7 Best Retro-Style & Vintage Barber Chairs

vintage barber chair

123rf.com (Alexander Sorokopud)

When you’re craving an elegant, classic atmosphere in your shop, only proper vintage barber chairs or retro salon chairs will do. Whether you’re looking for the good-ol’-days effect of the 1950s or a more 1800s antique-look, these brand new hydraulic barber chairs with a vintage-style elevate the look of any barbershop, create a more enjoyable client experience, and get people talking about your shop–without the cost or hassle of buying true antiques. Update your anti-fatigue mats to match.

What Are the Best Vintage Barber Chairs?

Antique style barber chairs in green, red, and black Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lots of color choices
  • 700-pound weight capacity
  • Bi-cast leather upholstery
Price: $1,049.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Brown SkinAct Theo barber chair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Trusted quality brand
  • Available in brown or black
  • 900-pound weight capacity
Price: $1,199.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black barbershop chair with lots of shiny chrome Amazon Customer Reviews
  • More 1960s than antique-style
  • Stylish
  • Reclines 45-degrees
Price: $1,349.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black and silver barbershop chair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Made in America
  • Trusted brand
  • 450-pound weight limit
Price: $1,224.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black vintage style Kenzo barber chair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Available in chrome or gold
  • 1,000 working weight
  • Hidden bottle opener
Price: $1,499.90 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black Victorian style salon chair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Handcrafted wood
  • Feminine look
  • 450 weight limit
Price: $849.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Brown rounded back barber chair Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 600-pound weight capacity
  • Choice of brown or dark grey
  • Balance of subtle and ornate
Price: $799.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Vintage Heavy-Duty Barber Chair by BarberPub

    Pros:
    • Many color choices
    • 700-pound weight limit
    • Retro towel bar
    • Six inches of height adjustment
    Cons:
    • Tufting is harder to keep clean
    • Some assembly required
    • Upholstery isn't vegan

    The BarberPub 2947 Heavy-Duty Barber Chair has a great vintage look that will make a real impression upon your clients. The tufted upholstery, rounded backrest, towel bar, and elaborate patterning in the metal are all reminiscent of antique Art Deco Koken chairs originating from the 1920s.

    The red upholstery with dark frame is also especially retro and hard to beat, but if that’s not your style or doesn’t fit with your decor, this chair comes in six other color combinations including old school army green, weathered brown, and black with either a greybrown, or flashy gold frame.

    This is the only chair on the list that has real leather in its upholstery. The bi-cast leather uses durable cowhide as its underlayer and adds a coating of waterproof, scuff-resistant vinyl finish that will last and withstand regular use.

    Built to last, this chair has a working weight of 700 pounds and a stable 27-inch chrome base. A hydraulic pump allows for six inches of height adjustment. And adjustable and removable headrest customizes the chair to your clients’ comfort. There’s a discreet holder on the back of the chair near the hydraulic pump that you can slot the headrest into when not in use so you don’t have to awkwardly find a free surface to hold the headrest.

    It reclines nice and deep to 135-degrees with the help of a gas-piston lock. A flip-out footrest (with two stabilizing feet) provides multiple configurations to best support your clients both upright and reclined. 

    This chair was featured in my best red barber chairs article.

    • Range of height adjustment (from top of chair): 42.1 to 48.4 inches tall
    • Weight capacity: 700 pounds
    • Seat width: 19.3 inches
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: Yes to 135-degrees
    • Base diameter: 27 inches
    • Upholstery: Bi-cast leather
  2. 2. Theo Vintage Chair by SkinAct

    Pros:
    • 900-pound weight limit
    • Available in brown or black
    • Larger flip-up footrest
    • Trusted spa brand
    Cons:
    • Not real leather
    • Not many colors available
    • Some assembly required

    The Theo Barber Chair by SkinAct has a look that reminds me of 1950s chairs with their large padded footrests and smooth upholstery. It has a very retro towel bar under one armrest and a convenient hook on the other. I’ve seen a Belmont chair from the 1950s with a similar stripe effect but it’s pretty close to the Chicago-made Theo A. Kochs’ chairs from that time so I don’t think the name of this chair is a coincidence. 

