The Perfect Rocking Chair
 
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Everyone knows about Cracker Barrel and their homestyle food and "country store" concept.  Who wouldn't be charmed by these warm refuges from the interstate highway, and especially by the welcoming front porch lined with rocking chairs?  Cracker Barrel sells a huge number of rocking chairs - they may be the largest retailer of rocking chairs in the United States!    A lot of people fall in love with a Cracker Barrel rocking chair and buy one then and there for their own porch at home.

Trouble is, they're not very well made rocking chairs, and they're not comfortable compared with many other rockers.   Here's why: 
1. Seats are not contoured.  The woven seat of a Cracker Barrel rocking chair is totally flat.  Your butt is not.  They make them this way to save money, but if you could set two chairs next to each other and one had a contoured seat, you would never choose this chair.
2. Backs are not contoured.  Same issue.  Viewed from the top they are a straight as a board (I'm looking for some photos I took of these and will post them asap).  A rocker can either cradle you, or it can just let you sit flat on it.  Cradling is better!
3. Back posts are set at an angle but are totally straight.  I've explained this in previous posts, but this is a very common way of designing a rocker that can be sold cheaply.  The post has to be set at an angle - otherwise it won't lean back at an angle and even look like a rocker - but what separates the good from the great is a elbow-cut back post, which provides far more recline and takes the weight off your back as you sit in it.  Also, an elbow-cut back post makes for a far stronger and longer-lived chair, because the lower part of the post is straight and therefore all the forces are equalized as the chair rocks.  The way this (and most other inexpensive rockers) is made, the back post pulls away from the front every time the chair rocks, gradually weakening the chair over time.
4. The chair is not weatherproof or even weather resistant.   These chairs are sold as porch rockers, but they are made of non-weatherproof woods, and therefore begin to rot and degrade as soon as you put them on your porch.  In fact, if Cracker Barrel didn't sell so many rockers, they would rot right there on the restaurant porch.  As it is, the rockers are sold within a few days and endd up rotting on the customer's porch instead.
5. The chair is lightweight.  Put a Cracker Barrel chair on your front porch and you will know when the windd starts to blow, because your rockers will blow all over the porch.  The wind causes them to rock on their own, and they "shuffle" around as the wind continues to blow.  They end up scuffing your walls and each other.
6. The chair is not strong.  Especially after a few months outdoors, they get rather brittle, especially in the joints where water soaks in and causes the wood to rot.  I have seen posts rot, seat slats break, and arms break - arms usually break at the joint with the back post, altthough they sometimes break at the front post.

Overall, Cracker Barrel chairs are popular because they are visible, widely available, and are very well retailed, with the ambience and romance of the front porch of the country store.  Compared with lots of quality rocking chairs, they seem to be a good deal, but considering their overall quality and comfort, I would stay away from them if you plan to sit in them or have your guests do so!

 


Comments

Donna
04/19/2011 18:43

please recommend an slternative for a weather resistant and sturdy porch rocker ....

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anne
06/21/2011 12:40

I agree 100% ! I thought it was just me. We bought two white slat rockers. I called the store to let them know how unhappy I was, and was told I should buy the cushions. That would make for a very expensive rocker. For that money I should have gone to a furniture store.

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06/26/2011 14:55

I wish I had read your article before I bought a rocking chair. I do love the food at Cracker Barrel and I love shopping the store, especially the candy section. They always have those favorite candies that you can't find anywhere else.

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Jerry van Hoeven
08/16/2011 17:13

Disagree. I have 12 at my home in north Carolina for over 5 years 365 days on the wrap around porch and 3 at my Florida home for over 6 years on the pool deck over looking the lake. "No issues"

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G. Granlund
09/03/2011 10:01

To a point, I agree with the assessment. they are made with production in mind rather than a "handmade" quality. The seat/back connection should be at about 105 degrees rather than 90 degrees. The thing I don't like is that the seat/arm height is not ergonomic. The arms are far too low to rest you elbows on. They look good on a porch however and the seat cushions make them feel tolerable. These are more for show than actual sitting and rocking. You could not touch Cracker Barrel's price in a furniture store though.

