We spent 35 hours researching and testing more than 20 different types of rocking chairs and found that style, durability, and materials used were the most important factors for consumers looking for rocking chairs. Windsor Rocking Chair Medium Brown scored high marks in all categories and is our overall top pick. This classic rocking chair has a medium brown finish that goes with many different color schemes and offers a contoured design, arrow back seat, and sculpted legs for a classic look that will enhance any area you put it. The turned leg and arm supports add even more style to this comfortable rocking chair.
Rocking Chair Buying Guide
Did you know that there are many health benefits that have been linked to sitting and relaxing in a rocking chair? There have been studies that show rocking in a rocking chair can reduce depression, anxiety, and even those suffering from severe types of dementia. The rocking motion of the chair helps the body release endorphins that elevate mood and soothe infants. In some cases a well-made, comfortable rocking chair can help ease back pain as well.
There are several different types of rocking chairs to choose from. Below we have listed the different categories that rocking chairs fit into along with information about each one so you can learn to tell the difference between them.
Classic Rocking Chairs – The classic rocking chair looks great on any porch especially those from earlier centuries. There are several styles of rocking chair that fit into this category including wicker, slat-back and spindle-back rocking chairs. Wicker is one of the oldest styles but in recent years it is made from synthetic materials since original wicker is not very durable or long lasting. Synthetic wicker chairs are waterproof, don’t tear or splinter like natural wicker does and lasts a lot longer. A lot of new and experienced moms like classic rocking chairs as nursing chairs due to their comfort and style.
Rustic Rocking Chairs – Rustic rocking chairs are usually made from hard woods. They usually have a larger, chunky, log cabin look and have lower seats. Larger, over-sized wicker rockers are on this category. Because they are larger and sturdier men often prefer rustic style rocking chairs. They look great on the porches of log cabins or other more rustic homes.
Adirondack rocking chairs – This classic, outdoor chair is a favorite with many people because it features the Adirondack style that is so popular with the rocking capability making it one of the best all-around choices you can get. The Adirondack rocking chair is made for comfort and relaxation and invites people to drift off while they are sitting in them.
POLYWOOD Rocking chairs – Polywood is a popular, long lasting, synthetic material that is eco-friendly. From a distance this rocking chair looks like it is made of wood with some darker colors looking so authentic they can be used indoors. When you are sitting in it or right up close you can tell that it is plastic but that doesn’t lessen the popularity with most people. It is the perfect outdoor rocking chair and is weather proof and well as being durable and will not fade at all. There are many bright colors available which provides you with the ability to have a lot of fun with color when choosing your chair. It is also insect-proof, waterproof, and great for people who are looking for a chair that is virtually maintenance-free.
Things to Think about When Choosing a Rocking Chair
There are many things to think about before you purchase a rocking chair. We have provided you with some important points and tips that will help you decide which style is the right one for your specific needs.
- If you are going to have the rocking chair inside, the classic rocking chair materials including wicker, oak, and other hard woods is the best choice. They are elegant in design and look great in the den or sitting room.
- If you are looking for a rocking chair that is perfect for relaxing, look for contoured seats wider seats.
- Most people love the idea of a rocking chair front porch. Many people that have these large porches purchase several rocking chairs which encourage socializing and chatting.
- If you have pets or little ones, be mindful that they can get pinched underneath the rockers.
The Right Rocking Chair Materials
There are many different materials that rocking chairs are made of. Some of the more popular ones include softwoods like the always popular pine, or hard woods like teak and oak. Other materials include HDPE lumber, injection molded plastic, plastic resin, wicker, and even fabric. There are several things to take into consideration when you are choosing what you want your rocking chair to be made of.
- Maintenance – How easy is it to keep the rocking chair looking good as new?
- Appearance – How will your rocking chair look after a couple of years?
- Durability – How well will the rocking chair hold up outside?
- Comfort – How comfortable is it to sit in the rocking chair?
- Price – How much value does the rocking chair provide?
- Weight – How hard is it to move the chair from one place to another?
- Strength – Is it resistant to weather? UV sun rays? Insects? If you are keeping it outside you want it to be strong.
Types of Wood and Things to Consider
Rocking chairs that are made of wood are either made from softwoods or hard woods. Below, we have listed some things to consider about each of these types of wood.
Pine is a popular choice for rocking chairs that is economical as well. Softwoods are typically inexpensive and are in abundant supply. They are not well suited to be outdoor chairs since they are not weather resistant.
Things to Consider about Softwoods
- Softwood rocking chairs are not very durable or resilient. It can be easily dented and scratched, making the chair look worn out and banged up.
