on all orders over $200
on all orders over $200
Glider vs. Rocker- The Debate Ends Here
Rocking chairs made their first appearance in the Oxford dictionary in 1787.The inventor and origins are unclear, but it’s widely believed that it was first made in the United States by cabinetmakers and likely closer to the turn of that century. These are long-standing pieces of furniture. Originally, the rocking chair was outdoor furniture for the porch, but it did later make its way to the nursery to help babies get to sleep.
The original porch gliders were made of metal (imagine!) and were first in production back in the 1920s. They had a straight back and were often ornate to stand as a decorative statement in the yard or on the porch. Additionally, they were very brightly colored. Think lemon yellow, kelly green, mint blue, and orange! The very first ones made came from an Arkansas Stove Firm as a result of the business pivoting to accommodate wartime needs.
Both of these items have a richly rooted tradition as porch and backyard furniture to spend down time relaxing, reading, or with loved ones. No matter which option you choose to furnish your outdoor space, both porch gliders and rockers guarantee years of enjoyment and time together in the great outdoors.
There’s no easy way to settle this debate, but we must begin with a disclosure: The Porch Swing Store sells both rocking chairs and gliders, and our expertise in this matter is as experts of outdoor furniture. You should buy whatever you want. But if you don’t know what you want, this article will light your path.
Rocking is relaxing. It actually releases endorphins that can help reduce stress, ease pain, and calm the mind. Many airports around the United States have added rocking chairs to their lounge areas to help travelers unwind from the frenzy of mass transit whether alone or with children. Additionally, there are people that say that rocking in a rocking chair can speed up recovery from injuries and surgeries (but don’t take our word on that!)
This is partly why they’re often used in baby nurseries to help get infants back to sleep quickly. Nursery rocking chairs can also promote parent-child bonding. Helping your new baby get to sleep can foster emotional, social, cognitive, and motor development. This can be especially helpful for surrogate or fostered children.
Rocking chairs can help with arthritis and back pain. The rocking motion increases blood flow which sends more oxygen to the joints to relieve pain. For those suffering from arthritis, this motion does not place much stress on the body like exercises and walking. It can also build up flexibility in the knees and calves which can help you to feel more mobile.
There is also a study from the University of Rochester that found that a rocking chair can ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and dementia. Following the study, several patients requested reduced medication and showed improved moods and balance all due to using a rocking chair frequently.
A glider is similar to a rocking chair but the motion is different, it moves in an arc, and often seats more people than a rocking chair. While a rocking chair moves up and down, a glider moves horizontally back and forth. A glider will stay in one place on the floor similar to a rocking chair. This is important because the base is staying in place while the rest of it moves, meaning your surfaces aren’t getting scratched and worn from the constant motion of the glider.
They are a great way to rest after a long day or to enjoy an afternoon outdoors. The originals were made of metal, but today there is a wide variety of materials to choose from. Gone are the days of keeping your metal glider out of the sun. Modern materials like wood and composite don’t absorb heat in the same way.
There are some things to keep in mind when purchasing a glider. Although they are very safe, they can move a lot faster than a rocking chair. Rock them with too much force and it is possible to tip them over. Gently does it especially when getting on and off. If you have children in the house or visiting, make sure they don’t use it unsupervised.
Another reason people like gliders so much is they are easy to assemble. Your glider will arrive with all the slats, sides, and bolts that make it easy to assemble. Don’t worry, there are also detailed instructions that will take you through what to do step by step.
Originally, wicker furniture was made from reeds, branches, grasses, and later plastic. There are obvious benefits to using more modern, durable materials. This is especially true for furniture that stays outside. Resin Wicker holds up to the elements better than natural materials making it a go-to choice for people that want to enjoy their new patio set year after year.
Resin Wicker does not split or crack. It can also have different appearances depending on the composition of the material. From far away it looks like wicker, but close up you will be able to tell that it is not made from natural materials. Another benefit is that it can get rained on and endure baking sun and it will not stretch or weaken the material. Finally, because of the durability, it is very easy to clean.
The beauty of wood furniture is that it's timeless. Stain it, re-paint it, or change the cushions to give it a brand new look year after year.
Cedar wood has been revered for its strength and durability since ancient times. It has natural oils that protect it against decay which make it perfect especially in humid climates. These properties also make it resistant to bacteria and fungus growth. Cedar wood has tiny pockets of air inside that help regulate the temperature even on the hottest of days.
Cypress wood is also an excellent choice when outfitting your patio. It contains natural oils that make it resistant to rot, fungus, and decay. You can use it year after year and it won’t get moldy or unsightly after a few seasons. The natural oils in this wood smell pleasant to humans, but not to bugs. They’ll actually repel insects so you won’t have to worry as much about mosquitos or other pests in your outdoor space. Finally, cypress is a low-cost wood in comparison to other options.
Oak is a hardwood and has long been used in making high-quality furniture. It can be stained to different hues and is a sturdy choice that will last year after year. Oak is resistant to fungus and is long-revered for its appearance. There are some things to keep in mind though. If you live in a humid or rainy climate, this might not be the best choice because oak expands and contracts in different temperatures which can cause cracks. It is also heavy. For safety purposes, make sure to get help when you need to move it.
Recycled plastic furniture has become a great way to divert materials from landfills and to make them into something that is long-lasting and purposeful. Because it was made from recycled materials, it is not contributing to deforestation. The plastic used is typically HPDE, or high-density polyethylene. This type of plastic is non-toxic and doesn’t emit harmful gasses.
Recycled plastic furniture is durable and resistant to all types of weather, making it perfect for any climate. You won’t have to worry about cracking, splintering, or staining. This type of furniture is also very easy to clean as it is not porous and resistant to scratches. Simply use mild soap and water and you’re done. Finally, recycled plastics are long-lasting for up to 50 years.
It’s easy for us as Americans to say: “the better-quality chair is better.” Quality is king, after all. If one were a clear favorite in comparing quality, how could one claim the other is better? The truth is, gliders are designed and crafted with more comfort and customization in mind than rocking chairs. The classic rocking chair- despite its nostalgic and calming experience- can’t compete.
But people still buy rocking chairs for the same reason the Honda Civic is the most-bought car in America and not a BMW. Quality is great, but it may not be worth the price. Gliders are more expensive- sometimes by as much as 80% for similar products. Does the increased cost merit the ability to swivel?
The truth is, gliders are designed and crafted with more comfort and customization in mind than rocking chairs. Gliders can accommodate more than two people and there are endless options for color, design, and style to suit your tastes. The classic rocking chair- despite its nostalgic and calming experience- can’t compete with this.
People still buy rocking chairs for the same reason the Honda Civic is the most-bought car in America and not a BMW. Quality is great, but it may not be worth the price. Gliders are more expensive- sometimes by as much as 80% for similar products. Does the increased cost merit the ability to swivel? For some of us, the answer is yes!
We rock babies to sleep. We turn four-leg chairs into rocking chairs by leaning back. We want our office chairs and living room furniture to recline with the same arc as a rocking chair- not scoot back and forth like a glider. It’s in our nature to move with the motion of a rocking chair, so if nature has any say in this debate, it must be for rocking chairs.
The rocking chair won’t be dethroned that easily. It’s ubiquitous across the country and has been for generations. Although the glider is making strides (or should we say, glides) in getting into American homes, porches, and patios, it still just doesn’t compare to the classic simplicity of a rocking chair.
If you’ve had your fill of rocking chairs and think a glider is more your style, we accommodate that too.