Wicker vs. Metal Patio Furniture: Choosing the Right Option for Your Outdoor Space

Wicker vs. Metal Patio Furniture: Choosing the Right Option for Your Outdoor Space

Summer is here, and you can enjoy the patio season. Relax by the poolside or in your backyard and soak up the sun.

You need outdoor furniture for summertime lounging and patio parties. You have to think about many things when you choose outdoor furniture. It has to face the sun, the summer rain, and other external elements.

Wicker and aluminum are two popular materials for outdoor furniture. You can find wicker dining sets and metal sofa sets in different styles and options. Both have many benefits, but how do you pick one of them? This wicker vs. metal patio furniture guide will help you make a decision.

Wicker Vs. Metal Patio Furniture: Understanding the Differences in Construction 

You can select between wicker patio furniture vs. metal by considering the construction method and how each material reacts to the outdoors. 

Let's take a closer look at both:


When we think of wicker, rattan is one of the first words to spring to mind. While wicker and rattan are interlinked, they’re not the same

Wicker is the practice of hand-weaving strands of natural fiber to create an intricate pattern. Because of its rustic and organic design, this handwoven process has found its way into hearts and homes. 

Rattan is one of the materials used to make wicker furniture. Historically, the wicker weaving process also made use of organic materials such as:

  • Bamboo
  • Reed
  • Willow
  • Sea Grass
  • Water Hyacinth

While these natural materials fared well indoors, they were no match for the elements outside. Synthetic materials were brought in as a substitute, creating a new niche of synthetic wicker outdoor furniture. Synthetic wicker uses resin, an all-weather material, to make furniture. 

Resin varieties range from low-grade to high-grade, such as:

  • PVC
  • Vinyl
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • High-density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Of these, HDPE resin holds up best in the outdoors. It is a sustainable material free of chemicals, allowing you to enjoy the organic feel of natural wicker. Its weatherproof characteristics make it resistant to the sun and rain. It is also resistant to chlorine chemicals from the pool.

Despite its external wicker weave, all wicker furniture is supported by a metal frame. The frame, typically made of aluminum or steel, helps retain the shape and form of wicker. This differs from actual metal patio furniture, which we will discuss next.


Outdoor furniture makers use various types of metal in construction. The most common metal furniture is made of stainless steel, wrought iron, aluminum, and cast aluminum.

  • Metal furniture, especially aluminum furniture, is made by welding together hollow metal tubes. Because of its hollow quality, this type of aluminum is lightweight and easily moveable - a benefit for outdoor furniture. Even so, it is lower in quality than cast aluminum. 
  • Cast aluminum furniture is made by putting together molten metal pieces. This process improves the overall furniture quality.
  • Stainless steel is heavier, but it is of higher quality. It is also rust-resistant and anti-corrosive. 
  • Wrought iron, another popular outdoor furniture metal, is heavy and sturdy, but expensive. Steel and wrought iron furnishings are less versatile than wicker furniture. They don’t adapt well to all design styles, a drawback to consider when furniture shopping.

Metal Vs. Wicker Patio Furniture: Understanding the Differences in Lifespan & Durability

Furniture is a long-term investment. When choosing furniture for the outdoors, it’s better to pick something with a longer lifespan and durability. 

Let’s compare metal vs. wicker patio furniture on these aspects.


If properly cared for, HDPE resin wicker furniture has an impressive lifespan of 20 years. Good-quality resin furniture comes with a protective coating to withstand sun, rain, and snow. 

That implies it:

  • Won’t crack or split
  • Won’t catch mold or mildew
  • Won’t fade
  • Won’t rot

If this is not a win for outdoor furniture, we don’t know what is! 

While synthetic wicker is the best type of wicker for the outdoors, excessive sun or rain exposure can cause long-term harm. One should never store wicker furniture under direct sunlight. Protective covers are the best way to extend their life.

Natural wicker, designed for interior use, cannot be used outside. When exposed to the weather, its natural fibers deteriorate, lowering the lifespan.


Metal furniture's lifespan and durability depend on its type.

Aluminum furniture ages well in temperate climates and is an excellent choice for patio furniture. Despite its lightweight nature, it is strong and can withstand wind and snow. 

While aluminum is resistant to corrosion, it can oxidize and discolor if it’s left out for a long time. A simple soap-and-water wash will restore its original finish. 