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08/23/2013 05:29

Yes. The ergonomics is completely out of the question. These are mainly meant for relaxing. But these days there are many rocking chairs that comes with custom seating angles.

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Dave
09/04/2011 10:04

I read this review while shopping for new adirondack chairs, looking for the most comfortable recommendations.

I own a Cracker Barrel rocker and it has been outdoors for 7 years now on an uncovered porch in Denver colorado in the harsh CO sun and weather and it's still going strong. I bought the natural wood finish version and although it did fade it looks like it is supposed to, weathered and outdoorsy.

I couldn't disagree more on the comfort complaints, and everyone that comes over takes this chair first so more than I disagree with you. You know how when your back is sore and you lay on the hard floor how much better it feels, I think maybe the rocking chair works the same way, it sort of straightens out your body and puts it back in alignment. To be honest its so comfortable that after sitting in it for a while you don't want to get out.

I love this chair and always will. As for construction, I actually thought ahead and reinforced it. I just turned it over and put 4 wood screws of about 2.5 inch length right through the rocking part and countersunk them to secure them to the wood legs just in case the glue wore off. Still going perfect. In fact, my dogs chewed the front spines that allow you to rock foward almost completely off, but thanks to the wood screws it's still rocking perfectly.

This is a good quality rocker and with my little wood screw addition it's amazing. Considering I paid 120 dollars for it that's a great value. People always stop on the street I'm not kiddin and ask where I got that rocker.

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Kelley
12/01/2011 11:50

I strongly disagree! I have now purchase 3 childs rockers and our grandkids love them.

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Arissie
12/04/2011 22:47

I bought 2 rockers and seat pads. I love them and everyone who sit on them enjoy the comfort. I have people tell me how much they like my chairs and ask me where did I get them. It 's really sad that people are telling others to not buy Cracker Barrels chairs.

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Eric Smith
12/07/2011 20:47

Well, I actually agree with the blog - they're not that well made and not that comfortable in my opinion too. I mean, OK they're rockers and all rockers are comfortable, but he's right - the backs are ramrod straight and same with the seats. I don't have one but my sister in law got them for her porch and they're very creaky, because they've gotten loose.

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James Johnson
01/12/2012 13:26

I am not sure if the earlier complaints were taken into account and new product made, but the US Army logo rocker my wife and daughter just gave me for Christmas has a properly contoured seat that is very comfortable. The back is flat, but that works for me. As to the recommendation of adding screws through the rocker bottom to reinforce the uprights, that is a good idea and I will likely do it. The rocker will not be used outside, so finish is not an issue, although the black paint would be durable in any case. The maker, at least in this version, is Hinkle, who I thought has a good reputation. In any case, time will tell.

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01/16/2012 13:08

I know the chairs I am about to suggest are quite pricy, however, if you want a 100% US Hand Made Rocker then check out Owen Rein. His rockers are even in the White House. I own one of the Cracker Barrel Rockers and just finished gluing it back together. My late wife had to have it and of course she got what she wanted. So my next investment in a Rocker will be here.

http://www.owenrein.com/

Enjoy!!

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K
02/11/2013 09:30

No kidding they're pricey. $1200 apiece. If they're at the White House, that's another example of our government spending at it's worst.

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jack
04/20/2013 05:49

Wow! Owen makes some fine rockers. His work is both an art and a craft. I wouldn't leave one of them in the weather. They belong under glass. They sell for about 1200 each.

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carolyn
01/29/2012 09:25

the best rockers and adirondack chairs are ones that are made and sold by vermont wood products in vernon, vt. they're made out of recycled water bottles. it's called polywood. they come in different colors and are ergonomically structured. they can stay outside for the entire year through all kinds of weather. i think they are the most comfortable chairs ever made. by the way, i don't work for them. lol

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Elizabeth
02/21/2012 14:56

I just received a white Cracker Barrel Rocker for Valentines Day. I love this chair. Because of it's beauty I am now changing my whole patio decor. I thank everyone here for all the advice about these chairs. I will put 2.5" wood screws in the legs and I was thinking of Caulking the joints. The seat and back feel so good on my Arthritic back. :)

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Lynette
03/14/2012 19:01

We had 2 single rockers, a double rocker and a child's rocker on our covered porch for 7 years and loved them. I ended up on this site looking for more. We lost our chairs and house in the Bastrop fires last September. I intend to replace them with the same chairs once our house is finished. You can't beat the price.

