Why Is Patio Furniture So Expensive? (Here's Why & Tips to Save)

Emily Carr
by Emily Carr

Outdoor spaces are a coveted part of any home- loved for their fresh air and natural sunlight. Sipping a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on your patio during a crisp fall evening is enough to make anyone’s heart flutter.

However, a terrace’s true opulence lies within its furnishings. There’s no getting around the fact that patio furniture is (and has always been) SO expensive… but why?

Patio furniture is so expensive because of its durable material, size, weight, and added shipping costs. Most stores want to clear out their outdoor furniture stock by August, so wait for furniture sales between the fourth of July and Labor Day. This will give you savings of up to 20%.

Keep reading to learn more about why patio furniture is so expensive and the different materials it’s made of. Additionally, we’ll talk about buying on a budget and how to preserve your outdoor space!

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Why Is Patio Furniture So Expensive?

It’s hard to imagine that our garden furniture could be equal to or greater in cost than indoor fixtures. We have an explanation.

Patio furniture is so expensive due to its:

  • Shipping costs
  • Durability
  • Size and Weight

Let’s dive into more of what this means below.

Shipping Costs

Think about it- patio furniture is usually just as large as your indoor pieces. So why wouldn’t they cost the same to transport?

I think we have an unrealistic expectation that just because something is used less, it should be cheaper. Local transport of outdoor furniture costs around $163, while cross-country shipments can be as much as $450. White glove service and professional assembly can run prices up even more.

Just as you would your inside decor, you want to make sure patio furniture is handled with care and put together properly. This can cost a pretty penny!


Indoor furniture is like a house plant- low maintenance and little care required. With patio furniture, you want something that can withstand the elements and be easily cleaned.

The main reason patio furniture is so expensive is due to its resilience. Metal pieces, like aluminum, receive a powder or paint coating. Wood is sealed with polyurethane or Tung oil, while outdoor wicker furniture is made of synthetic polyethylene resin.

Similar to the stain-resistant fabric option for your couch, waterproofing your outdoor furniture or opting for a longer-lasting material like teak is costly.

Size and Weight

Especially if you live in an area subjected to high winds or extreme weather conditions, you need substantial patio furniture.

Besides concrete, cast and wrought iron are two of the strongest materials for outdoor furniture. Wrought iron is stronger, but cast iron is harder. A cubic foot of cast iron weighs 442 lbs, while a cubic foot of wrought iron weighs 480 lbs.

Heavy materials like this usually run more expensive, as does the transportation of bulky items. The more delivery men required, the more you’ll pay in transport fees.

Is Expensive Patio Furniture Worth the Cost?

As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” When it comes to outdoor furniture, quality costs money. The market is saturated with retailers selling cheap imitations, but is the real deal worth it?

No matter your situation, if you live in a place you expect to stay for 5+ years, the answer is yes. This is especially true if you live up north or in the desert, where temperature extremes are common. Investing in quality pieces now will save you from having to replace them in the near future.

The more durable and properly made your patio furniture is, the longer it will last. This usually requires shelling out some serious dough upfront.

To make room in your budget, you can skimp on accessories like planters and pillows. These decor items quickly go out of style, and there’s no need to pay top dollar for something that might be replaced in a year or two.

Video: Where to Buy Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture Options (Costs and Quality Comparison)

There are so many options when it comes to outfitting your outdoor space. The material you select, its durability, furniture configurations, pricing, and quality are all important factors.

The most common materials used in patio furniture are:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Rattan & Wicker
  • Plastic
  • Concrete
  • Optional Materials

We’ll discuss more of the details below to help you select the best option for your outdoor sanctuary!


Wood is a popular choice for patio furniture because of its natural aesthetic and overall sustainability. It’s an especially attractive choice for wintery atmospheres.

Here is a comprehensive guide for the most common types of woods used in patio furniture:



Moisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
TeakYesYesYesLow70+ years$1,377 Havenside Home Set Somerset Bar Set
Acacia WoodYesNoYesHigh25 years$245 Cucunu Bistro Set Christopher Knight Home Set
RedwoodYesYesYesMedium20 years$858 Millwood Pines Set Forever Redwood Set
Cedar woodYesYesYesLow30 years$570 Lakeland Mills Set Creekvine Designs Set

*Note: Average Cost is calculated using a bistro set configuration.

Teak is incredibly popular outdoors due to its longevity. It is, however, in limited supply- making it the least cost-conscious option. Redwood is another favorite patio furniture material, although it requires an oil-based sealant to be climate resistant. Like teak, it’s also harder to find, which explains the high price.

Acacia wood and cedar are much more budget-friendly. Cedar is most commonly found in saunas, able to resist the warping effect caused by high heat and humidity. Even so, it is recommended to cover this type of wood ahead of a severe snowstorm.

Acacia is the cheapest option- it resists scratches well but requires daily wipe-downs to combat mold and is sensitive to too much sunlight. For this reason, it’s the least attractive option for those that want something low-maintenance.


