An ice fishing chair is an essential piece of equipment for even the most occasional ice angler. In addition to providing a place to sit for extended periods, ice fishing chairs can, depending on the model you choose, provide warmth, storage space for fishing gear and other amenities.
Read on for recommendations on the best ice fishing chairs on the market and where to find them.
Our Top Picks
Best High-End Chair:
The Hot Seat From POP Design
Most Durable and Oversized:
ALPHA CAMP Oversized Folding Chair
Eskimo Plaid Folding Ice Fishing Chair
1. The Hot Seat From POP Design
With a capacity for warming as high as 110 degrees, the Hot Seat from POP Design both keeps your blood moving while on the ice and helps prevent muscle soreness from a day of ice fishing.
Additionally, the chair’s multiple storage areas — including one specifically for your cell phone — are just a few of the many reasons that this is our top-ranked ice fishing chair.
Weight capacity of 300 pounds
Extra-large armrests help keep user’s back comfortable
Constructed of heavy-duty steel tubing
Heats up quickly for fast comfort
Chair frame and other components are extremely durable
Reclines for added comfort in long sitting
Heated area limited to bottom of chair
Battery pack not included
Charging the heater can be a problem
2. ALPHA CAMP Oversized Folding Chair
With durability that includes the capacity for holding up to 300 pounds, the Alpha Camp Oversized Folding Chair is a cinch to be placed on any list of the best ice fishing chairs.
This oversized chair is perfect for when you’re wearing a lot of layers on the ice – you can get in and out of it easily!
Among its many attributes, the Alpha Camp chair is perfect for ice fishing, particularly if you plan to spend long hours on the ice, because of its padded seat and backrest.
Also, the Alpha Camp chair folds into a small configuration for easy transport to and from a day of ice fishing, and at just a shade over 13 pounds, it can be carried for a considerable distance.
Heavy-duty steel frame
Lots of storage space
Large seating area
Stands up to frequent use
Easy to set up with just a quick pull
Handy to leave in the trunk of a car
Arms are fabric, which provides little support for standing up
May be uncomfortable for shorter people
Seat may be too low for some users
3. Eskimo Plaid Folding Ice Fishing Chair
Among the more widely available ice fishing chairs is the Eskimo Plaid Folding Ice Fishing Chair, a simple chair featuring a triangular seat to allow for great freedom of movement while waiting on or bringing in your catch.
The chair’s 19-millimeter steel framework provides great support, but it folds into a small package that is easily stowed in your vehicle and just as easily carried to your favorite ice fishing spot.
Carry bag included with chair
Insulated for comfort
Won’t take up much room in tent or hut
May not be as comfortable for taller users
Some users may need to stand occasionally
4. Wise Outdoors Super Sport Seat
It may seem odd to recommend an ice fishing chair in which you’re perched atop a cooler, but hear us out: The Wise Outdoors Super Sport Seat has a lot to recommend itself for your consideration.
Having a cooler as part of the seat provides a place for proper refrigeration of the food and drinks you’ll want to have for a long day of ice fishing. Alternatively, the cooler portion of the seat can be used to ensure that your bait is kept as fresh as possible.
The seat itself is recommended because it provides great back support, and its high-quality foam padding also helps ensure comfort for a long day on the ice.
Adjustable shoulder trap for comfortable carrying
Cooler has 10-gallon capacity
Seat offers nearly one square foot of padded comfort
Cooler insert can be removed to accommodate fishing gear
Also good as an extra boat seat, or for hunting
Seat swivel operates quietly
Carrying strap has some comfort issues
5. Nemo Equipment Stargaze Recliner
If you’re looking for maximum comfort in an ice fishing chair, the Nemo Equipment Stargaze Recliner is what you’ll want. In addition to its ample padding, the Stargaze Recliner will allow you to relax and gaze into the sky while waiting for fish to find your line under the ice.
The chair’s wide base ensures that it will remain stable, and its lightweight — it comes in at around seven pounds — means that you’ll hardly notice as you’re carrying it on and off the ice.
Swinging capability produces relaxing motion
Supportive headrest for added comfort
Frame is aircraft-grade aluminum
Armrests provide great leverage for getting into and out of the chair
Mesh material is both breathable and soft
Comfortable hammock-style feel
Awkward sitting position for some users
Assembly may be somewhat challenging
Finding comfortable reclining position can be difficult
6. Timber Ridge Laurel Folding Director’s Chair
Versatility should be one of the things for which you look when searching for the perfect ice fishing chair, and that’s exactly what you’ll find with the Timber Ridge Laurel Outdoor Folding Director’s Chair.
Featuring an aluminum frame for lightweight, the Timber Ridge chair nonetheless also has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and offers a foam-padded back and armrest.
