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10 Traits in Buying a Comfortable Bar Stool

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10 Traits to a Comfortable Bar Stool

Editors Note: This post was updated on 3/20/2017 to include examples on each of the traits.

When shopping for a bar stool, things like price, availability, and style affect your overall decision. What about comfort?

From sipping morning coffee to entertaining guests, comfort should be a must! 

Here are 10 traits to look for in a comfortable bar stool:

Trait #1: Stools With Backs

Stools with backs are usually your most comfortable because they give support on the back if you’re spending a lot of time on them.

If you’re socializing for an hour or more at the bar or counter, a stool with a back will be much more comfortable. However, if it’s simply a place to sit to have a cup of coffee or just to sit for a short time, backless stools work fine.

  • Sale! Callee Berkeley Swivel Bar Stool with Tall Back and Wide Seat $400.00 $345.00

    Berkeley Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Trica Biscaro Modern Upholstered Counter Stool with Brushed Steel $370.00 $358.00

    Biscaro Stool

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  • Sale! Amisco Brixton Swivel Stool with Gray Fabric $350.00 $309.00

    Brixton Upholstered Swivel Bar Stool with Back

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Trait #2: Padded Seats

Padded seats — as opposed to wood seats — are an excellent choice for comfort and are softer to sit on, but even wood seats can be upgraded to better comfort with tie-on seat pads, which can be removed for washing.

  • Sale! Trica's Bambusa Swivel Bar Stool with Natural Wood Trim on Back, Cross Back Design, Wide Seat Cushion, and Silver Metal Frame $550.00 $522.00

    Bambusa 1 Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Callee Bristol Swivel Stool with Metal Back $400.00 $345.00

    Bristol Swivel Stool with Metal Back

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  • Sale! Trica's Creation Collection Swivel Bar Stool in Golden Brown Metal Finish, Plaid Seat Cushion and Elk Cut-Out on Back $309.00 $290.00

    Creation Collection 1 Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Callee Hayward Swivel Stool for Tuscan Style Kitchens $400.00 $369.00

    Hayward Swivel Stool with Cross Back

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Trait #3: Deep Seats

Deep seats are wider from front to back and are ideal for taller people because they support the legs better without cutting into the thigh as a shallower seat would.

  • Sale! Callee Berkeley Swivel Bar Stool with Tall Back and Wide Seat $400.00 $345.00

    Berkeley Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Callee's Burnet Swivel Bar Stool with Arms in Green Seafoam Color $450.00 $438.00

    Burnet Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Callee Daytona Swivel Stool with Arms and Deep Seat $475.00 $460.00

    Daytona Swivel Stool

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Trait #4: Shallow Seats

Shallow seats, which are shorter from front to back, are good for people who are shorter because the legs tend to be shorter and are supported better.

If the seats are too deep, a person can not touch the footrest with their feet. Legs that are dangling put more pressure on the thigh, taking away from comfort. 

  • Sale! Callee Hayward Swivel Stool for Tuscan Style Kitchens $400.00 $369.00

    Hayward Swivel Stool with Cross Back

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  • Sale! Callee Portville Narrow Swivel Stool $400.00 $345.00

    Portville Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Trica's Provence Counter Swivel Stool with Oval and Swirl Backrest, Brushed Steel Metal and Round White Seat Cushion $510.00 $496.00

    Provence Swivel Stool with Brushed Steel

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  • Sale! Trica's Tuscany 2 Swivel Bar Stool with Arms and Upholstered Seat and Back with Button Tufted - in Brushed Steel $620.00 $606.00

    Tuscany 2 Swivel Stool with Brushed Steel

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Trait #5: Wide Stools

Wide stools with deep seats are very comfortable for tall or larger people, but we find that they are comfortable to most and give a roomier and relaxed feeling if you have the room because they tend to be larger than most stools.

  • Sale! Callee's Burnet Swivel Bar Stool with Arms in Green Seafoam Color $450.00 $438.00

    Burnet Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Callee Seattle Swivel Stool with Arms $500.00 $460.00

    Seattle Swivel Stool with Arms

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Trait #6: Curved Backs

A stool with a curve or rounded shape to the back is usually more comfortable than a flat back and will support the back a little better.

Although, there is no definite rule to this theory because everyone has a unique body structure and may feel more comfortable in a flat back.

