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

Ball Chair
A small image of Vivora Luno Exercise Ball Chair in Grey color
Balance Stool
An image of Varier Move Stool in Black color
Ottoman Stool
A smaller image of Turnstone Buoy Stool in Coconut Connect color

Saddle Stool
An image of Salli MultiAdjuster Ergonomic Saddle Seat
Kneeling Chair
A smaller image of Varier Wing Balans Kneeling Chair in Black color
Bicycle Desk
A smaller image of Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Desk

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:

There are two subtypes of chairs here with a few variants beyond that: Stability/Yoga balls themselves and proper ball chairs with enhancements (frames, seatbacks, etc.). Both have advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

These stools are designed for people with active jobs that see them doing a mix of standing and sitting throughout a given workday. Note that we actually broke balance stools into two sup-groups for our review, and we’ll explain why below.

Similar to balance stools in many ways, these are also designed for people with active standing/sitting jobs but are better suited than balance stools for longer periods of sitting.

Packed with powerful ergonomic benefits, these chairs are small, easy to use, versatile, and comfortable. They’re a better fit for people who sit for extended periods during a workday.

One of the most persistent struggles of people who work at a desk all day is the lack of opportunity for exercise. This unusual pairing of products may look a little strange, but they give you the best of both worlds, providing a perfectly functional workspace and an always-ready platform for exercise. 

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 that is arguably better than the workout 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 others, more dynamic forms of alternative office seating. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look!

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
3.3
Primary Rating:
3.8
Primary Rating:
3.3
$49.99
$135.21
$114.07
Max. Supported Weight:
400 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Pros:
  • Incredibly low-priced.
  • Comes with a washable cover.
  • Offered in a variety of colors.
Pros:
  • Zany, fun design.
  • More stability thanks to the rubberized feet.
Pros:
  • Almost like a conventional office chair
  • Easier to transition into.
Cons:
  • Tends to roll away
Cons:
  • None
Cons:
  • None
Our Verdict:
Recommended. These are fantastic if you know you want this type of seat, but they’re certainly not for everyone.
Our Verdict:
Recommended. It may look a little unusual, but it fits right into just about any home or office setting.
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.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
3.3
$49.99
Max. Supported Weight:
400 Pounds
Pros:
  • Incredibly low-priced.
  • Comes with a washable cover.
  • Offered in a variety of colors.
Cons:
  • Tends to roll away
Our Verdict:
Recommended. These are fantastic if you know you want this type of seat, but they’re certainly not for everyone.
Primary Rating:
3.8
$135.21
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Pros:
  • Zany, fun design.
  • More stability thanks to the rubberized feet.
Cons:
  • None
Our Verdict:
Recommended. It may look a little unusual, but it fits right into just about any home or office setting.
Primary Rating:
3.3
$114.07
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Pros:
  • Almost like a conventional office chair
  • Easier to transition into.
Cons:
  • None
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.
07/21/2024 10:35 am GMT

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

Our Pick: Vivora Luno Stability Ball

Our Pick
Vivora Luno Exercise Ball Chair
3.3

Recommended For: Modern tastes that combine several handy features into a reliable and sturdy ball chair.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

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 various colors. The cool thing about the Vivora Luno Stability Ball is that it is covered with washable fabric. Just unzip it, toss it into the wash, and it’s ready to go again before you know it.

The ball also has a convenient handle, which makes it easy to move from one place to the next. 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 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. This model doesn’t come with a pump, so you’ll need to buy one to inflate it for first use, assuming you don’t already have one.

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 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.

Runner-Up: Zenergy Ball Chair With Legs

Runner-Up
Safco Zenergy Ball Chair
3.8

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a quirky and fun design that offers more stability than a regular ball chair.

Check Latest Price

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. You can order yours in two 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 various bold colors. It supports 250 pounds of user weight, which isn’t a lot but is at least 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 will take a while to inflate the seat using a manual pump fully, and it will give you a decent workout in its own right!

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

Value Pick: Cando Classic Ball Chair With Arms

Value Pick
CanDo Ball Office Chair
3.3

Recommended For: Anyone looking to transition from traditional office chairs to active sitting.

Check Availability Read Detailed Review

Measuring 32” x 22” x 26” with a 22” inflatable ball, this seating solution gives you at least some 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 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 support for your back. Further, pairing a stability ball with a chair with rolling casters virtually eliminates any benefits to your core. You don’t have to work to keep yourself balanced, so 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 a good task or executive chair. Although this type of seating solution may work for some, it will be few and far between. If you’re one of those few outstanding, but on that basis, we can only provisionally recommend it.

Also Great: Gaiam Balance Ball Stool

Also Great
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair
3.4

Recommended For: People who typically sit at a desk during their workday.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

There’s actually quite a lot to like about this stool. Although its design isn’t as fun as the Zenergy’s, 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 other stools we’ll discuss later, 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 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, you can order yours with one of two different gas lifts, which allows you to customize the seat height adjustment.

You can choose the standard size, 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, which starts at 23” and goes as high as 33”, making it perfect for use in conjunction with drafting tables or standing desks.

In addition, the seat swivels, giving you an even broader range of motion, and this model comes with an air pump permitting you to inflate the stool seat quickly and easily. Finally, while most 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 won’t be for everyone, but we recommend it. It’s a wonderful alternative seating option. 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 the office that straddles both subsets of the market.