Flip-down side tables
Under-seat mesh storage pocket
Insulated cooler bag
Double side tables set it apart from other chairs
Easy to set up and take down
Exceptional back support
Seat area may be too shallow for some users
Table locks can malfunction
Armrests can be uncomfortable to use
Ice Fishing Chair Buyer’s Guide
If you’re considering the purchase of an ice fishing chair, don’t give in to the temptation to buy a regular camping or hunting chair in hopes that it will meet your needs during a day of ice fishing.
Camping and hunting chairs need to be lightweight and portable, and while those also are good attributes for an ice fishing chair, you’ll typically want a more substantial chair for a day out on the ice, during which you could be sitting for long stretches of time.
Types of Ice Fishing Chairs
Beyond that basic rule, there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider to ensure that the chair you choose will bring with it all of the comfort and convenience you want.
First, your choice of ice fishing chair should include padding material that is rated for use in cold temperatures, including the sub-zero range.
Padding should be covered in vinyl or similar material to keep your chair’s insulating properties from being compromised by water infiltration from ice, melting snow, or rain.
You’ll also need to decide on a director-style chair, which will provide great back support. A swivel chair, particularly helpful if you’re fishing in more than one hole, a bleacher-style chair, which is easy to set up, or a tripod chair, which is easily portable.
Comparing Ice Fishing Chair Types
Director-style chairs are currently a popular choice, in part because they assist in maintaining good posture, resulting in fewer potential aches and pains after a long day of ice fishing.
Swivel chairs can be a good choice if you’re going to be doing your ice fishing from inside a shelter, where space may be at a premium.
Bleacher-style chairs, like tripod chairs, are easy to transport, and if you’re s sports fan, they can do double duty as comfortable seating at sporting events where other seating may be uncomfortable or inadequate.
As far as tripod chairs are concerned, you’ll need to balance their light weight and convenience with making sure that they are adequate to support you. Perhaps more than other styles of chairs, you’ll be better able to actually sit in a swivel chair before buying.
As a general rule, regardless of the type of chair you choose, you’ll want to be sure the seat is at a comfortable height for you and that its armrests, if it has them, also are supportive and comfortable.
And of course, you’ll want to check the weight rating of the chair. In connection with that consideration, remember to factor in the weight of the clothing you’ll be wearing and of any gear you’ll be storing on the chair before making your selection.
Storage Space Is Important
When choosing an ice fishing chair, be sure that you consider how well you’ll be able to keep your gear and tackle close at hand. For that, you’ll need to pay strict attention to storage capabilities.
The top consideration for storage is to be sure that your gear and tackle will be easy to find and reach, particularly while you’re seated. At a minimum, a worthwhile ice-fishing chair should have some form of padding available for the safe storage of hooks and jigs.
Also, you’ll want to find a chair that has a storage compartment that two or three inches deep, sufficient for keeping bait close at hand. And, of course, some storage capacity for keeping your catch also should be a consideration.
Other Things to Consider in an Ice Fishing Chair
You’ll also want to be sure that any hinges on your ice fishing chair are well-constructed to stand up to outdoor use, and of course you’ll want to be sure that those, hinges and other parts of the chair will resist rust, since you’ll be using it in high-moisture environments.
Finally, you’ll need to be aware that there is a range of prices for ice fishing chairs. Doing research before you make any final purchasing decision can save you from paying too much or, conversely, finding a “bargain” price for a chair that doesn’t fit your needs.
Ice Fishing Chair FAQs
For those who wonder about the safety of using a chair while ice fishing, concentrating their weight on one spot, there is a rule of thumb for making that determination.
You should always measure the thickness of the ice at your fishing spot, knowing that five inches is about where you want that thickness to be before settling into your ice fishing chair.
Whatever Your Strategy, Have a Chair Available
In terms of fishing strategy, there is no agreed-upon answer to the question of whether staying stationary on the ice, or moving from place to place is the best way to have a productive day of ice fishing.
The best answer is to try both ways during your time on the ice, but the bottom line is that you should have an ice fishing chair available, particularly if you’re planning to spend long hours in search of bites.
Think About Napping
It’s a given that anyone looking to purchase an ice fishing chair will want one that is comfortable, and will likely want to include amenities like a rod holder to keep muscles from fatiguing or tightening up.
But one thing a prospective purchaser might not consider, although they should, is how comfortable the chair is for taking the occasional nap. After all, unless you’re very lucky, there will be breaks in the action, during which it’s perfectly acceptable to get some deep rest.
Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Chair
We hope this post has given you some guidance in selecting the best ice fishing chair for your needs. Additionally, we hope this post has educated you about our choice as the best ice fishing chair, the Hot Seat from POP Design. For more on ice fishing equipment, check out The 8 Best Ice Fishing Reels for 2023.