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The Best Bar Stools - 2020

Last updated on October 29, 2020
Best Bar Stools

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Our Picks For The Top Bar Stools

Show Contents
Our Take
  Our Top Pick

BestOffice PU Leather Swivel Counter Height Bar Stools

BestOffice

Swivel Counter Height Bar Stools

Overall Take

Elegant DesignIt takes less than 10 minutes to assemble these attractive bar stools.

  Most Versatile

Angel Line Cambridge 24-Inch Bar Stools

Angel Line

Cambridge 24-Inch Bar Stools

Overall Take

Can Go AnywhereThese bar stools stand 24-inches tall and look great when place at a breakfast bar, home bar or kitchen island.

  Best Classic

Ashley Signature Design Mestler Counter Height Bar Stools

Ashley

Mestler Counter Height Bar Stools

Overall Take

Convenient BackrestIf you're searching for a set of bar stools that's both rustic and modern, this pair is an excellent choice.

  Best Modern

Superjare Swivel Bar Stool Chairs

Superjare

Swivel Bar Stool Chairs

Overall Take

Fully AdjustableThese bar stools swivel a full 360 degrees.

Avatar
Guide written by Tod Caviness
Last updated on October 29, 2020

Whether you need accent seating for a kitchen island or workhorse seats for a fully-functioning home bar, the barstool you select is going to make or break your decor. It may seem like a simple piece of furniture, but even in its most perfunctory use, it’s going to dominate a large part of your kitchen decor. And if you’re entertaining at that bar? Don’t expect guests to stay long if they can’t stay comfortable in their seats.

The first thing you’ll need to do before buying that stool is belly up to the bar in question — and make sure you bring measuring tape. Measure from the floor to the bottom of the counter and use that as your guide. You’re going to want to allow at least 10 inches of space between the seat and your counter for people to be comfortable. For example, if your countertop is 50 inches high, you’ll want a barstool no higher than 40 inches — and a little lower is preferable.

Most barstools will list the seat height prominently in their specs, but you can shop for certain types and narrow down your choices more effectively.

Counter-height barstools will usually be 23 to 28 inches from the floor to the seat. These are typically made for high tables or kitchen counters, so they’re basically high-top chairs. People sitting on them should still be able to touch the floor with their feet without much effort.

Bar-height (or pub-height) stools measure in at 29 to 32 inches high. As you might imagine, these are a popular commercial size.

Extra-tall barstools are usually exclusively commercial, but don’t let that stop you if you have an especially tall surface to seat for. These chairs are anywhere from 33 to 36 inches high.

Now that sizing is out of the way, you’ve got a myriad of options to choose from. Classic barstools are wood, but the quality of that wood can vary wildly — and may not be the most comfortable thing to sit on long-term. Make sure your wood is treated for moisture if it’s going to be in the kitchen, and that goes double if it’s an outdoor barstool.

Materials like metal are going to cost a bit more, but it may be worth it if you’re keeping that stool long term. You can also bet that a metal barstool won’t be as prone to break or warp. (Though again, make sure it’s weatherproofed if we’re talking about a patio or other outdoor space.)

Barstools with seatbacks are almost universally more comfortable than their plain, flat counterparts. Expect to pay more for this additional material, but your guests will definitely appreciate it the longer the party wears on.

Finally, you might consider a lift seat if your guests are going to vary in height. These barstools are equipped with levers that can allow you to raise and lower the seat as needed.

And of course, there’s the important consideration of swivel seats. Do swiveling seats serve a valuable function? They do not. But making yourself dizzy on a stool is a joy some people never grow out of, and you can’t really put a price tag on that. No judgment here.

The Best Bar Stools

1
  Our Top Pick

BestOffice PU Leather Swivel Counter Height Bar Stools

The faux leather material covering these bar stools gives them a more upscale feel. The stools come with a handy foot rest and a sturdy round base. Users will also love that the height can be adjusted from 25 inches to 33 inches.

