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Finding a director’s chair suitable for big and heavy people can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Luckily, that’s what we do here. As a big guy, I’m always keen on the challenge of finding high-weight capacity furniture that’s suitable for people from overweight to obese.
An average director’s chair will have a weight capacity between 200 and 250 lbs. The highest capacity options support up to 5-600lbs and have a metal frame, double-stitched nylon seat, and minimal padding.
Oversized Director’s Chairs Comparison Table
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How To Choose: 5 Quick Tips
Since its inception as a basic wooden scissor frame with stretched canvas director’s chairs have come a long way. With the ever-increasing average weight of people in the United States, it’s not surprising that oversize directors chairs are more commonly available.
What is shocking is that there are still many chairs on the market where the manufacturer either hides the weight capacity or doesn’t mention it at all!
So, if you’re big and heavy and need a director’s chair that is suitable for your size, here are the things you’ll want to look for and consider before purchasing:
1. Width Between The Arm Rests.
Many big and heavy people study the dimension of the furniture they buy and then are disappointed to find that they are still unable to fit into the item they bought.
After all, what’s the point of a 500lb capacity director’s chair if it’s only a normal width? Let’s just say that my backside is “above average” and I don’t enjoy having armrests or bars digging into my thighs.
Many makers of heavy-duty furniture are wise to the needs of obese users and include all the necessary measurements but we had to dig for several of these.
The average chair is 16-18″ wide but we looked for chairs around the 24″+ mark so even the widest users will be comfortable.
2. Support Bars Under The Seat.
I’ve sat on several types of plus-size furniture that just felt like a slightly larger version of normal furniture. This would, in theory, be fine but big guys are built differently and the furniture needs to have some differences as well.
One of the biggest issues is having a support bar under the front of the seat that digs into the back of your thighs. Normal-sized people would never stretch the canvas seat enough to sit on the bar but I definitely do.
While director’s chairs typically don’t have large bars under the seat as camp chairs do (due to their scissor folding style) we made sure that none of the options would be uncomfortable for real-world use.
3. Seat Height.
While I recognize that there are lots of short and heavy people out there, I’m not among them. I’ve been considered big and tall since about 6th grade.
If you are plus size in any way, the height of a seat you sit in becomes much more important. It can make it uncomfortable to sit if the seat is too low (not to mention super hard to get up).
I recommend measuring a chair you find comfortable to get an idea of the seat height you want. We found chairs that were mostly of average height but included a big and tall option if needed.
4. Weight Capacity.
Coming up with a weight capacity for a piece of furniture has got to be a complex process. If you’re big and heavy here are a few things you’ll need to think about when it comes to weight capacity:
- Weight capacity is given as a static weight. When you sit down you’ll briefly put much more weight on the chair that the weight you see on the scale. This is the reason why so many chair break when you first sit down.
- The weight capacity is only valid if the weight is evenly distributed. This is fine while you’re sitting, but what if you need to use the arms to push yourself to your feet? Are the arm rests rated for hundreds of pounds?
- What happens if you exceed the weight capacity? Nobody knows! Many chair makers give conservative numbers and people who are much heavier leave positive reviews. However, you probably shouldn’t risk it.
The solution for this is obvious, buy a chair with a much higher weight capacity than you need. We included director’s chairs with up to a 600lb capacity so nearly everyone will be able to sit safely.
While most director’s chairs come with the standard side table, you’ll want to think about what exactly you want and find a matching chair. You can also find options that include accessory pouches, book holders, and even mini coolers.
Timber Ridge XXL – Best Director’s Chair For Big & Heavy People
The Timber Ridge XXL is the big boy of director’s chairs.
There is a ton to like about it apart from the traditional x-supports and skid type bottom:
- 600lb capacity. This is the highest weight capacity director’s chair I’ve seen and user heavier than I am (up to 550lbs) say that it held them without issue.
- 28″ wide seat. We’re not talking about the overall width, the actual distance between the frame rails is 28″. This allows users who would actually be near the weight capacity to fit on the chair comfortably.
- Fully padded seat and back. While I’m not normally a fan of built-in padding, Timberland does it well and increases the comfort level of this chair.