Metal patio furniture is the sleekest looking and strongest. Materials like aluminum, wrought iron, cast iron, and stainless steel make for a simple design element, perfect for minimalists alike.

The most relevant downside is that metal absorbs heat- you must be careful not to burn yourself on this type of furniture during hot summer months.

Here is a comprehensive guide for the most common types of metals used in patio furniture:

Metal MaterialMoisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
AluminumYesYes; Absorbs HeatNoLow18 years$202 Yaheetech Patio Set TITIMO Set
Stainless SteelYesYes; Absorbs HeatYesLow20+ years$815 StyleWell Bistro Set Julep Lane Set
Wrought IronNoYes; Absorbs HeatYesMedium60+ years$745 Vintage Hollywood Regency Set Midcentury Set
Cast IronNoYes; Absorbs HeatYesMedium18 years$1,100 Noble House Set 1970’s Victorian Set

*Note: Average Cost is calculated using a bistro set configuration.

Wrought and cast iron were much more popular 50 years ago. Searching for new furniture proved to be difficult (hence the price), while most of the online options were gently-used. Both require either a powder coating or sealant to be water-resistant.

Wrought iron furniture’s most memorable trait is that it lasts over 60 years- by far the longest of the bunch!

Aluminum is the most affordable and requires the least amount of care. However, aluminum is usually hollow (unless specifically described as cast aluminum), making it more prone to blowing over due to high wind speeds.

Lastly, stainless steel is a great option for those who love clean lines and material longevity. This type of steel is generally more expensive as a result.

Rattan & Wicker

Rattan and wicker materials are loved by those with a flair for coastal style. Sometimes the two are confused- rattan is correctly described as the woven material, while wicker is the technique in which it is woven. Realistically, the terms can be used interchangeably.

Here is a comprehensive guide of the two types of rattan/wicker patio furniture:



Moisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
Synthetic Rattan/WickerYesYesNoLow15 years$279 SUNCROWN Bistro Set Barton Set


NoNoNoHigh1.5 years$662 Havenside Home Set May Wynn Chairs & Table

*Note: Average Cost is calculated using a bistro set configuration.

Synthetic wicker is made of a high-density polyethylene resin, which enables it to withstand outdoor conditions. For this reason alone, synthetic wicker is more popular and less costly to maintain or replace. Because it’s relatively lightweight, high winds could damage or blow this type of furniture away.

Synthetic materials, in general, are easy to clean and appeal to those looking for a sustainable choice.

Natural rattan/wicker is typically made of bamboo or seagrass and is best suited for indoor or screened-in spaces. You can attempt to apply a sealant to natural rattan, but it won’t last outdoors for long due to the woven texture. Even the smallest amounts of heat and moisture wreaks havoc on this material.


Plastic patio furniture is the lowest maintenance by far. No fancy sealant is required; usually, you can stack it, move it with ease, and it’s the most affordable.

Here is a detailed chart of the durability, longevity, and cost of plastic patio furniture:

MaterialMoisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
PlasticYesYesNoLow50+ years$150 Flash Furniture Set East Urban Home Set

*Note: Average Cost is calculated using a bistro set configuration.

Plastic furniture isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing, but it is a quick fix for a small space you want to enjoy. It can be effortlessly cleaned and collapsed for storage.

The best part is that plastic furniture can be made in various colors to give your outdoor patio a vibrant feel!


While most outdoor furniture that’s made of concrete is built into the ground, some pieces are available for purchase.

Here is a detailed chart of the durability, longevity, and cost of concrete patio furniture:

MaterialMoisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
ConcreteYesYesYesLowThousands of years$1,000*most are commercial options or must be made custom*most are commercial options or must be made custom

*Note: Average Cost is calculated using a bistro set configuration.

Concrete is super minimalistic and timeless, although, due to its weight, it’s incredibly difficult to move. It’s usually combined with other materials and is best used as a center table or study foundation.

Other Materials

Patio furniture is composed of some other materials, besides just the structural elements. Upholstery and tempered glass are the main ones.

Here is a comprehensive list of the most common “other materials” used in patio furniture:

MaterialMoisture & Mold ResistantSunlight & Heat ResistantWind ResistantCare RequirementsLongevityAverage CostLow Cost OptionHigh Cost Option
UpholsteryYesYesNoHigh3 years$20/yard Ottertex Fabric Sunbrella Fabric
Tempered GlassYesYesYesLow10 years$6.25/inch Aquatex Table Top Glass Tops Direct Table Top

*Note: Average Cost is calculated for Upholstery by yard. Average Cost is calculated for Tempered Glass based on a single, round table top by inch.

Getting the right type of upholstery for your outdoor space is important. The most common are fabrics like polypropylene fabric, acrylic fabric, synthetic fiber, nylon mesh, and certain cotton blends. This is because they are stain, fade, and water-resistant.

Popular fabric brands include Sunbrella and Outdura. The interior of the cushions or pillows is just as important- most of them are made up of foam, polyester fibers, or a combination of both.

