The Best Beach Chairs, According to Our Tests

Our top pick was the Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair.

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The Best Beach Chairs, According to Our Tests

Amazon

If you’re taking a trip to the ocean this summer, beach chairs are key for kicking back and relaxing in the sand. Whether you prefer reclining with your feet up or laying on your stomach, we tested 26 popular beach chairs to find out which ones are worth investing in for your next waterfront excursion. 

We sent our East and West Coast testers to the beach with beach chairs to try out. We had them carry the chair from the car (or even the subway) to the beach and lounge in each chair for multiple hours. Our testers used the chairs for seaside picnic date nights and family beach days to test each chair for portability, ease of use, comfort, and durability. 

After a series of beachfront tests, the Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair earned the top spot as the best beach chair overall thanks to the portable and comfortable lounging experience it provided. We also determined category winners for those with more specific chair needs such as family and kid-friendly options, as well as lightweight and versatile ones, too. 

Here are our top picks for the best beach chairs:

Best Overall: Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair

4.8
Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4.5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: Carrying this beach chair was easy with the built-in backpack straps, and the multiple storage pockets were spacious enough to hold a phone, water bottle, and Kindle. 

 What to Consider: The chair can be a little finicky to fold and unfold at first. 

We love the Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chair for its comfortable and sturdy design and built-in accessories like a storage pouch, insulated cooler pouch, and detachable headrest. The tester transported the chair to the beach by walking from their apartment to the subway (through subway turnstiles!) and shared that the backpack straps made carrying the beach chair easy. Although you’ll feel the metal bars on your back, the chair is lightweight enough that it doesn’t cause discomfort. According to our tester, one of the best parts of this beach chair is the array of spacious storage pouches that turn the chair into an “actual backpack” that can hold small items you would want to bring to the beach with you. 

The chair feels durable and comfortable to sit in, and it reclines all the way flat so you can enjoy a beach nap when needed. While other Tommy Bahama beach chairs have wood armrests, we thought the plastic armrests in this model could hold up better than wood but might tarnish quicker. Unfolding and folding the chair was slightly difficult at first with plastic locks that pop in and out, but our tester said it gets easier the more you do it — a slight inconvenience we came across with a handful of beach chairs.   

 Open chair dimensions: 24 x 25 x 30 inches | Weight: 7.93 pounds | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Best Overall, Runner-up: RIO BEACH Big Boy 4-Position 13" High Seat Backpack Folding Chair

4.8
Folding Chair

RIO BEACH

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: The straps evenly distribute weight for comfortable carrying, and the fabric is easy to wipe down. 

What to Consider: It’s difficult to open up and unfold the chair up at first.

This Rio Beach chair is our runner-up thanks to the easy-to-use adjustable straps and the overall comfort it provides; our tester especially appreciated that the straps distributed the light weight of the chair when they carried it. While it doesn’t have an insulated cooler bag like our top pick, this chair does have one large pouch for storage and one cup holder that attaches to the side of the armrests. When our tester arrived at the beach, the chair was difficult to open up at first, but got easier after the first try. With four options for recline angles and an adjustable pillow, we thought this chair was comfortable — especially for a nap. The chair felt sturdy, and with the tilt-lock protection, the chair will remain securely locked in the upright or reclined position. Our tester added that the foam fabric of the chair was easy to wipe off, which is ideal if you accidentally spill food or drink on it. 

 Open chair dimensions: 44.7 x 25. 5 x 26.5 inches | Weight: 7.84 pounds | Weight capacity: 240 pounds

Best Versatile: Kijaro Coast Folding Beach Sling Chair with Cooler

4.7
 Kijaro Coast Folding Beach Sling Chair with Cooler

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: It’s a comfortable chair that can be used for camping, sports events, or a day at the beach. 

What to Consider: The chair feels slightly bulky and the unattached headrest could get lost easily.

