If you like to entertain on your patio or by your pool or spa, you probably have a table and some bar stools set up (or would like to add them). Choosing outdoor stools requires attention to details that are a bit different from picking out indoor stools. Design considerations must take a backseat to more practical aspects - weatherproofing being the major one.

Fortunately, there are many outdoor bar stool styles from which to choose. More and more, manufacturers are coming out with models that are very nice looking, while providing the necessary protection against the elements. Shopping online offers you the most variety and, often, the lowest prices on patio or poolside bar stools.

Shopping Tips for Outdoor Bar Stools

First and foremost, stick to stools that are made from materials that are truly resistant to moisture. Some of the cheaper bar stools will quickly begin to degrade if you leave them outdoors in the elements year-round. You're much better off spending a bit more up front to get well made stools. It costs more in the long run to replace the cheap ones.

Good materials include stainless steel, aluminum, wrought iron, and wood that is pressure treated and has a thick coating of enamel or urethane. If you get outdoor bar stools that have seat and back cushions, be sure to factor in the weather for those as well. Vinyl, plastic, and waterproof fabric are all good choices. To extend the life of your stools, bring them in or put them in a shed or garage during the months that they will not get any use.

Caring for Outdoor Stools

Remember that not only will the bar stools get rained and snowed on, wet people will be sitting in them during the warm outdoor months (if you have a spa or pool). It's important to clean your stools regularly to remove residual chlorine, body oils, and suntan lotions, which can degrade even the best materials over time.

It's also good to keep in mind that outdoor bar stools take some abuse. Exhausted swimmers or extremely relaxed hot tubbers often plop themselves down into stools after exiting the water. Sitting slowly, as most of us do with indoor stools, just isn't done with outdoor stools as often. It's smart to get bar stools that are very sturdy, even if it means sacrificing the look you prefer. Again, think practicality over looks and your bar stools will last longer.