The best beach chairs you can buy

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the best beach chairs

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  • A beach chair is of the utmost importance in ensuring that you have a comfortable day at the beach or any outdoor event.
  • The RIO Brands 5-Position Lay Flat Beach Chair is the best beach chair for most people because it's affordable, comfortable, easy to transport, and can recline in five different positions.

When I was a kid, I thought beach chairs were for old people. When it was time to stake out my sand territory, I happily spread out my colorful, oversized beach towel and never thought twice about sitting up. As an adult, I would never spend a day on the beach without a chair. It's absolutely necessary for comfort and for keeping my drink of choice upright and sand-free.

Of course, beach chairs have changed a lot since my childhood. Not only are there more lightweight options, but today's chairs are packed with fun accessories like drink holders, insulated cooler pouches, pockets, attached umbrellas, and much more. In addition, many of them can be transported on your back or over your shoulder.

We've researched to find the best beach chairs you can buy. Our top picks range from simple chairs to special ones with built-in umbrellas or coolers.

Here are the best beach chairs you can buy:

Updated on 5/23/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.

Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.

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The best beach chair overall

The best beach chair overall
Affordable and easy to carry, the simple yet sturdy RIO Brands 5-Position Lay Flat Beach Chair will keep you comfortable all day long.

Founded in 1947, RIO Brands focuses on creating beautiful beach and backyard furniture. Made of durable 300-denier polyester and a lightweight, rust-proof aluminum frame, the RIO Brands 5-Position Lay Flat Beach Chair is built to last. It's also built for comfort. Five positions, including a flat position ideal for tanning (or napping!), means you can adjust throughout the day for the perfect lounging mode. The armrests have a no-pinch feature.

The Rio 5-Position is also easy to transport. It's lightweight at 6 pounds, foldable, and comes with an adjustable padded shoulder strap for easy carrying.

There are more than 300 reviews on Amazon, most of which are very positive with an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars. One customer says, "Love this chair! Lightweight, easy to carry, and so comfortable! Even my pup loves it!"

Some buyers complain that it is difficult to get out of the chair, and many others add that they wish it came with a drink holder. If you want a drink holder, you should check out our other picks. The chair comes in more than 15 different colors and patterns, including single-color favorites like Pacific Blue and Turquoise, as well as stripes and tropical themes.

Across the web, professional reviewers, including those at The Strategist and Faveable, consider Rio's chairs among the best for beachgoers.

Pros: Lightweight, affordable, sits close to the ground, durable fabric and frame, carrying strap, attractive designs

Cons: Some people say it is hard to get out of the chair

Buy the RIO Brands 5 position lay flat Beach chair on Amazon starting at $36.74 (pricing varies by style)

The best beach chair with a cooler

The best beach chair with a cooler
The attractive and comfortable Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair is lightweight, easy to adjust, and holds everything from your phone to a six-pack of Coke.

Carry this lightweight chair on your back with comfortable padded straps? Check. Cooler? Yes. Cup holder? Of course. This five-position Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair has all the features you could possibly want in a beach chair.

It allows you to lay flat and comes with a built-in adjustable pillow for extra comfort throughout the day. Two large storage compartments keep you organized. One is insulated to keep your food and drinks cool, too. The contour molded armrest has a hanging cup holder, as well as a phone compartment. A folding towel bar on the back of the chair allows you to easily dry your towels and wet clothes.

The chair is lightweight and its rust-proof aluminum frame is enhanced with durable 600-denier polyester and can hold up to 300 pounds. The chair's back is made of canvas.

There are more than 700 buyer reviews on Amazon with an impressive average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Buyers love the comfort, convenience, and attractive aesthetics of the Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair.

One verified buyer summed it up nicely: "This chair is perfect! It is super light to carry, yet extremely sturdy. It is comfortable and has lots of nice features. The non-insulated pocket on the back is quite useful for carrying sunscreen, cell phone and keys as it zippers closed so you don't have to worry about dropping your valuables as you walk. …. The insulated pocket is perfect to keep a few cold drinks or snacks in. It kept my drinks pretty cold even without the addition of ice. The reclining feature is easily adjusted, unlike others I've had in the past. Everyone in my family wanted this chair comfort and convenience."

Across the web, professional reviewers, including those at Wirecutter, My Wild Earth, and Beach Giraffe tout the many benefits of buying the Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair, as well as similar Tommy Bahama chairs.

Pros: Lightweight, 5-positions, zippered storage compartments, insulated cooler that can hold up to 7 12-oz cans, adjustable pillow, easy to carry

Cons: Some users claim that the fabric rips apart easily

Buy the Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Chair on Amazon for $49.99 and up (price varies by color and pattern)

The best reclining beach chair with an umbrella

The best reclining beach chair with an umbrella
The Sport-Brella Recliner Chair comes with a swiveling umbrella, as well as insulated cooler and drink pouches.

Sit up, lay back, or nap. You can get comfortable in three different positions with the Sport-Brella Recliner Chair. The chair's umbrella has a 50+ UPF rating to protect you from the sun and a metallic underside to deflect heat. The umbrella is versatile, too. Not only can you attach it to either side of your chair, but it swivels into three different positions to ensure you are always in the shade.

The chair has a built-in insulated pocket that holds up to four drinks, a cup holder, and a zippered storage pocket that has a built in a bottle opener. The lightweight stainless steel frame can support up to 250 pounds.

There are more than 1,400 buyer reviews on Amazon. Reviews are mostly positive with an average of 3.4 out of 5 stars. Some Amazon buyers wrote that they wished the umbrella was bigger and that it stood up to wind better, though.

