12 Best Bar Stools (Review) In 2021
Kate is our interior design expert. Thanks to her keen eye for detail and vast knowledge surrounding design trends, she knows exactly what finishing touches all homes need. From compact rooms to large spaces, no job is too complicated for her artistic mind! Kate has built a rewarding career from her passions, working as a freelance interior designer and content creator. In terms of style inspiration, her main interests focus on 70s bohemian decor. This is clear to see through her beautifully designed home that features in many major publications.
- The Best Bar Stool
- 1. Leopard Modern Square PU Leather Adjustable Bar Stools
- 2. Leopard Shell Back Adjustable Swivel Bar Stools
- 3. Angel Line Cambridge Bar Stools
- 4. Halter Adjustable Height Bar Stool Seat
- 5. Mecor Metal Bar Stools
- 6. Poly and Bark Trattoria Metal Bar Counter Stool
- 7. Christopher Knight Home Dax Barstools
- 8. Yongchuang 26" Metal Barstools
- 9. COSTWAY Bar Stools
- 10. Boraam Augusta Bar Height Swivel Stool
- 11. Lokkhan Vintage Industrial Bar Stool
- 12. Winsome 29-Inch Square Leg Bar Stool
Bar stools are becoming more common as a modern seating option in kitchens and dining areas around the world.
If you like to spend time in your kitchen, then bar stools give you a convenient place to sit, taking up less space than traditional kitchen bench or dining chairs. With a high counter top, you have a great location to entertain visitors over drinks or to dine with the family, provided you have the right set of stools to match your decor. The simple style of a traditional bar stool can make your kitchen feel like a modern bar, whereas a more advanced style with arms, backs, and cushioning will create a great informal dining area.
We review the best bar stools available so you can select a product that matches your kitchen island height and kitchen decor.
Not all bar stools are the same, so we also provide insights on the key aspects to consider before buying a great piece of furniture.
The Best Bar Stool
Set of two bar stools
Height – 21.5 – 31.5inches
Our top choice from the best bar stools is Leopard Modern Square PU Leather Adjustable Bar Stools, and with this item, you get a set of two modern looking stools that swivel 360degrees. We reviewed the black PU leather finish, but it is available in many other colors.
The seat of this stool is made from foam and covered in PU leather. Its’ height can be adjusted with the airlift handle from 21.5 to 31.5 inches to match your counter height. The seatback measures 14.5 x 12 inches, so you get a small amount of support for your lower back. The base of the Leopard stool is made from polished chrome with a non-slip and no scratch rubber ring. You also get a small, basic footrest but this isn’t particularly comfortable to use, especially if you are not wearing shoes.
Pack of two
Height – 22.5 – 32.5inches
Multiple colors available
Leopard Shell Back Adjustable Swivel Bar Stools give you many of the same features as our best bar stool choice. Sold as a pack of two, these bar stools are designed with a shell-shaped design, which is quite attractive and more interesting than some of the more standard rectangular design.
The seat and back are made from foam and covered with faux leather, available in several different colors from black to bright orange. The back is 12 inches high and the widest point, at the top, is 17inches, so you may find it more comfortable than narrow options. These shell-back stools swivel 360degrees and are adjustable between 22.5 and 32.5inches. Unfortunately, as with the other Leopard stool, the footrest is a chrome metal bar, so not very comfy.
Easy to assemble
Wider back support
Saddle stool design
Set of two
Height – 24inches
If you are looking for a more traditional design for your bar stools, then the Cambridge Cushion from Angel Line is worth considering. These are easy to put together and surprisingly comfortable to sit on, even though there is no back support.
These bar stools are made from wooden frames, with a footrest running around the bottom of the stool, and the padded cushion is made from PVC, which makes it very easy to clean. The nailhead trim on the cushions gives them an authentic feel. As the height cannot be altered and the top of the seat measures just 24 inches high, so you should check your counter height before buying these counter stools. If you do choose them, you can be confident that you have great quality, sturdy product.
