Written by Terry Smith
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A look at the best patio sets (Updated Review)
This article was last updated on November 3rd, 2021 at 9:08 pm
We’ve taken a look at the best patio sets for a lovely Summer afternoon enjoyed with friends and family. We’ve looked at patio sets for all budgets as well as the ones we believe that represent excellent value for money too. A patio set should look great, be easy to maintain, and clean up well. Most importantly the patio set you pick should last too. There’s nothing worse than a patio set that takes a beating through Winter and already no good for the next season.
What is a patio set?
A patio set is just a generic term used to describe any furniture set that is designed to be used outside. Other terms commonly used are garden set, garden furniture, lawn furniture set, and more.
Often, patio sets are broken down into more specific subcategories such as patio dining set, patio conversation set, etc. and these will have slight differences when it comes to the components that make up those sets.
For example, a patio dining set will probably, but not necessarily always, have higher backed chairs and a taller dining table, whereas a conversational set might consist of sofas, armchairs, and a coffee table. There are also sets with day beds, bean bags, and all kinds of combinations of pieces of furniture, even sets with fire pits.
The materials used for patio sets varies from model to model and brand to brand, but the most popular seem to be wood, natural and synthetic rattan, metals of various types, plastic, and resin. Each material offers its own blend of pros and cons, so it is largely personal preference that guides purchasing decisions, but we’ll just highlight a few here.
Wooden patio sets are usually very strong and look great in any type of garden. As it is a natural product, wooden patio furniture blends into the outdoor surroundings effortlessly, but to keep it looking its best you will have to repaint, varnish, or stain the wood periodically. Neglect this and your beautiful wooden furniture will not be looking that way for long.
There are patio sets made from all kinds of metals, but steel and wrought iron are particular favourites here in the UK, aluminium too. Aluminium is the easiest to look after as it is very rust resistant, however it isn’t the strongest metal and it can sometimes be easy to bend, dent, or damage the frame in some way. The opposite is true for wrought iron and steel; they are both strong but you have to keep an eye out for rust and corrosion.
Plastic or resin patio sets are usually the cheapest ones to buy. They are almost completely weatherproof, very lightweight, and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Obviously, plastic isn’t great for the environment, and some people are just put off by plastic in general, but you can get yourself a bargain if you look around.
Some of the most popular patio sets are the rattan conversation sets. These seem to bridge the gap between traditional and modern in a very aesthetically pleasing way. Natural rattan is more expensive than synthetic rattan, but it is actually harder to care for, so most of the rattan sets you see these days are the synthetic type.
So, as you can see, it is not exactly slim pickings when it comes to patio sets. In fact, one of the hardest things about buying a new set is spending hours on product pages, reading specs, and trying to make a decision.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to as we already have, and you can read our reviews of the best patio sets further down this page. First though, we’d like to point out a few of the possible problems you can come across with patio furniture.
Potential problems with patio sets
As we briefly outlined above, the main problems you will have with your patio sets will probably come from the weather. Unless you are bringing your patio furniture in and out of storage every time you use it, which is highly unlikely, it is going to be spending a fair bit of time sitting outside, and thus at the mercy of the rain, sunshine, frost, etc.
Obviously, metal will begin to rust, wood will have problems with rot, mold, and insects feeding on it, and colours will fade on plastic and cushions because of UV. Most, if not all of this damage, can be prevented with a little TLC and maintenance so try to keep on top of this stuff.
Another issue that I hear a lot of complaints about is assembly of their patio set. These days, it seems to be the norm that instruction manuals are terrible and you need a PHD in hieroglyphics just to read them.
Then there’s the fact that the holes and screws don’t always line up correctly, and this can be such a pain. Admittedly, these issues are far more common in the cheapest patio sets out there, and I guess that’s to be expected to some degree. My advice is to avoid the bargain basement patio sets unless you are confident that this misalignment thing isn’t an issue, and you can find this information out in reviews like ours and other customer feedback.
There’s something that more than a few people neglect to consider when buying a patio set, and that is the dimensions of the set and how it will look, or sometimes even fit, on their patio. It only takes 10 minutes to grab a tape measure and get an accurate idea of the area you have to work with, and then you can factor in things like room to walk around, a BBQ, fire pit, chiminea, etc. and finally, decide on the size of the patio set that would fit there.
Example of using a patio set
Although I love the sun, I’m afraid that it doesn’t seem to feel the same way about me, and just a little bit of extra time under those rays in summer turns me into a sore and sorry looking, crimson skinned, shell of my former self.
For this reason, I always bought patio sets that came with a parasol that slipped through the centre of the table, and most of these sets were patio dining sets. I also had a thing for all things traditional back in the day, so I usually bought wrought iron furniture.
The thing was, the sun doesn’t stay in one place all day, so I was constantly shifting my chair around the table trying to stay in the shade, and at certain times of the day, I even had to move the whole table as the parasol wasn’t covering me enough.
Now, continually moving heavy wrought iron furniture around is good exercise to say the least, but that’s not the reason I bought the stuff and I had something more relaxing in mind. I thought about maybe switching to a plastic patio set as it would be easy to shift around, or buying a bigger parasol, but in the end, I went with removing the parasol and installed a shade sail instead.
