The 10 Best Bar Stools of 2023 for Every Style and Budget

The Payton Bar Stool by AllModern is sleek, high quality, and budget friendly.

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Two of the top barstools

Better Homes & Gardens / Kristin Kempa

Bar stools play an important role in your home. This is where your family sits for breakfast at the island, where party guests mingle, and where you relax after making home cooked meals.

When shopping for bar stools, it’s important to choose seating that works for your space. “In the majority of my projects, the island is the center of the home, and the bar stools are well used,” Deb Presson, founder and principal designer at Presson Interior Design, says. That’s why it’s vital to select a bar stool that’s as comfortable and practical as it is stylish.

So, how do you find the right fit for you? Your lifestyle is the most important thing to consider before shopping. The busy bee with minimal time to clean should consider materials that are stain-resistant. The homebody who spends a lot of time in the kitchen should consider options with comfy cushions and supportive backrests. Once you identify what you need in a bar stool, this will narrow down your results from a seemingly endless pool to a manageable list.

Our pick for the overall best bar stool is AllModern’s Payton Bar Stool because it encompasses several of the categories below, plus it’s at a fair price point. It’s also versatile and can be used in many different design settings.

Best Overall

AllModern Payton Bar Stool

AllModern Payton Bar Stool

AllModern

Why You Should Get It: With its modern design and high quality materials, this stool has it all–including a fair price tag.

Keep in Mind: The upholstered seat is made from faux leather.

To be the best bar stool on the list, our pick needed to have it all: a stylish design, high-quality materials, a comfortable seat, and back support, a fair price tag, and be easy to clean. Simple enough, right?

Well, not exactly. Most stools we came across with these features were missing one thing: the fair price tag. For this pick, we steered clear of bar stools made with fabric because most are difficult to clean and are not stain-resistant. Leather seemed like the obvious choice, but genuine leather comes at a steep price. The solution? Vegan leather.

The Payton Bar Stool by AllModern is made with 100% polyurethane (PU). PU imitates the look, feel, and overall appearance of genuine leather at a fraction of the cost. It’s made of plastic and is easier to clean than genuine leather.

While PU is more breathable than other types of faux leather, it does not beat genuine leather in this category. Over time, genuine leather will settle and oftentimes become more attractive, but that’s not the case with PU leather. If it’s not cared for properly, PU leather can start to chip after excessive use.

These stools display a minimalist design with a dramatic look. They feature an angle saddle seat with enough cushion for support without feeling too bulky. The legs of this stool come in two different finishes, walnut, and black. For the vegan leather, you have the option to choose from brown, gray, black, and cream. This means the stool is customizable to fit your kitchen and style.

Price at time of publish: $312

Product Details: Height: 38 inches total; seat height measures 28 inches | Material: 100% Polyurethane (faux leather), solid wood, solid metal | Weight Capacity: Not listed

Best Budget

Boraam Sonoma Saddle Bar Stool

Boraam Sonoma Saddle Bar Stool

Amazon


Why You Should Get It: This stool has the look of a classic, high-end stool without the expensive price tag.

Keep in Mind: All of the necessary tools are included, but you’ll need to assemble this stool yourself.

If you’re sticking to a strict budget, we recommend this one on our list of best bar stools. The Boraam Sonoma Saddle Bar Stool comes in three colors to fit any design. It features an ergonomic saddle seat for extra comfort and resembles high-end stools for a fraction of the cost.

When looking for inexpensive bar stools, Presson usually steers clear of ones with fabric. “Many times the fabric is a solid, light fabric with no stain protection. These materials do not have the life span that other high-end materials do,” she says. “Going this direction can be okay if you want to follow trends and switch out [bar stools] every couple of years.”

For those looking to keep the same bar stools for years to come, the Sonoma Saddle is a great option. The stool features stability stretchers on the base that double as footrests and create visual interest. Upkeep is minimal and only requires the occasional dusting. For those with kids or messy roommates, you won’t have to worry about stains like you would for stools made with inexpensive fabric.