Easy to clean
Easy to put together
No back support
Mid-back padded chair
Five different colors
Adjustable airlift handle
Halter Adjustable Height Bar Stool Seat is available in five different colors and is easily adjusted with the airlift system. You simply use the handle to smoothly raise or lower the seat to heights of between 24.8 and 32.6inches.
The ergonomic features of this bar stool include the mid-back design and the curved footrest that encourage appropriate posture, however, the seat does not provide much cushioning so it’s not overly comfy for long periods of sitting. The Halter is a relatively durable piece of furniture, made with reinforced fabric and a steel base that has a protective layer to prevent scratches on the floor.
Colors do not always match the descriptions
Metal bar stools
Height – 30inches
Set of four
With the Mecor Metal Bar Stools, you get a set of four matching seats with a height of 30inches. While they are not adjustable in terms of size, the backrest can be removed, making it more versatile and easier to stack for storage.
These metal frame bar stools are made from steel, with pyramid chair legs and anti-slip feet giving it a very sturdy base. The seat measures 12 x 12 inches and the ergonomically designed back has a height of 16inches, making it one of the best bar stools to support your whole back. The Mecor stools are heavy-duty products that are weather-resistant and highly durable, but you won’t get any padding on the seat top.
Good value for money
Metal counter stool
Set of four
Elm wood seat
Height – 30inch
The Poly and Bark Trattoria Metal Bar Counter Stools are another metal and wood design option. They come in a set of four and are made with iron frames and solid elm wood seats. There is no adjustability or ergonomic features with these bar stools; they sit permanently at 30inches high, but they can be stacked if you want to save storage space.
These trattoria bar stools are designed to give you an authentic French bistro appearance, but they come in different colors if you want to brighten your kitchen up a bit more. The non-marking feet won’t cause any damage to your floor, and they can be used inside or outside. No assembly is required for the Poly & Bark seats.
Sturdy and durable
No assembly required
No swivel or adjustment possible
Faux leather seats
Seat height – 30inches
Set of two
The Christopher Knight Home Dax Barstools are designed to suit minimalist home décor, with curved seats and sleek straight legs. The metal frame gives you a high level of durability and sturdiness, and the black finish complements the leather look chairs.
The seat height of these stools is 30inches, which can’t be adjusted, and the whole stool is 37inches tall, so you get a low back of just 7inches. While this may give you a degree of comfort, it is not high enough to support your back. To help with your posture and comfort, there is a foot rail that runs around 75% of the frame. The Home Dax upholstery is faux leather with a dark brown snakeskin style finish.
Very low back
26inch counter stools
Modern industrial style
Yongchuang 26″ Metal Barstools have a more industrial feel to them, so you may not want them for your home bar but would work better for events or modern commercial bars. The stools we reviewed measure 26inches tall, but they are also available in 24 and 30-inch models to suit different counter heights.
With these products, you get lightweight metal frames, supported by an X-brace and equipped with rubber foot caps. The seat itself is made from wood, and there is a very low backrest (less than 7inches), so it is not the best in terms of comfort. This backrest can be removed for easy stacking and storing.
Relatively low price point
Not overly comfortable
Leather upholstery finish
Seat height – 29inches
Wooden frame and back
Our premium pick for the best bar stools comes from Costway. COSTWAY Bar Stools have wooden frames, and the cushions are well padded with leather upholstery which gives you a good degree of comfort.
The vintage look on these chairs will work well at home or in a bistro environment and can be easily cleaned with a quick wipe. The seat swivels 360degrees and the curved backrest comes up to your mid-back. At the base of the wooden frame, there are rubber, non-marking feet, and a foot ring for added support and comfort. The seat height of the Costway stools is 29inches, and this cannot be changed so before you rush to buy this best bar stool, check your counter measurements.
