Foter

Folding chairs are one of the earliest sitting furniture in the world. Their history dates back to the 13th century B.C. when they were used extensively in Mediterranean homes and beaches. In the US, a patent for folding chair was obtained as early as in 1855.

From those days to these, the humble folding chair has transcended millennia of changing furniture trends and styles to emerge as one of the most sustainable chair types in history. Its contemporary avatar is nothing less than a style statement, available in a milieu of designs for diverse uses.

If you are shopping for folding chairs, we are happy to help! Read on to know about the different aspects that should help you make the right choice.

Which are the types of folding chairs?

Whether for home, porch or garden, work-desk or workplace, a folding chair has many types to check out.

The Basic Type

This is your chair if you want no-frills, proven comfort. Basic folding chairs are usually made from wood, plastic, metal, or combination materials. They have a flat seat and backrest with no armrests, and no seat padding either.

The seat height is between 17" to 19". So, with straight legs resting flat on the floor, there is no pressure, tension, or stress on your knee joints. And the flat seat divides the weight equally between the upper and lower body, so there is no excess pressure on the torso. Unless you lean frequently and unnecessarily, you are not likely to develop a hunch sitting on these chairs.

Finally, the backrest, angled at about 450 with the seat, provides optimum support to your spine. Effectively, what you are choosing is a modest but very efficient chair with a 9/10 ranking. And where can you use them? Just about anywhere!

Padded

The only difference between the basic and padded chairs is the seat cushion. Earlier, foam and organic materials such as cotton and coir were used for padding, but now memory foam is the most widely used material. It is durable, retains its cushioning property without deforming, it is weather and climate-resistant, skin-friendly, and neither too cushy nor too hard. 

Shop this chair if you want to add sitting comfort to the basic type. Again, its utility is wide-ranging. Padded chairs usually have a footrest at a convenient height.

Fabric Padded Folding Chair
Wood and Vinyl Padded Folding Chair
Simple Fabric Padded Folding Chair
Curved Padded Folding Chair
Simple Vinyl Padded Folding Chair
Mission Style Padded Folding Chair

Upholstered

This is a value-addition to the folding chair that offers cosmetic appeal and enhanced comfort. The common materials are:

  • Vinyl– inexpensive but easy to maintain;
  • Leather – compensates for its price with classy elegance;
  • Artificial leather (faux leather) for a cost-effective yet rich look;
  • Synthetic fiber such as polyester for durability and user-friendliness;
  • Natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, canvas, and denim. They will look good and be good to your sensitive skin around the torso.
Retro Design Upholstered Folding Chair
French Inspired Upholstered Folding Chair
Simple Upholstered Folding Chair
Mission Style Upholstered Folding Chair
Fabric Upholstered Folding Chair
Metal and Fabric Upholstered Chair

High-back

Most high-back chairs support the entire spine. As such, they are full-back chairs. They also have armrests. From improvised basic type to high-end chairs, they come in a wide range. Their materials are also more varied, and so are their uses:

  • leather and wooden high-backs for interiors and porches
  • PVC, polypropylene, or paneled wooden chairs for living and dining areas
  • waterproof synthetic materials for toddlers.

Benefits include ideal sitting posture that avoids hunching, total support to the spine, and easy, relaxed shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. You can use high-back chairs at work, while dining, relaxing, entertaining guests, and even for outdoor use such as lounging.

Vinyl Padded Folding High Back Chair
Mission Style Vinyl Padded High Back Folding Chair
Black Wood Padded Folding High Back Chair
Outdoor Wooden Folding High Back Chair
Simple Plastic Foldable High Back Chair
Upholstered Retro High Back Folding Chair

Armchairs

Ah! The quaint and quiet "my time" moments of relaxation, reflection, and unwinding -- those are the times folding armchairs are made for. You slip into one by the pool, at the beach, garden or lounge, music room, or your breakout zone at work. Then chill. Your folding armchair is designed to offer you temporary nirvana

Sounds endearing? Then go for one. The material could be plastic, metal frame or sheet-metal with canvas, leather, or one of the endless fabric options. Reclining or not, it's your choice. If you prefer a reclining design, make sure that your feet are not dangling; that's not advisable for blood circulation.

