Stool Vs Chair-Explained With 6 Key Differences [Pros+Cons]

Have you created the perfect workspace but are now stuck on the furniture selection, especially debating getting a stool or chair? Not only workspace owners but many people juggle between these two seating options. The struggle is real. 

However, it is good to see that many companies today make special efforts in creating an inspiring work environment for their employees. Hence, to increase work efficiency, companies are shifting to comfortable seating, which will bring out the best work from their staff. 

According to Medium, people often resort to chairs while searching for comfortable seating. So, workspaces or even homes have chairs as a common seating arrangement. Humans take their chairs for granted as a natural place to rest. They bring to people’s notice that chairs are comfortable, although they aren’t the only way for sitting. The other options include kneeling chairs and ergonomic stools since they are also comfortable. 

Now, the question of which is better -stool or chair comes into the picture. While it may look like a tough choice, we may hold the solution to this answer. In this article, we have taken stools compared to chairs based on style, purpose, materials, price, and many more. 

So, continue reading till the end, and you may have a definite answer to ‘Should I buy a stool or chair for my workspace?’

About stools: 


Google Arts & Culture reported an article titled A Stool Makes History. The article discusses a furniture piece by Alvar Aalto, a Finnish architect. He built one of the most iconic pieces of furniture -Stool 60, which is suitable as a seat, a table, a storage space, or a display surface.

Before diving into the comparison, let us start from the basics and briefly understand stools and their merits and demerits. 

In a nutshell, stools are three or four-legged seats without backs or arms intended for one person to sit. The history of stools dates back when stools were as common as chairs are today. Back then, stools were the standard seating arrangement for most people, and chairs having a back and arms were often for the VIPs per se. 

Apart from that, we usually observe modern stools in a bar-like environment or homes and not particularly in workspaces. But, you can get saddle stools if you’re doing the majority of work -standing. For instance, ergonomic stools of a certain height will benefit architects as they need big, tall desks to draft their drawings. 

To understand better, let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of stools (or ergonomic stool).


Some of the merits of sitting on stools are as follows:

It allows the spine to attain its natural curve.

The heightened seating position in a stool causes the thighs to slant downwards, resulting in a neutral pose of the pelvis and lower back. As a result, the spine achieves its natural position leading to a good body posture. 

It reduces aches, soreness, distress of the body.

Stools as a seating arrangement will minimize the pains and soreness of a bad body posture. Stools as a seating arrangement will reduce the pain and soreness of a bad body posture. They often alleviate the excess tension on the body and allow good posture. Plus, we all know the better the body posture, the better the blood circulation. 

It promote active sitting. 

The action of Active Sitting stimulated by sitting on a stool or saddle seat can strengthen your core muscles and back muscles. This strength will increase your comfort, efficiency, and productivity at the workstation. 


While having advantages, stools also possess a few disadvantages. 

It can cause problems for small height people. 

Generally, stools are high, which might create difficulty for people having a small height to sit and get down comfortably. Even though the stool height is most of the time adjustable, sometimes it can create discomfort. 

You might end up sitting on it wrong. 

The wrong way to sit on a stool is sitting cross-legged. The right way is 

  1. To sit upright.
  2. Thighs sloping down. 
  3. Keeping bodyweight balance between the hips. 
  4. Rearing close to the back end of the stool. 

It is not exactly a disadvantage. But, if you sit on it wrong, it will result in bad posture again.  

About chairs:


According to The Atlantic, the record of identifying the first chair ever was in the form of sculpture from Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea. The figure was of a musician sitting on what looked like a standard kitchen chair having a straight back and four legs while playing the harp. 

We, at this moment, have an idea about stools, their advantages, and disadvantages. It is time to discuss chairs at a length that are immensely popular in workspaces, homes, and everywhere around. 

Hence, to put it in simple terms, a chair is a piece of furniture having a raised portion to sit on and used for one-person seating. The chair has four legs and a back. 

There exist several designs you can get in chairs. To categorize the advantages and disadvantages of all types of chairs is extremely tough. However, the basic chair design shares some common advantages & disadvantages, which we will look at in the following. 


A few similar advantages chairs have are as follows.

Comfortable and relaxing

Chairs, in general, are very relaxing and comfortable, enabling you to rest or work peacefully. Unlike stools, an ergonomic chair has a back that allows you to lean back and relax your body for some time


One of the advantages of chairs is adjustability. The chairs come with an adjustable feature allowing the rise and sink of the chairs and helping people with smaller heights to adjust according to the height. Most of the stools do not have this advantage. 

