Stacking chair buying guide

When you’re looking for stacking chairs the amount of choice can be overwhelming. You can choose from lightweight options, high density options and more. But one of the most important choices you’ll have to make is what material the stacking chair is made out of; wood, metal or plastic. To find out what type of stacking chair is best for your public building, read our complete guide now!

What are stacking chairs?

This may seem like a question with a rather obvious answer, but bear with us. You might be surprised at how often people misinterpret what is and isn’t a stacking chair…

Stacking chairs are defined as chairs which are purposely designed to be stacked on top of each other. This is in contrast to chairs which can theoretically be stacked, but aren’t designed to do so. 

This is a particularly important point to bear in mind for public buildings such as churches and community centres. 

What are the different types of stacking chair? 

Before we continue, let’s set out some definitions. When we talk about metal, wood or plastic stacking chairs it can sometimes be a little unclear as to what we mean. So, for the purposes of this article, we’ve defined what we mean by wood, metal and plastic stacking chairs below. 

What is a wood stacking chair? 

When we talk about wood stacking chairs, we are referring to two different, distinct types of wood chairs. 

The first of which are solid wood chairs. These are chairs which feature a solid wood frame and which are mainly (but not always) upholstered – at least on the seat and back pad. Solid wood stacking chairs tend to be fairly weighty and are not as stackable as other types of chair.

The second type of wood chairs are pressed plywood chairs. Because of the way these types of chairs are manufactured, they are lightweight and can often be formed into shapes not usually associated with wood. A great example of a pressed plywood stacking chair is our Gallery Stacking Chair

What is a metal stacking chair?

When we refer to metal stacking chairs, we are talking about chairs with metal frames. Our range of metal stacking chairs include models with plastic or upholstered seat and back pads, as well as models with laminate wood seats and back pads.

Metal stacking chairs tend to be lightweight and able to be stacked densely.

A great example of a metal stacking chair is our best-selling KI Maestro Stacking Chair.

What is a plastic stacking chair? 

As you’ve read so far, it’s possible to get metal and wood stacking chairs which have plastic parts (such as the seat or back pad). What we mean, when we talk about plastic chairs, is chairs that are completely made of plastic. 

Plastic chairs (or Poly chairs as we also call them), are made from polypropylene and are available in a wide range of colours. Because of the way plastic chairs are formed, they are one piece, and therefore extremely robust and long-lasting. Many of our plastic chairs are also UV-resistant and will not fade. As such, they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, all year round.

A great example of a plastic stacking chair is our KI Hatton Stacking Chair.

What are the features of stacking chairs?

As you would expect, stacking chairs differ from ‘non-stacking’ chairs in several ways.


Firstly, stacking chairs tend to be lightweight (or at least, lighter than their non-stacking equivalents). This ensures they can be easily lifted and stacked as well as moved around.

Many models of stacking chairs are also purposely designed to be transported using a trolley. This makes it exceptionally easy to move and store large numbers of chairs.

Stacking density

Again, this may seem like a very obvious point, but certain chairs are not merely stackable, but are stackable in different ‘densities’. 

What we mean by this is that the chairs, when stacked, slot together very closely, with little to no gaps between each chair. This means that you can stack large numbers of chairs together into a single ‘stack’.

Gallery Stacking Chair

Gallery Stacking Chair

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Stacking chairs such as our Gallery Stacking Chair are a great example of this ‘high density’ stacking, with this particular chair being able to be stacked 15 high – or up to 20 high on a trolley. 

Models such as our Strive Chairs take this even further, and can be stacked up to 30 high on a trolley. The KI Maestro Stacking Chair can be stacked up to 38 chairs high, when used with the Maestro Transport Trolley. Then the best of all is the Stax 60, which as the name hints at, will stack 60 high on a trolley that fits through a standard doorway.


By their very nature, stackable chairs have to be strong. During the process of lifting, stacking, unstacking and generally being moved about, they have to withstand quite a lot!

Whether you buy a wooden, metal or plastic stacking chair – you should ensure that it is strong enough to last.

So, when selecting a stacking chair for your premises, it can help to look for chairs which have been tested to certain British and European Standards. Below, you’ll find some of the standards to look for.

BS EN 16139: 2013

This is a standard which tests the strength, durability and safety of non-domestic seating intended to be used by adults with a weight of not more than 110kg (just over 17 stone).

BS EN 1728: 2012

This is another testing standard which assesses the strength and durability of non-domestic seating.


In a related sense to strength, good-quality stacking chairs are also designed to be durable.

As we mentioned earlier, stacking chairs generally have to withstand a lot more wear and tear than their non-stacking equivalents. 

When assessing the durability of a stacking chair you should check its warranty. Here at Rosehill, many of our stacking chairs come with warranties as long as 10 or 15 years (but, please do check individual product descriptions for exact warranty details). 

In assessing the durability of a stacking chair, you should also look out for the following standard.

ANSI-BIFMA X5-1-2017

This is a standard which puts a stacking chair through a series of ‘stress tests’ to assess how durable it is.

To meet this standard, a stacking chair will have been subjected to back pull tests, unit base tests, seat drop tests, seating impact tests, stability tests, arm strength tests, back durability tests and more. 

