Buying Garden Furniture Online
BWith lockdown having kept physical shops closed for the majority of 2020, more people than ever are doing their shopping online. But when it comes to something as large and, often expensive, as garden furniture, what do you need to look out for when shopping online? Below we have revealed our top tips to help you safely shop for quality garden furniture online.
When you’re shopping online, it can be difficult to know the quality of an item, considering you’ve not seen it in person to examine and test its quality. However, there are a few simple tests you can do to ensure your online purchase of garden furniture is top quality.
Test 1 – Warranty
If a product has a lengthy warranty, that is a retailer saying, “we have faith in the quality of this product and its ability to stand the test of time”. If a product has no warranty or a very short one compared to others you have seen on the market, that’s telling you that the furniture is not likely to last very long past this warranty period.
The type of warranties you should expect to see will vary for certain furniture types, for example:
Rattan Garden Furniture – High quality rattan will offer warranties between 5-10 years (excluding accessories which often have shorter warranties). Low quality rattan will only ever offer around 1-2 years guarantee.
Wood Garden Furniture – High quality wood garden furniture will often carry a warranty of 10+ years. Whereas lesser quality materials will sit around the 2-3 year mark.
Metal Garden Furniture – High quality metals like aluminium should come with around a 5-year warranty period, whereas lesser quality metals will offer a shorter timeframe as they are not as weatherproof as aluminium.
If you cannot clearly find the warranty listed on the retailer’s website, make sure you contact them to ask.
Test 2 – Materials
Whilst types of garden furniture may all be called the same thing, for example rattan or metal, different materials will be used to create these furniture types, and some are of a much better quality than others. Here are the keywords you should look out for, for each material.
Rattan Garden Furniture – Good materials to look for when shopping for rattan garden furniture are:
PE/HDPE Rattan – This is the type of plastic used to create the weave and is of superior quality to other materials regularly used on the market.
Aluminium Frames – Used to create the shape of the furniture, aluminium frames are fully weather resistant and rustproof, and much longer lasting when compared with other commonly used materials.
Bad materials to look out for when shopping for rattan are:
PVC Rattan – This is a much cheaper, inferior quality plastic, that is not anywhere near as weatherproof as PE or HDPE.
Steel Frames – Steel framework will rust and leave orange rust stains on your patio or decking.
Metal Garden Furniture – Good materials to look for when shopping for metal garden furniture are:
Aluminium – Aluminium is a weatherproof metal that doesn’t rust and does not heat up as much as other metals.
Cast Aluminium – Again, cast aluminium is weatherproof and much more heat friendly.
Bad metals to look for when shopping for metal garden furniture are:
Iron – Iron heats up very quickly making the furniture uncomfortable to sit on. Plus, it can rust when in damp conditions.
Steel – Whilst a cheaper option, steel furniture is not very weatherproof and therefore not great for garden use.
Test 3 – Price
You’ve heard the expression, “buy cheap, buy twice”. This is extremely accurate for garden furniture. If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re looking at several garden furniture pieces that all look similar and one is much lower in price than the other (and not part of any promotion or sale) it can be assumed that the reason it is so much cheaper is because it uses inferior materials that will not last as long.
Whilst price is often a big factor in choosing a product, don’t be sucked in by cheap prices that mean you may ultimately spend more replacing the furniture more regularly. Do plenty of research and compare prices from different retailers to get an understanding of the price region a product should be in, then pick your favourite!
Our advice to customers is to, where possible, always visit a showroom before purchasing – not only to test the quality of the furniture for yourself but because you may find something you love that you wouldn’t have known to look for online.
However, in a time where online shopping is a must, make sure you follow the three tests you make sure you get the best quality furniture for your money.