If you’re one of the millions who enjoy entertaining guests or just spending some quiet time outside on your deck, veranda, patio, or gazebo, then the odds are that you’ve invested in your patio furniture. There is an entire industry that has sprung up where patio furniture is concerned, and it offers the chance for homeowners to select from a huge range of different furniture options and find the one that matches their taste and style perfectly. But once you’ve invested in quality patio furniture, you need to keep it protected. This is important no matter the time of year, but when the days turn cooler it’s even more vital since your furniture won’t be getting the same amount of use it normally would. Patio furniture covers are the answer here, and they’re available for anyone looking to keep their furniture safe and protected. But like anything else, there’s a big difference in the different types of outdoor furniture covers out there. Not all of them are created equally, and it’s important to pick the one that is right for you and your furniture. First, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of just what it is that you’re buying patio furniture covers to protect against. Then you’ll understand why choosing the right type is so important. Your patio furniture takes more abuse than you probably realize. The sun alone can cause some serious damage, fading colors and cracking wood or wicker. Rain can lead to mildew, mold, rot, or rust, and falling limbs or debris can damage the surface of your furniture. If you have a glass top patio table, one rock flung by an end-of season mowing could shatter it. Over the winter, snowfall can sit on furniture for days and cause major damage as well. Even animals could pose a problem, from droppings to chewing to nesting. All of these issues and more face your patio furniture, and protecting it is important. To start with, you’ll need to take a close look at the materials used in construction of your outdoor patio furniture covers. Cheap covers are just that – cheaply made. They’ll usually be made from low-grade fabric, vinyl, or plastic. You can expect one season of protection from these covers, maybe two if you’re lucky. After that, the combination of sun, rain, and other elements will start to wear them down. Look for material that is designed to last for years, not months. You need material that sheds water and blocks the sun and can withstand exposure to both. But you don’t want a heavy cover that will be hard for you to take on or put off. Additionally, think about covers that have cloth backings to help fight against scratching and debris damage. Next you’ll need to select your patio covers depending on the size you need. A custom fit patio furniture cover provides a perfect fit and delivers maximum protection for your furniture. Plenty of people have bought cheap, low quality patio furniture covers only to find out that they’re either much too big or far too small. In either case they won’t work properly. Larger covers will create pockets of material that can turn into pools of standing water, and smaller covers just won’t work at all. Either buy a patio furniture cover that matches your outdoor furniture closely or pay the extra price for a custom cover. You’ll be glad you spent the extra money to do so. Finally, think about additional features that could help provide a little added convenience. Storage pockets, leg ties, and zipper closures are all potential features to think about here. Cheap covers basically fit over your furniture and hang there, but quality covers provide a little something extra and ensure that you get a total, perfect closure that won’t allow animals or insects to squirm underneath them. Don’t just throw a bed sheet over your furniture and assume it’s protected. The material will wick and soak up water and cause more problems than it prevents. If you’re serious about protecting your patio furniture, you need quality patio furniture covers. It takes only a few minutes to find the best ones, and it’s an investment that will serve you well and keep your outdoor furniture looking great for years to come.