Best Budget Hammocks
The Vivire model hits all the marks for a great hammock. The long fabric of the bed and extended ropes allow it to spread wide, giving your legs plenty of room. The fact that this hammock comes with a stand adds versatility for those who don't have the right trees or a spot to attach hooks on a porch, and the hammock can easily be removed from the stand to hang from trees if you prefer. The stand is quick to set up, with five metal bars that fit together easily and four knobs that hold them securely. We like the ability to move the hooks up and down to adjust the tension and the reinforced loops on each end of the hammock to reduce wear and tear.
We noticed in our testing, however, that the wingnuts and bolts that attach the hooks to the stand extend far enough to rub on the cotton ropes of the hammock, and after our testing, we are already seeing some of these ropes begin to fray. This issue is also reflected in some comments from other users, so you'll need to keep an eye on your positioning to avoid damaging your hammock overtime. Although this hammock is also available in cotton, mesh, and Sunbrella fabric, the model we tested uses polyester fabric. It is less soft on the skin than some of the cotton models but does offer better durability when exposed to the elements. Vivere takes the cake even with a few issues because of its length and comfort, included stand, and many color and fabric options to suit your needs, whether you'll be on a covered porch or want a worry-free material out in the yard.
Best Choice Products' 2-Person Cotton Hammock balances comfort, versatility, and price beautifully. The included stand is easy to set up and gives you the freedom to hammock when no trees or porch posts are available, which isn't to say that you can't still hang this model from trees or other anchors. Our testers love the bright color and soft feel of the woven cotton fabric. That, combined with the comfort of a fairly spacious hammock that spreads wide due to its design, makes this model one of our favorite spots to read a good book.
An unfortunate design flaw we discovered in testing is the placement of the bolt that secures the hook to the frame of the stand. The wingnuts and bolts can rub on the hammock ropes causing premature wear and tear and potential for failure. The ropes began to fray during our testing. Only concerning if you want a hammock you can leave out in the elements is the fact that being made of cotton, this model will be prone to mildew if it is allowed to stay wet too long. If you are looking for something you can set up quickly to enjoy the beautiful weather in comfort, this model is a great buy.
Lightweight nylon hammocks are a dime a dozen these days. Their value, we have found, comes down to their size and straps. The Gold Armour model has everything we look for in a quality strap: they are 120" long, made of durable 1" nylon webbing, and have 5 loops each for quick adjustments. The hammock packs down easily into its attached stuff sack, about the size of a large grapefruit making it portable for any adventure from your backyard to overnight backpacking trips when weight is a concern.
We tested the Gold Armour single-width model, and it isn't the widest so it can be harder for tall folks to get into a comfortable position for an all-night sleep. If this is you, consider their double model for added space. Even though this hammock is longer than many we tested, the design has the fabric gathered tight on the ends so the usable space is less than the specs might lead you to believe. However, for those who want a tiny hammock that they can throw in their bag on a whim and tote along anywhere, Gold Armour offers great value with a low price and excellent straps.
The roomy Hammock Sky Brazillian Double offers more space at the head and feet, ensuring that you never feel the cramped foot squeeze that smaller hammocks sometimes have. We even found it to be a great spot to hang out with a partner. This model is made of a soft yet densely woven cotton that feels great against bare skin. It comes with a carrying bag with a rope so you can easily sling it over your shoulder and take it out to your favorite trees at the park.
Disappointingly, you will need to purchase something to hang it with, whether anchors for a porch or straps for trees, because there is no hanging method included with the Hammock Sky model. A small durability issue to look out for is the loops at the ends do not have reinforcement, so they may be prone to wear with vigorous swinging (I'm talking to all you parents who know exactly how your kids will use this hammock) Additionally, this model is cotton and shouldn't be left out in the rain regularly. If a spacious hammock for long naps is what you are after, take a looks at the well-made and spacious Hammock Sky.
The Anyoo Cotton hammock provides a high level of comfort with ample space. It is constructed with a soft, dense weave of cotton that feels great and uses a spreadable rope design that allows for plenty of room at the head and feet.
While this model comes with straps included, and we love that they are wide and won't damage trees, they have no adjustability, so you'll either need the perfect trees or additional straps to adjust the tension. As always with cotton hammocks, we don't recommend leaving them outside because they are prone to mildew when regularly wet. If you are looking for a beautiful hammock to complement your porch decor and provide a spacious spot to curl up with a book, definitely give the Anyoo a look.
