Adjustable stools are useful in a wide variety of settings, from leisure applications such as sitting at a home bar, to more job-oriented settings such as sitting at a drafting table. Auto mechanics will often use adjustable stools on the job to sit in lower positions when working on a vehicle that is not raised up on a lift, or when working underneath a vehicle that is raised up on a lift. Bar stools are far more comfortable for patrons when they are adjustable to accommodate people of varying heights; and vanity stools can be used in the bathroom or backstage in a theater to accommodate actors and actresses preparing for their time on stage.
Some adjustable stools are quite simple and do not feature seat backs or padding. These are utilitarian stools that are meant to take abuse, and they are usually made of metal. These types of adjustable stools are useful in automobile work or other industrial work in which sitting is necessary. Some stools are padded for comfort, though they are still primarily designed for abuse. Auto work stools often feature a base with casters mounted to it so the stool can be slid to different locations quickly and easily. The base may also feature a tool tray in which tools can be placed when not in use. Such stools are often known as shop stools.
Drafting stools are adjustable stools that do feature upholstery, padding, and seat backs. These chairs are designed for comfort when sitting at a drafting table, as designers and architects often do. This stool is usually quite tall, though the height can be adjusted up and down to accommodate different needs. The chair back can also be adjusted, since many people who sit at drafting tables have a tendency to lean forward. These adjustable stools may or may not feature casters for moving the stool; many lack casters for added stability. They also feature foot rests, since the user is likely to be sitting fairly high off the ground.
A vanity stool is usually quite small and often lacks a chair back. These stools can be padded an upholstered, or they may be bare wood. Adjustable stools made for use as vanity stools are usually made with aesthetics in mind to fit the overall scheme of a room, though some are more utilitarian and concentrate more on functionality than on aesthetics.