When you go to a salon, the styling chairs are one of the most prominent pieces in the room. Beyond your experience with your stylist and the awesome look you leave with, the salon chair is likely the thing in the salon that you’ll interact with most. If you’re like me, see the above mermaid-aqua hair, you’re going to be in that chair for a long time. You’ll notice if it’s ratty, squeaky, or outdated–and you’ll definitely notice if it’s uncomfortable.
Your pampering day should be comfortable and relaxing. Even if you love how your hair came out, you might not go back or send your friends to a salon that means you’ll have to suffer on hard, lumpy, or wobbly chairs.
So while salon chairs are just the things we sit on while the real magic is happening–they’re actually a bit part of the experience.
Choosing salon chairs can be intimidating. It’s an important purchase and, if you own a salon, it can be a big purchase of several chairs. I’m going to break down what you need to be considering for your particular situation. From there you will hopefully have a picture in your head of what you’re looking for.
How you intend to use it.
It seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you’re taking stock of what you’re going to be using your salon chair or chairs for. If you’re looking for a stylist chair for personal use in your home vanity, you probably don’t need to spring for reclining seats or worry about it holding up to the type of wear a professional salon chair sees. Depending on your budget, you can afford to skimp a little bit if your chair is going to be seeing only light use.
On the other hand, if you are planning to use your chair in a professional capacity, the safety and comfort of your clients needs to be paramount. Investing in quality chairs for your private space or salon now means fewer expenses later. Cheaper, low quality chairs will need repairs, replacing, and could ultimately malfunction and be unsafe for your clients. If your specialties are hair and makeup a stylist chair like the ones on this list is where you want to be. You want something with a solid, stationary base, quality hydraulic lift, good cushioning, and a foot rest. If you need your salon chairs to double as shampoo chairs, make sure you pick something that can appropriately recline.
If this is for more of a barbershop setting, you may want to consider heftier chairs that have a more masculine feel to them. Look for chairs that recline for shaving services.
If you’re looking for seating for body waxing, facials, or massage, you probably want to check out more specialized furniture designed for these types of services. Read my guides to the best massage tables and best massage chairs for more information.
Make sure you don’t accidentally skip the step of measuring your space to be sure what you’re ordering is going to fit. A cramped salon space is not a welcoming salon space. You want your space to feel airy, natural, and inviting. When I’m trying to figure out if something will fit in my personal space sometimes I’ll trace out the length and width of it on a piece of paper or cardboard and then cut that out so I can lay it on the ground to get a sense of how it will interact with other furniture.
Keep in mind the people who will be sitting in this chair when deciding on a model. Do you serve a lot of children? Keep the colors fun. Make sure there’s a matching or complimentary booster available and that the hydraulics have a wide range of height adjustability. If you tend to see larger clients, make sure you’re keeping tabs on the width of the seats and the weight restrictions.
There isn’t a standard as to how high and low styling chairs go with their hydraulic pumps. Especially if you’re exceptionally tall or particularly short, you’ll want to do some measuring of what your ideal seat height range is. Comfortable height is critical to both you being able to properly utilize your awesome skills and also ergonomically so you aren’t hurting your back.
While function is more important than fashion for professional furniture, you do want your salon chairs to fit seamlessly in with the decor of your space. If your salon is sleek and modern, quirky retro chairs will stand out in a bad way. While all black decor has its place, some contrast is good when it comes to colors. Just make sure the style fits the atmosphere you’re going for whether that’s modern, retro, eclectic, mid-century modern, or minimalist.
Let’s face it: the price tag is always going to be a big factor in your purchase options. Stylist salon chairs tend to run from around $100 to $500. While there are good budget chairs in the $100 to $200 range, those are more suited for personal use and less likely to hold up in a professional salon setting. For a professional stylist, anything under $200 likely won’t meet your needs and you’ll end up spending more money to replace it. Think of it this way–to make a profit, the manufacturers are charging more than just the cost of materials. So try cutting the cost of a chair in half and consider if you could buy quality materials for the chair with that amount of money–the metal, the hydraulics, the cushion, the upholstery. If it seems like you’d have to buy some low-quality materials to build a chair with $50 dollars, consider if a $100 chair will hold up to the how you need your salon chair to function.
Now that we’ve gone over the parameters, let’s take a look at the best salon chairs for hairstylists on the market right now and break them down so you can see which ones are a good fit for your needs.
1. Veronica Beauty Chair by Standish
This is a great entry level chair for a professional setting. It’s strong enough to hold up to the rigors of a salon environment while still being in a more affordable price range. The flat chrome base provides a stable foundation and lays low enough to the ground so as not to trip up the stylist as they move around the chair. The hydraulic foot pump comes with a two year warranty and lets you adjust the height of the chair up to 26.5 inches high. The inside chair width is 20 inches and the open arm design provides extra room so larger clients can sit comfortably. According to Standish, the Veronica Beauty Chair has a static weight limit of 350 pounds.
