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beach chairs at the beach

The Tommy Bahama Classic Lay Flat Backpack Chair has a nice storage compartment on the back of the chair. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia


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There’s nothing better than sinking into a comfy beach chair. Perched on your beachfront throne, you can enjoy well-deserved R&R, take the time to sip on a cold one, eat lunch, watch the waves roll in, or read. While there are countless beach chairs on the market, there’s a wide range in price and quality among the options out there.

After testing a bunch of different chairs over the years, and factoring in our lifelong experience as surfers and beach goers, we’ve rounded up some of the best. For more detailed info, check out our Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide.

The Best Beach Chairs of 2024

Best Overall Beach Chair: GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair
Best Lightweight Beach Chair: Helinox Beach Chair
Best Budget Beach Chair: Coleman Broadband Mesh
Most Durable Beach Chair: YETI Trailhead Camp Chair
Best Beach Chair for Couples:
Kelty Low Loveseat
Best Low-Profile Beach Chair: Cascade Low Profile Camp Chair


Best Overall Beach Chair

GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair ($70)GCI Big Surf Beach Chair

Pros: Built-in sun shade, padded headrest
Cons: Not the most stylish option

The GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair is tailor-made for beach chill sessions. Featuring a built-in adjustable sun shade, the UPF 50+ fabric allows you to easily take a much needed break from the sun. Designed with comfort in mind, the chair includes a padded headrest and a four-position mesh backrest that allows you to configure the chair to your preferred sitting position.

On hotter days, the mesh back is a huge boon for a bit of extra airflow. When you’re ready to pack it up for the day, the Big Surf Chair folds flat and includes backpack style straps for the walk back to the car. Although it looks a little dorky, we’re big fans of this chair for its functionality.

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Best Lightweight Beach Chair

Helinox Beach Chair ($170)Helinox Beach Chair

Pros: Super portable, pocket for stashing items
Cons: Not the most comfortable option

If you’re someone who values portability above all else, you’ll love Helinox’s Beach Chair. With all the comforts of a beach-ready lounger, but the packability of your classic lightweight camp chair, the Beach Chair ticks all the boxes. With a low profile and legs that are splayed so as not to sink into the sand, this unit is beach-ready, and it even has a couple pockets for smaller items.

If you’ve tried the Chair 2 or Sunset chair from Helinox, the beach chair is very similar, except for the splayed legs, which have the chair sitting a bit lower to the ground. Weighing in at just 3.25 lbs, It’s easy to carry and bring on hikes either up or down long trails to get a bit off the beaten path.

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Best Budget Beach Chair

Coleman Broadband Mesh ($30)

Coleman Chair

Pros: Tried and true design, cup holder
Cons: Not the most durable option on this list

Ahh, the classic camp chair. Hard to mess with something that’s been around for so long and is still this wildly popular. The classic folding camp chair is certainly not proprietary to Coleman, and their’s isn’t even the cheapest option out there, but when it comes to the right combination of price, features, and quality, Coleman has hit the nail on the head.

The Coleman Broadband Mesh Chair comes with a single cupholder, a mesh back to make the most of that sea breeze, and a carry bag for easy storage and transport. For $30 bucks, you certainly can’t ask for more than that. You can likely find a similar design online for half the price, but you’ll certainly be compromising on quality and durability if you do. While this chair certainly isn’t the most durably-made option on this list, if you treat it well (e.g. don’t leave it in the elements for weeks on end) it should last you a few years at least. And should something happen in the first year, Coleman offers a one-year warranty on this chair for peace of mind.

For a souped-up version for a few extra dollars, check out the Coleman Cooler Quad which features an integrated four-can cooler, additional storage, and a padded back.

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Most Durable Beach Chair

YETI Trailhead Camp Chair ($300)YETI Trailhead Chair

Pros: Supportive, durable, comfortable
Cons: Heavy, pricey

In our experience, all of YETI’s products are exceptional and the Trailhead Camp Chair is no exception. The chair features a supportive, UV-rated FlexGrid fabric that’s extremely comfortable and perfect for relaxing in after a long session. Additionally, the Camp Chair is very well made and includes a convenient cup holder. Weighing in at 13 pounds, the Camp Chair is on the heavy side for a beach chair, but it does pack into a travel bag complete with a shoulder strap to combat the weight. It also includes instructions for set up and tear down on the armrests, which we appreciate. It is pretty pricey but is likely a chair that will last a long time.

