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A Complete Buying Guide for Swings and Hammocks

There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than lounging on the porch with friends and family. And there’s no better outdoor lounge furniture than a hammock or porch swing. 

Not only do they help you spend more time out in the fresh air, but swings and hammocks also add character to your home. These classic staples of outdoor d├ęcor will transform any yard or porch into a welcoming gathering place. 

But there are so many styles and materials to choose from when buying furniture. How do you know which hammock or swing is the right one for you? 

This article will outline several key factors that you need to think about before selecting the best swings and hammocks for your home. 

Hanging or Standing: Which Is Right for You?

There are two main varieties of hammocks and swings: standing or hanging.

Standing Hammocks and Swings 

A standing hammock or swing comes with a freestanding base. Once the base is assembled, the hammock or swing is attached to it with ropes or chains.

The great thing about standing hammocks is the flexibility they allow in choosing where to set up your new furniture. You can set them up right in the middle of your garden without having to find two big trees or a load-bearing ceiling. 

The biggest drawback is that the base can take up quite a bit of space. If you are planning to put your setup in a high-traffic area or on a smaller porch, you may want to think twice before investing in a standing hammock or swing.

Hanging Hammocks and Swings

A hanging hammock or swing doesn’t come with its own stand. It must be hung directly from the ceiling of your porch or a sturdy pair of trees in your backyard. If you aren’t sure that your porch can support the weight of your hammock, call a professional to assess your situation. 

A hanging hammock or swing does limit your options in terms of where you can place your new furniture. However, because they don’t come with a bulky free-standing base, these options have a much smaller footprint. 

If you prefer a less cluttered, minimalist aesthetic, or if you have a smaller porch, a hanging hammock may be the right choice for you. 

Best Choice for Kids

Are you primarily looking for something to entertain the kids? You’ll want something extra sturdy, safe, fun, and big enough to share. 

We think that the flying platform type of swing is the ideal choice for kids. Made with durability in mind, these swings have no sharp edges, and their mesh seats are big enough for multiple kids to crawl and play on. 

Their open design and soft materials invite kids to spend hours playing and relaxing together. If you’re looking to create some nostalgic childhood memories, look no further!

Capacity

How many people will be using this swing at a time? If you’re looking for a spot where the whole family can gather together, you’re going to need to take extra time to examine the weight capacities of your prospective hammock or swing. 

While browsing for your new swing or hammock, you can find the weight capacity of your potential new hammock in the product description, usually in the specifications section. You may also see weight capacity listed as “Max. Load.”

There are also options for the solo porch sitter. These swings are smaller but much cozier than your typical hammock or porch swing. A single-serving porch swing can turn your patio into your own private getaway!

Canopies

Did you know that some porch swings and hammocks come with their own canopy? This is a variety of standing hammock that allows a canopy to be attached to the freestanding base. 

This really opens up your flexibility in terms of selecting a spot to place your hammock or swing. With a canopy, you could set up right in the middle of a field without worrying about protection from the sun or bringing blankets and umbrellas to sit on. 

Swings: Cushions and Materials 

How much time do you think you will spend on your new furniture?

If you don’t plan on lounging in your swing or hammock for hours at a time, or if you’re primarily looking to enhance the look of your home, you may not want to bother with cushions. They’ll eventually wear out and need to be replaced.

You may prefer a wood or metal option. These will last much longer and offer a bold, classic style. 

That said, there are outdoor cushions that can last for years if taken care of properly. And if you are looking forward to reading or napping on your patio, comfort is a must.

You could also look out for seating made of polyester mesh. Cotton may be softer, but it doesn’t hold up well under the elements. 

Hammock Spreader Bars

If you’ve ever used a traditional hammock, you will be familiar with how your weight will cause the hammock material to curve around you. This can make for an extra-cozy atmosphere for one or two people. 

But if you’re planning to use your hammock in a more social setting, you’ll probably look for a hammock that comes with spreader bars. 

A spreader bar is essentially a long piece of wood or metal that runs through the end of your hammock. This causes your hammock to remain flat even when you’re laying on it. This lets you get up and down easily and allows multiple people to sit on the hammock without being clustered in the center. 

Portability

Depending on the time of day, the weather, or your mood, you might want to relax in a different part of your yard every day. Or maybe you would like to bring the fun of a hammock along with you on your next hike.

If so, you might want to look into a tree hammock. With just a pair of ropes and a special hammock twist, you can safely attach this type of hammock to any pair of sturdy trees. No hammering or drilling required!

With a tree hammock, you can set up your outdoor lounge wherever you can find two sturdy trees close together. Whether you’re at the park, the trail, or your friend’s backyard, these portable wonders add a whole new lounge area. 

Consider Buying a Cover

Although not completely necessary, it is recommended to purchase covers for your outdoor furniture. 

While outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements, it will eventually suffer wear from exposure to rain, snow, and UV rays. A cover will significantly extend the life of your furniture. 

Another benefit of the cover is that you’re swing or hammock won’t be covered in a thick layer of pollen every spring. This accessory can save you time and expense in the long run. 

Gazebo-Style Swings

If you want to combine the protection of a sunroom with the fun of an outdoor swing, you’ll be happy to learn about gazebo-style swings.

These are the next step after the canopy swing. Not only do gazebo swings protect you from the sun above, but their removable mesh walls also protect you from rain and insects. 

Swings vs. Gliders

A traditional swing moves back and forth along a curved angle. These are fine for most people, but they can be difficult to get in and out of. The swing can also become fatiguing after a while for some users. 

For those who want a more gentle swing or just want to try something different, gliders are a great option. 

A glider moves back and forth on a flat plane, parallel with the ground. This makes them much easier to get into. The lack of curve on the swing also makes them gentler on those who easily become dizzy or nauseous.

Materials

If you plan on purchasing a model that incorporates fabric into the design, be sure to purchase polyester for outdoor use. This plastic-based fabric will last much longer than natural-fiber alternatives like cotton. 

As far as the frames go, you have several options. The most inexpensive material is plastic. The drawback here is that plastic will fade in the sunlight over time and is the least resistant to scratches. 

Wood is a durable choice and provides the most classic look. However, wood does require some maintenance. You will need to re-finish or re-paint once every couple of years to keep it looking fresh. 

Metal frames usually come with a powder coating that protects the metal from rusting. But this coating can chip off and need repair down the road. It’s also the heaviest option, which is something to think about if you’re planning on a hanging hammock or swing. 

Start Exploring Swings and Hammocks

There’s a lot to think about before you find the right swing or hammock for you. Where you want it to go, who is going to be using it, and how you want to use it will all affect your final decision. 

Now that you know all about the different swings and hammocks available, you’re ready to go and find the perfect solution for you!

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