27 Best Office Chair Alternatives in 2021

We’ve done a deep dive in our exploration of unconventional office chair alternatives and have declared overall winners on several fronts. We’ll break down this exciting, dynamic frontier into several logical sections and explain the benefits of the products offered in each class. Let's begin by showcasing our top picks in each category.

Chair Institute's Picks for Each Category


Some office chairs are simply awful for your back. That’s especially true of lower-priced offerings that tend to skimp on ergonomic features.

Others offer incredible adjustability and advanced ergonomic features, but depending on your particular needs, even the best office chairs on the market today may leave you underwhelmed. At the end of a long workday, you may find yourself getting up from your chair of choice and wincing in pain.

It’s not a happy situation, but what other option is there? You need something to sit on to get a day’s work in, don’t you?

The answer to that question might surprise you, and if you find yourself dissatisfied with the conventional office chairs you’ve been looking at, and you’re interested in exploring office chair alternatives, you’ve come to the right place, and this roundup review is for you.

At this point, you may not even know exactly what you’re looking for, and that’s okay. The alternative solutions we’ll be talking about here don’t get a ton of press, and many people don’t know these chairs exist at all or are only vaguely aware of them. This review will serve as your detailed map of this part of the market and open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

Which one will wind up being right for you? Each person will be different in that regard, but one thing is for certain: If you’re serious about getting away from the world of conventional office furniture, your next office seating solution is somewhere lurking in the sections ahead.

Before we dive into the particulars, though, let’s take a quick look at the broad categories we’ll be investigating in the world of alternative office seating, so you’ll have a general idea of where we’ll be heading.

As we mentioned, this is a much larger and dynamic market than most people realize. To help make sense of it, we’ve broken it into the following areas for your consideration:

Ball Chairs

Balance Stools

Saddle Stools

Kneeling Chairs

Bicycle Desks

We’ll approach each of these in turn, discussing the strengths and weaknesses associated with each of these alternative seating choices and taking an in-depth look at the top contenders in the market in each category.

Best Ball Chairs on the Market Today

We decided to do ball chairs first because of all the alternatives to office chairs we’ll be looking at; there’s relatively little to say about each specific product. Not even, in our view, enough to warrant full-blown product reviews on each one.

The reason is about what you’d expect. They’re balls. Sure, some of them have a few extra bells and whistles, but at the end of the day, you’re sitting on a ball, one way or the other. There’s not much you can do to adjust that. You can partially deflate it if you like, but doing that will reduce the effectiveness of what the ball chair does best, which is to give you a stellar workout.

Nobody sits on ball chairs because they’re enormously attractive or because they’re stylish or highly adjustable. They sit on ball chairs because doing so gives you a good core workout, and arguably a better workout than you get with any other style of unconventional office seating.

Other than that, though, there’s not a lot to say, so we’ll briefly highlight each of the various types of ball-centric seating you can invest in, and we’ll highlight the strong and weak points of each before moving on to other, more dynamic forms of alternative office seating. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look!

Best Ball Chairs 2021

A small image of Vivora Luno Exercise Ball Chair in Grey color

Vivora Luno Stability 

A small image of Zenergy Ball Chair With Legs in Black color

Zenergy Ball Chair 

A small image of CanDo Classic Ball Chair in Black color

CanDo Classic Ball Chair

A small image of Gaiam Balance Ball Stool in Black color

Gaiam Ball Stool

Price

$

$$$

$$

$$

Overall Rating

3.25

3.75

3.3

3.4

Weight Limit

400 Pounds

250 Pounds

300 Pounds

300 Pounds

Pros

Incredibly low-priced. Comes with a washable cover. Offered in a variety of colors.

Zany, fun design. More stability thanks to the rubberized feet.

The option most like a conventional office chair. Easier to transition into.

More user-friendly than a classic ball chair. Provides the same benefits as a standing stool.

Cons

Tends to roll away from you

None

None

None

Our Verdict

Recommended. These are fantastic if you know you want this type of seat, but they’re certainly not for everyone.

Recommended. It may look a little unusual, but it fits right into just about any home or office setting.

Provisionally recommended. Honestly, if you do all this to a ball chair, then you’re losing most of the benefits associated with ball chairs, but for the right user it could be an excellent fit.

Recommended, especially if none of the other stool options are what you’re looking for.

Note that for this category, we’re only listing the best in class for each of the types of ball chairs on the market.

*Aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home décor schemes.
** Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Vivora Luno Stability

A small image of Vivora Luno Exercise Ball Chair in Grey color

Vivora Luno Stability

RATING

PRICE

$

WEIGHT LIMIT

400 pounds

OUR VERDICT

Recommended. These are fantastic if you know you want this type of seat, but they’re certainly not for everyone.

PROS

Incredibly low-priced. Comes with a washable cover. Offered in a variety of colors.

