The Ultimate Folding Chairs Buying Guide: Types, Materials and Benefits of Use

Pile of folding chairs against a wall

In the market for a set of efficient folding chairs but not sure where to start? Our guide to folding chairs provides everything to need to know before you make a purchase.  

From the benefits to your business to the options available, here’s our extensive guide to folding chairs.  

What are Folding Chairs?  

Folding chairs are distinct from most types of chairs you find around the office. Their design, feel, and what they are built for is very different to a standard office chair.   

Folding chairs are designed for limited use, to be sat on for a brief period. Factors like ergonomics or the long-term comfort of users, are not considered in their design – instead they emphasise practicality and offer a lightweight option.  

Often bought in bulk, folding chairs are frequently used in large spaces for events like weddings or where a large number of employees will gather at once. As the name suggests, folding chair can be quickly folded up into a more manageable size and put away into storage.  

Benefits of Folding Chairs   

What will a folding chair bring to your organisation? Here are three of the most significant benefits.  

Space saving 

One of the most attractive features of a folding chair is the ability to fold them away when they aren’t in use. Businesses and schools use them for events or assemblies, before folding them all up ready for storage.  

Folding chairs give you the opportunity to have readily available seating for these types of occasions without taking up significant room in your storage area. 

Cost-effective  

Folding chairs are designed for short stints. The design can therefore be stripped back to leave only the basic necessities. Without expensive features and materials, the price of folding chairs can be significantly less than that of many alternatives.  

Practicality   

You won’t find a chair that’s more practical than a folding chair. Not only can you fold them away in your storage area or temporarily remove them from a room so that space can be used for something else, they can also be transported. If you need seating for use at events away from your office or school, folding chairs are the perfect choice.  

Using a folding chair cart, you can easily transport dozens of folding chairs stacked safely in one unit. Even without a cart, folding chairs are lightweight and easy to move around in large numbers. 

Types of Folding Chairs   

There are a few different types of folding chair on the market – here are the main type of folding chairs and what you need to consider with each one. 

Plastic, metal and wood folding chair

Metal Folding Chairs  

There are three significant materials used for the frame of a folding chair; the first is metal. The most durable and often most expensive material, a strong steel metal chair will likely last you longer than any other type.  

In summary: 

  • Sturdy material is built to last 
  • Great for indoor or outdoor use 
  • Can be used a number of times without damage 
  • Subject to rust if exposed to rain 

Plastic Folding Chairs  

Plastic is a much cheaper material than metal, so these types of folding chairs will be more cost-effective. However, with a cheaper build comes less durability. Like metal, plastic is easy to keep clean as the surfaces can be wiped down after use.  

In summary: 

  • Cheap to buy 
  • Lightweight so easy to transport 
  • Easily wiped down to keep clean  
  • Can be used indoor or outdoor 

Wood Folding Chairs  

Wood offers something that both metal and plastic do not – style. A good quality wood finish is a more elegant type of folding chair, making them a good choice for events like weddings or other formal occasions.  

In summary: 

  • Premium look and feel 
  • Strong build quality 
  • Great durability  
  • Easily wiped down to keep clean  
  • Can be used indoor or outdoor 

Types of Folding Chair Padding 

Many folding chairs come with built-in padding, adding an element of comfort to what can otherwise be hard, uncomfortable seating. Generally, they come in one of two forms. 

Fabric and vinyl folding chairs

Fabric Seated Folding Chairs  

The first is fabric. This type of covering goes big on comfort but may not be suitable for the outdoors given its susceptibility to rain damage.  

In summary: 

  • Very comfortable padding 
  • Resistant to higher temperatures  
  • Not resistant to rainfall 
  • Tricky to clean over time 
  • Designed for indoors  

Vinyl Seated Folding Chairs  

The other option on offer is vinyl. This type of padding brings pros and cons when compared to fabric. Vinyl padding can be taken outdoors, but on particularly hot days it will be uncomfortable to sit on. Vinyl is also easier to keep clean simply by wiping it down. 

In summary: 

  • Comfortable padding 
  • Can be uncomfortable when exposed to heat 
  • Easy to keep clean 
  • Can be used outdoors or indoor use only 

Folding Chairs Maintenance   

Invest in a sturdy, high-quality set of folding chairs, and they could be good for several years of extensive use. To get the best of them over the long-term, you’ll need to undertake some basic annual maintenance.  

Each year, take a look at your folding chairs and see if you can identify any of the following issues: 

  • Cracks in the plastic 
  • Deteriorating welding 
  • Missing screws  
  • Bent legs 
  • Rust 
  • Damaged rivets  

To keep employees, pupils or other users safe, be sure to either repair any of the following damage or bring in a replacement. Given the cost-effective nature of folding chairs, it shouldn’t be a significant outlay if you need to replace a couple of folding chairs each year.  

Folding Chairs Carts 

One of most significant benefits of folding chairs is the ability to move them around ‘en masse’. To do that you’ll need a folding chair cart. Even here, there is a decision to make on which one to buy.  

Hanging, standing and stacking folding chair carts

Folding Chair Hanging Cart 

Hanging vertically and suspended in the air, these are ideal if you are stacking a number of different varieties of chairs that you want to keep organised. With several rows on which to hang chairs, you can dedicate a row to a type or colour of chair.  

Folding Chair Stacking Cart 

These allow for chairs to be stacked horizontally face down in a pile. The biggest benefit of these is the ease of stacking as they can be simply be placed on top of one another. However, as the stack gets higher it can become more difficult to access the chairs on top.  

Folding Chair Standing Cart 

These carts stack your chairs in an upright position, allowing for simple stacking side-by-side. Unlike the stacking chairs cart, chairs that are stacked in this way are all positioned at the same height. This makes for easy access to the chairs when you wish to take them from the cart. 

Folding chairs are essential, versatile everyday seating that every business can benefit from. Using this guide, you’ll easy be able to identify which folding chairs are ideal for your business, school or organisation.  

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