When comparing different brands and styles of wicker furniture, it can often become confusing figuring out what is quality and what’s just a knock off. Outdoor wicker furniture sets can range from a couple hundred dollars to upwards of $10,000! So what’s the difference? How can you tell if you’re getting ripped off?
This article intends to educate you and leave you with an appreciation for quality craftsmanship (and good prices). Although you want to make sure you invest in quality materials, overpaying for the same product will leave you feeling cheated. Let’s get started!
How to Tell Quality Apart from the Cheap Stuff
Cheap wicker is made out of plastic materials that will scratch, tear, and unravel over time. As you know, plastic is not biodegradable and will eventually fill our landfills with trash. Cheap wicker will look and feel fake. It will appear to look like a shiny piece of vinyl. Plastic wicker furniture is flimsy and will also stick to your skin when you sit on it. You will notice inconsistent texture in the material.
Quality wicker is made out of a material called Polyethylene. Polyethylene is a synthetic resin that is eco-friendly and safe for the environment! Some strands are infused with UV inhibitors that prevent fading due to exposure to the sun. Polyethylene is highly durable, low-maintenance, and is made to withstand the elements. It is resistant to cracking, scratching, and fading. Plus it’s a sustainable material!
You may have seen cheaper sectionals at stores like Costco for a couple hundred dollars. Now you may be quick to assume that it’s a great deal because they purchase in bulk. While that may be partially true, the material and quality of these wicker sets are incomparable to those made with Polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is very hard but also retains certain a level of resilience and flexibility. Resistant to cracking and scratching, it’s the best material for outdoor wicker furnishings.
Well-built wicker furniture is professionally hand-woven, doing just a few rows at a time. When manufacturers attempt to maximize quantity instead of quality, the wicker is woven in rows of 10 at a time. This often results in patterns that sway in a certain direction and spacing that is not identical or symmetrical. Low quality weave will stray from one side to the other. This is because it is nearly impossible to adjust PE strands and keep them straight when working with such a large number of rows.
Most consumers aren’t aware of the tedious process involved in making genuine wicker furniture. The outcome is a simple and sleek piece of outdoor furnishing that will complete your outdoor kitchen patio.
Let’s just clarify something for those who are a bit confused. Some people use wicker and rattan interchangeably. They are not the same. Wicker is a type of weave and rattan is a type of material. You can learn all about the differences between wicker and rattan by reading our previous blog post.
Some companies try to reduce costs with the frame and that ultimately leads to bending and warping over time. Thick gauge aluminum frames offer solid support while maintaining a light-weight construction. This makes it easy for you to rearrange your patio furniture.
Some furniture (especially sectionals and outdoor daybeds) have special support systems built in with the frame. A netted support grid acts like bungee cords to add support to the seating area.
This decreases wear on wicker and prevents tearing. Wicker furniture has a higher likely hood of unraveling due to extreme stress when additional support is not added. These nets take the pressure off the actual weave and distribute the weight across the entire frame. This prevents punctures and drooping of seats.
Another tell-tale sign of quality wicker furniture is the finish on the frames. It’s the details that count! Some manufacturers powder-coat frames for aesthetic appeal. It’s just one of the ways to make sure that the they don’t take any short cuts.
As aforementioned, outdoor wicker furniture is polarized by price and quality. On one hand, you can purchase a cheap set at a local store but it won’t last nearly as long. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find over-priced sets that can run upwards of $10,000!
Lucky for the Smart Shoppers out there, there are a few brands that set their prices at a reasonable and affordable price. While you aren’t going to find authentic wicker daybeds priced below a thousand dollars, it makes no sense to over pay for the same item.
High priced brands like Brown Jordan & Tommy Bahama sometimes come into discussion. When you buy from big brand names like Nike or Chanel, it is often the brand that you are paying for. The marketing expenses, television commercials, and those promotional ads that play before every YouTube video that you watch!
Some of the brands that have high standards of quality and even better prices are Forever Patio, Harmonia Living, and Alfresco Home. The saying holds true, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect to find high end furniture for dirt cheap. If you see this, it should be a warning sign and the red flags should be going off. Best of all, high quality wicker furniture can even be used inside!
Have questions about what you’ve just read? Give the experts a call at 1-888-994-9196! Patio Productions is an online retailer of commercial grade outdoor furniture at reasonable price points.
About this Post
Cheryl Khan is an avid reader, freelance writer, and a New Year’s resolution failure. She loves experimenting with cultural cuisine and exploring new areas of fashion and design.