High price point
One stool pack
29inch seat height
Faux leather cover
Solid wood construction
The Boraam Augusta Barstool comes with just one item per pack, instead of the usual packs of two or four. This bar stool takes a while to assemble and gives you a solid wood frame plus a padded foam seat with faux leather upholstery. This seat can swivel 360degrees, and the flared legs plus 360 footrest enhances the stability of the furniture.
With the Boraam bar stool, you get a leather and wood backrest that is 13inches high, so you get a reasonable amount of support although the height and the backrest cannot be adjusted in any way.
Long time to assemble
Set of two bar stools
Height adjustable – 21.5 to 26.5inches
PU Leather seat
For a vintage look, the Lokkhan Industrial Bar Stool is a strong contender. The frame is made from a black metal pipe and is fully welded, so the only assembly required is to screw the seat on the top. The base of the frame has a footrest ring and plastic foot caps to prevent any scratching.
The seat is made from 5cm thick foam and covered with leather, giving you a comfortable pad to sit on. There is no backrest, but the height can be adjusted between 21.5 and 25.6inches and you can swivel 360degrees. The adjustment is made manually by loosening a nut, instead of a simple lever.
Fully padded seat
Can adjust height
No back support
Lengthy adjustment process
Set of two bar stools
Wooden frame and seat
Warm walnut finish
29-inch seat height
Square leg design
Our best value pick from the best bar stools is the Winstone Square Stool, which is available in three different wood finishes. This is a no-frills product made from solid wood with a square frame and a wooden seat. The seat is 29-inches in height with no adjustable parts or backrest, but there are multiple foot rails around the legs for further support. There are no rubber or plastic pads on the base of the legs, so you will need to take care of which floor surface you place them on.
These bar stools come fully assembled, so there is no DIY effort required. These are some of the best bar stools available if you are looking for an affordable, sturdy option.
Value for money
No cushion or back support
May scratch the floor
Features To Consider With Bar Stools
There are two aspects to consider when you are looking at the material of the best bar stools.
Firstly, what the frame is made from. This tends to be either metal or solid wood, both of which are highly durable, although metal will give you a higher weight capacity.
Secondly, you need to look at the seat itself. If you are not worried about any cushioning, or if you plan to add your own cushions, then a metal or wooden seat will be perfectly adequate - you can select whichever look suits your home décor best. However, if you want to have more comfortable seats, then you should opt for a product with more padding.
Padding usually takes the form of thick foam, covered in either leather, PVC/faux leather, or vinyl. Vinyl is very durable, is stain resistant, and can be easily cleaned. It is also available in many colors.
Leather is another easy to clean option that doesn’t rip and creates a comfortable look and feel in your home, although it can be the most expensive option. Faux leather or PVC gives you a more affordable alternative to leather and, if you select good quality PU leather, it is almost as good as the real thing.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting the design of the best bar stools and a lot of the decision comes down to personal preference.
If you plan to sit on the bar stools for long periods of time, perhaps for regular dinners then you can find those with cushions, backrests, and armrests. These are more like elevated armchairs.
For occasional use, or if you are tight on space, then more simple backless designs can tuck away under the table or counter.
Aesthetically you will also have the option of choosing a more vintage look, or a modern, minimalist design, so you can select one that matches the decor of your dining area.
The height of a bar stool is usually around 28-30inches; however, the height you need will depend on how tall your table is. If you have a counter height of 32inches, you are going to need a stool that is several inches smaller to give you adequate legroom. Always be sure to check measurements of your furniture fully before purchasing. And, when you choose a bar stool, make sure that that height quoted is from the seat to the floor, not the height of the back or arms.
If you plan to move your stool around or want them to fit no matter what counter you have, then selecting one of the best bar stools with an adjustable seat will be a great choice.
Some of the best bar stools are backless, whereas others offer you low or mid-back support. Generally speaking, the larger and higher the back, the more lumbar support you will get.
