We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Written By
Updated Jun 7, 2023 4:37 PM

We’ve all done it: We go to the beach, bringing only a towel. “I can shape the sand into a sort of ground chair,” we tell ourselves, but it never really works out that way. So, instead of sinking into disappointment, grab a chair. The best beach chairs will allow you to enjoy the scenery, while also being durable and portable. Whether you’re on the best beach in the Pacific or in your yard next to the baby pool, take time to find the right size, style, and type of chair to best suit your needs.

How we chose the best beach chairs

When you’re shopping for the best beach chair, you want to be sure to snag a chair that will bring you hours of comfort, be durable enough to last at least through the summer, and be lightweight and collapsible for easy transport. Finding the best beach gear means asking yourself how and where you will be spending your time. If you plan on camping in a rustic, wooded coastal area, it may make sense to bring a portable beach hammock or easy-to-carry camping beach chair. If you have a smaller car or will be traveling on public transportation to your beach destination, you’ll want to opt for a smaller, low-profile beach chair—all the better if it has backpack straps.

The best beach chairs: Reviews & Recommendations

Best backpack chair: Tommy Bahama Backpack Cooler Beach Chair

Tommy Bahama


This Tommy Bahama beach chair is a folding chair that allows for five reclining positions, as well as a pillow for sneaky naps. The backpack beach chair’s insulated cooler bag keeps snacks cool and free of sand.

Best zero-gravity chair: Amazon Basics Outdoor Zero-Gravity Lounge Folding Chair

Amazon Basics


This sturdy zero-gravity folding chair will work at the beach, thanks to rust- and weather-resistant materials. Unlike some others, this option also includes padded armrests and a pillow to support your neck.

Best beach hammock: Best Choice Brazilian-Style Hammock

Best Choice Products


This beach hammock comes with a stand, as well as a carrying case; the stand disassembles with no tools needed, so you can pack up and move it around if necessary. It comes in several colors, too, if you want to coordinate with your bathing suit.

Best camping chair: Helinox Sunset Chair



This camping chair packs all kinds of beach-friendly features, including UV-resistant ripstop fabric and a zippered carrying case. But it’s also only 3.5 pounds in weight, which, as for all the best camping chairs, makes it perfect for carrying around.

Best budget: Coleman Camping Chair



This highly rated, powder-coated, steel, low-profile Coleman chair weighs in at only 5.3 pounds. This folding chair comes with its own carrying bag for easy transportation and includes some storage options (a mesh pocket in the back, and a cup holder on the seat) as well.

Things to consider when buying the best beach chair

There are also some extra features to beach chairs that might make your day all the more relaxing, from cooler packs to cup holders and cellphone pouches. For ultimate comfort, there are even zero-gravity-style chairs, which allow you to recline and raise your feet.

Related: Grab the best beach umbrella to shade yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.

Looking for a chair and backpack combo?

A day at the beach will include, at minimum, a comfortable chair, a few snacks and drinks, and your towel. The easier it is to carry all of this, the more easy and carefree your day will be. The best backpack beach chairs include straps that make carrying your beach haul incredibly easy. Look for backpack chairs that are adjustable, allowing for reclining flat for naps, or sitting upright for eating and watching the waves. The best backpack beach chairs—these will be folding chairs—will have some fun extras built in to help you relax and minimize the overall amount of beach day packing you need to do. Look for built-in pillows, cup holders, and more; our recommendation even includes a foldable towel rack.

Looking for a chair that will be comfortable for your back?

The best beach chairs will be comfortable for all-day lounging and relaxing. So-called zero-gravity chairs distribute weight evenly and allow you to recline so that your legs are above the height of your heart. These are just about the comfiest patio chairs out there, and some of them will work just as well on the sand. In order for a zero-gravity chair to work as a folding beach chair, it must be fully collapsible and be made from durable, UV-resistant materials. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for size guides and weight limits. Some zero-gravity beach chairs even have extra features like padding, cup holders, and canopies to shade you from the sun.

Get a jealousy-inducing nap with a beach hammock

Few images conjure up quintessential relaxation more than stretching out in a hammock. While it may seem silly to bring a hammock to a crowded public beach, you’d be surprised how often you can use one on vacation: wooded beach areas, parks, lakes, and forests are all ideal for hammocks. The best beach hammock will be lightweight and easily packed, with a device that makes it easy to construct. Most portable hammocks are designed to hang between two trees, but if that doesn’t seem likely, you can find one with a stand, too. In that case, look for a stand that’s designed to be taken apart and transported. Often these stands even come with a travel bag with a shoulder strap to make carrying and moving easier. With their flexible fabric design, hammocks are a great choice if you think you might want to catch a nap. 

Looking for a chair that’s easy to carry?

For most of us, going to the beach involves lugging. You’re going to have to carry stuff—a lot of stuff—down to the sand. The best camping chairs are designed with this obstacle in mind. These have to be lightweight, because they’re going to be carried, sometimes over long distances. Nobody has to know that you’re actually reading a book on the beach, not trekking through the wilderness, in a camping beach chair. Look for camping beach chairs with tall backs; not all have this, and you’ll want to rest your head. Consider materials that are both washable and ventilated for warm summer days. 

Looking for beach chairs on a budget? 

Fortunately, there are plenty of budget folding beach chairs on the market. You’ll have to give up some features and styles; don’t bank on grabbing a zero-gravity chair or one with a high-tech folding camping frame for under $50. But there are still great options. Make sure to look for UV-resistant materials, which will keep the fabric from stretching and becoming brittle in the sun. These chairs may be affordable, but that doesn’t mean you want to replace them too often.


Q: Are zero-gravity chairs good for the beach?

Zero-gravity chairs are good for the beach, but not all of them. These chairs are typically made of tough, weather- and water-resistant materials, and, of course, they’re super comfortable. But some of these chairs can be exceedingly heavy, which really reduces their utility as beach chairs. Look for UV-resistant fabrics, a lightweight (ideally 12 pounds or less), and rust-proof coating on any metal bits.

Q: Why are beach chairs so low to the ground?

Beach chairs are low to the ground to allow for more stability and comfort. When seated on top of the sand, the surface is soft and sometimes uneven, which can make things a bit…tippy. When low to the ground, your center of gravity also moves lower, making it harder to topple over. Plus, lower chairs have less material, which makes them more portable.

Q: Are camping chairs good for the beach?

The best camping chairs are a great choice for the beach because they are designed to be lightweight, foldable, and easy to carry. But make sure you really look at them: some camping chairs are too minimal, more like stools, and your use case is less about minimizing the weight of a camping pack and more about comfort and relaxation.

Related: Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Final thoughts on the best beach chairs

The best beach chairs will allow you to kick back, relax, and enjoy a full day at the beach. Whether you want to indulge in a zero-gravity chair to feel like a vacationing astronaut, set up a portable hammock, or just grab something lightweight for a long walk to the shore, you’ll find something here to make your beach day great.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.