Read our ultimate guide on how to choose the best hammock to fit your needs.

There is nothing more relaxing than lounging in a hammock. Whether you are using it indoors or outdoors, the gentle sway of a hammock has the ability to soothe your worries and relax your cares away.  

Not only do hammocks provide the perfect place to read, nap, or sunbathe, they are also a comfortable alternative to sleeping bags while camping, and sleeping in them can lead to a number of health benefits

Even though hammocks are fairly simple in design, there are a surprising number of styles, sizes, and materials to choose from.   

Don’t worry! Once you have finished reading this buying guide, you are sure to find the perfect hammock for your home.

Information at a Glance - Choosing the Best Hammock

Hammock Styles Materials Sizes Best Uses
Brazilian Hammock Cotton Single, Double Sleeping, Lounging, Camping
Mayan Hammock Cotton Single, Double, Matrimonial, Family Sleeping, Lounging, Camping
American Hammocks Cotton Single, Double Lounging, Sunbathing
Quilted Hammock Polyester Double Lounging, Sunbathing
Rope Hammock Polyester, Cotton Double Lounging, Sunbathing
Hammock Chairs Polyester, Cotton Single Lounging

What is a Hammock?

First things first, what is a hammock?

A hammock is a piece of fabric that is suspended between two points (traditionally two trees or posts) to create a sling where a person can comfortably lie.

Hammocks were first used over 1,000 years ago by the indigenous people of Central and South America. European explorers brought hammocks back to their home continent where they were later used by sailors to provide a secure place for them to sleep while traveling on the rough seas.

Today, the overall design of a hammock is pretty similar to hammocks of the past. In fact, Brazilian and Mayan hammocks use the same woven techniques that have been used for centuries. However, there are more types of hammocks available to choose from to suit a variety of needs. 

Person laying comfortably in a brazilian hammock.

Benefits of Using a Hammock

Hammocks are much more than a cozy place to relax.

Studies have shown that there are a number of health benefits to spending time in a hammock. Anyone who has dozed off in a hammock can attest that they can help induce sleep quickly. Hammocks place your body in the best position for falling asleep, resting on your back with your head slightly raised, and the gentle rocking motion can help lull you into dreamland.

In addition to improving your sleep, hammocks can also improve your health. According to a 2020 article by digital magazine True Relaxations, resting in a hammock can improve your posture by properly aligning your body. Plus, this position has no pressure points so it can help reduce stress on your body and relieve back and neck pain.

Hammocks vs Hammock Chairs

Most people are familiar with hammocks and their benefits, but hammock chairs are a new modern take on hammocks.

Hammock chairs are a hammock-style swing that is designed for a single person. Instead of being hung from two points, hammock chairs are suspended from a ceiling or stand.

Like traditional hammocks, hammock chairs also allow you to enjoy a soothing swaying motion and are available in a number of colors and styles.

Hammock hanging chair with stand on display outside.

The Ultimate Hammock Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Hammock

Hammock Styles

Hammocks are available in five basic styles: Mayan, Brazilian, American, quilted, and rope. Each type has a slightly different design and the best option for you will depend on how you plan on using the hammock.

Mayan Hammocks

Mayan hammocks are beautiful hand-woven hammocks that are created using the same time-honored methods that served the Mayan people for centuries.

Today, these hammocks are woven from cotton material and come in either a natural cream color or in bright vibrant colors and patterns. These hammocks are a good option for sleeping because their design safely cocoons you within the hammock so you won’t accidentally fall out while you sleep.

These hammocks are also a good option for camping because they are lightweight. Mayan hammocks have the largest size range with options for a single person to hammocks that are capable of supporting entire families.

Person relaxing on a mayan hammock outside

Brazilian Hammocks

Like Mayan hammocks, Brazilian hammocks are handwoven and feature a traditional design that keeps you snugly in the center of the hammock. Mayan hammocks are also available in vibrant colors and patterns.

Typically, Brazilian hammocks have a tighter weave than their Mayan counterparts and are slightly shorter in length making them a good option for smaller indoor or outdoor areas. They usually can hold one or two people.

Brazilian hammock with stand displayed in the backyard

American Hammocks

American-style hammocks offer a unique design feature that traditional hammocks do not have, a spreader bar.

A spreader bar is a bar, typically made from beech wood, that keeps the fabric of a hammock taut, making it easier to climb in and out of the hammock. The spreader bar also helps prevent the hammock from accidentally flipping over.

American hammocks also feature a bed that is made from soft cotton or polyester fabric. These hammocks are great for sunbathing because the sides of the hammock do not create shadows over its occupant. These hammocks are typically capable of holding one or two people.

Traditional American style hammock with stand on the patio.

Quilted Hammocks

Quilted hammocks are a special type of American hammocks.

In addition to a spreader bar, these polyester hammocks provide extra cushion and support because they feature two layers of tightly-woven fabric stuffed with polyfill batting. This makes the hammock very soft and comfortable.

Quilted hammock with stand on the patio.

Rope Hammocks

When most people think of a relaxing, tropical hammock, they picture a white rope hammock.

