What To Look For When Buying a Beach Chair

A good beach chair is going to make a day at the beach more enjoyable. Comfort is key, but what features make your chair comfortable? And how do you avoid buying a chair that will easily break?

With so many options on the market, you might not know where to begin looking or even what you’re looking for.

We’ve tested the spectrum of available beach chairs, including the well-known Tommy Bahama to lesser-known budget brands.


Before buying a beach chair, you’ll want to consider factors such as material type, seat height, portability, and features. 

Consider the Material Type

The durability and comfort of your chair will rely heavily on the material and fabric type. You’ll find a lot of options out there, so you’ll want to know a little bit about each one before making a decision.

When it comes to beach chair frames, the most commonly used materials are:

  • Plastic – inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to clean. This is one of your cheapest options, but don’t let that fool you. Plastic is surprisingly resistant to weather, salt water, and bacteria growth.
  • Wood – stylish, durable, and long-lasting. Not only are wooden chairs beautiful, but they’re made to last, even after years of beach use. High-quality finishes help protect against UV and water damage.
  • Aluminum – sturdy, low-maintenance, and great value. Aluminum chairs remain one of the most popular options thanks to their low weight, durability, rust resistance, and moderate price tags.
  • Steel – strong and ergonomic. One of the most common types of steel chairs are zero-gravity chairs, which recline into a “floating” position for peak relaxation.

You’ll also want to pay attention to fabric type when it comes to the seat and backrest.

Many beach chairs use nylon mesh or a similar type of synthetic fabric. It’s a good choice for the beach because it’s durable and dries quickly.

Another commonly used fabric you’ll find is canvas. A classic option, that not only looks good but is a softer choice, canvas unfortunately is not as resistant to UV, mold, and water.

Find Your Preferred Height

Another factor you’ll want to consider is the height of your beach chair seat. There are a few standard heights that are listed below.

  • Low – 8 inches or less. These chairs are very close to the ground, which will allow you to stretch your legs out and enjoy the beach sand (maybe even waves, if you’re close enough to the shore).
  • Average – 9-12 inches. This is a common height for beach chairs. These are comfortable to get in and out of for most people.
  • High – 13 inches or more. These chairs are less common, but they are a more comfortable option for taller-than-average people.

If possible, you should test out a few beach chairs at the store to find the height that’s most comfortable for you.

Think About Portability & Storage

Before you can settle down and enjoy your beach trip, you usually have to make a bit of a trek across the parking lot, and then the sand, with all of your beach essentials in tow.

So, you’ll probably want to make that trip a little easier on yourself and consider the portability and weight of your beach chair.

A few of the things you should look for in a good beach chair are:

  • Straps: good comfortable straps make for easy carrying and keep your hands free for other bags/items.
  • Set up: how easy is it to set up and fold away the beach chair? You’ll want to look for a chair that’s quick to put up and take down, such as the MOON LENCE Outdoor chair.
  • Storage: some chairs come with a storage bag, while others simply fold flat in half. Consider how you’ll want to store your beach chair – in the car and at home.
  • Weight: a lightweight beach chair will make your trip across the beach a lot easier. At only around five pounds, the Coleman Utopia Breeze is one of the lightest chairs available. Making a trip with the family with multiple chairs to carry? It might make sense for you to invest in a sturdy beach wagon.
What To Look For When Buying A Beach Chairs

What Features Are Most Important to You?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can move on to the fun stuff: extra features.

Every beach chair will have unique features to offer, but it’ll be hard to find one that includes all of them. So, you’ll need to consider which features are most important to you.

During your beach chair hunt, be sure to look out for these popular features:

Cup Holders

  • Whatever your beach beverage of choice is, you’ll want to kick back, relax, and sip on it while lounging in your beach chair. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to set it down while you flip through a good book or snap a few pictures on your phone? A cup holder makes a good spot for your pair of sunnies too.


  • Stay cool (in both senses of the word) by choosing a beach chair with a built-in canopy or umbrella for shade. You can even take it up a notch and get one with a swivelling umbrella, as found on the Sport Brella Recliner chair.

Extra Padding

  • If you’re spending a good amount of time on the beach, you’re going to want a good amount of padding on your chair to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Some beach chairs come with built-in padding while others have removable options. With cushioned armrests and additional back padding, the STRONGBACK Elite Folding chair is one of the comfiest you’ll find.

Towel Bar

Reclining Options

  • Maybe you’re done people-watching and want to lay back for a quick nap or tanning session. You’ll benefit from having a beach chair that comes with multiple reclining positions that’ll allow you to switch from sitting up to laying down with ease. You can find your sweet spot on the Rio Beach 17” Extended chair, which has four reclining positions.

Cooler Bag

  • Keep your snacks and drinks within reach with a built-in cooler bag. As if you needed any more reasons to not get out of your beach chair!

Color & Print 

  • If there’s anything better than a comfy chair, it’s a stylish comfy chair. Why not express a bit of yourself through your beach chair? There are plenty of colors, prints, and patterns to choose from. The Tommy Bahama backpack chair is known for its fun and colorful designs.
It's nice to take a load off when you got the right beach chair. Luckily we compared many top models to find the best ones.
It's nice to take a load off when you got the right beach chair. Luckily we compared many top models to find the best ones.

Ready to Get Your Best Beach Chair

You’re now equipped with all the information needed to make the best decision when buying a beach chair for yourself.

You can choose from folding chairs, lounge chairs, canopy chairs, backpack chairs, sand chairs, and more.

We’ve reviewed some of the most popular options out there so go ahead and dive in!

Check out our guide for the 20 Best Beach Chairs in 2022. We tested them out so you don’t have to.

Happy beach chair hunting!

What To Look For When Buying A Beach Chair Girl On Chair

Frequently asked questions

How do you clean fabric beach chairs?

You should always follow the cleaning instructions found on the chair tag. Generally, it’s safe to give most fabric beach chairs a wipe down with a simple solution of distilled white vinegar and warm water. For stubborn spots, you can mix in a bit of dish soap. We found the Nice C Ultralight chair to be very easy to clean with soapy water.

Can you use camping chairs on the beach?

Some camping chairs are multifunctional and can be used on the beach as well as other outdoor outings, such as camping trips. Be sure to check the product details to confirm your chair’s intended use. The KingCamp Low Sling Beach chair is a great option if you’re looking for a versatile chair that can be used both on and off the beach.

Are Tommy Bahama beach chairs rust proof?

Usually, yes. This well-loved beach brand sells many beach chairs, such as the Tommy Bahama backpack chair, that are made of rust-proof aluminum frames.


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