    This chair has a great weight capacity of 900 pounds and the pump is actually rated at 1,500 pounds. It can handle your larger clients without worrying about the hydraulics. The pump can lift the chair from 24 inches tall at the seat up to 31 inches tall. As far as further adjustability, the headrest is adjustable as well as removable. 

    It has great stability with two stabilizing feet on the bottom of the footrest and a wide 26-inch diameter base. The footrest had a reversible portion that can be either padded or metal. It also folds up to help conserve space. 

    The chair has 360-degrees of spin and reclines quite far back for a relaxing shave. It’s not ornately designed but those chrome stripes down the front of the footrest make an impression.

    Clients will love the plush cushioning of the quality faux-leather vinyl and you’ll love how easy it is to keep clean. The chair comes in brown or classic black.

    • Range of height adjustment (from seat): 24 to 31 inches
    • Weight capacity: 900 pounds
    • Seat width: 21.5
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: Yes
    • Base diameter: 26 inches
    • Upholstery: Vinyl
  3. 3. Carter Barbershop Chair by Icarus

    Pros:
    • Stylish design
    • Doesn't look too antique
    • Reclines to 45-degrees
    • Seven inches of adjustable height
    Cons:
    • Only available in black
    • Much lower weight limit
    • Some specs not given

    For a slightly more updated look, check out the Carter Barbershop Chair by Icarus. To me, it has the look of certain Belmont chairs from the 1960s with these thicker, rounded sides. The sides on this chair remind me of classic America cars. Its color scheme of black, chrome, and white enamel is an aesthetic that can fit in with nearly any decor.

    The classic black upholstery is smooth with no tufted areas or stitched patterning making it nice and easy to clean between clients. With its hydraulic movement, the seat of the chair lifts from 22.5 inches tall to 29.5 inches tall. The headrest is also adjustable and removable. 

    It features a traditional flip-up footrest with a metal and a padded side that can be adjusted to fit your clients’ height and comfort needs. There are also small stabilizing feet on the bottom of the footrest but the footrest itself is not designed to hold a person’s weight

    The Carter reclines 45-degrees providing a very relaxed position for close shaves. 

    • Range of height adjustment (from seat): 22.5 to 29.5 inches
    • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
    • Seat width: 19.5 inches
    • Rotation: Not given
    • Reclining: Yes 45-degrees
    • Base diameter: Not given
    • Upholstery: Not given
  4. 4. 661 Seville Heavy Duty Barber Chair by Pibbs

    Pros:
    • Made in the USA
    • Two year warranty
    • Classic but not to antique-looking
    Cons:
    • Not as vintage as others
    • No color choices
    • Doesn't recline as far as others

    The American-made Pibbs Seville Barbershop Chair has a classic barber chair feel without looking like an antique reproduction. If you want a classic vibe without giving the appearance that you’ve gone back in time, this is your chair. The stitching and dual towel holders have a 50s feel but the sleek chrome gives a more modern look.

    Its heavy-duty build is solid enough to hold up to 450 pounds and a base diameter of 27 inches makes for a wide foundation that resists tipping. Even with that higher weight limit, the hydraulic pump has a two-year warranty so you know Pibbs stands by their product.

    The kick-up footrest with padded leg rest lifts up as the chair reclines for your client’s comfort. The foot level has a rubberized sleeve for increased grip and there are two rubberized stabilizing feet on the bottom of the footrest. 