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Vicky
06/24/2012 20:30

Well I just bought a Cracker Barrel rocker yesterday and the seat and back ARE contoured. It is advertised as such on their website. I bought the brown wooden one, not the woven white one. I sat on it and it was not comfy, but the wooden one is awesome! Soon as I have a new porch built, I will be out there in my new rocker.

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Donna
08/22/2012 08:51

We bought a white caned Cracker Barrel rocker about a year ago for our screened in back porch...I'm more or less pleased with it...except it molds...granted we do live in the deep south...but my other outdoor furniture isn't having the same mold problems...it's due for another spray round of TSP...will probably repaint it with an outdoor paint with a non-mold additive...anyone else have this problem?...

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fRAN
09/12/2012 10:36

Donna
I bought two rockers in June. They are white and keep molding. All of my other covered porch furniture is wood and painted white and we have had no problem with mold .

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cindy
09/23/2012 19:52

I have four white Cracker Barrel rockers that I regularly and frequently clean with strong bleach but the mold comes back almost immediately (they never look completely clean and white although they have been thoroughly scrubbed with bleach). My other white rockers look great and are much older. I got on this site to see if anyone has a suggestion before I throw the Cracker Barrel rockers away.

peggy
09/02/2013 08:35

YES! my son bought 3 white rockers a year ago and they constantly grow mildew (the black stuff) and are a magnet for dirt. they live in southeast Louisiana and these rockers need cleaning very often. the bleach cleaner helped most but only for a few months. i am planning to contact cracker barrel.

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Bonnie
08/23/2012 18:08

I have to say I've had my 2 Cracker Barrel rockers for 12 years and I love Love them! I loaned one to my sister and she left it out in the weather for a couple of months, and I'm going to make sure to re seal the arms. (only cause I'm picky) They're strong, the seats are comfortable (woven). I do not know how old they are tho, as I purchased both at a second hand store - I think 2 for $100 was a great deal. When I finally do retire, one is for me on the porch, the other for a visitor :)

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David
09/10/2012 16:57

I have a Cracker Barrell Rocker( white) that is 1 1/2 years old and is going to the dump. The back fell off where the arms are attached. I called and was told that they only have a 1 year warranty. They are junk and anyone who buys one is a fool. This chair even has barnackles on it. I was directed to the company that makes these for CB, it is Hinkel Chair Co.. Spend your money with someone else if you want a decent rocker.

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Brian
10/17/2012 18:23

I disagree with the complaints! I bought my parents two chairs for Christmas 2011 and they sit on a covered porch and we love them! We are getting cushions and I'm considering buying a bench:) They are not poorly made! Just because you have found flaws does not mean others will! Try again!

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Debi
12/07/2012 05:35

I have to tell you, I have 2 single rockers and one double one. They have all been outside for 8 years. They are in excellent construction condition and are just now begining to show need for painting. They are extremely sturdy and I dont find them uncomfortable at all...without the pads.

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Jeannine
12/13/2012 03:05

I have had two cracker barrel rockers on my front porch for over 15 years. One woven, one with slats. The seat on the woven one finally gave out and Hinkle Chair company sent me a new one for $20. They are outside 365 days a year. I just had the back patio covered and plan on getting two more + a double. Love them!

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Tim
12/27/2012 06:34

No one has mentioned the worst thing about the chair which is the overall design is not of a rocker, but a sitter! Sit in a Craker Barrel chair and all of your weight is directed to your feet. So much so that picking up your feet will likely push you forward and pitch you out of the chair. This means when you rock, it's a lot of work! A properly designed chair requires a minimum of effort (one toe) to rock. In fact, a GREAT chair will allow you to set your feet on top of the rail (not sure if that's the right name) and just nod your head to rock!

