Eucalyptus wood is stylish and weather-resistant. Chairs are stackable for easy storage. Customers praise its sturdiness and comfort.
Wood may not be as durable as cast aluminum. Color can vary from product photo. Seats do not arrive with cushions.
A sturdy 4-piece set with a classic wicker build. Includes cushions and a coffee table spacious enough for sharing food and beverages. Surprisingly low price considering all you get for the money.
Pieces are on the small side, and assembly is difficult. Cushions are basic and not very thick.
Wicker combines with contemporary styling in this 3-piece bistro set that includes a glass-top table. Seats have comfortable cushions. Affordably priced.
The table has been known to wobble. Each piece is somewhat small, but this is a plus for some consumers.
Wider seats provide lumbar support. Fits smaller patio spaces. Feet can be leveled out for additional security.
Requires more assembly than usual. Seats are not cushioned, and some owners say chairs are on the small side.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Relaxing in the summer sun with family and friends is so much easier when you have a comfortable seating area that’s big enough for everyone. To get the most out of your backyard and create an inviting outdoor living space, you need the right patio furniture set.
Patio furniture sets come in all shapes and styles – everything from a simple bistro set to a full sectional with matching dining table and chairs. If you’re ready to find the best patio furniture set for your needs, you’ve come to the right place.
The shopping guide will give you the info you need to sift through the several options in front of you. Or, take a look at our top picks to see which patio furniture sets we think provide the best bang for your buck.
The classic bistro set includes a table and two chairs. This works well in a small space like the corner of a front porch, apartment balcony, or tiny backyard. Traditionally, bistro sets were made of wrought iron, but today they can be found in any material from plastic to cast aluminum. Depending on the formality of your space, you can find sets in standard, counter, or bar height.
If dining alfresco appeals to you and your outdoor space is large, a full dining set is the way to go. These sets may include five to nine pieces or more. Some tables are extendable with either a leaf or accordion-style design, giving you options when entertaining. Like bistro sets, dining sets can be found in any style or material.
Conversation sets aren't designed for eating but rather for creating a comfortable area to relax and enjoy family and friends. They often include a loveseat, chairs, coffee table, or ottoman. Many of these sets also include cushions, though some are quite comfortable without the extra padding. They range in size from two chairs and a side table to a full five- to seven-piece set with a sectional and chaise lounge.
Check the joints of wood furniture for dovetail or mortise and tenon joints rather than glue or staples. Screws should be made of stainless steel or have a rust-proof coating because they will also be exposed to the elements.
The materials used to construct the frame affect the durability and comfort of the furniture. Some materials are more appropriate in dry climates, while others better withstand humidity and rain. Where you place the furniture, such as in full sun, will also affect the type of material you need.
Aluminum: This metal performs exceptionally well outdoors. It’s lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable, and tough enough to withstand rough weather conditions, including heavy rain. Most finishes adhere well to aluminum, including some faux wood finishes. It may need an occasional wax or mineral oil coating to protect the surface, but maintenance is minimal. This is one of the most durable and portable options for outdoor furniture. However, heavy winds could blow it over.
Steel: This metal has many of the same properties as aluminum, but it’s heavier and requires a bit more maintenance. It can be susceptible to rust, but it does make for durable furniture that can take heavy use. You might want to have extra paint on hand for quick touch-ups to prevent rust.
Iron: Heavy, tough, and durable, iron makes up the heftiest of outdoor furniture. Many iron furniture pieces are mounted on wheels to make moving them more manageable. Patio sets made of iron won’t succumb to wind, and as long as they’re properly maintained, they’ll resist rain, too. Like steel, it might need some paint to prevent rust, but iron holds up well if properly stored.
Wood: Wood outdoor furniture blends well with nature. It’s comfortable and attractive, but it does require more maintenance than some other options. There are many kinds of wood available, and some are more suitable for certain climates than others. Popular wood choices include the following.
Teak: Strong and weather-resistant, teak furniture will last for years with an occasional oiling. On the downside, it can be pricey.
Cedar: This wood works well in wet climates because it naturally adjusts to changing humidity and resists bug infestation. It requires a coat of protective oil each year to prevent cracks and other damage, but it looks and smells wonderful.
Pine: If you want wood furniture but have a limited budget, pine is a good option. However, it takes more maintenance than other woods and, because it’s a softwood, it scratches and dents easily.
Oak: This beautiful hardwood looks amazing outdoors, but it should only be used in covered areas because it doesn’t hold up well in direct sunlight. You’ll need to refinish it yearly using a finish with UV protectant.
Eucalyptus: Hard and durable like teak, this exotic wood looks beautiful and holds up to wet weather.
Shorea: Similar to teak but not nearly as expensive, shorea is readily available.