Honorable Mention: Bintiva Balls

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

Bintiva Anti-Burst Exercise Ball

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

Best Balance Stools on the Market Today

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.1
Primary Rating:
3.9
Primary Rating:
3.9
$399.00
N/A
$252.99
Overall Dimensions:
17” x 16.5” x 9”
Overall Dimensions:
13” x 13” x 27”
Overall Dimensions:
15” x 15” x 25”
Chair Weight:
15.05 Pounds
Chair Weight:
19.7 Pounds
Chair Weight:
15 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
265 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
Seat Height:
Standard: 20” to 33”
Tall: 23.5” to 36”
Seat Height:
Classic: 18.5” to 26.75”
Executive Plus: 21.5” to 32”
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.
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.
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:
  • Pricey.
Cons:
  • Pricey.
Cons:
  • Smaller brand may struggle to deliver timely support.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for people with active jobs who spend as much time sitting as they spend moving about.
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.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for people with active jobs.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.1
$399.00
Overall Dimensions:
17” x 16.5” x 9”
Chair Weight:
15.05 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
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.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for people with active jobs who spend as much time sitting as they spend moving about.
Primary Rating:
3.9
N/A
Overall Dimensions:
13” x 13” x 27”
Chair Weight:
19.7 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
265 Pounds
Seat Height:
Standard: 20” to 33”
Tall: 23.5” to 36”
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.
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.
Primary Rating:
3.9
$252.99
Overall Dimensions:
15” x 15” x 25”
Chair Weight:
15 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Seat Height:
Classic: 18.5” to 26.75”
Executive Plus: 21.5” to 32”
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.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for people with active jobs.
07/21/2024 10:50 am GMT

Our Pick: Varier Move Stool

Our Pick
Varier Move Ergonomic Stool
4.1

Recommended For: Anyone who’s dissatisfied with conventional office furniture and who doesn’t need something designed for sitting for extended periods.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Move Stool, designed by the legendary Per Oie, burst onto the scene in 1985, creating the market for this type of seating. It, like the Varier Balans kneeling chair, still 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 all the alternative seating options today, this stool c 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.

Runner-Up: Via Muvman Stool

Runner-Up
Via Seating Muvman Stool
3.9

Recommended For: Anyone weighing 265 pounds or less, looking for an alternative to conventional office seating. It’s well constructed, full-featured, and offered in a variety of colors.

Check Current Price Read Detailed Review

In the world of unconventional office furniture, Via Seating is almost as well-respected as Varier. They make superb products, and while we personally prefer the Via Swopper to the Muvman design, the Muvman is an exceptional piece of office furniture in its own right.

While it’s broadly similar to the legendary Move Stool, there are a few key differences, so mostly, it comes down to what you’re looking for in this type of seating. These include:

The Via Muvman Stool is slightly heavier, but still light enough to move from room to room if and as you need to.

An image of  Via Muvman Stool Seat

You lose the saddle-style seat in preference for a conventional stool seat. If you suffer from hip pain, the Move stool is the superior choice, but if not, then this one will serve you well.

You gain more flexibility where the gas lift is concerned, having two different choices from when you place your order. This allows you to customize your stool, bearing your specific needs in mind. Here, your choices are either the standard gas lift with a range from 20” to 33,” or the tall version, which starts at 23.5” and runs all the way to 36”.

While the Muvman doesn’t have any accessories you can pair with it, and the color selection is on par with what you’ll find on the Move stool.

It offers a very small lower back support, which isn’t terribly comfortable, but the fact that it exists at all makes it easier to transition to this type of seating from a conventional office chair. Note that the back support also pulls double duty as a convenient handle, making it even easier to move.

Finally, the Muvman is best in class where maximum supported weight is concerned, supporting 265 pounds whereas most of the alternative office seating supports no more than 250 pounds. Granted, that’s not a huge increase, but if you’re at the upper end of that limit, every little bit helps, making the modest increase well worth mentioning.

As with the Move, this stool is designed and optimized for people who have very active jobs and should be considered the equivalent of a task chair in the world of conventional office seating. It’s not something you want to spend 8-10 hours at a stretch in, but if you can restructure your day to build frequent stretch breaks in, it will serve you very well indeed.

It also costs nominally less than the Move, so if you’re looking for something with similar capabilities (minus the saddle-style seat) and want to save a bit of money, this is an outstanding option. We recommend it.

Value Pick: Kore Wobble

Value Pick
Kore Wobble Office Chair
3.9

Recommended For: Anyone up to 250 pounds looking for a great alternative to conventional office seating

Check Current Price Read Detailed Review

Our top two picks are both highly similar, and while the Kore Wobble offers comparable functionality, it’s got a different aesthetic, almost seeming to combine some of the features common to ball chairs into its design. Although it’s offered by a substantially smaller brand, Kore is still highly respected and has a reputation for making quality office furniture.

An image of Kore Wobble Office Stool Revolving

The Kore Wobble is similar in size and weight to our top picks, and like the Muvman, if you decide to order one, you’ll get to pick between two different gas lifts so you can customize your seat height range to better suit your specific needs.

The classic seat starts at the height of 18.5” and runs to 26.75”, while the Executive Plus starts at 21.5” and goes to as high as 32”. Your selection will be driven mostly by where and how you work. If you work from a standing desk or drafting table, the plus gas lift is going to be the better fit.

