There’s been a lot of debate lately in the pool furniture world: rattan or synthetic wicker? Both materials have their pros and cons, but which one is the best for your needs? Well, the answer depends on what you expect from your patio furniture.
Rattan is made from natural materials, so it’s environmentally friendly and biodegradable. It also has a very organic look that many people prefer. On the other hand, synthetic wicker is made from plastic materials and is not environmentally friendly. But it’s more weather-resistant than rattan, which is a big plus for pool furniture.
When it comes to buying pool furniture, the question foremost on most shoppers’ minds is – rattan vs. synthetic wicker? Which is better? What are the benefits and drawbacks of rattan? What are the advantages and disadvantages of wicker?
This guide will give you the low-down of what to buy and what to stay away from when choosing wicker furniture sets for the pool area. I also review the seven top-rated pool wicker furniture sets and storage containers.
Rattan vs. Synthetic Wicker: What is Better for Pool Furniture?
First of all: rattan and wicker are two entirely different things. So, when we want to compare rattan vs. wicker, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Rattan is a natural material used for making items like baskets and furniture. Wicker is a technique used for making or weaving furniture. The word ‘wicker’ is derived from the Scandinavian word ‘wika’ – meaning to bend.
Rattan is a strong wood obtained from the vines of the ‘rotan palm trees’ indigenous to the Southeastern Asian jungles. Wicker, on the other hand, is a technique of weaving that dates back at least 5000 years.
In short: you can have rattan woven using the wicker technique to make baskets, furniture, etc. However, wicker furniture is not restricted to using rattan as a material.
To answer the question: which is better for pool furniture? Rattan material woven using the wicker technique around a sturdy frame makes for beautiful, long-lasting, tough pool and patio furniture.
You can also have synthetic rattan or synthetic wicker made of PVC or PE materials. We chose to go with synthetic wicker made of PVC. More about this later in the guide.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Rattan
- Natural rattan is long-lasting, durable, and needs minimal care. It is stain-resistant.
- It is available in various colors ranging from deep browns to light walnut to shades of beige and browns or coffee to jet black.
- It can withstand harsh environmental conditions like heavy rain, sun, and wind. Rattan also has strong UV resistance.
- Depending on the base (around which the rattan is woven), you can have non-corrosive furniture.
- Because it’s natural wood, rattan is susceptible to damage by insects.
- It may not be weatherproof.
- It comes with a hefty price tag, thanks to handweaving. Also, procuring rattan is tedious – just one pole of rattan harvested from rainforests can cost around $35. Add to it transportation and handweaving costs, and you end up with a hefty price tag.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Wicker Weaving Technique
- The wicker weave is stylish and looks attractive
- When handled correctly and using the right materials, wicker woven furniture is lightweight and holds its shape well.
- The technique is very versatile – you can have subtle or simpler weaves to artful and intricate ones. In both cases, you get a sturdy and rigid frame.
The art of wicker weaving is usually handed down from generation to generation. It is labor-intensive. This makes genuine wicker furniture rather expensive.
After considering the pros and cons, we bought synthetic wicker, and I believe it was the right choice. Our pool furniture is over five years old and still looks new. However, we did replace the cushions on the chairs and loveseat.
What’s the Difference Between Natural Wicker and Resin Wicker?
As mentioned before, wicker isn’t a ‘material.’ It is a technique of weaving used for making items. Most outdoor furniture items for the patio and poolside are made using resin or synthetic wicker.
Resin wicker is also called all-weather wicker. It is durable compared to many natural materials, which makes it an excellent choice for patio or poolside furniture.
Most people use the word wicker to refer to rattan. Rattan wicker is natural, whereas resin wicker is synthetic.
The following table shows the differences between natural rattan wicker and synthetic or resin wicker:
|Natural Rattan Wicker||Resin/Synthetic Wicker|
|Durability||Strong and durable. However, it cannot withstand all weather conditions.||Resistant to most weather conditions.|
|Indoors/outdoors||It needs to be stored indoors during adverse weather conditions. Natural rattan is not waterproof; hence not always a good choice for salty beachside areas or chlorine water/pools.||It can withstand even the harshest of weather conditions outdoors. HDPE resin is resistant to chlorine, mold, and mildew.|
|Comfort||Mostly comfortable – but the comfort also depends on the quality of weaving used.||Comfort depends on the quality of resin used, size, etc.|
|Care and upkeep||Need more care and upkeep. You need to dust it, wipe it with linseed oil, clean stains, etc. It also needs to be stored indoors in the rain/snow.||Easier to care for.|
|Price||Pricier||is usually less expensive but the price depends on the quality of resins used. HDPE is cheaper and also 100% recyclable.|
Which Is Better for Outdoor Furniture Wicker or Rattan?
