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Anyone who's ever run out of chairs while hosting guests knows how crucial it is to have a few extras on hand. The folding variety is ideal because they're typically lightweight, compact, and easy to store. "Folding chairs don't have to be the standard metal version we know all too well," says Decorist designer Ashley Mecham. "There are many different options out there that are aesthetically pleasing and still give you an easy way to accommodate extra guests."
Folding chairs are also great for large events like weddings and graduation parties, as well as hanging out at the beach, barbecuing at the park, and camping. But the right type for your on-the-go excursion might not be the kind you want for your home or a special occasion.
When shopping around, be sure to consider how you'll be using the chair. Take note of the size, weight, and material, too, as these factors will affect how you store a chair and whether it's suitable for outdoor use. Not sure where to start? We found standout options for every occasion and budget.
Here, the best folding chairs currently on the market.
Best Overall: Emma + Oliver Resin Folding Chair
Dimensions: 17.5 x 18 x 30.75 inches | Material: Polypropylene resin | Weight: 36 lbs | Weight Capacity: 1000 lbs
High weight capacity
Not sold individually
When it comes to folding chairs, Emma + Oliver is hard to beat. Made of weatherproof thermoplastic resin with padded vinyl seats, this exceedingly durable and easy-to-clean set can be used both indoors and outside. Each chair weighs just 9 pounds and boasts an almost unheard-of 1,000-pound capacity.
Not only do they fold up flat, but they can also be stacked. These folding chairs come in sets of two or four in your choice of chic black, rich mahogany brown, or a simple white finish. They come fully assembled, and thanks to the thermoplastic construction, you'll never need to repaint them either.
"There are many different variables to consider when purchasing folding chairs, such as if it will be used outdoors or indoors, weight capacity, and style." — Ashley Mecham, Decorist designer
Best Budget: Flash Furniture Hercules Series Double Braced Metal Folding Chair
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 30.5 inches | Material: Steel | Weight: 8 lbs | Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Sold individually and in sets
Relatively short seat
When you think of metal folding chairs, you probably imagine a somewhat drab design—but Flash Furniture's Hercules Series is a horse of a different color. Available in cherry red, dove gray, sophisticated beige, or glossy black, these wallet-friendly chairs are sleek and presentable.
They're made of 18-gauge steel with riveted components and double-braced legs for ultimate support and durability. Each chair is just 8 pounds and can support up to 225 pounds of weight.
Best for Sports: Coleman Oversized Quad Chair
Dimensions: 24 x 18.1 inches | Material: Polyester, steel | Weight: 8 lbs | Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
Comes with carrying bag
No head/neck support
You'll be glad to have a Coleman Cooler Quad with you on your next camping trip. This portable folding chair has a heavy-duty steel frame, plus a cushioned seat and backrest with weather-resistant polyester upholstery.
The roomy seat measures 24 inches wide and 18 inches from the ground and can support up to 325 pounds of weight. As its name suggests, the Cooler Quad has a built-in chiller for up to four cans, plus side pockets and a mesh cup holder.
Best Plastic: Inbox Zero Premium Plastic Folding Chair
Dimensions: 17.5 x 18 x 31.5 inches | Material: Steel, thermoplastic | Weight: 7 lbs | Weight Capacity: 650 lbs
High weight capacity
Not sold individually
Made of durable thermoplastic with 18-gauge steel frames, these folding chairs from Inbox Zero are long-lasting and suitable for indoor or outdoor use. They weigh only 7 pounds each and can support up to 650 pounds of weight.
Non-marring caps on the legs help protect your floors from scuffs and scratches. You can buy these chairs in sets of two or ten and choose from black, brown, or white.
Best for Desk: Stakmore A-Frame Wood Folding Chair
Dimensions: 18.75 x 22 x 31 inches | Material: Solid wood, vinyl, foam | Weight: 13.1 lbs | Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
No assembly required
Mecham is a big fan of Stakmore's A-Frame Wood Folding Chair, and we can see why. It boasts a super-sturdy premium hardwood frame with a steel folding mechanism and a comfy foam-filled seat with a vinyl cover.
You'll get a set of two chairs, each just over 13 pounds with a sizable seat and a 300-pound weight capacity. The sophisticated appearance and versatile design make this folding chair a perfect choice for desks, conference rooms, and card tables.