If you’re looking for a chair that can be used for a range of activities, the Kijaro Coast Folding Beach Sling Chair is a solid option. It sits higher up than the common low-profile beach chair, and our tester said it’s “high enough off the ground that I'm sitting comfortably, and low enough that I can recline nicely.” While the chair might be too bulky for a child to easily carry it, the chair folds up and fits into a carrier bag that makes it easier to transport, and there were no issues with unfolding the chair for the first time. The chair includes several built-in accessories like two cup holders, a cooler on the armrest that can fit up to six 12-ounce cans, and a headrest pillow — all of which are ideal accessories for game days, lawn concerts, or trips to the beach. In testing, we thought the beach chair was well-built with our tester noting that it’s “one of those chairs you'll have for a couple decades.” 

 Open chair dimensions: 29 x 33 x 33.8 inches | Weight: 6.6 pounds | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Best Splurge: Ostrich Deluxe Padded Sport 3-in-1 Aluminum Beach Chair

4.7
Ostrich Deluxe Beach Chair

Ostrich Chairs

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4.5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The footrest combined with five adjustable recline angles make for a luxurious lounging experience.

What to Consider: The price point is steep.

For those wanting to invest in a lavish beach chair, consider the Ostrich Deluxe Padded Sport 3-in-1 Aluminum Beach Chair. This chair is bursting with luxurious accessories like a footrest with adjustable settings, five reclining positions, a cup holder, a back cushion, and a zippered side pocket for storage. Our tester sat in the chair for several hours and noted that the wider armrests and adjustable back cushion provided additional comfort. However, the length of the footrest isn’t adjustable, so for taller people, it’s likely to be more like a “calf rest,” according to our tester. If you like to lay on your stomach, this chair has a flap that reveals a head hole to rest that is comfortable to use.

With all of these upgraded accessories, the chair was surprisingly easy to carry with the padded cross-body strap. The chair itself was easy to set up and slightly difficult to break down, though it got easier after the first time.

 Open chair dimensions: 60.76 x 28.93 x 39.73 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds | Weight capacity: 275 pounds

Best for Small Kids: Baby Delight Go with Me Chair

4.7
Baby Delight Go With Me Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    3/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The snack tray made lunch time at the beach a breeze.

What to Consider: The tray and canopy were difficult to place on the chair. 

We love the Baby Delight Go with Me Chair thanks to its lightweight and easy-to-carry design — a huge perk if your hands are already full. Our tester used the chair for a family beach day and appreciated the chair’s carrying case and strap that made transporting the chair effortless. While the chair itself is easy to unfold, the canopy and snack tray were difficult to get on and off. The chair includes a removable five-point harness and a mesh storage pouch that can also act as a protective netting for your child’s feet if they’re standing. Our tester raved about the snack tray feature that kept their kid secured in the portable chair while eating lunch for 30 minutes. 

 Open chair dimensions: ​​22.75 x 23 x 24.5 inches  | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Weight capacity: 75 pounds

Best Reclining: Homevative Folding Backpack Beach Chair

4.9
Homevative Folding Backpack Chair

Walmart

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: The chair was comfortable to carry for the 15-minute walk to the beach, and it was easy to adjust the five reclining options. 

What to Consider: It’s on the more expensive side.

The Homevative Folding Backpack Beach Chair has five reclining positions, with our tester particularly enjoying the ability to lie flat. When the chair is upright, there is a metal bar that folds out for drying a wet towel after a dip in the water. The towel bar also acts as a support leg when the chair is reclined all the way flat for added comfort and support. The chair also comes with a cooler pouch, a rear storage pouch, headrest, and cup holder. Our tester carried the chair 15 minutes to get to the beach and noted that the adjustable straps evenly distribute the weight of the chair for a comfortable and hands-free journey to the beach. The tester had no issues unfolding and folding the beach chair, and adjusting the recline positions worked smoothly, too. 

 Open chair dimensions: 17 x 25 x 33 inches  | Weight: 8.33 pounds | Weight capacity: 240 pounds

Best for Families: Mac Sports Beach Day Foldable Chaise Lounge Chair with Integrated Wagon Pull Cart

4.7
Mac Sports Wagon Chair

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Durability
    3/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: The chair has wheels and an attachable mesh basket, so it can double as a wagon for carrying beach supplies. 

 What to Consider: It’s difficult at first to set up and break down the chair into a wagon. 