  • Sale! Callee Bailey Swivel Stool with Upholstered Low Back $400.00 $389.00

    Bailey Swivel Stool with Low Padded Back

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  • Sale! Callee Berkeley Swivel Bar Stool with Tall Back and Wide Seat $400.00 $345.00

    Berkeley Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Fairfield's Nolita Modern Upholstered Barstool with Curved Back and Arms in Bronze finish $809.00 $779.00

    Nolita Modern Curved Barrel Counter Stool

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Comfortable bar stools with short backsTrait #7: Short Backs

A stool with about an 8 inch high back can be very comfortable if it has a rounded back and will “hug” the lower back.

However, it does not support the upper back and may not be suitable for those who have upper back problems.

When sitting at the counter for an extended length of time, a full size back on the stool will give you fuller support.

  • Sale! Amisco Ethan Stationary Stool with Low Back $350.00 $332.00

    Ethan Modern Low Back Stool

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  • Sale! Grand Rapid's Harper Modern Barstool with Low Back in Ink Black Metal Finish and Blue Upholstery $700.00 $639.00

    Harper Upholstered Low Back Stool with 4-Leg Base

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  • Sale! Amisco Lauren Swivel Stool with Seat Cushion and Metal Backrest $300.00 $262.00

    Lauren Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Amisco's Ronny Upholstered Swivel Bar Stool in 56 Titanium metal finish and off-white vinyl $330.00 $311.00

    Ronny Swivel Stool

    (74)
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Shop all stools with short backs.


Trait #8: Padded Backs

Stools with padded backs are a nice touch, which can be more comfortable as opposed to a metal back.

Some people don’t like the feeling of cold steel on the back, but we found that most of the time it’s not an issue because the comfort of the stool makes up for that.

However, plush upholstered backs and seats are sometimes the choice in a particular style and design which evoke a softer feel.

  • Sale! Trica's Arthur Armless Swivel Bar Stool with Button-Tufted Upholstered Back and Seat - Shown in Black Metal Frame and Gray Seat $380.00 $364.00

    Arthur 1 Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Amisco Brixton Swivel Stool with Gray Fabric $350.00 $309.00

    Brixton Upholstered Swivel Bar Stool with Back

    (6)
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  • Sale! Callee Durant Swivel Stool with Arms $520.00 $504.00

    Durant Swivel Stool with Arms

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  • Sale! Trica's Nicholas Swivel Bar Stool in Silver Metal Finish and Seaspray Green Upholstered Seat and Back $375.00 $352.00

    Nicholas Swivel Counter Stool

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Trait #9: Backless Bar Stools

Backless stools are more comfortable when they have padded seats.

The seat shouldn’t be too small, and it should be able to accommodate the buttocks without feeling like you’re falling off.

Saddle stools are wide, but narrow, and are very comfortable. They are also great for tucking under an island. Saddle stools have indented seats like a saddle, but do not swivel. However, a larger round backless stool gives you more surface area than a saddle stool. 

  • Sale! Amisco Bryce Backless Swivel Stool $250.00 $219.00

    Bryce Backless Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Trica Day Modern Backless Square Stool with Purple Seat Cushion $270.00 $258.00

    Day Backless Stool

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  • Sale! Amisco Pearl Backless Swivel Stool with Cabriole Legs $215.00 $199.00

    Pearl Backless Swivel Stool

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  • Sale! Callee Soho Backless Saddle Stool $275.00 $249.00

    Soho Backless Saddle Stool

    (8)
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Shop all backless stools.


Trait #10: With Arms

Stools with arms make the stool more comfortable and give a place for the arms to rest. You can sit back and relax when entertaining with friends or family. 

Arms do make the stool wider and are only recommended if you have the room, so please measure your area to be sure they’ll fit.

Stools without arms can be comfortable too when resting your arms on the counter.

  • Sale! Callee Claremont Swivel Stool with Arms and Ladder Back $400.00 $389.00

    Claremont Swivel Stool with Back

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  • Sale! Lisa Furniture's #2545 Tilt Swivel Stool with Arms in Black Finish and Brown Fabric $449.00 $399.00

    Lisa Furniture #2545 – Rocking Tilt Swivel Bar Stool

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  • Sale! Shield Back Swivel Stool with Arms #2027 by Lisa Furniture $419.00 $399.00

    Shield Back Swivel Stool with Arms #2027

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Shop all stools with arms.


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