A properly set up shade sail is a fantastic addition to your patio set if, like me, you get cremated at the thought of a sunny day. They offer you a lot more shade than a parasol, and you won’t have to shift your furniture around as much to stay out of the sun, so you are free to choose the material you like for your patio set, even the heavier stuff.
So we’ve reviewed the best patio sets
1. New Algarve Rattan Outdoor Garden Patio/Conservatory 4 Seater
There are few things that look as stylish as a good rattan patio set, and this is definitely one of the best you can get for the price.
When the product first arrived, I was a little dubious as there were a lot of components to put together and this is usually a recipe for disaster with low-cost furniture. I had images of misaligned holes, parts missing, and all the other hair-tearing things I’ve experienced in the past.
As it turned out, this wasn’t the case at all, and although it took a good 2 hours to assemble the whole set on my own, it was mostly trouble free. The instructions weren’t the easiest to follow, but all the components and fittings were there and it wasn’t hard to work out.
I do have to say that you have to be a bit more careful than I was with some of the metal parts, as some of the welds and edges are a bit sharp and I nicked myself a couple of times. They weren’t exactly war wounds, but I still drew blood, so just be careful if you go with this product.
Once built, everything felt really sturdy but there were a few loose bits of rattan sticking out on the inside of one of the armchairs and the sofa. This didn’t bother me at all because, as they say, out of sight out of mind, right? I’d be a bit worried if a guest picked up the garden furniture and started inspecting it that closely anyway!
From the price tag, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is synthetic rattan but that has its advantages. For example, you don’t have to worry about treating it to make it weatherproof and it keeps the components quite lightweight, which comes in handy for storage reasons.
The cushions that come with the set are also showerproof, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can leave them out in all weather conditions and they’ll be ok, because they won’t and you’ll still need to store them away in winter and bad weather.
The cushions are fairly thick and padded, and this makes both armchairs and the double sofa very comfortable to relax in, and I particularly liked the height of the arm rests as they felt just right for me.
The coffee table has good dimensions of 87 x 50 x 35cm, and there’s a handy lower shelf for keeping your latest novel, power bank, etc. in easy reach. The glass pane that sits on the table top is a nice black gloss colour and it looks great in contrast to the rattan.
However, there is a flaw here. The glass just sits on the rattan table top and is not fixed down, thus making it a bit of a hazard if you have young kids or excitable pets who could knock it off. Then again, it wouldn’t take much ingenuity and DIY skill to fix it down yourself.
The other thing I didn’t like was that sometimes it was a bit difficult to use the supplied Allen key to tighten up parts of the furniture, especially in some of the tighter areas. It wasn’t impossible, but it was a bit fiddly for someone with heavy hands like myself.
Aside from those few little flaws, this is a great rattan patio set for the money. It’s sturdy, comfortable, and won’t fall apart in a spot of bad weather. Definitely worth some serious consideration.
2. WOODEN GARDEN FURNITURE PATIO GARDEN SET
This wooden patio set is another excellent option for people on a tighter budget, but who also don’t want to scrimp on quality too much.
For around 400 pounds you get a 6ft table, two armchairs, and a pair of 2-seater benches, allowing you to sit and relax with five other people to keep you company. All the seats are a good size and width and everyone should be able to sit comfortably while enjoying a drink or two.
This set can be used for dining, if you wish, but the feel I get from it is one that is more suited to chatting over a drink, and maybe some snacks from the BBQ. I think that’s because when you sit back in the seats, you feel like you’re quite far back from the table due to the angled backs of the chairs and bench.
Manufactured in the UK, the overall quality of the furniture is very good for the price, but there are a few ‘lower-budget quirks’ such as the odd splinter or small crack in the wood. None of these things are deal breakers, and are things you find on even some of the more expensive wooden sets, so this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. However, I know that some people might feel differently.
The timber used for this patio set is Scandinavian redwood and it looks stunning, but even though it might look like it has been pre-treated, it hasn’t, so if you don’t want it to get damaged by the next thunderstorm, treat it as soon as it arrives.
There is no assembly required when you order this of Amazon. The benches and chairs come already assembled and the table will be put together by the delivery driver when he drops it off. In this day and age when packages get left on your doorstep with very little regard for their safety, I thought this was a very nice touch of service.
Sometimes with cheaper wooden garden furniture, the pieces are not that thick or strong, but I definitely can’t say that about this patio set. Everything feels very stable, no doubt thanks to the chunky pieces of timber that make up the table, chairs, and benches.
If I was going to complain about something, it would be that you can’t slide the benches nor the chairs completely under the table, and so the set takes up more room than it should, and might not be a good fit for people who have smaller patios.
There are also no cushions included for the price, but that isn’t surprising to me, and to be honest, I don’t really think you need them. All of the seats are comfortable enough to sit on for long periods of time, and if you really want a level of extra comfort, you can buy cushions separately without breaking the bank.