    • Range of height adjustment (from chair): 24 to 44 inches tall
    • Weight capacity: 450 pounds
    • Seat width: 18.5 inches
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: Yes
    • Base diameter: 27 inches
    • Upholstery: PVC faux leather
  5. 5. Kenzo Antique-Style Barber Chair by SkinAct

    Pros:
    • Hand-stitched upholstery
    • 1,000-pound working weight
    • Frame available in chrome or gold
    • Hairdryer or cup holder
    Cons:
    • Smaller base
    • Pricier than others
    • Only one stabilizer foot on the footrest

    This Kenzo Barber Chair by SkinAct is a bit of a masterpiece. With a 1,000-pound working weight, it’s the strongest on the list and it also has the widest range of height adjustment at 24 inches tall up to 31 inches tall, measuring from the seat.

    The design is a callback to 1920s Art Deco barber chairs that were being put out by Koken and Emil J. Paidar during that time period. The Kenzo features hand-stitched top-grade vinyl upholstery that has a leather texture to it, unlike other chairs that look flat and fake. Its stainless steel frame comes in either the featured reflective chrome or metallic gold.

    A traditional flip-up footrest supports your client as they recline. While it doesn’t have a retro towel bar, it does have a heat-resistant ring that can be used as a hairdryer holder or cup holder. The ring is on a hinge so it can fold up and out of the way when not in use. SkinAct’s website states that there is a hidden bottle opener on this chair but doesn’t specify where. It might be that little shape on the reclining handle, but I can’t say for sure.

    • Range of height adjustment (from seat): 24 to 31 inches tall
    • Weight capacity: 1,000 pounds
    • Seat width: 20 inches
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: Yes
    • Base diameter: 25 inches
    • Upholstery: faux leather vinyl

    VideoVideo related to kenzo antique-style barber chair by skinact2021-05-27T11:19:47-04:00
  6. 6. Laurence Victorian-Style Salon Chair by DIR

    Pros:
    • 450 weight capacity
    • Round, square, or star base
    • Unique Victorian style
    • Handcrafted carved wood
    Cons:
    • Doesn't recline
    • Wood isn't as resilient as steel
    • Too feminine for some
    • Seat is narrower than others

    The Laurence Victorian-Style Salon Chair by Dreams In Reality is a good choice for hair salons with a more feminine aesthetic but who still want the gravitas of old-fashioned designs. This throne-style chair will make your clients feel like royalty.

    This styling chair is unique in that it is made of real, solid wood that has been handcrafted. The intricately carved patterns will certainly stand out from other modern plastic and metal chairs. To protect it, the high traffic areas like the seat, armrests, sides, and back are covered in faux leather and high-density foam padding. Chrome studs add brightness to this otherwise black chair. 

    It spins 360-degrees, has a subtle T-bar footrest, and six inches of hydraulic lift with a 450-pound weight capacity. You can contact DIR to request a different base choice. Square bases can be hard to fit with salon anti-fatigue mats so you can ask for either a round or five-point star base instead.

    The one downside to the Laurence is that it doesn’t recline. This makes it bad choice for shops that offer shaves and those who need their styling chair to also be their shampooing chair.

    • Range of height adjustment (from seat): 22.75 to 28.25 inches tall
    • Weight capacity: 450 pounds
    • Seat width: 18.3
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: No
    • Base diameter: Not given
    • Upholstery: faux leather
  7. 7. Hydraulic Styling Chair by BestSalon

    Pros:
    • Not too much intricate detail
    • Available in brown or dark grey
    • Flip-up footrest with stabilizing feet
    • Three inches of small-cell foam
    Cons:
    • Base not as large as others
    • Weight limit lower than some
    • Frame is alloy steel

    This BestSalon Hydraulic Styling Chair rides the sweet spot between the highly ornate antique-style chairs and ones that are plainer. The seat and backrest are fairly subtle and rely on their vintage round look to bring the character to the design. The frame is where we find the decoration with cut-out patterns on the leg and footrest. Overall it has the look of an early 1900s to 1920s Theo A Kochs chair. 

