The 6 best beach chairs of the summer: a semi-scientific test

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For almost a decade, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect beach chair. Courted by sleek Instagram ads promising a better, life-changing seat, I buy a newer, more sophisticated model every year. It is then that at this time of summer, I realize its faults.

My efforts are not wasted on my regular beach team. As we meet every July at Wiborg Beach in East Hampton, NY, they watch with amusement the unveiling of my latest. Sometimes it is mistaken and often complicated to use. This year I blew up the bank and went big, hitting the sand with a $ 198 Sunflow. As I made my way through the five-step opening process, I assured my friends (as I have done with other chairs in the past) that it was actually ” the Cadillac of beach chairs ”. Every year, at the right time, my friend Martha smugly says that her unnamed little chair is old (14 years old this year), that it is “perfect” and that she cleans it at the end of the day. every season to keep it looking new. . It doesn’t do much: it opens. And it closes. These two factors should not be taken for granted. I once had to cram a new seat in the back of my car completely ajar after I couldn’t fold it down. (Another not only tipped over while I was sitting in it, but it was so hard to open that I felt some hundreds of comfortably seated bathers laughing at me as I tried to set it up.)

To save you the shame, struggle, and expense of buying the wrong beach chair yourself, I decided to do a little more scientific review of my fleet, along with some new additions. I built my list of tests from the suggestions I gathered from interviewing other beach goers on their own chairs. Most people, I have learned, have strong opinions. I’ve made sure to hit different price points and include a range of great features, from heavy-duty frames to customizable cushions. I also eliminated a few camping and lawn chairs that weren’t designed primarily for sand. Then I enlisted the help of friends and strangers to test out the comfort, style, and ease of use each offered. Here, my favorite six.

The purchase of windfall

The little one, no frills Rio Wave opens to one position and doesn’t boast as much as a cup holder. But what this seat lacks in features, it makes up for in value and consistency. At under $ 40, it’s less than half the price of the more expensive model we recommend, and it uses ripstop fabric and a steel frame to withstand sand and surf.

Ease of use: Beyond the price, the best thing about this chair is its weight: 5 pounds. You can carry two on one arm and your cooler on the other. However, it is so low and close to the sand that to get out of it requires agility.


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