Are swing beds better than traditional porch swing chairs? Hard to find a simple answer! That’s because there are some important differences between these two. What you’ll choose to buy depends on what and where you’ll plan to use it in the first place, and how you’ll use it.
To give you the best bits of advice, let’s analyze the slight differences between porch swings and swing beds.
We think of porch swings as a piece of chosen furniture with classic style in mind. It’s that cliche where you’re sitting on the porch swing chairs with wife/husband, parents, grandparents, kids, or your soul mate. Porch swings are constructed with the idea of covering a smaller space on your home (outdoor or indoor) but make no sacrifices to quality and functionality. Like sleeper sofa beds, they’re gorgeous in a large space. Albeit, it can also accommodate smoothly to smaller areas, making them a perfect solution for homes with less space, where you’re still looking for an intimate atmosphere.
Designed mainly to fit two persons, porch swing chairs can host sometimes three people or more (depending on the supported weight). This feature transforms them into popular conscience as the perfect places for starting a conversation, relaxing, sharing memories, or reading a good book. It’s about creating momentum with your beloved ones.
In terms of money, the best porch swing chairs are a cost-effective option compared to swing beds. At last, notice that some porch swings might not come with hardware and accessories like cushions.
Think swing beds and imagine relaxation taken to a premium level of luxury. Since they are literally beds suspended in any place you choose, these swings require a lot of space compared to a standard porch swing. The preeminent difference it’s on the purpose and use of both of them.
Swing beds are made for superior comfort and social engagement. As opposed to classic porch chairs, you can layout as if it were an actual bed. Or simply stay and chat with your friends about how do you save the world a few years ago. They do swing but in a more gentle way (due to large dimensions and four points suspension), which can be extremely relaxing for a siesta.
Available in a variety of different styles, swing beds are easily customizable (depending on your personal taste) with cushions, bolster pillows, throw pillows, or blankets. Even more, manufacturers offer pretty much of them on the whole package, with the option to choose your colors, sizes, etcetera.
Lastly, consider the cost. Swing beds are more expensive than porch swings, but they offer tons of more functions, premium style, and luxury. How about that?
Deciding Between a Porch Swing and a Swing Bed
Ultimately, we do not want to intimidate, yet the decision to purchase a porch swing or a swing bed is up to your personal preferences. Just keep in mind the importance of space and what’s the purpose of this piece of furniture. When looking at the style and comfort, both are extremely nice, but they have two completely different purposes.
How To Choose The Best Porch Swing: A Step-By-Step Guide
In our quest for the perfect chair, we found that not all models are the same, and what is best for one person might not be perfect for another. There is a large choice of sizes, designs, materials, colors, and choosing the right one takes a bit of research. The porch swing has to fulfill ALL your needs. Here are a few criteria that will help you to decide before buying a porch swing glider.
Comfort to reflect your personality
When we were doing our research we found that comfort is the first criterion to apply before buying a porch swing chair. No one wants to have a porch swing if it’s useless, uncomfortable and does not allow you to relax in style. Whatever type of porch chair you select, comfort is an absolute must. Great porch swings are invariably made of comfortable fabric and long-lasting wood or metal. So pay close attention to the material quality and type before you make a purchase.
As with other pieces of chosen furniture – for example, like bean bag chairs – your porch swing has to be a close reflection of your personal style and taste. There are different styles; you can choose straight-lined swings with different lath types, a model with a curved back, high or low back wide armrests, fan back or Adirondack (rugged finish and outstanding craftsmanship) style.
Back slats can run horizontally or vertically. A popular design is a rollback which features a rolled seat and backrest rail to place the appropriate contour on the pressure points in your body.
You can choose any color or no color at all. You might even want to add some cushions. Seat cushions made of durable outdoor fabrics offer a superior decorating style, and also make the swing more comfortable.
Whether you are looking, here is an overview of different types of porch swings that you wanted to know about them.
Classic Porch Swings: if you are a traditionalist, buying a porch swing made of wood can be an excellent investment. These porch swing gliders have an average size of four foot to six foot (width), with a capacity to hold more than 500 lbs. Some are made of unfinished wood, providing a distinctly beautiful aspect. Often, wooden porch swings are made of cypress, western red cedar, or kiln-dried pine which resists pretty well rot, decay, and destruction from insects. Sure, they are a little more expensive, though, will last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. If you wish you can opt-in to add your own finish to these wooden swing chairs.
