Finding the best material for outdoor furniture feels like a never-ending game of “compare and contrast,” but getting the option that checks every box is the difference between a product that will warp and wear down in a couple of years and one that can last for decades.
Here at Outer, we’ve made it easy to find what you need by creating a list of the most common materials and which ones fare the best in every condition. Plus, we’ll share a few extra considerations when buying the perfect outdoor furniture for your home.
Let’s explore the most popular materials for outdoor furniture and see which ones will keep your yard looking better for longer.
Best Material For Outdoor Furniture
Starting with metal, this material is praised for its durability and strength. The most popular types include steel, wrought iron, and aluminum, and each type has its benefits and disadvantages.
Wrought iron has been a dependable option for furniture since the early 1800s. Its combination of sleek aesthetics and durability has helped its claim to fame, especially when used for garden furniture and poolside loungers.
But this deep black material has its flaws. While it is designed to be heavy for staying put in various weather conditions, it’s often too heavy for most people to conveniently lift on their own.
The other downside of wrought iron is that the paint can chip away when not cared for properly, revealing bare metal and eventually leading to rust.
A lighter yet just-as-sturdy option is galvanized steel. Galvanization is a process that applies a coat of zinc to the material to keep it from rusting, making it more suitable for the outdoors than regular steel.
Although steel weighs less, it tends to have issues with temperature control. In fact, the material retains heat in the summer, making the arms and backs of any chair scorching. Likewise, winter weather causes steel furniture to freeze and be too cold to touch.
To solve these problems, aluminum offers a lightweight, rust-proof, and temperature-resistant option that’s as sleek as it is sturdy.
Our aluminum options at Outer, like the 3-Seat Outdoor Sofa, are built to last and will never rust, decay, or loosen. The frames are finished with a top-of-the-line powder coating guaranteed to last more than 10 years for ultimate durability.
Along with aluminum, all-weather wicker (also known as synthetic resin wicker) is one of the most common choices for outdoor materials — and it’s not hard to see why.
This material manages to look both charming and modern while staying protected in any weather condition. The tightly woven construction of this furniture results in a durable product while also creating a beautiful design.
Indoor Vs. Outdoor Wicker
There are two very different materials you’ll come across when shopping for wicker furniture. While all-weather wicker is intended for the outdoors, natural organic wicker should only be used inside. Here’s why.
The building process of all-weather wicker allows the furniture to withstand everything from extreme cold to unbearable heat, as well as any moisture from intense humidity to heavy downpours.
Natural wicker, on the other hand, rapidly deteriorates when exposed to the elements for too long. The materials sustain damage, tear apart, and break down over time. So, even if it looks like an ideal garden chair, make sure it’s designed for life outside before bringing it home.
The third material has a near-endless list of options to choose from, so we’ll avoid the ones that are poorly suited for the outdoors. But the best wood for outdoor furniture has natural properties that make it impervious to most weather conditions.
Both softwood and hardwood choices fall into this weather-resistant category, but softwoods such as cypress and cedar typically don’t last as long as their hardwood counterparts.
One of the most well-known options, ipe is a tropical hardwood from South America that is often used to build outdoor decks and wooden patios. Also known as Brazilian walnut, this wood is extremely dense, which makes it great for repelling water.
The density of ipe also prevents denting and warping and has a fire-resistance rating on par with concrete, making it a strong contender for the best wood available in any outdoor setting.
It’s hard to believe that anything might be better than the seemingly flawless choice of ipe, but anyone who has ever heard of teak knows that it’s renowned in the world of outdoor furniture for accomplishing everything that ipe does, along with a few more added features.
For example, teak’s natural oils go beyond just weather resistance. They also repel pests like mosquitoes for an insect-free time outside, whether it’s by the fire or near the pool.
Teak also has the highest decay resistance of any natural wood, making it the go-to choice for building yachts, home exteriors, and, of course, outdoor furniture.
So, with that, we know that aluminum, teakwood, and all-weather wicker are the ideal materials for your outdoor furniture needs. Now, let’s take a look at how to find the best options in these materials by checking for durability and optimal comfort.
Durable Outdoor Furniture
We’ve mentioned durability a couple of times throughout this article, but what exactly does it mean when it comes to furniture? Isn’t all outdoor furniture strong enough to withstand the elements?
The short answer is an unfortunate no. But here’s what to keep in mind when searching.
Durable materials are only the first part of building quality furniture designed for the outdoors. If the company doesn’t carefully consider every step of the process, then you can end up with outdoor-ready furniture that will break down due to poor construction.
Too many outdoor furniture companies take shortcuts when building their products, and when pieces fall apart or go missing, you’re stuck paying for the replacement parts.
Here at Outer, our best-in-class warranties show just how important it is for our customers to receive a quality, long-lasting build every time with every material.
Our teak furniture, for example, is made exclusively from the highest-quality teak wood in the world, responsibly sourced from teak fields in Central Java. We pay attention to every last detail to ensure absolute customer satisfaction, all while considering sustainability.
And all of our teak products are proudly Forest Stewardship Council-certified to ensure that everything we produce comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Although all of the viable materials mentioned above can survive the elements to different extents, the company you buy from should offer something more for when the weather really gets rough.
No outdoor furniture is complete without a custom cover, and our All-Weather Covers are tailored for any option you choose. The material is fade-resistant, recyclable, and easy to zip for quick and easy protection before the next storm rolls in.
Plus, the built-in wind straps and buckles keep All-Weather Cover in place, even when winds reach up to 70 miles per hour.
Once you’ve determined that your furniture is durable for any condition, it’s equally as important to consider comfort. After all, it’s what you’ll be sitting on for years to come.
Let’s talk about what to keep an eye out for when choosing the most comfortable outdoor furniture.
Comfortable Outdoor Furniture
The perfect amount of support and softness should come together for ideal comfort in your cushion. But even if outdoor furniture is built with care and consideration, it doesn’t mean that it comes with a comfortable cushion — or any cushion at all.
At Outer, we pair multi-layer memory foam with life-proof fabric to deliver premium comfort that’s also easy to take care of. With our cushions, stressing over stains is a thing of the past, so you can relax more and worry less.
Comfort extends well beyond the feel of the fabric or cushion. Sometimes, it’s all about space and how much flexibility you have with it.
When life moves around, your furniture should be able to move around with you. A fresh, new look shouldn’t mean starting over with new furniture or adding options that don’t match your current setup.
Modular furniture makes it so you don’t have to think twice about rearranging your layout. This functional design allows pieces to be moved, added, or disassembled to create a new look without having to start from scratch.
Find The Best Materials For Outdoor Furniture At Outer
With everything you need to know about finding the best material for outdoor furniture, you’re sure to get the greatest option for your home.
Along with stylish and sturdy materials built for the outdoors, don’t forget to consider comfort as well as quality, hand-made construction.
For durable and comfortable designs in teak, wicker, and aluminum, Outer has options for everyone, from the party-ready 7-Seat Outdoor U-Sectional to the more intimate Armchair Conversation Set in black wicker.
Shop Outer today and find out the difference that quality can make.