While it’s true that ‘wicker outdoor furniture’ and ‘rattan outdoor furniture’ can both be used to describe the same thing, you may be surprised to learn that the two are not actually interchangeable. Wicker and Rattan are often confused for each other, with some people not even aware that both terms actually refer to two relatively different things. You see, while ‘Rattan’ is the name of the material used to create the furniture, ‘Wicker’ is actually the weaving technique used to turn rattan, or any number of other materials, into furniture. Confusing the two is like confusing ‘wool’ and ‘knitting’, insofar as you can say a scarf is a ‘woollen scarf’ or a ‘knitted scarf’ but one doesn’t necessarily mean the other.

Now you know the difference between wicker and rattan furniture, let’s a closer look at what each one actually is and what they have to offer.

What Is Rattan?

Rattan is a type of vine predominantly found in tropical regions of Australia and Asia. Part of the palm family, it differs from other palms in having slender, more flexible stems. That said, it isn’t actually a tree and is classified as a liana, meaning it requires a tree or other vegetation as structural support because it cannot stand on its own. There are over 600 different species of rattan but they share common characteristics that make it an ideal material for use in weaving.

Rattan is a lightweight, durable, and flexible material that grows with vertical grains rather than the more common concentric circle grains. This combination of qualities coupled with its attractiveness has seen its popularity soaring to the point that consumption of rattan is outweighing its production.

In order to combat the issue of sustainability, a lot of manufacturers have begun to look at synthetic alternatives to rattan, such as polyrattan for use in their furniture. As a matter of fact, most rattan garden furniture nowadays is made from synthetic rattan due to its durability and weatherproof characteristics.

What is Wicker?

Unlike rattan, wicker isn’t a material and refers to the weaving technique used to produce items out of natural materials. These materials can include rattan but also include materials such as bamboo, willow, and rush. A technique that dates back to Ancient Egypt, wicker is widely used in creating all manner of items such as baskets, furniture, and all manner of home furnishings.

Modern wicker furniture often makes use of a number of different materials throughout the weaving process in order to increase durability and make the final product weatherproof. A fantastic example of this is All Weather Wicker, a ‘material’ that has become incredibly popular in recent years when it comes to outdoor products.

Does This Mean Wicker Is Better Than Rattan?

When it comes to deciding between rattan and wicker you really need to decide on the look and style that you are going for, as well as where you intend to use the furniture most frequently.

Both rattan conservatory furniture and rattan outdoor furniture will give you a set of furniture that is reasonably priced, lightweight, long-lasting, and stylish as well as giving you the knowledge that every piece of the furniture is made from a small number of materials. While this might seem like a small thing it does contribute to the appearance of the furniture as it ages. By using rattan exclusively over a blend of materials you can be sure that the pieces will look the same as they are exposed to the same elements.

On the other hand, wicker outdoor furniture and wicker conservatory furniture will give you a lot of the same benefits. Still reasonably priced, lightweight, long-lasting, and stylish wicker furniture will often feature rattan or a synthetic rattan replacement in some fashion along with other materials. This can lead to either added comfort or longevity of the furniture depending on the materials that are used.

While there is no clear ‘best choice’ these are the main things to consider when picking between wicker or rattan furniture set. Provided you buy from a quality supplier you can be sure your wicker and rattan furniture will look great and last a long time.


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