Wicker Porch Swings will bring passion to your doors. They are highly attractive and last longer because are made of wicker that is resistant to all conditions. They do not fade, crack, warp and turn out to be maintenance-free. Common finishes are black, brown, or white. Add some colorful cushions for a chic and trendy appeal.
Outdoor Porch Swings with Canopy: can fit with any home, patio or backyard. With their durable frame and comfortable cushioned seating, these porch swings will provide any family with a great place to relax. The cover provides protection from sun or rain, some include a cup holder on each side so you can enjoy your favorite drink. This steel frame is designed to hold a weight of around 600 to 700 lbs and reinforces the swinging seat so that you can forget your worries as the wind pushes the swing.
The Right Material
Your porch swing glider should last a long period of time, so it paramount to be made of high-quality wear and tear-resistant materials to withstand any climatic changes. Sure, the materials used for your swing chair have to be also a matter of taste; after all, it will be your favorite piece of chosen furniture for years to come.
Wood will always remain the most popular material for porch swings. It is usual to see wooden swings on porches, gardens, and patios, whether they are made of cedar, cypress, pine, teak, maple, or oak. But the choice of materials for your favorite porch swing does not end in wood (same case as with kitchen islands and carts). You can find beautiful swings made of wicker, wrought iron, aluminum, metal or plastic lumber (recycled plastic).
Cedar is the most attractive wood for porch swing chairs because it is very beautiful, resistant to rot, mold, mildew, decay, and insect aggressions. When new, the cedar is red in color. One downside is that aging, cedar’s red color turns brown and eventually into monotonous gray, surprisingly quickly. Once it has turned gray, there is no going back, except by toning the wood. It is lightweight, stable, and resists cracking. Cedarwood porch swings are built to last indoors and outdoors. There are two types of cedar used: Western Red Cedar and Northern White Cedar.
Western Red Cedar (scientific name: Thuja plicata) is a uniform, fine-grained texture wood often with random streaks and bands of darker red or brown areas. Has a very strong, aromatic scent when being worked, does not warp, won’t dull from the sun, and holds its appearance over time. Cedar may undergo some checking but thin won’t affect the structural performance or integrity of the porch chair. Red cedar is environmentally friendly and naturally biodegradable.
Northern White Cedar (scientific name: Thuja occidentalis) heartwood is light gold or tan. Numerous small knots are common in the wood. The grain is usually straight, with a fine, even texture. It absorbs and loses moisture slowly, which diminishes dry cracking, splintering, and swelling. White Cedar develops a silver-gray patina in one year for most climates. Water-based or oil stains will delay the weathering process. The white cedar odor is a mild insect repellent.
When treating cedar, the question is how much of the real wood color do you want to cover up. The more finishing your treatment, the longer your cedar will last. Our best advice is to buy a porch swing chair with cedar treatment already made by the manufacturer, thought-out, you can do it yourself after installation. After installing, you have about two week grace period until the cedar starts to discolor. Finishing includes bleaching oil, semi-transparent or solid color stains, primer plus painting (if painting, wood’s natural color, and grain will be covered).
Cypress is the next wood option. Cypress (scientific name: Taxodium distichum) color tends to be a light, yellowish-brown (like pale honey) and is very durable. It ages into gray and it is known as “Eternal Wood” which means it will last and age with you. Cypress is the only wood species that contains cypressine, a chemical substance that naturally protects it from decay and insects. Cypress is a medium-density, straight-grained wood that is resistant to warping. works easily and accepts paints and stains exceptionally well.
To enhance the longevity of your cypress porch swing, it is recommended to apply a natural oil-based stain or wood sealer each year. It will accept all types of paint. If painting, use an oil-based primer followed by an exterior oil-based paint, although neither paint nor stain is required when using cypress wood. Refrain from using anything but stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized fasteners with cypress porch chairs. Other metals corrode and leave stain marks on cypress.