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Best Beach Chair for Couples

Kelty Low Loveseat ($130)Kelty Loveseat Low

Pros: Room for two, beverage holders, comfortable
Cons: Big and a bit heavy

If you’ve got a couples surf trip on the books or plan on getting away to the beach with your significant other, look no further than the Kelty Low Loveseat. Its double-wide design lets two people get cozy instead of awkwardly holding hands from separate chairs. It’s like a couch, but for the outdoors. Beverage holders on the armrests tick the “storage” box, and despite weighing in at 15 pounds (it’s basically two chairs, remember), a roll-up sling helps transport this bad boy from the car to the sand, as well as doubling as a place to put your feet, or a mat for your dog to curl up beside you.

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Best Low-Profile Beach Chair

Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair ($43)

our pick for the best low profile beach chair was this camp chair from cascade mountain tech.

Pros: Sits low to the ground, compact and portable
Cons:
Doesn’t have a cup holder or storage areas

We always love it when a product name says what it is without any flashy jargon. The Low Profile Camp Chair from Cascade Mountain Tech is just what it says it is, but you can also do much more than take it camping. There’s something relaxing about being low to the ground with the knees above the waist. It puts us in a naturally reclined state, getting us in proper chill mode just by simple body positioning. We’re sure there’s some sort of scientific explanation, too, but we all intuitively know what we’re saying here and we’re sure many of you agree.

Not only that, but having a seat that’s low to the ground will keep you in the good books of anyone behind you at an outdoor movie or concert. Nobody wants to get food or insults hurled their way for being a head above everyone else.

This chair could also be in the running as the “best budget chair” as it boasts a remarkable price tag for its portability and craftsmanship. You could get a few of these for less than others in this list. Which is always a good idea, because sitting at the beach is better in good company.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Best of the Rest

Classic Style and Design

Tommy Bahama Classic Lay Flat Backpack Chair ($65)

Tommy Bahama beach chair

Pros: Pillow, comfortable backpack straps
Cons: Difficult to fold, lay flat position isn’t comfortable

Head to any beach and you’ll likely find a Tommy Bahama Classic Lay Flat Backpack Chair. And for good reason. They’re affordable, comfortable, and easy to transport.

As the name suggests, the Tommy Bahama chair can be used in an upright position or a lay flat position. We found that it was really comfortable in all of its four upright positions, but wasn’t the most comfortable when laid all the way flat – although we did appreciate having the option. The chair comes with backpack straps, making it easy and comfortable to carry. The wooden arm rests added some style points and we appreciated both the cup holder and the zippered pouch on the back of the chair.

Tearing down this chair feels like an IQ test. Sometimes it’s easy-peasy and other times it feels impossible. Once you figure it out it’s not bad, but it took a few times to get it down. Other than that, it’s an incredible chair.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Best “Deluxe” Beach Chair

Parkit Voyager ($225)Parkit Voyager Beach Chair

Pros: Attachable cooler, mangrove planted for every purchase
Cons:
Pricey, doesn’t pack down small

Designed to be functional, durable, and comfortable, Parkit’s Voyager is the ultimate outdoor adventure chair. Crafted to last, the chair features industrial framing, woven polyester webbing, and a wooden armrest. Thoughtful features include hands-free backpack carry straps, a versatile cupholder that can be attached to either side, and an under-the-seat attachable cooler for stashing food and beverages.

In an effort to support the environment, one mangrove tree is planted for every Voyager chair purchased, so you can feel good about the chair you’re sitting in. The biggest downsides are the price, and the fact that it’s not the most packable when folded up.

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Unique Couch Option

Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch ($40)

chillbo swaggins beach chair

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, portable, pocket on the side
Cons: Can be tricky to set up

Calling the Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch a chair is a stretch, but it serves a similar purpose and is insanely comfortable. The Chillbo Shwaggins is essentially an inflatable couch/chair, but instead of blowing it up with your mouth or a pump, you use wind to inflate it. If you’ve never set one up before, or there isn’t any wind, it can be tricky to set up at first. But, once you get the hang of it, set up is a breeze (pun intended).

The Chillbo Shwaggins is super lightweight and packs down into a convenient bag with a strap, so you can easily bring it along to all of your beach days. It’s also insanely comfortable and allows you to stretch out and relax. The only way it could be more comfortable is if it had some sort of a head rest – to rectify this, we found a balled-up beach towel did the trick. Available in thirteen unique patterns, you’ll undoubtedly be turning heads with this set up.

