Bar stools and counter stools come in countless styles, shapes, sizes, finishes, fabrics and prices. After selecting the size required and the quantity needed, there are still many decisions to be made. Here are a few tips to help with the selection process.

What size do I need?

Chairs and bar stools are measured in seat height. The height from the floor to the top of the seat.

A good rule of thumb is there should be between 9″ and 13″ between the seat height and the height of the counter or table where the chair or stool is going to be used.

18 inch stools are designed to be used at 30″ counter height, table or desk. This stool is commonly used at a bathroom vanity or make-up table. We also supply this height stool to theaters for dressing rooms and to casinos for use in front of the slot machines.

24 and 26 inch stools are relatively new in the market place. They have been developed specifically for the kitchen counter in homes, where there is no longer a place or space for the conventional table and chairs. These stools are designed to be used at a counter height of 36″ – 39″.

30 inch stools are designed for bar counters that are 40″ – 45″ in height. This stool size is also suitable when being used in a family room around a pool table or shuffle board.

34 inch stools are a custom size stool. Most people would not need this height in a barstool. This stool is designed specifically for a bar which is 46″ in height. 35 and 36 inch stools are known as spectator stools and are used in billiard rooms or other recreational areas. They are also used next to extra tall 47″ and 48″ counters.

How many stools do I need?

Length of Counter or Bar determines how many stools you can use. Measure the usable length of the counter top or bar.

Divide that by 21″ per stool for a small stool and 24″ for larger stools with swivels and arms. Some very large stools may require more than 24″.

Define type of stool usage.

How often will they be used?

Who is likely to use them?

What are your durability, comfort, and/or warranty requirements?

Metal or wood? Wood stools generally have a warmer feel to them. Metal are usually stark and more contemporary. Wood stools have a tendency to loosen up at the seams over time and may have to be re-glued. Wood stools can crack, especially if used in an area where it is hot and then cold.

Good quality metal stools should never come loose at the welds. Good quality metal stools are much more suitable in commercial settings where there is a lot of use. Cheap metal stools have the same, if not more problems, than wood stools. The screws holding them together will come loose as the constant stress applied to them will enlarge the holes and they will start to fall apart. A good metal stool will be one monolithic weldment. They should not have to be screwed together other than the bolts that hold a swivel top to the base.

Determine the options you want.

Swivel or Stationary
Wooden or Metal Frames
Backs or Backless
Arms or Armless
Upholstered or Solid Seats

Select several designs that meet your decorating desires.

Wood Species – Oak, Maple, Cherry, etc.
Dozens of staining options.
Cloth, Vinyl, Leather, etc.

Typically, better-made products have longer life expectancies, better warranties and higher prices. Some manufacturers and dealers offer custom options (usually at an upgrade cost). Check this carefully if you need custom finish, fabric or size. Some companies will use customer’s own material for upholstery.

When comparing products find out as much as possible about the materials used. For Example: If purchasing a leather-upholstered stool, is it all leather or just the seat, with all other parts being vinyl? If purchasing an oak stool, are the pieces solid oak or smaller pieces glued together and then cut? If purchasing a metal stool, what gauge is the tubing? The lower the number, the heavier the tube wall and the better quality of weld that can be achieved without burning holes in it. Are the stools welded together or screwed together. A monolithic weld is better than a bunch of parts screwed together. Check the quality of the foam used in the seats. 1.88-44, the foam we use, will last about ten to fifteen years before it starts to break down. Lower grade foams can break down in six months or less, giving you lumps and loose fabric.

Find out about the manufacturer and where the product is made. As so much product is now produced in China, find out if the factory is owned by the name on the stool or if the stool is purchased from a third party and assembled by the purported manufacturer. Find out about quality control. It is difficult to control quality if you do not own the factory.

Guide courtesy of: