Best Outdoor Pillows

Updated December 2019
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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 
How we decided

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

54 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
496 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 outdoor pillows

Last Updated December 2019

From porch to deck, the extra room can expand your living space into the outdoors. But it takes planning to make that space comfortable and welcoming. If you look at photos of a well-designed outdoor space, what do you see? Accent pillows, and plenty of them. Choosing outdoor throw pillows is a similar, yet different, process than selecting them for your indoor spaces.

When picking outdoor or indoor pillows, comfort, design, and size are all key factors. The difference is in the fabric, filling, and cleaning of outdoor versus indoor pillows. Fabric designed for outdoor use resists damage from water and fading under harsh sunlight. Outdoor pillow fill also absorbs less water than indoor pillow fill. You can typically use diluted bleach to clean outdoor pillows but not indoor pillows. Even with all of that said, many people use outdoor pillows indoors just for the sheer durability and easy maintenance of the fabric.

Whether you’re looking for exclusively outdoor pillows or multitasking indoor/outdoor pillows, our shopping guide has tips on selecting the right fabrics and sizes. We’ve also provided specific product recommendations and ideas for arranging them on your outdoor furniture for fresh-air comfort.

You can have too many accent pillows on a piece of furniture, even outdoors, and the unused pillows could end up on the ground. If you love an abundance of pillows, toss the extras into a deck box when company comes.

Key considerations

Size and shape

Outdoor pillows come in all sizes, from small to oversize. One of the most popular shapes is square, much the same as interior accent pillows, and sizes range from 14 inches to 22 inches square. You’ll also find bolsters and rectangular shapes of different lengths.

Fabric

Outdoor upholstery fabric comes in hundreds of beautiful styles and colors that rival interior fabrics and suit every taste. You’ll find materials such as the popular Sunbrella acrylic fabric and other weather-resistant fabrics used for outdoor pillows. This type of fabric is designed to withstand hundreds of hours of direct exposure to sunlight before it begins to fade.

There are two types of outdoor pillow fabric to consider for your home:

Solution-dyed acrylic: This is a strong, durable, sun-proof fabric (the most famous brand is called Sunbrella). It comes in vibrant colors that have a long lifespan even under heavy outdoor use and intense sunlight exposure.

Solution-dyed polyester: This fabric is less expensive than acrylic and lasts about 300 to 800 hours in sunlight before fading, but it’s recommended that you keep it out of direct sunlight.

Inserts/fill

Solid: Decide if you want a solid pillow insert of foam or polyfiber, a material that feels like foam but won’t absorb moisture. Note that some pillows are sold as covers only, and you need to purchase the inserts separately.

Loose: Polyester fiberfill filling is often cheaper than a solid insert, but it may at times pop out or pull through the fabric, depending on the fabric’s weave.

Maintenance

Some outdoor pillows should be spot cleaned. Other pillows have a removable cover that can be washed by hand or machine. Typically, the pillow fabric needs to be air-dried, not placed in the dryer.

EXPERT TIP

Layer pillows on your outdoor furniture just like you’d do indoors. Put a lumbar pillow in front of a larger square to add depth.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Sets

Though you can buy one unique outdoor throw pillow, a set of accent pillows offers you a coordinated look and often costs less than purchasing each pillow separately. Sets may include two of the same size matching pillows, three different looks but of the same theme, different sizes of matching pillows, or two matching pillows plus two coordinating seat cushions.

Lumbar support

Small rectangular pillows sit low on your furniture and offer lumbar support for your lower back. These pillows typically measure around 20 x 10 inches.

Finish

Edging: More expensive outdoor throw pillows may include contrasting or matching piping for visual interest and durability. Other types of edging include fringe and shirring, which give an outdoor pillow an upscale look. Trim and edging give style to outdoor pillows so they can be easily used for indoor rooms as well.

Stitching: Seams should be tight and well stitched rather than loose. The tighter the stitching, the drier the filling will stay when the pillows are left outdoors during wet weather.

EXPERT TIP

Before storing outdoor pillows for the winter, treat them with moisture-repellent spray. It’s usually a good idea to maintain pillows by doing this annually.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Outdoor rug: Fab Habitat Indoor/Outdoor Reversible Rug
An area rug anchors the outdoor conversation area and coordinates with the pillows. This Fab Habitat reversible rug is made of recycled plastic and resists mold, mildew, and fading. It comes in seven sizes and eight colors to match any outdoor décor.

Weather-proof table lamp: Sunnydaze Indoor/Outdoor Lamp
Add to the comfort of your outdoor seating area with a weatherproof slate lamp. It comes with a 6-foot cord and a glass top that protects the electrical components from moisture.

Outdoor throw blanket: HYSEAS All-Purpose Blanket
Wrap up and keep cozy on chilly evenings outdoors with this extra-large, water-resistant plaid blanket. It’s perfect for picnics on the grass, too.

Outdoor pillow insert: IZO Home Goods Premium Pillow Insert
Anti-mold, hypoallergenic, water-resistant pillow inserts can be covered with your favorite outdoor pillow covers. The high-quality IZO Home Goods inserts will stay comfortable and soft for years.