CONS

Tends to roll away from you

Zenergy Ball Chair

A small image of Zenergy Ball Chair With Legs in Black color

Zenergy Ball Chair

RATING

PRICE

$$ and 1/2

WEIGHT LIMIT

250 pounds

OUR VERDICT

Recommended. It may look a little unusual, but it fits right into just about any home or office setting.

PROS

Zany, fun design. More stability thanks to the rubberized feet.

CONS

None.

CanDo Classic Ball Chair

A small image of CanDo Classic Ball Chair in Black color

CanDo Classic Ball Chair

RATING

PRICE

$$

WEIGHT LIMIT

300 pounds

OUR VERDICT

Provisionally recommended. Honestly, if you do all this to a ball chair, then you’re losing most of the benefits associated with ball chairs, but for the right user it could be an excellent fit.

PROS

The option most like a conventional office chair. Easier to transition into.

CONS

None.

Gaiam Ball Stool

A small image of Gaiam Balance Ball Stool in Black color

Gaiam Ball Stool

RATING

PRICE

$$

WEIGHT LIMIT

300 pounds

OUR VERDICT

Recommended, especially if none of the other stool options are what you’re looking for.

PROS

More user-friendly than a classic ball chair. Provides the same benefits as a standing stool.

CONS

None.

Vivora Luno Stability Ball

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.25

The Vivora Luno Ball Chair is a stylish choice for modern tastes that combines several handy features into a reliable and sturdy ball chair. It may lack some of the bells and whistles but it makes up for this with a unique design.

When it comes to stability balls, this one’s about as basic as they come, but it does manage a couple of fun surprises that set it apart from a generic stability ball you can order on or offline.

If you decide this alternative to your current office chair is for you, you’ll be pleased to know that you can order yours in a wide range of colors. The cool thing about the Vivora Luno Stability Ball is the fact that the ball itself is covered with washable fabric. Just unzip it, toss it into the wash, and before you know it, it’s ready to go again.

The ball also has a convenient handle, which makes it easy to move from one place to the next, and this particular model has a modest base that solves the major problem associated with ball seats. It also comes in two different sizes (standard and max), so you’ll want to be sure to measure the height of your desk before placing your order so you know which one is right for you.

As you might expect, when the ball arrives at your door, it won’t be inflated, and this model doesn’t come with a pump, so you’ll need to buy one of those so you can inflate it for first use, assuming you don’t already have a pump of some kind.

Also note that while most of the products sold in the alternative seating market have a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds, the Vivora Luno can support up to 400 pounds. That’s absolutely fantastic and makes this one a must-have if you’re interested in the simplest form of ball seat you can buy. It is highly recommended.


Zenergy Ball Chair With Legs

Zenergy Ball Chair With Legs

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.75

The Zenergy Ball Chair has a quirky and fun design that any modern office will enjoy. It offers more stability than a regular ball chair. Thanks to its rubberized feet!

This is far and away the most fun product on this portion of the list. The Zenergy Ball Chair combines the best features of stationary seating while maximizing the workout you get by sitting on a ball. Even better, you can order yours in two different configurations: Legs and Feet or Swivel. It is certainly an alternative looking office chair, and we mean that in the best possible way!

If you opt to get your Zenergy with legs and feet, you can adjust the height to a degree by choosing only to place the feet, or by installing both the legs and the feet. Both provide an excellent, stable platform that will keep the chair from moving away from you when you stand up after sitting on it.

You can also order yours in a variety of bold colors, and it supports 250 pounds of user weight, which isn’t a lot but is at least the average for this part of the market. Best of all, this chair comes with a manual pump so you won’t have to invest in anything extra to get it ready for first use. Understand, though, that it’s going to take a while to fully inflate the seat using a manual pump and is sure to give you a decent workout in its own right!

Its quirky aesthetic will be off-putting to some, but we absolutely love and recommend it.


Cando Classic Ball Chair With Arms

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.31

The CanDo Metal Ball Chair is a great way to swap out your old office chair for a better one. It retains the same basic design but adds a secure balance ball in the seat to give you a more active sitting posture.

Measuring 32” x 22” x 26” with a 22” inflatable ball, this seating solution gives you at least some of the benefits of both a task chair and a stability ball. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Unlike many of the hybrid products you’ll read about later on in this roundup review, we view this as a relatively poor combination of technologies, which is to say that by mixing the two, you get a subpar stability ball and a substandard task chair.

The backrest is quite small, and while it’s certainly better than nothing, it doesn’t provide much in the way of support for your back. Further, pairing a stability ball with a chair that has rolling casters virtually eliminates any of the benefits to your core. You don’t have to work to keep yourself balanced, so basically, you’re getting a relatively poor task chair with a ball instead of a cushion. That makes it reasonably comfortable, but again, at the price of virtually eliminating the whole reason most people are interested in ball chairs in the first place.