Pine is also popular. With a light brown to pale yellow color, pine (scientific name: Pinus genus) is the least expensive of all quality woods. It is light-weight, resists to rot, shrinking and swelling over time. It looks very attractive with slight defects, such as knots and shakes (small cracks in the surface of the wood). These natural irregularities enhance its uniqueness. Pinewood is great if you desire a more rustic look. On the downside, pinewood continues to “breathe” based upon changes in the local humidity and temperature and is not the most durable of all woods.
That’s why we suggest going after patio swings made of kiln-dried pine. Kiln drying is an industrial operation used to accelerate the drying of wood. Natural air-drying can take weeks, while the pine drying kiln process takes less than a day. The benefit of kiln-dried pine is that it is dried in a controlled environment, giving a higher quality product. Therefore kiln-dried pine is unlikely to have distortions, stainings, warpings or bowings. Bugs and insects are also killed during the process.
Pine also requires regular maintenance to prolong the life of your porch swing. Do not place hot or chilled items directly on to pine surface, or marking will occur. Pine accepts paint and stain very well. If used outdoor, pine should be sealed. We also recommend a sealer be applied every 12-18 months. To maintain the characteristic finish on pine, do not use aerosol sprays or any polish containing Silicon.
Tectona grandis or Teak is an extraordinary wood. Tends to be golden or amber, with color darkening to silver-gray with age. Raw, unfinished teak surfaces have a slightly greasy feel due to natural oils. It has been considered by many to be the standard wood for decay resistance, and it is rated as very durable. Teak is also resistant to water, mildew, fungus, termites and most wood-eating insects. It is eco-friendly due to its hardness and long-time endurance. Teak is much more scratch-resistant than other woods such as pine or cedar. Another benefit of teak wood is that it will not hold temperature.
Teak porch swings can be left outside and endure years of rain, snow, wind, heat, and cold. If it was skillfully crafted it will last for generations. The color change over the years is only cosmetic and does not affect the strength of the wood. Treating teak with oil cutback the wood’s natural oil effects, and the wood becomes dependent on a periodic external oil treatment. Treatment with teak sealer is only needed once a year in order to effectively protect it from color fade.
The original teak color fades when the natural oils on the surface would evaporate. If your teak has already faded in color, it is possible to restore the color by scrubbing the surface using a teak cleaner. If the color largely faded, or the wood has profound stains, then a light sanding will expose a fresh layer below the surface. After cleaning, you can apply a teak sealer to prevent the color from fading any further.
Teak and Ipe (a South American wood as exotic as its name) are exotic woods that perform extremely well outdoor, although they are very expensive. Maple or oak porch swings will not weather as well as cedar or cypress but can be painted to extend their life.
Wood types to avoid: untreated pine, poplar, and certain species of oak – all have a tendency to decay when exposed to weather elements. Unless you are purchasing your swing chair for indoor use, it would be best to avoid these species!
Wicker is an old technique, dating back to Ancient Egypt, that involves weaving materials in complex patterns. Organic and natural materials are used for indoor furniture, commonly use synthetic vinyl and resins for outdoor furniture. Outdoor wicker needs to withstand elements such as moisture, sun, and extreme dryness, depending on the climate. There are four major types of organic materials used for swing chairs: rattan, reed, willow, and bamboo (rattan being the most popular). Porch swings made from these natural materials should not be used outdoors. Synthetic fibers will last longer outdoors, despite sunlight and moisture.
The wicker used for outdoor porch swings is made from polyethylene resin fibers in order to create sturdy furniture, being able to withstand the harsh outdoor weather. It’s mainly known as an all-weather wicker. For those who live in areas where the weather changes are drastic, all-weather wicker swing chairs can be left outside all year long. Some choose to cover or move it during the snowy and rainy seasons, however, it is not necessary. When all-weather wicker is used for porch swings, the resin is typically woven over an aluminum frame. Moreover, due to the sturdy structure, it doesn’t warp or change shape if it’s used correctly.
As with all materials, all-weather wicker is not always made the same way. Cheaper wicker patio swings are often not as quality as it could be, thus before making a purchase, make sure to test it. Does it stand stable? Is it comfortable? Are the fibers woven tightly? As with wicker, high-quality swing gliders should be a mix of comfort and sustainability.
Wrought iron it is a strong, durable material. Wrought iron is softer to forge, bend, or weld. Porch swings made of this material have a design that ranges from traditional to contemporary. It does require some care to prevent rust and increase corrosion resistance. Use paint to create a different look and improve its resistance to corrosion.