Deck storage container: Suncast Patio Storage Box
An outdoor container gives you a place to keep pillows, cushions, and blankets during summer showers. This Suncast box is made of waterproof, fade-resistant resin molded to resemble wicker. The generous 99-gallon size is large enough to hold pool toys, grill tools, and gardening supplies, too.

Outdoor pillow prices

From $12 to $28, you’ll find a variety of outdoor pillow covers that come in sets of two to four or some value packs of six. You’ll also see two-packs of standard pillows or single larger square pillows. The fabric may be budget quality with little or no edging.

Between $29 and $50, you’ll find better-quality fabrics and designs, and a rare find will have edging. Here, you’ll also see a variety of sets, from two- to four-packs in numerous sizes, colors, and patterns.

In the $70 to $173 range, you’ll find Sunbrella outdoor pillows. Not all the pricier outdoor pillows are made from premium Sunbrella fabric, so it’s best to read the fine print. Even if it’s not Sunbrella, the fabric is likely thicker and better quality than that in lower-priced items. You’ll see two- to four-packs in all sizes, solid and patterns, and most pillows have edging or piping.

EXPERT TIP

There’s another way to choose the colors of your outdoor pillows rather than just matching them to your outdoor furniture. Match pillow colors to the colors in your garden or the foliage that surrounds your outdoor space.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Go for a refined look. Traditional tropical and flowery outdoor colors and designs are fine for exterior-use pillows. To create a more refined look for your outdoor room, consider outdoor pillows with colors and designs you might find indoors, such as thin stripes, herringbone, or other classic patterns.
  • Balance your décor. If you have an outdoor space already filled with busy patterns and lots of furniture, consider balancing out the area with solid-colored outdoor accent pillows. Also, consider buying pillows that work with the lines of your furniture. For example, if you have angular, square outdoor furniture, square pillows with stripes or geometric patterns work well. For furniture with rounded edges, square or rectangular pillows with circular designs and patterns coordinate well.
  • Protect your outdoor pillows. During the seasons you use your pillows, store them in a deck box. The box is designed to allow a little circulation but keep the interior bone-dry. In the off season, make sure your pillows are completely dry. Place them in a clear plastic box, bag, or cushion bag. Wrap the pillows in an old sheet before putting them in the container to eliminate the possibility of rodents finding their way into the stored pillows. Store the container of pillows in a cool, dry place, like a basement, garage, or attic. If you have high humidity in your home, skip the plastic storage bags during the winter and opt for a cloth cushion bag.
  • Read the fine print. When looking for outdoor pillows online, be sure to check whether you’re ordering pillow covers only or full pillows (inserts covered with fabric). There are many covers available, and it can be confusing when looking over so many items.

Other products we considered

Among some of our other favorite outdoor pillows, we love the Resort Spa Home Decor Sunbrella Dolce Oasis Pillows. These four 17-inch-square toss pillows are stunning in blue, teal, navy, and white stripes. The price for this pack is outstanding, and other sizes, including 20-, 22-, and 24-inch squares are also available at a good price. We also want to give a shout out to an Amazon brand that seems to be capturing the hearts of furniture buyers thanks to good design and durable products. The Stone & Beam Casual Outdoor Stripe Throw Pillow may be a bit pricier than some, but its comfort and quality make up for the higher price tag. The lumbar pillow comes in three simple striped designs, has a soft hand and fill, and the size (12 x 24 inches) doesn’t overpower a space. This pillow adds a clean, classic touch to any outdoor seating area.

For pillows with severe mold and mildew growth, add a cup of bleach to a soap and water solution. Spray it over the area, let it soak in for 15 minutes, and then sponge down the pillow. Use a brush if necessary. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry.

FAQ

Q. Is there a way to keep outdoor accent pillows from sliding off furniture?
A.
Outdoor accent pillows can slip off furniture and blow away in windy conditions. There are plenty of DIY solutions, like sewing ties on the pillow edges or putting small dots of industrial or outdoor hook-and-loop tape on the pillow and the furniture to connect them. Search for outdoor pillows that are made from rougher canvas or other textured, grippy, nonslip outdoor fabric that won’t slide off even the slickest outdoor seating.


Q. How do I clean mold and mildew off non-removable fabric on outdoor pillows?
A.
Regardless of how resistant the fabric might be, you may spot some mold and mildew on outdoor pillows. Luckily, the fabric is durable enough to withstand some elbow grease. The easiest way to clean it is to prepare a solution of a quarter cup of mild soap in a gallon of lukewarm water. with a soft bristle cleaning brush, massage the solution into the fabric and let it soak in. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry the pillows.


Q. What is solution-dyed polyester or acrylic, and why is it used for outdoor fabrics?
A.
Solution-dyed fabrics aren’t new. They’re used in all types of products, from commercial fabrics and carpets to items in your home, including outdoor furniture fabric. Solution-dyed fabrics are used because the process prevents the colors of the fabric from fading under harsh UV rays. When the fibers (polyester, acrylic, as well as nylon for other uses) are being made, they begin as a liquid chemical. Dye is added to the liquid and so penetrates the finished fibers. The color-embedded fiber then resists fading. With printed fabric, the dye is added later to the surface, which means the colors may fade faster.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Marilyn
    Marilyn
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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