Selecting the Best Deck Chair | Boating Magazine

Selecting the Best Deck Chair

Use the results of our stringent lab testing to find the best deck chair for your boat.

Garelick Mariner Chair

deck chair, boat chair, marine chair

Garelick

Garelick Mariner Chair
$292

Durable eight-legged frame gives added stability and durability. The foam is a resilient 3.5 inches thick, and in our drip-and-dry test it absorbed no water in a 30-minute heavy shower. The white vinyl is marine grade to resist stains and mildew and is protected from ultraviolet light. Wine stains hosed off instantly, whether fresh or dry. The stitching is even and attractive. The seat backs are polymer material that won’t rot. In our teeter test, it slid back and forth some but was sturdy, without wobble, and also tip resistant. Overall, it was one of the most admired chairs in our test lineup.

Open Dimensions: 28 inches deep by 33 inches wide; 32-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 14 inches thick by 33 inches wide by 36 inches long
Colors: Off-white
Warranty: Limited-lifetime against manufacturing defects

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 2/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 2/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 16/18

 

E-SeaRider Large Teardrop

deck chair, boat lounge

$129.95; e-searider.com

E-SeaRider

E-SeaRider Large Teardrop
$129.95; e-searider.com

This shape of beanbag seat automatically erects a perfectly angled backrest when you plop down on the fat end. According to E-Searider, its marine-grade vinyl is 26 ounces per linear yard of material and is treated to stand 600 hours of UV exposure without damaging the material. Anti-microbial quality blocks mildew as well as other bacteria commonly found around the water and on fishing boats. Virgin closed-cell foam beads won’t absorb water. Bags can be custom-matched to any boat or decor at no additional charge.

Open Dimensions: 36 inches deep by 36 inches wide; 116 inches in circumference
Stowed Dimensions: 36 inches deep by 36 inches wide; 116 inches in circumference
Colors: Custom
Warranty: No-fault lifetime

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 1/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 3/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 16/18

 

Garelick EEz-In Designer

padded deck chair, canvas chair

Garelick

Garelick EEz-In Designer
$114

This space-saving chair folds thin, but the comfort of the canvas sling-style seat is enhanced with 1-inch padding for thighs and shoulders. Navy blue with red ribbing and an embroidered burgee is a great nautical look. Varnished wooden armrests add a mariner’s teaklike flair. Doubled tubing on the legs with a laddered cross support gives it the strength and stability for ship use, as was proved in our teeter test. We feared it would stain with wine, but fresh and dried stains were invisible after rinsing.

Open Dimensions: 24 inches deep by 25 inches wide; 31½-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 4 inches thick by 25 inches wide by 35 inches long
Warranty: Limited-lifetime against manufacturing defects
Colors: Navy blue, red ribbing and embroidered burgee and cushions
Warranty: Five years on tubing

Drip and Dry: 1/3
Compact Stowability: 3/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 2/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 15/18

 

Springfield Aluminum Embroidered Folding Chair

deck chair, folding deck chair

Springfield

Springfield Aluminum Embroidered Folding Chair
$180; $170 with NO embroidery

Cushions are screwed to 1-inch anodized aluminum tubing. Off-white vinyl over polyurethane foam provides comfort. Polymer seat backs won’t rot or absorb water. Front and back leg tubing is doubled, giving eight legs for durability and stability. Padded armrests are comfy, and a hand-embroidered sailfish adds character but held water in our rain test. Protective leg pads are durable and won’t scratch the deck. Lower seat level than on some chairs gives it a lower center of gravity, adding stability. It exhibited little or no sideways slide in our teeter test and was wobble-free as well.

Open Dimensions: 24 inches deep by 25 inches wide; 31½-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 13 inches thick by 25 inches wide by 36 inches long
Colors: Off-white
Warranty: One year, vinyl and cushions; five years, tubing

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 2/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 2/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 16/18

 

Springfield Aluminum Euro Chair

deck chair, folding deck chair

Springfield

Springfield Aluminum Euro Chair
$130; springfieldgrp.com

Polyurethane foam cushions inside of ultraviolet- and stain-resistant vinyl are suspended between the 1-inch aluminum tubing, giving a soft seat that accommodates the motion of the ocean. Seat bottom is easily replaced or removed for cleaning, using the Velcro fasteners. Molded plastic arms are comfortable and won’t absorb water. A middle rung on the back legs and an A-frame design enhance durability. Protective pads won’t scratch the deck. The vinyl sheds water and even dried-on wine, whether fresh or dried stains. It provided a good combination of comfort and stowability.