Worse, if you decide to get the model with arms, you reduce the benefits to your core even further. While it might be of value to some, in general, we’d say, pick one. Either get a good ball type seat or get a good task or executive chair. We feel that although this type of seating solution may work for some, they will be few and far between. If you’re one of those few, outstanding, but on that basis, we can only provisionally recommend it.


Gaiam Balance Ball Stool

Gaiam Balance Ball Stool

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.43

The Gaiam balance ball stool is a great alternative if your work requires you to move a lot. This stool allows you to swivel, glide, and height-adjust easily.

There’s actually quite a lot to like about this stool, and although its design isn’t as fun as the Zenergy, it’s probably the most practical of the ball-centric seating options. The first thing to note is that it’s very lightweight, clocking in at less than fifteen pounds.

Also, unlike many of the other stools we’ll be talking about, later on, this one’s on lockable rolling casters, which is handy if you’re accustomed to zipping around while seated. We like that they lock too because once you’re stationary, the ability to lock the wheels allows you to focus more on maintaining your balance while sitting on the stool, which you’ll definitely need to do.

This model also comes in both black or slate gray, which gives you some flexibility and makes it even easier to blend the stool with the décor or color scheme that dominates your home or office. Best of all, though, you can order yours with one of two different gas lifts, which allows you to customize the seat height adjustment.

You can pick the standard size, which was designed to be used with a conventional office desk. The standard configuration has a seat height adjustment range that starts at 18” and goes to 23”. Or, you can choose the tall version that starts at 23” and goes as high as 33”, making it perfect for use in conjunction with drafting tables or standing desks.

On top of that, the seat swivels, which gives you an even broader range of motion, and this model comes with an air pump allowing you to inflate the stool seat quickly and easily. Finally, while most of the alternative office seating products only support up to 250-pounds of user weight, this handy stool will accommodate people weighing up to 300-pounds, which opens it up to a significantly broader swath of the market.

It's not a perfect stool, and it’s not going to be for everyone, but we do recommend it. It’s a wonderful alternative seating option, and if you find yourself drawn to standing stools but can’t find one that supports enough user weight to accommodate you, this is a great alternative chair for office that straddles both subsets of the market.


You Might Also Want to Consider

Bintiva Balls

If none of the ball seat options, we just talked about are exactly what you’re looking for, and you just want a ball to sit on without any bells and whistles whatsoever, there are a lot of companies selling them. We recommend Bintiva Balls

They’re inexpensive, they come with a foot pump for easy inflation, and they’re offered in an assortment of sizes and colors at a fair price. If that’s all you’re looking for, this is, in our view, the best mix of price and performance. You won’t be disappointed.

Bintiva Anti-Burst Exercise Ball

Best Balance Stools on the Market Today

Best Balance Stools 2021

A smaller image of Varier Move Stool in Black color

Varier Move

A smaller image of Via Muvman Stool in Grey color

Via Muvman

A smaller image of Kore Wobble Office Stool in Black color

Kore Wobble

A smaller image of AmazonBasics Activity Stool in Orange color

Amazon Basics Activity Stool

A smaller image of Hon Perch Stool in Charcoal color

Hon Perch

Price

$$$$$

$$$$ and ½

$$

$

$ and 1/2

Overall Rating

4.0625

3.9375

3.875

3.85

3.5625

Dimensions

17” x 16.5” x 9”

13” x 13” x 27”

15” x 15” x 25”

13.6” x 13.6” x21.9”

14.5” x 14.5” x 23.75”

Stool Weight

15.05 Pounds

19.7 Pounds

15 Pounds

19.84 Pounds

9 Pounds

Max. Supported Weight

250 Pounds

265 Pounds

250 Pounds

220 Pounds

250 Pounds

Seat Height Adjustment Range

22” to 32”

Standard: 20” to 33”
Tall: 23.5” to 36”

Classic: 18.5” to 26.75”
Executive Plus: 21.5” to 32”

18.5” to 28”

23.75” to 34.5”

Pros

A legendary stool, created by one of the best designers in the industry, and sold by one of the most respected companies operating in the market today. Superb ergonomic support. There are even a couple of accessories available.

Between the color, finish and gas lift options, you can tweak and personalize your Muvman in a variety of ways. Although not quite the same quality, in some ways, the Muvman is more versatile than the Move stool.

Attractively priced and offered by a smaller, but respected brand. High production values and a few basic customization options available at point of sale, including your choice of gas lifts.

Incredibly low-priced. Perfect way to test drive this kind of seating without investing a ton of money.

Functionally and aesthetically similar to the Muvman, but offered at a lower price

Cons

Pricey.

Pricey.

Smaller brand may struggle to deliver timely support.

You get what you pay for. Don’t expect this little stool to last for the long term.