On the other hand, it is very heavy and will not tip over or blow away easily during high winds or storms. Wrought iron is shaped into anything that the mind can imagine. This is why this material is so visually enticing. Some disadvantages of wrought iron include its capacity to heat up and burn when left in direct sunlight, or it can be very cold on cooler days. Without cushions or a mattress, wrought iron swing gliders are not the most comfortable.
Stainless steel is a durable material but it is also the heaviest and also more expensive. In sunlight, steel becomes hot to the touch. Comfort is also reduced in cold weather. You may want to purchase a mattress or cushions made of fade-resistant all-weather fabric. Used to create durable frames and seatings. If you’re looking for a modern steel porch swing, be sure the product is either stainless or powder-coated and that any hardware used is also rust-resistant.
Aluminum will not fade or rust, sometimes been coated with a powder-coat finish. This metal is used in contemporary, streamlined porch swing designs. With all the aesthetic appeal of wrought iron and wood, but without the heavyweight and biodegradability, aluminum is used mainly for frames. It requires less maintenance than steel or wrought iron and is significantly lighter and easier to move.
It also remains cooler in the sun. Unfortunately, this is a more expensive material. Aluminum can survive outside for extended periods of time. Powder-coated aluminum comes in a variety of colors. Look for UV-resistant finishes and rust-proof hardware. If you’re buying aluminum with vinyl webbing or straps, look for vinyl that has been processed with mildew inhibitors and ultraviolet stabilizers.
Recycled plastic is the least expensive material. Recycled plastic is durable, water-resistant, it won’t rot, splinter or crack, doesn’t require painting, staining, or sealing, and is basically resistant to all types of weather. It is also highly portable, can be made from recycled materials, making them an eco-friendly solution. Unfortunately, plastic is not always the best looking option and may not last as long as other materials. In certain cases, you need to store plastic porch chairs inside to prevent pitting and fading.
It can be cleaned with soapy water and a scrubbing brush if needed, making it easy to care. Plastic can be shaped, molded, and colored using UV stabilizers into just about any design, making it a good choice for those who want something really different. Recycled plastic offers an eco alternative to wood, has all of the style and comfort of the wood products, but without the look and feel of natural wood!
Fabrics used are two types, based on the location where you put your swing chair: outdoor and indoor. Both fabrics use modern textures with a wide range of patterns and colors, which are stain-repellent or weather-resistant must be easy to clean and resist to wear. The primary difference between these fabrics lies in the manufacturing process and the fibers that they are made from.
Porch swing frames are usually made of wood or metal, with polyester covered cushions that form a seat. If there is no cushion, you’ll discover a fabric “seat”. The polyester fabric can come in different colors and styles. Outdoor fabrics are made to be more durable, and they bear a chemical treatment process that ensures they will resist better. Here are some typical outdoor fabric features that should be also listed directly on the tag of the material:
- fade resistant
- mold/mildew resistant
- waterproof or water-resistant
- weather resistant
- UV protection
- stain resistant
- permeable or breathable
- machine washable or hand wash only
The verdict? I hate to leave you on the fence, but the final decision is ultimately up to you…
- Looking for swing chairs suitable for the outdoors, go with western cedar, cypress, or kiln-dried pine.
- If you want something lightweight, modern, and low-maintenance, go with synthetic rattan or recycled plastic.
- Looking for something more robust? Stick with a metal frame porch swing.
- Looking for a lightweight powder-coated iron solution? Choose iron hanging porch chair.
Size Actually Matter
Know your product size before choosing the porch swing is common sense. Houses come in all different spaces and sizes and you don’t want to buy something that’s too big to take up your whole space, but you also don’t want something too small.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Seat depths vary from 20 to 40 inches (50-100 cm). No expert can tell you the right depth – it’s a matter of personal comfort.
- Chair backs should have some curve for extra relaxation.
- There should be a minimum of one-inch space between slats to allow air to circulate.
- Wooden joints should always be bolted or screwed together, not nailed.
- Allow at least 4 foot (1.2 m) arc for the swing to move freely.
Make sure that the size is right – it shouldn’t overpower the space or stop the flow of traffic. Scale and proportion are both important. Interior Designer, Jodie Kingman from the Coco Republic, advises buyers to keep it in proportion: “Take into consideration how it looks from all angles – the length, depth and back height“, she says.
