Are you looking for the best outdoor storage bench? Read my reviews, my opinions and a guide to choosing.
The outdoor chest can become your best friend, especially when the weather is nice and you want to enjoy your garden to the fullest. This is due to its double function: on the one hand it allows you to hide and store objects such as gardening tools, accessories for barbecues, swimming pools and so on, and on the other hand it gives you the possibility to use it also as a seat. In short, as its name explains, it is a piece of furniture that is a bench and a container at the same time.
Naturally it is made in such a way as to resist rain, wind and UV rays, due to the use of materials such as plastic resins and treated wood.
Characteristics of the outdoor storage bench
First, know that a garden chest worthy of the name should offer you maximum comfort when you use it as a seat. It means that, compared to a municipality garden trunk, the bench houses some options such as the back, armrests and cushions (not always, but in most cases yes). In other words, it is a piece of furniture designed to give you the opportunity to be really comfortable, so to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation outdoors, alone or in company.
What are the other features? Clearly, being a crate anyway, you can open the seat and take advantage of the internal space to hide any object. There are those who use outdoor chests to store garden tools, but also those who use it as a “home” for the pool accessories (including the filter). You can also use it to protect the cushions in your garden lounge, as these models are always waterproof and rainproof.
Before discovering the reviews, I would like to clarify a couple of fundamental elements for your choice. First of all, the capacity in liters, which determines the volume (therefore the space) that you can use to store your things. The load capacity in kilograms is also a particularly important factor, because it indicates the maximum weight that the container chest with seat can tolerate. Finally, sometimes these chests have a particular design, since they can simulate the effect of wood or rattan, to give an edge to garden furniture.
Best outdoor chests with seat
1. Gardiun Baule Chest Vita Light
A waterproof outdoor chest among the best ever, also as regards the relationship between quality and price. It is a bench with an internal capacity of 230 liters, and with measures equal to 124 x 66 x 90 centimeters. Being made of polypropylene, it is absolutely capable of withstanding bad weather and rain, without showing any sagging due to the sun (which tends to harden cheap plastics). In addition, it has a metal frame, which guarantees its sturdiness in the long run.
- Materials: polypropylene
- Dimensions: 124 x 66 x 90 cm
- Scope: 200 kilograms
- Capacity: 230 liters
What are the other qualities to emphasize? This outdoor container bench supports a maximum weight of 200 kilos, so it can also be used as a seat by two rather sturdy people. Secondly, it has both the backrest and the side armrests, it can be assembled in a few minutes and by adding cushions it becomes the queen of outdoor comfort. If you don’t like the light gray color, there is also an anthracite color alternative that might be for you:
It can protect your objects not only from water but also from dust, and also has a beautiful design, thanks to the wood effect. Know that it is very easy to clean, as a wipe with soap and water is enough, and that it is not complicated to move, even if the weight is not exactly light (17 kilos). Finally, consider that the model in question is super versatile, since it can contain anything and be placed in the garden, on the balcony or on the porch.
2. Outsunny Bench Container in Fir Wood
If you want to give a touch of unique design to your garden, then I recommend this outdoor chest in natural fir wood. It is a model treated in such a way that it is resistant to both water and humidity, so you can leave it at the mercy of the elements without fear of it being damaged. Its qualities? It has a maximum capacity of 250 kilos and measures exactly 75 x 45 x 115 centimeters, so it is not particularly bulky. However, consider that this outdoor storage chest has only the backrest.
- Materials: fir wood
- Dimensions: 115 x 45 x 75 cm
- Scope: 250 kilograms
- Capacity: About 200 liters
The materials are amazing, as the fir wood is 100% original, while the water-based paint not only protects the wood, but also gives it a very elegant and glossy finish. Even in this case, cleaning operations are very simple, considering that you just need to use a damp cloth. The data sheet does not report the data on the capacity, but according to my calculations it should be around 200 liters in total. Either way, it’s spacious enough to accommodate anything from tools to pillows.
In my opinion it has no flaws: it is beautiful, robust, roomy and also comfortable, not to mention the immortal charm of a wood like fir. The design is perfect if you love rustic or shabby chic gardens, where wood becomes the great protagonist. I repeat that, despite the fir, in reality this garden chest is also able to resist water, thanks to the non-toxic paint treatment.
3. Keter Eden Storage Bench
Keter is a rather famous company in the field of garden accessories, and its fame is due to the robustness of the products and the excellent value for money. The Eden Storage is undoubtedly one of the best of the line, with its capacity of 265 liters and the measures of 140 x 60 x 84 centimeters. The data on the maximum weight capacity is not reported, but according to the opinions on the web this waterproof outdoor chest can hold two adults without any problem.
- Materials: resin
- Dimensions: 140 x 60 x 84 cm
- Scope: About 180 kilos
- Capacity: 265 liters
The structure has in fact been reinforced with steel bars, but it cannot be as robust as the wooden ones, so I advise you not to tap dance on it. The materials, while resistant, are still made of resin, so they require at least a minimum of attention when you sit down. Know that, if you don’t like this particular design, Keter has also produced other versions of their garden chest, which I list below:
There are several positive aspects that I would like to underline, such as the presence of the slots to insert the padlock (not included) and to close the case, so as to prevent anyone from snooping inside or stealing your tools. The design is also very nice, which simulates the presence of wood and therefore adapts to any garden. Being waterproof, it prevents water from entering but not the air, due to the presence of some cracks that guarantee optimal ventilation of the interior.
4. Toomax Santorini Plus from Outside in Plastic
If you want to go on a budget and don’t need a real outdoor chest, then I recommend this model from Toomax. It is a trunk equipped with a cushion, with an internal capacity of 125 liters and capable of tolerating a maximum weight of 180 kilograms. The measures correspond instead to 73 x 50.5 x 49.5 centimeters, so it has a seat suitable for a single person.
- Materials: plastic
- Dimensions: 73 x 50.5 x 49.5 cm
- Scope: About 180 kilos
- Capacity: 125 liters
Although in appearance it may seem “plasticky”, in reality it is not a toy and indeed has an above average strength. However, consider that the bottom was not made for heavy loads, so it is not very suitable for objects such as wood logs. On the other hand, it is ideal for storing small gardening tools and accessories in general, also due to its perfect impermeability, and its excellent resistance to UV rays from the sun.
What are the other important features? Note the aforementioned presence of a cushion placed above the seat, which makes it more comfortable than a classic trunk. Second, this product of Toomax has two pneumatic rods that accompany both the opening and closing of the lid. Finally, it has a sober anthracite black color, a design that aesthetically simulates rattan and the buttonholes to close it with a padlock (to be purchased separately).
5. VidaXL Garden Storage Box in Polyrattan
While not the most robust ever, this outdoor chest still deserves a mention. It is a product with a very elegant design, made of plastic and with an effect identical to rattan (a material known as Polyrattan). Obviously it is completely waterproof, has armrests and a comfortable cream-white cushion that covers the seat for two people.
- Materials: polyrattan (plastic)
- Dimensions: 138 x 50 x 60 cm
- Scope: not specified
- Capacity: About 250 liters
The dimensions are 138 x 50 x 60 cm, but the package does not specify either the capacity in liters or the maximum weight supported. To tell the truth, the seat does not seem to be very robust, so I personally advise you not to use it for two, while the internal volume should be around 250 liters, making a quick calculation based on the size of the case. Being made of poly rattan, it weighs less than other products and therefore is easier to move.
One of its most interesting features is the design, which is really pleasant and elegant, which transforms this outdoor container bench into a little gem to be placed in the garden. Plus, the VidaXL is super easy to clean and keeps things stored inside dry. Finally, despite being waterproof, the manufacturer still recommends covering it with a protective sheet in case of rain, to extend its duration over time.
How to choose the garden chest
1. Structure and sturdiness
It is clear that any outdoor storage chest has a series of options to improve comfort, allowing you to use it as a seat. I obviously refer to the presence of the backrest (without it it would not be a chest worthy of the name) and to the eventual presence of the armrests. Even the pillow, although not always part of the structure, deserves a mention: let’s say that it is very welcome, since it allows you to sit down without experiencing pain in the lower back.
