Back vs. Backless Kitchen Bar Stools – Which Are Better?


Bar stools started to get more and more popular lately. And when it comes to kitchen, they make a great choice. They’re simple but modern, affordable and pretty comfortable, if you choose them correctly. 

But there’s one thing everybody wonders. Which are better, back or backless kitchen bar stools? 

Which of them brings in the best look? Which is a better choice? And most importantly, which type of bar stools is more worth it? 

I tried to analyze several aspects of both and compare them directly. Though each has its pros and downsides, here are my conclusions.

Note: As an interior designer, I worked with both back and backless bar stools. So everything I say in this article is based exclusively on my experience with the chairs.


Back vs. Backless Kitchen Bar Stools - Which Are Better?


Appearance – WINNER: Back Stools

When it comes to appearance, there’s no criteria. It’s rather about personal preferences, and in this case I prefer back stools.

To me, this type of chairs seem more elegant than the other ones. Backless stools tend to remind people about night clubs, which isn’t exactly what you want in your kitchen. On the other hand, back chairs aren’t associated with any type of restaurant or place.

So if I had to choose between these 2 types based only on their appearance, I would get a back stool. However, you may like backless chairs more and it’s totally fine. There aren’t any rules when it comes to appearance, so you can pick your favorite without any explanation.

In my comparison, back stools are the winners. If it’s different in your, just keep it in mind because the final result may be different than mine. 

Back vs. Backless Kitchen Bar Stools - Which Are Better?


Versatility – WINNER: Backless Stools

If you’re not sure what I mean by “versatility”, here it is. A furniture piece is versatile when it can be used in many decor styles, that aren’t very similar one another.

In this case, a versatile bar stool could blend a Rustic decor, but it would also look good in a Vintage one. Or it could match a light colored room, but it would also fit in a place with darker elements.

And from this point of view, I believe backless stools are the winners.

The great thing about a backless bar stool is that it can match a decor much easier. Backless chairs usually come in one color, while most back stools have 2 or 3 different shades. For this reason, it’s harder to blend a back stool with most types of decor. It’s not impossible, but it’s a bit harder.

On the other hand, backless chairs can be used in a lot of decorative styles, without fearing they wouldn’t look good. Let’s say you have Rustic kitchen and you want to go for a Minimalist design. Well, there are high chances that you can keep your backless stools. They have pretty high chances of fitting it, but things were different if you had back stools. 

So if need versatile furniture pieces, I really advice you to go for backless chairs. They are more practical for what you need. 


Comfort – WINNER: Back Stools

If there’s one thing everybody care about, it’s surely the level of comfort.

You may disagree with me, but back stools are much better at this chapter. That’s because the back plays a really important part in the comfort of a chair. And I’m sure you agree with me here.

Who likes chairs that you can’t lean back on? Backless stools made my back hurt many times, and I’m probably not the only one. No matter how comfortable is the seating of a bar stool, if it doesn’t have a back it will not feel right for me. It may be really sturdy and still soft, but when there’s no back, it’s hard to feel comfortable sitting on it.

Moreover, we’re talking about a kitchen. You’re probably going to use these stools more when eating.

At that point, everyone wants to feel relaxed. Can you relax when you have to sit straight up? Can you feel relaxed without being able to lean back on your chair after a hard day?

That really soft cushion won’t make you feel any better, believe me. All you would need is a back to your chair.

So when it comes to comfort, it’s not so hard to make a choice. I would never recommend a backless chair if you really care about feeling good in your kitchen.


Popularity – WINNER: Back Stools

In order to know which is the most popular type of kitchen bar stools, I asked about 30 people.

About 70% of them told me they preferred back stools. I asked all of them to give me a reason for their choice and most said comfort, good looks and price. 

Only 30% of those people chose backless chairs and most of them said they simply liked them better. 

So overall, people pretty much confirmed by beliefs. I was suspecting that people prefer back stools, but after this pool, I became sure of it.

But are these really the reasons behind? They mentioned comfort, price and good looks among the decisive factors. I would add another one that they’re probably no aware of: the ads. I’ve seen lots of ads with kitchen that had back chairs lately. However, backless stools seem to have gone away in the last months. At least that what’s I noticed.

So that may be one of the reasons behind. People are influenced by the media without knowing it. And as they already preferred back stools, it’s obvious they would choose them even more now.

But overall, back stools are by far the winners at this chapter.


Price – WINNER: Backless Stools

This may not come as a surprise, but backless stools are way better when it comes to price. The reason?

Most of them are made from common fabrics, like wood or plastic. Obviously, this means they won’t cost a fortune, on the contrary. And if you want another reason, you should know that they have much better deals. For example, you can buy a single chair alone, not necessarily in a pack of 4 or 5. 

However, things are different for back stools. You can usually buy them only as a set of 2, and that if you’re lucky. Many of them only come in sets of 4 or more, so what if you only need 2 chairs?

If you want numbers, here they are. A back stool costs about $20 more than a backless one. I don’t have an explanation, but I guess it’s because of the extra fabric used for the back.

Even though $20 doesn’t seem much, if you need 8 stools you will have to pay around a extra $160.

So if price is a factor that matters in your decision, I would probably recommend you backless stools. They may not be the best at some points, but when it comes to price, they’re a bit better. 

Back vs. Backless Kitchen Bar Stools - Which Are Better?



My Final Verdict – So It’s Back Or Backless Stools?

Both types have advantages and downside, but in the end one has to win.

Backless stools are the best when it comes to versatility and besides, they’re also cheaper. However, back stools win in comfort and appearance. Plus that they are really popular among all ages.

So the score is 3-2 for back stools, which are the overall winners. That’s what I would personally choose, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

In fact, I made these comparisons especially that you can draw your own conclusions. So if backless chairs make a better overall choice for you, that’s great. Only make sure you’re choosing the best option for your kitchen.


So which kind of bar stool do you prefer? Does a backless one fit your kitchen better or you care more about the comfort of a back chair? Let me know your answer in a comment and I will reach out to you.

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4 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    I have recently been in the market for kitchen/counter bar stools. I have done some research mainly based on looks and price but your article really gave me some new ideas and a few things to think about. Especially when you speak about comfort. I think you have helped convince me on the direction I will be going. Keep up the great work.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Patrick, I’m glad my post helped you make an opinion 🙂

      Yes, when it comes to comfort, I definitely go for back bar stools and I can honestly tell you that the back really makes a difference. Especially when you’ve had a long day, you get home and you want to eat. Imagine how it would be having to sit on a stool without a back…I bet it wouldn’t be the most pleasant thing in the world 😛

      So that’s why I recommend back stools if comfort is an important aspect for you.

  2. Toney says:

    I loved reading this comparison post, even though I’m a huge fan of backless kitchen stools simply because of a personal prefernce. In my view, they look better in my home so I’m not planning to change them too soon. But now I’m starting to like back stools a little better than before.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Toney, I’m glad you enjoyed reading this.

      Well yeah, I agree that the most important factor you should consider when it comes to any type of furniture is personal taste. Because if you’re not satisfied with the way your home looks, you will always want it to look something else.

      So if you’re for backless stools, just go for it without thinking back twice. 😉

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