Barstool Height & Width Guide

How Tall Should Bar Stools Be?

Choosing the perfect height barstool can be tricky – discover exactly how to choose the best barstool height for all counter types. Finding the perfect barstool height can be an intimidating task, especially when you’ve put so much effort into setting up your patio bar, breakfast bar or kitchen in your home.

Sometimes, ordering stools online can result in seats that are too short, too tall or just awkward to sit in. Measuring these online doesn’t usually help, as it’s difficult to picture a stool or seat in a room in your home just by looking at an image.

However, this simple guide on finding the ideal barstool height will teach you exactly how to find the perfect seat height so that it fits your guests and bar counter perfectly!

Why are bar stools available in different heights?

Commercial bar stools are available in different heights because there are industry standards for the height of different types of tables. Therefore, we need to find the average height of stools, chairs and seats that will fit the heights of these tables.

There are three industry standards for counter-top heights: bars, counters and tables.

The average bar table is between 40- to 42-inches. For counter-height tables, like kitchen counters, the average height is between 34- to 36-inches. And for dining tables, the average height is 28- to 30-inches.

Generally, we want the seat of the stool we’re using to be about 9-13” shorter than the height of the counter. This gives us the following standards:

Bars Counters Tables
Counter Height 40-42” 34-36” 28-30”
Stool Height 28-33” 24-27” 16-19”

Knowing these measurements will help you greatly in purchasing your next bar stools, as you can simply measure the height of your table and find stools with corresponding values.

What is the best height for a barstool?

The average bar table comes in an industry-standard of between 40-42”. If we use our rule of thumb for bar stool heights, we should be taking away 9” to 13” from the counter’s height. If we do this, we find the average bar stool height should be between 27” to 33”.

 height and width diagram

There are exceptions to this rule because custom bars are common nowadays, so always make sure to measure the bar counter that you’re buying stools for.

Here’s a quick recap of how to do this:

  1. Grab a metal tape measure and start measuring on the floor. 
  2. Pull the tape measure to the top counter.
  3. Record this measurement.
  4. Subtract 9” to 13” to find your ideal barstool height.

If you’re in doubt, measure out a piece of paper that’s the same height as the barstool you’d be buying. Attempt to sit at a height like that and see if it’s comfortable for you.

If this isn’t an option, find a shorter chair and place some books or boxes on top of it to mimic the height and see if it would be a comfortable option for you.

How to measure for a barstool’s height?

Measuring for a barstool’s height is easy: simply measure from the floor to the top of the counter. If you need a recap, be sure to check out the step-by-step guide above.

Remember, if your bar is the standard height of 40-42”, then you should be looking for bar stool heights that are between 28” to 33”. Anything shorter or taller than this might be uncomfortable to sit at.

How to measure for a barstool’s width?

Bar stools also have a standard seat width, which is commonly 15”, 17” and 21”. Taller or larger bar stools tend to have the widest seat length, as this looks the most natural when they’re placed at a bar or counter.

While it doesn’t really matter what shape your barstool’s seats are, there should always be between 12″ – 18″ of knee space between the seat and the wall of the counter. This makes sitting much more comfortable and gives ideal room for your legs.

What is the ideal distance between bar stools?

Knowing how far apart to space your bar stools is almost as important as knowing how tall they should be, as it makes your entire bar feel roomy, accommodating and comfortable.

Ideally, the distance between bar stools should be around 12” (1 foot) between the edges of each of your barstool seats. This gives ideal room for maneuvering in and out of the chairs, as well as turning and speaking to people next to you.

FAQ: Common Questions About Barstool Heights

In our experience, homeowners usually ask similar questions when it comes to barstool and counter heights.

What is the standard height of a bar top?

The standard bar top height is between 40” and 42” (inches).

What is normal counter height?

Normal counter height is between 34” and 36” (inches).

How do you pick the right height for bar stools?

You find the right height for bar stools by taking away 9” to 13” from the height of the bar counter.

How tall should a barstool be for a 36-inch counter?

For a 36” counter, which is the standard height for a kitchen counter, the best barstool height is between 23” and 27”.

How tall should a barstool be for a 42-inch counter?

For a 42” counter, which is the standard height for a bar counter, the best barstool height is between 29” and 33”.

How tall should a barstool be for a 46-inch counter?

For a 46” counter, which is the standard height for an extra-tall bar counter, the best barstool height is between 33” and 37”.


Hopefully, you’ve found the best height bar stools for your home and are well on your way to ordering them and placing them next to your bar, kitchen or counter. Or, maybe you’ve taken the advice in this guide seriously and are already sitting in your perfectly fitting bar stools as they provide the ultimate comfort in your home.

Here’s to enjoying your new bar stools and the many memories that will be made entertaining friends, family or guests inside your home or at your outdoor bar!