When you go and buy a new piece of furniture, there’s an impulse to choose the piece that is most attractive to your eyes. Before choosing a finish for a porch swing chair you could consider: how much protection the piece needs, how durable the finish should be, how comfortable you are with the tools and method of application (if appoint to apply it yourself), and what aesthetic look you’re trying to achieve. Choosing the best one is sophisticated because there are two categories of finishes: penetrating finishes and surface finishes.
Most of them are easy to apply and leave a natural look. Surface finishes do not offer a distinct look and become sticky in humid weather, but they’re durable and offer solid protection against wear and tear. For DIY porch swing projects, whatever finish you choose, it’s critical to know exactly what you’re working with. Some finishes can be mixed and some cannot.
Each finish has individual application techniques, requires different tools and materials. Before you buy and apply a finish, always read the ingredient and application information. And always follow the manufacturer’s instructions!
The Right Price
A good deal when buying our porch swing does not mean the lowest price. As you know, high-quality materials cost more but last much longer. Products made of wood are a great example – a pine swing is affordable, but you will have to replace it in a few years. On the other hand, porch swing gliders made of cedar or teak are more expensive but will last a lifetime.
Retail stores and corporations make use of fixed and promotional prices – plus a few more tricks. Many of us even assume that the price should be the cost of parts and labor, plus something more. The truth is there’s no objective “correct” price – only what someone is willing to pay. There is a concept named “willingness to pay“. Put simply, it’s the highest amount a person is willing to pay for a product. Most furniture stores set price tags on their items. Never trust anyone who exposed tags like “We got our product at 65% off” because that’s not true. It probably means the price tags are too high, to begin with. Discounts are always distracting.
Look around and get an honest sense of the real price for your porch swing, then just make sure you pay a fair price. The price of delivery should be also be taken into consideration.
Strength And Durability
You certainly do not want to use a porch swing which isn’t safe and reliable. That’s why it is fundamental to choose strong materials for the swing, frame, or supporting elements. The materials have to be UV, moisture, and insect resistant and easy to maintain. Extremely durable materials (teak, ipe or polywood), even if it will last a lifetime, will cost much more than traditional wood or metal.
When you buy your swing glider check the length of guarantee the manufacturer will offer. And if you get clear instructions about how to install and care, you get many years of pleasure swinging into your porch glider.
Other Features To Consider
Climate: before you get a porch swing, you’ll certainly want to think about the weather in your area. If you choose a wooden swing chair but live in a wet climate, you can use waterproof sealants to make them more weather-resistant. Another advantage of wood porches is that it does not hold the sun’s heat like plastic and metal do. Plastic porch swings can be used in areas with a lot of rain or snow – should store inside to prevent pitting and fading. Synthetic wicker swing chairs works in any situation, are designed to last outdoors – just clean them more often.
Manufacturer: out of thousands, pick only a manufacturer with many years of experience and a solid reputation. They always care about the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
Brand name matters: try to go after manufactures which became household names in the world of porch swings. They built the brand reputation for outstanding customer service, innovative production methods, and superior quality control.
Environmental protection: protecting the environment means to select sustainable materials to preserve harvested forests. A good start would be to avoid exotic woods such as Teak or Ipe that come from tropical forests. Choosing swing chairs made of recycled plastic and synthetic wicker is a more environmentally responsible choice. In such cases, your porch swing does not require any trees to be cut and reduce the amount of plastic waste in our junkyard. If your porch swing is sealed, oiled or painted, make sure that the product is environmentally friendly.
Where is it made: imported products are usually of high quality and are oftentimes affordably priced. With one single exception, all patio swings we review are made in the USA. American furniture is usually made by companies throughout the country, many with a unique story to tell. These companies symbolize American entrepreneurship which is the backbone of this great land. We should not forget that purchasing these products do in fact support the lives and families of fellow Americans.
You can find quality porch swings from 200 to 800 dollars. The cost of your swing chair depends mostly on the type of materials you are choosing, how strong and sturdy the construction is and the extra decorations added (if any). Teak and Western Red Cedar are the most beautiful and also the most expensive. Cypress and pine swing chairs are more budget-friendly options. Some swings come with a canopy, and these are more expensive.