Also, can we just talk about how pretty it is for a second? I love the look of the tapered back, the curve of the chrome arms, and the simple, minimalist foot rest. It’s a very modern and sleek looking chair that would fit in very nicely with a lot of the popular modern salon furniture around today. The heavy duty vinyl upholstery covers a thick layer of cushion and was subjected to some kind of 10,000 “rub-count test” which I can only imagine involved a robot rubbing the chair until it damaged it. At least I hope it was a robot because that sounds like a really boring job. I love how the red pops, but if you’re looking for something a little less bold, the Veronica Beauty Chair also comes in black.
- Sleek design
- Hydraulic pump with two year warrenty
- 350 pound weight limit
- Flat chrome base
- Choice of colors
- Requires some assembly
2. Shengyu Hydraulic Barber Chair
This Shengyu chair is made with durable small cell foam cushioning which supports and cradles your weight without losing its bounce. This is the same type of foam I looked for when I was doing my best massage tables guide, so if comfort is your number one concern, keep this chair on your radar. The scoop shape and open back provide comfort and air flow. With a seat width of just under 19 inches and a static weight limit of 400 pounds, this is a good choice for stylists with heavier clients. The hydraulic pump to raise and lower the height of the chair is backed by a one year warranty and has a very smooth operation. The square chrome base is stable and easy to keep clean, but it does have a higher profile than some of the other chairs. So if you’re looking for a chair that is basically impossible to stub your toe on, you want something with a lower profile than this.
- 400 pound weight limit
- Long lasting small cell foam cushion
- Comfortable, modern design
- Hydraulic pump with one year warrenty
- Square, high profile base
3. Duke Salon Chair by Standish
If the Veronica sounded nice but you’re into a more classic, timeless look, the Duke Salon Chair may be for you. It has the benefit of those sleek chrome arms and t-bar foot rest, but the lines of the seat and back are much more simple and classic. The full coverage back is great for clients who need a little extra support, so this is a good feature if you have older clients or clients with other chronic pain issues. You do see a little more of the chrome structure on the back of the seat compared to the Veronica, but that’s a detail probably only you would notice. The cushion is supportive but compact and covered in heavy duty vinyl. The hydraulic pump has the same two year warranty and 350 pound weight limit as the Veronica. The seat raises up to 26 inches tall. The round low profile base is convenient and out of the way for ease of movement. The vinyl is easy to clean and also comes in white, though any staining is more likely to show up against white.
- Full support seat back
- 350 pound static weight limit
- Hydraulic pump with two year warranty
- Low profile base
- Colors to choose from
- Some assembly
- Design will be a little plain for some
4. Shengyu Classic Hydraulic Styling Chair
This armchair style look with brass accents is definitely not your average salon styling chair. If your budget is in a similar price range and you want to prioritize a more unique look, this chair from Shengyu may have the look you’re hoping for. Your clients will feel pampered and expensive in this plush chair without you having to break the bank. The cushion is made of a long lasting small cell foam and and the full chair design is perfect to nestle into and get comfy. A really neat perk on this one is that it comes with an attached metal hairdryer loop holster.
As far as technical details, this chair has a 400 pound static weight limit, a seat width of 19.6 inches, and a full chair width of 25.2 inches. The square chrome base isn’t flush to the ground, but it is a lower profile than some other chairs. This model also comes in black with a circular base that has an even lower profile. The hydraulic pump (with one year warranty) can raise and lower the seat from 20 inches to 26 inches. My only issue with this chair is that the foot rest is so long that when the chair is at its lowest, it can touch the ground making the chair difficult to spin. So if you’re a short stylist who will need to keep this chair low most of the time, this might not be the one for you.
- Unique armchair look
- 400 pound weight limit
- Choice of colors
- Attached hairdryer holster
- Foot rest hits ground at lowest level
- Some assembly needed
5. Modern Hydraulic Barber Chair
If you’re on a budget and need a chair for at home for under $100, this is the one I would go with. This isn’t professional salon quality, but if you want a chair for your personal use or your home salon is a very part-time gig, this budget chair will work. It has that classic salon styling chair look to it and a flat chrome base. It’s not as bottom heavy as the others so it’s more prone to tipping, another reason this would won’t hold up to heavy duty salon use. A client tipping over in a chair is basically a worst case scenario. With a 19 inch seat width and 300 pound weight limit, it’s around average in its flexibility and the hydraulic pump can raise and lower the seat from 19 inches to 25 inches tall. The t-bar foot rest has ribbed grips to keep feet from slipping and the contoured seats are filled with small cell foam. For the price, it’s a great chair. But if you need your chair to hold up professionally, you’re going to need to stick to the at least $200 price bracket.
