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Finding heavy-duty dining chairs for your family can be a challenge. Believe it or not, there are actually many dining chair sets with a 500lb capacity out there but very few of them are comfortable or aesthetic enough to go in your home.
Finding the best dining room chairs is a mix of frame material, padding type, and overall size (seat width and height).
Best Plus-Size Dining Chair Comparison Chart
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- Best Plus-Size Dining Chair Comparison Chart
- 5 Tips For Choosing Plus-Size Dining Chairs
- The Best Dining Room Chairs for Big & Heavy People
- Heavy Duty Dining Chair FAQs
5 Tips For Choosing Plus-Size Dining Chairs
When my wife and I were dating in college we made it a point to take study breaks and connect during mealtimes as much as possible. This became even more true when we had kids. In fact, many studies have shown having dinner with your kids may be one of the most influential things you can do for them!
In fact, family dinner has been linked to better academic performance, increased self-confidence, lower risk of depression, and even lower risk of teen pregnancy! But you probably already knew that.
So here’s how we’re going to go about choosing dining chairs if you or your family members are big and/or heavy:
1. Check The Weight Capacity
If you weigh less than 250lbs you can probably buy whatever dining room chair you choose. Heavy-duty chairs are typically designed for people who weigh up to 500 lbs (or more).
Avoid the generic “heavy-duty” chairs you find at chain furniture stores as the majority of them are heavy-duty in name only.
When shopping for high-capacity chairs, remember that the weight capacity is typically given as a static weight. This means that the weight given is the amount that the chair can hold if the weight is gently lowered and evenly distributed.
For this reason, I recommend you buy dining chairs with a weight limit of up to 2x your actual weight. The more heavy-duty the chairs are the safer they will be and the longer they will last.
2. Ditch The Arms
If you’re a plus-size person chances are you’re going to have trouble fitting in a regular-width dining chair.
For this reason, my family typically looks for extra-wide dining chairs or chairs without arms.
Many chair manufacturers seem to feel that their customers have incredibly dense bones because they make “high-capacity chairs” with normal-width seats. A normal chair measures around 17″ wide so we looked for chairs over that (and without arms or width-limiting side pieces).
3. Find An Appropriately Curved Back
Contrary to common belief, a straight-backed chair is not the least comfortable style. The worst option is actually a chair with too much curve.
If you have a wide back (as I do) and you sit in a chair with an aggressive curve it is going to dig into your back fat and leave you miserable.
Chairs with gentle curves (and padding) are the clear winner here.
4. Look For High-Density Foam Padding
Like most overweight families, my family likes to spend a lot of time sitting around talking. What else would we do, after all, play soccer?
The dining table is one of our favorite places to gather when we’re together as we can comfortably sit for hours to talk, play board games, etc.
However, an unpadded seat leaves me miserable and uncomfortable within minutes. My butt bones feel like they’re cutting through my pants and the sides of my thighs have lines where they hang over the edges of the chair.
This, of course, is all solved by finding a chair with thick high-density foam padding.
I look for chairs within 2″ or more of high-density foam padding to provide the necessary support and longevity for oversized people.
5. Get The Right Height Of Chair
If you need a big and tall dining chair, get a big and tall dining chair.
While we stuck mainly with average heights of chairs during our review I recognize they might be uncomfortable for some people. If you are short and heavy they may cut into the back of your thighs. If you are big and tall, you may feel crunched up and uncomfortable.
The best way to get the proper height of a dining room chair is to measure the seat height of a chair you already own and find comfortable. You are then able to add or subtract inches from there.
Personally, I prefer big and tall dining chairs even though I’m not overly tall as they are much easy to sit down on and less cumbersome to stand up from.
Best Heavy-Duty Dining Chairs: Ninja Tip
If you dining chairs with a 500lb capacity (or more) that fit all the above, look into commercial or restaurant chairs. They are incredibly durable and strong and there are many style options available.
We have several commercial chairs on our list here and you’ll be surprised to find them extremely affordable.
The Best Dining Room Chairs for Big & Heavy People
Beyond those requirements, my wife and I had only two stipulations for our dining room chairs: they had to look good and they couldn’t be too expensive.
While both of these are totally subjective, we wanted to steer clear of chairs that looked more like accent pieces or that prioritized style over comfort and functionality. The options we went with were meant to be versatile and will be at home in pretty much any dining room that actually sees regular use.
I don’t mind spending the money it takes to buy a high-quality item. However, I’m not a Rockefeller and so I’m limited to buying the same chairs that other average people could. Some people might be content saving up or buying their dining set piecemeal but we wanted to just go and buy a full set (meaning 4-6 dining chairs).
So let’s get to it!
1. HERCULES Series Black Ladder Back Metal Chair
While our #1 choice isn’t going to win any awards for unique looks it is, in my opinion, the best heavy-duty dining chair you can get. In fact, its unassuming appearance was one of the main reasons we chose it! It looks like a very nice dining room chair, and no guest would ever imagine that they are sitting on a highly engineered item that can support up to 500 lbs!
The 2.5″ cushioning on the seat is soft enough to be comfortable but firm enough to hold up to years of use. Not to mention that it has an extremely easy-to-clean vinyl covering that will give up bits of food or sweat with a simple swipe.
