The Perfect Rocker: How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wooden Rocking Chair

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There’s something nostalgic and relaxing about gently rocking back and forth while enjoying the outdoors. Outdoor wooden rocking chairs have been a porch and patio staple for generations. The repetitive motion is soothing and meditative, providing a place to unwind alone or have long conversations. Quality craftsmanship and materials will ensure your outdoor rocking chair withstands the elements for years.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the top five outdoor wooden rocking chairs on the market, what to look for when choosing one, and frequently asked questions about these iconic chairs. Read on to find your perfect outdoor rocker!

Top 5 Outdoor Wooden Rocking Chairs

When selecting an outdoor rocking chair, consider size, portability, style, comfort, and durability. Do you need room for two people or want a space-saving single seat? Will it stay stationary or do you need to move it around? Whatever your needs, there’s an ideal rocking chair waiting for you. Here are five of the best:

1. Classic Adirondack Chair

The Adirondack chair is the quintessential outdoor rocker. Originating in the early 1900s, it features a deeply curved seat, wide flat armrests, and a slanted, high seat back. Adirondack chairs are traditionally made of resilient woods like teak, eucalyptus, shorea or acacia that can endure sun, rain, and snow. Their timeless style and comfort make them a porch and patio staple.

Pros: Iconic traditional style, variety of color options, extremely durable, comfortable reclined posture

Cons: Can be heavy and bulky, not foldable for portability or storage, expensive

2. Folding Rocking Chair

Folding rocking chairs combine the rocking motion with a portable, space-saving design. They’re made of hardwoods like oak or maple with canvas or textilene fabric. Hinges allow them to fold flat for easy storage. They’re lighter than traditional rockers and come in vibrant colors and patterns.

Pros: Lightweight portability, compact folding size, variety of styles, comfortable rocking

Cons: Less durable over time, not quite as stable, lower weight limits

3. Porch Swing

What’s better than a cozy bench swing that sways back and forth? Porch swings have a nostalgic, romantic feel. They typically seat two or more people on a sturdy wooden bench suspended from the porch roof by chain, rope, or hooks. You can find them made from wood, wicker, or metal.

Pros: Seats multiple people, relaxing swinging motion, conversational seating

Cons: Heavy and bulky, requires porch structure for hanging, fixed installation

4. Rocking Loveseat

If you want intimate conversational seating for two, a rocking loveseat hits the sweet spot. Loveseats are sized for a couple to sit close together while rocking gently. Many designs have curved backs, arm rests and contoured seats. Materials like resin, wicker, and aluminum make them low-maintenance.

Pros: Compact size for two people, variety of creative designs, portable

Cons: Lower weight capacity than larger rockers, takes up more space than a single

5. Glider Chair

On the high end, glider rocking chairs provide an extra smooth, soothing glide motion. The enclosed chair frame with full seat cushioning gives full body support. Made from durable and weather-resistant materials, they’ll last for years.

Pros: Extremely smooth and relaxing gliding, ergonomic high back support, comfortable cushioning

Cons: Large footprint, heavy and bulky frame, expensive

Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular styles, let’s go over how to choose the ideal outdoor rocking chair for your needs.

How to Choose an Outdoor Rocking Chair

With so many options available, keep the following factors in mind when selecting an outdoor rocking chair:

Consider Your Needs and Preferences

  • Size – Do you want a single seat, or space for two with a loveseat? Measure your porch or patio space.
  • Rocking or gliding – Rocking provides more pronounced back-and-forth motion, while gliding is extremely smooth.
  • Portability – Foldable or lightweight chairs are easier to move or store.
  • Style – Choose classic, modern, rustic, ornamental and more. Match your decor.
  • Comfort features – Cushions, curved backrests, and head/arm rests provide ergonomic support.
  • Durability – Withstand weathering and frequent use. Easy to clean.

Evaluate Build Quality and Materials

  • Wood types – Teak, eucalyptus and shorea are rot-resistant hardwoods ideal for outdoor use. Avoid soft woods like pine.
  • Wicker and resin – Whether hand-woven or molded, these mimic wood appeal without the maintenance.
  • Metal – Aluminum, wrought iron and steel with protective finishes resist rust. Stainless steel is best.
  • Fabric and cushions – Outdoor fabric should be mold, mildew and UV ray resistant. Removable cushions are easy to clean.

Assess Stability and Structure

  • Wide base – Arms and rockers should have a wide stance for stability. Narrow chairs can tip.
  • Sturdy design – Reinforced joinery prevents looseness over years of use.
  • Smooth rocking – Rocking chairs should sway gently without catching or jolting movements.
  • Weight capacity – Make sure the chair can accommodate the users’ weights.
  • Reinforced stress points – Legs, joints and rockers should have robust corner braces.

Consider Additional Features

  • Cup holder or side table – Convenience features to hold drinks, books, etc.
  • Removable cushions – Make cleaning and maintenance easy.
  • Foldable – Great for portability and storage.
  • Wheels – Make it easy to move your rocker around the patio.
  • Canopy – Provides shade from the sun.
  • Reclining positions – Some rockers allow you to recline the backrest.

Choose Rocking or Gliding

  • Rocking chairs have curved rockers on the bottom that sway the chair backwards and forwards. The rocking motion is relaxing.
  • Gliding chairs have flat, smooth bottoms that provide an ultra-soothing glide motion. Great for nursing or reading.

Factor in Pricing

Basic wooden rocking chairs range from $100 on the low end to $300 for handcrafted higher quality versions. Unique materials like teak will be pricier. High end rockers with deluxe cushions, canopies and other amenities can cost $500 to $700. Evaluate the construction, comfort, and durability to choose the best value at your budget level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about outdoor rocking chairs:

How much weight can rocking chairs hold?

Most rocking chairs have weight capacities around 250-300 lbs for single seats and up to 500 lbs for loveseats. Wider, heavier chairs can accommodate more weight. Check manufacturer specifications.

What kind of maintenance do outdoor rockers need?

Periodically apply protective sealant or water repellent to wood chairs to prevent drying and cracking. Tighten hardware as needed. Removable cushions should be cleaned and allowed to fully dry before re-use.

Are rocking chairs safe for babies or pets?

Always supervise infants and toddlers in rockers. Choose stable chairs with harness straps for safety. Pets may need training on proper use. Close supervision is key.

How can I make a wooden rocking chair more comfortable?

Add weatherproof seat and lumbar cushions for padding. Look for curved backrests and contoured seats that provide ergonomic posture support. Some chairs offer reclining backrests.

What’s the difference between rockers and gliders?

Rocking chairs have curved bottoms which rock the chair backwards and forwards. Gliding chairs have flat bottoms and smooth glide motion rather than rocking.

How do I protect outdoor rocking chairs from rain and sun?

Use water repellant sealants formulated for wood furniture. Add waterproof cushion covers. Stain wood with UV-resistant finishes to prevent fading and graying over time. You can also get canopy accessories for shade.

The Perfect Backyard Escape

An outdoor rocking chair with the right mix of style, comfort, and quality craftsmanship will provide years of warm weather enjoyment. Spend cozy evenings staring at the stars, host friends and family on the patio, or sip your morning coffee with the birds. Any of these five outdoor rockers will make your porch, deck or garden your favorite place to relax.

Don’t forget to outfit your new chair with comforting cushions and pillows. Protect it from the elements with weatherproofing sealant and a sun canopy for UV protection. Now get ready to sit back, put your feet up, and gently rock your stress away. Your backyard nirvana awaits!