In years gone by, investing in one of the best sun loungers on the market was only deemed a worthwhile purchase when accompanied by a swimming pool. However, the last few summers have seen many of the best garden furniture shops (read, our favourites) selling incredibly chic options that fit well with garden tables, rattan garden furniture and outdoor sofas, too, instead of just garden parasols.
A sun lounger in the garden is an instant way to up the style stakes and transport your British garden (or balcony) to a level worthy of the Hamptons. What's more, they help you make the most of every bit of sunshine we get in our short summers. The great thing about a sun lounger as opposed to, say, a garden chair is that they support your whole body. This means they really are much more relaxing and help take the weight off if you've been doing a spot of gardening in the sun and are feeling quite weary. The downside of them is that they are larger, given their shape, and so they sadly won't fit on most people's balconies, so they are a piece of garden furniture reserved for more generous outdoor spaces. If you do have the space, they are worth the investment and many styles can be neatly folded down and tucked away when you're not using them.
What style sun lounger should I buy?
Gone are the days where flimsy aluminium sun loungers reigned supreme, or that nylon type that caused a perpetually sweaty back (don't lie, we've all experienced it). We have entered a new age of stylish rattan sun loungers and wooden styles that will look just as good in your garden as they will when used as furniture in a conservatory over winter. They are not just reserved for actual sun bathing either; upright ones made of rattan or wood make excellent reading spots and reclining sun loungers are great as they can be adjusted and adapted to ensure premium comfort. Pop a stylish cushion on top – we love a stripe for a sun lounger – and you have yourself a versatile and jolly piece of kit.
What is the best sun lounger to buy?
Material matters when it comes to sun loungers as some of them can't be left outside for long periods of time. Rattan sun loungers need to be properly cared for, so opt for rattan-effect or faux rattan if you're after a low maintenance lounger. Metal is hard-wearing and weatherproof, but it may not suit your style, while wood should not be kept outside in the winter or it'll wear much quicker. People often wonder whether wooden sun loungers are comfortable or not and the answer is, not really. However, if you add a cushion to them, then they are as comfortable a sun lounger as you'll find anywhere. They're not designed to be sat on without a cushion in theory, so choose a shape and colour of wood that you like and an accompanying cushion. The benefit of this is that you can always replace the cushion or reupholster it when you need. Consider buying a cushion covered in fabric that is hardwearing outdoors for a longer-lasting solution.
What are the best features of a sun lounger?
When shopping for a garden sun lounger, there are a number of important features to look for. Adjustable backrests and headrests will help to customise the sun lounger to your body, providing several different reclining positions so you can snooze, sunbathe, read or chat on a more supportive and comfortable piece of furniture.
Folding sun loungers are useful in smaller spaces, such as balconies or city gardens, but don’t tend to be as comfortable or supportive as non-foldable ones. They’re often made of slightly flimsy aluminium frames or steel frames that don’t have the capacity to support in the same way as acacia wood does.
Browse our edit below to see our favourite pieces, including rattan, wooden and reclining styles.