Which bar stool is best?

Whether you have a breakfast bar or a bar height table, the right bar stools bring it all together. Most buyers are searching for comfortable and practical stools that also look great. 

Choosing a bar stool of the right height is essential, so don’t get confused with smaller counter stools. Ball & Cast Bar Height Swivel Stools are sturdy with comfortable seats and backs, so they’re ideal for many buyers. 

What to know before you buy a bar stool

Height

The average height for a bar stool is 28-30 inches. This measurement is the seat height, rather than the height at the tallest part of the stool if it has a back. Bar height tables and other surfaces measure approximately 42 inches, so stools of this height allow you comfortably tuck yourself in at a counter or high-top table. That said, you will find some bars of a non-standard height, or what you think is a bar height island or breakfast bar might be counter height. There are other stools of better heights for these surfaces. If you aren’t sure of the height of your bar, measure it before buying stools. 

Back and arms

Some bar stools are backless, while others have backs and arms or just backs. Many people don’t find backless stools comfortable for long periods. As such, they aren’t ideal if your bar height table or island is your main eating area and you might spend long meal times sitting there. If you choose a stool with arms, check that the arms will fit under your bar top, as it gets annoying if you can’t tuck your stool in all the way. 

Style

You’ll find a huge range of stool styles, so consider your existing decor or what style you’re going for if you’re redecorating. No matter how good a bar stool looks, it will appear out of place if it doesn’t fit with your decorative style. For instance, if you choose a rustic stool for a room with a sleek, modern decorative style, it will just look odd. It’s possible to combine different styles within one room, but it requires careful consideration and the styles must make sense together. 

What to look for in a quality bar stool

Swivel seat

It’s easier to hop on and off your stool if it has a swivel seat. Attempting to tuck in a tall stool while you’re sitting on it can be tricky. 

Color choices

It’s nice to have a range of choices of color and finish so you can find something that works with your existing furniture. 

Footrest

Bar stools should have a footrest, so your feet aren’t left dangling uncomfortably. Check the footrest height to check it will be comfortable, especially if you’re particularly short or tall. 

How much you can expect to spend on bar stools

You can pay anywhere from $25-$50 for a basic stool to $250-$500 for an elaborate one. They’re often sold in pairs or sets of four, so consider the price per stool rather than the overall price.

Bar stool FAQ

What’s the difference between a counter stool and a bar stool? 

A. Average counter height is 36 inches, so counter stools measure roughly 24 to 26 inches to let you comfortably sit at a counter. The standard bar height is 42 inches, so you need a taller 28-30 inch bar stool for sitting at a bar or bar height table. It’s worth noting that breakfast bars and kitchen islands with areas designed for seating may be at either standard counter height or bar height, so measure before buying so you don’t get the wrong type of stool. 

Do bar stools have to match your other furniture? 

A. They don’t have to match other furniture unless you want them to, but going for a mismatched look is trickier to get right. Say you have a bar table with a mahogany finish, light pine bar stools would look like they were unintentionally mismatched and you hadn’t thought much about your furniture choices. Bar stools with black legs and bright mustard or dark green velvet seats, on the other hand, wouldn’t match a mahogany table but would create a cohesive look that appears well-thought-out. So, consider how your chosen stools will look with the rest of the furniture in the room.

What’s the best bar stool to buy?

Top bar stool

Ball & Cast Bar Height Swivel Stools

Ball & Cast Bar Height Swivel Stools

What you need to know: Comfortable and durable, these stools are a sturdy choice for any bar. 

What you’ll love: You can choose from five finishes: black, white, cappuccino, cherry and oak. The comfy faux leather seats are padded on all finishes, while some versions have padded backs and others have open backs. 

What you should consider: Assembly is time-consuming, especially for those without much DIY know-how. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bar stool for the money

Leopard Products Modern Bar Stools

Leopard Products Modern Bar Stools

What you need to know: With padded faux leather seats, these stools are comfortable and have a contemporary design. 

What you’ll love: The stools are height adjustable, so you can use them at bar height and counter height surfaces. There’s a choice of 12 color options, including black, mint green and wine red.

What you should consider: While they’re good for the price, they feel slightly flimsy compared to more expensive stools. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Powell Company Big and Tall Bar Stool

Powell Company Big and Tall Bar Stool

What you need to know: This attractive stool has a comfortable padded seat, and a copper stamped back. 

What you’ll love: It’s wider and roomier than average bar stools, which is great for people who often feel constricted by them. It has a durable reinforced metal frame. The seat swivels 360 degrees. 

What you should consider: It only comes in one color, so it may not go with all decor styles. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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