The biggest complaint we have about our top two picks is the fact that both are pricey and represent a significant investment. That’s fine if you already know you want to embrace this type of seating in the long term; both stools are certainly worth the money you’ll spend on them, but there’s the rub:

Most people who are exploring the world of alternative office seating haven’t firmly decided if it’s right for them or not, and asking someone to spend hundreds of dollars to find out is a pretty big task.

That’s what makes the Kore Wobble so appealing. In terms of its capabilities, the Wobble gives you a good feel for what the more expensive stools are like, but it does so for a much more modest price tag while offering a style and aesthetic that’s quite different from our top two stools. If you’re not all that excited about the aesthetics of the Move or the Muvman, and you want to explore this type of seating without having to spend a ton of cash, the Kore belongs on your shortlist of stools to consider.

Also Great: AmazonBasics Activity Stool

The AmazonBasics Activity Stool is very different from the other stools we’ve talked about so far. It’s clear that in the cases of our top three picks, the designers cared more about functionality and design excellence than price, while here, keeping the price as low as possible while providing essential functionality was the order of the day.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, people on a tight budget need office furniture too, and if that describes you, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more capable basic activity stool than this one.

Note that while we use the terms balance and standing stools somewhat interchangeably, they are slightly different. The standing stool, after all, was designed to be used primarily in conjunction with standing desks.

This isn’t that kind of stool, or rather, it could be, but you’ll need to take careful measurements. It’s a great fit for use in conjunction with a regular desk and will work well with most drafting tables. Standing desks though – it ultimately depends on the desk. Let’s take a look at the core stats that define the model, and you’ll see what we mean:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 13.6” x 13.6” x 21.9”
  • Stool Weight: 19.84 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 220 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 18.5” to 28”

Every other stool on our list of finalists has a height adjustment range that tops out at 32”, and some go even higher. This one comes up about four inches shorter than the next shortest stool on our list.

That might not seem like a huge amount, but again, it can mean the difference between being a good fit with your standing desk and not working at all, so you’ll want to take the height of your desk into account when deciding whether or not to buy this model.

An image of AmazonBasics Activity Stool seat from bottom

The other thing to note here is the weight limit. Most of the alternative seating options we’ll be talking about in this roundup review have a maximum supported weight of 250-pounds. This one doesn’t quite measure up in that department. As long as you weigh less than that, it’s fine, of course, but the less weight a piece of office furniture supports, the smaller the potential market for it, so this one simply might not work for you.

Assuming that’s not a deal-breaker for you, you’ll be able to order your AmazonBasics stool in your choice of three different colors: black, grey, or orange. We’re not completely sold on the orange upholstery. It seems a strange choice given that the other two-color options are neutral, but if you love orange and decide you’ve just got to have one, it’s there if you want it.

An image of AmazonBasics Activity Stool which showing Height Adjustment of the seat

The most interesting thing to talk about where this stool is concerned is the base. It’s not exactly rounded at the bottom, but it is beveled, which gives you a wider range of motion than you might expect. Of course, given the shape of the base, it’s also easier to knock the stool over when you stand up, so until you adjust to that, it will probably happen a few times. It’s certainly not the end of the world, but it is a small quirk of design to be aware of.

Ergonomically, this model provides most of the benefits that the more expensive models on our list deliver, but it’s lightly constructed from low-end materials, which is to say that it’s not built to last. This is the kind of furniture you buy and use for a year or two, then, when it starts showing its age, you toss it out and buy something else. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is an excellent little stool to consider.

If you want something built to provide you with years of reliable service, you’re definitely going to want to give this one a pass. On that basis, we provisionally recommend it.

Honorable Mention: Hon Perch Stool

Honorable Mention
HON Perch Stool
3.6

Recommended For: Anyone 250 pounds or less who wants a Muvman but can’t quite afford one.

Check Availability Read Detailed Review

Like Kore, Hon has been in the office furniture game for a long time. They’re not a big brand with global reach, but they are well-respected and have a longstanding reputation for making quality products. That alone earns them a spot on our list, but there’s one reason, in particular, we gave our honorable mention slot to Hon and not some other brand: The Hon Perch, in terms of both aesthetics and functionality, is heavily influenced by the Via Muvman.

That’s a good thing, actually. The Muvman is one of the best standing stools on the market today. The problem is that it’s priced out of reach of many people who want one. If you love the Muvman but just can’t afford it, then the Perch is a good option that won’t set you back quite as much money.

Let’s take a minute to do a quick review of the basic stats that define the Perch. Here they are:

  • Overall dimensions: 14.5” x 14.5” x 23.75” to 34.5”
  • Seat-to-floor height adjustment range: 23.75” to 34.5”
  • Total Product Weight: 9 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds

A couple of things jump out at us, especially as this model compares to the Muvman. First, it supports the same amount of weight but is significantly lighter. Not that the Muvman is a heavy piece of furniture, but if you’re looking for something super lightweight and easy to relocate as needed, then the Perch will be very much to your liking.

An image of Hon Perch Stool Moving

Unfortunately, there are some tradeoffs. Where the Muvman gives you two different gas lifts to choose from, allowing you to customize the stool to your particular needs, the Perch only has one gas lift on offer. It’s got a good height adjustment range and is quite versatile, but not as versatile as Via Seating’s offering.