Foldable Armchair with Sofa Function
Padded Folding Chair
Stylish Fabric Folding Armchair
Fabric Padded Folding Armchair
Simple Folding Armchair with Wheels
Suede Comfortable Folding Armchair

Portable

These are essentially light-weight chairs meant to carry with you wherever you go. Their design is basic but functional, and the body is not only foldable but also collapsible, so that the chairs stack up in a neat pile without occupying much space. They are very useful for outdoor use such as camping and safaris. Also ideal for a garden party, barbeque, or socializing in your lounge

Being light-weight, these chairs are usually made of metal armatures or slim wooden panels. Seat and backrest are flat, of wooden or coated sheet-metal plate.

Padded Stackable Folding Chair
Simple Black Plastic Folding Chair
Metal and Plastic Folding Chair
Resin Foldable Chair
Metal and Resin Folding Chair
Molded Plastic Folding Chair

Reclining

These folding chairs are high-end extensions of the category. Since you recline and don't sit upright on them, the features to look for are spinal and lumbar support, and comfortable positioning of head so that you can read easily. Ideal head level will be about 5" higher than your feet level, so you can read or rest conveniently. 

These chairs often have a stretchable and flexible hammock or lounger type of coverings. Materials vary from leather to natural or synthetic fabrics. These folding chairs can also be cushioned extendable recliners. Usage is again wide-ranging. Pool-side, drawing room, porch, garden, outdoors, entertainment room…

Simple Reclining Garden Folding Chair
Beach Type Reclining Folding Chair
Reclining Folding Chair With Head Rest
Simple Reclining Beach Type Folding Chair
Comfortable Reclining Chair with Cushions
Simple Garden Style Reclining Chair with Head Cushion

What types of chair folding mechanisms are there?

There are three types of folding mechanisms.

Pivot-based

This is the most common mechanism, in which the chair is pivoted at seat level. The main components of the chair -- two wooden planks or metal pipes are intersected to form an X. The right-to-left leg extends to form the backrest, while the left-to-right leg terminates at the lower level to form the seat support.

The pivot is fitted at the intersection of the X that passes through both the legs and the seat. When the chair is folded, the seat slides upward to flush with the legs while the legs themselves come together to and stand side-by-side. Thus, when folded, the chair collapses into a "single unit" that can be easily carried anywhere

Pivots are universal mechanisms used to facilitate rotation, folding, or tilting of objects. Their engineering is simple but effective and reliable. So, when you choose a pivoted folding chair, you are assured of a time-proven, long-lasting, and fail-proof folding system that will also sit you comfortably.

Metal plate and pin

In this folding system, the mechanism remains the same but instead of a single pivot, a metal strip with a center hole is used. A strong pin with a head and split-ends is inserted through this hole to pass through the legs and the seat to give the chair its folding mechanism. Being more delicate than pivots, they are meant for lighter use. Ideal examples are kitchen chairs and children's chairs.

Folding chairs with adjustable height

In this mechanism, usually, three slots are provided in the legs and the seat profile instead of one as in the above two designs. The pivot or pin is not fixed but detached. You can insert it in the first, second, or third slot to give the chair height variation. Each height level is meant for persons of a particular height, weight, and leg-length. Choose this chair for custom-fit and custom-comfort.

Which are the key features to consider while choosing folding chairs?

Based on the above deliberations, the key features to consider are:

  • Comfort. Sit on the chair for at least ten minutes before short-listing your choices. If the chair passes this test, you can safely bet on its comfort factor. If the seat is not wooden or metal-sheet but canvas or leather, make sure that it won't sag after a while.
  • Aesthetics. Honestly, this is your domain. The only factor to be conscious about is that your folding chair should blend with different surroundings, décor, and ambiances. Remember, you will be taking your chair places, so it better be a chameleon that blends with various settings.
  • Light-weight and portability. Folding chairs are popular because of these twin features. You can lift the chair and move around a bit to check which one seems right for you.
  • Easy Stacking. When folded or collapsed, these chairs should stack well.
  • Dependable and durable folding mechanism. You can check the technical drawings and chat with the sales executive about the sturdiness of this feature. Maybe, they will even organize a demonstration for you!

Folding chairs have been around since millennia. From kings and pharaohs to presidents and pedestrians, they are everybody's favorites for good reason. Now that you are ready to buy yours, choose wisely, and sit happily ever after.