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Best mechanic’s seats 2020

Which stools will leave you sitting pretty in the workshop? We test seven to find the best one

Whether you are a professional or a DIY enthusiast, working on the lower parts of a car can be a right pain in the back. You either bend down, crouch, or make do with an unsuitable seat; either way, you risk aches and injuries.

The answer could be a dedicated mechanic’s stool which has been designed to make it comfortable to work on the lower parts of a car. They all have castors so they’re easy to move around, and have storage to put tools easily within reach – invaluable so you don’t misplace that screwdriver or 10mm socket. Which is the best? We tried seven seats to find out which had us sitting comfortably.

How we tested them

Even the most basic stool would need to have a padded seat, castors and a tray to store tools.

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We assembled the test products using the provided instructions, then checked them for comfort, adjustability and stability. The ability to move around smoothly is essential, so we tested how easily they rolled over a typical concrete garage floor.  We assessed whether any extra features provided worked well and were desirable. Finally, we checked the best prices of our contenders online to see which stool offered the best value.

Verdict

The Hilka is nicely built, comfortable and stable, and has well-designed storage at a decent price, so takes our Best Buy. Sealey’s toolbox seat isn’t adjustable and seems pricey, but wins us over with its usefulness and quality. It makes more sense if you don’t already have a tool chest in your garage.  If you’re just looking for a basic adjustable seat, then the Clarke CMS2 is great value for money.

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  1. Hilka Pro-Craft Mechanic’s Seat
  2. Sealey Mechanic’s Utility Seat & Toolbox
  3. Clarke CMS2

Reviews

Hilka Pro-Craft Mechanic’s Seat – Best buy

  • Price: Around £40
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Seat height: 42-54 cm
  • Contact: www.screwfix.com

With a 38cm-diameter, well padded seat, the Hilka is the most comfortable stool on test. It has a decent level of height adjustment, too, which makes it far easier to find the right position to work on a car. With five castors and a wide base it was stable and easy to roll across our floor, and it has a weight capacity of 120kg to cater for a wide range of users. Best of all are the two tiers of storage trays, which are very handy. The larger bottom level is perfect for big tools, and the small semi-circular shelf keeps nuts and washers safe.

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Buy now from Screwfix

Sealey Mechanic’s Utility Seat & Toolbox - Recommended

  • Price: Around £89
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Seat height: 41 cm
  • Contact: www.sealey.co.uk

The bewildering instructions and lack of height adjustment meant we didn’t expect this seat to do very well, but it won us over with its sheer usefulness. Load up the built-in drawers and shelves with tools for the job in hand and it saves constant trips back and forth to the workbench. It is wide, stable and comfortable, too, and rolls across the floor reasonably well. Sealey has the seat on promotion for £89.94 at the moment, but we found it online for less than £85. That seems pricey, but consider it as a tool chest with a seat and wheels, and it seems better value.

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Clarke CMS2 - Recommended

This design isn’t quite as comfortable as the Hilka, because it has a smaller-diameter seat and less padding, but it still has a decent amount of height adjustability from the gas-filled strut. It sunk nearer to the ground, too, which made it easier to access lower parts of the car. It was easy and quick to assemble, and once built it felt stable, with five wheels that moved easily across the concrete. Otherwise, the Clarke is pretty no-frills, but it looks great value, especially if you can collect in a store to avoid the £4.99 delivery charge.

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Buy now from Machine Mart

Draper Adjustable Work Seat

  • Price: Around £38
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Seat height: 40-52 cm
  • Contact: www.draper.co.uk

The Draper is very similar in design to the Clarke, with a central gas strut giving height adjustment for a round cushion, all on a five-castor metal base. The differences are a slightly larger and more padded seat on the Draper, which is a little higher on its tallest and lowest settings. It also took a fair bit more assembly. Like the Clarke, Draper’s stool is perfectly good at its job, but even at the best price we found online it costs a few quid more than its rival, and that’s enough to knock it into fourth place.

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Draper Car Creeper Seat

  • Price: Around £100
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Seat height: 16 & 47cm
  • Contact: www.draper.co.uk

We really liked this combination of a seat and creeper. When it is flat, it’s just 16cm high and uses seven sturdy castors to help you glide underneath your car. Then it converts into a 47cm-high seat by pulling on a strap. In seat mode, part of the lower cushion flips up to give a storage tray and the head rest becomes a back support. It’s nicely engineered, but even at the best online price it’s cheaper to buy a separate creeper and a more adjustable seat.

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Sealey Mechanic’s Utility Seat & Step

  • Price: Around £53
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Seat height: 42 cm
  • Contact: www.sealey.co.uk

This Sealey unit has a useful dual purpose. On one side it’s a sturdy seat mounted on castors, but flip it over and it becomes a step. This was useful when washing a tall 4x4; we could use the stool when cleaning the wheels, and then turn it over to sponge the roof. Once you’ve worked out the confusing assembly instructions, the Sealey is solidly built. But it is compromised as a seat and seems expensive, even at the lowest online price we found.

Buy now from Amazon

Clarke CMS1

  • Price: Around £23 (in store) + £4.99 delivery
  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Seat height: 38cm
  • Contact: www.machinemart.co.uk

There’s no denying the value offered by Clarke’s entry-level seat, especially if you can save yourself a fiver by picking it up in a Machine Mart store. But you can see where the money has been saved, because it’s physically quite small and low to the ground. Due to this and its tiny seat, it isn’t nearly as comfortable or stable as the others here. We’d recommend you spend the extra £6 and get the adjustable, five-wheeled CMS2 instead.

Buy now from Machine Mart

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