If you decide you want one, you’ll be able to select from a modest number of upholstery color options, which makes it easy to blend the Perch in with most home or office décor schemes and aside from being built from lighter materials, it offers the same basic functionality as the more popular Muvman stool and will provide you with the same benefits for less money.

In that regard, then, we consider the Hon Perch as something of a hidden gem in the standing stool market. It’s a good product offered by a respected brand that’s been in the business for a long time. There are better stools available, but for the money, this is a superb option, especially if you can’t afford either of our top two picks in this category.

Other Products to Consider

Jummico Standing Stool

The little Jummico is an interesting option on a couple of different levels, and we didn’t feel our overview of products in this class would be complete without it. It’s a hybrid product that incorporates the best elements of a standing/balance stool with a saddle seat, which makes it like the Varier Move, but it also bears design traits in common with Amazon’s low-cost activity stool and has one additional surprise all its own. All that to say, it’s an interesting design.

That’s significant because Jummico is a tiny off-brand, and you don’t typically see the innovation of any kind from a brand like that. Kudos to Jummico for firing a shot across the bow of the bigger brands!

Before we take a closer look at what makes this model special enough to warrant consideration, let’s start with a quick review of its core stats. Here they are:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 15” x 8.3” x 23”
  • Stool Weight: 23 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 24.5” to 31.5”

These are pretty typical numbers for a stool in this class. It supports an average amount of user weight, is light enough to pick up and move with you easily, and has a seat height adjustment range that makes it a good fit for working at a drafting table or standing desk.

An image of JUMMICO Standing Stool moving

Even better, if you order one, you can select either blue or grey upholstery. Two neutral colors that blend easily with most home or office environments. It’s not a huge selection, obviously, but it’s better than the basic black that most off-brand furniture comes in.

Aside from the modest color selection, the numbers don’t point to anything in particular that would prompt you to buy this model over one of our top contenders, but the numbers by themselves don’t tell the whole story. There are two reasons to consider the Jummico:

  • First, if you like the beveled base of the Amazon Basics activity stool, but you want a more capable stool, this is the one you want. It looks better, it does more, and it doesn’t cost much more money.
  • Second, if you love the Varier Move but can’t afford one, this is a good, super-inexpensive alternative. Granted, the quality is a lot lower, and it may not last more than a year or two, but if you want to get a sense of what the Move would be like, this is an awesome way to do that. Then, if you like it, you can upgrade when this one starts showing its age.
An image of JUMMICO Standing Stool Adjusting Height

The reason, of course, is the seat. Like the Move, the Jummico Standing Stool features a saddle-style seat, but the Jummico has a trick up its sleeve. The seat is ergonomically sculpted, providing an additional ergonomic benefit beyond what this type of seating normally offers.

So, it’s a full-featured standing stool. It borrows from Amazon’s popular design, mimics the mighty Move stool, and provides an extra ergonomic benefit, to boot. That’s pretty good for a bargain-priced piece of furniture and the reason we felt compelled to include it. 

It’s obviously not going to be for everyone, but it’s got an impressive collection of design traits, and for the right user, will feel like the answer to a prayer. We provisionally recommend it.

SitPack 2.0

SitPack 2.0 Compact Foldable Seat
3.7

Recommended For: Anyone 250 pounds or less. Sooner or later, the day will come when you wish you had one of these!

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Although this quirky little stool didn’t fit well into our summary table, we didn’t feel our review of this segment of the market would be complete without at least giving it a side mention.

The SitPack2.0 is one of those indispensable little products you don’t know you need until you own one.

An image of Sitpack Foldable Seat in compact position in blue color

The simple truth, though, is that sooner or later everybody winds up in a situation where their feet and legs are killing them, and they desperately want to sit down for a few minutes, but there’s just no way to do that.

This stool neatly solves that problem. It’s tiny, measuring just 7.1” x 2.8” x 2.7” and weighing a scant 1.23 pounds. Even so, it sports a fold-out 12” wide seat and is capable of supporting up to 250 pounds of user weight.

The product is rather ingenious, featuring a collapsible, telescoping base you can lock into position in mere seconds, providing you with a fully functional stool you can literally keep in your pocket and break out when and as needed.

If your job sees you on your feet constantly and your job site has few seating options, this is the ideal solution. If you find yourself frequently standing in notoriously long lines, the SitPack2.0 gives you an easy and convenient way to get off your feet for a few minutes and give yourself some much-needed relief. These little stools are even rugged and robust enough to take on camping trips, giving them utility that extends far beyond the confines of the office environment.

Best of all, they’re offered for a song. It’s a modest investment that enables you to take “ergonomic rest breaks” as needed.

We love it. Honestly, while the SitPack2.0 is in some ways, limited and narrowly focused, it’s something that everybody who weighs 250 pounds or less could benefit from owning. Well worth a closer look.

Best Ottoman-style Balance Stools 2024

This is our nickname for this subset of the conventional balance stool. On conventional balance stools, the design rests on a flexible stool stem that sits on a base. These stools look more like ottomans than stools, and they don’t feature the classic stem.

Given that, we concluded that they were different enough to warrant their own sub-category, which we nicknamed “Ottoman-style Balance Stools.” Note, though, that if you do an Amazon or Google search for balance stools, these products will appear right alongside conventional stem-based balance stools.

Of all the alternative desk chair ideas we’ll explore in this review, this subsection contains some of the most innovative and fun products we’ve ever seen.