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REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair ($90)

rei co-op beach chair

Pros: Simple yet comfortable, chair includes backpack straps
Cons: Doesn’t provide neck support

The REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair is like a classic lawn chair, only a whole lot better. It has a simple, lightweight design, but the cushioned seat and backrest make it nice and comfy. The chair features backpack straps, which make it easy to carry, and the secure closure system allows you to stash blankets and sweaters in the chair while you travel.

The wooden arms add a little bit of style and the coated aluminum frame ensure the chair is strong yet lightweight. The only way this chair could be more comfortable is if the back went up high enough to provide some neck support, but then it would undoubtedly weigh more as well.

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Snow Peak Low Beach Chair ($170)Snow Peak Low Beach Chair

Pros: Well made, durable, lightweight
Cons: No extra frills, pricey

Available in two different colors, Snow Peak’s Low Beach Chair is designed for long days at the beach. Featuring a rugged canvas fabric, bamboo wooden armrests, and an aluminum frame, this chair has a nice, sleek look and solid durability. Weighing in at eight pounds, the Low Beach Chair is fairly lightweight and easily packs into its included carry case, so transportation is a non-issue.

Although the chair doesn’t recline or include any add-ons like cup holders or storage space, it’s quite comfortable and plenty good enough for a good beachside hang. For such a minimalist design, it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, which kept this comfortable and stylish chair out of our top picks.

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RIO Beach 4-Position Lace-Up Backpack Chair ($62)

RIO beach chair

Pros: Pillow, zippered compartment on the rear, cup holder
Cons: Cup holder isn’t large enough for a water bottle, tricky to fold

The RIO Beach 4-Position Lace-Up Backpack Chair is a classic and comfy beach chair. The Lace-Up Chair comes with backpack straps that make it easy to transport, even when your arms are full. There is also a large, zippered pouch on the back of the chair that is perfect for storing sunscreen, water, keys, and other essentials.

The Lace-Up Chair is easy to set up and the chair’s legs adjust every so slightly, allowing you to find your perfect lounging position. The chair includes a pillow that is nice to use but can easily be flipped over the back of the chair if you prefer to go without it. There’s a built-in drink holder which works great for cans and bottles but is a little too small for larger water bottles. The chair can be a little tricky to fold up, but once you’ve figured it out it’s a non-issue. The Lace-Up Chair it comfortable and supportive and nice and slim once it’s packed up. RIO also makes a compatible umbrella if you’re looking to sit under some shade.

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Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair ($90)Coleman Flat Fold Beach Chair

Pros: Simple design, lightweight
Cons: Not the most comfortable, doesn’t come with a storage bag

If you’re looking for a simple, fold up beach chair, then the Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair fits the bill. The teal and aluminum design is simple yet cute and wooden arm rests complete the look.

The chair sits low to the ground, folds up easily, and weighs just four pounds, so it’s super easy to transport. The backrest isn’t padded, and it hits about mid-back, so it’s not the most comfortable design we tested, but, if you’re looking for something simple, it gets the job done.

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Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair ($250)

snow peak camping chairs

Pros: Classy wooden arm rests, storage pocket
Cons: Pricey

The Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair is a high-quality chair that is durable enough for the beach, the campground, and everything in between. The wooden arm rests coupled with the canvas seats gives the chair a classy look. The canvas feels super durable and the coated aluminum frame is rust-resistant.

The chair packs down small and is light to carry and includes a mesh storage pocket on the back for stashing essentials. The chair sits low, which is nice for sitting back and relaxing. The price is definitely steep but it does seem like a chair that will last for years to come. This chair is super similar to the Snow Peak Low Beach Chair, it’s just a little higher quality.

Check Price on REI CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON


REI Co-op Camp Low Chair ($50)

rei co-op chair

Pros: Padded seat, made from recycled materials
Cons: No arm rests or neck support

The REI Co-op Camp Low Chair is a no-frills camping chair that is comfortable and has everything you need for a day at the beach. The chair sits low, making it easy to lean back and relax and the seat is padded for extra comfort. The chair is well made and the powder-coated steel frame ensure the chair is plenty durable.

While the Camp Low Chair is comfortable, it doesn’t have armrests or neck support, so you may want to look elsewhere if that’s important to you. The chair includes a rear pocket for storing essentials and it includes an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport. At the end of the day, the Camp Low Chair packs down flat, which is nice for storage.

