My mom bought a set of four Polywood Adirondack chairs in 2005. They’ve lived outside, through mountains of Minnesota snow and scorching summer sun, and you’d never know. When it came time to buy my own outdoor furniture, I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for.
In my 10 years as a homeowner, I’ve bought a total of five outdoor tables, two outdoor sofas, and a handful of odds-and-ends off of Facebook marketplace. I have purchased name brand, fancy-schmancy tables that should last a lifetime, but actually start to splinter and show wear after only one season. In a change of strategy, I started buying cheap patio furniture, thinking that I would just replace it when it inevitably started looking rough, but that felt really wasteful (not to mention, expensive).
I finally realized there are two things worth splurging on, because they’ll last forever: Polywood and Sunbrella.
Polywood furniture is made of recycled plastic, so it’s incredibly durable. It won’t fade in the sun and it doesn’t get warped or splintered. It comes in a multitude of colors, in addition to natural and wood tones.
Since it’s recycled, I feel a bit better knowing that my consumerism is in some way eco-friendly, even if it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference in the whole scheme of things.
I live in Missouri, and these chairs have seen their share of severe weather. They’ve lived through hail, snow, thunderstorms and near-tornadoes, and you’d never know. I will admit (as you can see on the bottom of the chair on the right), sometimes my kids’ sunscreen is harder than I’d like to scrub off, but it comes off eventually, and they look as good as new.
They’re so comfortable and seem to accommodate a wide range of body sizes and shapes. I can fit two kids (three, uncomfortably) in one chair, and everyone is happy. Polywood sells matching Sunbrella cushions for all their products, but so far I haven’t splurged for the upgrade (more on that in a bit).
They’re also incredibly heavy and there’s no way these things will blow away in a storm. While that’s good news for durability, that brings me to one of the cons….
I can proudly attest that I have now personally assembled 10 Polywood Adirondack chairs. I can also tell you, this is an incredible workout. These chairs are HEAVY. Each chair weighs 37 pounds, and while that may not sound like a lot, it’s effectively like moving around a big, awkward 4-year-old. I would recommend that assembly is a two person job, but if you’re stubborn like I am, you can definitely do it yourself.
That brings me to the assembly. If you assemble enough of these things, you’ll grow to hate the Allen wrench. Each chair has six parts, and if you’re not careful, you’ll mix up the pieces and have to start over. They all have to be hand screwed together with that little Allen wrench, and it’s pretty tedious. When all is said and done, they look beautiful, so it is easy to forget the work it took to get there.
As for cost, Polywood isn’t a budget option. I rarely see Polywood sales, and they’re usually excluded from coupons. One Adirondack chair starts at around $230 and goes up, depending on style and color.
The last somewhat negative thing I’ll say is that you might have to be a little patient (especially post-pandemic). I recently decided to upgrade our warped outdoor dining set with the Vineyard Dining Set in Sand. It took just over two months to get it delivered. Not the end of the world, just something to consider if you’re looking for an immediate upgrade.
Splurging on Sunbrella
This time around, I did decide to splurge on the Sunbrella cushions for the dining set. If you’re not familiar with Sunbrella, it’s a performance fabric that holds up in the elements. We’ve had outdoor Sunbrella cushions and they still look brand new. For this set, I ordered the spiced burlap, and was pleasantly surprised at the $39 price point/cushion. Not bad for Sunbrella!
The dining set is currently sitting in nine very heavy boxes on my back porch. I did not envy the delivery driver on this one. While I’m not looking forward to hand-assembling a nine piece set, I do feel better knowing it’s likely the last dining set I’ll have to buy.
Buy once, enjoy forever. Yes, it’s a pain to put together. Yes, it is heavy. Yes, it might take a while to arrive. But, if 20+ years of ownership and my book club text chain are any indications, Polywood is most certainly worth it.
Editors Note: None of the furniture mentioned in this article was gifted. Our goal at Suggest is to share products that we actually know and love. While we may earn revenue from affiliate links within this article, our opinions and views are our own, in no way shaped by the brand. We just love this stuff, we thought you might too.