To help its astronauts survive and thrive in space, NASA had to develop all kinds of innovative new technologies. Many of these innovations were spun-off into a wide range of different consumer products. According to the NASA Technology Transfer Program, Bowflex exercise equipment, scratch-resistant lenses and memory foam are just a few of the many examples of NASA-inspired products that we take for granted today.
Among the many interesting facts that scientists discovered in space is that when the human body relaxes in zero gravity, it assumes a posture that resembles the fetal position. The thigh bends slightly, until it reaches a 128 degree angle relative to the abdomen. Further studies revealed that many of the body’s processes become more efficient in this position. Back home on earth, furniture designers wondered if people suffering from digestion problems, circulatory issues and other diseases could benefit from reclining in a more natural position. It was this question that spawned the inspiration for the zero gravity chair.
There are now a very wide range of zero gravity chairs to choose from. Outdoor zero gravity chairs tend to be the least expensive. They’re rugged enough to withstand the elements, yet designed with ergonomic precision to guide your body into its most natural position. Indoor zero gravity chairs are similar to ordinary recliners, only they are even more relaxing to sit in.
Here are the best zero gravity chairs you can buy:
- With its classy-looking wooden armrests, Timber Ridge’s Zero Gravity Patio Lounge Chair is more affordable than it seems.
- Ever Advanced’s Zero Gravity Chair is as rugged as it is comfortable. It comes equipped with built-in cushions, which make it ideal for relaxing outdoors.
- The makers of Timber Ridge’s Zero Gravity Chair say it can support up to 600 pounds. This makes it one of the most heavy duty outdoor patio chairs on the market.
- Perfect Chair’s PC-420 zero gravity recliner is pricey, but it looks beautiful. The frame is made out of hand-crafted wood and its triple-stitched leather cushion adds another classy touch.
- The Svago ZGR Plus is equipped with a built-in massage unit and a heater. You can even program it to wake you up gently after a short nap.
The best value zero gravity patio chair
Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Patio Lounge Chair
Zero gravity chairs don’t have to be made out of fancy materials for them to be effective. Timber Ridge’s Zero Gravity Patio Lounge Chair is a case in point. It’s made out of steel and durable polyester, so it’s inexpensive, yet tough enough to withstand the outdoors. At the same time, its wooden armrests add a sophisticated, natural touch.
- You can tilt it back as far as 170 degrees. Once you find your ideal angle, you can lock the chair in place so that it doesn’t shift around when you move.
- Affordable price. This is one of the least expensive zero gravity chairs you’ll find, but it’s not cheaply made.
- Natural wood armrests. The armrests give this chair a touch of class.
- Comes with a matching pillow. You can use the included pillow to support your lower spine or cushion your head.
- Multiple style options. Available styles include earth, camo, blue and navy blue.
- No assembly required. All you have to do is unfold the chair when you’re ready to use it.
- Removable cup holder. The included cup holder is large enough to hold a beer and it has a slot on the side that helps it accommodate coffee mugs.
- The fabric is scratchy and rough. The polyester fabric is tough, but it may bother you if it comes in direct contact with your skin.
In a nutshell
This zero gravity chair from Timber Ridge combines affordability with quality. However, there’s a catch: the polyester seat is about as rough as it is rugged. If you don’t mind that slight downside, it could be worth a closer look.
The most comfortable zero gravity patio chair
Ever Advanced Zero Gravity Chair
Many manufacturers of zero gravity lawn and patio chairs opt to sacrifice comfort in order to increase the durability and ruggedness of their products. The makers of Ever Advanced’s Zero Gravity Chair insist on having it both ways. Like most outdoor chairs in this price range, it’s made out of polyester and steel. The key difference is that Ever Advanced has added a key comfort-focused feature: built-in cushions.
- Extra large size. It’s 32 inches wide and 29.5 inches long, which gives you plenty of room to relax.
- Built-in cushioning adds extra comfort. The seat itself is cushioned, which adds some extra comfort.
- Slide-out side table. This accessory is sturdy enough to hold your drink and your newspaper when you lean back and relax.
- Comes with a matching pillow. You can use the pillow to support your back or your neck, depending on your needs.
- Two style options. Olive green and green are the two style options.
- Solid steel frame. This chair’s maximum carrying capacity is 350 pounds.
- Reinforced cord system. Instead of just one cord, there are two cords supporting each of the side holes in the seat.
