting in those plastic fibers. Try avoiding the problem by thoroughly cleaning and drying the rug, rolling it up, covering with a tarp, and storing it in a cool, dry place, such as a basement. In the spring, unroll it and use a leaf blower to blow out residual bugs and dust.

  • If you discover fraying on the edges of an outdoor rug, it’s best to contain the problem with an anti-fraying liquid found at fabric stores. Just squirt a bit on the edge to secure the fibers or threads. It dries clear and is washable.

Other products we considered

One of the most cheerful and vibrant indoor/outdoor polypropylene carpets we’ve seen is Nourison’s Aloha Indoor/Outdoor Floral Green Area Rug. To keep the colors fresh, it’s best used out of direct sunlight. If you want the look of a natural fiber with the convenience and high performance of a synthetic outdoor area rug, you’ll love the elegance of Gertmenian’s Nautical Tropical Carpet Outdoor Patio Rug. For a covered outdoor area, we love this fabric-edged Apollo Natural Bamboo Floor Mat in natural bamboo, which also has a non-slip latex backing. The large size of 2 x 6 feet makes it versatile as an outdoor runner or area rug.

It may be tempting to cut down your outdoor rug to a different size, but avoid doing this, as cutting the material may cause the edges to unravel.

FAQ

Q. Can I put an outdoor area rug in the washing machine? 

A. An outdoor rug is generally too large, heavy, and made of materials that can’t be washed in a machine. It’s best to clean any type of outdoor rug by sweeping it, vacuuming it, or sponging on a mild dish detergent, then using a garden hose to rinse it off gives it a thorough cleaning. All you have to do is air dry it outdoors.

Q. Where can I use an outdoor area rug inside of my home?

A. Outdoor area rugs can be used in mud rooms since they can be easily hosed down and cleaned. Many people use outdoor area rugs in the bathroom since they dry fast. Other ideal places include the front entry, laundry room, kitchen, and covered porch. Remember, however, that an outdoor rug has a rougher texture than an indoor carpet, so you may want a softer pile for living and sleeping areas. It’s recommended that you use a non-skid backing if you’re planning to place an indoor/outdoor rug inside.

Q. How can I keep these rugs from blowing away in windy conditions?

A. If you have heavy furniture on the rug, that should anchor it down. However, sometimes the edges can fold up and over. There are several solutions. Some manufacturers offer double-sided tape for outdoor use to hold down the edges. Another option is to use outdoor hook-and-loop tape on edges. Thick, heavy natural fiber doormats won’t budge.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Marilyn
    Marilyn
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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