Maxim Deluxe Stacking Chair

Maxim Deluxe Stacking Chair

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Just because a chair is stackable doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort. When looking for stacking chairs for your church or community hall, then you’ll want to look for stacking chairs that explicitly state that they are comfortable and designed for sitting in for long periods.

Naturally, the exact level of comfort will be determined by what type of stacking chair you choose. Wood chairs are typically upholstered, whilst plastic and metal stacking chairs are ergonomically designed to provide comfort even without upholstery.

So, with the main features of stacking chairs covered, let’s take a look at some of the other questions we commonly receive about stacking chairs. After that, we’ll take a look at the main pros and cons of wood, plastic and metal stacking chairs.

What are the most stackable chairs?

One of the key criteria many people have when buying stacking chairs is how ‘stackable’ they are. In other words, how many chairs can be stacked together? 

As we’ve already mentioned earlier, you’ll find that different stacking chairs have different ‘stacking densities’ i.e. how closely they stack together. 

In addition to stacking density, you should also look to see if chairs can be stacked on a trolley. This usually means that a far higher number of chairs can be stacked. 

To give you an idea of which chairs are the most ‘stackable’, we’ve compiled a list below:

As you can see, it’s possible to get stacking chairs that will stack in a very high density. These high density stacking chairs can be ideal if you regularly have large congregations or attendances, but relatively limited storage space.

Which type of stacking chair is best for your public building?

At this point then, you’ve probably got a good idea of the things you should be looking for in a stacking chair. 

However, there’s one very important decision awaiting you. Should you buy wood, plastic or metal stacking chairs? 

Each of these types of stacking chair has pros and cons. To help you decide which type of stacking chair is right for your public building, we’ve set out the pros and cons of each type below.

The pros and cons of wood stacking chairs

Wood Stacking Chairs

For many people, wood chairs are the ‘automatic’ option for their public building. However, there’s much more to wood chairs than their appearance. Let’s take a look. 

The pros of wood stacking chairs 

Wood stacking chairs have a number of benefits compared to other types of stacking chair. We’ve set out the most salient benefits below:

  • Wood stacking chairs are robust and long-lasting. Unlike domestic wood chairs, contract wood chairs have screwed and glued joints wherever possible, meaning they’ll have a long service life.
  • Wood stacking chairs are environmentally friendly. Much of the wood used in stacking chairs these days is sustainably sourced and therefore has a much lower carbon footprint than other materials such as plastic and metal.
  • Wood stacking chairs are available in multiple styles. Thanks to modern wood working techniques and materials such as pressed plywood, wood stacking chairs can be produced in a wide variety of different styles.
  • Wood stacking chairs are beautiful. As we said at the outset of this section, there’s more to wood chairs than their looks – but there’s no getting away from the fact that wood stacking chairs look fantastic, blend in well in many settings, and have that organic feel that adds warmth and comfort to a room.

The cons of wood stacking chairs

As with any material, using wood to create stacking chairs does involve a few trade offs. These include:

  • Wood stacking chairs are not as ‘stackable’ as other types of stacking chair. However, models such as the Gallery Stacking Chair, can be stacked up to 20 high using a trolley.
  • Wood stacking chairs can be heavy. As wood tends to be a much denser material than either metal tubing or plastic, solid hardwood stacking chairs can be heavy. Naturally, this can make them harder to lift and stack.
  • Wood stacking chairs can be more expensive. This isn’t always the case, but if you’re looking to buy high-quality wooden chairs for your public building, then expect to pay more for them than you would for equivalent plastic or metal stacking chairs.

The pros and cons of metal stacking chairs

Metal Stacking Chairs

Arguably the most popular type of stacking chair, metal stacking chairs have found widespread use in schools, churches, restaurants, events venues and elsewhere. As with other types of material, metal stacking chairs have their pros and cons. 

The pros of metal stacking chairs

There are a number of reasons why metal stacking chairs are so popular. We’ve set these out below:

  • Metal stacking chairs are very stackable. If you have limited storage space and want to be able to stack chairs in large numbers, then metal stacking chairs are the perfect choice. As we’ve highlighted above, some metal stacking chairs can be stacked as much as 60 high.
  • Metal stacking chairs are lightweight. Because of their metal frame construction and (generally) plastic seat and back, metal stacking chairs are lightweight and therefore easy to handle and stack.
  • Metal stacking chairs are strong and durable. As you would expect, metal is a very strong and durable material, so metal stacking chairs will provide you with a long service life.
  • Metal stacking chairs are affordable. Because of the way they are constructed and the materials used, metal stacking chairs tend to be more affordable than wood equivalents.

The cons of metal stacking chairs

Metal chairs, despite their popularity, do have some drawbacks. We’ve outlined these below:

  • Metal stacking chairs are not as good looking as alternatives. We’ll grant you that this is very much a subjective opinion, and not necessarily a ‘con’. However, if design considerations are particularly important for you, then wooden chairs tend to beat metal chairs.
  • Metal stacking chairs are not as comfortable as alternatives. Don’t get us wrong, there are comfortable metal stacking chairs. But, if comfort is your most important priority, then an upholstered wooden chair may be more suitable.