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.4
Primary Rating:
4.4
Primary Rating:
3.8
$349.00
$799.00
$108.00
Overall Dimensions:
18” x 18” x 19”
Overall Dimensions:
23” x 23” x 27.5”
Overall Dimensions:
20.5” x 18” x 18” (Other Sizes Available)
Chair Weight:
26 pounds
Chair Weight:
23 pounds
Chair Weight:
8.75 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
290 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
225 pounds (largest size supports up to 250 pounds)
Pros:
  • Low profile and attractive, offered by one of the best companies in the business and backed by an impressive 12-year warranty.
Pros:
  • One of the most fun, innovative alternative office seating options we’ve ever seen. German design and engineering. Backed by an impressive 5-year warranty (but many users have had their Swoppers for 10+ years!). Great looking little stool.
Pros:
  • Incredibly inexpensive. Fun, colorful, playful aesthetic. One of the best and least expensive ways to try this type of seating out to see if it’s for you.
Cons:
  • Not well-padded enough to be used for extended periods at a stretch.
Cons:
  • Pricey.
Cons:
  • The aesthetic might not work for everyone. Somewhat lower quality than our other options. Not built to last. Disappointing weight limit.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for light to moderate daily use.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.4
$349.00
Overall Dimensions:
18” x 18” x 19”
Chair Weight:
26 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Pros:
  • Low profile and attractive, offered by one of the best companies in the business and backed by an impressive 12-year warranty.
Cons:
  • Not well-padded enough to be used for extended periods at a stretch.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for light to moderate daily use.
Primary Rating:
4.4
$799.00
Overall Dimensions:
23” x 23” x 27.5”
Chair Weight:
23 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
290 pounds
Pros:
  • One of the most fun, innovative alternative office seating options we’ve ever seen. German design and engineering. Backed by an impressive 5-year warranty (but many users have had their Swoppers for 10+ years!). Great looking little stool.
Cons:
  • Pricey.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
Primary Rating:
3.8
$108.00
Overall Dimensions:
20.5” x 18” x 18” (Other Sizes Available)
Chair Weight:
8.75 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
225 pounds (largest size supports up to 250 pounds)
Pros:
  • Incredibly inexpensive. Fun, colorful, playful aesthetic. One of the best and least expensive ways to try this type of seating out to see if it’s for you.
Cons:
  • The aesthetic might not work for everyone. Somewhat lower quality than our other options. Not built to last. Disappointing weight limit.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
07/21/2024 11:30 am GMT

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, 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.

Our Pick: Turnstone Buoy Stool

Our Pick
Steelcase Turnstone Buoy
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a great alternative to conventional office seating.

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While you may not have heard of Turnstone before reading this review, if you’ve spent any time perusing office furniture, you’ve almost certainly heard of its parent company, Steelcase. Simply put, Steelcase is one of the titans of the industry, and depending on who you ask, the makers of the best, or the second-best office chair being sold today, the mighty Steelcase Leap.

They’ve also made forays into the world of unconventional office seating, and the Buoy is an excellent example of their work on that front.

The Buoy Stool is office seating re-imagined. It’s definitely not something that’s designed for power users who spend 8+ hours at their desks every day, unmoving. No, this is a seating option designed for someone with a much more active job, who sits for a time and then is on his or her feet, moving about, before returning to perch again.

An image showing wobble movement of Turnstone Buoy Stool in Green Fabric

Like all of the stools in this category, it’s a great choice for anyone who suffers from chronic back pain because the simple act of sitting on it helps reduce the pressure on your spine.

It also gives you a steady, low-intensity workout for as long as you’re sitting on it because it requires constant adjustment on your part to maintain your balance.

It’s not something you’ll notice after about the first hour of sitting on the stool. Your body will simply make on the fly adjustments as needed, but the result will be that for as long as you’re making use of the stool, your core is getting a nice, subtle workout that will definitely improve your health.

In terms of basic stats, here’s an overview of the Buoy Stool:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 18” x 18” x 19”
  • Stool Weight: 26 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Width: 18.”
  • Height Adjustment Range: 17” to 22.5”

These are generally good numbers that work well together, but we are somewhat underwhelmed by the maximum user weight. It’s a common problem among alternative seating options. Most of them seem to top out at a maximum supported weight of 250 pounds, but we know Steelcase makes other products capable of supporting much more weight than that. We would love to see a future upgrade of the Buoy increase this number.

An image of Built-in Handle of Turnstone Buoy Stool showing its adjustability feature.

Overall though, the basic stats paint a picture of a versatile, lightweight, awesome little stool that blends in easily no matter what your home or office décor scheme, made even easier thanks to the fact that the Buoy is available in a variety of color and finish options (see the link below to our full review for details on that front).

The Buoy Stool is a tremendous value for the money and is backed by Steelcase’s impressive 12-year warranty, making it an excellent option for anyone interested in active seating as an alternative to a conventional office chair. We highly recommend it.

Runner-Up: Via Swopper

Runner-Up
Via Seating Special Edition Swopper Stool
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a quirky, fun alternative to the conventional office chair.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

More expensive than our top pick, the Swopper is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s one of the most fun, innovative alternatives to conventional office seating on the market today.

Designed and built in Germany, if you invest in one of these, you’re getting a simply exquisite piece of engineering. The warranty is only five years, versus Steelcase’s 12, but many Swopper owners have had their stools for 10-15 years, and they’re still going strong.