Of course, the discussion on structure could never ignore the materials, but I will devote a separate chapter to this theme. First, however, I would like to focus on the robustness of the fund, which is often ignored, and this is a mistake. A sturdy bottom, in fact, gives you the possibility to store even rather heavy objects, such as wood logs in view of the rainy season. If it is weak, it will break through easily in the face of a heavy weight.
2. Container materials
In my opinion it is really important to deepen the discussion on materials, because they can make all the difference in the world. I tell you both about the overall strength and the degree of resistance to the weight of the user, as well as the possibility of withstanding the rain, since you will use them outdoors. Plastic is the cheapest option ever, but plastics and plastics exist, and they are not all the same. From this point of view, resin is the best choice: it has an excellent degree of toughness, is waterproof and resists discoloration and hardening caused by prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
In high-end products you may find a structure made entirely of wood, a material that obviously weighs more, but which is a whole other thing from a design point of view. A wooden outdoor chest is beautiful and elegant, it gives an edge to the style of your garden, but it also knows how to resist climatic agents such as rain, strong wind and sun. Of course it is important that the wood has been treated with a special varnish, so as to be able to resist humidity and the typical swelling or deformations that affect non-waterproof wood.
3. Volume and dimensions
I advise you to always check, before purchasing, the volume and dimensions of the outdoor chests that interest you the most. As I have explained to you several times, the volume indicates the maximum capacity of the container, and is always expressed in liters. The dimensions, on the other hand, obviously represent the space occupied by the chest on the walkable surface.
I want to specify that there are no better values a priori, since it always depends on your needs. What is certain is that a large container logically takes up more space on the floor, but it gives you a higher volume: therefore the possibility of containing many more things. However, there are some excellent middle ways, which occupy a smaller footprint but do not give up a more than dignified capacity.
In my opinion, the best solutions are those with a flow rate from 180 liters to 200 liters, but nothing prevents you from taking a container chest with a larger seat.
4. Maximum tolerated weight
Being designed to accommodate people, therefore as a seat, an outdoor chest should have a fairly high weight tolerance. Clearly this factor depends on both the quality of the materials and the strength of the frame, but you don’t have to worry: it is often specified in the product data sheet. There are models that can tolerate 200 kilos upwards, and in this case they are chests designed for up to 2 people.
Others, on the other hand, have a lower tolerance and it is better not to test them, since it is better to use them as a single session.
5. Shape and design
Since we are talking about an accessory that you will place in the garden or in any case outside, its elegance and therefore the finishes also count. The wooden chests are the most beautiful by definition, and in fact they cost more than the others, but they are not the only option to make a “good impression”. Resin models can also play their part, especially if you choose an outdoor chest with a rattan design (therefore in polyrattan).
In reality, the rattan effect is not the only option you will be able to find, as many plastic containers of this type have a series of decorations and external engravings, often reminiscent of wooden planks. It is clear that by analyzing them with a careful eye you will immediately understand that they are made of resin, but in any case they have a more pleasant and more refined appearance than the “naked and raw” plastic.
Finally, color also has a certain aesthetic impact, consequently it enters by right among the elements that determine the design of an outdoor container bench. The options are endless, so I assure you that you will find a solution that suits your tastes, from gray to wood brown, passing through white and anthracite black.
6. Padlock slots
Outdoor containers perform a precise practical function: they allow you to store objects that could be expensive, or dangerous for children. In both cases it is always advisable to close the chest, so as to avoid the risk of theft or to protect children from their innate curiosity. In this case, to make all this possible, the chest should have slots to insert the padlock (often to be purchased separately). In my opinion this extra is very important, for the reasons I explained above.
7. Ventilation slots
Almost all outdoor chests have a series of slots that allow you to ventilate the inside of the container. These slits, however, are narrow enough to prevent both water and dust from entering, but not air. Why is it important that this factor is present? To allow the humidity to disperse towards the outside, since otherwise it would create a perfect habitat for the development of fungi and molds (and we certainly don’t want that to happen).
8. Locking system
Personally I prefer to use a waterproof outdoor chest with an assisted closing system, therefore equipped with hydraulic pistons. These pistons accompany the lid of the container, consequently making it easier to close, preventing it from banging if you lose your grip.