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Folding Chair Buyer's Guide

Folding Chair Buyer's Guide

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Shopping for folding chairs? There are a lot of folding chairs on the market, and after shopping a while, they may all begin to look the same. If you’ve ever had to sit in one for more than an hour, however, you know that they are not all made equally. Here are a few features to look for in the right folding chair.


Folding chairs are available in several materials, including metal, plastic, plastic and metal, fabric or vinyl upholstery, blow molded plastic, or even mesh material. The most common type of folding chair is constructed of metal and is available in several color choices. The metal strength is measured in gauges where the lower the gauge the stronger the steel. The video below features a metal folding chair from NPS and will help you understand folding chair terminology such as double hinges, stability plugs, glides and U-braces.

Folding chairs sold on this site are made for heavy, institutional use and normally have an 18 or 19-gauge frame. We recommend ordering the heavy duty versions if you will be setting up and taking down the chairs on a daily or weekly basis. The quality and durability of the heavy duty chairs will hold up well over time, making your investment in chairs a success in the long-term.

Metal folding chairs with plastic seats and/or backs are a popular hybrid and are often more comfortable than an all-metal chair. These come in a variety of styles and may appear more modern and are not generally as heavy. Perfect for a number of events from graduations to weddings, these chairs take up less space for storage.

Padded metal chairs are a good solution to provide comfort to those who are using the chairs. If you plan to use the chair for long presentations or on a daily basis where people might become uncomfortable without padding, the padded versions are a dream. Leather, fabric, and vinyl are all common materials used to cover padded chairs, and any of the choices is great for your applications. For easy cleaning, choose the vinyl padding, which can be wiped off with ease. Use leather padded chairs in corporate settings. If you choose a fabric padded metal chair, consider investing in a protectant for the fabric.

Inspire team spirit with a customized folding chair. Great for use at ballgames, spirit events, and school functions, customized chair are fun and festive. As an added bonus, you’ll know if someone has taken your chair because of its unique design!

Resin folding chairs are commonly seen at outdoor events, weddings, and celebrations. They are the perfect solution for all weather seating, as they will not rust if they get wet. Many of these resin chairs are incredibly strong with reinforced steel legs. While a more expensive investment, these chairs are the perfect solution for many event spaces.

Weight Capacity

Most folding chair manufacturers do not readily publish the maximum weight capacity for their folding chairs for liability reasons. The inexpensive folding chairs sold at big-box stores are designed for consumer use and do not have the commercial duty strength like most of the chairs we offer. Many of the models we carry are built to withstand more abuse than others. The use of extra leg braces, dual hinges, and heavy duty fasteners allows for weight capacities up to 1,000 lbs. on some models (
Mesh-One by Mity-Lite). Several of the National Public Seating models have been tested and have a weight capacity of up to 480 lbs. You should use caution and make sure the chair you select fits the needs of your environment.

The lightweight, easy to stock folding banquet chairs work great for outdoor events such as graduations but are not recommended for larger people. If you prefer lightweight chairs for most of your activities, but need to have another solution on hand, consider mixing some chair styles to fit the needs of your guests.

Folding Chairs for Graduation Ceremony

Tablet Arm

Some folding chairs have a tablet arm that gives the added bonus of a writing space. These tablet arms are usually small and intended for light training, note taking, or test taking. Tablet arms fold away when not in use and are available for right or left handed persons. If you purchase
tablet arm chairs, make sure 10-20% of the desks are for left handed people. Having the option of a left handed desk is important to prevent discomfort if the desks are used regularly over a period of time.

Tablet Arm Chair


If you need to create neat rows with your folding chairs, we offer universal ganging devices that join each chair together at the leg. For your folding chair storage needs, we offer several
chair caddies ranging from a double tier chair caddy to the traditional horizontal chair caddy. Being able to transport your folding chairs with ease will make your investment well worth it. You can take your chairs with you wherever they’re needed. We even offer units that allow for under stage storage of your folding chairs. Make setting up, taking down, and storing our folding chairs a breeze with these solutions from Worthington Direct.

If you have any questions regarding the folding chairs sold on the Worthington Direct website, please contact our knowledgeable customer service team at 800-599-6636, by live chat or email us at [email protected]

Top Brands for Folding Chairs:
National Public Seating Virco Samsonite KI McCourt

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