We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Whether it's in the nursery, living room, or on your front porch, the right rocking chair is a sublimely relaxing seating option. We researched and tested dozens of rocking chairs, considering sturdiness, comfort, value, and smoothness of motion.
Our best overall pick is the Joybird Soto Rocking Chair. It's made using quality materials, has a gentle rocking motion, and is available in several upholstery options.
Here are the best rocking chairs.
Best Overall: Soto Rocking Chair
The Soto Rocking Chair stands out for its practical blend of comfort, good looks, and durability. We consider this rocker the best option for most because it contains all the classic elements of a rocking chair combined with premium materials and modern flair.
The design features a sleek, geometric wood frame treated and reinforced to prevent warping. Thick chemical-free and flame retardant foam cushions provide ample support. The Soto chair rocks gently, so it can live in a corner without taking up much space or bumping into the wall. It also sits a little higher than other rocking chairs, making it an ideal pick for taller people.
As for customization, you have 70 fabrics to choose from to match your space's color palette and lifestyle. Options include pet-friendly choices, velvets, and stain-resistant finishes. Though it's expensive, this long-lasting chair will save you from buying a replacement every few years.
Best Splurge: CB2 Saic Quantam Rocking Chair
This elegant, eye-catching rocking chair was designed to deliver peak comfort. It was created by a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) to make people feel totally immersed in the chair.
Sink into this beautiful chair, and you’ll find yourself instantly feeling more relaxed. The frame of the chair is made from larch plywood, while the rocking base is made from catalpa wood. The foam seat is covered in beautiful fabric, available in several different colors and textures.
You’ll find that this chair is incredibly comfortable and cozy while still offering a sleek, modern look.
Best Budget: Brayden Studio Saulsberry Fabric Rocking Chair
Available in several eye-catching colors, this Saulsberry rocking chair is relatively budget-friendly. Sure, you can find cheaper rockers, but lower-priced selections will do you no favors. If you’re looking for something less outdoorsy and slightly more sophisticated, this Saulsberry rocker offers a modern style.
This rocker requires assembly, is made from birch wood, and uses polyester for the cushions and fabric armrests. It is stylish and a great choice, particularly for people who are on the shorter side. Taller folks may not find this chair overly comfortable.
Best Glider: Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner
If you want a smoother ride from your chair than a rocker provides, check out a glider. As you might imagine from its name, this chair glides back and forth on its track. The Mikayla chair does more than glide: it swivels, reclines, and comes with a leg rest. It’s comfortable for everyone, particularly taller people who will appreciate that the chair’s design accommodates their height.
This boxy-style glider is available in a few different colors. The chair is easy to set up. It’s high quality, although you may need to use some muscle to get the chair to recline or to stow the footrest.
Best for Nursery: Pottery Barn Kids Minna Small Spaces Rocker & Ottoman
This rocking chair has a lot to love: along with a comfortable cushioned exterior, it has armrests and is available in various fabrics and colors.
This chair may be cozy, but it’s not huge—in fact, it’s designed to accommodate small spaces. Plus, it’s got chic, thoughtful details like wooden rocker legs. The rocker comes with an ottoman, so you can put your feet up as you rock. It’s perfect for the nursery and Greenguard Gold-Certified, so it meets chemical emissions standards.
Once babies get older, this thoughtfully designed and chic rocker will work just as well in the living room or an adult bedroom.
Best Outdoor: Arcadia Grey Wood Outdoor Rocking Chair
Bring the relaxation outside to your deck or porch with this rocking chair from Noble House. It’s made from acacia wood, which is durable as well as sustainable. This chair has a classic, elegant design and is available in a few different finishes.
You’ll need to do a bit of assembly to put this chair together, and while the instructions are clear, two adults are required. The process will take 30 minutes or more.
Best Wooden: Gracie Oaks Rajesh Rocking Chair
This wooden rocking chair, made with mahogany, has a weather-resistant finish, so you can use it outside despite being elegant and comfortable for indoor use. This comfortable rocking chair is available in several colors. Assembly for this is simple and straightforward.
Best Folding: Cinthia Rocking Chair
If you're short on space, this versatile folding option from Cinthia allows you to easily fold up the rocker and store it away when it’s not in use.
The rocker is sturdy, weighing 16.5 pounds, and comes fully assembled. Unfold it from the box and you’ll be ready to sit, rock, and relax. This folding rocker is available in two finishes, coming in a variety of seat cushion covers.
What to Look for When Buying a Rocking Chair
Rocking chairs are versatile pieces of furniture that can be used everywhere from the front porch to the bedroom, living room, or nursery. Your choice of material will depend on your personal taste and where you plan to use the rocking chair. Antique rocking chairs made from oak or pine are age-old classics that can work indoors or out. You may prefer a vintage rocking chair made from rattan, wicker, or polypropylene. Today, upholstered rocking chairs in a range of fabrics from linen to ultra-suede are popular with people used to sitting on well padded contemporary furniture.
Look for a well constructed rocking chair that will ensure a smooth rocking experience while you sit by the fire with a good book or nurse the baby. While some people find plain wood, cane-back, or rattan rocking chairs perfectly comfortable, many modern parents prefer a nursing chair with upholstery and additional cushioning. Also bear in mind that the comfort of your rocking chair depends on your height and the length of your legs in relation to the chair size, so testing models in person is always a good idea.
Rocking chairs have been around since the 1700s, and the chair designers of the last few centuries have given us a plethora of styles to choose from over the last few hundred years. You can add a dose of style to a front porch or living room with a stylish rocking chair or two that goes with your existing decor or provides a counterpoint. Whether you prefer an antique, vintage, reproduction, or contemporary model, popular examples include the timeless Shaker-style, Danish modern, bentwood cane-back Thonet, Adirondack, mid-century Eames rocking chairs, or contemporary upholstered rocking chairs and gliders.
Are rocking chairs good for posture?
Legend has it that John F. Kennedy used a rocking chair to soothe a perpetually aching back, and rocking chairs have long been used to help people relax, gently move their bodies, and relieve stress and tension along the way. While there have been studies on the positive health effects of rocking chairs on veterans and elderly dementia patients, the evidence that rocking chairs themselves are good for posture remains anecdotal. However, much research has been done in the development of ergonomic chairs that demonstrates the positive effects of moving our bodies while seated to increase blood flow, relieve neck, back and shoulder strain, and help to encourage good posture in the process, so at the very least it seems that it can’t hurt.
How much room does a rocking chair need?
Rocking chairs can travel (or “walk”) a bit as you rock back and forth. It’s important to place your rocking chair in a space with enough clearance on all sides, so you can use it without risking that it catches on the wall or bumps into other furniture. While this varies depending on the width and height of the rocking chair in question, plan to leave about three feet on all sides around the chair.
Do rocking chairs work on carpet?
Rocking chairs have a tendency to “walk” when there isn’t the requisite amount of friction between the rockers on the bottom of your rocking chair and the floor. This can happen on both hard surfaces or carpet. Some rocking chairs work fine on low pile carpet if there is enough friction, although repetitive use can leave dents in the carpet. Rocking chairs placed on high-pile carpet may produce too much friction, causing the chair to get stuck.