Finding the perfect balance between price and quality should be your first consideration when looking for a new porch swing.
Porch Swing Chairs FAQ’s
What’s the difference between bed swings and porch swings?
The difference is made by the deep of the swing. A bed swing is designed to accommodate a standard mattress measuring around 75 inches, more or less. A porch swing has a hard bottom in it and is around 30 inches deep, more or less.
Porch swings come with assembly instructions?
Absolutely. When your swing arrives, it is already mostly put together. However, depending on the above models you choose, it needs a few bolts and screws before it is complete. Each model includes easy to follow instructions that show you step-by-step how to do this.
Can a porch swing chair be stored inside or outside?
We recommend storing a porch swing under a cover for maximum protection. If you determine to hang your swing chair in the open, we recommend that you treat the wooden frame with a sealant to protect it from direct exposure of sun and rain. Some models can be easily disassembled and moved to a basement for storage.
What kind of wood is best for swing chairs?
Each model is made of different types of wood. Depending on your location, climate, and too many other factors, it is hard to point in a single direction. Read about how to choose the right material to give you the best ideas.
Why use an exterior finish for wood?
According to the U.S.D.A. Wood Handbook, an exterior finish is preferred for outdoor (hardwood) swing chairs. Good exterior finishes protect the wood from harsh conditions like sun, moisture in the forms of dew, rain or snow, high temperatures, freezing cold, or fungal attacks. Remember to choose an exterior that does not cover up the wood, it’s easy to maintain, and last three to five years between recoats.
Which is better for hanging swings, chains or ropes?
It’s a matter of preference. Some prefer chains for swing chairs and rope for swing beds; sometimes a combination of both is a little more elegant. Rope seems to work better if you are using four points of hanging, case scenario for swing beds. Simple swing chairs are typically hung from two hanging points, making chains a better option.
Do swing chairs come with chains or ropes? Is hardware included?
Yes and no. Some items include all necessary hardware for a standard porch installation and some don’t. We highly suggest you read carefully each order page before placing an order.
How do I maintain and clean my porch swing?
We recommend periodically wipe your swing chair with a damp sponge. Also, it is recommended to clean and dry your porch swing or hammock swing before packing it away for the season.
Will the porch swing fabric fade or mildew?
In general, fabrics have a 5-year guarantee against fading and are mildew resistant. While any fabric exposed to the elements may mildew, periodic cleaning of your swing will keep it looking beautiful.
How will my porch swing be shipped?
Depending on the manufacturer, there are a few options, unless you have made arrangements to pick your porch swing up directly from the manufacturing location. Please review the shipping details before ordering online.
Can swings ship to any location? How does international shipping work?
Manufacturers or sellers have different policies. Some do not ship PO Boxes, PMBs, or APO/FPO addresses. Others cannot ship to US Protectorates or international. Once again, read shipping details before ordering online!
Do swing chairs come with a warranty?
Yes, all items reviewed here come with a warranty. When these systems are properly installed and used for their intended purposes, it is very rare for a malfunction to occur.
How long will it take to receive my order after placing it?
This is depending on each manufacturer and seller. After placing the order, you’ll receive information regarding ship times/arrival of your order.
So let’s recap when buying a porch swing chair you need to:
Select a comfortable porch swing: your porch glider has to reflect your personal style and taste. Classic, wicker, or outdoor porch swings with canopy are invariably made of comfortable fabric and lifelong wood or metal. Whatever type of porch chair you select, comfort is fundamental.
Choose the right materials: you need to note whether the porch swing is made of high-grade premium materials and another important thing is that they should be weather-resistant to withstand any climatic changes. Other than that, you can choose any materials namely wood, wicker, wrought iron, or plastic.
Protect with finishes: ask questions like how much protection the porch swing chair needs, how durable the finish should be, how comfortable you are with the tools and method of application, and what aesthetic look you’re trying to achieve?
Pay the right price: look around and get a straightforward sense of the real price for your porch swing, then just make sure you pay the justifiable price. The price of delivery should be also be taken into consideration.
Consider durability: go after great design, craftsmanship, and fabrics. Don’t look over cheap models which easily lose durability and comfort. The best porch chairs are capable of enduring wear and tear for many years.