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Muskoka Chair vs Adirondack Chair: Exploring the Differences

Muskoka chairs, also known as Adirondack chairs, have become synonymous with lazy summer afternoons spent in relaxation. With their sloped seats, high rounded backrests, and wide armrests, these classic chairs exude a sense of leisure...

Outdoor lawn with brick walkway, grassy area, and a wood Muskoka chair

Muskoka chairs, also known as Adirondack chairs, have become synonymous with lazy summer afternoons spent in relaxation. With their sloped seats, high rounded backrests, and wide armrests, these classic chairs exude a sense of leisure and comfort. But what exactly sets a Muskoka chair apart from its Adirondack counterpart? Let's dive into the details and explore the nuances of these beloved outdoor furniture pieces.

What Is a Muskoka Chair?

Outdoor area with garden stone flooring, and a pair of Muskoka chairs

At the heart of the Muskoka chair is its reclining design and comfortable angles. The large armrests provide ample space for holding a refreshing glass of iced tea or lemonade, while the flat-planked construction with generous spacing ensures optimal air circulation and coolness. Traditionally crafted from wood, such as Cyprus, cedar, or teak, these chairs epitomize the perfect blend of rustic elegance and durability. However, modern variations of Muskoka chairs can now be found in wicker, plastic, resin, Polywood®, or even recycled materials. These innovative materials not only offer sustainable options but also provide opportunities for customization, including folding, reclining, swinging, and kid-sized designs.

Why Is It Called a Muskoka Chair?

A pair of blue Muskoka chairs on a deck beside a lake

"Muskoka" refers to a picturesque district in Ontario, Canada, renowned for its stunning landscapes, abundant lakes, and serene forests. It's a popular vacation destination, with countless cottages, resorts, golf courses, and lakeside communities scattered throughout the region. The Muskoka chair, originally inspired by the American Adirondack chair, gained prominence in this Canadian paradise. Today, these chairs have become an integral part of Muskoka's identity, appearing in business logos, souvenirs, and as welcoming symbols.

Are Muskoka Chairs Canadian?

Backyard area with three gray Muskoka chairs

While Muskoka chairs have become synonymous with Canadian cottage life, their origins trace back to Westport, New York, in the United States. Thomas Lee, a Westport resident, designed and built the original Adirondack chair at his family cottage, providing a comfortable retreat from the city's heat. Harry C. Bunnell, a friend of Lee, recognized the chair's appeal and secured a patent to manufacture and sell it under the name "Westport chair." The popularity of these chairs eventually extended to the Adirondack Mountains in New York, and it was here that the chair earned its famous name. In the 1980s, Americans vacationing in Muskoka brought the chair with them, inspiring Canadian woodworkers to create their own version, thus giving birth to the Muskoka chair.

Muskoka Chair vs Adirondack Chair

Two empty wood adirondack chairs sit on grass overlooking the mountains

While the Muskoka chair and Adirondack chair share a common heritage, there are a few subtle differences between them. One noticeable distinction lies in the chair's back. The Adirondack chair features a flat yoke slatted back, while the Muskoka chair showcases a slightly curved yoke. Additionally, Adirondack chairs are typically built 2 inches taller with armrests that are 2 inches wider than their Muskoka counterparts. However, to the untrained eye, the two chairs might appear almost indistinguishable.

It's worth noting that both Muskoka and Adirondack chairs have evolved over time to include various features and accessories. These additions range from built-in cup holders and wine glass holders to adjustable headrests and sliding ottomans. These enhancements offer additional comfort and convenience to suit individual preferences.

Curved Yoke Chair Back vs Flat Back Chair Back

Outdoor area with two gray Muskoka chairs placed on a grassy field

The curved yoke found in Muskoka chairs offers a subtle yet significant difference from the flat back of Adirondack chairs. Many argue that the curved yoke provides enhanced comfort, cradling the occupant's back and head in a gentle curve. The flat back design of Adirondack chairs, on the other hand, was initially made from a solid piece of wood but eventually transitioned into slats, allowing for better airflow and ensuring a cooler seating experience.

Muskoka Chair Cost

Outdoor area with four wooden Muskoka chairs arranged in a circle

The price of Muskoka chairs can vary significantly. You can find budget-friendly options made from plastic or recycled materials for as low as $50, while luxury chairs crafted from teak wood can cost upwards of $1,000. On average, a good quality Muskoka chair typically falls around the $200 mark. The higher price tag often reflects superior craftsmanship, durable materials, weather resistance, and low-maintenance design. Investing in a well-made Muskoka chair ensures longevity, reducing the need for frequent replacements commonly associated with cheaper alternatives.

Muskoka Chair Size

Backyard area with blue and red Muskoka chairs

Muskoka chairs generally range in height from 36 to 42 inches, width from 30 to 34 inches, and depth from 35 to 38 inches. While there may be minor variations in size between Muskoka and Adirondack chairs, they are relatively similar in terms of dimensions. The weight of Muskoka chairs can vary as well, with resin or plastic chairs weighing around 15 pounds, while wooden chairs can weigh 45 pounds or more.


A Muskoka chair, with its timeless design and relaxed aesthetic, symbolizes the essence of summer and invites moments of tranquility. Although the Muskoka chair and Adirondack chair may share common origins, each has evolved with its own distinct characteristics. Whether you prefer the curved yoke and slightly smaller size of a Muskoka chair, or the flat back and larger dimensions of an Adirondack chair, both options ensure a comfortable and stylish outdoor seating experience. So, whether you're lounging on a front porch, relaxing on a patio, or enjoying the beauty of nature by the lake, a Muskoka chair is the perfect companion for unwinding and embracing the serenity of outdoor living.

See more related content in our article about the best Adirondack chair paint colors on this page.