Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
A rocking chair is nice and all, but have you ever tried a glider? They are in a league of their own in terms of comfort, and nowadays even your outdoor space can benefit from them—as long as you pick the right model, which is what we’re here to help you with! Check out our reviews for the best outdoor glider below.
Best Outdoor Glider: Rock Not the Chair, Glide the Seat
As the name implies, a rocking chair’s movement involves the entire thing. A glider, on the other hand, comes with a steady base and a seat that glides; your body’s change of position is less drastic, as it only goes back and forth instead of changing position by several degrees from the horizontal.
The root is in the mechanism: Whereas a rocking chair gains its movement range from its base, a glider comes with a more complex design around the middle, which gives the seat the ability to slide horizontally while adjusting the back to the seat’s current position. This, incidentally, allows you to lean farther back with less effort, and without worrying about balance.
Other Features to Look Forward To
The ways a glider differs from a rocking chair provide room for certain unique improvements. Here’s a breakdown:
Padding. As roughly half of a glider remains static, this provides more leeway for plush. Many gliders are, in fact, like couches, with every bit of upholstery and comfort that entails. Rocking chairs, on the other hand, have to be more carefully designed—place too much weight on the back, for example, and the whole thing can topple over if it swings a degree too far. For this reason, a great many rocking chairs are completely bare; those that deviate from this trend will feature only limited upholstery. We should clarify at this point, not all gliders will look like couches; but it is still a feature more easily accessible.
Holding position. As the mechanism on a glider is more complex, it allows for the insertion of locking mechanisms, which can keep the seat where you want it without any effort on your part; this makes them more optimal for proper relaxing, gliding motion or not.
Additional features. Thanks to the added bulk, gliders have room for incorporating certain perks a rocking chair can hardly be expected to—up to and including charging ports for your electronics! Extra functionalities will, of course, vary from one model to another, but it’s all a matter of looking around.
The Right Glider for the Outdoors
The chair in question was created for the living room, and most of them will therefore be intended for staying indoors; bringing them outside will, aside from compromising the upholstery, be a bit of a challenge, given their weight. There are, fortunately, gliders intended for your patio or backyard, which will provide the comfort you’re seeking without having to worry about premature decay due to exposure to the elements. They may not be as richly padded as many of their indoors counterparts, but they will still be nice to sit on (and to look at), and most of them will offer two seats instead of one, as well as unique perks such as coffee tables. The one thing they should be preserved from, is rain, as it could stiffen the joints that allow the seat to swivel and even cause rust-laden runoff if water accumulates within the frame.
The selection we now present you with, covers a variety of looks and configurations, which should make it easier for you to find the best one to suit your tastes.
Giantex Steel Frame Patio Glider
As we mentioned before, a glider made for the patio must be made to last, and this one meets that standard rather adequately. The frame is steel, with a powder coated finish to boost its resistance to corrosion. The seat and back are made in textilene, which is not cushion but does provide comfortable support, and it is also breathable, which may be welcome in summer. The back is curved, to better adapt to the form of the occupant’s body. The feet are anti-slip, the edges are smooth, and the arm rests at the sides are also shaped to provide more natural support.
- One of the more affordable options in the market.
- Fairly light and thus easy to move around as needed.
- Not so suitable for seating larger people, due in part to the division in the middle of the back, which limits the space for comfortable sitting.
Patiomore Loveseat Patio Glider
This one is a potentially good choice if you’re looking for something with padding worthy of a sofa, as it comes with enough cushions and upholstery to seat 2 people quite comfortably. The fabric is olefin, also known as polypropylene, well known for being resilient and colorfast. The cushions themselves are only secured by ties, and they can be removed without too much trouble should the need arise. The fabric can be cleaned merely by passing a wet rag over the surface.
The arm rests come with no padding, but they are ergonomically shaped. Available in peacock blue, brown and red.
- One of the few gliders made for the outdoors that also come with enough padding to work like a sofa.
- Generally praised for being easier to assemble than one would expect from this sort of design.
- Range of motion is more limited compared to other options—gliding farther back can take more effort than might be worth.
Outsunny Glider Chairs with Coffee Table
Sitting and gliding is all nice and dandy, but what about drinks? Whereas most gliders, by design, concern themselves only with seating, this one introduces a few modifications to its build that provide a little coffee table in the middle, which features a glass top. This, necessarily, creates distance between one seat and the other, but this is remedied to a degree by the chairs’ orientation: instead of being placed directly to the side—which would force the occupants to turn a full 90° in order to get a better view of their companion—, they are turned inwards just a little, which makes it easier to face and address the other person. Frame is steel, with the chairs’ back and seat made in quick-drying mesh fabric.
- A single piece that provides a perfectly serviceable gathering spot, thanks to the included table.
- Chairs glide independently, which is useful should one person wish to move whereas the other would rather remain stationary.
- Not so good for closeness between the two occupants as nearly any other competitor out there.
Amish Casual Heavy-Duty Porch Glider
Rustic is not only nostalgic—it is also a symbol of resilience, something this option features in spades. Made entirely in pressure-treated pine wood, it is genuine Amish craftsmanship, and it comes with a maximum weight capacity of 800lbs. The finish options it offers are all soy-based, an eco-friendly solution to preserve the glider from elements such as UV light. There is no padding, but the seats are contoured to fit a human body, and there is always the possibility of acquiring cushions separately.
This one comes in 2 sizes—4 and 5 feet—, and it is available in a total of 4 colors, including one unfinished option which allows the buyer to apply the hue of their choosing. Assembly required.
- Takes several measures to remain eco-friendly, such as its soy-based finishes.
- Impressive weight capacity—enough for 2 400lb people.
- Given its solid build, it is also fairly hefty—to the point of it being difficult to move for some people.
- Although putting it together is not in itself difficult, it can get complicated, as it requires a square head screwdriver.
PHI VILLA 2-Seat Swing Glider
With this one, you get the works—stainless steel frame, powder coated finish, gliding mechanism, textilene seat and back. The rocking arm’s design is intended for helping prevent wear and tear, and the general shape of the frame is square, a variation from the more tubular form featured by many competitors.
The frame for the back rest is behind the textilene, instead of it running at the top and between the two seating places. The back is taller as well, a full 42″, with the chair featuring a maximum weight capacity of 550lbs, which should be adequate for most people.
- More comfortable thanks to the heightened back without rigid frame at the top.
- Good value in terms of comfort for its price, per several consumer reports.
- Manufacturer has received high marks for promptly sending parts missing on packages.
- Gliding mechanism can get jammed, which causes the motion to be limited or one-sided.
Section 9: Patiomore Loveseat Patio Glider
Almost anything that comes into the patio—devices, appliances, tools, storage—has to be designed in a more practical way than its indoor counterparts; a good example of this would be several of the chairs we presented to you today, with their seat and back made in fabric. While these chairs, and those made entirely of wood, are good at providing comfort in their own style, we believe there is nothing wrong with opting for something closer to what we have in the living room. This is one of the reasons we felt inclined towards the Patiomore: its cushions are the closest one can get to the original gliders, without compromising on durability.
Another factor for our decision was the color variety. While there is certainly nothing wrong with the colors offered by the competition, it never hurts to have some options to pick from, if only to better appease that family member who just loves a specific hue not carried by most of the market. It’s not terribly expensive either, for its category; it should be within range for most budgets. All things considered, this one shall fulfill the duty it is intended for, quite adequately.