Although not exactly perfect, this wooden patio set offers a rare level of quality for the price, and the level service offered by the company has been praised by many of their customers. I mean, not having to spend hours screwing things together? That’s worth the price tag alone for some!
3. Best Choice Products 3-Piece Polyester Patio Bistro Dining Furniture Set
In an ideal world, we’d all have large gardens and spacious patios to play with, but unfortunately that isn’t the case, and the reality is that many of us don’t have the room for a six-seater patio set, or even a four-seater one.
If that sounds like you, there’s no need to fret. There are plenty of options still available to you, such as this very popular, low-cost, bistro set from Best Choice. This set is made up of a table and two compact chairs, making it perfect for homes where space is limited.
The star of this set has to be the table. With its textured glass top and modern design, it can really transform any small patio and balcony into a place for relaxing, and even enjoying a meal with a loved one or friend.
The chairs that accompany the table are a combination of polyester fabric and a powder coated steel frame, and at first sight, I didn’t think they would be as sturdy or as comfortable as they actually are, so I’m happy to report that appearances can be deceiving in this case.
I do have to say that the chairs are on the small side though, and even though they could handle the weight of a large adult with no problems, they might not be the best thing for people with very long legs, or who have wider than average hips.
You will have to assemble this small patio set, but it is very easy and shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes to get the whole set done. There weren’t any specific instructions on how to connect the table legs, which isn’t great, but it was a very simple thing to work out on my own.
Unfortunately, the product arrived with a few scratches on it and this made me inspect the powder coating on the steel components a little more closely. I found that there were certain small spots where it had chipped already, so this is something to keep an eye out for and have a can of paint ready for a touch up.
I can’t honesty comment on the how long the polyester seats will hold up as I haven’t spent enough time with the product, but from what I’ve heard from customers, it is better to fold them away and store them when not in use, rather than leave them out, or they could end up looking worse for wear before their time.
With a little care taken, the set should last a while, and for the price you can’t really expect it to last forever anyway. What you do get is a stylish looking, comfortable patio set that is great for small spaces.
4. KETER CORFU OUTDOOR 4-SEATER GARDEN LOUNGE SET
- The lounge area of Corfu is designed to harbour up to four individuals and contains a double sofa, two couches, as well as a dining table.
- Compact layout with household instruments for simple installation.
- Stylish and advanced patio furniture which comes with a flat-style fabric which is durable, weatherproof and maintenance-free.
- The suitable lounge for gardens and fun areas, indoor / outdoor.
- Corfu rattan with inclusive pillows and ergonomic design is the perfect partner to make your leisure time truly enjoyable.
- This grey patio furniture set is weatherproof and nearly maintenance-free with a thick plastic design and can also assist you to maximise your leisure-time.
3-year warranty high performance garden furniture
- Covered sleeves and sofas are accessible to finish your set.
- Perfect storage option to all your needs while you rest in your patio.
- This is an ergonomically intended patio set with a couple of coiled sleeves, a coated double sofa as well as an accent panel which makes it easier for you all to relax as much as you are willing to.
6. HARTS PREMIUM RATTAN DINING SET
- This is indeed a superb rattan dining patio set packed with parasol as well as rain protection.
- All cushions and seats tucked under the table to store the furniture set easily.
- It is produced of a powerful aluminium frame with a warranty for 2 years.
- 8 cm dense covers of high quality on chairs and 6 cm thick covers on cushions and back covers.
- Covers are water resistant and deliver superb convenience intended specifically by Harts. Coatings can be removed and washed by machine.
- A clear, tempered glass of 6 mm protects the board.
- The rattan furniture is composed of a versatile, simple to keep and unfading PE rattan.
- The framework is made of 1.2 mm of rust-free aluminium.
- This patio set is intended to be compact and powerful.
- This traditional wooden set is suitable to enjoy on the patio or on the conservatory.
- The centre of the panel is the Parasol hole, which can be assembled at the table bottom without needing a parasol foundation.
5. MAZE RATTAN ROUND 6 SEAT BAR SET
- This traditional wooden bar collection can indeed be added to every patio or dinner party due to its glossy black design which comes with an ice bucket too.
- The rattan’s flat fabric guarantees a smooth texture and is a high quality product woven into a resistant aluminium body.
- Bar cushions are fitted with covers-but these must be preserved inside when rains are expected.
- This premium quality set consists of 6 chairs with base covers with a circular desk which measures 120 cm long and a ceramic top as well as an inlaid ice bucket, all completed in a combination of brown/beige coilers.
- Includes shower-proof covers which comply completely with the UKFR rules.
- UV protected hand produced patio set, with an aluminium frame that is rust resistant and ensures that your patio set is appropriate to be outdoor throughout the whole year
- This proficient patio set is considered to be ideal for indoor and outdoor purposes and also is accessible with complementary grey pillows in a blended grey weave.
- It gives your outdoor setting a bright texture that stimulates your environment.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our reviews of the best patio sets. We’ve also taken a look at the best table and chairs for your garden if that’s of interest. If you think there are any other patio sets that deserve a mention, please feel free to pop us a message and we will take a look at them for you too.