Not all bar stools are created equal. For starters, there’s bar height versus counter height, backrest versus backless and, well, cool versus not so cool. When shopping for the perfect bar (or counter) stool for your home bar, it’s important to outline your preferences and non-negotiables first and foremost—from measurements to style to everything in between.
Ideally, the perfect bar stool is equal parts form and function, though there’s a bit of wiggle room. For example, if you come across a vintage piece or set that takes your breath away but isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting on, making somewhat of a concession for a unique find might just be the best option for you. Such is the nature of furniture shopping.
Luckily, we've already done most of the research for you. Read on for our picks of the top bar stools.
AllModern Kody Bar Stools (Set of 2)
Available in both heights
Set of two
Available in both counter and bar height (23.5 inches and 30.5 inches, respectively), these stunning velvet stools are an excellent way to bring a luxe feel and a pop of color to any space. Their silhouette is simple yet packs a punch.
Plus, this set of two stools is an absolute steal: it has a minimalist, subtly industrial metal base complete with leg glides to prevent floor damage, a foam-filled bucket seat that can support up to 250 pounds, and a one-year warranty. The only downside is that there’s no swivel, but we have a feeling that won't matter much when you’re bellied up to the bar.
Height: 23.5 or 30.5 inches | Material: Velvet, metal
Fender 30-inch Bar Stool
Easy to assemble
One color / pattern option
Music shops might not be the first place you’d think to look for great bar stools, but if you’re going for a retro rock n’ roll feel, this classic stool from iconic guitar brand Fender is your best bet. Complete with a metal base, padded swiveling seat, footrest, and a black, red and silver color scheme, these diner-worthy bar stools will transport you to another era.
At 30 inches tall, this bar stool proves that the budget option doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. Reviewers say this stool both offers great quality for the price and is easy to put together.
Height: 30 inches | Material: Metal, padded top
Azalea Mink Bar Stool
Easy to clean (vacuum)
Potentially too tall for some bars
Although these CB2 stools don’t come cheap, the comfort, flare, and durability of the product is next to none. Designed by Caleb Zipperer, these two-tiered stools offer an added layer of comfort and are available in two color options. Zipperer’s chic stools are crafted from powder-coated iron frames and microfiber, making product maintenance as easy can be. Simply wipe clean with a soft, dry cloth or vacuum regularly.
Height: 40.5 inches | Material: Iron, microfiber
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Simpli Home Sheldon Adjustable Swivel Bar Stool
One year warranty
May be too high for some bars
Adjustability is important to some, especially those who are particular about their height-to-bar ratio (or who just appreciate having options). Elegant and classic in its design, the Simpli Home Sheldon adjustable swivel bar stool features a shiny chrome base and a slick, padded gray bentwood seat, adjusting from counter height to bar height with one simple pull of a lever.
This stool holds up to 250 pounds and comes with a one-year warranty.
Height: 36 to 44 inches high | Material: Metal, wood, polysynthetic fiber
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Alden Bar & Counter Stools - Steel
Available in two sizes
Easy to clean
West Elm furniture isn’t necessarily the most budget-friendly option, though you most definitely get what you pay for—and the quality and durability found in these Alden Bar & Counter stools are no exception. Crafted from steel and sustainably-sourced mango wood, these long-lasting seats promise years of enjoyment. The stools boast curved seats for added comfort and come in two sizes, making them ideal for bars and counters everywhere.
Height: 26 or 40 inches | Material: Steel, mango wood
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Best with Backrest
Safavieh Home Collection Birch Wood Brando Bar Stool
Easy to match
Some users report back “caning” of rattan
Safavieh is a well-known and widely trusted name in furniture for a reason. Thanks to its high quality and fair prices, you can purchase from this brand with complete confidence. The Brando bar stool is no exception, and its elegant design and materials are begging to be paired with statement wallpaper and fun, rich colors.
Available in several color combinations, this 28-inch stool features a mahogany frame and a rattan back with a carefully upholstered seat. The Safavieh Brando stool can hold up to 250 pounds.
