A Mission Glider Vs An Adirondack Rocker

So you’re in the market for some sort of rocking chair, but you don’t know your Shaker from your Queen Anne, and what exactly is the difference between a rocker and a glider, anyway? When it comes to patio furniture, there can be a lot of terms thrown your way, and if you don’t know what’s what going in, you may end up with something you regret later on. Find out how two of the most popular patio chairs, the Mission Glider and the Adirondack Rocker, stack up against one another.

A rocker is like your average, run of the mill chair, with the exception of two curved pieces attached to the bottom of the chair legs that give the seat mobility within an arc shape. This motion has the user rocking back and forth from a centralized pivot point by using his or her feet to push off the ground and gain momentum. A definite negative when it comes to rocking chairs is the possibility of you or your furry friend receiving an unpleasant pinch to hands or paws. This might happen because at any given moment there is a portion of the rocking chair’s base not flush with the ground. Rock one way, and a misplaced tail is in trouble.

A glider is in essence a souped up variation on the basic form of the rocking chair. Rather than operate on two base curves, a mission glider works on a suspension track operation, with metal hinge hardware. Rather than tilting forward one’s body forward and back, the user remains sitting upright at all times. Instead, the seat glides back and forth, not up and down. Like the rocking chair, one’s feet work to propel the seat into motion, but in this case, your feet will never leave the ground. Basically, it’s easier to use and gentler overall on one’s body. As an added bonus, there’s not that same risk of being pinched because the base of a glider is fixed, and it’s just the top portion of the seat which moves.

Also, unlike rockers, gliders often come with a swivel base feature, allowing the user to rotate 180 degrees in each direction. Imagine the convenience of more easily being able to reach for things or swivel to adjust for the right lighting. Plus, it can be a lifesaver for people with mobility issues. Finally, another way in which the mission glider one ups the Adirondack rocker is the footrest. A good many gliders have a matching ottoman which is made to work in sync with the gliding motion, so that you can elevate your feet but continue to rock. One of the few disadvantages to buying a glider is that they are heavier on average than a rocking chair and so might cost more to ship.

The Adirondack style does not point to a whole school of design, but rather to one specific chair form. The history of the Adirondack chair begins right around the same time as the mission style, when in 1903 Thomas Lee came upon the idea while vacationing with his family. Whereas the mission style is a product of the west coast of the United States, the Adirondack is an endeavor of the eastern US, the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York in particular. The style is characterized by a tall, slatted backrest, low, contoured seat and oversized wide armrests. Its popularity is so widespread that the Adirondack chair might be considered the quintessential outdoor seat.

The mission style is a revival of old nineteenth century Spanish missions in California. The structures and accompanying furniture are simple, rustic and clean, using mainly wood, adobe and stucco as building material. Generally speaking, a mission glider is more often made from wood than an Adirondack rocker, owing mainly to the manufacturers and operation of the rockers. Overall, the style is characterized as having straight lines and exposed joinery, giving it a clean and modern feel. Unlike the Adirondack, mission style defines a larger scope of design rather than the same specific, definable features for each individual piece.

Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes actively about Mission Glider and Mission Glider Chair.