Sun lounger buying guide

Sun lounger buying guide

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

51 guides

Sun loungers provide the ideal spot for unwinding in the sun. Whether you're looking for a teak lounger for the pool or a folding deckchair for the garden, the most important factor is comfort. From aluminium or wooden frames to cushioned or textilene seats, read on to find the best sun lounger for your outdoor space.

Important features

  • Type
  • Material
  • Accessories
  • Care
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Looking for a teak recliner to give your garden decor an exotic twist? Or what about an aluminium lounger for a more contemporary vibe? Gardens have officially become living spaces in their own right and your garden furniture deserves to be chosen with care. Make the right decisions and these pieces could provide you with many long hours of relaxation!

Whether placed on a deck or lawn or set up around the pool, sun loungers should be chosen according to a few different criteria. You'll have to weigh up factors like material type, comfort and budget to find the perfect loungers to go with your garden dining set.

Sun loungers and recliners

There's not a great deal of difference between recliners and sun loungers. Recliners, or reclining sun loungers, usually offer you the option of setting the headrest in different positions while sun loungers tend to be fixed. However, more often than not, it usually just comes down to the term the manufacturer prefers to use. In short, you can lounge on a recliner and recline on a lounger!


Deckchairs usually feature a wooden frame with stretch fabric stretched allowing you to sit comfortably in an upright position. Unlike sun loungers, deck chairs don't provide support for your legs but can be a better option if you want to read in the sun.

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The main benefit of folding sun loungers is that they take up less space in storage. This type of design is preferable if you don't have much space or if you're looking to set up a group of sun loungers.

It should also be noted that it is always easier to move around a collapsible sun lounger than a stationary one – even more so if it has wheels!

Before you get round to picking materials, you need to settle on a type of sun lounger and this involves pinpointing exactly how you plan on using the lounger. Remember that an upright or semi-reclined position makes it easier to read and chat while a fully reclined position is best for all-out relaxing and sunbathing. No matter which model you go for, if the sun lounger has to be moved around often, opt for one with wheels!

Reclining sun loungers

Reclining sun loungers are ideal for getting a lovely tan or taking a nap. Some models are completely flat when the backrest is set into its lowest position. Alternatively, you can prop up the backrest to read a book. These loungers come in all types of materials but usually feature a wooden or metal structure.

Ergonomic sun loungers

Designed to fit to the contours of your body, S-shaped sun loungers are much more comfortable than more basic models. Ideal for those with back issues or anyone who has difficulty getting up, these loungers are usually fixed in position meaning it isn't possible to adjust the backrest. These chairs are commonly made of aluminium and textilene but may also come in materials like faux rattan.

Adjustable or multi-position recliners

The design of this type of chair allows it to switch from a traditional deckchair shape right down to a reclined sun lounger – ideal if you want to sunbathe, read and sleep on the same chair. What's more, these chairs are often equipped with wide armrests for greater comfort.

Now that you are familiar with the different types of sun loungers, you will have to settle on a material. This choice will come down to the type of design you're looking for, how much effort you're willing to put into cleaning and your budget.


Plastic is durable, easy to clean and inexpensive. These sun loungers never go out of style and can be a really good budget option. However, you will need to fit your loungers with cushions, as the material can be hard. It also tends to heat up in the sun.


Woven resin is a step up from plain plastic. It performs well outdoors and provides an attractive and modern look. There are two types of resin: moulded resin for a budget option and woven resin which is designed to look like rattan. Once again, cushions are recommended.


Aluminium is only used to construct the frame of sun loungers. This material is very lightweight which is practical if you plan to store away your sun lounger at night. Aluminium is rust-resistant and can be used to form a range of sleek and modern designs.


Wooden sun loungers are usually made of exotic woods like teak. It is possible to find sun loungers made from less-resistant species like pine, but bear in mind that the wood must be treated before it goes in the garden. Wood will always lend a warm and traditional look to an outdoor living space but regular care is required to preserve the colour of the wood and keep it looking fresh.


If the seat of the deckchair is not made of the same material as the frame – which is often the case for wooden sun loungers – it will usually be made of textilene. Textilene is a very comfortable and flexible synthetic fabric coated with PVC.

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Mattresses and cushions

Available in different sizes and colours, sun lounger mattresses and cushions are designed with comfort in mind. It's a good idea to go for cushions with removable covers for easy cleaning. Cushions or mattresses are essential for materials like wood but add real comfort to more comfortable materials like rattan. To ensure your lounger mattresses and cushions last, store them somewhere dry when they are not in use.

Sun lounger covers

Sun lounger covers allow you to protect your lounger from UV rays and various weather conditions. They are recommended for use over the winter if you cannot take your sun lounger indoors.

Sun shades

Sunshades help to shield your eyes from the sun and act as a sort of mini parasol. Be sure to pay close attention to the material used as not all fabrics will protect from UV rays.

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Garden furniture cushions
  1. Opt for a collapsible sun lounger for easy storage in the garage or garden shed.
  2. Sun loungers with wheels are recommended if you need to move the lounger around.
  3. The type of material you choose will depend on its care requirements, weather resistance and weight.
  4. Match the style of your sun lounger to your garden dining set for a more cohesive look.
  5. Add cushions or mattresses for extra comfort.

Once you've weighed up all of these factors, you can make your decision and start taking it easy. Happy sunbathing!

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Garden dining set

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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 51 guides

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.

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