Plastic: This inexpensive furniture choice is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean, and it comes in every color of the rainbow. Recycled plastics are also environmentally friendly. Plastic furniture sets are often stackable, making them easy to store. You’ll need to wipe them down periodically with a cleaner that prevents mildew.
The fabric that covers furniture cushions plays a big role in durability. Ideally, cushions shouldn’t be left out all the time. If you want to leave cushions out during the summer, look for tough fabrics that are fade-resistant, mildew-resistant, waterproof, and washable. Some fabrics are coated in PVC for even more durability. To make cleaning easier, look for cushion covers with zippers.
The size and scale of your patio furniture should complement your outdoor space. A furniture set with large pieces can cramp a small space, while a large, open patio may feel stark with only a bistro set. Substantial furniture like an outdoor sectional sofa should be reserved for large areas. Small furniture should fit in the space yet still leave room to move around.
The best cushion fabrics will use solution-dyed acrylic because it resists UV rays, mildew, staining, and moisture. Less expensive, but also less fade-resistant, is spun polyester with a UV-protective coating.
Patio furniture comes in a variety of styles, from rustic to modern and minimalist to farmhouse. If you’re not sure what style you want, look at the architecture and style of your home. Your patio furniture should complement both so that entering your outdoor space feels like entering an extension of the interior.
Some patio sets include an umbrella or other covering for sun protection, which works well if you don’t have a covered area in your backyard. Umbrellas expand and retract with a manual crank. If you live in a windy area, you need to make sure the umbrella has wind vents … or you might want to skip an umbrella altogether. The pole and umbrella could be ruined by a strong gust of wind.
Steel and wrought iron furniture may be mounted on wheels or casters, which make it easier to move the furniture around your patio. If you entertain frequently, a patio set on wheels gives you greater versatility in the arrangement of the furniture.
Outdoor furniture, particularly wood, can require a lot of maintenance. If you’re unwilling or unable to refinish a patio furniture set each year, choose plastic or aluminum, which only requires cleaning or occasional oiling.
For the sake of longevity, outdoor furniture should be stored out of the elements during the winter. Designs that are collapsible, foldable, stackable, or modular are portable and easier to store. If you don’t want to leave your patio set out all the time, a foldable set can be put away when not in use. Plastic sets are often stackable, making them easier to store than metal or wood.
To prolong the life of your cushions, bring them inside when not in use no matter the season.
Inexpensive: For under $100, you can find a three- to five-piece foldable/collapsible patio furniture set. Many sets in this price range are made of plastic, but there are some with steel frames and fabric seats.
Mid-range: In the $100 to $500 range are many wicker and rattan conversation sets. Some come with a sectional sofa and coffee table, while others include a sofa, conversation chairs, and coffee table. You’ll also see wood bistro sets; steel, aluminum, and wrought iron sets; and some high-end plastic dining sets that seat two to four people.
Expensive: As prices go up into the $500 to $1,500 range, you’ll find large conversation sets made of rattan and wicker with cushions in various colors. Five- and seven-piece cast-aluminum and solid wood dining sets are more common. This price range also includes modular designs that allow variety in the arrangement. Many of these sets are intended for warmer climates where you can leave the furniture outside most of the year.
If you purchase metal furniture from an established brand, you have the benefit of being able to replace parts and cushions years down the road.
Consider the climate. When choosing a furniture set, it’s important to think about the climate in your area. Plastic furniture in a warm, sunny climate should have UV-stabilizing pigments to prevent color loss, as well as fabrics with a UV-protective coating. Furniture materials that resist rust, corrosion, and mildew and repel water are better in wet climates.
Consider the number of people. Before buying a patio set, think about the number of people you usually entertain. Is it just your immediate family, or do you often invite friends and neighbors for cookouts? Knowing how many people you regularly entertain can help you determine the number of pieces you need in your set.
Q. What kind of furniture materials work well in a wet climate?
A. Aluminum is corrosion-resistant, withstands heavy rainfall, and requires little maintenance. If you want something more affordable, plastic won’t rust or weaken in humidity. You might need to clean it with soap and water once in a while, but the maintenance is minimal. If you’re determined to buy wood, cedar naturally adjusts to humidity levels, resists bugs and rot, and doesn’t require as much maintenance as some other woods. It’s also hard enough to resist scratches and dents.
Q. How long should my patio furniture set last?
A. Longevity depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the set, proper maintenance, and if it’s left out in the weather year-round. Some manufacturers offer warranties on their products that extend as long as 20 years, which gives you some idea of how long they expect the furniture to last.
Q. Do the metal frames get hot?
A. Even though metal does well in full sunlight, it does get hot, especially wrought iron and steel. Aluminum will get warm in the heat, but it cools down relatively quickly.
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