This Mac Sports option is a unique chaise beach chair that can turn into a wagon for easily transporting coolers, towels, and toys to the beach. In testing, we were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use the cart to wheel an umbrella, cooler, and four other beach chairs while walking to the beach. While the all-terrain wheels rolled perfectly on the street, the sand was a bit more difficult to navigate. And at first, it was tough to transition from the cart to the chair, but once our tester did it a few times, it went more smoothly. She enjoyed kicking her feet up with the chaise lounge footrest and found the seat to be comfortable as well. The chaise lounge has four reclining positions, a headrest, and a mesh basket for the cart. One thing to note is that although the chair has a weight capacity of 240 pounds, the wagon only has a weight capacity of 100 pounds. The chair is on the pricier end for a beach chair, but considering that you’re also getting a wagon, we think the value is worth the convenience and overall solid performance of the chair. 

Open chair dimensions: 60.6 x 30.3 x 23.6 inches | Weight: 20.9 pounds | Weight capacity: 240 pounds

Best Lightweight: Pacific Breeze Lounger

4.7
Pacific Breeze Lounger

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: This folding mat chair weighs just 6 pounds and provides comfortable cushioning and a supportive backrest for reclining.

 What to Consider: The chair rests on the ground, so there isn’t any elevation as with a traditional beach chair.

If you’re backpacking, camping, or simply looking for an ultra-portable beach chair, the Pacific Breeze Lounger 2-pack is the best choice for light weight and portability. At first, the straps that secure the folding chair while carrying it were slightly difficult to get off, but after a slight learning curve, it wasn’t an ongoing problem. Our tester loved the portability of this chair and thought the backpack straps were ideal for freeing up hands to carry other items to the beach. The chair also had a handle on the top to grab it for moving the chair or to carry it without the straps. This folding mat chair doesn’t have a traditional frame like other beach chairs, so it sits on the ground with a backrest frame for added support when you sit down. The backrest bar allows you to recline comfortably and our tester appreciated having the ability to recline and found the padding to be comfortable to sit in. The padding folds out to create a lounger on the ground so you can extend your legs if desired. This is a set of two and our tester concluded that the value of these sturdy, lightweight, and comfortable chairs is worth the higher price. 

 Open chair dimensions: 74.8 x 21 x 27.5 inches | Weight: 6 pounds | Weight capacity: N/A

Best Inflatable: Wekapo Air Lounger Sofa

4.4
Wekapo Air Lounger Sofa

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Durability
    3.5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: It’s easy to transport since the inflatable chair folds into a compact carrier, and it provides protection from getting sandy while lounging. 

What to Consider: It can slowly leak air so it might need to be filled up more than once.

The Wekapo Inflatable Lounger Air Sofa is a compact inflatable sofa that is ideal for tossing in a beach bag or keeping in your car. Inflating the sofa doesn’t require a pump; all you have to do is glide the open sleeve through the air and then close the sleeve to capture the air. Our tester said the inflating process was easy, but noted that if there isn’t a lot of wind at the beach, it could be difficult to capture enough air to inflate the sofa. The inflatable has a side pocket to hold sunglasses or water, but our tester warned not to put your phone in the pocket, as sand got in easily. Although the sofa was a little difficult to get out of, we thought it was comfortable for lounging, and it protected our tester from getting sandy. The sofa did leak some air over the course of the beach day, so it’s possible that you would need to refill the sofa to keep the lounger firm. However, if you’re looking for a way to lounge in the sand that doesn’t require lugging a beach chair to the shore, the Wekapo Inflatable Lounger Air Sofa is a comfortable alternative. 

 Inflated dimensions: 82 x 27 x 35 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Weight capacity: 650 pounds

Best Low-profile: KingCamp Low-Sling Beach Chair

4.6
KingCamp Low Sling Chair

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: The chair folds up into a compact bag, and it’s comfortable to sit in and extend your legs out.

What to Consider: The chair does not have the ability to recline. 