- Softwood needs to stained and protected to be a good outdoor chair. The weather can still impact the look for the chair and it will need to be re-stained on a regular basis to keep it looking good.
- Softwood rocking chairs are some of the most inexpensive choices you can make.
If you want a beautiful rocking chair that is more durable than softwood styles are you can choose a hardwood rocking chair. These are typically made of oak, walnut, hickory, and maple. They are much more expensive than pine and usually weigh a lot as well. They need to be regularly maintained to keep their good looks.
Things to Consider about Hardwoods
- Hardwood rocking chairs are durable and very difficult to damage, dent, or scratch them.
- Hardwood rockers need to be varnished or stained to stay protected and this staining will need to be redone on a regular basis to maintain its looks.
- Hardwood rocking chairs are more able to withstand strong gusts of wind and the elements.
Teak is an excellent choice if you are looking for an outdoor rocking chair. It is much better for outdoor use than pine, bamboo, oak, and wicker.
Things to Consider about Teak Wood
- Teak wood is resilient and durable and even produces its own oil to keep it conditioned. It is resistant to being dented or scratched.
- Teak wood rocking chairs are resistant to rust, wind, and water and can be outside with no ill effects all year long.
- Teak wood rockers are only available in its own color: teak.
- If teak wood is not maintained regularly by being rubbed down and treated it can develop a silver patina.
- It is one of the higher priced rocking chair options.
Wicker was a very popular material for rocking chairs in the 18th century. It is still used in many homes, especially seaside homes and can be a great choice for you if you are looking for an indoor rocking chair. Wicker does not withstand the elements very well.
Things to Consider about Wicker
- Wicker is not a super resilient material and can be damaged easily.
- If it is used outside it can lose its beauty and appearance quickly since I is not resistant to weather.
- It is not wind resistant and can be picked up and tossed around by strong wind gusts.
- It is hard to keep clean if used outside since dirt can get into the gaps and cause it to look dirty.
- Wicker is not an easy material to maintain and should be kept in an area that doesn’t get a lot of use.
This synthetic resin rocking chair is a popular choice if you are looking for rocking chairs that can be kept outside. It is durable, high-quality, comfortable, and very resilient to a number of things that can damage the look of your rocking chairs.
Things to Consider about HDPE Lumber
- HDPE lumber rocking chairs are very easy to maintain and can be cleaned with mild soap and water.
- The medium-weight HDPE lumber is wind resistant and sturdy and can be kept outside all day long.
- HDPE rocking chairs are durable and resistant to water and rust
- This material is stylish, comfortable, luxurious and features high-quality construction
- HDPE lumber is recyclable and often is made from milk jugs that have been recycled.
- HDPE lumber rocking chairs are designed to last a lifetime. Their higher cost reflects that lifelong durability.
Injection Molded Plastic
If you want an inexpensive choice for outdoor furniture you can opt to go with injection molded plastic. Keep in mind that this is not very comfortable material and is best used as temporary seating or for in a pinch situations if unexpected guests arrive.
Things to Consider about Injection Molded Plastic
- Injection molded plastic rocking chairs are very easy to keep clean. It can stay outside all year round and can be washed with a cloth and soapy water.
- If there are strong wind gusts going on, it is very likely that your rocking chair can be tipped over or even blown a good distance.
- Injection molded plastic rocking chairs are resistant to rust and water and is very durable as well.
- You can choose from a wide range of colors when choosing injection molded plastic rocking chairs.
- This type of material can stain easily and looks weathered very easily as well.
- It is the cheapest option for outdoor furniture on the market but since it is mass produced there is no craftsmanship that is used in the creation of this furniture.
When it comes down to it, choosing the right rocking chair is all about personal taste and preferences. If you want to find a style that matches your existing décor or that helps you change to an entirely different style, you have a lot of options to choose from. There are so many different styles and materials to choose from that selection the one that appeals to you the most can be the hardest part.
The three top-rated rocking chairs we have featured above all fall into the classic rocking chair style but there are many others to choose from if you do not want wood. All three of the selections we have featured above are quality-made rocking chairs that will enhance the look of any room or any porch it is used on. All three are super comfortable and invite rest and relaxation.
The information in the buying guide will help you decide which material you want your rocking chair to be made of as well as the style you would like it to be. Take into consideration the people who will be sitting in the chair and choose accordingly. If you have a tall husband or father, do not choose a lightweight, flimsy rocking chair that he feels will break underneath him.
Rocking chairs will always be a favorite style with people looking to create the feeling and nostalgia of days gone by when time in the evenings consisted of sitting on the porch with a drink and chatting about the day. The information in this guide will help you find the rocking chair of your dreams without stress or confusion.