Open Dimensions: 24 inches deep by 24 inches wide; 31½-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 11 inches thick by 25 inches wide by 30 inches long
Colors: White
Warranty: One year, vinyl and cushions; five years, tubing

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 2/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 2/3
Tester Test: 2/3

Total: 15/18

 

West Marine Skipper Deck Chair

deck chair, skipper chair

$76.88; westmarine.com

West Marine

West Marine Skipper Deck Chair
$76.88; westmarine.com

This was one of our favorite chairs for the cool polymer mesh fabric that sheds water quickly and prevents sweaty backs in hot weather. The weave was as fine as canvas, avoiding “skin print” — you’ve seen folks climb out of a chair only to show their backsides “printed” with the fabric. The mesh sling-style seat is laced between anodized tubing that appears coated for added corrosion protection in marine environs and for softened reflective glare. A padded pillow at shoulder height was quick to dry in our test and added comfort when seated. Wooden armrests were thinly varnished but looked great in new condition.

Open Dimensions: 30 inches deep by 25 inches wide; 36-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 5 inches thick by 24 inches wide by 33 inches long
Colors: Off-white
Warranty: Limited-lifetime

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 3/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 2/3
Tester Test: 2/3

Total: 16/18

 

SeaTeak Weatherly Folding Deck Chair

teak folding chair, boat folding chair, boat deck chair wood, wooden chair boat

SeaTeak

SeaTeak Weatherly Folding Deck Chair
$390

If you were rearranging deck chairs on Titanic, they would probably be these. They have elegant, natural finished teak, and the back reclines to six positions for lounging and relaxing. Definitely nap-worthy, thanks to its ability to recline and the contoured shape that fits the derrière. Our teak chair appeared to be lightly oiled so as not to stain nautical white clothing. Our fear that it would absorb wine in our stain test was unfounded. It rinsed clean whether the stain was fresh or dried. The chair has a hefty, quality feel, and its life is made long by stainless-steel fasteners and hinges.

Open Dimensions: 24¾ inches deep by 24¼ inches wide; 44½-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 9 inches thick by 24¼ inches wide by 36½ inches long
Colors: Natural teak
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects.

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 3/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 3/3
Tester Test: 2/3

Total: 17/18

 

SeaTeak Windrift

sea chair, wooden chair, folding chair boat deck

SeaTeak

SeaTeak Windrift
$370

The Windrift is made with the best two materials in marine fabrication — teak wood and stainless-steel tubing. The teak is sustainably raised plantation wood that’s very evenly grained and durable. There are no oils or varnish added to the finished product. The finish is smooth and won’t snag or chafe the finest fabrics. The stainless-steel folding supports are sturdy and able to withstand all but the roughest rocking and rolling treatment. The seat back is adjustable to six reclining angles and utterly nap-worthy when you’re in a reclined position with feet propped on the gunwale.

Open Dimensions: 23½ inches deep by 23 inches wide; 42½-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 8 inches thick by 23 inches wide by 34 inches long
Colors: Natural teak and stainless steel
Warranty: 1-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 3/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 2/3
Nap Worthiness: 3/3
Tester Test: 2/3

Total: 16/18

 

deck chair

Garelick EEz-In Classic Series

$61; iboats.com

Garelick

Garelick EEz-In Classic Series
$61; iboats.com

Simplicity is elegance in this olefin fabric chair laced to a 1-inch anodized aluminum frame. Olefin is fast-drying, as our test proved (though the pillows dried slowly, lowering the score), and durable, and it is colorfast thanks to a fiber-dyeing process used before spinning the threads and weaving the fabric. Its lightweight frame offers a good balance of portability and durability. It naturally scored high on compact stowability. Our varnished armrests were rough in a couple of spots.