Lower price tags usually come with a catch. So, what’s the catch here? You’ll need to assemble this stool yourself, which can be a pain for busy buyers. To make it (a little) easier, the box includes all of the tools you’ll need for assembly.

Price at time of publish: $59

Product Details: Height: 29 inches | Material: Rubberwood | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds

Best Splurge

Arhaus Plaza Barstool

Arhaus Plaza Barstool

Arhaus

Why You Should Get It: The crypton fabric is stain-, odor-, and moisture-resistant, making it a family-friendly option.

Keep in Mind: This bar stool only comes in a light shade, so expect normal wear and tear to appear quicker than it would on cushions made of darker fabric.

The Arhaus Plaza Barstool’s clean lines and modern aesthetic complement any kitchen or dining space, but the price tag may steer budget-savvy buyers away.

“I have found that, in general, lower- to medium-end bar stools lack the quality of higher end bar stools,” Presson shares.

According to Presson, bar stools with a lower price tag, made from materials including rubberwood, hollow metal, top grain leather, and polyester fabric, do not have the same life span as products made from high-end materials. So, in the end, you usually get your money’s worth out of splurge purchases if they are cared for properly.

If you want a permanent furniture piece, Presson recommends buying from high-end manufacturers who produce their bar stools from the best materials, including solid wood, solid metals, and full-grain leather.

Fabric options can be scary for those worried about staining expensive pieces. But, fear not. The Arhaus Plaza Barstool is stain-, odor-, and moisture-resistant thanks to its crypton fabric, making it a family-friendly option.

This stool only comes in white fabric, so normal wear and tear will appear faster than it would on, say, a navy cushion. The fabric may start to pill from friction and everyday use, so make sure to occasionally use a fabric shaver to keep these stools looking their best.

Price at time of publish: $1,299

Product Details: Height: 37.5 inches total; seat height measures 30.75 inches | Material: Crypton fabric, mahogany, metal | Weight Capacity: Not listed

Best with Back

West Elm Jack Metal Frame Bar Stool

West Elm Jack Metal Frame Bar Stool

West Elm

Why You Should Get It: You can customize the color, fabric, and leg style to create your perfect stool.

Keep in Mind: The total height of 40 inches may be too tall for some counters and dining spaces.

The best bar stools complement your space and bring the whole look together. The Jack Metal Frame Bar Stool by West Elm does just that. Simple and elegant, these stools seamlessly blend into any dining space instead of competing with their surroundings.

When looking for the best bar stool with a back, we knew it was important for the stool to be plush and cozy. This sleek option from West Elm features a large seat cushion and a subtly enveloping back for extra comfort. It even has plastic foot caps to protect your floors, so it’s as practical as it is comfortable.

The seat height of this bar stool measures 30 inches, and the total height is 40 inches. Take your dining space’s design into consideration before purchasing as the tall backrest may not be the best option for every kitchen island.

For those weary of fabric stools and their reputation of staining easily, this stool is perfect because of its customizability. You have the option to select from a variety of shades, fabrics, and leg styles to meet your needs.

Ready to make a statement? Try red stools in Burnt Umber and Distressed Velvet. Wanting a kid-friendly option that easily conceals stains? Try navy stools in Midnight and Chenille Tweed, a performance fabric designed to camouflage wear and tear. Whatever style you’re looking for, there’s an option for you.

Price at time of publish: From $479

Product Details: Height: 40 inches total; seat height measures 30 inches | Material: Linen, twill, velvet, or linen weave | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

Best Outdoor

Lulu and Georgia Cadenza Indoor/Outdoor Bar Stool

Lulu and Georgia Cadenza Indoor/Outdoor Bar Stool

Lulu and Georgia 

Why You Should Get It: This stool is safe for indoor and outdoor use, making it a dynamic addition to your patio or backyard entertaining space.

Keep in Mind: The backless, woven rope seat may not be comfortable for prolonged use.

Cheers-worthy outdoor bars deserve bar stools that are both stylish and weather-resistant. Lulu and Georgia’s Cadenza Bar Stool is safe for indoor and outdoor use, making it the most versatile option on our list of best bar stools.