For many, the Best Choice Products Woven hammock evokes childhood memories of summer. We think that it can still hold its own with our adult selves. The spreader bars keep it open and give plenty of space for two. The open rope weave stretches just enough to make it comfortable and offers lots of breathability for hot days.
Yet, the open weave is large enough for arms and legs to fall through. When this happens, the pattern of the weave can be stretched, leaving somewhat permanent holes that are even larger. The cotton ropes can also be vulnerable to mildew if left wet too often. Be aware that you'll have to purchase your chosen hanging method separately, but otherwise, this model is perfect for summers in the backyard.
For a classy look that fits in with a nice backyard patio set, look no further than the Sunnydaze Quilted Two-Person hammock. The weave of this material is similar to that of outdoor furniture fabric, and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns from subdued to modern geometric. The spreader bars hold the hammock open wide for a feel more like a suspended bed than a hammock, and there is plenty of space for two. We also love the included pillow that attaches with buttons.
Our biggest struggle with the Sunnydaze hammock is its stability. Because it uses spreader bars and fabric with minimal stretch, it is easy to tip over when getting in and out. Like many hammocks, you'll need to purchase straps or anchors separately. Once you've got the right spot picked out and anchors set, this hammock will be a great backyard escape to read, drink a cup of tea, or take a nap in the shade.
Are you unsure about whether you'll actually use your hammock or concerned that your kids will lose it? Try the Forbidden Road Single at such a low price that you can take the risk. It is also compact and light, making it easy to tote along to picnics and around campus.
It's nice that hanging straps are included, but the ones in this model are a thin, approximately 1/2" wide webbing that leave us less than confident when suspended above the ground. They are also too short to work with many trees and aren't the easiest to hang. There are no sewn loops or hardware, so you'll need to be handy with knots. The size of this hammock doesn't leave a ton of space for getting into a comfy position, but for smaller folks or relaxing for a minimal investment, the Forbidden Road hammock may fit the bill nicely.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester, Elizabeth Paashaus, has decades of experience camping with hammocks as well as lounging around her backyard in them. From childhood memories of getting the wind knocked out of her after being flipped out of a backyard hammock to hiking over 1000 miles on the Appalachian Trail sleeping in one every night, Elizabeth has learned what qualities make a good hammock and what aspects you'll want to avoid.
Each model we tested comes from the top-rated hammocks on the market. We tested each hammock side by side, evaluating them in four key metrics: comfort, ease of use, versatility, and durability. They were used in trees and on stands, by children and b ``y adults. Each was set up and packed away multiple times, and each was given the true comfort test - an extended lounging session that can reveal discomforts not apparent upon first lying down.
Analysis and Test Results
Our testing of hammocks centered around the features that we have found to be the most important to hammock users, the top of the list being comfort. We also assessed the ease of set up by starting with no directions. Based on the packed size and weight, as well as included accessories, we judged the likelihood of using each model in the backyard, taking it to a park, and even camping with it. Finally, we went over each model with a fine-toothed comb, looking for wear and tear, construction issues, and any other potential for failure.
You might see us testing this metric and think we are lying down on the job - and you'd be right. Our testers spent a lot of time reading and relaxing, always with a pen and paper by their side to take notes on the comfort of each position, how spacious the hammock feels, and even the texture of the fabric against their faces.
Hammock length is often the biggest factor in determining comfort because it impacts how wide the fabric will spread near your head and feet, but the design also plays a big role. Models like the Hammock Sky, Vivere, Best Choice Products Cotton, and Anyoo are long but also have more space built into their designs. At the end of the fabric bed of the hammock are ropes woven back and forth across the width of the material and gathered together at a point 18"-24" away. This extends the effective length of the bed by allowing the foot and head area to easily spread wide. Of the models we tested, the Hammock Sky was the longest and most comfortable.
Models that also offer plenty of width are those that use spreader bars to keep the hammock open. The Best Choice Products Woven model and Sunnydaze hammock both employ this design for an open feel that is often more comfortable for two people than any other design. The only downfall of the spreader bars is that they tend to make hammocks less stable and more prone to tipping.
