How to Choose Patio Bar Stools

Whether you have sat at bars enjoying drinks after dinner or you have been given a table with a high top for Saturday brunch, you have probably found yourself liking the feeling of sitting on patio bar stools. Restaurants, bars, and hotels, in particular those with patios, often utilize bar seating and tables in order to accommodate their customers or guests.

Patio bar stools and bar tables are taller in comparison to the usual chairs and tables and they take up less space compared to the traditional dining set. This means they are the ideal option when it comes to ensuring you provide ample seating.

They can make a space look and feel commercial. However, you will be able to find functional and stylish patio bar stools that are perfect for your own home patio – yes, even if you have limited space! In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

What is the Correct Size of Patio Bar Stools?

As you check out your options for patio bar stools, you’ll often see bar stools and counter height stools used interchangeably. It's important that you remember that these two kinds of stools are quite different. A counter height stool is shorter compared to a bar stool. It's intended for use together with a counter height table or kitchen counter. A bar stool, on the other hand, is slightly taller and it’s meant to be used with a bar table or bar.

The correct height of a patio stool will depend on the height of the bar table or bar that it will be used with. You want to ensure that the user will be comfortable and able to rest his/her arms and elbows on the table’s surface.

Measure the space that is in between the bar or tabletop and the floor at least twice so you will get an accurate measurement prior to purchasing a set of patio bar stools. The distance between the set and floor, commonly referred to as the seat height, of a patio bar stool is 30-36". A bar stool with this seat height fits best with a bar table or standard bar that is 40-46” tall.

How Many Bar Stools Should You Get?

When it comes to finding out how many patio bar stools you’re going to need with your bar or table, make sure you leave at least 26” and a maximum of 30” in between the stools. This will provide guests with enough space to get in and out. They will also be able to sit comfortably.

If your bar is situated next to an outdoor wall, then make sure that you leave at least 14” between the center of the stool and the wall. Remember: a swivel patio bar stools will need extra room so a user won’t bump the knees of the other user when swiveling the seat in and out.

What is the Best Type of Patio Bar Stool?

There are various styles of patio bar stools. The best one will depend on your needs and requirements.

  • Back and Backless

Backless patio bar stools have a rectangular or round set, and they can come with cushioning. A backless stool is great if the patio has limited space and there’s a need to push stools underneath the counter or table when they’re not being used. Backless stools are ideal for storage as they're more lightweight.

A bar stool that comes with back support is more comfortable. However, it’s going to take additional space plus they are not storage-friendly unless you’re going to opt for ones that can be stacked on top of each other.

Espresso Low Back Pedestal Wicker Rattan Metal Patio Bar Stool
Metal Wicker Full Back Patio Bar Stool
Natural Acacia Solid Wood Ladder Back Patio Bar Stool
  • Arm and Armless

Just like patio bar stools that have backs, units that come with arms offer more support, making them more comfortable options. However, they're going to take a bit more space.

If you’re going to buy bar stools with arms, you need to make sure that you’ve measured your table or bar’s height properly. The arms should also fit underneath the table surface whenever the stools are not being used.

Silver Gray Metal Patio Bar Stool
Brown Wicker Rattan Metal Patio Bar Stool
Armless Metal Solid Manufactured Wood Patio Bar Stool
Wicker Rattan Metal Armless Patio Bar Stool
Armless Resin Wicker Metal Iron Patio Bar Stool
  • Stationary Swivel

Because patio bar stools are often heavy, you’d want them to come with a swivel feature. This way, users of the stools won’t have to dray heavy stools away from a counter or scoot back as soon as seated. Your family members and guests can just swivel seats towards their bodies and then hop right in.

Take Note: Swivel stools can take more space compared to stationary stools, most especially when they come with arms. It’s, therefore, important that you consider the available space in your patio.

Swivel Metal Aluminum Patio Bar Stool
Brown Metal Swivel Patio Bar Stool With Cushion
Metal Acacia Wood Swivel Patio Bar Stool

What is the Best Material for Patio Bar Stools?

Bar stools of different styles come in various kinds of materials, which may vary by both seating and frame material. The material that is going to work perfectly for your patio will depend on your area’s climate as well as your desired look.

  • There are certain materials that are going to hold up better with wet conditions such as recycled plastic, teak, resin, and aluminum.

  • If you’ll have an offseason, you would want lightweight material that’s ideal for storage such as recycled plastic, wicker, and resin.

Seating materials of patio bar stools include strap, cushion, sling, wicker, metal, wood, teak, resin, and recycled plastic. The seating that is best will depend on your desired look and level of comfort.

  • A cushioned and upholstered seating is the one that’s going to give optimum comfort while giving your patio a high-end look.

  • If you’re on the lookout for one that’s more durable and capable of resisting elements, then you should opt for sling.

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