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Anna Schmauch
05/10/2013 08:44

My husband purchased an oak rocker from Cracker Barrel for Mother's Day a few years ago. I had it in a guest room and my daughter sat down and the brace broke underneath. It is a curved piece of wood and there is no way we can fix it. I wrote to CB in hopes that they will send me something to fix it. We'll see

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Robert Cadena
11/26/2013 16:30

just had the same thing happen to me on 11-26-13 I have only had the chair for about 4 months and would like to know how that turned out for you

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Vicki Simon
05/29/2013 08:23

I have to say I agree with the poor quality of these rockers. Not because of the shape, but because they use a poor quality paint that is not mildew/mold resistant. This is especially noticeable on the white paint. I live in Pennsylvania and bring my rockers indoors every winter. During the summer they are on my covered porch and are the only pieces of furniture on my porch that grow mold. After the first year they were covered in mold. I cleaned with bleach, but as years went by the mold, which covers entire chair, does not wash off anymore. The chairs are permanently stained.

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Dwayne
05/30/2013 16:45

Rockers....lol....The back of my chair broke off a couple of weeks ago after only having it for 3 years. I called CB on Miller Lane in Dayton, OH and spoke with manager, Jan Fischer. She said that all she could do was give me the number to the manufacturer. I asked her if CB guaranteed their rocking chairs and she said, "no we do not". So I have word from CB that they do no stand behind their product. They do tell you that when you buy that they are guaranteed for a lifetime but they do not stand behind that statement...it is only to market and sell the chairs. I called the manufacturer and they said they do not guarantee their chairs. If you thinking about getting one, I would get one locally made and handcrafted. It pisses me off, I post weekly on threads letting everyone know about their rockers.

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Melanie Smith
06/15/2013 13:02

I've had mine for 15 years and looks and works the same as it did the very first day I got it. Love my chair and so does everyone else.

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06/17/2013 18:55

Bought my double seated rocking chair from Cracker Barrel over 10 years ago when my dad died and I received some money, planning on repainting it this summer. Love rocking on it, hope to enjoy it for at least 30 more years.

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Sue
06/25/2013 11:33

I have had mine for about 13 years, have never painted them and I love them. Yhey are on a covered porch, but I do take them in in the wnter

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Edward
06/26/2013 01:47

I have 2 Cracker Barrel rockers on my covered porch. They are about 4 & 5 years old now. They were originally white but are now gray and covered in mold. I keep them outside year around but as I mentioned, the porch is covered. They only looked good for the first two years. I'm extremely disappointed in the paint. I would like to have them repainted and treated but am afrai that w

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Cathy
07/02/2013 06:40

For my Birthday last year my husband bought me (after years of wishing)
5 slat porch rockers and 1 double slat porch rocker. I Loved them so much!
It has now been a little over a year and I called Craker Barrell and told them one of the runners had cracked in half, they sent me a new runner.
Now I have 2 more with broken runners and the double rocker when my husand sat down last night broke off right above the handles. He caught himself and did not fall thank goodness. We are not rough on them. We are older retired and enjoy using them to watch the deer in the evenings. I am not sure if we just got a bad batch of them or what. I do know it was a lot of money for such a short time. People would drive by and tell us how beautiful our porched looked with the rockers. We are just sick about this. We love Cracker Barrell but are very disappointed.
They were very nice while they lasted! we purchased these at our local Cracker Barrell and were ready to place on the porch.

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Woody
07/14/2013 08:40

I have 2 slat bottom and 2 rush bottom rockers. They are heavy, darkened, tight joints. They are OK with cushions. Maybe the newer chairs were crap, but mine are tough. They live outside year round on a covered porch. No complaints from me.

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Jim
07/20/2013 14:51

we have 2 CB rockers purchased about three years. My grand daughter was gently rocking and both rockers snapped on her chair. If she would have been a larger adult she would have been severely injured. Although she was badly shaken.




