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When I was a little kid, my church had a conference twice a year that we would go to as a family. It was typically early in the morning and lasted for several hours (although sometimes it felt like days).
While I’m sure I learned some great things there, one of the things that have stuck with me all these years later is the feeling of lowering myself onto a freezing metal folding chair first thing in the morning. Add that to the numb butt that I would have a few hours later and, even though I was a kid, I could tell that most folding chairs sucked, especially for big guys.
While I never saw one of the chairs break, several of them were bent to the point that they were very hard to fold up and, if I sat between my dad and another big guy, I knew that they would be using my seat as an overflow.
Since then, I’ve put on a few pounds (or maybe more than a few) and have recognized that folding chairs serve more functions than freezing my bum and legs at an early morning church service. In fact, I now understand why my overprepared grandpa always kept a couple of dozen high-capacity folding chairs in his shed!
2 Problems With Non-Heavy-Duty Folding Chairs
If you’re a big guy or gal and have ever sat in a folding chair, I probably don’t need to tell you that they have problems. In fact, they can be downright terrible for a couple of reasons:
1. They have a low weight capacity.
First off, I don’t really feel like lowering my weight onto a chair that was made to support a person half my size. However, I also don’t need my family members or co-workers to hear the groaning of a chair as it takes my weight. Any decent high capacity folding chair will avoid this problem. With one exception, I restricted my search to chairs that have at least a 500-pound capacity.
2. The seating area is too narrow for big & heavy people.
Since there are plentiful options for high-capacity chairs, why doesn’t every big guy and heavy person have one? Well, because almost all of them share another problem…seat width. What is the point of having a chair that will support 1,000 pounds if the only person who can fit comfortably on it is an average size person with an average size bum?
I can only imagine a 200-pound person sitting in a high-capacity chair and thinking, “this would be perfect if I was my exact same size but made of lead….”
So what to do? While there is literally no one on the market that makes an extra-wide folding chair, there are a few things we can do to make a folding chair for heavy people more comfortable:
- Get the widest chair possible. The average folding chair seat measure 14-16″
wide. While I’d love to see a chair with a 28″ seat, I did my best to find options with seats significantly wider than average.
- Be aware of where the frame supports are. If the frame supports sit too far forward on the seat (or if there are two of them) you effectively lose the back part of the seat if your posterior is wide. For this reason, I looked for chairs with a frame as far back as possible. After all, it’s better to drape over the sides of a chair than to have to perch on the front few inches of it.
In just the past few months I’ve used heavy-duty folding chairs for:
- Guests (especially my large and heavy family members)
- Practice sessions on my guitar since my house isn’t big enough for me to have a dedicated guitar chair
- Extra seating for parties and functions
- Outdoor chairs for parades, the pool, etc.
- and more!
Whatever the reason is that you need a heavy-duty folding chair, I’m sure that one of these 4 that I found will suit your needs perfectly!
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Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the best heavy-duty folding chairs on the market!
4 Best Extra Large Heavy Duty Folding Chairs (Not Camp Chairs)
1. LIFETIME Commercial Grade Folding Chairs – Best Overall
This is the perfect big man folding chair and, if you work in an office setting, it is likely you have sat on this exact chair. As it is designed mainly for commercial use you can bet that it is extremely durable, in fact, it has a 500 lb capacity! Unlike most products advertised for “heavy people,” this one actually lives up to the claimed capacity and won’t shift or groan under your weight.
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty folding chair for visitors, guests, or sporadic personal use this chair is an awesome option because it folds extremely well! If you have multiples of this chair they fit together perfectly to hold them upright and save on space.
While this chair isn’t padded, it makes up for it with its ergonomic curves, something that very few high-capacity chairs have. In fact, this is one of the most comfortable folding chairs for big people! While I do wish that the seat was a bit wider, if you need a great chair at a great price, this is it!
2. COSCO Essentials Commercial XL – Best On A Budget
If you are in the market for a big and tall folding chair that doesn’t need to support a ton of weight, this is one of the best-selling options available. This “Commercial XL” version is a bit bigger than the average folding chair for a heavy person which gives you both more seating area and backrest space. The padding isn’t thick but it is sufficient to give you a bit of relief from the strong metal frame.
The weight capacity of this chair is only 300 pounds but, if you’re within that limit, this is an extremely sturdy chair that is meant for full-size adults or people with a larger-than-average frame. In addition to all those perks, it looks great and the black will go with just about anything!
3. Flash Furniture Hercules Series Resin – Highest Capacity
If you’re the garden party type, need high-capacity outdoor chairs, or simply want a very attractive but strong folding chair you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than this chair from Hercules. It is made of extremely strong resin and is independently tested to support up to 1,000 pounds! Most folding chairs for big guys are lucky if they support half that!
This has the same wider-than-average seat width as the above two chairs (18′) and provides a small amount of cushion to keep you comfy. While I highly doubt that anyone near 1,000 lbs will fit on this chair, it is comforting to know that it is possible and, for most people, this chair will last forever!
It is worth noting that there are other chairs on the market that claim to have a 1,000-pound capacity but fail miserably when put to the test. Therefore, this is the only 1,000-pound folding chair that I feel comfortable recommending.
4. Flash Furniture Hercules Series Lightweight Plastic
While this chair isn’t necessarily built for comfort, it definitely fits the bill of a folding chair for heavy people and fills a unique niche on our list. This is the smallest and most space-efficient chair that is still usable for big people. Because of the single back frame, a person with a wide back end can still use this chair without having to cram themselves between the sides. If you are looking for some chairs to stick in the closet and pull out when heavy relatives visit, this is a great option!
Do you need a folding chair built specifically for a heavy person?
If you’re reading this article, odds are you are already aware that you need a folding chair for a large and heavy person. However, if you ended up here by accident or out of curiosity let me tell you a fact: you need a high-capacity folding chair. In fact, you should probably be buying all of your products in big and heavy versions!
If you are over 250 pounds, buying products made for your weight is a necessity. If you are small, however, I still recommend buying heavy-duty products because they are typically high quality, more ergonomic, and will last forever for lighter users.
For example, my 155-pound wife (don’t tell her I included her weight here…) could probably jump on my big man’s recliner for the rest of her life and not wear it out. So save yourself the trouble and buy not only a folding chair for big guys but big guy products all around!
So what are you waiting for?
If you’re waiting to buy a chair because none of these seem quite comfortable enough, don’t forget to snag a memory foam cushion to top your folding chair!
Now that you have that, scroll up, pick out the perfect chair to go under your cushion, and get comfortable!