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07/20/2012 03:20 pm ET | Updated Oct 12, 2012

The Best Beach Chairs For Summer: A Buying Guide (PHOTOS)

We don't know about you, but we're ready to hit the beach this weekend. We've packed our sunscreen, shades, and a good beach read, but something's missing... We don't have a chair to enjoy the beautiful view in comfort! Before your next trip to the surf and sand, read our buying guide to help you choose the best beach chair for your style.

Many Capabilities. Most chairs will fold for easy storage and transportation, but some become more compact than others and even include carrying straps. Our favorite models are designed as backpacks, such as the Rio Brands high back steel backpack chair by WearEver, so you can carry them hands-free. Also, adjustable models are available that offer anywhere from 2-7 reclining positions. We like the ones that fully recline, so we can take a little snooze in the sun. Other attractive qualities to look out for are integrated cup holders, adjustable neck rests, zippered storage pocket, and canopies to block the strong rays.

Choose The Material. Beach chair frames can be found in a range of materials, from metal to wood to plastic, and they each have their benefits... and downsides. Although aluminum frames are the most portable and lightweight, they may dent or bend if not handled gently. Steel frames are more durable, but make sure the metal has been powder-coated so it's rust-resistant. Wooden chairs tend to be heavier than metal but they are very sturdy and have a classic appeal. Additionally, hardwood or plastic armrests won't get as hot in the sun, burning your forearms.

Most seats are made from polyester, plastic or polypropylene because these materials are durable, washable, dry quickly and allow air to circulate through their open weaves. They also can be made in bright colors and patterns. Cotton or canvas seats are also available, which are softer to the touch, but don't hold up to the elements as well.

A Variety Of Styles. There are several types of chair models that range in price, comfort and portability for you to choose from. For a budget option, classic sand chairs offer a simple and lightweight design, but have little to no adjustability options or bells and whistles. Hi-boy beach chair are similar, but are raised 16-18 inches off the sand. Classic butterfly chair are popular for the beach or other outdoor environments, because they fold small for easy transportation.

Chaise lounge chairs offer the most comfort and total relaxation because they extend longer than classic style chairs so you can stretch out and rest your legs, although these models are often bulkier and less portable. Out of all the styles available, our picks are the new ergonomic "zero gravity" models designed to reduce pressure off the spine and mold to your body. They can adjust into any position, from straight up to fully reclined and look pretty cool too!

To see all of these varieties of beach chairs available and where to purchase them now, click through our slideshow below.

Best Beach Chairs

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