    The faux leather upholstery is available in brown or dark grey to suit your decor. It has a decent weight capacity at 600 pounds but if you see a good amount of larger clients, there are barber chairs with higher weight limits and wider bases which help to prevent tipping. A flip-up footrest, where we get all that attractive patterning in the metal frame, helps to support clients while reclined and it has two stabilizing feet to help with tipping as well. 

    It reclines to 135-degrees and the hydraulic pump provides six inches of adjustment. The headrest is also adjustable and can be removed as needed. 

    • Range of height adjustment (from seat): 22 to 28 inches
    • Weight capacity: 600 pounds
    • Seat width: 19.5 inches
    • Rotation: 360-degrees
    • Reclining: Yes, to 135-degrees
    • Base diameter: 26 inches
    • Upholstery: faux leather

Restored Antique Barber Chair or Reproduction?

If you want a barber chair that evokes a golden age feel, you can either buy a new chair made in the style of older chairs or purchase an original antique chair that's been restored. 

Having an actual antique is important to some people and has a very authentic, well-used look to it. Restored antiques are harder to find and painfully expensive because no one can make more of them. Whatever chairs have survived over the years are the only ones available.

On top of that, true vintage chairs will have varying degrees of functionality and wear from being decades to over a hundred years old. Plus the upholstery was not made to stand up to modern use and chemicals the way vinyl faux leather is. Some people enjoy and take pride in caring for these machines to keep them in good working condition but others may find this a hassle they don't want to keep up with.

Reproductions are cheaper, require less maintenance, and some have modern perks like electric movement and wider, more comfortable seats.

Can Hair Salons Be Retro Too?

Absolutely. An attraction to vintage charm is not exclusive to masculine spaces. There are plenty of lovey feminine retro chairs which tend to either go for a 1960s Mod style or more of a Victorian royalty look.

Should You Add a Classic Barber Pole?

Another way to increase the retro look of your shop is to bring in other antique-style elements. The barber pole is a traditional symbol of a barbershop.

Back in the days of bloodletting, barbers would leave bowls of client's blood in the windows of their shops to tell passersby what services were offered. Most people couldn't read back then so a sign wouldn't be any help, especially because the barber probably couldn't read either. 

In 1307, leaving blood in windows was made against the law so barber-surgeons had to find a new way to represent themselves. Barbers then began to advertise with a white pole with red and sometimes blue stripes.

Why this image? During bloodletting, patients would grip a pole so it was an easy leap to make. The white was for bandages, the red was for blood, and the blue was for either veins or non-oxygenated blood. Barber-surgeons must have been pretty intense people. 

Having a barber pole inside or outside your shop adds to that vintage flair and will help people on the street recognize what your shop does. The barber pole still works even after 700 years.

There are also vintage-looking signs like this aged Barbershop Sign with a 1960s aesthetic or ones that stretch even further back like this Shaving Parlor Sign that advertises cupping and leaches as services. 

How Have Barber Chairs Changed Over the Years?

Barbers have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years but once chairs started being built especially for barbers, the design hasn't really changed all that much. 

According to a collector and antique store owner, barber chairs in the early 1800s were tall, made of wood, and reclined slightly. As technology developed more in the late 1800s, you begin to see chairs that swivel, recline, and have a hydraulic lift system similar to what we have today.

These are the chairs we think of when we think of antique barber chairs with their large footrest, elaborate carvings, and metal cutouts.

In the mid-1900s chairs became somewhat blockier and more utilitarian.

Overall, the changes have been all aesthetic for a long time as the main function of the chairs was set and perfected a hundred years ago.

When Was the Barber Chair Invented?

Barbers date back to 3500 BCE when hair razors were found among ancient Egyptian civilizations. 

The profession of barber-surgeons dates to the middle ages when barbers cut hair as well as took care of common medical issues like tooth pain, wounds, broken bones, surgeries, and bloodletting--a common practice at the time. It wasn't until the late 1700s that surgeons broke away as their own profession

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