Although most outdoor chairs are intended to be kept outdoors at all times, they often need a little extra protection to extend their life. Water and dust can work together to permanently damage and stain patio chairs, especially if they have fabric with cushioning. If you don't intend to bring your patio chairs indoors or store them in a shed, then using patio chair covers becomes all that more important. Covers for patio chairs are designed to protect your investment for years to come. When applied between uses, your chairs will never be damaged by the sun, rain or dirt. They apply easily and stay on tight, often using Velcro or elastic bands to secure them on. While it may seem that a patio chair cover is simply a piece of fabric or plastic, there are many features to look for that can enhance your chair protection experience. This guide intends to cover these features to help you make a better purchase decision.
How to Choose A Size
Patio chair covers are usually measured in terms of the height of the chair's back to the base of the legs. The chair cover should leave about an inch of uncovered space at the base of the legs to prevent the cover from getting caught under the legs when moving the chair. Manufacturers almost always specify the length, width and height of the cover, so measure your chair beforehand to ensure that it fits within these boundaries. If your chair is atypically tall at the back, a "high-back" patio chair cover is a good choice. Extra tall chair covers are available for chairs that are stackable. The stackable chair covers can protect several patio chairs while in the stacked position. This allows users to store their chairs in a compact fashion while still ensuring protection.
Velcro / Elastic Bands
To ensure that the patio chair cover stays on snug, many covers have special bands at the bottom which attach to the chair's legs. Without these bands, winds can pose a serious problem, blowing the covers off unexpectedly. Elastic loops require the user to lift up each chair leg to wrap it around each one. Velcro straps are easier to use in that they strap around each leg without any lifting necessary. If you do not anticipate high winds in your area, straps like these may not be a necessary extra.
It is important to pay attention to the type of material the patio chair cover is made of. Some covers don't actually provide protection from the sun or rain. If the cover is made from vinyl, PVC or any other plastic, you can be sure that it will provide sufficient protection from moisture. However, unless the manufacturer states that the cover is UV proof, it may not protect the chairs from sun damage which causes fading. Fabric covers are generally more appealing in design and color, and can offer comparable or superior protection to that of plastic varieties. Fabric outdoor chair covers have a natural or synthetic weave on the exterior which is mostly decorative. The inside is lined with vinyl or PVC which provides the waterproofing benefits. Fabric has the advantage of blocking out all sunlight to prevent sun damage. If you live in an area with below-freezing temperatures, I suggest purchasing a cover with an "anti crack" feature.
Some patio chair covers are equipped with air vents. These specialized vents allow air to flow freely through the cover, preventing it from blowing off in extreme winds. In addition, the air flowing through these vents can prevent condensation from building up in the chair. Moisture that gathers on a metal chair can cause rust, while moisture in seat cushions can cause discoloration and rot.
Single Vs. Multiple Chairs
If you have an outdoor dining set with chairs and a table, there are covers available that can protect everything at once. These larger covers are draped over your whole patio set at once, eliminating the need for multiple covers. With a single cover, users don't need to slide or stack all of their chairs before covering them. Both rectangular and circular shaped covers are available.