- You have to push hard to get it to recline. The reclining mechanism is somewhat stiff.
- It’s heavy compared to standard patio chairs. This chair weighs 19.8 pounds– that’s almost double the weight of a standard lawn chair.
In a nutshell
This chair’s low price and unique combination of features push it ahead of the pack in many areas. On the other hand, Ever Advanced’s focus on comfort and durability has resulted in a product that’s bulkier and heavier than some of the other zero gravity lawn chairs you’ll find.
The best heavy duty zero gravity patio chair
Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Chair
The most unique thing about Timber Ridge’s Zero Gravity Chair is its weight capacity. Timber Ridge claims that this chair can safely support up to 600 pounds– that’s about twice the industry standard. The manufacturer is confident enough in this claim that it offers a one-year warranty to back it up.
- Large size and heavy duty design. This chair won’t break when you sit on it unless you weigh more than 600 pounds, according to the manufacturer.
- Low maintenance. When it’s dirty, all you have to do is wipe down the stain-resistant fabric with a damp rag.
- Comes with an adjustable pillow. You can either use the pillow to support your neck or slide it down so that it supports the lumbar region of your back.
- Quick set up. There’s no assembly required.
- Five different style options. In addition to the four different color options (blue, black, navy blue and gray), there’s also a padded version of this chair you can select if you want additional comfort.
- Fold-out side table. A cup holder located on the side of the table holds you drink in place.
- May not be quite as sturdy as advertised. If you put this chair to the test and max out its capacity, it may not last quite as long as promised.
In a nutshell
This chair from Timber Ridge may be a bit stronger than most, but the manufacturer’s weight capacity claim seems to be a bit exaggerated. With that being said, this chair is likely more than durable enough to meet the needs of most plus-sized individuals.
The best luxury zero gravity recliner
Perfect Chair PC-420
The Perfect Chair PC-420 caters to collectors of luxury furniture with its hand-crafted wood base and its leather cushioned seat. Its creators have paid close attention to user experience, as well. The glide-rail recline system is designed for smooth operation and it gradually brings you to whatever angle you want to arrive at when you tilt the chair back. Because a white-glove delivery service fee is built into the price, you won’t have to worry about installing this chair yourself if you decide to buy it.
- Luxury materials. The high tensile steel components and the hand-crafted Hevea Brasiliensis wood frame add to this zero gravity chair’s appeal.
- Smooth recline system. A glide rail system slowly moves the chair into place when you want to tilt it back.
- Built to last. The triple-stitched leather cushion and elegant wood base will look even better as time goes on.
- Ergonomic comfort. Perfect Chair hired an ergonomics expert from NASA to create the design.
- Ten different versions to choose from. Select the type of wood finish you want and choose from ten different cushion colors.
- Optional built-in heater. An optional accessory adds a built-in heating feature.
- White-glove delivery service. Perfect Chair’s delivery service is included in the price of the chair.
- Expensive compared to other zero gravity chairs. It’s pricey compared to other indoor zero gravity chairs.
In a nutshell
The saying “you get what you pay for” applies here. This zero gravity chair’s luxury features come at a cost. If you’re in the market for a classy living room chair and you’re willing to pay several thousand dollars for one, the PC-420 might be for you.
The best electronic zero gravity recliner
Svago ZGR Plus
The Svago ZGR Plus is equipped with a number of different electronic features that make it unique compared to other zero gravity chairs. The chair’s built-in heater will warm you up when it’s cold, and its massager is equipped with several different modes that let you customize your massage experience. Another interesting electronic feature is the smart wakeup, which you can set to go off after a one, two or three hour snooze.
- Comes equipped with a built-in heat and massage feature. You can warm yourself up or enjoy a gentle massage while you relax.
- Smart wakeup feature. This feature might come in handy if you like to take short naps during the day.
- Automatic reclining system. An electronic system tilts the chair to your desired angle.
- Extendable footrest. You can extend or retract it as needed to achieve the ideal balance when you recline.
- Five different available colors. Available colors include black, snowfall white, chestnut, cognac and midnight black.
- White-glove home delivery option. If you don’t want to set up this chair by yourself, you can hire Svago’s delivery service to do it for you.
- Synthetic leather is the only option. Given this chair’s cost, it would have been nice to have a leather cushion alternative.
