The need for a new beach chair brings up at least one happy thought -- it will eventually be used on a beach. Finding an affordable beach chair is generally not a problem, but finding one which will last through several vacation seasons can be a challenge. So what should one look for in a quality beach chair?
One important consideration when buying a beach chair is portability. After all, the chair must be transported to the beach, unloaded from the car and carried to an ideal spot on the sand. The most common solution for beach chair portability is the use of hollow supports and hand straps. A folding canvas camping or beach chair should be accompanied by a drawstring bag with a shoulder strap. If the beach chair is more of a traditional recliner, it should fold into manageable sections and have a carrying strap for toting.
Another area to consider is the material used to construct the beach chair. Canvas seats may be sturdy and comfortable, but they often collect sand and water. Traditional polyester bands woven through a chair frame may not be very supportive for heavier users, but water and sand will not collect as easily. Plastic slats wrapped around a reclining beach chair can become very hot in direct sunlight, but will repel water and are easily cleaned afterwards. Those who plan on sunbathing may have different requirements than those who plan on swimming. Consider how sturdy the material is and how it will handle the downtime between seasons. Some beach chair materials can mildew and others can become brittle if torn.
Some beach-goers may want to consider versatility when buying a beach chair. Some beach chair models feature attachments for shade umbrellas, while others have beverage holders or mesh bags for storing towels and lotions. Some models are locked into one position, while others can be adjusted for sunbathing or reading. The adjusters on a quality beach chair should be well-constructed and sturdy. A weak ratchet lock on a beach chair can lead to an unexpected spill or a sprained muscle.
One consideration many people overlook is a beach chair's suitability for the beach. Not every lightweight or portable chair can be considered a proper beach chair. A plastic patio chair, for example, may be less expensive than a wicker beach chair, but it won't be very portable and its narrow legs may sink easily into the sand. A good beach chair balances its weight to avoid sinking into the loose sand beneath it. The abrasive qualities of sand and sea air can also wreak havoc on chairs not designed for beach use. It's always better to invest in a quality beach chair and keep it clean and dry between seasons.