Counter Height Bar Stools

Bar stools and counter stools may look similar, but they are different stools with slightly different functions and an evident difference in height. Bar and counter stools can be used in the same settings but have different ways of suiting sitting needs.

Here are ways you can identify and differentiate a bar stool from a counter stool.

What are Bar Stools and Counter Stools?

Bar Stools

Bar stools are tall chairs used in bars, pubs, lounges, and clubs, but they are typically not limited to this; they can be found in other settings, such as the home. They are much taller than regular chairs and counter stools and built with a footrest or optionally with a backrest.

A footrest is a much-needed feature in bar stools because of their tall length, so it supports the user's foot. Bar stools can be made from any material, be it wood, plastics, metals, or even upholstered fabric.

You can modify bar stools based on your choice and preference: they could be made fixed in a place (botted down), built with a swivel, or made with an armrest. Bar stools should be of a standard measurement of 29-30 inches from the floor when paired with a tabletop with a standard measurement of 40-42 inches from the ground.

Counter Stools

Counter stools are quite similar to bar stools but with less length. They usually have a seat height of 18 inches or less for a 28-30 inches table and about 24-26 inches from the ground for a countertop of 36-39 inches.

A counter stool is a type of stool that is very comfortable to sit on and use in the home, typically placed behind counters. Counter stools can be placed on bar counters, kitchen counters, or any space you deem fit, ranging between the required standard measurement for it to be a perfect fit.

Lastly, they are of very much lighter weight than bar stools.

What are the Two Types of Bar Stools?

Bar stools can be broadly divided into two types, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. They are:

  • Bar stools with backs and without backs
  • Swivel bar stools

Bar Stools With Backs or without Backs

Bar Stools With Backs

Bar stools with backs can be further divided into "bar stools with backs and armrests" and "bar stools with backs without armrests."

  • Bar stools with backs and armrests provide additional comfort; they are usually padded and sturdy. They have the disadvantage of being 'space-takers' due to the lateral extension of the arms, and they are mostly used in a traditional bar setting.
  • Bar stools with backs and without armrests are the type that is mostly used in modern bar settings because they have easier open access than the ones with armrests, and they don't take up too much space. They also have a longer lifespan than bar stools with backs and armrests.

Check this Art Leon Swivel Bar Stool with a backrest.

Bar Stools Without Backs

Most people sometimes consider bar stools without backs uncomfortable. They have a streamlined look and are without armrests or backrests, but they have the advantage of taking up less space. They can fit snuggly under the bar top, making them very useful for restaurants or bars with confined and limited spaces.

Swivel Bar Stools

As the name indicates, swivel bar stools are stools with swivel seats. They are rotatable seats that users can easily rotate to allow for easy seating or to get off.

This Art Leon Open Backrest Swivel Bar Stool will make a great choice for your bar.

Swivel Bar StoolsBar Stool

Are Bar Stools With Backs Better?

For the following reasons, bar stools with backs are considered better than bar stools without backs.

  • Bar stools with backrests provide extra comfort to the users.
  • It is suitable for children because the backrest provides extra security.
  • It enhances the aesthetic feeling of the home or wherever it is placed.
  • It prevents sloughing, thereby enhancing good posture.

Differences Between Bar Stools and Counter Stools

The main difference between bar stools and counter stools is the height. Bar stools have a seat height of 28-32 inches, while counter stools are 24-27 inches from the ground. The difference between the two stools may not be too obvious.

Type of Stool

Table Height

Seat Height

Bar Stool

40 inches

28-32 inches

Counter Stool

36-39 inches

24-26 inches

How Do I Know If I Need a Bar VS Counter Stool?

Buying the right stool may not seem like a much-needed task, but it greatly influences the level of comfort and aesthetic look it brings to your home. A bar and counter stool may seem similar, but they serve different purposes. A stool with the wrong height may leave you feeling like a kid while sitting when it is too short and may cause the legs to hit the table frame when it is too tall.


The space available determines the type of stool you should get. A larger and taller table top is required when getting a bar stool, while one smaller is adequate for a counter stool. If you are utilizing limited space, getting a counter table is a more viable option to maximize the available space.

Purpose Intended

The purpose of the stool is also a great criterion you need to be aware of to know which stool is best suitable for use. For family gatherings or causal get-togethers, counter stools are better suited. In contrast, bar stools are more suitable for a lounge or bar setting or a few drinks with friends.

How Far below the Counter Should a Bar Stool be?

The standard measurement for counter height bar stools depends on the height of the counter. The bar stool should be about 12 inches below the countertop for comfort.

Besides the right height, spacing is another factor to consider just when choosing stools. It is the ideal space that should be left between stools for easy accessibility and aesthetic purposes. The space between each stool should be about 6-7inches for seats about 16-18 inches wide. Bar stools with armrests or swivel bar stools need more space, about 8-10 inches to the next stool for the armrests and rotation of the stools.

For the most comfortable bar spacing, refer to the Bar Stool Spacing Guide.


Stools are the extra touch and necessity needed in each home, but a stool that doesn't provide comfort or can't serve its purpose because it is shorter or taller than the counter or bar top is synonymous with being useless.

It is important to remember that "function precedes aesthetic uses," One way to ensure this is to consider the differences and standard measurements of each table top and seat.

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