Rattan Garden Furniture Guide

Rattan garden furniture covers a broad range of materials. Essentially it is a synthetic rattan (in PE polyethelene form) which is designed for permanent outdoor and high sunlight use. The materials used included:

  • the rattan fibre (weaving material)
  • the alloy frame and associated welding techniques
  • powder coating 
  • weavers manually create the product
  • cushions and fabrics

The market in the UK is fragmented. 90% of the market is flooded with cheap PVC and polyester fabric cushions using indoor foams and 1.2mm gauge alloy. It is a fact that all rattan furniture uses alloy due to its strength and light weight. All rattan furniture is made in various parts of Asia. There are German, Italian and French vendors all claiming European this and that but no rattan garden product is manufactured in Europe because there is simply no skill base and labour costs are too high. Some of our products take 27 days to weave!

We believe a good product will use a German, branded rattan fibre. The frame should be greater than 1.5mm, that the best weavers in the world originated in Cebu. That solution dyed acrylics such as Sunbrella(TM) are the best performance fabrics and reticulated foams (quick dry foam) should be used in marine applications. Ask your vendor whether their furniture stacks up. At the low end of the market, cheap means just that. There is no such thing as a bargain in our industry. However there is some very expensive product that is lacking in what we think are quality materials.

Why is all of this so important? Because a product using poor materials will be woven hastily and  and one break will result in the product failing. The truth about rattan furniture is that it can be a beautiful addition to the garden, poolside or deck with longevity of a decade or more (our materials are warranted for 7/10 years by the manufacturer) however you get what you pay for to a point. In many respects Europe is fortunate to have relatively low U.V levels. In Australia and New Zealand, where our furniture originated, the mostly low spec furniture sold here would break down in 18 months. If you are a discerning buyer, please ask your vendor to support their claims relating to their outdoor furniture.

Is the furniture KD or knockdown? There is one reason a manufacturer makes KD furniture. To make it cheap to freight. Some furniture is fine in knockdown formats but some certainly are not. Chairs, sofas and tables should be made from a one pieces frame. The benefits are significant. Structural integrity for a start. An iola rattan dining table is constructed using three 50mm pieces of roundbar in the legs and two in the top frame. The second advantage is aesthetics. A piece of furniture in one piece requires no joins! Almost all tables on the market will hide their legs under the top because of this or worse, show an unsightly join and the gaps to go with it. The table will not be very sturdy either. Now compare an iola rattan dining table to the competition. You may think it arrogant or bold to make such a claim but we have no competition. The vendors producing rattan garden furniture like ours is at least twice the price. We do not think anyone is producing a better rattan furniture product that us. In New Zealand our reputation sales fully supports this claim.

Is the furniture expensive? This is a relative term. If you are shopping for a cheap rattan set, fine. Just accept its shortcomings and or pick an attribute mentioned about which is of particular importance to you. After all there is some very bad product out there that doesn't deserve the price tag. There is also some good product on the market which is very expensive. What we can say about iola rattan furniture is that it is high end quality. Truly exceptional in every respect yet we manage to offer an affordable, middle market price point. 

We encourage all customers to research their purchase carefully and make an informed decision. We try very hard to remain objective and sure, we want to sell our product but realise it is not for everyone. If you would like some free advice on any rattan garden product we would be happy to give you our opinion. The management and staff at iola have more experience with rattan furniture products than anyone else in the UK, that we are certain of. We manufacture the product in our own facilities and have done so for years. We know our onions!

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