Pros: Detachable footrest, ample storage, insulated storage, cup holder, detachable and adjustable umbrella, lightweight

Cons: Some users say the umbrella is flimsy

Buy the Sport-Brella Recliner Chair on Amazon for $50.99-$59.99

The best beach mat chair

The best beach mat chair
It's easy to chill out on the chic and comfortable Picnic Time Beachcomber Portable Mat.

The Picnic Time Beachcomber Portable Mat makes fun in the sun simple. The lightweight mat is constructed of durable polyester and features a sturdy steel frame with a fully padded body, while an adjustable reclining backrest allows you to stretch out.

An oversized zippered pocket holds everything from a magazine to your keys and cell phone. When it's time to go home, simply fold it up (it reduces down to a 21.3 x 2.8-inch package), adjust the shoulder strap, and carry it off. The Picnic Time Beachcomber Portable Map is covered by a lifetime guarantee in case you run into problems.

The mat has an average 4.1 out of 5 stars from Amazon customers have highly positive with the average number of stars coming in at an impressive 4.5 out of 5. Amazon buyers praise the mat's comfort and ease of use.

"We were able to fit two of these in a large suitcase with no problem at all. They were easy to carry to the beach on our bicycles and much more comfortable than sitting on the beach without back support," wrote one verified buyer. Some Amazon customers complain that the chair is smaller than it looks in photos and that it blows around easily in the wind.

Pros: Lightweight, easy to transport and set up, padded and durable polyester

Cons: Blows around in the wind

Buy the Picnic Time Beachcomber Portable Beach Mat on Amazon for $36.99 and up (price varies by color)

The best quad beach chair

The best quad beach chair
The extra-roomy Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler is so comfortable and sturdy, it will become your new best beach friend.

The versatile Coleman Oversized Quad Chair will help you relax whether you're deep in the woods, on the sidelines of a sporting event, or watching the waves at the beach. Made of durable polyester mounted on a heavy-duty steel frame that supports up to 300 pounds, this chair also has adjustable rest heights. But it's the beverage holding capabilities that make this chair worthy of a toast. A built-in armrest cooler holds up to four cans, while a mesh cup holder stores one more.

A large storage pocket and another small mesh pocket — perfect for keys and cell phones — are also included. When you're ready to go home, fold up the chair and put it in the carry bag for easy transport and storage. The chair comes with a limited one-year warranty.

There are over 5,000 user reviews on Amazon, most of which are highly positive, with an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Buyers regularly praise the wider width of the seat, as well as the overall sturdiness of the Coleman Oversized Quad Chair.

One customer wrote, "I was looking for a chair that would be easy to carry, strong enough to hold me and with at least one little accessory. My husband and I are both big people, and I needed a chair that would hold us, sitting upright, and not low to the ground so we can sit comfortably and watch our grandkids' ball games (we are pushing 60 and overweight). This chair is very comfortable … These chairs are great; I'm so glad I ordered two."

Several Amazon buyers claim that it is very difficult to get the chair back into the carry bag, while some say it breaks quickly. Still, dissenters make up only 7% of the customer reviews.

Pros: Extra-wide seat, very sturdy, holds four cans in insulated cooler, drink cup, folds up

Cons: Some users claim that the chair breaks quickly

Buy the Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler on Amazon for $26.21 and up (price varies by color)

The best backpack beach chair

The best backpack beach chair
The Oniva Fusion backpack chair by Picnic Time has a table, cooler, and pockets built in so you have everything you need for a day on the beach.

One major problem we all encounter with beach chairs is that we have to carry them. A four-way folding chair eliminates some of the problems with a shoulder strap, but the Oniva Fusion backpack chair has backpack straps that fully free your hands to carry the mountain of other gear you've foolishly, unnecessarily lugged out to the beach — if you're anything like me, that is.

If not, then you can easily manage to fit just about everything you need for a day at the beach into this all-in-one chair because it comes equipped with a side table, cooler, and pockets galore.

What's also great about the Oiva Fusion by Picnic Time is that you can toss in another $30 or so and get a 5.5-foot attaching umbrella, and if you want to ditch the cooler for a day, it's easily removed and reattached.

A couple of Amazon reviewers remarked on the seat's fabric tearing, but even that didn't ruin the chair for one of them. — Owen Burke

Pros: Storage galore, detachable cooler, table, easy to carry

Cons: Doesn't recline, fabric may be on the thin side

Buy Picnic Time's Oniva Fusion backpack chair on Amazon for $85.99 and up Buy Picnic Time's Outdoor Canopy Sunshade Umbrella on Amazon for $29.95 and up

What to look for in a beach chair

What to look for in a beach chair

The frame of the chair may be steel, aluminum, or wood. Meanwhile, the chair's seat may be made from marine-grade canvas, polyester, nylon, or cotton. For durability, you should aim for a denier strength (a measurement of fabric thickness and weight) between 420D-600D. Beach chairs typically support weights ranging from 225 to 400 pounds.

If you plan on transporting the chair, you will want to select one that can be carried easily. Some beach chairs fold in half vertically or horizontally, while others fold into three sections. Look for chairs with an attachable sling shoulder carry strap, a separate carry bag with strap, or backpack style carry straps.

Check out our full beach gear guide

Check out our full beach gear guide
The best beach gear you can buy

Summer is a great time to get outside and hit the beach. We've rounded up the best beach gear of all kinds so you don't have to waste precious time indoors looking for good beach gear.

Whether you need a beach umbrella, towel, chair, cooler, grill, toy set, or sunscreen, we have a pick for you.

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