Best Rocking: GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Portable Folding Rocking Chair
Dimensions: 25 x 24 x 34.8 inches | Material: Steel, mesh | Weight: 12 lbs | Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
Spring-action rocking mechanism
Easy to fold
If you're partial to rocking chairs, check out the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker. Featuring a powder-coated steel frame and nylon-coated feet, it weighs just over 12 pounds and has a 250-pound capacity. The seat, padded armrests, and built-in drink holder are made of a weather-resistant fabric.
A patented spring-action mechanism offers smooth rocking on various outdoor terrains, and the brand's Eazy-Fold Technology makes for effortless folding and unfolding. This portable rocking chair also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Best for Beach: Nice C Low Beach Folding Chair
Dimensions: 23 x 23 x 23 inches | Material: Steel, nylon | Weight: 6.2 lbs | Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Comes with carrying bag
Fabric prone to tearing
Heading to the sands? You might consider packing a Nice C Beach Folding Chair. You can buy it individually or in a set of two, each weighing just over 6 pounds with its own carrying bag.
Thanks to a heavy-duty steel frame and sink-resistant leg caps, this low-profile folding chair can support up to 300 pounds of weight. The breathable seat and cup holder are made of industrial-grade polyester mesh to keep you cool and comfy as you watch the waves.
Best Canopy: SwimWays Kelsyus Original Canopy Chair
Dimensions: 37 x 24 x 58 inches | Material: Steel, polyester | Weight: 11.24 lbs | Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
UPF 50+ protection
Only one color option
You can never have too much sun protection when hanging out at the beach, lake, park, or soccer field. That's why we love the Kelsyus Original Canopy Chair from SwimWays. The patented canopy boasts a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50 to safeguard you from the sun's rays.
You can pull it down and lock it when you need cover and draw it back when you want to go shade-free. What's more, the canopy doubles as a carrying case and has a built-in shoulder strap for maximum portability. At 12 pounds, the Kelsyus is on the heavier side, but it can support up to 250 pounds of weight.
The best option overall is the Emma + Oliver Resin Folding Chair (view at Amazon), which weighs just 9 pounds and has a 1,000-pound capacity. This durable thermoplastic chair stands out for its all-weather design, easy-to-clean seats, and attractive, versatile appearance. For something a little more wallet-friendly, we recommend the Flash Furniture Hercules Series Metal Folding Chair (view at Walmart).
What to Look for in a Folding Chair
"The biggest factor when purchasing folding chairs is deciding where you'll be mainly using it," Mecham tells The Spruce. "Factoring in your style and your home's style will help you navigate what look you want to go with when it comes to folding chairs. There are plenty of different options that will allow you to add in additional seating while blending in with your home's aesthetic."
Are you looking for a matching set for a special occasion, or do you need extra seats for a garden party, game night, or barbecue? Alternatively, you might be in the market for a fold-up beach or camping chair. In any case, the intended use will partially determine the style and material.
To support the folding mechanism, the frames are typically made of stainless steel or thermoplastic resin, both of which can withstand year-round weather conditions. Some folding chairs also have fabric upholstery (such as weather-resistant polyester), woven wicker seats, or padded seats with vinyl covers.
"If you want to use folding chairs in outdoor settings, indoor folding chairs would not hold up very long, so make sure the material is rated for outdoor use," says Mecham. "If your region requires additional weather protection, features like water resistance or insect resistance are important to check for."
Size is also an important consideration, so be sure to check the overall dimensions for both the folded and unfolded positions. This will help you figure out how many folding chairs you can fit in your space and how much room you need to store them.
The average dining chair is about 17 inches wide and 17 inches deep with a seat height of roughly 19 inches. Folding chairs are often a little smaller than average, though you'll also find options with wider or deeper seats.
When shopping around for folding chairs, there are two weights you should look for: the product weight and the weight capacity. Most options are between 6 and 13 pounds. If you're bringing a folding chair on the go, a lighter option may be best.
"Checking the weight capacity on folding chairs is also important—making sure it's durable and can stand up to repeated use for years to come," says Mecham. The capacity of most chairs is between 225 to 300 pounds, but you'll also find some that support up to 1,000 pounds.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a seasoned content creator with a background in lifestyle and home design. For this roundup, Theresa interviewed Decorist designer Ashley Mecham and looked at dozens of folding chairs from a broad range of brands and retailers. Before making her selections, she reviewed various types, combed through reviews, researched critical features, and considered the key specs, portability, and usages of each product.
Theresa has been writing for The Spruce since 2019, where she covers furniture, recreation, entertaining, and outdoor living.