Offered by a smaller, less well-established brand.

Our Verdict

Recommend for people with active jobs who spend as much time sitting as they spend moving about.

Recommended, especially if you want a Move, but don’t want to spend quite that much money. This is an excellent, slightly less expensive alternative.

Recommended for people with active jobs.

Provisionally recommended – if you already know you want this type of seating, get something better. If you’re on the fence, this is a good way to experiment.

Recommended, especially if you want a Muvman but can’t afford one.

Varier Move

A smaller image of Varier Move Stool in Black color

Varier Move

RATING

PRICE

$$$$$

OUR VERDICT

Recommend for people with active jobs who spend as much time sitting as they spend moving about.

PROS

A legendary stool, created by one of the best designers in the industry, and sold by one of the most respected companies operating in the market today. Superb ergonomic support. There are even a couple of accessories available.

CONS

Pricey

More Specifications...

Via Muvman

A smaller image of Via Muvman Stool in Grey color

Via Muvman

RATING

PRICE

$$$$ and ½

OUR VERDICT

Recommended, especially if you want a Move, but don’t want to spend quite that much money. This is an excellent, slightly less expensive alternative.

PROS

Between the color, finish and gas lift options, you can tweak and personalize your Muvman in a variety of ways. Although not quite the same quality, in some ways, the Muvman is more versatile than the Move stool.

CONS

Pricey

More Specifications...

Kore Wobble

A smaller image of Kore Wobble Office Stool in Black color

Kore Wobble

RATING

PRICE

$$

OUR VERDICT

Recommended for people with active jobs.

PROS

Attractively priced and offered by a smaller, but respected brand. High production values and a few basic customization options available at point of sale, including your choice of gas lifts.

CONS

Smaller brand may struggle to deliver timely support.

More Specifications...

Amazon Basics Activity Stool

A smaller image of AmazonBasics Activity Stool in Orange color

Amazon Basics Activity Stool

RATING

PRICE

$

OUR VERDICT

Provisionally recommended – if you already know you want this type of seating, get something better. If you’re on the fence, this is a good way to experiment.

PROS

Incredibly low-priced. Perfect way to test drive this kind of seating without investing a ton of money.

CONS

You get what you pay for. Don’t expect this little stool to last for the long term.

More Specifications...

Hon Perch

A smaller image of Hon Perch Stool in Charcoal color

Hon Perch

RATING

PRICE

$ and 1/2

OUR VERDICT

Recommended, especially if you want a Muvman but can’t afford one.

PROS

Functionally and aesthetically similar to the Muvman, but offered at a lower price.

CONS

Offered by a smaller, less well-established brand.

More Specifications...

Varier Move Stool

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

4.06

The Varier Move Ergonomic Stool is a superb piece of alternative office seating to a standard office chair for some people.

The Move Stool, designed by the legendary Per Oie, burst onto the scene in 1985, essentially creating the market for this type of seating. To this day, it, like the Varier Balans kneeling chair, sets the standard in the industry. It’s the stool all the others on the market aspire to be, and it’s still the best of the best. Of all the alternative seating options on the market today, this class of stool is probably the most versatile, and the Move Stool is best in class.

It’s an exquisitely high-quality piece of office furniture and incredibly versatile, and even better, the company even offers a few accessories you can use to personalize and customize it to taste. In addition to that, if you decide that this is the type of alternative office seating you’ve been looking for, you can order your Varier Move Stool in your choice of a modest selection of colors and about half a dozen different upholstery options, which makes it incredibly easy to blend the stool into your existing home or office décor scheme.

The single most important thing to remember about this type of seating, though, is that it isn’t designed and optimized for people who spend 8+ hours a day glued to their computers and sitting at a desk. Although the seat is reasonably well-padded, it’s going to be uncomfortable if you spend that long at a stretch sitting in it.

An image of Varier Move Stool in in different colors

If you have a more active job, though, that sees you sitting for shorter periods (say, 1-3 hours at a time), then getting up and moving around before returning to your seat, this stool is an awesome substitute for the office chair you’re using now. It’s light enough to move around with you as your workday progresses, and while you’re sitting on it, it will give you a nice core workout that will help you burn more calories than you would have otherwise, and keep those muscles toned!

In addition to that, sitting on the stool will help keep your spine properly aligned no matter how you move while you’re on it, the design of the seat will help mitigate hip pain, and you’ll find that you have improved circulation in your legs. All good things!

Plus, with a seat height adjustment range that starts at 22” and runs all the way up to 32” you’ll be able to use it in a variety of places, including some standard-sized desks, drafting tables, and standing desks. It’s pricey, but it really is an incredible piece of office furniture that will provide you with years of reliable service. We highly recommend it.


Via Muvman

Value

Comfort

Aesthetic Flexibility*

Brand Reliability**

3.93