- High quality materials. 600D polyester embossed fabric and powder coated steel tube ensures that this chair will survive long term use outdoors.
- Comes with a carry bag. The 20lb weight of this chair is pretty normal for heavy duty director’s chairs but can make it a chore to carry around. A carry bag eases that burden.
All things considered, this is my top pick for heavy-duty director’s chairs and the one I ended up purchasing.
A closer look at the chair I purchased:
My only small gripe with the chair is the thin armrests. However, this is totally within the realm of acceptable for an otherwise stellar chair.
If you’re in the market for anything like this, don’t wait!
Ozark Trail XXL – 500lb Capacity Extra Wide Director’s Chair
If you really like the look of the above chair but don’t like the idea of spending that much on a portable chair, I’ve got another option for you!
Ozark Trail offers a very similar chair that is simply a more budget version of the Timber Ridge chair.
I’ll admit that I don’t actually own this chair so I can’t attest to its durability or long-term comfort. I did, however, find this chair at my local big-box store that shall remain unnamed (but it rhymes with “ballmart”) and it seemed quite sturdy and comfortable.
Despite the use of very similar materials, Ozark Trail gives this chair a 500lb capacity. If you are within that range and on a budget, this is a great option!
Best Big and Tall Director’s Chair
With both of the chairs above are suitable for big guys, what about big and tall guys?
Finding a director’s chair for big and tall guys is a challenge for sure. I’m 6’3″ and both the Timber Ridge and Ozark Trail chairs are comfortable for me and, I would imagine, for someone a couple of inches taller.
However, if you’re more akin to Hafthor Bjornsson you’ll need something with a bit more height. The best option I could find is the Ever Advanced Medium Tall directors chair which is suitable for big and tall folks under the 300lb weight limit.
The seat height is a full 5″ higher than the first options I gave you which makes it suitable for you even if you’re 7′ tall (although I’d imagine you’d be over the weight limit).
So if you’re big and tall (but not too big) this is the director’s chair for your life!
Choosing The Best Option For You
If you’re looking for a little more to go on when choosing your heavy-duty director’s chair, there are a few more things you can things about to make sure you’re investing in the best option possible.
If you are heavy, go with a metal frame. Most high-capacity chairs are made with some variety of tubing, all of which will be stronger than a traditional wooden director’s chair.
If your chair is going to fail, it will likely happen in one of two ways: a bent frame or a broken joint.
Some people go to the extreme of removing the rivets in the frame and replacing them with stronger bolts but, in my opinion, you’re probably fine just inspecting them regularly and making sure there are no signs of bending or cracks.
Fabric Type & Durability
Most director’s chairs are made of canvas or, in most modern cases, nylon. Unless you leave it outside where the sun breaks it down it is very unlikely to fail. The thing you need to check is the seams. Look for hefty double-stitched seams as they are typically the weak point in the fabric.
While most director’s chairs have no padding whatsoever you can find options that have thin padding sewn into the seat and back. If you’re after maximum comfort you’re better off getting a non-padded version and using a seat cushion.
Director’s Chairs vs Camp Chairs
If you’re looking to direct a movie, a director’s chair is a great option. But what about if you’re looking for something to take to soccer games, the beach, camping, or just your own yard?
Well, there are a ton of different options (with subtle differences) but it mostly comes down to preference.
The main difference is the leg style and how it contributes to the folding and stability of various terrains.
The style of leg found of director’s chairs (and most beach chairs) is perfect for grass, concrete, gravel, and fairly level dirt. If you are going to be sitting in a rockier or more uneven area you’ll want to check out plus-size camp chairs that have four separate feet.
With that being said, get what you want. Unless you’re in need of something very specific (eg. an ultralight chair for backing) you’ll have a comfortable chair for just about every situation.
At the end of the day, there are actually several options for sturdy director’s chairs on the market. While the ones I shared here are (in my opinion) the best blend of capacity, width, comfort, and price you may find that there are others that fit better with your own needs.
Whatever you decided on, I love my Timber Ridge XXL and I hope you find one that you enjoy as much! Good luck!