After looking at reviews of dozens of folding chairs, considering five, and calling in the top models to check for build and comfort—and planting a wide variety of butts in them in our office and homes for more than a year—we recommend the MityLite Flex One Folding Chair.
The MityLite Flex One is a durable, ventilated seat made of 18-8 steel and flexible polypropylene that conforms to your back and legs while holding (reportedly) more than 1,000 pounds. It’s an inch and a half wider than your standard folding chair, and according to the vast majority of customer reviewers, it’s very comfortable, even after hours of sitting (our own long-term testing backs this up). The MityLite Flex One comes in white and black.
What sets this chair apart from the competition are a wide seat and back with a bit of give, allowing for some bounce. The tall, 9-inch backrest provides plenty of support. Because the seat and back are made of a plastic mesh, you don’t have to worry about searing your thighs or sticking to the chair with a sweaty back if you’re using it in the summer heat.
This MityLite chair gets impressive, near five-star ratings on the Amazon and Sam’s Club sites, where owners rave about how comfortable and lightweight it is. Amazon offers a 10-year warranty, while Sam’s Club offers a one-year limited warranty. At $20 to $30 per chair, the Flex One is more than twice the price of the cheapest folding models, but we think it’s worth the investment, especially if you live in a small home and don’t have storage room for occasional-guest chairs.
I’ve had these chairs in my apartment for dinner-party overflow, and they’ve held up beautifully for over a year, without scuffing my soft bamboo floors or making screeching noises like cafeteria-grade metal folding chairs.
This may not be a chair you want to get for daily use. The few one-star reviews online (only 17 out of more than 600 at the time of this writing) come from people who complain about the seating material tearing or breaking. And given how flexible the seat is, we don’t recommend standing on one when you need to reach a high place, as this reviewer did. However, we’ve used half a dozen of them in our New York office, mostly as extra desk chairs, as well as in staffers’ homes, and none of us has had a chair break.
On top of that, the plastic-mesh back and seat have a particular look that not everyone will love.
We searched for reviews of folding chairs, and most of them pay attention to how the chairs look, which is fair enough. The IKEA Terje folding chair, for example, gets nods from several reviewers for its neutral, Scandinavian looks and its excellent price.
We tested the MityLite Flex One against the IKEA Terje for comfort, and the Flex One emerged as the winner, hands down. The Terje’s rigid slatted-wood seat is 2 inches narrower than the Flex One’s, with no give, and the chair hits the middle of the occupant’s back in an awkward, uncomfortable way.
(Photos by Ganda Suthivarakom.)