While glass is not always used in patio furniture, it’s a trend that is increasing in popularity. Glass is very durable in temperate conditions but can shatter from extreme cold or hail.

How to Preserve Your Patio Furniture

The first step to preserving your patio furniture is choosing the best material for your home’s climate and your lifestyle.

The best rules to follow in order to protect your outdoor furniture are:

  • Follow each piece of furniture’s maintenance guidelines (every material has different requirements).
  • Remove all cushions and stack them in a shed/garage during winter months or storms.
  • Be conscious of seasons and weather conditions- avoid leaving furniture outside when the temperature changes rapidly (i.e., from hot to cold or cold to hot).
  • Only use furniture covers if they are specifically designed for outdoor furniture.
  • Use mild soaps and detergents when cleaning upholstery.
  • Keep safe distances between furniture, fire pits, electrical cords, and lighters.
  • Wrap glass table tops with tablecloths for dinner parties.

For those who live in colder climates, certain metal, wicker, or any type of wood patio furniture is a great solution for your space. If you experience high levels of snow and moisture, steer clear of wrought or cast irons as they will degrade unless sealed repeatedly.

Especially avoid placing a tempered glass table outside during below-freezing temperatures.

If you live somewhere hot and humid, like Miami, opt for plastic, redwood, or cedar wood. Avoid metals as they absorb heat, and you could burn yourself. Although acacia is the most cost-friendly wood option, it can easily become warped during warm and wet weather.

Concrete and teak are durable options for either climate, while all-natural rattan should be kept indoors.

Patio Furniture: Buying on a Budget

Quality patio furniture is known to be incredibly expensive, but there are some ways you can save money if you’re on a budget.

If price is your biggest concern, here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to purchasing outdoor furniture:

  • Buy Patio Furniture in Bulk
  • Buy Patio Furniture Off-Season
  • Consider Gently-Used Pieces

Buy Patio Furniture in Bulk

Patio furniture has become a hot commodity, although you should be able to find an affordable set if you know where to look.

Like most other multi-piece items, patio sets can usually be found at wholesale clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club. By purchasing the entire set in bulk, you could save hundreds of dollars.

This is also true when purchasing in person. Certain stores have patio sets on display that they’re willing to offer at a discount. You’ll also be able to avoid shipping costs by transporting the furniture using your own vehicle.

Buy Patio Furniture Off-Season

If you want to save even more money on your purchase, make sure to buy your patio furniture during the off-season.

Outdoor furniture can be purchased almost year-round, but the most affordable deals are available during the winter months after Labor Day. Alfresco pieces are usually on sale as retailers clear out their inventory to make room for holiday decorations and cold-weather apparel.

Like many other outdoor appliances that go on sale in the winter, you can typically score great deals by shopping in January. Patio furniture is much cheaper at this time of year; you could even find a set for half the price!

Consider Gently-Used Pieces

Never turn your nose up at something that’s been used (but maintained with care). Sometimes it’s the best way to get your hands on high-quality furniture without paying retail.

Outdoor furniture, like most other things, is often bought to be used for a certain amount of time and then discarded. Many people will purchase a patio set, use it for one or two seasons, and then decide it’s no longer their style.

Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for those looking to give away or sell gently-used patio sets.

Related Questions

Why is patio furniture out of stock right now?

No matter the season or the year, supply chain problems, part shortages, and unforeseen obstacles plague consumers when we least expect it. The patio furniture market is no exception.Recently, importing furniture has posed a challenge, and many stores haven’t received the stock they ordered a while ago. Try visiting stores in person to see if they’d be willing to sell you display sets.Most retailers have been understanding during these conditions, so at the very least, many will offer you a discount for extreme order delays.

Why is patio furniture so low to the ground?

This seems to be a common question people want the answer to.Generally speaking, any object that’s lower to the ground has a lower center of gravity. This makes it more stable, especially on uneven outdoor terrain. Lower pieces are also easier to store away when necessary.

What month does patio furniture go on sale?

When businesses are clearing out their summer items in order to make space for the next fall season, patio furniture is frequently on sale. This happens from August to October, and the average discount is about 20%!

Do You Need to Hire Custom Furniture Makers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

The Bottom Line

Patio furniture is a big up-front expenditure, but it’s worth the money if you plan on using your outdoor space regularly. If you live in an area that gets lots of sunshine year-round, patio sets are extremely worthwhile.

The ideal option would be to buy outdoor furniture right after Labor Day to take advantage of the seasonal sales.

Opt for more durable materials like concrete, plastic, wrought iron, or teak to ensure that your investment will last for years to come!

Related Guide

Emily Carr
Emily Carr

Emily is a copywriter with over five years of experience in crafting content for the home renovation and remodeling industry. She loves house projects, whether it be painting a room or tweaking small design elements to transform a space. Her favorite aesthetic is french modern because of its clean lines and airy feeling! When not writing, Emily loves to travel and check out architectural details all over the world.

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