Weighing in at 13 pounds, this stool is sturdy enough to withstand outdoor elements. It’s made of solid FSC teak, meaning the wood used meets strict environmental standards. When you purchase the Cadenza stool, not only are you getting a stylish stool, you’re promoting biodiversity and protecting the forests.

This stool is on the more expensive end of our list of best bar stools but think of it as a two-in-one purchase. Its primary purpose is to be used outdoors and is a great addition to your patio furniture collection. But, if you’re in need of extra seating indoors for a large gathering, feel free to bring it inside.

The stool’s simple design and versatile material allow it to seamlessly blend into an indoor setting. Just remember to cover your stools with outdoor covers when left outside during inclement weather or when not in use to preserve their lifespan.

While its woven rope seat is aesthetically pleasing to look at, these stools may not be ideal for long dinners. Consider using these stools for quick dining and short-term seating.

Price at time of publish: $499

Product Details: Height: 30 inches | Material: Solid FSC Teak, 100% Polypropylene | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds

Best Swivel

Pottery Barn Norden Swivel Bar Stool

Pottery Barn Norden Swivel Bar Stool

Pottery Barn 

Why You Should Get It: It’s durable and made of kiln-dried wood, which helps preserve the lifespan of the stool.

Keep in Mind: There is no back support or cushioned seat with this design.

Swivel chairs are the best bar stools for social butterflies. The Norden Swivel Bar Stool rotates 360-degrees and allows you to easily converse in the kitchen, or you can swing around to speak to someone in another room.

So, what makes this stool different from other swivel options on the market? It’s made of kiln-dried wood, which helps preserve the lifespan of the stool. Not to mention, it’s sturdy and has a higher-than-average weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The Norden Swivel Bar Stool is a safe choice for most dining spaces. Bar stools are often one of the last details added to a design project, so neutral stools are welcome additions. Presson says she usually considers cabinets, countertops, the backsplash, floors, and light fixtures prior to looking for bar stools.

“When I have the overall design pretty far along, I source bar stools to complete the design,” she shares. Bar stools, like this one, can be great pieces to blend into their surroundings.

This stool’s blackened oak and bronze finish offer a refined element to otherwise rustic materials, giving these stools more versatility to fit in with various kitchen designs. The mix of wood and metal also gives these stools a subtle modern industrial look. However, without backrests and seat cushions, these may not be comfortable for long-term seating.

Price at time of publish: $229

Product Details: Height: 30 inches | Material: Kiln-dried Acacia wood | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

Best Modern

CB2 Rake Brass Bar Stool

 CB2 Rake Brass Bar Stool

CB2

Why You Should Get It: The black leather cover is removable, giving you two styles for the price of one.

Keep in Mind: The genuine leather will eventually settle and reveal impressions of the brass frame.

Fashion meets engineering in this Rake Brass Bar Stool by CB2. The modern look is achieved by sleek leather paired with glossy brass. On the fashion side, every angle gives a distinct look and adds a touch of glamor to your dining space. And on the engineering side, the stool appears to defy gravity with its cantilevered frame.

This option is the best bar stool for those who have the urge to switch up their home’s look every few months. Keep the stool as-is with the leather cover for a look that’s modern-meets-industrial. Or, slip the leather cover off for an all-brass look to bring a touch of glam to your kitchen. Remember, you get two looks with one purchase when considering the high price of this bar stool.

When asked about the best materials for bar stools, Presson says she prefers materials that are durable, including metal and leather. “They are easier to clean and stay looking nice longer,” she says.

To maintain these chairs, dust regularly and wipe with a damp cloth to clean. Because the seats are genuine leather, after consistent use, expect the leather to settle and reveal impressions of the brass frame beneath. This is unavoidable due to the structure and material of the stool.

Price at time of publish: $499

Product Details: Height: 39.75 inches total; seat height measures 30 inches | Material: Brass-plated steel, genuine leather | Weight Capacity: Not listed

Best Wooden

West Elm Classic Café Walnut Bar Stool

West Elm Classic Café Walnut Bar Stool

West Elm

Why You Should Get It: The curved seat and backrest make it more comfortable than most wooden options on the market.

