The best patio dining set
A full patio upgrade can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but a chic patio dining set is an easy way to give your favorite outdoor space a cost-effective makeover.
If you're pressed for space on a small deck or porch, folding or bar-inspired sets are a good choice. For those with more room to fill, there are plenty of sets with eight to 14 coordinating pieces for a full outdoor setup.
If you're wondering which patio dining set is best for your home, read our buying guide. We're sharing features, materials, and designs, and a few of our top choices. Our favorite, Paleo Furniture Co.'s Martinka Wicker 11-Piece Patio Dining Set, is made to last with powder-coated aluminum and rattan.
Considerations when choosing patio dining sets
Popular styles of patio dining sets
Traditional: Traditional patio dining sets consist of regular seats and a table. They're suitable if you're looking for a classic set that complements your existing patio décor. Deluxe sets may come with umbrellas, cushions, or additional pieces like ottomans, though quality may be hit or miss.
Bistro: Bistro patio dining sets are the smallest sets available, as they consist of a single table and a pair of chairs. Simple folding sets are the most affordable, while ornate wrought iron sets can be rather expensive. Unfortunately, the tables of these sets only accommodate small plates or a few glasses.
Bar-height: Bar-height patio sets are appealing if you want to give your patio tiki bar vibes. The stools of these sets are tall so guests need not bend down to sit in them. Lower-quality bar-height sets are lightweight and prone to toppling over, where high-quality sets are heavy with a low center of gravity.
Bench: Bench-style patio dining sets are recommended if you need flexible seating options. They typically have picnic table-inspired benches that accommodate adults and kids. Despite their charming, family-style design, bench seats are a less popular option because they're considered less formal.
The main things to compare in seating include comfort level, seat back height, and seat coverings. Seats should allow you to sit in a natural position comfortably. Low seat backs have contemporary curb appeal, but they offer poor back support. Seat coverings that are woven or feature removable cushions are convenient since they make for easy cleaning.
Because the table is the focal point of the patio dining set, it's important to consider shape and size. Round or square tables are recommended for parties of four or fewer, while larger groups do better with oval or rectangular tables. Tables should be large enough for guests to eat comfortably next to one another with ample elbow and leg room.
Smaller patio dining sets made of metal or aluminum cost between $150 and $650. Mid-range sets with durable construction, quality cushions, and several pieces cost up to $1,800. High-end sets that are handcrafted or manufactured by designer brands can cost up to $3,500.
Q. Can I leave my patio dining set outdoors during inclement weather?
A. It's fine to leave them outdoors in light rainstorms, but if you're expecting windy weather or a hurricane, it's best to bring them indoors. Many homeowners bring sets indoors during the off-season to avoid damage from snow.
Q. What's the best material for a patio dining set?
A. Patio dining sets are available in a wide variety of materials, such as wood, wrought-iron, metal, aluminum, or wicker. There's no real best or worst among them, but there are some pros and cons with each. For example, metal, aluminum, and wrought-iron sets are incredibly weather-resistant, but they have a tendency to heat up in direct sunlight. Wood and wicker patio dining sets have great curb appeal, but they require more upkeep, like refinishing or pest-control treatments.
Patio dining sets we recommend
Best of the best: Paleo Furniture Co.'s Martinka Wicker 11-Piece Patio Dining Set
Our take: Top choice for an all-around accommodating and attractive set.
What we like: Choice of two colors. Chairs and ottomans have thick, supportive cushions. Overall roomy setup.
What we dislike: Pricey and has quite a large footprint.
Best bang for your buck: Mainstays' Albany Lane 6-Piece Folding Patio Dining Set
Our take: Attractive folding set that's both budget- and space-savvy.
What we like: Comes with a matching umbrella. For a folding set, it's incredibly sturdy. Charming red material.
What we dislike: Must buy a weighted base for the umbrella separately.
Our take: Bar-inspired set that earns high marks for its tuck-away seating.
What we like: Glass tabletop adds a touch of class. Stools have removable cushions for cleaning. Looks great in sunrooms.
What we dislike: Table seems a bit too narrow to hold many plates and bowls.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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