- Well made for the price range
- 300 pound weight limit
- Low profile round base
- Won’t hold up to salon use
- Top heavy and prone to tipping
6. BR Beauty Arctic Styling Chair
This is a much more salon-worthy chair. The hydraulic pump is backed by a 2 year warranty and can adjust the seat height from 17 inches high to 23 inches high. It may not be best for very tall stylists so make sure you’ve done some measuring. The low profile flat base is heavy and wide for great stability and support. This seat has a static weight limit of 350 pounds, though the seat is narrower than most at 18.5 inches between the arms. The bright white color and hourglass shape has a very modern and clean look to it, though it’s important to keep in mind that while vinyl is stain-resistant, white is more likely to show stains. I like that this chair requires very little assembly and is durably built to last.
Price: $209 (13 percent off MSRP)
- Durable, salon-grade construction
- 350 pound weight limit
- Modern, clean style
- Sturdy low profile base
- Narrow seat
- White color is prone to staining
- Not best for very tall styists
7. Walcut Classic Black & White Hydraulic Swivel Barber Chair
For a chair that can swing double duty of styling chair and barber chair, the Walcut Classic is a good middle ground. It’s has a wide, armchair design that is masculine enough to technically be a barber chair, but not so much that it would be completely out of place in a beauty salon setting. If your client base has a variety of genders, this may be a good choice for you. Being a barber chair, this one reclines, though not so much as to work as a shampoo chair, but if you offer shaving services or facial waxing, being able to lean back and close their eyes could be a nice perk for your clients.
This chair has a very thick, sturdy stand and low profile base for a very heavy-duty foundation that can hold 330 pounds of weight. The seat is 19.5 inches wide which should comfortably fit most clients. The hydraulic pump is quiet and can raise and lower the seat from 19.7 inches to 24.4 inches, so this one might not be the best for short stylists. The adjustable headrest is great for accommodating taller clients and the footrest is reinforced by a small leg of its own so people can more comfortably and safely put weight on it as needed.
- Great middle ground of barber chair and styling chair
- 330 pound weight limit
- Reclines and has extending headrest
- Sturdy base
- Not for short stylists
- May not be feminine enough for some beauty salon decor
8. BR Beauty Sue Professional Salon All-Purpose Chair
The Sue All-Purpose Chair is great if you’ve got a small space and need your chairs to fulfill a lot of different tasks. It looks like a classic styling chair but reclines deeply for shaving or waxing services, and the headrest comes off so that the chair can also be used as a shampooing chair. The hydraulic lift is backed by a two year warranty and has a weight capacity of 350 pounds. The seat is 19.25 inches wide and the open design of the arms leaves plenty of space for clients who might needs a little extra room. The hydraulics adjust the seat from from 20 inches to 26 inches high so if you’re on the shorter side, make sure you’ve looked at your optimum height range. The shiny chrome base isn’t completely flat but is conveniently tapered for a sleek look and is easy to keep clean. As far as looks, the Sue is more practical than particularly stylish but will fit into nearly any decor as a classic salon chair design.
Price: $299 (13 percent off MSRP)
- Works as styling chair, barber chair, waxing chair, and shampooing chair
- Reclines and has removable headrest
- 350 pound weight limit
- May not be great for short stylists
9. Eastmagic Beauty Salon Chair
For a more modern look, the Eastmagic Beauty Salon Chair has a rounded cup shape with a unique lower back. The chair shape is molded for client comfort and back support, though it may not be the best option if you tend to work with a lot of small children. Built to last, this chair has a 400 pound weight limit and one year warranty on the hydraulic pump. A seat width of 19.8 inches is generous enough for most clients and the seat height is adjustable from 20 inches to 26.3 inches high. It comes with an optional foot rest attachment in a classic t-bar design. The base is a heavy chrome circle that is low profile for more maneuverability. Having stylish salon chairs like this is very eye catching and memorable.
- Unique shape
- 400 pound weight limit
- Removable footrest
- Solid, stable chrome base
- Unique modern look isn’t for everyone
- Needs assembly
10. D Salon Hydraulic Salon Chair
I’m including one last budget chair in case you’ve gotten to the end of the list, looked at your budget, and have decided the above are still out of your price range. The D Salon Chair isn’t the highest quality chair, but if you need something cheap in your salon to tide you over until you can invest in proper chairs, it’s a great in-the-meantime salon chair. It has a 300 pound weight limit and 20 inch wide seat to accommodate most clients. The round chrome base is low profile and rather small which could lead to tipping since it isn’t as heavy or solid as high end chairs. While the maker rather inconveniently doesn’t provide height measurements, people who have used the chair have noted that the hydraulic pump goes low enough to be great for even very short stylists. Heavy duty vinyl covers small cell foam for a comfortable seat, though the design isn’t the most elegant on the list. The footrest is wide and has a textured grip which I like. It’s a good choice as a temporary chair or for a home salon.
- 300 pound weight limit
- Low profile chrome base
- Small cell foam cushion
- Great for short stylists
- Not durable enough for long term salon use
- Prone to tipping