Keep in Mind: Assembly is required for this stool.

This pick is the best bar stool to achieve a traditional look. West Elm’s Classic Café Walnut Bar Stool has a simple design, but the stacked footrests amplify the stool’s style. Most wooden stools are deemed uncomfortable due to their flat seat and straight-across backrest, but this stool puts comfort first with a slight curve in the seat and backrest.

The solid rubberwood frame gives the appearance of solid wood for a fraction of the cost. The warm, rich walnut finish allows these stools to easily incorporate into modern or traditional surroundings, and they complement almost any paint color. You don’t have to worry about this pick clashing with your design project. Just keep in mind that assembly is required for this pick.

If you want to incorporate wood into your kitchen but are worried about keeping up with the latest trends, Presson says bar stools are a great place to start. “When trends change and that wood tone goes out of style, bar stools are a lot easier to change than the island,” she shares.

Price at time of publish: $219

Product Details: Height: 41.8 inches total; seat height measures 30 inches | Material: Rubberwood | Weight Capacity: 275 pounds

Best Set

Pottery Barn Parisian Woven Bar Stools

Pottery Barn Parisian Woven Bar Stools

Pottery Barn

Why You Should Get It: These stools are sturdy and have a higher-than-average weight capacity of 330 pounds.

Keep in Mind: Exposure to excessive and direct sunlight can dry out these bamboo stools and cause them to crack.

Some stools are so good you need two (or more) of them to complete your look. These Parisian Woven Bar Stools look like pieces of art and will make you feel like you’re dining in a classic French café. Expect these stools to serve as a conversation starter for all of your future gatherings.

Though they appear delicate, these stools are sturdy. They’re woven with rattan and bamboo and feature an MDF seat board, an engineered wood to help keep the stool’s structure. The intricate, woven details are sealed with vinyl for an added layer of protection.

No detail was left untouched—the semi-open back creates visual interest and provides support. The natural finish adds brightness to your dining space while also creating a cool and casual tone. However, bamboo is vulnerable to humidity and can crack if left in excessive and direct sunlight. Proper care and placement is needed to ensure these stools last for years to come.

Bamboo makes for the best bar stools if you’re looking for unique, easy to maintain pieces that are also durable. The average weight capacity for a residential bar stool is 250 pounds, but these stools can hold up to 330 pounds, giving them the highest weight capacity on our list.

Price at time of publish: $658 for two

Product Details: Height: 46 inches total; seat height measures 30 inches | Material: Rattan, bamboo, MDF wood | Weight Capacity: 330 pounds

Best Leather

Pottery Barn Brenner Leather Bar Stool

Brenner Leather Bar & Counter Stool

Pottery Barn

Why You Should Get It: The sculpted seat neatly slides under the counter and saves space.

Keep in Mind: Expect subtle shade differences in the leather if purchasing multiple stools as no two pieces can be produced from a single hide.

This option is the best bar stool for the minimalist thanks to its sleek design. Most leather bar stools on the market feature chunky backrests that resemble living room recliners. With its petite, molded seat, Pottery Barn’s Brenner Leather Bar Stool allows you to incorporate leather into your dining space without compromising your chic aesthetic.

This stool’s combination of leather and metal appeals to many different design aesthetics. The sculpted seat, which comes in tan and gray, easily slides under the counter to save you valuable island space.

The seat is made from full grain, aniline-dyed buffalo leather, and only one seat can be produced from a single hide. If you’re planning to purchase multiple bar stools, expect there to be subtle differences in the shading, color, and texture of each stool. These small differences may bother someone wanting a uniform look for their island.

It’s important to consider your lifestyle when purchasing furniture, and bar stools are no exception. These leather stools require minimal upkeep, making them great for busy homeowners. Just remember to dust routinely and keep out of natural light. Direct sunlight can lighten or discolor leather overtime, so these stools are ideal for dining spaces away from windows.

