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Sitting on a milkcrate to change brake pads or kneeling on a floor mat to buff wax below the car's beltline are the kinds of thing that makes you want to take up golf instead of cars. That's not true, I'd sit on an open box of broken glass to work on a car before taking up golf, but those other things are still pretty bad. Make your life easier working on a car by getting a shop stool that supports your weight, holds tools and parts, to make jobs faster and easier; or maybe just buy one to relax in the garage and have a cold one while staring at your pride and joy.
We know not everyone has the same needs or even the same tastes, so we've assembled a group of shop stools with a variety of form-factors and features. There isn't a huge price range here, but enough for some of them to be considered a splurge and others to be value buys.
DNA Motoring Mechanic Stool
- Good sized seat for comfort with a base big enough for stability
- A tool tray is a must for the majority of jobs
- Price is still very much within reason that it doesn't feel like a splurge
- Jamming a caster into your garages expansion joints can snap it off
- Some owners would like more padding
Aain Heavy Duty Classic Roller Stool
- This is a commodity product, but seems to be a collection of some of the higher-quality bits
- Gives you 5 inches of up/down adjustability
- Maybe not ideal for people in striking distance of the 300 pound max rating
- The seat cushion is not a lounger
Urbantransit The Beast
- As much a small rolling tool chest as it is a stool
- Widest seat we've seen at 21 inches and it has backrest
- It's got a cup holder, nuff'said
- I mean, some people are going to say it's a little pricey
- Would it really have cost that much more to motorize it
With a few decades of experience buying all sorts of tools, one of the things I've learned is some of the simplest things make the biggest difference in doing a job. Sure, air tools are great, so is having deep, thin wall, and wobble sockets, but really, being able to sit down while you work is real luxury. I've owned several different kinds of stools throughout the years, drawing on my own history, along with research gleaned from actual owners, this list has been compiled. Everything you see here is better than sitting on the floor or your Home Depot Bucket, but some are better suited for some jobs than others. If you look around online, you'll find that of the hundreds of shop stools available, many of them are made from the same parts, probably coming out of the same exact factories, just in different colors and different brand names on them. I've tried to assemble the best of the best, or in some cases, the best value of the dozens of identical stools.
Best Shop Stools: Reviews & Recommendations
Wide enough for stability but small enough to store
Separated tray is great for storing parts and tools
Great all around stool for a variety of different jobs
Wheels don't lock, so instead of torquing you might be rolling
Frame and caster attachment could be heavier duty
If you aren't buying a shop stool for a specific job, but you're looking for all around use, there are a few things key things to keep in mind and this one checks all the boxes. It needs to go up and down easily: check, this one is adjustable between 16 and 21-inches with a pneumatic cylinder. It needs to roll around easily while still being stable: check, it has four 2.5-inch casters arranged in a diameter larger than the seat cushion to keep your weight inside of it even if your sitting on the edge. It should be able to hold tools, fasteners, small parts, even snacks: check, this has a four compartment removable tray that fits over the chassis. This has everything you need if you're buying one stool. The chassis is large enough for stability but not so big it makes it tough to store and doesn't interfere with your feet. Five inches of adjustability doesn't seem like much, but you should be able to get low enough to get inside the wheel well of a car on jackstands, but also sit comfortably to do work on your bench. This may not be a lifetime purchase, but the price is low enough that you won't mind buying another one if you get a few years out of it.
Good commodity stool
Adjustable 15 - 20 inch height
Can't beat the price
Heavy Duty is very much a relative term
The seat cushion is good enough for most jobs, but can't call it All Day Comfort
When searching for a garage stool online or even at your local tool shop, you'll quickly notice that most of them are just a mix and match of a few different components. This stool is a prime example of that. That doesn't mean it isn't functional. For one of the least expensive tools in your garage, you'll get 5 inches of up/down adjustability, a powder coated chassis, a 16.5 inch round tool tray, and 2.5 inch casters. You aren't going to want to sit on this all day, so this isn't for professionals, but this is way more comfortable than kneeling for 20 minutes to bleed brakes. The tool tray has dividers in it that are just tall enough to keep sockets from rolling away but not so tall so you can't put bigger parts in the tray. What you're sacrificing for getting a stool for less than the price of Grubhubbing a meal for two is: thin padding in the cushion, loud casters of questionable durability, and a pneumatic cylinder that will have a relatively short lifespan for those of us on the northside of 200 pounds. We generally don't like the idea of disposable tools. One, we believe in supporting brands who provide quality products to consumers, and two, the environmental aspect. But, if you use this occasionally and don't abuse it, you'll get several years out of it and you can put that money towards tools you'll use regularly.