This is a genuinely fun stool. You can spin, bounce, pivot, and sway to your heart’s content. In that respect, it’s similar to the Buoy, in that sitting on one is a very active experience that will give your core a good workout. The Swopper, though, can do things that no other stool in its class can because of the spring attached to its stem. It’s a bit like sitting on a Pogo stick with a cushioned seat.

They’re cute and colorful, enabling them to fit in almost anywhere, and like the Buoy, they’re offered in a broad range of color and finish options (see our in-depth review of the Swopper for more details).

To give you a broad overview, here are the stool’s basic stats:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 23” x 23” x 27.5”
  • Chair Weight: 23 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 290 pounds
  • Seat to Floor Height Adjustment Range: 22.5” to 27.5”

The Swopper is marginally lighter than the Buoy but capable of supporting more user weight. In fact, the Swopper is one of only a very few alternative office seating solutions capable of supporting more than 250 pounds.

While we’d love to see an even higher upper weight limit, the fact that this little stool with attitude exceeds the average in this part of the market is superb, and that alone makes it well worth considering.

An image of Via Swopper Stool in blue color

The important thing to note about this product is that because it’s a bit like sitting on a stationary Pogo stick, the height of the seat listed in the basic stats will be a bit lower once you sit down as your body weight compresses the spring. The specifics vary, but in general, expect the seat to lower by about two inches once you’re sitting down.

We love this product because it offers such an incredible range of motion. While the Buoy stool allows you to pivot this way and that, the Via Swopper does that, plus it allows you to spin in the seat and bounce.

It’s just a genuinely fun product to spend time on. They’re expensive, to be sure, but given the world-class engineering that went into them, it’s money well spent. This little stool will leave you smiling, even as it gives you a good, gentle workout and helps to alleviate your chronic back pain. We love it, and we think you will too. Absolutely recommended.

Budget Pick: ergoErgo

ErgoErgo Active Sitting Stool
3.8

Recommended For: Anyone 225 pounds or less who’s on a budget and looking for a fun alternative to their current office chair.

Check Availability Read Detailed Review

The ergoErgo is functionally similar to the Buoy stool, but more lightly constructed and less durable. It’s got a fun, almost childlike design and is offered in a staggering array of colors.

It operates on the same principles as the Buoy but isn’t adjustable in any way. Made from durable plastic, it’s not quite as comfortable as our top picks because the seat isn’t padded in any way. You are, however, essentially sitting atop a column of air, and since the product is mostly air, it’s almost comically light and easy to move from room to room.

The ergoErgo comes in three sizes: a child size, standard size, and plus size. The child and standard-sized versions of the stool support a maximum of 225 pounds of user weight, while the plus-sized one features a wider seat and will support up to 250 pounds.

These maximum supported weight figures are a bit of a disappointment to us and definitely narrow the potential market for these stools, which is unfortunate since the market for alternative office seating is already quite small. In any case, if you’re on a budget and you want an active seating stool, and you love the fun, playful aesthetic this option brings to the table, it’s a great way to test the waters without committing a ton of money to your purchase. Provisionally recommended.

Best Saddle Stools on the Market Today

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.4
Primary Rating:
4.1
Primary Rating:
3.5
$1,325.00
N/A
$175.00
Overall Dimensions:
24” x 24” x 22.5” to 30”
Overall Dimensions:
22” x 22” x 17”
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 14” x 28”
Chair Weight:
30 Pounds
Chair Weight:
10.75 pounds
Chair Weight:
17.5 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
330 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Seat Height:
22.5” to 30”
Seat Height:
17.5” to 22.75”
20.25” to 28.25”
23” to 33”
Seat Height:
21” to 28”
Pros:
  • Amazing company, great pre and post-sales support, tons of options and accessories. You can completely customize your saddle stool. Adjustable seat width is outstanding.
Pros:
  • A very polished, refined saddle stool, offered by one of the finest companies in the industry. Incredibly customizable with two different seat width options available, three different gas lifts, and a stunning range of upholstery, color and finish options.
Pros:
  • A basic saddle stool, offered by a small, but reasonably well-respected company. Attractively priced.
Cons:
  • Expensive
Cons:
  • Pricey
Cons:
  • No extras or surprise features on offer. PU upholstery doesn’t stand up well to the rigors of heavy daily use.
Our Verdict:
Highly Recommended
Our Verdict:
Highly Recommended
Our Verdict:
Recommended for light to moderate daily use. The frame is much better than the upholstery, and if you’re willing to spend a few bucks to have it re-upholstered, this one will probably last you for years.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.4
$1,325.00
Overall Dimensions:
24” x 24” x 22.5” to 30”
Chair Weight:
30 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
330 Pounds
Seat Height:
22.5” to 30”
Pros:
  • Amazing company, great pre and post-sales support, tons of options and accessories. You can completely customize your saddle stool. Adjustable seat width is outstanding.
Cons:
  • Expensive
Our Verdict:
Highly Recommended
Primary Rating:
4.1
N/A
Overall Dimensions:
22” x 22” x 17”
Chair Weight:
10.75 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 Pounds
Seat Height:
17.5” to 22.75”
20.25” to 28.25”
23” to 33”
Pros:
  • A very polished, refined saddle stool, offered by one of the finest companies in the industry. Incredibly customizable with two different seat width options available, three different gas lifts, and a stunning range of upholstery, color and finish options.
Cons:
  • Pricey
Our Verdict:
Highly Recommended
Primary Rating:
3.5
$175.00
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 14” x 28”
Chair Weight:
17.5 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 Pounds
Seat Height:
21” to 28”
Pros:
  • A basic saddle stool, offered by a small, but reasonably well-respected company. Attractively priced.
Cons:
  • No extras or surprise features on offer. PU upholstery doesn’t stand up well to the rigors of heavy daily use.
Our Verdict:
Recommended for light to moderate daily use. The frame is much better than the upholstery, and if you’re willing to spend a few bucks to have it re-upholstered, this one will probably last you for years.
07/21/2024 11:26 am GMT