A low-profile beach chair is ideal for extending your legs in the sand or sitting in shallow water. The Kingcamp Low-sling Beach Chair sits 8.6 inches off the ground and only weighs 6.5 pounds. Our tester loved how the chair folds up and fits into a compact bag with a sling that was easy to throw over their shoulder for carrying to and from the beach. Though the chair is lightweight, we thought it felt sturdy and had no issues folding up or breaking down before placing it legs-first into the carrying bag. The chair has a mesh back insert that allowed our tester to feel a breeze, which kept their back from getting sweaty. The chair sits low enough that our tester could extend their legs comfortably, and they noted that the curved side bars were padded, creating comfortable armrests. They did feel like they sunk a bit in the chair throughout the day and would have preferred to have the ability to recline. Although the chair lacks a few features, it’s a comfortable and compact beach chair that is extremely portable for a traditional beach chair.

Open chair dimensions: ‎22.8 x 23.2 x 25.2 inches | Weight: 6.5 pounds | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Our Testing Process

We tested 26 beach chairs at the actual beach to rate portability, ease of use, comfort, and durability. The chairs were used for lounging oceanside, beach picnics, and family day trips to the water.

Whether our testers were traveling to the beach by car or public transportation, they noted how easy or difficult it was to pack and carry the chair to the beach. Our testers paid close attention to how comfortable it was to carry the chair, as well as how heavy or lightweight the chair felt. We tested the chair’s ease of use by unfolding it, noting if the chair was intuitive to open up or if we had to pry it open. If a chair had the ability to recline, we had our testers lean back to test how smoothly it reclined to a preferred angle. We sat in each chair for at least an hour to test comfortability, with many of our testers sitting in the chairs for multiple hours. To test for durability, we bounced around in the chairs to check for sturdiness and examined the structure of the chair to determine if it could withstand natural wear and tear from use. 

Once it was time to leave the beach, our testers folded the chairs back up to see how easy or difficult it was to take down the chair and pack it in a carrier if it came with one. We took into consideration the overall experience of using the chair and the quality of accessories like built-in coolers, headrests, cupholders, and footrests. 

Other Beach Chairs We Tested

Coleman Utopia Breeze Beach Chair: While Coleman is a staple brand for outdoor gear, this beach chair’s height wasn’t low or high enough from the ground, making it an awkward and uncomfortable chair to sit in. 

Sunflow Chair: Though this chair was featured on the entrepreneur reality show Shark Tank, our tester had to watch the video tutorial on how to open and close the chair three times and they still struggled to open it. Combined with the high price point, the weak performance doesn’t constitute the $198 price tag. 

GCI Outdoor Waterside SunShade Backpack Beach Chair: The chair comes with a sunshade that isn’t detachable, making it clunky, hard to carry, and difficult to put together. 

Sport Brella Recliner Beach chair: This chair sits too low, with our tester saying that they “can’t imagine” this chair being comfortable anywhere besides the beach because you have to keep your legs extended in the sand, otherwise your knees would be in your face.

Tips for Buying a Beach Chair

 Factor in how you get to the beach 

Whether you’re driving to the beach, walking, or taking a bus, it’s important to factor in the distance you need to travel with a beach chair. If you’re traveling by car, a chair that comes in a compact bag might be more important than the weight of the chair, as opposed to someone traveling by foot who should consider a lightweight chair with a backpack or a carrying strap. 

 Consider the seat height of the chair 

The average seat height of a beach chair is 8 to 12 inches off the ground, and there are several standard heights like low, average, and high. A low seated chair is usually less than 8 inches high and can be ideal for stretching your legs out or sitting in the water, but a chair with average height might be better suited for someone looking to bring the chair to more than just the beach. 

 Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean beach chairs?


If you accidentally spill food or drink on your beach chair, it should be wiped down as soon as you can to avoid staining. Since many beach chair seats are made of canvas or polyester fabrics, you can wipe or hose down the seat and let it dry to clean it. One of our testers noted that a seat made out of foam was particularly easy to wipe off after getting dirty. 

How do you keep chairs from rusting?

Aluminum is a common material in beach chairs, meaning rusting can be a common occurrence. To prolong the life of your beach chairs, keeping them in a dry, covered area can prevent tarnishing. After using your beach chairs, leave them out to dry when you get home before putting them away in storage. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure


Anna Popp is a Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure, where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018 and product testing since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors to determine the results for the best beach chairs based on a series of tests completed by our testers during trips to the beach.

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