Open Dimensions: 30 inches deep by 23 inches wide; 37-inch-high back
Stowed Dimensions: 6 inches high by 23 inches wide by 32 inches long
Colors: Navy blue with red ribbing and embroidered burgee
Warranty: Limited-lifetime against manufacturing defects

Drip and Dry: 1
Compact Stowability: 3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3
Nap Worthiness: 2
Teeter Test: 2

Total: 14/18

 

Ocean-Tamer Medium Armchair

armchair, outdoor chair, boat chairs, best chairs for boats

Ocean-Tamer

Ocean-Tamer Medium Armchair
$149.95

Ocean-Tamer beanbags are made from marine-grade vinyl that is guaranteed against cracking, fading or separating for five years. The fabric is treated with UV protectant and anti-mildew agents to keep it fresh. The armchair just sort of grabs you, raising its arms in a hug to give good lateral support. The back stands tall too, adding back support up to the shoulders or giving good neck support when slouched in the chair. Our test bag shed all rain and wine and even did well on the dried wine test except for threads in the seam that absorbed some stain.

Open Dimensions: 36 inches wide by 32 inches long by 39 inches high
Stowed Dimensions: 36 inches wide by 32 inches long by 39 inches high
Colors: Custom
Warranty: Lifetime against ­manufacturing defects, five years against vinyl defects

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 1/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 3/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 16/18

 

Ocean-Tamer Teardrop

marine bean bag chair, marine chair

Ocean-Tamer

Ocean-Tamer Teardrop
$149.95

Our testers loved the way the Teardrop beanbag “stands up” when you drop into it, meeting the back, shoulders and, for the less tall, neck with solid but flexible support. The elongated teardrop shape squeezes through the console hatch more easily than the round or armchair bags, but it still requires an enormous amount of space to stow it. Nevertheless, we liked the bags for their sunbathing style as well as ride comfort in chop. The beanbags are the only seats we’d be comfortable recommending for running conditions since every one was skid and wobble-free.

Open Dimensions: 36 inches wide by 32 inches long by 39 inches high
Stowed Dimensions: 36 inches wide by 32 inches long by 39 inches high
Colors: Custom
Warranty: Lifetime against ­manufacturing defects; five years against vinyl defects

Drip and Dry: 3/3
Compact Stowability: 1/3
Stain Resistance, Immediate Rinse: 3/3
Stain Resistance, After Drying One Hour: 3/3
Nap Worthiness: 3/3
Tester Test: 3/3

Total: 16/18

 

According to our sources, you are looking online for deck chairs in big numbers. With such curiosity burning the Web waves, we felt the need to burn some midnight oil at BoatingLAB to see who makes the ideal deck chair.

What we learned is that there is no ideal deck chair. We also learned that, for American Boat and Yacht Council’s safety purposes, only chairs firmly fastened to the deck or a solid bulkhead are considered bona fide seats when vessels are underway. That’s only logical, considering the G-forces on seats as boats bash through rollers and rock while straddling beam seas.

Still, deck chairs — especially easily stowable chairs — are essential for entertainment dockside or on the hook. Even so, beanbag chairs are fixtures among offshore boaters who want a cushy ride in rough water.

How We Tested
Drip and Dry
Rain is the bane of marine furniture. Too often, it is sucked into upholstery seams and never leaves the padding beneath it. We put chairs under a sprinkler for a half-hour simulating a heavy rain. Then we wiped them off and sat in them every hour until they no longer seeped water at the seams, and scored them as follows (high score was 3):
Dried in one hour: 3
Dried in two hours: 2
Dried in three hours: 1

Compact Stowability
All we needed to know was how small it folds down in thickness, width and height.
Most compact: 3
Compact: 2
Least compact: 1

Stained Reputation
Boaters spill stuff. We poured on red wine twice, first rinsing it off immediately and then after letting it dry in place for an hour, awarding two scores for this test. Our test chairs stood up to this test very well, and we couldn’t imagine any other libation being a greater threat.
No stains: 3, 3
Some stains: 2, 2
Mucho stains: 1, 1

Nap Test
C’mon. You wondered. Could you grab some Z’s in these chairs? Our panel, all editors, had no time for rest, but each sat in the chair and weighed in longingly on the likelihood they could lounge into a slumber.
Definitely nap worthy: 3
Possibly nap worthy: 2

Teeter Test
Even at anchor, boats will roll and decks will wobble to shake the chairs. So we created the rolling-sea teeter-totter and spent a few minutes in each chair while friends teetered our chairs. Were they sturdy, stable, skid- and rattle-free, or did they feel like they would tumble, lurch and collapse?
Firm, stable and quiet: 3
Stable, but not quiet: 2
Neither stable nor quiet: 1

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