The pros and cons of plastic stacking chairs

Plastic Stacking Chairs

The final option when it comes to stacking chairs is plastic. Plastic is a durable, lightweight and affordable material which is why it’s used extensively to create stacking chairs. Nevertheless, it has its pros and cons!

The pros of plastic stacking chairs

Plastic stacking chairs have several benefits that may mean they are the perfect option for your public building. These benefits include:

  • Plastic stacking chairs are affordable. If you’re looking for a large number of stacking chairs, then plastic chairs are often the most affordable option (but not always!).
  • Plastic chairs are available in a wide range of colours. Because of the way plastic is produced, it can be created in a wide variety of different colours. This makes plastic chairs perfect if you are looking to match them to an institutional colour or brand.
  • Plastic stacking chairs are easy to maintain. Plastic chairs usually feature a simple construction, meaning that they are easy to maintain and care for. Plus, thanks to the properties of plastic, they won’t stain and are easy to wipe clean. Because plastic chairs are generally formed out of a single piece of plastic, there are no individual parts to go wrong! Plus, many of the plastic chairs we stock here at Rosehill are UV-resistant and so won’t fade if left in sunlight.
  • Plastic chairs are lightweight. This means they are easy to move, handle and stack. Again, this is a great characteristic if you’re going to be unstacking/stacking large numbers of chairs.

The cons of plastic stacking chairs

Whilst plastic chairs have found ubiquitous use in public buildings throughout the UK, they do nevertheless have some drawbacks which mean they’re not suitable for some settings:

  • Plastic stacking chairs are not as ‘aesthetic’ as alternatives. There’s no getting away from the fact that plastic doesn’t quite compare to wood. If you’re looking for stacking chairs that exude a high-class, quality feel, you may be better off choosing wood. However, we are now stocking high-end, Italian-made designer plastic chairs which would suit any luxury, premium premises.
  • Plastic stacking chairs are not as comfortable as alternatives. This is a particular subjective measure, and it’s a perception that many people have.  However, the reality is that plastic chairs are far more comfortable than the ones many people remember from school. Today, plastic chairs are ergonomically designed for postural support and to provide long-lasting comfort for the user.

We hope that this overview has helped you decide which type of stacking chair is suitable for your public building. As you have seen though, much of your decision will be influenced by your individual circumstances, budget and setting. 

For example, if you’re buying chairs for a church with an elderly congregation, then comfort may be the top priority. On the other hand, if you’re buying stacking chairs for a school, then durability and strength will probably be the main priority. 

Whatever situation you find yourself in, if you require more advice than this article offers, then please feel free to contact our friendly, expert team who will be happy to answer any of your questions. You can reach them on 0161 485 1717 or by email at

The best stacking chairs for UK public buildings

Is it time for some new stacking chairs for your public building? Then whether you’re going for wood, metal or plastic stacking chairs, you’ll find some that are perfect for you here at Rosehill. 

Below we’ve set out some of our most popular stacking chairs available right now.

Urban Lightweight Stacking Chair

Urban Lightweight Stacking Chair

Urban Lightweight Stacking Chair

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If you’re looking for a multipurpose, ‘do anything’ stacking chair, then choose the Urban Lightweight Stacking Chair. 

This chair features a stylish skid-based frame which is finished in silver. The shaped pads offer good comfort and are upholstered to order in a hard-wearing fire retardant fabric (or an easy to clean waterproof vinyl).

Churchill Ultra Stacking Chair

Churchill Ultra Stacking Chair

Churchill Ultra Stacking Chair

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When you want a high-quality, beautifully-finished wood stacking chair, you can’t get any better than the Churchill Ultra Stacking Chair. 

Featuring a solid beech frame (which can be upgraded to solid oak or solid ash), the Churchill Ultra also features a large shaped seat and back pads, making it supremely comfortable. 

If you’re looking for a chair that’ll fit in with the overall decor of your building, then the Churchill Ultra is a great choice as it is highly customisable. In addition to the upgradeable frame, you can also choose to stain the frame in one of six different colours, as well as choosing from a wide variety of upholstery and fabric options.

Strata Stacking Chair

Strata Stacking Chair

Strata Stacking Chair

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Have you got a penchant for plastic? Then take a look at the Strata Stacking Chair. This chair is made from a solid, durable polypropylene and is available in six different colours.

The Strata is lightweight, has anti-static properties and has a light-resistant pigment, so whichever bold colour you choose, you can be confident it won’t fade. What’s more, the Strata can be stacked up to 8 high and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Find the best stacking chairs for your premises at Rosehill

We’ve only covered a small selection of the huge range of stacking chairs available here at Rosehill. 

As well as selling wood, metal and plastic stacking chairs, a large number of our chairs are highly customisable – so no matter what sort of stacking chair you’re looking for, we’ll almost certainly have something that works for you.

If you’d like more information about any of our stacking chairs, you can reach us by email at or by telephone on 0161 485 1717.

Shop stacking chairs at Rosehill now

For more contract furniture buying guides and information, read the Rosehill blog

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