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Buying guide for Best outdoor furniture covers

You might not realize it, but everything from the weather to animals can pose a threat to your outdoor furniture. If you have a deck or a patio that is furnished, you need outdoor furniture covers to protect your investment.

It can be tempting to look for the cheapest option when shopping, but that won’t help protect your furniture. In fact, purchasing a cover that tears easily or isn’t breathable might do more harm than good.

Since outdoor furniture comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, a one-size-fits-all solution doesn't always work. You need to measure each piece of outdoor furniture so you can purchase a cover that is best for what you own.

outdoor furniture cover
Before putting an outdoor furniture cover on, make sure your furniture is clean and dry to prevent staining and mildew.

How to buy the best outdoor furniture cover

Understand weather and other potential threats

Any item that is kept outdoors is exposed to the elements. Rain, snow, and cold are just a few of the threats that Mother Nature brandishes. She can also do damage with wind, heat, dust, and even sunlight. Furthermore, pollen, tree sap, bird droppings, insects, and animals can also cause damage.

While all of these potential threats may seem minor on their own, when combined, they can create natural wear and tear that drastically reduces the lifespan of your outdoor furniture.

Are outdoor furniture covers worthwhile?

High-end outdoor furniture can cost several thousand dollars. If you want that furniture to last, you have to protect it. A quality outdoor furniture cover can do exactly that. It creates a barrier between your furniture and nature to keep your furniture looking new. Since these beneficial items are reasonably priced, it makes them a must-have for anyone who wants to protect their investment.

If you have the storage space, it’s best to remove the cushions from your outdoor furniture and bring them inside for storage.

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Outdoor furniture cover features

UV protection

UV radiation from the sun causes materials to break down. If your outdoor furniture isn’t protected from these damaging rays, it will fade, crack, lose strength, and eventually deteriorate. A quality furniture cover offers UV protection so your outdoor furniture won’t deteriorate prematurely.

Water-resistant vs. waterproof

If a surface is water-resistant, that means it will shed most water, but some may seep through. Waterproof means there is a barrier that the water cannot penetrate. It is important for outdoor furniture covers to be waterproof because water may build up in low-lying areas and create a pool on top of the furniture. If the cover is merely water-resistant, that water will eventually find its way through and damage the furniture beneath.

Breathable material vs. air vents

There is always going to be some moisture in the outside air. Even if you choose a cover that is fully waterproof, your furniture can get damp from humidity. To protect your furniture when this happens, you need airflow. Breathable material may sound like a good option, but if water can get out, that means it can get in, too.

Another solution is a cover that has built-in vents on the sides. These vents let air circulate beneath and around the cover while keeping rain and other precipitation out.

Soft interior

A furniture cover is going to be blown about by the wind. This means there will be some abrasion going on beneath the cover. If you purchase a model that has a soft interior, this will help protect your furniture from any wear and tear that may occur from the cover constantly sliding back and forth across the furniture.

Leg straps

Leg straps are small straps that secure onto the legs of your furniture. This feature keeps the cover from blowing off your furniture during a storm. If the cover you buy does not have these, you will need to purchase clamps to keep the cover in place during windy conditions.

Drawcord

Many of the best furniture covers have a drawcord that runs around the bottom hem. The drawcord cinches the bottom of the cover against the legs of the furniture to keep it off the ground. This encourages airflow beneath the cover.

Elastic hem

Another approach to keeping the bottom of the furniture cover in place is an elastic hem. The elastic holds the hem tight against the legs of the furniture to promote airflow. While this can be effective and will work fine in many situations, it is not the preferred option.

Handle

A built-in handle is simply a matter of convenience; it doesn’t protect your furniture. The handle allows you to easily remove the cover. It also provides a means to hang the cover and can give you a secure grip when folding the cover for storage.

stacking chairs
DID YOU KNOW?
Do you have stacking chairs? You can buy one cover to protect all of them at once.
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How much do outdoor furniture covers cost?

Inexpensive

An inexpensive outdoor furniture cover will cost under $20. Unfortunately, while these covers might fit your budget, they are not the most reliable options and may be prone to tearing or not lasting more than a season or two. If you are considering an outdoor furniture cover in this price range, read the customer reviews to make sure it is durable.

Mid-range

For covers that are suitable for a single piece of furniture, whether it is a chair or a table, expect to spend $20 to $50. The items in this range should be more durable and have all the features you desire, such as leg straps, air vents, and more.

Expensive

If you have large furniture or you’d like to purchase one cover to protect a table and chair set or a sectional set, expect to spend between $50 and $85. While this may seem like a high price, it is a better option than buying five individual covers.

Consider spraying your furniture cover with fabric guard to help protect and preserve it.

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Tips

  • Encourage ventilation. When installing an outdoor furniture cover, leave a small gap between the ground and the cover to help promote airflow.
  • An outdoor furniture cover should fit snugly. If there is any slack in the cover, snow, water, or ice can accumulate and damage the cover as well as the furniture.
  • Fit matters. A one-size-fits-all cover may seem like an economical solution, but it won’t have a proper fit. If it is too large or too small, your furniture will not receive the best protection.
  • Be mindful of the wind. If your cover does not have built-in leg straps, consider purchasing cover clamps to keep it in place during windy conditions.
  • Prevent water pools. If you are having trouble with water collecting in areas of your cover, place an item like a bucket or a water-shedding pole beneath the cover to prevent water from accumulating.
outdoor furniture cover
A tarp should not be used as a makeshift furniture cover because it is not made of breathable material. Any moisture that gets underneath a tarp will remain and damage your furniture.

FAQ

Q. Do I need to cover my outdoor furniture in the summer?

A. Even if the weather is clear, the sun can and will damage your outdoor furniture. If you want to get the longest life out of it, whenever you are not using your patio furniture, it should be covered.

Unfortunately, as beneficial as this can be, it is simply not practical to cover your furniture every moment you are not using it. Consequently, most people do not cover their outdoor furniture during the spring and summer months.

A suitable compromise is to make sure you cover your furniture whenever you won’t be using it for an extended period of time, such as over a vacation or during a long stretch of unpleasant weather.

Q. How do I measure my outdoor furniture for a cover?

A. Unless you are purchasing custom-made furniture covers, you won’t get a perfect fit. You should, however, get a fit that is very close to perfect with only minimal compromise.

To do this, measure the width, depth, and height of your furniture. To make sure the cover fits over the entire piece, take each measurement at the widest point. For example, if a chair is 32 inches across the back and 33 inches across the front, go with 33 inches.

Q. How should I store my outdoor furniture cover?

A. Before putting an outdoor furniture cover away for the season, brush off any debris. Give it a thorough hand-washing according to the instructions that came with it. Dry the cover with a towel, and place it in a dry location until there is no moisture left on the cover, paying particular attention to folds and seams.

When the cover is completely dry, fold it down to a manageable size, place it in a storage bag, and store it in a cool, dry indoor location. If you need to store the cover in a deck box, shed, or garage, it is best to place it in a waterproof plastic container.

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