If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, ARTNews may receive an affiliate commission.
If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
You may love your studio chair, but it’s probably not ideal for carrying with you in a BYO-seat situation. Whether you need one for plein air painting or for setting up at a street fair, a portable chair should be, at the very least, easy to fold up for transport. You should also consider weight, comfort, stability, and perhaps aesthetics. We’ve picked our favorite portable seating options; read on to find out more.
Brought to you by the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world, ARTnews Recommends helps you make the choice that suits you best from products in hundreds of art and craft supply categories. Our offerings are based on intensive research, interviews with artists and craftspeople, and the accumulated experience of the site’s editors and writers. We provide trustworthy and helpful advice about materials to artists ranging from beginner to professional.
1. Lightspeed Outdoors Folding Chair
This pleasant orange chair has a simple but efficient design that makes it both comfortable to sit on and effortless to carry. The seat is made of a durable heavy nylon material and features a flexible back that provides excellent support for long sitting sessions. A nonet of metal struts crisscross to provide strength—so much so that this little number can hold up to 225 pounds of human. All of this collapses in just seconds into a tube weighing less than 5 pounds and measuring just 33 inches long. Sling it over your shoulder using the integrated shoulder strap, which is padded, and be on your way.
2. Creative Mark ArtComber Folding Chair
This chair is perfect for artists who want to free up their hands as much as possible. A waterproof bag attached to its back is roomy enough to fit your supplies plus large items such as drawing boards and sketch pads. Rather than individual legs, it features a metal stand at the front and another at the back as well as two large-diameter wheels. The structure folds up into a cartlike contraption that you can pull behind you, and it rolls well over different kinds of terrain, including uneven ground and grass. It features a straighter back than our top pick; while some people might find this slightly uncomfortable, it’s great for your posture.
3. KingCamp Tall Director Chair
This is a perfect chair for artists and artisans to set up at fairs and other vendor events, as it affords a great vantage point over the action. It is tall, with a soft oxford-fabric seat 26 inches off the floor, and robust, with a rigid frame made out of steel tubing. It’s also comfortable—you can lean back slightly, rest your arms on cushioned side rails, and place your feet on a low crossbar. Plus, it has a small side table, a cup holder, and a pouch where you can tuck your phone or other accessories. At this height, you’ll also be able to look customers in the eye while staying seated.
4. 5Rcom Portable Stools
These stools are about as simple as you can get, but they can support 300 pounds and are smartly designed for what they are. Each features a round seat with a straight edge at the front, supported by two crossed steel legs that fold with a single push. They weigh just under 4 pounds each and feature a curved cut-out handle so you can easily carry them. Sold in sets of two, these stools are ideal for classrooms and other group settings.
5. Casual Home Director’s Chair
A take on the classic director’s chair, this model is even taller than KingCamp’s. The seat rises to a height of 30 inches and rests on a beautiful solid-wood frame complete with armrests and a footrest. You have to assemble it yourself, but just once; it can then fold into a slightly shorter, relatively skinny bundle (though you do have to remove the footrest each time). Casual Home offers several wood finishes and color options for the canvas seat and back; they’re all very attractive, so if aesthetics are a high priority, we highly recommend this chair. It’s also very comfortable.