- Heavy and bulky. Since it weighs 110 pounds, this chair will likely become a problem if you ever decide to rearrange your furniture.
In a nutshell
The most interesting thing about the Svago ZGR Plus is its electronic feature set. It can warm you up when it’s cold, massage you when you need to relax and wake you up after a nap. You can control all these features with the included remote control.
Buying guide for zero gravity chairs
Outdoor vs. indoor
Outdoor and indoor zero gravity chairs both let you tilt back so that the force of gravity is evenly distributed across your body, so in that sense they have a lot in common. However, outdoor zero gravity chairs are more rugged because they’re designed to be used in camping situations or for relaxing on patios. Indoor zero gravity chairs are similar to ordinary Lay-Z-Boy style recliners, only they can tilt back much farther.
Home delivery service
One factor you should consider before you purchase an indoor zero gravity chair is weight. Zero gravity recliners can be extremely heavy. Some weigh 100 pounds or more. If you can’t enlist a friend or family member to help you install your zero gravity chair, you may want to hire an installation service to do it for you. Some zero gravity recliner manufacturers build the cost of delivery into the price, but others charge extra.
Slide-out side table / cup holder
The slide-out side table is a common feature among outdoor zero gravity chairs. Usually– but not always– the table includes some type of cup holder. Be sure to check the dimensions and details of your prospective zero gravity chair’s slide-out accessory before you commit if it’s important to you.
Seat cord style and type
If you intend to buy an outdoor zero gravity chair, it may be worthwhile to examine the side of its seat closely to see how it attaches to the frame before you make your purchase. Most manufacturers fix the seat to the frame with some type of flexible cord. Double-reinforced seats tend to be a bit stronger.
Some zero gravity chairs are easier to recline than others. Sometimes you have to shove the lever mechanism to get a zero gravity chair to tilt back or pop back into place. Generally, indoor zero gravity chairs tend to be easier to manipulate than outdoor ones.
Design and style options
Zero gravity chairs come in all kinds of different styles. Most manufacturers will let you pick from several different color options and some offer totally different designs and styles. Often you’ll find both padded and unpadded versions of the same zero gravity chair.
Comfort and cushioning
The seats of most outdoor zero gravity chairs are made out of polyester. However, some types of polyester are smoother than others. Indoor zero gravity chairs are typically made from leather or synthetic leather, but you may be able to find fabric upholstered indoor zero gravity chairs as well if you shop around.
You can find good quality zero gravity lawn and patio chairs for around $120. These are typically equipped with slide out tables and most come with some type of matching cushion, which you can use to support your neck or the lumbar region of your back while reclining.
If you’re in the market for a slightly larger outdoor zero gravity chair, you’ll be able to find a good oversized one for around $150. At this price range, outdoor zero gravity chairs typically come with extras like additional padding as well as reinforced seat cording.
Indoor zero gravity recliners are the most expensive type of zero gravity chair you’ll find. Expect to pay anywhere from $1500 to $3000, depending on the features and materials you want.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What are some of the proven health benefits of zero gravity chairs?
A: Scientists don’t appear to have studied zero gravity chairs in particular, but there are many studies that attempt to measure the benefits of leg elevation. According to Stanford Health Care, leg elevation can help reduce leg swelling, which can prevent varicose veins from getting worse.
Q: Is it safe to sleep in a zero gravity chair?
A: While taking a short nap in your zero gravity chair won’t hurt you, spending an entire night in one might. Even the most comfortable zero gravity chair will restrict your body from moving around naturally, the way it does when you sleep in an ordinary bed. Extended sleep sessions may cause you to wake up with back pain, leg pain and other issues.
Q: Who invented the first zero gravity chair?
A: According to NASA, a company called BodyBilt was the first to apply the space agency’s ergonomics research to the design of a consumer product.
- When shopping for zero gravity chairs on Amazon, keep an eye on the price when investigating different chair styles. The price may change dramatically depending on the style and features you pick.
- Don’t let children or teenagers play with your zero gravity chair. Moving around in a zero gravity chair may cause it to fall over. A serious injury could result from a zero gravity chair accident, especially if the chair is situated on a concrete, wood, tile or some other hard surface.
- Be sure to check your prospective zero gravity chair’s weight limit before you buy. If you get a zero gravity chair that won’t support you, you’ll put yourself at risk each time you use it.