Natural rattan wicker furniture may not be weatherproof. The natural wooden fibers can get very cold and brittle. They are prone to cracking, breaking, and even discoloration due to the harsh UV rays.
How long natural rattan wicker furniture lasts outdoors depends on the furniture’s location, how well you care for it, and the weather and climate in your region.
Natural rattan is not waterproof. If you keep it near chlorinated pool water, it can sustain severe damage.
Synthetic wicker is better for poolside use and does not need much care and maintenance. The sturdy resins used in synthetic wicker can resist mold, mildew, chlorine, and salts. You can easily wipe down synthetic wicker furniture without worrying about it fading, cracking, or warping.
If you use natural rattan wicker, you may have to store it indoors during heavy rain or snow.
Bottom-line – synthetic wicker is better for outdoor use than natural rattan wicker woven furniture.
How to Tell Good Quality Wicker Furniture for Pool-Side Use?
Wicker furniture sets can vary from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars. Here are some factors that set apart high-quality wicker furniture:
Good-quality outdoor wicker furniture would be made of HDPE or polyethylene. This is biodegradable and 100% recyclable, reducing its carbon footprint.
This high-quality synthetic wicker furniture has a natural matte finish and s thick and sturdy. HDPE wicker also has UV stabilizers that resist fading, cracking, and discoloration.
Cheap plastic wicker made of vinyl tends to be shiny. They are also thinner and bend or get misshapen quickly. Most do not contain UV stabilizers and, resultantly, fade or bleach in the sun.
The next thing to look for in wicker furniture is the weave. As mentioned before, wicker is a weaving technique with various sub-techniques or patterns of weaving. It is an art passed down from generation to generation.
High-quality wicker furniture made from rattan, bamboo, or synthetic resin has beautifully hand-woven weaves. This art is tedious and can take days to complete. The weave’s symmetric and tightness can indicate the quality of the furniture.
Good-quality wicker furniture consists of powder-coated aluminum frames that can withstand corrosion and rust. It keeps the furniture lightweight while also keeping it long-lasting and durable. Always check the furniture’s framework to ensure you are getting the best.
7 Best Wicker Furniture for the Pool Area
Best Wicker Pool Area 3 Piece Set – Devoko Patio Porch 3 Pieces PE Rattan Wicker Chairs with Table
Devoko Pool area 3-piece set is comfortable, convenient, and weatherproof. It is made with brown PE rattan weaved over a sturdy frame that is powder-coated for rust resistance. The material will not split, crack, or fade as it is UV resistant and waterproof.
No wonder the set has received more than ten thousand positive reviews (at the time of writing this guide). The rattan table comes with tempered glass that is sturdy and removable. The chairs have thick, spongy, and comfortable cushions with washable covers.
- Strong steel frame with PE rattan
- 1 table, 2 chairs, with 2 cushions
- 4 color options
- Ideal for small spaces
- Reasonably easy to assemble.
- Cushions are flat with less filling.
Best Large Wicker Set for Patio/Pool: Kullavik Outdoor Patio Furniture Set
Kullavik outdoor patio set with 12 pieces has received thousands of positive reviews on Amazon. It is made of a sturdy aluminum frame that is powder-coated to resist rust and corrosion. It consists of tightly hand-woven PE rattan that is sturdy and durable.
Each piece is detachable so that you can place them per your space availability.
Kullavik also uses an upgraded 4-inch thickened cushion and a high-density sponge that provides you with a comfortable experience. Moreover, it is waterproof, which makes it a perfect pool furniture set.
- 12 pieces
- Washable covers
- 4-inch cushions
- Aluminum frame with hand-woven PE rattan
- Weight capacity of over 300 lb.
- More than 20 color options
- All-weather use
- Ergonomically designed
- Easy to assemble
- Sturdy and long-lasting
- Value for money
- Thin cushions, scratchy material.
Best Budget Buy – FDW Patio Furniture Set 4 Pieces
Despite being super pocket-friendly, the FDW wicker 4-piece pool furniture set has several features that make it a best seller.
First, its assembly is super easy- it comes with clear instructions and won’t take hours to put together like other sets. Secondly, it has a ‘humanized’ design – which means it is designed for maximum comfort. In addition, this simple-yet-elegant set is UV and weather-resistant so that it will last long.