Price at time of publish: From $199

Product Details: Height: 34 inches total; seat height measures 30 inches | Material: Steel, aniline-dyed leather | Weight Capacity: 275 pounds

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Payton Bar Stool by AllModern is the best bar stool because it encompasses many of the categories on our list: it’s made of leather and wood, it has a modern design and a comfy backrest, and it’s budget friendly.

What to Know About Bar Stools Before Shopping

Height

First, you should know that most stools come in counter and bar height. From floor to seat, bar stools are typically 30 inches, while counter stools are around 25 inches.

You should also consider the total height of the stool, and this includes backrests. The backrests on our list add anywhere from 4-16 inches to the total height of the stool. Stools with large backrests can serve as a statement piece for your dining space, but if you’re wanting an option that will blend in, consider backless stools.

Material

When picking the material for your bar stool, consider your needs and the intended use of the stools. If you plan to spend a lot of time at your island in these stools, consider options with plush cushions that are stain-resistant.

“I prefer to use materials that are durable, including wood, metal, and leather,” Presson says. “They are easier to clean and stay looking nice longer.” She says she will typically shy away from fabric stools because they’re easy to stain. However, many high end stools, including our pick for Best Splurge, are engineered with stain-fighting properties to put your mind at ease.

Material has a large impact on the quality and price of bar stools. While there are plenty of great options at a lower price tag, stools made from solid wood, solid metals, and full-grain leather will last longer than their cheaper alternatives when cared for properly.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of the stools on our list range from 250-330 pounds. Most options on the market fall between the 250-275 pound range. Presson shares that there are less regulations for residential furniture, so it can be more difficult to find stools in the higher range. Be sure to specify the desired weight capacity in your search to eliminate options off the bat that aren’t a fit.

Your Questions, Answered

How many bar stools do I need?

It’s important to fill the space beneath your island without overcrowding. Presson likes to leave 5-7 inches minimum between each bar stool. This space allows for people to easily move in and out without the stools being too far apart.

“If you are shopping online for bar stools, website pictures can be deceiving on the scale of the products,” Presson says. “Always look at the dimensions.”

Start by measuring your island, and be sure to account for any legs or panels beneath that may take up space. Next, take the width of your barstool and add 5-7 inches. This is the total width needed per bar stool. Divide the length of your island by the total width needed per stool to get a rough estimate of how many chairs you need.

For example, let’s pick bar stools for a 90-inch island. Our pick for Best Modern Stool is 18 inches wide. Add 7 inches to account for the total width needed per stool, then divide the length of the island by that number (25).

90-inch island / 25 inches per stool = 3.6 bar stools

If you prefer to maximize your counter for eating space, choose four stools. If you like more room between stools, go with three stools.

What size bar stool do I need?

First, determine whether you have a standard countertop or a bar-height counter. Presson says standard countertop height is 36 inches, so stools between 24-27 inches work best. She says standard bar-height counters are 42 inches, and stools between 28-33 inches are ideal.

Before selecting bar stools, be sure to evaluate your kitchen island and look for pieces under the countertop that may cause you to need shorter bar stools. For example, small, wooden aprons under countertops can make for a tight fit. In this instance, you should go with a shorter option than normal.

How do I choose a bar stool for my kitchen?

The best bar stools go with your lifestyle. Is your island the center of your kitchen? If you spend a lot of time in this space, you’ll want bar stools that put comfort first with plush cushions. Are you looking to add a statement piece to your kitchen? Bar stools are great for bringing the whole look together.

When searching for the perfect bar stool, think about your kitchen’s dimensions and design. This will get you started in the right direction. Knowing what size bar stool you need can cut down your search drastically, so we recommend figuring that out early on in the process.

As we mentioned in the list, consider easy-to-clean materials, including leather and wood, for busy households. When opting for a fabric option, lean towards high-quality fabrics with stain-fighting protection. Trust us. In the end, you’ll be happy you did.

Who We Are

Addie Morton is a freelance writer with three years of experience researching and writing about home design for a variety of brands. For this story, she consulted with interior designer Deb Presson to learn what readers need in a bar stool and factors to consider when shopping for bar stools.

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