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Dennis
08/08/2013 06:59

I have two and purchased them in 2011. Its a sturdy chair and my butt loves them. My porch is covered and I dont know how anybody could let mold form on furniture in this day and age. I will purchase two more for the other side of my porch.

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Lori
08/12/2013 20:50

The Cracker Barrel's rockers are Hinkle rockers but although cleverly disguised as having a "finishing" operation in the USA, these rockers are essentially made in China. Check the label on the rocker. There are American made alternatives. One is the Polywood brand which is found on Amazon and another is the Troutman company which produces fine American made rockers that come in a variety of finishes. Both companies sell rockers in more colors than the Cracker Barrel rockers. Shame on the Cracker Barrel for trying to fool us. Buy American! If you are not convinced see the "Death by China" movie.

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Lori
09/02/2013 14:36

I have since contacted the local Cracker Barrel about the rockers. Until somewhat recently they had all been made in the USA. The lady who works there and assembles them says that the brown ones are still made in the USA. The white ones are not made here. I didn't ask about the blue ones or the other painted ones.

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Ronnie
09/15/2013 05:29

I found this blog while searching for Cracker Barrel Rocking Chair parts. I have 2 chairs and the slats are rotting. They have been painted at least twice. This should not be the case considering the cost.

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Lee
09/16/2013 18:09

I totally disagree, I have 2 rockers purchased new. They are absolutely comfortable and very well made. They have braved storms and the winter without ever moving an inch. Great product and well worth the money.

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Macncat
09/16/2013 20:41

Just wait a few more months and you will understand what everyone is talking about!

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Bradford Benggio
10/22/2013 08:28

Ive had two pairs of the Cracker Barrel rockers that I put outdoors under an overhang on my front porch. Both times after about 2 to 3 years the rockers have rotted and fallen apart. I had the white slatted version and live in S Fla. I filled out a survey for Cracker Barrel and commented on the rockers, but never heard anything back from their customer service. Ive looked at replacing them with something better but the really good ones are a bit too pricey for me right now. Im considering one more try with the Cracker Barrel chairs and trying to paint them with some good marine varnish to extend their life.

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Elizabeth Sawyer
10/22/2013 08:55

Everyone has something bad to say about these rockers, Well here's something good. It takes commons spence people. I bought a white rocker 4 years ago and this summer I noticed how moldy it looked. I have a screened in porch that the rocker sat in summer and winter. This summer I hosed it down cleaned to and let it sit in the bright sun to dry. Then I painted it with white Rustolium paint. It looks brand new and has stayed that way. If you live in Fla. Which I don't you have to expect that saltwater air to eat away at any furniture. With a little commons sence and matinance these chairs will last forever.

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Bradford Benggio
10/22/2013 09:12

maybe you meant common sense????

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elizabeth
10/22/2013 11:21

Oh what am I back in High School or on a rocking chair blog?

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Monica B.
12/01/2013 20:48

The quality rockers the one poster mentioned are $1,200/each. Come one! Maybe the White House can afford that, but I cannot. Geez

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Kathy A
01/24/2014 21:58

Notice the comments on the older chairs. The new chairs are not made as well. They used to sell only the brown oak rockers, then added slat rockers. And now they have several colors.
They may be made by the same company but they aren't the same quality.
I've been going to Cracker Barrel over 25 Yeats, and the quality has gone way down while the price has increased.
So buyer beware. I sat in several tonight st Cracker Barrel and its totally obvious they aren't made like they used to be

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Chris
02/09/2014 19:23

Hinkle chair company makes a great rocking chair that will last. I was really wondering why some people were havering issues and here is what I think. I read a comment that said the price was 2 for 100. I sell furniture and our hinkle rockers go 155-175 so I think cb is selling a cheap version of the real thing...if that's all you pay and you get 2 years out of them you won believe me. We have put them outside everyday for 2 years and they are as strong as ever. They have been in freezing cold and humid air in south jersey. I would recommend these for anybody looking to get a rocker which will last. You get what u pay for so spend the 300 on 2 and I can guarantee these will b there for many years.

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