Because hammocks are often used in warm weather, exposed skin is likely to be in contact with the fabric, making that an important factor in comfort. Soft, densely woven cotton, like that in the Hammock Sky, Best Choice Products Cotton, and Anyoo models, feel the best against bare skin and leave a minimal imprint after napping. For the warmest days, a thinner fabric like those in the lightweight Gold Armour and Forbidden Road camping models allow air to pass through. Another breathable option is the Best Choice Products Woven hammock that is more like a large rope net that lets even the slightest breeze cool you down. However, the large netting can dig into bare skin.
Ease of Use
Most hammocks are fairly straightforward to set up, but some make it easier with included straps and tension adjustment. Because most hammocks aren't left set up all the time, we also considered the ease of putting your hammock away. The top performers in this metric included some of the bulkiest models with the most parts, as well as one that you could fit into your glove compartment.
The Vivere and Best Choice Products Cotton hammocks come with a hammock stand included, which makes for a cumbersome package, but we found the setup to be quick and easy. Before looking at the picture instructions included, we were able to set up the stand and attach the hammock in under 10 minutes. After we knew what we were doing, it was more like 5 minutes. They both have multiple attachment points for the hooks that hold the hammocks, making it simple to adjust the tension. Despite the bulk, it is surprisingly easy to get the stand and hammock into the zippered bags on both these models.
On the opposite end of the size and weight spectrum is the Gold Armour camping hammock. It is almost ridiculously tiny when set side by side with the 4-foot long zippered bags of these other two models. The Gold Armour hammock comes stuffed into a tiny pouch, and when you pull it out, you find two 120" long webbing straps. Both straps have 5 sewn-in loops. When wrapped around a tree - no tying required - the hammock is clipped to one of the loops with an included carabiner. Adjustment to tension is as easy as moving the clip to another loop, and packing the hammock away just requires stuffing, no precise folding, or rolling.
To compare the versatility of each hammock, we assessed which models were portable enough for the backyard, park, and even hiking. We looked at included accessories such as storage bags and hanging systems. A wide range of ideal end-uses in this line up means you're sure to find one perfectly suited to your needs.
Gold Armour's camping hammock is the most versatile of the bunch. Its small size makes it easy to take anywhere from your backyard to college campus to overnight backpacking trips in the mountains. The long, adjustable straps included with its low price allow for setting up almost anywhere. The length of the straps means you can employ everything from thin 4x4 porch posts all the way up to trees larger than you can reach around to hang your hammock, and you'll also have a lot of flexibility in the distance between your two supports that you wouldn't have with shorter straps.
Also highly versatile are the Vivere and Best Choice Products Cotton models. With their included stands, these two give you the ability to relax in a hammock even when you have nothing to tie it to. Both models can also be hung from any other system, such as hooks on your porch or straps around a tree, though these will have to be purchased separately.
The durability of a hammock is impacted by the type of fabric used in both the bed as well as the suspension. Every model we tested appears to be well made without any apparent design flaws that will lead to early failure. Many of the models we tested employ cotton ropes to suspend the hammocks, which will be prone to mildew if left out in the elements too often.
After close inspection, we found the Sunnydaze hammock to have many features that will help it hold up over time. The bed is made of a higher thread count material than many, and it uses a double layer of polyester fabric with batting sandwiched between. The fabric is not prone to snagging or mildew. We like that there are metal rings and chains at each end that will reduce friction on the cotton ropes.
Although the Vivere and Best Choice Products Cotton hammocks performed well in many categories and the hammocks themselves are well-made and durable, we want to point out a potential flaw that could cause early wear and tear. Their stands are well constructed and stable, but the bolt and wingnut from the hanging hook extend far enough toward the hammock that depending on your positioning, the suspension ropes can rub on it under tension. We saw noticeable wear on our ropes during testing and read reviews that other users experienced the same issue.
The breadth of the hammock market can be overwhelming, from the many different styles of construction to a plethora of seemingly identical options. We did the research, read the reviews, assessed the specs, and tested each model in person. We've narrowed it down to 8 of the top models of different designs, and after reading this, hopefully, you have a better understanding of exactly what features suit your hammocking needs, and you feel ready to make your decision and start relaxing in your own fabric oasis.
— Elizabeth Paashaus