- Made of lightweight rattan with a sturdy frame
- 4 pieces – table with tempered glass, 1 double sofa, 2 chairs, and cushions
- High-quality sponge cushions
- Washable covers
- Easy assembly
- Compact for small spaces
- Simple yet elegant
- Convenient to clean
- Some pieces are wobbly.
Best Wicker Pool Storage: Valita Outdoor Wicker Storage Box
If you need a wicker storage box for storing cushions, garden tools, pool floats, etc., then this wicker storage box from Valita is just what you need. It not only is functional it looks good.
It is made using high-quality PE rattan. It is spacious and well-made and free from burrs. The box has a pneumatic rod for smooth opening and closing. Its stainless-steel hinges are rust-resistant. Valita wicker storage box is also water-resistant, so you can conveniently use it by the poolside.
- UV resistant
- Powder-coated for rust-resistance
- 150-gallon capacity
- 41 lb. weight
- 2 size and color choices
- Value for money
- Unclear assembly instructions. It is challenging to put together.
Best Wicker Lounge Chair Set – WAROOM Outdoor PE Wicker Chaise Lounge
WAROOM all-weather PE rattan wicker lounge set is sturdy and comfortable. It consists of a 2.3″ thick high resilience sponge, which is durable and comfortable.
The cover of the cushion set is zippered and made using 250G polyester that is UV repellent, waterproof, and machine washable. WAROOM chaise loungers are adjustable in 5 reclining positions. Each lounger has a side shelf to hold drinks, food, or books.
Our wicker pool loungers get lots of use, second only to the ledge loungers.
The lounge chair set is made of PE rattan and steel frame. Despite their lightweight frame, they can hold up to 350 lb.
- 4 color choices and sets of 2,4 or 6 chairs
- Rust-resistant powder-coated frame
- Sturdy PE rattan – also eco-friendly
- Machine-washable, zippered cushion cover
- Value for money
- Tiny screws and Allen key make it tough to assemble.
Best Wicker Patio Chairs – VOYSIGN Outdoor Wicker Chair
VOYSIGN wicker chairs have roomy seats and ergonomically designed armrests. The chair’s backrest is also optimally curved to support the back.
- Anti-rust, heavy-duty steel frame
- Sturdy PE rattan
- Loading capacity of 350 lb.
- Thick, foam-padded cushion
- Removable, waterproof cushion covers for easy washing.
Holes don’t line up, making it tricky to assemble.
Best Poolside Wicker Table: GOFLAME Pool-Side Patio Wicker Table
The folding side table from GOFLAME will surely enhance your leisure time and pool furniture set. It is reasonably spacious and can hold your books, beverages, phone, etc., while you lounge by the pool.
GOFLAME wicker table is temperature-resistant, waterproof, and heat-resistant. The elegant, hand-woven table will fetch you many compliments at your pool party.
- Non-slip feet reduce damage to your deck.
- Sturdy, heavy-duty powder-coated frame for rust resistance
- Hand-woven PE rattan
- Weight capacity of 110 lb.
- Weight 7.5 lb.
- Foldable, lightweight, and compact; easy to store and transport
- Versatile – multiple uses
- No leg locks to keep them from collapsing, and it’s a significant issue.
Conclusion- Rattan Vs. Synthetic Wicker: What is Best for Pool Furniture?
Natural and synthetic wicker are both popular choices in furniture materials. However, synthetic wicker works best for outdoor or pool areas as it is weatherproof and holds well against the elements. It is easy to clean, transportable, and also lasts long.
We hope one of the above wicker pool furniture sets helps you dress up your patio or pool area this summer!
Below is a YouTube video that describes the types of materials used to make outdoor patio and pool furniture.
FAQs – Rattan Vs. Synthetic Wicker: What is Best for Pool Furniture?
Is synthetic wicker waterproof?
Yes, synthetic wicker is made of polyethylene which is waterproof. It also resists mold and mildew.
How long does synthetic wicker last?
When cared for properly, synthetic wicker furniture can easily last for up to 2 decades. Ours is five years old and still looks new.
How to tell if wicker is synthetic?
Synthetic wicker has a matte, thicker texture. It is free of burrs, unlike natural rattan, which could be rough as it is made using natural wood. Synthetic wicker resists fading and discoloration, whereas natural rattan wicker is not waterproof and will fade if left in the sun.