Rocking Chairs vs. Gliders - Comparing Outdoor Seating

Table of Contents

Rocking Chairs vs. Gliders – Comparing Outdoor Seating

Table of Contents

When it comes to outdoor seating options, rocking chairs and gliders are two popular choices that offer a relaxing and soothing experience. Both these furniture pieces have their unique features and advantages, catering to different preferences and needs.
In this blog, we will explore the details of rocking chairs and gliders, comparing their attributes, comfort levels, maintenance requirements, and overall suitability for outdoor spaces.

What is a Rocking Chair?

A rocking chair is a unique and timeless piece of furniture that has brought comfort and relaxation to countless individuals for centuries. Its distinctive curved rockers allow for an arced rocking motion, reminiscent of a soothing pendulum. They typically feature a seat, a backrest, and armrests, offering a comfortable seating experience.

patio rocking chairs

What is a Glider?

A glider is a type of chair that offers a smooth and effortless back-and-forth gliding motion. They typically feature a fixed base with a suspended seat that moves in a seamless gliding motion. Gliders often include padded cushions and armrests for enhanced comfort.

glider chair

Comparison between Rocking Chairs and Gliders

Design and Comfort

Rocking chairs and gliders differ primarily in design and construction, impacting the user experience.
Rocking chairs have a curved base with rockers attached to the legs, allowing for a gentle rocking motion by pushing off the ground with your feet. This rhythmic motion induces relaxation, reduces stress, and provides a soothing and comforting experience, making rocking chairs popular.

Serwall Rocking Chair
Serwall Rocking Chair

In contrast, gliders provide a seamless and horizontal gliding motion. They have a fixed base and a suspended seat that moves back and forth smoothly. Unlike rocking chairs, gliders do not require pushing off the ground, making them ideal for individuals with limited mobility or those seeking a more effortless rocking experience. The gliding motion of a glider feels continuous and controlled, creating a sensation akin to floating on air.

Space and Versatility

Rocking chairs are known for their compact size and portability, allowing for easy rearrangement or storage. They can be placed on a porch, patio, or garden nook, effortlessly blending into any outdoor space. Remember to place the rocking chair on a level surface and avoid uneven areas such as sand, grass, or bricks. This ensures a smooth and enjoyable rocking experience while preventing instability or potential accidents.

SERWALL Modern Adirondack Rocking Chair
SERWALL Modern Adirondack Rocking Chair

Gliders, while slightly larger than rocking chairs, can still fit into most outdoor spaces. They require a bit more room to accommodate their gliding mechanism, but their smooth back-and-forth motion adds a sense of grace and fluidity to any setting. Gliders often come in different sizes, including single or double-seaters, providing options for individuals and larger gatherings.

Aesthetics and Style

Both rocking chairs and gliders offer a wide range of styles, materials, and finishes, providing ample choices to suit your outdoor aesthetic. Rocking chairs are available in classic designs, often crafted from teak, oak, or HDPE poly lumber. They can be left with their natural finish or customized with paint to complement your outdoor decor.

On the other hand, gliders boast a modern and sleek look. Typically made from metal or wood, they often feature soft cushions for added comfort. Gliders come in various colors and exhibit clean lines, infusing a contemporary touch into outdoor spaces.

nursery glider

Cost and Value

The cost of rocking chairs and gliders can vary based on several factors, including the materials, craftsmanship, brand, and any additional features they offer. Generally, basic rocking chairs can range from around $50 to $300. However, high-end rocking chairs with premium materials and intricate designs can exceed $500.

On the other hand, gliders tend to be slightly more expensive. Entry-level gliders usually start around $100 and can go up to $500 or more for models with added features like reclining mechanisms or ottomans.

glider with ottoman

Both options can be found at various price points, and their value is subjective to individual needs and expectations. By evaluating these factors, considering your budget and desired features, you can make a well-informed decision that provides the best balance of cost and value for your outdoor seating investment.

Which is Better for You?

Gliders are popular choices for nurseries and living rooms, especially for parents who want to create a comforting environment for themselves and their little ones. Many gliders also offer additional features such as reclining options, ottomans, or built-in storage, providing enhanced functionality and convenience.

On the other hand, rocking chairs offer a variety of styles and are well-suited for outdoor settings, making them a more traditional choice.

If possible, try out both options in person to get a feel for the motion and determine which one provides the level of comfort and relaxation you desire. Regardless of your choice, both rocking chairs and gliders will undoubtedly enhance your space, offering a cozy spot for relaxation.


Comfort is subjective and can vary depending on personal preference. Some individuals may find the gentle rocking motion of a rocking chair more comfortable, while others prefer the smooth gliding motion of a glider. It’s recommended to try out both options to determine which one suits your comfort needs best.

Yes, children can use rocking chairs and gliders under adult supervision. However, it’s important to ensure their safety by selecting child-friendly designs with appropriate safety features, such as secure seating, stable bases, and sturdy construction. Adult supervision is crucial to prevent accidents and ensure the child’s well-being.

Cleaning and maintenance requirements may vary depending on the materials used. It’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.

Generally, regular dusting, spot cleaning, and occasional wood conditioning or fabric cleaning can help keep your rocking chair or glider in good condition.

Many gliders have a locking mechanism to secure them in a stationary position. This feature provides stability and allows you to use the glider as a regular chair if desired.

Yes, outdoor rocking chairs can be used near a pool or in coastal environments. However, it’s important to choose materials that are resistant to saltwater, corrosion, and UV rays. Opting for aluminum or HDPE material and choosing weather-resistant cushions.

Outdoor rocking chairs can provide comfortable seating for extended periods, especially with cushions or padding designed for outdoor use. Choosing chairs with ergonomic designs and supportive features enhances long-lasting comfort during outdoor relaxation.

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