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Beach Chairs: Pros and Cons of Different Styles

Updated on June 12, 2012
My middle daughter prefers lounge chairs for sunning.
My middle daughter prefers lounge chairs for sunning. | Source

Best Beach Chair – For You

With summer looming, many folks will be headed to the beach, so it’s time to be shopping for beach chairs. Young people don’t seem to mind sitting or lying directly on the sand or on a towel, but most of us older adults want something a bit more comfortable. What’s the best beach chair on the market? Actually, there’s no right answer to the question. There’s such a huge range of styles and prices that it’s impossible to identify the best beach chair. It all depends on exactly what you want in a chair, along with how much you’re willing to pay. All outdoor chairs have their advantages and disadvantages. As ardent beach fans, my family and I have tried out lots of different types of beach chairs, and perhaps what we’ve discovered will help you make an informed decision.

Chloe, Audrie, and Isabell say, "We don' need no stinkin' beach chairs!"
Chloe, Audrie, and Isabell say, "We don' need no stinkin' beach chairs!" | Source
Camp chairs are very portable.
Camp chairs are very portable. | Source

Camping Chairs

Camping chairs are often used as beach chairs. I’m talking about the camp chairs that fold up accordion-like and fit into a long, cylindrical carrying bag. Most of these chairs are lightweight and very portable, but they’re not always stable in sand. Some can be pretty flimsy, too, depending on the brand and model. In the past couple of years, however, some manufacturers began making more sturdy camping chairs that support more weight. A few even have small “platforms” at the bases of the legs that help prevent them from sinking into sand.

Even though traditional camp chairs might have armrests, these rests are usually just “slings” that are suspended between sections of the metal frame. Some people don’t find these very comfortable, and if you have physical problems that require you to support your weight on armrests in order to rise from a sitting position, the arms of most camping chairs won’t provide enough support.

This old camp chair has seen a lot of use.
This old camp chair has seen a lot of use. | Source

Backpack Beach Chair

If ease of portability is your main goal, you might prefer a backpack beach chair. Backpack chairs have straps for carrying, just like backpacks do. They’re really handy when your hands are full of other items on your trek to the sand. They’re available in different constructions and styles, including camp chairs and folding beach chair style. You can even find a backpack beach chair with a pouch on the back that includes a built-in cooler, perfect for keeping food and drinks cool. They’re pretty sturdy, too, with some supporting up to 250 pounds.

Backpack chairs have their own negatives, however. The main one is that most of them sit very low to the ground. Of course, if you’re young and able, this could be an advantage – not a disadvantage.

sand chairs
sand chairs | Source

Sand Chairs

Sand chairs are those low-to-the-ground beach chairs that you often see at the shore. If you enjoy sitting in the surf, these are a good option. They're also good for tanning because they allow you to stretch out your legs into an almost horizontal position. Because these chairs sit low to the ground, this characteristic can be a big negative for anyone with bad knees or bad hips. On the plus side, many of these chairs have adjustable backs that can be placed in several different positions. Some have comfy headrests, too.

Because sand chairs rest on horizontal metal frames instead of on pyramid legs, they’re more stable, generally speaking, than most camping chairs. They won’t sink into the sand as quickly. They’re also light and easy to transport.

Lightweight folding chairs are easy to carry and set up.
Lightweight folding chairs are easy to carry and set up. | Source

Folding Beach Chair

For me, the best beach chair is one that folds like a director’s chair. From what I’ve found, most folding beach chairs are more stable than other types, and they’re also sturdier. I’m a large person, and I feel very safe and secure in my folding beach chair, even when the grandkids pile in my lap. Because of the frame design, my folding beach chair has sturdy armrests, too. Some of the chairs also have pouches on the side that you can use to store bottled drinks, suntan oil, sunglasses, and other small items. They might also have a fold-out table with a drink holder.

I think this is the best beach chair for larger individuals. You can find chairs in this style that support 500 pounds or more! And no, I didn’t need one that sturdy. I think this is the best choice for anyone with any type of physical limitations, too.

On the down side, these chairs are usually a little heavier than some other types of beach chairs, and some are tricky to fold up. Also, I haven’t found a large selection of colors and patterns, as I have with other types of outdoor chairs.

Lounge chairs are comfy, but they can be hard to carry.
Lounge chairs are comfy, but they can be hard to carry. | Source
Add a cushion for even more comfort.
Add a cushion for even more comfort. | Source

Lounge Chairs

My middle daughter, a sun worshiper, prefers lounge chairs at the beach and pool. When it comes to outdoor lounge chairs, there’s a huge price range, along with a big comfort range. Just how comfortable do you want to be as you lie in the sun? Basic loungers can be very cheap beach chairs, but if you choose one with a sturdy metal frame, it will cost more. If you want real comfort in your lounge chairs, you can always add a thick cushion. Of course, that would make the chair less portable.

You can find lounge chairs with arms or without arms, and most have adjustable backs that go from an upright position to a fully supine position. For sunning, outdoor lounge chairs are great because you can lie on your belly or on your back. Some chairs even have “arm holes” and “face holes” that allow you to read a book while you’re lying on your stomach.

These loungers make cheap beach chairs.
These loungers make cheap beach chairs. | Source

Cheap Beach Chairs

You can usually find cheap beach chairs in just about every category, depending on what you want. Be realistic when choosing a beach chair. How often are you going to be using it? When you do use it, how many hours will you be spending in the chair during a single visit to the beach? How far will you have to carry the chair? The answers to these questions will help you choose the best beach chair for your needs. For example, if you go to the beach just a couple of days a year and sit in the chair for only a few minutes while you’re there, you probably don’t want to plop down a lot of money or lug a heavy, bulky chair to the seashore. On the other hand, if you’re a frequent beach-goer who enjoys lying in the sun for hours at a stretch, you might want to invest more in your beach chairs.

Cheap Beach Chairs For Sale:

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    • barthover profile image

      barthover 5 years ago

      This really gave a clear view of which chair is best, I like the sand chair, really want to get that perfect tan.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I've never before seen a guide to the types of beach chairs we have available, but I've always wondered which ones were best for various things, and what the differences are between them! Super interesting information here.

    • Donna Huebsch profile image

      Donna Fairley Huebsch 5 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Thanks for this hub! It's time for us to get new beach chairs, so I found this information very useful.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

      I voted for the sand chairs, because to me they definitely say summer and beach to me. In the UK we call them deck chairs, and when we bought our first house many years ago they said, "living room chair" because they were all we had for a few months while our sofa was on order!

      This was a fun hub!