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Which kitchen island stools are best?

In today’s kitchens, islands are not only work spaces,  but also gathering spots for eating, drinking and socializing. Stools provide casual seating for friends and family to gather around your island. Like their barstool cousins, kitchen island stools come in many sizes and shapes and have a variety of features.

If you’re looking for stools with back and foot rests, take a look at the Leopard Modern Adjustable-Height Swiveling Kitchen Counter Bar Stools. The air-lift handle easily adjusts the height through a seven-inch range so your legs are supported in every position.

What to know before you buy kitchen island stools

The first kitchen islands were rollabout carts that provided additional counter and storage space wherever you needed it. When freestanding islands became part of modern kitchen design, they got bigger and people found another use for them. Built-in kitchen islands have overhangs on one or more sides so you can pull stools up to them for casual eating and drinking.

As the kitchen is the hub of most households, you want a kitchen island stool that lets you rest your arms comfortably on the counter, so you can eat without straining to reach your food.


The best stools let you sit at a comfortable height for eating, drinking and socializing. No matter how good they might look, stools that are too tall or short will be uncomfortable.

Kitchen islands are typically around 42 inches tall, the same height as a pub table or bar. Standard barstool heights are about 30 inches, allowing enough space for your thighs between the top of the seat and the underside of the counter. Make sure to measure from the bottom of your counter, not the top, to determine what height stool you will need.


The frames of most island stools and barstools are made of wood, metal or plastic. Some have fabric or vinyl cushions or even woven cane seats. Look for stools whose design goes well with your kitchen’s decor.

Legs and arms

Four legs are more stable than three. and wider pedestals are more stable than narrower ones. Some stools have arms for greater comfort, but you may run into trouble getting them to fit under your kitchen island’s counter.

What to look for in quality kitchen island stools

Bare-bones stools for your kitchen island are the cheapest, but if you want to be able to eat, drink and socialize in maximum comfort, look for stools with features that help you relax.


Traditional barstools are backless, which some find uncomfortable. If you want back support as you sit around your kitchen island, choose from stools with mild to full backs, padded or not.

Foot rests

Horizontal cross pieces that connect the legs of a stool add to its strength and stability. They also serve as foot rests, and are much more comfortable than stools where your legs dangle without support. Foot rests are also great for making laps.


Stools that swivel let you turn easily in any direction, a handy feature to have in social spaces where people are coming and going. With more expensive stools, mechanisms that let the stool swivel are height-adjustable, too.

How much you can expect to spend on kitchen island stools

Plan on spending from $100-$600 for a set of four. Basic stools cost from $25-$50 each, depending upon the materials and the design. Cushioned stools with arms and backs cost $75-$150 each.

Kitchen island stools FAQ

Are adjustable stools worth the extra cost?

A. Because they can accommodate different-sized people in comfort, adjustable stools will provide enjoyment long after you’ve forgotten the extra cost.

Can I assemble my stools myself?

A. Assembly is a simple process for experienced do-it-yourselfers. Every assembly process goes easier if you have help, particularly someone who is skilled at using basic household tools.

Are kitchen island stools different from patio stools?

A. Patio stools and island stools share many of the same design features. The big difference is that patio stools are made of waterproof materials that are resistant to rust, moisture, fading and chipping. You can use an outdoor stool inside, but not the other way around.

What’s the best kitchen island stool to buy? 

Top kitchen island stools 

LEopard Modern Adjustable-Height Swiveling Kitchen Counter Bar Stools, Set of Two

Leopard Modern Adjustable-Height Swiveling Kitchen Counter Bar Stools, Set of Two

What you need to know: The air-lift handle easily adjusts the height from 24 to 31.5 inches and the footrest moves with the seat so your legs are supported in every position. 

What you’ll love: The back extends 12 inches above the seat and both are made of high-density foam covered in faux leather. The center post and 15-inch-diameter pedestal are made of chromed steel. With your choice of 24 colors, these stools look great in any kitchen.

What you should consider: Some wish the seats had more cushioning.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kitchen island stools for the money

Angel Line Cambridge Padded 29-Inch Saddle Stool with Cushion

Angel Line Cambridge Padded 29-Inch Saddle Stool with Cushion

What you need to know: These solidly constructed stools are designed with widely spaced legs that provide stable seating.

What you’ll love: The nailhead trim on the upholstered seats provides a decorative touch that firmly anchors the fabric to the frame. The backless design gives this stool a casual look that goes nicely in smaller kitchens. Assembly requires only the included hex wrench.

What you should consider: There may be some variation in the colors of the cushions from one stool to the next.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Boraam Augusta Bar Height Swivel Stool

Boraam Augusta Bar Height Swivel Stool

What you need to know: Flared solid hardwood legs and a built-in footrest provide all the strength and stability you need.

What you’ll love: The 29-inch seat height fits under standard-height counters with room to spare. The curved back rest provides an additional 13 inches of back support. The back and seat cushions are made of high-density foam and covered in faux leather. The 360-degree swivel mechanism uses steel ball bearings for smooth, quiet and effortless rotation. 

What you should consider: Some buyers complained that assembly was difficult and the instructions were hard to understand.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Van Allan writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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