“The majority of outdoor furniture is made of hardwood and metal materials which, on their own, makes for a stylish addition to any home but they’re not really comfortable as seating implements. Cushions are often added to outdoor furniture to add comfort and flare to a rather masculine design filled with hardwood seats and tables”, says Elsa from

Not all cushions are the same though.

There are some cushion types that were meant for outdoor furnishings while there are those that are meant for indoor use only.

And then there are those hybrid types that can be used anywhere you’d like.

When choosing other cushions though, the materials that were used should be able to withstand long-term exposure to the elements and must have some form of defensive mechanism against the forces of mother nature.

Sunbrella-outdoor-pillows What is the best material for outdoor cushions

Another consideration is their appeal and design and how the materials blend in with the hardwood or wicker furniture to which they will be partnered with.

But other than looking at the materials, it is important that you look at this problem holistically and analyze the different components of outdoor cushions. This can, in turn, help you decide which material is the best for your project.

Cushion Core

The core materials or the core of the cushion is whatever is inside it. It is the main component and it gives cushions its characteristic bounce and fluff. There are two things to look for with cushion core materials: firmness and density.

The right core cushion should be firm and but not too hard, it should have just the right softness to make it comfortable to sit on but not too soft that it flattens after some minutes of being sat on.

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Water-resistant cushion cores are something desirable especially if you live in an area with wet climate but if you experience a generous amount of sunlight then it would just be a nice to have.

Here are some of the materials used for outdoor cushion cores:

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate – more known as PET or Dacron, this is a synthetic polymer resin that has been patented as a fiberfill technology. This comes in the form of a durable foam padding that gives optimal support while maintaining its firmness and density. It is known for not being flattened no matter how heavy the occupant will be.
  • Foam – this is the traditional cushion core filling and comes in a range of densities which should not be confused with how thick it is physically. As a rule of thumb, the higher foam density, the more firm it is and able to support heavy weights.
  • Polyester Fill – this is the sort of stuff you find inside cheap outdoor cushions that flatten easily and it does not provide any support at all.

Cushion Covers

Covers protect the core from the element and it also gives cushions its design and elegance. Cushion covers often look alike, especially if they have the same coloring but once you take a close look, you can note the difference in texture and finish.

When buying cushion covers it is important to look at how water resistant it is and how well does it protect the cushion core from rot and mildew. Remember that the cushions would be placed outside most of the time and they will be left on their own to fight against the elements.

Here are some of the materials used for outdoor cushion covers:

  • Sunbrella – this is a patented fabric that is fade resistant and 100% waterproof. It’s solution dyed acrylic fabric is also mold and mildew resistant.
  • Cotton Canvas – this is the traditional material used to make cushion covers. One great feature of this material is that it can be dyed for colors but it is not water resistant nor is it resistant to mold and mildew. As a workaround, you can spray it with a waterproof solution every year or so.
  • Textilene – this is made of polyester yarn which is coated with PVC plastic. This cover material has a tendency to get hot when exposed to the sun and it does not let the air breathe between the cushion and the body sitting on it. This material is waterproof but it is prone to be being ripped easily.

With the provided information, it becomes easier to answer the question: “what is the best material for outdoor cushions?”

Given that you are looking for an outdoor cushion material that protects against the weather, mold, and mildew while maintaining its firmness and density, it is safe to assume that an outdoor cushion with a Dacron core and a Sunbrella cover is the best outdoor cushion for any weather.

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Both materials are expensive but they provide the most benefits and they also give the most comfort when it comes to entertaining guests outside.

Expense and comfort and sometimes synonymous with each other and it is wonder why this is so. Mix and match the designs that you want and see if they will be available in the material that you’d like. This is still the best way to find out what is the best material for outdoor cushions.