Our Pick:– Salli Multi-Adjuster

Our Pick
Salli MultiAdjuster Ergonomic Saddle Seat
4.4

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford one, but it’s of particular value in offices or households where multiple people will be using the stool.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Salli brand isn’t all that well known in the consumer market, although they do sell directly to consumers. Mostly though, their customers are medical offices, dental practices, and the like. They make a wide range of rugged, durable stools that are designed to stand up to the rigors of heavy daily use.

Salli doesn’t have a bad product in their lineup, but the Multi-Adjuster is the best of the best. It is simply a superb design that will serve you well, no matter where you are or what you do.

The secret to the strength of the design is the fact that just like the seats of high-end office chairs are highly adjustable, the saddle-style seat on this model is also highly adjustable. Specifically, you can set the width of the seat for optimal comfort.

An image of Salli MultiAdjuster Ergonomic Saddle Seat in Red color

That’s huge because while saddle-style seats are ergonomically powerful in their own right and foster better posture simply by sitting in them, they offer the most benefit to people who suffer from chronic hip and lower back pain.

Giving you, the user, the ability to fine-tune the width of the seat allows you to tweak and adjust the amount of hip separation you’re getting from the seat. That takes the pressure off, which, in turn, helps to alleviate pain.

By itself, that feature would put the multi-adjuster at or near the top of our rankings, but that’s just the beginning where this mighty design is concerned. In addition to that, you can customize your stool’s upholstery any way you like, selecting anything from PU to bonded leather to top-grain leather, or a wide range of fabric options in any color or pattern you like.

That’s fabulous, but why anyone would want to put PU on a high-end stool like this, we’re not sure. Even so, if that’s your preference, you can absolutely get it that way!

You’ll can also select the gas lift you want to be installed on your stool, so you can get whatever height adjustment range you like, although the tradeoff is that you’ll need to take a few measurements before placing your order.

If that wasn’t enough, Salli Multi-Adjuster also sells a few high-value accessories you can use to customize your stool to make it exactly what you’re looking for. If you want a desktop accessory, so you’ve got a work tray attached to the stool, you can do that.

There is, however, one drawback. These stools are expensive, even without accessories. Our recommendation would be to order the baseline model and have it customized as you like, but hold off on the accessories until you get some firsthand experience with its use. Then, you’ll have good data so you can make informed decisions about which accessories would be best for you.

This is flat-out, an amazing stool. If you suffer from chronic lower back or hip pain, it belongs on your shortlist of seating options to consider. While it’s optimized for light to moderate daily use and people who have active jobs, you could, in a pinch, spend the whole day in this stool — highly recommended.

Runner-Up: Humanscale Freedom Saddle Stool

Runner-Up
Humanscale Freedom Saddle Stool
4.1

Recommended For: Anyone who is 300 pounds or less and up to 6’6” tall. This is a superb chair by any reckoning.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

Humanscale isn’t a major player in the office furniture market, but they are quietly one of the most awesome, respected brands doing business in the industry today. They have the good fortune of being associated with Niels Diffrient, one of the top design talents in the industry. Niels designed the “Freedom” line of products that the company currently sells, including the amazing Freedom Chair, and of course, the Freedom Saddle Stool, which we’ll talk about here.

One of the things that makes the Freedom product line so noteworthy is the careful attention to detail and the exacting design. This stool is a very polished piece of furniture, and everything about it screams quality. That, of course, is why the company sells it with a five-year warranty on the upholstery and a fifteen-year warranty on everything else.

An image of Freedom Saddle Seat in Ultraviolet color

You won’t find any bargain basement upholstery or components here. Everything is of the finest quality, and the production values are as good here as you’ll find anywhere. Here’s a quick overview of the Freedom Saddle Stool’s core stats:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 22” x 22” x 17”
  • Stool Weight: 10.75 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 17.5” to 22.75” (also available in 20.25” to 28.25” or 23” to 33” configurations)
  • Seat Width: 22” (Pony Saddle Seat is 16”)

Overall, we love these numbers. The 300-pound maximum supported weight could stand to be higher, but given that most of the products in this part of the market top out as a maximum supported weight of 250-pounds, we certainly view this as a positive.

The big thing to talk about here, though, is the point of sale purchase options. You can order your Freedom Saddle Stool with your choice of seat widths, with the pony-sized being designed for smaller folks, and the larger standard-sized being a good fit for just about everyone else.

Height Adjustable, Ultimate Comfort Humanscale Freedom Saddle Seat Stool

In a similar vein, we love that the company gives you the option of choosing the gas lift you want to be installed on the chair, which allows you to get your stool with the height adjustment range you want. Put those two together, and you’ve got one highly customizable product.