Check Price on REI

Best Beach Chairs Comparison Table

Model Price Weight Weight Capacity Features
GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair $70 9.7 lbs 250 lbs Sunshade
Helinox Beach Chair $170 3.25 lbs 320 lbs Splayed legs for stability
Coleman Broadband Mesh $30 7 lbs 250 lbs Great price
YETI Trailhead Camp Chair $300 13 lbs 500 lbs Sturdy yet mobile
Kelty Low Loveseat $140 15 lbs 6 oz 400 lbs Room for two
Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair $43 7 lbs 250 lbs Low to the ground, easy to carry
Tommy Bahama Classic Lay Flat Backpack Chair $65 7 lbs 250 lbs Back storage pocket, lay flat option
Parkit Voyager $225 12 lbs 350 lbs Underseat cooler
Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch $40 2.64 lbs 440 lbs Side storage pocket
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair $90 7 lbs 7 oz 250 lbs Backpack straps
Snow Peak Low Beach Chair $170 8 lbs 220 lbs Stylish canvas/bamboo
RIO Beach 4-Position Lace-Up Backpack Chair $62 8 lbs 240 lbs Back storage pocket, cup colder
Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair $90 4 lbs 14.4 oz 250 lbs Folds easily, flat design
Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair $250 7 lbs 8 oz 240 lbs Mesh storage pocket
REI Co-op Camp Low Chair $50 8 lbs 3 oz 250 lbs Padded, storage pocket, backpack straps

REI makes some great, affordable beach chairs. The REI Co-op Camp Low Chair pictured front and center is a prime example. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Beach Chairs

In order to test these chairs, we took them to the beach and planted our rears in them. Seriously. We packed them in the car, carried them down the beach path, set them up, and sat back and relaxed. We considered how easy or difficult they were to transport, how set up went, if there were any cup holders or storage compartments on the chairs, how comfortable they were to sit in, how tear down went, and any fun extras they had.

We let our friends test them out as well because it never hurts to get a second opinion, or two, or three, or four. We consider ourselves professional beach bums, so this was right up our alley.


Best Beach Chair Ratings Table

Beach Chair Comfort Storage Portability Cost Overall
GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair 4 4 5 4 4.25
Helinox Beach Chair 4 3 5 3 3.75
Coleman Broadband Mesh 4 3 4 5 4
YETI Trailhead Camp Chair 5 3 3 2 3.25
Kelty Low Loveseat 5 3 3 4 3.75
Cascade Mountain Tech Low Profile Camp Chair 4 0 5 5 3.5
Tommy Bahama Classic Lay Flat Backpack Chair 4 4 4 4 4
Parkit Voyager 4 5 4 2 3.75
Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch 5 3 5 5 4.5
REI Co-op Outward Low Padded Lawn Chair 4 0 5 5 3.5
Snow Peak Low Beach Chair 3 0 5 4 3
RIO Beach 4-Position Lace-Up Backpack Chair 4 4 4 4 4
Coleman Living Collection Flat-Fold Chair 2 0 5 4 2.75
Snow Peak Luxury Low Beach Chair 3 0 5 3 2.75
REI Co-op Camp Low Chair 4 3 4 4 3.75

Beach Chairs main image of chairs on a beach

When it comes to beach chairs, there are a lot of options to choose from. As lifelong surfers and beach-enthusiasts, here are our top picks. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Beach Chairs Buyer’s Guide

What Makes a Good Beach Chair?

When picking out a beach chair, there are a few things we take into consideration. First and foremost, we want our chair to be comfortable. Additionally, we want our beach chair to have some storage space, be portable, and come at an affordable price point.

Comfort

If you’re anything like us, summer days call for hours and hours at the beach. When we’re not in the water, we’ll post up in our beach chair to read, write, and watch the waves. Since time on the beach is our down time, we want to spend it being as comfortable as possible.

kelty beach chair

The Kelty Low Loveseat comfortably seats two, or one, and comes equipped with cup holders. Photo: Suzanne Sheley//The Inertia

Materials

Because you will almost exclusively be using your beach chair outside, you’ll want a chair that is made from durable, weatherproof materials. Sand and salt water are especially corrosive, so you’ll want a chair that is up to the challenge. For the frames, steel and aluminum are excellent choices. A couple of the chairs we tested had wooden arms, which are weather-resistant, but will fade with time. For the seat and the body of the chair, we found that polyester or alternative synthetic fabrics worked well as they fair well in a variety of weather conditions and are fade-resistant.

