How To Choose Stacking Chairs

Stacking chairs are an easy and stylish way to provide extra seating in homes, offices, restaurants, and more. They can be just as comfortable as formal seating and can coordinate with existing décor. Additionally, many kinds can be stacked as high as 20 chairs high for easy storage.

There are many colors, shapes, and materials for stacking chairs. To make the smartest purchase possible, think carefully about these questions when shopping for stacking chairs.

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What Materials Should Stacking Chairs Use?

  • Metal

Most stacking chairs use a metal frame for stability and strength. For a balance of weight and durability, look for frames made from 16-gauge tubular stainless steel.

Somestacking chairs are made entirely from metal, but this is usually for decorative purposes and can make the stacked chairs challenging to move due to the added weight.

Vintage Metal Arm Stacking Chairs
Sturdy Metal Side Stacking Chairs
Industrial Black Brown Metal Stacking Chair
Open Back Bistro Metal Stacking Chairs
French Industrial Black Metal Stacking Chairs
Golden Rustic Metal Stacking Chairs
  • Plastic and acrylic

Plastic and acrylic are primarily used as seat materials but sometimes are added as bumpers or floor protectors on frames. They can be shaped into a variety of forms, giving you a wider variety of styles to choose from. They are also slightly flexible to give guests a more comfortable seat.

Some contemporary chairs use all-plastic construction or fully encase their metal frame in plastic, which can prevent the frame from scratching other furniture and prolong the life of the chair.

White Tree Design Plastic Stacking Chair
White Outdoor Plastic Stacking Chairs
Clear Slim Plastic Stacking Chair
Brown Plastic Stacking Chairs
Simple White Acrylic Stacking Chair
Grey Acrylic Arm Stacking Chairs
  • Fabric

Synthetic or natural fabric with padding underneath makes chair seats and backrests much more comfortable. Chairs intended for use longer than an hour at a time should have some kind of padding. Polyester is the most common option for seat fabric because it is durable and stain resistant.

Simple Black Fabric Stacking Chair
Red Fabric Stacking Chair with Cushion
Black Faux Leather Fabric Stacking Chair
Simple Slim Black Fabric Stacking Chairs
Grey Fabric Stacking Chair with Metal Legs
Faux Leather Fabric Stacking Chair
  • Manufactured Wood

Manufactured wood makes an excellent seat material when paired with a metal frame. It can be curved into contemporary shapes or paired with a fabric seat for a more traditional design.

Brown Manufactured Wood Stacking Chair
Industrial Manufactured Wood Stacking Chair
White Manufactured Wood Stacking Chairs
Black Manufactured Wood Stacking Chair
Grey Manufactured Wood Stacking Chairs
Manufactured Wood Stacking Chair with Cushion
  • Vinyl

Sincestacking chairs are inexpensive, vinyl is typically used as a suitable substitute for leather. Vinyl is very durable and can be stretched taut over padding for a smooth appearance. The surface is easy to clean and does not require the same level of maintenance needed for leather furniture.

Faux Leather Vinyl Stacking Chair
Vinyl Stacking Chair with Cushion
Modern Vinyl Stacking Chair
Brown and Blue Vinyl Stacking Chair
Vinyl Stacking Chair with Solid Back
Black Armless Vinyl Stacking Chair

How Strong are Stacking Chairs?

High-quality stainless-steel frame chairs sometimes hold up to 1,000 lbs. Chairs that use manufactured wood or plastic seats may have a lower overall weight limit, and some chairs hold as little as 200 lbs. Businesses that serve a wide range of people should aim to get seats that support at least 300 lbs.

What Size and Shape Should Stacking Chairs Be?

The size and shape of a stacking chair decide how comfortable it will be. Backrests should be at least 17" high to provide appropriate spinal support. Seats should be a bare minimum of 18" wide, but seats up to 22" will provide better comfort for larger guests.

Plastic backrests and seats should be slightly curved inward to allow guests to rest comfortably and provide lumbar support, but well-padded seats do not need this curvature. Armrests are optional but are wise for settings where a guest may be working at a table or desk.

Although office environments typically stick to traditional rectangular or oval backs, trendy homes and small businesses may explore a wider range of shapes to suit the aesthetic of your interior. As long as the backrest and seat are large enough, any shape can be comfortable with the right padding and curves.

Which Stacking Chairs are Best for the Office?

Most offices choose understated, simple chairs in black or gray for a professional appearance that matches any decor. Plastic chairs are a great option for waiting rooms or any room where people won't be sitting for very long. For meeting rooms, choose padded vinyl or fabric chairs for more comfort.

You can also try getting chairs in the same color as your company logo. Office-appropriate stacking chairs are available in a wide range of colors, including vibrant jewel tones or soothing pastels.

Which Stacking Chairs are Best for Schools and Churches?

Schools and churches often need quick seating for assemblies, sermons, small group lessons, and more. Since plastic chairs are easier to clean, they are ideal for kids, especially in elementary schools and art classrooms. Churches may want either plastic chairs or padded fabric chairs, depending on the length of the sermons or other activities.

Are Stacking Chairs a Good Idea for Small Businesses?

Many stacking chairs are stylish and comfortable, so they work well in restaurants, cafes, salon and spa waiting areas, and much more. Since they are designed to be moveable and lightweight, they're great for small businesses that are still growing or need frequent cleaning.

Look for easy-to-clean plastic or vinyl seats, especially in foodservice settings. Outdoor cafe and restaurant seating should be durable and rust-resistant, so get chairs that use stainless steel for the frame or feature powder-coated metal. Alternatively, you can also choose either durable acrylic or plastic for the seat.

For salons and spas, try pale neutral, pink, or green chairs with off-white walls. Sunny cafes can use yellow, blue, or red for a pop of color against neutral tables. Formal restaurants or banquet halls can coordinate burgundy vinyl seats with tan floors and off-white tables.

How High Can Chairs Be Stacked?

Thin chairs can safely be stacked up to 8 high without a dolly and can be stacked to around 20 chairs high on an appropriate dolly for easy transport. However, this number varies widely, especially for thicker chairs. If you need to be able to stack many chairs quickly and safely, buy chairs with thin plastic seats.

Keep in mind that schools and other child-friendly environments may need to stack chairs shorter to comply with safety regulations. Thin plastic chairs are also easier for middle school and high school students to lift and stack on their own.

Quick Tips

  • Stacking chairscommonly use metal frames but use some combination of plastic, fabric, manufactured wood, and vinyl for the seats and backrests. Some chairs have comfortable padding on the seat, backrest, and armrests, and others have no padding.

  • Somestacking chairs hold up to 1,000 lbs., but some plastic chairs have a 200-lbs. limit. Businesses should get chairs that can hold at least 300 lbs.

  • Stacking chairs are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Look for backrests that are at least 17" high and seats that are 18"- 22" wide.

  • Offices typically use more conservative and formal seat shapes. Schools and churches may want plastic seats that are easy to clean but may want cushioned fabric-covered seats for longer meetings. Small businesses should get stylish and easy-to-clean chairs that match their indoor décor.

  • Some stacking chairs are slim and sturdy enough to be stacked 20 chairs high on a dolly. However, some chairs cannot be stacked as high because their seats are thicker.