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The Best Bar Stools

Last updated on July 29, 2023
Best Bar Stool

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Bar Stools

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Our Top Pick

BestOffice PU Leather Swivel Counter Height Bar Stools

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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.

Overall Take

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

 Most Versatile

Christopher Knight Home Dax Snakeskin Barstool, 2-Piece

Christopher Knight Home

Dax Snakeskin Barstool, 2-Piece

This pair of high-style, deep brown snakeskin barstools will impress your guests and add a luxurious touch to any room. You'll love the minimalistic, clean lines and comfortable, cushioned seats.

Overall Take

Textured and StylishA fabulous aesthetic and solid construction make these stools a safe bet.

 Best Saddle Seat

Angel Line Cambridge 24-Inch Bar Stools

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.

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 Rustic Design

Ashley Challiman Industrial 29″ Pub Height Barstool, Set of 2


Challiman Industrial 29" Pub Height Barstool

These bar stools sport a classic, understated look that hides many fine details. Metal legs ensure a stable seat that doesn't wobble. And thanks to the rubber tips at the bottom, hardwood floors won't suffer scratches.

Overall Take

Rustic and StylishThese bar stools have a rustic seat on stable metal legs.

Buying Guide

Whether you need accent seating for a kitchen island or workhorse seats for a fully functioning home bar, the barstool you select can 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.

MORE: Best Home Bar Sets

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.

What to Look For

  • 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.

Bar Stool Rankings

More to Explore

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.

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