Features


Specifications

Brand
BestOffice
Model
2
  Most Versatile

Angel Line Cambridge 24-Inch Bar Stools

With this set of bar stools, you'll get a choice of finishes and cushion colors. Each cushion is decorated with an elegant nail head trim. Assembly is quick and easy and all you need for maintenance is a damp cloth.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Angel Line
Model
3
  Best Classic

Ashley Signature Design Mestler Counter Height Bar Stools

Timeless is the best word to describe this set of vintage bar stools. They are made using a sturdy wood frame and offer a high backrest for added support. A footrest has been included at the base of the stools and all of the hardware and tools you need to assemble the stools are provided with your purchase.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Ashley
Model
4
  Best Modern

Superjare Swivel Bar Stool Chairs

These bar stools start off with a large base that is not only sturdy, but also outfitted with a plastic ring that keeps your hardwood floors safe from scratches. The lift mechanism is constructed from a durable stainless steel, while the seat and backrest are padded for comfort. There's even a footrest to relax your legs.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Superjare
Model
5
  Best Basic

Winsome 29-Inch Square Leg Bar Stools

No assembly is required when you go with this set of bar stools. The pair are made from solid wood and come in either a walnut, natural or black finish. They also feature a square leg design and rise up to a height of 29 inches.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Winsome
Model

Our Bar Stool Buying Guide

Whether you need accent seating for a kitchen island or workhorse seats for a fully-functioning home bar, the barstool you select is going to make or break your decor. It may seem like a simple piece of furniture, but even in its most perfunctory use, it’s going to dominate a large part of your kitchen decor. And if you’re entertaining at that bar? Don’t expect guests to stay long if they can’t stay comfortable in their seats.

The first thing you’ll need to do before buying that stool is belly up to the bar in question — and make sure you bring measuring tape. Measure from the floor to the bottom of the counter and use that as your guide. You’re going to want to allow at least 10 inches of space between the seat and your counter for people to be comfortable. For example, if your countertop is 50 inches high, you’ll want a barstool no higher than 40 inches — and a little lower is preferable.

Most barstools will list the seat height prominently in their specs, but you can shop for certain types and narrow down your choices more effectively.

Counter-height barstools will usually be 23 to 28 inches from the floor to the seat. These are typically made for high tables or kitchen counters, so they’re basically high-top chairs. People sitting on them should still be able to touch the floor with their feet without much effort.

Bar-height (or pub-height) stools measure in at 29 to 32 inches high. As you might imagine, these are a popular commercial size.

Extra-tall barstools are usually exclusively commercial, but don’t let that stop you if you have an especially tall surface to seat for. These chairs are anywhere from 33 to 36 inches high.

Now that sizing is out of the way, you’ve got a myriad of options to choose from. Classic barstools are wood, but the quality of that wood can vary wildly — and may not be the most comfortable thing to sit on long-term. Make sure your wood is treated for moisture if it’s going to be in the kitchen, and that goes double if it’s an outdoor barstool.

Materials like metal are going to cost a bit more, but it may be worth it if you’re keeping that stool long term. You can also bet that a metal barstool won’t be as prone to break or warp. (Though again, make sure it’s weatherproofed if we’re talking about a patio or other outdoor space.)

Barstools with seatbacks are almost universally more comfortable than their plain, flat counterparts. Expect to pay more for this additional material, but your guests will definitely appreciate it the longer the party wears on.

Finally, you might consider a lift seat if your guests are going to vary in height. These barstools are equipped with levers that can allow you to raise and lower the seat as needed.

And of course, there’s the important consideration of swivel seats. Do swiveling seats serve a valuable function? They do not. But making yourself dizzy on a stool is a joy some people never grow out of, and you can’t really put a price tag on that. No judgment here.

DWYM Fun Fact

Most of us associate bar stools with relaxation, but it’s no surprise that some odd ideas have been concocted on top of them. We suspect that the seldom-practiced activity of bar stool racing is one of them. A couple of the most notable examples of the “sport” include an annual event in Drummond, Wisconsin where stools are outfitted with skis and raced in the snow. And they’ve been racing bar stools since 1998 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the land speed record for a stool is over 45 miles per hour.

The Bar Stool Tips and Advice

  • How many barstools will you need? Good question. And believe it or not, the correct answer is not, “however many friends I have.” The traditional spacing of barstools at any commercial bar allows for 28 inches of space between the center of one stool and the center of the next. That allows ample room for animated talking without anybody’s drinks getting knocked over. Just measure the length of your bar, do a bit of division and you’ll be able to determine the proper seating.
  • Seat width generally isn’t the main consideration, especially if the barstool has any kind of cushioning. The seat surface should be at least 15 inches wide, but feel free to pay a bit extra for 17 or even 20 inches or more to accommodate larger body types.

About The Author

Avatar
Tod Caviness 

As a professional writer for the past couple decades and a homeowner for the last seven, Tod Caviness has learned the hard way what vacuum cleaners will actually pick up dog hair and which plants will survive on a Florida patio. His favorite room: The office, with the kitchen a close second.