Rope hammocks are another type of American hammock with a spreader bar. These hammocks are loosely woven from thick ropes made of polyester or cotton. 

Classic rope hammock with wooden hammock displayed on the lawn.

Hammock Materials

Hammocks are typically made from two materials: cotton or polyester.


Cotton is the material that has been used traditionally for hammock construction. This material has been used for years because of its soft texture, flexibility and more natural appearance.

However, cotton fabric will fade in the sun while cotton rope can turn tan over time if it is exposed to too much sun. To keep your cotton hammock looking vibrant and extend its lifespan, remember to store it indoors when you are done using it.


Polyester is a newer hammock material option that is more durable than cotton and better able to resist the outdoor elements like rain and sun.

Plus, the colors of polyester fabric are less likely to fade. Even though polyester hammocks are more weather-resistant, you should still store them indoors to extend its product’s life.

Hammock Sizes

The size of a hammock refers to the width and length of the bed (the middle section of the hammock where a person lies). The bigger the bed, the roomier the hammock will be which can mean there is more space for additional people.

However, when determining how many people a hammock can support you should also keep the weight capacity of the hammock in mind. For safety reasons, you should never exceed the hammock’s recommended weight capacity


Single hammocks are the smallest hammocks available. The beds of single hammocks range from 39 to 50 inches wide and 76 to 79 inches long.

These hammocks are typically capable of supporting one average-sized adult.


Double is a very popular size for hammocks. These hammocks are designed to support two average-sized adults or provide a bit of extra elbow room for a single person.

The width of double hammock beds ranges from 52 to 60 inches while the length typically ranges from 74 to 79 inches.


Matrimonial or queen hammocks are a larger option that can support two people while providing more space than a double hammock.

Matrimonial hammock beds are typically between 60 to 69 inches wide and up to 79 inches long.


Family or King hammocks are the largest hammock size available. These extra-large hammocks are capable of supporting two to three average-sized adults.

They measure between 69 to 79 inches wide and up to 79 inches long.

Hammock Accessories

Hammock Stands 

Traditionally, hammocks were used outdoors and hung between two trees. However, sometimes trees are not conveniently spaced apart or you may want to use a hammock indoors without mounting holes in your walls.

A hammock stand is a convenient hanging option for a variety of hammocks. Hammock stands are available in a number of sizes and styles to accommodate most hammock sizes.

Our hammock stands are made of either steel or wood. Steel hammock stands are durable pieces that are available in several different color options to complement the hammock design while wood stands are made from beautiful Russian pine.

For more help choosing the right stand for your hammock, check out our Choosing the Best Hammock Stand blog article.

Sunnydaze Universal Multi-Use Hammock Stand

Hanging Chains vs Hanging Straps

Apart from using a stand, there are several methods for hanging your hammock. Hanging chains are a versatile option that can be used to suspend your hammock between two trees, posts or walls.

Hanging chains include 2 eye bolts that are screwed into the surface of the tree or post and two S hooks that are used to hang the hammock from the eyebolt. Because of this, they provide a strong, solid hold that will keep your hammock firmly in place.

Another hammock hanging option is using hanging straps. Hanging straps are durable nylon or polyester straps that are designed to wrap around a tree with O-rings and an S-rings to hang the hammock.

This is an excellent option if you do not want to permanently hang your hammock in one place. Plus, these environmentally friendly straps wrap safely around the trunk so you will not have to harm the trees by drilling into them.

Hammock Pad & Pillow Sets

Want to make your rope hammock a bit more comfortable? A hammock pad and pillow set is a simple way to add additional cushion.

These sets are made of a soft quilted cotton or polyester material and are available in a variety of colors and patterns. The pad and pillow easily attach to a rope hammock by using the attached fabric ties

Not only do they make your hammock more comfortable, but they can also be used to easily change the look of your hammock and are simple to clean and maintain.

Hammock with comfortable pad & pillow set

How to Set Up a Hammock to Maximize Relaxation

Now that you have found the perfect hammock and all the necessary accessories, all you need to do is find the ideal location and hang your hammock. To learn how to properly set up your hammock, read our blog article How to Hang a Hammock in Three Easy Steps.

Once your hammock is ready, there is nothing left to do except grab a cold drink, lie back in your hammock and relax!


About the Author

Alicia Bowe
Alicia Bowe
Alicia Bowe is a product specialist with a flair for interior design and outdoor decorating. By day, she actively researches, measures, and writes about all things Sunnydaze. By night, after her two kids are in bed, she spends time relaxing in the hammock swing on the patio with her water fountain running for a calming ambiance.


Olivia Smart

Thank you for explaining that Brazilian hammocks can typically hold one or two people. I’ve been thinking about getting a hammock or two for our backyard. This seems like it could be a good option for me and my husband to spend some time in this summer.

Susan Anderson

I love my hammock and stand but wish I had seen this article before I purchased. It took me a long time to know what I wanted. The stand that came with the hammock is large doe my small patio area & I might have purchased a different style

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