Huge, park bench of a seat with a backrest
Basically a rolling tool box, the drawer can hold power tools or maybe even a bucket of chicken
This is the perfect gift for the car enthusiast
So yeah, about that price, it's high
If you want to take it to your buddies house, you may have to tow it
A lot of us wish we had an unlimited budget to spend on tools, only a few of us do. For those people, we found your garage stool. The Beast lives up to its name, the cushion is 21 inches wide and 15 inches deep, making this the loveseat of garage rollers. The chassis of this mechanic's throne is a tool chest with one drawer, but it also has foldable side trays and a cup holder. As you might expect, the casters are larger than normal, 3-inchers, which allows it roll over extension cords or shop-minions toes without slowing down. It is expensive. But, for those of you looking for a gift for the car enthusiast or shade tree mechanic they'd love to own, but would never buy for themselves, this is it. not only is it bigger than the rest, most shop stools are optimistically rated at 200 pounds. The Beast is rated at 500 pounds, so you could literally sit on this and rebuild a ZF 6HP transmission that's sitting next to you. Did I mention it has a cupholder? It does.
Extremely well made and will probably outlive anyone who actively partook in the spicy chicken sandwich wars
The seat is a genuine step up from most stools out there
It'll match your other tools, if DeWalt is your persuasion
The tray is a wire grid, it won't hold much of anything smaller than DeWalt's own power tools
The base is pretty narrow meaning it doesn't have as much stability as others
For the price, it could come with better casters
I get it, you want all your tools to match. When it comes to cordless power tools with proprietary battery packs, it makes sense. If you go beyond that, and want literally everything to match, DeWalt guys, we got ya. This is a high-quality stool that features a nicely designed and built cushion with a little lip at the back to keep you from pushing off of it. It's embarrassing, let me tell you. The frame is also a step up from most other stools with construction that looks like industrial warehouse shelving. It has a tool tray, but this is the big thing that lets this stool down. The wire screen is big enough to let entire ratchets slip through. I'm not going to make a 10 mil socket joke here. I guess DeWalt figures if you have enough of their tools to also make you buy this stool, you can pretty easily cut out some plywood to put in the tray. The stool includes both casters and feet, but the casters don't quite live up to the quality of the rest of the build; luckily, they're easily replaceable. The price is about three times that of our best overall pick, but still a fraction of The Splurge, so I guess value is in the eye of the brandsnob.
Looks like a piece of industrial design and would even fit in an office environment
Seat adjusts from 29 to 34 inches, so works great for benches
Easy to clean and has a foot rail
No tool tray, no rollers, this is dedicated for doing work sitting at your bench
Shiny vinyl seats are notorious for making embarrassing noise when adjusting your sitting position, especially right after lunch
This stool is a bit different from the others on the list. It is intended to be used while working on parts, sitting at your bench. Don't be lazy, you know some jobs are better accomplished if you take the part off the car to work on them. The Heavy Duty Stool from WORKPRO is adjustable from 29 to 34 inches, and, it uses a hydraulic cylinder so it goes up and down instantly, not like those stupid stools with the threaded adjuster you have to spin for three minutes to lift them an inch. The chassis looks like a mechanical spider, or at least half of a robot-spider – only four legs. It's nice enough you could use this inside your house or office without it looking like you dragged in something from the garage. Yes, some people buying a stool like this would rather forgo the nice industrial design and ease of adjustment to get something with a Ford Mustang or sportsball team logo on the top, but do you want to be that guy? The price is also significantly less than something with a Denver Packers' figure or a Shelby Cobra, I'm sure I owe them 15 bucks just for mentioning Ole Shell's Snake. Buy one of these as a gift and your favorite carburetor rebuilder will thank you.
Our Pick for Best Overall is the DNA Motoring Mechanic Stool. It's a quality stool that meets all the needs for most jobs in the garage. We like the tool tray, the wide chassis and the price is right. If you're looking for the ultimate in shop stools, then you're looking for an Urbantransit The Beast. This makes a great gift for yourself or to anyone you know who works on cars, or just enjoys sitting and rolling around with tools.
Features To Consider
There are only a few things to think about when shopping for a shop stool. First, how are you going to use it? This will determine if you need a roller or stationary along with helping you figure out what height you will need. Next, consider how much you want to spend. If you will be using this on a regular basis, be willing to spend a bit more to get something that will last longer and be more comfortable for longer jobs. If this is just going to be used occasionally, don't be afraid to get something that is more value oriented.
You've got questions, The Drive has answers.
How tall of a stool do I need?
It depends on what you're doing with it. For working on brakes, suspension or detailing, you want something that drops down around 18 inches, but for working at a bench, around 32 inches is ideal.
What's the best way to store my garage stool?
If you can hang it or store it under a workbench that's ideal. Keeping it out anywhere it can be kicked just about guarantees a future stubbed toe.
How does a stool softener work?
We're not familiar with those. It might be extra padding for the seat or possibly some type of aftermarket caster system with coilover suspension.
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