Don’t be put off by the “restaurant chair” description. It is simply an indicator that it is built well enough to withstand the abuse it would face in a commercial setting. Imagine how long a heavy-duty dining chair like this will have your back(side) at your house!
2. Flash Furniture Crown Back Stacking Banquet Chair
My wife and I couldn’t quite see eye-to-eye with what we thought of this chair. She thought it was boring and sterile, I thought it was comfortable and stylish. We could agree, however, that it is quite strong (with a 500lb capacity).
It is made of durable and easy-to-clean fabric that covers an extremely thick and plush seat cushion! As an added bonus, this seat is stackable. So if you are buying oversized dining chairs for a crowd, this one is for you!
3. Big & Tall 1000 lb. Rated Black Fabric Stack Chair
Let’s face it, just because a chair will support your weight doesn’t mean you can fit on it. Some of us just have bigger backsides that need support! Oh sure, you can deal with skinny chairs when you’re out in public, but when you’re at home, you know you need a set of oversized dining room chairs.
This chair is 1.5x wider than the other dining room chairs we mentioned, and has a capacity of up to 1,000 lbs! The total width of 24.25″ will provide almost every dining guest with the room they need. Even if you don’t need the extra width, this is the strongest and most stable chair we reviewed. If you’re worried about a chair toppling over with you on board, get this chair and stop worrying.
It should be noted that this is, as a heavy-duty dining chair, pretty hefty. While it is stackable, I wouldn’t recommend this chair if you’ll be needing to move it around a lot. Each chair weighs almost 25 pounds and will give you a workout if you need to carry it anywhere.
However, if you simply need the perfect oversized dining chair set, get it!
4. Walnut Finished Vertical Slat Back Wooden Restaurant Chair
As a fat guy who wears Walmart tennis shoes, my design aesthetic probably leaves something to be desired. However, I felt compelled to include this chair for the benefit of those who are design-centric. Not only is this a beautiful (but heavy-duty) dining chair set, it is probably the most “undercover” of the options in this article.
If you really liked the first chair we recommend but wish you had a wooden option that would be at home with your decor, this chair is for you! Not only is it a very handsome, well-made chair, but it has a weight capacity of 800 lbs due to its solid hardwood construction (European Beech).
While some people may wish for a bit more cushion, everyone will be happy that the seat of this chair is extremely easy to clean and will still be looking great when the above padded and fabric-covered options are looking worn out and ratty. If you are into the look and feel of wood, this chair is your best option!
Heavy Duty Dining Chair FAQs
Are High-Capacity Dining Chairs Worth It?
I can tell you that the money we spent on our kitchen tables and chairs is one of the best uses of money ever. In fact, I would say that there has been way more bonding and sharing while sitting on our boring chairs than there has even been on vacation or at some sort of activity.
Who would have thought that heavy-duty dining chairs would be a better use of money than that parent-child bonding trip to Disneyland?
Having a comfortable place for your family to eat together (no, the couch doesn’t count) can be crucial in the development of your children, not to mention the development of your relationship with your significant other. Both when I was single and when I was married, it made a huge difference in my mental health and productivity to take a break and eat a meal at my table.
So do yourself a favor and get the chairs your family needs! If you’re a big guy, get a big guy’s dining chair. If you are big and tall, get big and tall dining chairs. Whichever you choose, your backside will thank you.
Now, if none of the heavy-duty dining chairs we reviewed was a good fit for you, never fear! Not only did we find chairs we personally like during our hours of searching, we learned what makes a good chair for most people! So if you want a different color or a slightly different style, you should know what to look for!
How Much Weight Can A Dining Chair Hold?
While the weight capacity of a chair varies from manufacturer to manufacturer there are some generalities that we can draw based on frame type, fasteners, etc.
A typical dining chair has a weight limit of 200-250 pounds and heavy-duty dining chairs typically only support 300-350lbs. The frame material is the single most important factor in determining weight capacity.
Wooden vs Metal Frames
We have been asked several times if wooden chairs (or aluminum chairs, steel chairs, etc.) are strong enough for a heavy person. The answer is….maybe. When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter what a chair is made out of. It could be made out of toothpicks, and if it has a weight capacity of 500 lbs, then you’d probably be fine!
Instead of looking for what material is the strongest, I always recommend finding material or a look that you like and then searching for chairs within that look/material that has the proper weight capacity.
What Makes A Dining Room Chair Comfortable For Fat People?
If your current dining room chairs are letting you down in the comfort department, there are several areas that can make a dining room chair more comfortable for those of us that weigh a bit more than average.
When my wife and I bought our first dining room table and chairs…it wasn’t a table and chairs. It was actually an L-shaped bench situation around an island. The benches were strong but made with right angles, which meant they were murder on our backs. Speaking of the seats…they were boards. Flat, hard, boards. That experience alone has given us not only a desire for comfort but a firm knowledge of what comfort is not.
The best way for you to be comfortable while eating is simply to find a chair or style of chair that you like and that works well with your body. There are chairs out there that will work well for you even if you’re morbidly obese. You don’t have to be uncomfortable at the dining table!