Height: 28 inches | Material: Mahogany, rattan
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Mayfield Bonded Leather-Backed Barstools by Christopher Knight Home
Set of two
Easy to assemble
Ideal for a more classic decor, Christopher Knight Home’s bonded leather-backed deep brown bar stools bring a rich, traditional feel to any bar. Measuring 30.5 inches high at the seat and 44.5 inches tall at the back, this stool’s soft leather is as comfortable as it is beautiful.
Plus, many reviewers found the assembly to be easy and straightforward. The Mayfield bonded leather-backed bar stool set features a wood footrest and brass tacks; a manufacturer’s warranty is available upon request.
Height: 30.5 inches | Material: Leather, wood
Studio 3B Wood and Metal Bar Stool in Black
Perhaps too simple / boring design
Two high-quality bar stools for under $100? You heard it here first. This set of Studio 3B from Bed Bath & Beyond is simplistic, durable, and extremely versatile, making the duo a go-to pick for bars of all shapes, sizes, and colors. In addition to being easy to clean, the stools' built-in foot rests provide added support, and at just 15 pounds each (and no assembly required), setting up the stools couldn’t be easier.
These Studio 3B stools have a 225 pound capacity and come with a six-month warranty.
Height: 29 inches | Material: Metal, MDF (medium-density fibreboard)
Related: The Best Bar Sets
Christopher Knight Home Dale Outdoor Wicker Barstools with Cushions
Versatile (indoor or outdoor)
Set of two
Christopher Knight makes another appearance on this list with these gorgeous wicker bar stools that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Best of all, they come with water-resistant cushions, which make the stool that much more comfortable to sit on.
Available in a set of two, these bar stools come in either gray or brown and can hold up to 250 pounds, thanks to a sturdy metal frame. Assembly is required, and the manufacturer’s warranty covers the first 90 days after purchase.
Height: 38 inches | Material: Rattan, iron frame
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Best Bucket Seat
Willowick Counter Stool (Set of 2)
Set of two
No adjustable height
At just $250 a pop, this 2-piece barstool set is an absolute steal. Sleek and easy to clean, these upholstered stools come with foam-filled seats that provide added comfort, as well as plastic glides on their base to avoid floor scuffing. Although the seats do not swivel or adjust, we found that their comfy bases and built-in footrests—not to mention the mid-century modern design and glossy finish—easily make up for it.
This full-back stool holds up to 250 pounds and comes with a one year guarantee.
Height: 25.2 inches | Material: Metal, manufactured wood
What to Look For
When choosing the proper bar or counter stool for your space, first consider the height of your bar to ensure that the stools you’re looking at are the appropriate size. Then, in addition to budget and spacing, determine what your personal preferences are for material and color.
What’s the difference between a bar stool and a counter stool?
Generally speaking, bar stools are taller than counter stools by about five to six inches.
How tall should a bar stool be?
Counter stools generally clock in around 24 inches high, whereas bar stools tend to hover around the 36 inch mark. However, at the end of the day it all depends on the height of your bar, so break out that measuring tape.
What’s the best way to space bar stools?
When placing bar stools, it’s often recommended to leave about six inches between each stool, with an extra inch or two added if the stools have armrests.
How should one go about buying bar stools?
When seeking out bar stools, it all comes down to personal preference, as well as space and needs. Certain materials (wood and metal) are often easier to clean / stain less than fabrics, though fabrics can often create a homier, more cozy feel.
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Vicki Denig is a wine, spirits, and travel journalist who splits her time between New York and Paris. Her work regularly appears in major industry publications. She is the content creator and social media manager for a list of prestigious clients, including Sopexa, Paris Wine Company, Becky Wasserman, Volcanic Selections, Le Du’s Wines, Windmill Wine & Spirits and Corkbuzz. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine.
A longtime wine and spirits writer, Céline Bossart has tested bar stools all over the world. Her favorite of all time is the classic Fender bar stool, which is also available in a 24-inch height for those about to rock.
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