The downside of having a larger back is that they will be difficult to stack or store discreetly in your kitchen or dining area. Backless design tucks away easily under a table.
There are now options available that allow you to remove the back, although this is only for metal designs. Padded or very sturdy backs cannot be removed.
Footrests increase the stability of the stool and the person sitting on it. It will also help to maintain an appropriate posture while sitting and make it easier to access.
Most stools have a footrest, but they vary in style, shape, and size. If you plan to sit on your bar stools only occasionally, or will always wear shoes when sitting, then the comfort of the rest is not important. However, if you want to sit for a long time, having a decent footrest with smooth edges, curves or some padding will be the best choice to keep you comfortable.
When selecting the seating of your bar stool, first consider when and where it will be used. Occasional use reduces the need for padding or a wide seat, but if you want to sit on it for a long time, comfort becomes a much more important factor. A foam cushion will be the softest to sit on, but a metal or wood stool that has curved seats will also offer you a better level of comfort than a completely flat style.
The width of the seat is another factor you want to look at as not all models are the same. The most common widths you will get at 15, 17, and 21inch, so decide which would be the appropriate size for you and your guests. If you like to use the bar stools as alternatives to dining chairs, then wider seating with a full back will help.
A good quality bar stool needs to be durable and comfortable. Look at the quality of material used for the frame and seat and, if you are getting a swivel or adjustable version, check the quality of the parts. You don’t want a lovely looking stool to let you down because the lever or bolts used to adjust the height breaks easily.
A 360degree swivel mechanism allows the seat to turn all the way around without moving the base. This is an excellent feature if you are going to be using the bar stools in a social environment as it allows you to see everyone, regardless of the position. It also a good option if you have limited space. The downside of the swivel is that if it is used repeatedly or overexcited, you can damage your walls or the mechanism.
Bar Stool FAQ
Q: Which is higher, a bar stool or counter stool?
While the terms counter stools and bar stools are often used interchangeably, they are different pieces of furniture, identifiable by their heights.
Counter stools will typically have a seat that is 24 to 26inches off the ground, and they are designed to tuck underneath a table while you are eating.
Bar stools are higher and usually sit around 29 to 30inches from the floor and have a footrest to support you while sitting.
The best bar stools for you will be one that suits your counter or bar height.
Q: Is sitting on a bar stool bad for your back?
With a footrest, bar stools can, in some ways, improve your posture as they encourage your feet to be under your body and help to keep your spine straight. However, this is only sustainable for a short period of time and doesn't give you a great level of comfort.
Many bar stools come without a back or have a very low cut back, which means you don’t get the lumbar support that you would with chairs. No lumbar support will lead to increased muscle tightness which puts pressure on your discs.
As such, it is only recommended to sit on a bar stool without back support for short periods of time.
Q: How many bar stools should I have?
The ideal number of bar stools depends on how you plan to use them. If you have a small home bar then usually between two and four stools will be enough, yet if you plan to entertain a lot, or have a large dining table and counter, then you could get more. Just ensure you have enough space to store them when not being used.
Q: How much overhang do you need for bar stools?
There is no set rule on how big an overhang should be, but there are some guidelines you can follow.
A small overhang (less than about 10 inches) will not allow you enough knee room underneath the counter, so you will end up sitting a long way back from your food or drink. The smaller the overhang is, the further you have to pull the stools away from the bar when sitting down.
A larger overhang will generally be more comfortable if you are trying to eat from the counter as it will allow your stool, and your legs, to fit under the worktop, close to your food. The challenge with getting a counter with a large overhang is finding the space in your kitchen to accommodate it.
Q: What height are bar stools?
The height of bar stools will vary, but you can expect the typical height of the seat to be between 28 and 30 inches from the ground. Any lower and the furniture is called a counter stool.
While heights vary, it is most important to choose a seat that matches the bar height. You will need to check if the quoted dimensions measure from the seating to the floor or from the top of the back to the floor.