Spending all day on your feet isn't a good time. Spending all day on your feet while battling frozen bolts, rusted nuts, and heavy truck parts is just plain brutal. Oftentimes, all you need is a few minutes sitting down to give your feet, legs, and back a chance to recover. Enter the mechanic's seat. This seat serves all types of uses—it's the ideal tool in the shop for brake jobs, as you're front and center of all the necessary components, it is a must for detailing, and it can be a knee saver when polishing wheels. We've all spent $20 at the local part store on a cheap mechanic's seat only to be bummed a few days or weeks later when a caster wheel breaks, or worse yet, the screws come out of the seat and the seat pad is never again secured. Looking past these inadequate seats, we stepped up to the big leagues and purchased five professional-grade mechanic's seats from five of the leading tool manufacturers. Our only requirement was the seat had to be less than $150 (the average cost of a high-quality seat with a warranty).
During our time with these seats, we tested comfort and ergonomics, stability, ease of assembly, warranty, and value. We also looked at real-world scenarios such as rolling over extension cords, air hoses, uneven ground, and the always-funny tip-over test (and admittedly we might have performed an impromptu race around the shop). Each seat was put through the wringer with different sized users to show off any strengths and weaknesses. Once our testing had concluded, we had one of our closest competitions to date. Check out results, and if you're in need of a mechanic seat upgrade, look no further than our winner.
Mac Tools Tool Trolley with Back CR1009
Earning high marks for comfort (it has a true back rest), build construction (solid tube frame), and stability (long chassis), the Mac Tool Trolley quickly took a lead in our test and never looked back. A clever design feature is the removable steel tool tray. You can simply load up the tray full of wrenches and sockets at your toolbox and then transfer the tray to your seat, making setup and cleanup a breeze. With its long and narrow chassis, it doesn't take up much shop space and it was easy to assemble. We're confident it's the best in this class.
Traxion ProGear Professional Racing Gear Seat 2-700
Any time the word “racing” is included in a tool description, you know the product has to be ready for the big time. We were impressed with the 5-inch nylon-coated casters, as they delivered the lowest rolling resistance, however, despite their size, the wheels were unable to glide over a 3/8-inch air hose. The seat is comfortable, adjustable, and the lower back rest provides just enough support. A spinning tool tray works well for keeping lug nuts and tools in place, but with the seat all the way down, the seat handle hits the tray and prevents it from spinning. Making it easy to carry, the built-in handle is greatly appreciated.
Matco Tools Heavy-Duty Toolbox Creeper Seat CSTB1
Going into the test, the Matco Toolbox Creeper Seat was the frontrunner with its ingenious three-drawer tool storage and front and back plastic storage trays. The steel tool drawers also make the seat incredibly sturdy, which is an area of concern for a U-shaped tool seat. During testing, the Matco seat was stable, comfortable, and its compact design made it the ideal addition to a cluttered garage. If you have an extra set of commonly used tools for brake jobs, suspension, or bodywork, the Matco can save you time heading back to your primary toolbox, and save your back and knees from the constant up and down of wrenching.
Tail Bone Mechanic Seat 5021
We've used the Dale Adam's Bone-branded creepers in the past with huge success, so when it came time to try out the Tail Bone Mechanic Seat we had high expectations. Unfortunately, the Tail Bone placed last in nearly every test, with the exception of caster and roll quality. The base is too large and takes up valuable garage/shop floor space, the seat is 100 percent plastic with no padding, and there is a large hump that digs into your man region. It's prone to tipping over because of its three-wheel design, there is no adjustability, and despite its large 5-inch wheels, it could not roll over the 3/8-inch air hose. We love that it is made in America, but it was simply outmatched in this competition.
Craftsman Adjustable Mechanic's Seat 951180
Traveling from shop to shop, we kept seeing the same Craftsman adjustable mechanic's seat. When we purchased this Craftsman Adjustable Mechanic's Seat three weeks before our testing began, we noticed it received several high marks on the online reviews. Unfortunately, once the testing was complete and time came to write the story, Craftsman discontinued the seat. We have no explanation for this decision, as it actually came in Second Place in our test. During our evaluation process, we appreciated the easy seat height adjustability, storage tray with small magnet, and comfortable seat cushion. However, we had to bump it down to last place since it is no longer available. If you can find one, it's a solid choice that should last for years to come.