Allows free and effortless movement

Unlike the stools, many offices or gaming chairs come with wheels. The wheels allow swift and smooth movement of the chairs. It becomes an advantage since you move freely in your house or workspace while sitting on a chair. 


While posing some advantages, chairs also come with a few disadvantages. 

Since chairs are adjustable, comfortable, and can swivel, the cost of chairs automatically rises more than stools. Also, chairs come with a back and armrest, making them somewhat more expensive than stools. 

Possibility of chair explosion

Even though the possibility of an office chair explosion is rare, it isn’t extinct. To be precise, only the office chairs with a gas cylinder (filled with pressurized air) are likely to be exploded. The gas cylinder allowing the rise and sink of the chair may explode if treated or built poorly. 

Bonus read: Can office chairs explode?

Quick overview 

Style Single-seat on legs (three or four)Single-seat with four or more than four legs with a back and armrest
Purpose To sit on, to kneel on, to step on, to rest feet while sittingTo sit on 
Materials Wood, metal, plastic, fiberglassWood, metal, plastic, fiberglass
Space Utilization Minimal Average or more than that
Height Lower than chairs (except bar stools)Higher than stools
CostAverage -$150-$1300Average -$150-$2000
Backrest No Yes 
Armrest No Yes 
Legs Yes Yes 
WheelsNo Yes (for office or gaming chairs)
TypeStep stool, bar stool, seat stool, and so on.The office chair, gaming chair, dining chair, reclining chair, armchair, etc. 

6 Key comparisons between stools and chairs

Now, we have a good amount of knowledge of both the seating. So, let us go forward and discuss what makes stools different from chairs and vice versa. 


The first comparison we will make is regarding the style of both seating options. As we have already seen, a stool has a seat and three or four legs. They have a single seat without arms or a back and are placed on legs or a pedestal. 

In contrast, a chair comes with a seat generally supported by four legs and has a backrest and armrest, often for one person. However, seating options are available in several designs, shapes, sizes, and colors. 

Summary –Stools and chairs in various styles and designs. So, it solely depends on your taste and purpose of buying a chair or stool. 


When it comes to purpose, both the seating fulfill the purpose of sitting. Stools go further and serve as short support to step on, kneel, or rest the feet (while sitting). 

People often prefer stools due to the several ways a stool can be used. Although, in workspaces, stools might not be the best or appropriate choice of seating. Again, it depends upon which purpose you want your seating to serve. 

Summary -Go for a stool instead of chairs if you want more than just to sit on. 


Stools and chairs are both similar and do not have a difference when it comes to materials. Both the seatings are available wood, plastic, metal, fiberglass, etc. 

Summary –Chairs and stools are similar when it comes to materials. 

Space utilization 

Space utilization depends on whether the seating is for a concise space or a large area. If you’re dealing with smaller spaces, stools are a better option because they are relatively smaller than chairs and do not end up taking much space. Plus, they do not have a back or armrest and hence, can easily slide & sit under the table or kitchen/bar counter. 

In contrast, chairs end up consuming lots of space. Also, a chair in small spaces makes the room much more compact.  

Summary -You can go for stools rather than chairs when working with smaller spaces. But, for spacious rooms, chairs might seem like a better option. 


When height is concerned, it is obvious that chairs are taller than stools as they have a back. However, the type of stools called bar stools is comparatively taller than chairs. 

Summary -Chairs are taller than stools, except bar stools. 


The cost of the product becomes a deciding factor while buying a stool or chair. In the case of a bar stool starts from $150 and goes up to $1300. On average it ranges between $200 to $1000. 

On the other hand, chairs are more or less the same as the cost of stools. The cost of the chair ranges from $250 to more than $2000 (for executive chairs). While you get a chair at $150, you need to pay more for getting ergonomic features in your chairs.

However, if you’re looking for a chair for your home, the cost on average may start from $800 up to $1200. 

Note -The prices may vary according to style, material, size, brand, and shape. 

Summary -Chairs and stools come more or less in the same price range. 

Final thoughts 

We have discussed what stools and chairs are, their advantages & disadvantages, and the differences. Based on the differences, now you make an informed decision of buying a chair or stool. 

Whatever the differences may be, it entirely depends upon your taste and preference, and most importantly, the purpose.  

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