Nowadays, most aluminum furniture comes with a protective powder coating. This helps prevent oxidation and protects it from harsh weather. If properly maintained, powder-coated aluminum furniture lasts for 10-15 years.

Wrought iron is durable due to its thick and fibrous composition. It doesn't damage easily and will survive for decades without problems. However, its heavyweight nature does not lend itself well to outdoor settings.

Wicker Patio Furniture Vs. Metal: Understanding the Differences in Comfort

Wicker and metal furniture provide varying degrees of comfort, so let’s understand both before deciding which one to purchase.


Because wicker furniture has ornate weaves, there is a misperception that it is flimsy and hollow. 

Wicker outdoor furniture is supported by a metal skeletal frame, which gives it a solid appearance. It can balance any weight and provide adequate back comfort. Wicker can adapt to your shape or weight with time, making it more comfortable with usage.

True, wicker furniture doesn’t allow the same level of comfort as a plush sofa, but there are ways to fix this. With soft cushions, throw pillows and other accessories, you can transform your wicker patio furniture into a relaxing retreat. 

Wicker's breathable texture allows for optimum airflow, outperforming metal in terms of comfort. It is also a better choice for patios in summer because it is cool to the touch. It doesn’t absorb heat as metal does.


Metal furniture is naturally rigid and does not adapt well to human shape or weight. It can create discomfort if not equipped with cushions. Another thing to keep in mind is that metal traps heat. Metal furniture can quickly become hot to the touch and burn the skin in the summer.

Metal, unlike wicker, is built of dense compounds that do not allow for adequate airflow, resulting in discomfort after prolonged sitting.

Wicker Vs. Metal Patio Furniture: Understanding the Differences in Maintenance

Outdoor furniture requires regular upkeep for an extended lifespan. Let’s explore the maintenance options for wicker and metal.


Synthetic or resin wicker is one of the simplest materials to care for. Because of its strong resilience to sun and humidity, there is no need to spend time or money on protective coatings or varnish. 

To keep it fresh and new, all you need is a bucket of warm water, some soap, and a soft-bristled brush. You can also spray it off with a garden hose to ensure all crevices are clean. 


Aluminum attracts oxidation stains and requires more upkeep than wicker. Because aluminum is lightweight, you should also avoid rigorous handling as it's difficult to repair dented aluminum furniture. 

Overall, cleaning for aluminum furniture is also simple. It only needs a clean wipe with soap and water. 

Wicker Vs. Aluminum Patio Furniture: Understanding the Differences in Cost

Furniture costs don’t just pertain to the selling price. Costs also pertain to the value for money the furniture provides, its lifespan, and the maintenance costs it incurs.


Wicker is known to come with a hefty price tag, but this depends on the piece you buy. Synthetic wicker sectionals or big-ticket items like sofas and dining sets will cost more than a wicker lounge or chair. Outdoor wicker furniture can cost anywhere between $500 to $5000. High-quality pieces made from HDPE resin will cost more, but they last far longer. 

Wicker’s functional and weather-resistant properties make it worth the investment. If you want a good ROI on your furniture, synthetic wicker is a smart and affordable choice for your outdoor space.


Metal is strong and durable like wicker, but does it provide the same value for money? The inherent composition of aluminum makes it prone to dents and damage over time. 

Although aluminum furniture can endure a decade or two, it won’t have the same finish as when it was new. Nonetheless, aluminum is one of the most economical metal furniture materials. 

Key Takeaway: Which is the Better Choice Between Wicker Vs. Metal Patio Furniture?

Wicker outshines metal as the best choice for outdoor furniture. It offers a classic vibe, durability, and weather resistance that make it worth the investment. It also blends well with any outdoor design style, from traditional to contemporary. 

Whether you want to furnish your home garden or your seaside patio, wicker will suit your setting perfectly. To learn more about its features, check out our wicker furniture buying guide.

Not all wicker is created equal, however.

You need high-grade resin wicker to enjoy its benefits for a long time. Low-quality wicker will ruin your outdoor space and fall apart quickly. That’s why you should only buy premium quality wicker from trusted retailers.

Modern Wicker is your best online source for top-notch outdoor wicker furniture. You can find wicker dining sets, conversation sets, sectionals, and more in their collection. And they deliver for free!

Don’t wait any longer. Contact us today and let our staff help you find the best wicker furniture for your needs.

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