Which patio furniture sets are best for summer?

Furniture

If you have younger kids in your household, consider a kids’ patio furniture set, many of which are made by popular outdoor toy manufacturers.

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Top choices for summer patio furniture sets

If it’s time to prepare your patio for the summer, you might be shopping around for new patio furniture. There are plenty of options, and there’s a good chance you’ll feel spoiled for choice.

To narrow your options, it’s helpful to think of your top priorities for patio furniture. You might need a set with many seats if you regularly entertain. If you prefer a low-maintenance set, you may gravitate toward simple resin or metal sets. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s definitely a patio furniture set to suit your needs.

Wondering where to start your search? Here’s our buying guide covering essential features to compare in patio furniture sets, just in time for summer. 

What to know before you buy a patio furniture set

Seating capacity

Merton 7 Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions

Seating capacity should be one of your first considerations as you shop around for patio furniture sets. 

If you spend a lot of time on your patio hosting friends and family, your best option is a sectional set with plenty of seating. Dining and modular sets are appropriate because they typically include six to ten seats. On the other hand, if your outdoor gatherings are more intimate, you might prefer a bistro or small conversation set

Footprint

Whether you’re shopping for a small or large patio furniture set, it’s important to measure your outdoor space to make sure there’s room to accommodate it.  

Besides measuring the area, consider how much walking space you’ll need around the patio furniture. Keep in mind that a crowded space quickly becomes a congested space with foot traffic. If you choose a patio furniture set with reclining chairs, be sure to account for additional space behind them.

Cushions vs. no cushions

Red Barrel Studio Bistro Set with Cushions

Many people are divided on whether they should opt for a patio furniture set with cushions. Patio furniture sets with cushions are considered more comfortable than those without. Cushions are easy to replace or recover if ever you’d like to give your patio furniture a modest makeover. However, some cushions aren’t weather-resistant and need to be brought indoors during storms.

Patio furniture sets without cushions are considered low-maintenance because most you can hose them down for quick cleaning. These sets are often versatile and understated. They blend in with your outdoor space as opposed to becoming a focal point. Unfortunately, without cushions, many of these seats are uncomfortable. 

Convenience features

Many people think of patio furniture sets as multifunctional pieces that offer much more bang for the buck. In addition to providing sitting and eating areas, they may have hidden storage compartments for cushions or toys. Some come with umbrellas or canopies, or at the very least, they’re designed with umbrella stands. Others have wheels for better portability. Certain modular sets have two-in-one pieces that convert between chair and tabletop configurations. 

Materials for summer patio furniture sets

Metal

Winston Porter Davisson Floral Bistro Se

Metal patio furniture sets are made with aluminum, steel or iron. 

  • Aluminum is corrosion-resistant and requires little maintenance. Because it’s a lightweight metal, however, aluminum furniture is easily blown over by wind. 
  • Steel is much heavier and more durable. It might rust, though touchups conceal minor imperfections.
  • Iron is the heaviest option, which is why many of these pieces have wheels for better portability. Occasional painting is necessary to keep rust under control. 

Wood

Hampton Bay Cambridge Wicker Patio Dining Set

There are several types of wood used to build patio furniture sets. The most common ones include teak, cedar and pine.

  • Teak is considered the most durable option because it’s weather-resistant and only requires occasional oiling for maintenance. Its longer lifespan also means higher ticket prices.
  • Cedar is naturally bug-resistant and adjusts well in humid or wet climates. Annual protective coatings are necessary, but they keep cedar patio furniture looking brand new for years.
  • Pine is an affordable option for patio furniture, but keep in mind you get what you pay for. One of the downsides of pine is that it chips, dents and scratches easily.

Rattan

Sol 72 Outdoor Lutie Rattan Sectional Set

Rattan patio furniture remains a popular option because it’s durable and weather-resistant. It’s also considered versatile and is seen in indoor/outdoor spaces like sunrooms or enclosed porches. Unfortunately, rattan may loosen or warp over time. 

Plastic

Plastic patio furniture

Plastic patio furniture ticks a lot of boxes for consumers. It’s lightweight, durable and easy to maintain. Many sets are made with recycled plastic as well. In addition to being easy to move, many plastic patio furniture sets are stackable. However, they can attract mildew.

What’s the best patio furniture set to buy?

Best bistro patio furniture sets for summer

August Grove Wilkins 3-Piece Bistro Set

Bistro sets include a pair of chairs and a small table. They’re a good choice for small patios or intimate outdoor spaces.

If you’re interested in a classic set, we like August Grove Wilkins 3-Piece Bistro Set for its timeless wrought iron design. For those who appreciate retro furniture, Winston Porter Davisson Floral Bistro Set has charming cutouts and comes in three bold colors.

These all-metal bistro sets might be too rigid for some people, in which case recommend a softer bistro set, like Red Barrel Studio Bistro Set with Cushions. It has wider seats and rocking chair legs, making it a laid-back design. 

Best dining patio furniture sets for summer

Home Decorators Sun Valley Aluminum Patio Bar Height Dining Set

Dining sets, as their name implies, include a table and chairs suitable for outdoor dining.

Bar-inspired dining sets, like Home Decorators Sun Valley Aluminum Patio Bar Height Dining Set, are liked for their high swivel chairs. For those partial to sitting at a regular height, Andover Mills Keensburg 5 Piece Dining Set is an attractive alternative. This particular set comes with a combination of bench and chair seating options. 

There are small dining sets available as well. Hampton Bay Cambridge Wicker Patio Dining Set, for example, has a round four-top table for smaller outdoor parties. It comes with high-loft cushions that are stain- and water-repellent.

Best conversation patio furniture sets for summer

Best Choice Products Wicker Patio Conversation Set

Conversation sets refer to those with seats that face each other, such as U- and L-shaped sectionals.

Smaller conversation sets, such as Best Choice Products Wicker Patio Conversation Set, are popular for intimate gatherings for four or fewer guests. If you normally entertain large groups, you’ll be better served by Sol 72 Outdoor Lutie Rattan Sectional Set. It seats six or more people comfortably with room to spare.

 

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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