Chair Seat and Back Height

Both the size of the seat and the back height play big roles in how comfortable (or uncomfortable) your chair is going to be. You want to make sure your chair has a seat that is wide enough and sturdy enough to comfortably accommodate your tush. A too small seat that curls up around your hips and thighs won’t feel good to sit in for extended periods of time.

The back height comes down to personal preference but in our opinion, chairs with higher backs tend to be more comfortable. A high back chair supports your head and neck and allows you to comfortably lean back into your chair. The added height naturally adds size and weight, so you’ll have to decide where your priorities lie.

Portability

If you’re lucky, your favorite beach offers beachfront parking. But for most of us, all day beach days require a few trips to and from the car. Beach chairs come in many shapes and sizes but the most important factor to us is that it’s easy to transport. We look for backpack style straps or a shoulder sling and prefer that our chair is lightweight. Added points if it can carry a few items as well.

helinox beach chair

Lightweight chairs like the Helinox Beach Chair are great for long treks to the beach. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

What Else Should I Look For In a Beach Chair?

Durability

Have you ever bought a beach chair that falls apart after one summer? When we’re in the market for a new beach chair, we want that will last years, not just a single season. We consider the materials the chair is made of and if it seems well made. Because in our opinion, a good beach chair should be built to last.

Support

Support goes alongside comfort, but varies based on what you’re looking for. Some chairs come with armrests and others don’t. If you like resting your arms on something, then be sure and look for a chair that includes armrests. Additionally, some chairs offer generous back and neck support but others are cut lower to save weight. If you like extra support and aren’t worried about weight, consider a chair that comes up high like the Trailhead Camp Chair.

Best Overall Beach Chair
Best Overall Beach Chair

The GCI Outdoor Waterside Chair is tailor-made for post surf chill sessions. Featuring a built-in adjustable SPF sun shade, the UPF 50+ fabric allows you to easily take a much needed break from the sun in maximum comfort.

Price: ($70)

Check Price on Amazon

Weight and Weight Capacity

Weight is an important factor to consider when purchasing a chair. First, you’ll want to consider the weight capacity of the chair. If your weight, or the person intending to use the chair’s weight, exceeds the chair’s weight capacity then you should look elsewhere to ensure you have a chair that can reliably support you. Most of the chairs we tested could support up to 250, give or take.

Additionally, you’ll want to take a look at the weight of the actual chair. If you don’t plan on carrying your chair far, then weight may be a non-issue. But, if you travel far with your chair or find yourself carrying a lot to the beach, then you may want to look for a lightweight chair. Lightweight chairs don’t tend to be as comfortable as their heavier counterparts because something’s got to give — think about which factors are the most important to you.

Storage

When it comes to storing and transporting your beach chair, less is more. Ideally, a beach chair will fold up or pack down so it easily fits in the car and can be stashed in the garage or closet at home. If space isn’t an issue for you, you may prefer a large, comfy chair. But if you’re tight on space, be sure and check what size the chair packs down to.

Ventilation

Most beach chairs have a full fabric seat and don’t offer much ventilation. If ventilation is something that is important to you, then you’ll want to look for a chair that has a mesh seat. Mesh seats typically aren’t as comfortable but they are more breezy.

a girl sitting in a beach chair at the beach

We appreciate extra features like cup holders, pillows, backpack straps, and storage pouches. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Extras

We don’t require a lot during our time chilling at the beach, but we think a good chair should include a cup holder (or two) and a spot to stash a few essential items like keys, sunscreen, etc. A small, zippered compartment on the back of the chair or underneath the seat are additions that we love. Some beach chairs also come with a smaller cooler that attaches beneath the seat. Other fun extras include detachable pillows/head rests, the option to recline, a built-in sunshade, and adjustable footrests.

Cost

We’re not sure why the price range is so drastic when it comes to beach chairs, but it is. We want a chair that ticks all our boxes but also comes at an affordable price so we can spend our hard earned dollars on other necessary surf equipment.

Editor’s Note: For more chair options suited to the outdoors, here’s our guide to The Best Camping Chairs. If you’d rather lay down on the beach, check out our article on The Best Beach Towels. Looking to escape from the sun? Here’s The Best Beach Umbrellas and The Best Beach Canopies. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

Return to Comparison Table | Return to Top Picks

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