It gets better, though. If you order from Amazon, you’ll be able to choose from about half a dozen upholstery color options.

If that’s not enough, simply head to the Humanscale website and order direct from them. You’ll have access to a variety of frame finishing options and both top-grain leather and fabric upholstery options in a staggering range of colors, which makes it a simple matter to blend this stool in with whatever color or décor scheme dominates your home or office.

Finally, when you place your order, you can choose casters that are optimized for rolling on carpet, or soft casters optimized for rolling on hardwoods without scuffing or scratching. If your needs change later, you can always head back to the site and order a new set of casters.

Again, these facts, combined with the incredible production quality, give the stool an amazingly polished, finished feel that’s simply missing from many stools and office chairs on the market today. Although it’s a relatively simple, minimalist design, sitting on one of these leaves you feeling taken care of, and that’s a very good thing.

There is a catch, however. To ensure you’re getting the right seat and gas lift, you will have to do a bit of homework before placing your order. If you take the time to make careful measurements, you’ll be thrilled with the stool when you get it. If you skimp on that or skip it entirely, you might be disappointed.

In any case, given the highly custom nature of the Freedom Stool, when it arrives at your door, it will be fully assembled and ready for first use. Simply take it out of the box, put it where you want it, and take a seat.

An image of Freedom Saddle Seat in Poppy color

There are only really two downsides here. First, it’s a pricey piece of furniture which, unfortunately, is going to put it out of reach of many of the people who it could really help. There’s a premium to be paid for this kind of quality, so the price really isn’t a surprise.

Second, as great as this stool is, we feel it could be made even better if it offered the same kind of seat width adjustment that the Salli Multi-Adjuster does. Granted, this would have added further to the total cost but would add tremendously to the therapeutic value of the seat. Even without that, though, this one is highly recommended.

Also Great: Jobri Better Posture

Also Great
Jobri BetterPosture Saddle Chair
3.5

Recommended For: Anyone with an active job who does as much sitting as standing and moving about. Especially good for leg circulation, hip pain, and improved posture.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

If you think you might want to invest in a saddle-style stool, but you’re not ready to spend big bucks to get a high-end model, the Jobri Better Posture is an excellent investment in the value-priced segment of the market.

Jobri isn’t a huge, well-known brand, but they’ve been in the game for several years, and they certainly know their way around the office furniture market. Although this stool isn’t built with high-end materials, the production quality is better than you’d expect to see in a modestly priced offering.

Before we go further than that, though, let’s take a moment to review the stool’s core stats. Here they are:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 25” x 14” x 28”
  • Stool Weight: 17.5 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 21” to 28”

These are generally good numbers. Of course, as with most of the products in this segment of the market, the modest maximum supported weight is the big limiting factor, but it’s got a delightfully small footprint, is relatively lightweight, and has a good seat height adjustment range, though geared more toward taller people with longer legs and light to medium builds.

An image of Jobri Better Posture Saddle Chair in Red color

Another plus in favor of the Jobri Better Posture is that you can order yours with either black or red upholstery, depending on your preferences.

That, though, brings us to the one notable weakness of the design. The seat is covered in PU, which is notoriously fragile and prone to wear. After about a year of heavy daily use, it will start showing its age by peeling and cracking.

If you only use it lightly to moderately every day or if you have an active job that sees you sitting for short periods before getting up and moving around for a while, returning to your seat for a while sometime after that, you can probably coax two years of useful life out of the upholstery, but don’t count on much more than that.

If there’s a silver lining though, it is that the frame is sturdy enough that it will far outlast the upholstery and there’s not a lot of upholstery to contend with in any case, so once it starts to wear out, it would be a relatively inexpensive proposition to have the seat re-upholstered with something longer-lasting and get more life out of it.

An image of Jobri Better Posture Saddle Chair Height Adjustment
An image of Jobri Better Posture Saddle Chair Screw Adjustment
An image of Jobri Better Posture Saddle Chair Wheels

In short, it’s a good stool that falls short of greatness. If you’re short on funds or aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit to this type of office seating fully, it’s a very cost-effective way of experimenting to find out. On that basis, we provisionally recommend it.

Honorable Mention: 2xHome Ergonomic Saddle Stool

Honorable Mention
2xhome Ergonomic Saddle Stool Chair
3.6

Recommended For: Anyone, but it’s of particular value to those suffering from hip pain, leg pain, or arthritis.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

If you like the idea of a saddle-style stool, but you’re not completely sold on it and not yet ready to part with some type of back support, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a hybrid product that meets your needs.

To be sure, 2xHome Saddle Stool is a tiny off-brand, and their products are low-cost Chinese imports, but their take on the concept of an ergonomic saddle stool is perfect for people who want to give alternative office seating a try while simultaneously preserving the best features of conventional office furniture.

One of the common threads that runs through the alternative office seating market is the fact that most of the products you find here don’t have seatbacks. No seatback equals no back support. That’s arguably one of their selling points because, in the absence of any type of back support, you can’t slouch against it, and you’ll give your core a workout when you’re sitting on most of these designs.

Unfortunately, not everybody wants a core workout, but they still want to keep the other benefits associated with alternative office seating, and that’s where a product like this comes into play.

This little stool is a one-part saddle-style stool and one-part task chair. You get all the ergonomic benefits of sitting on a saddle-style seat, including proper spinal alignment, mitigation of hip pain, and improved blood flow to your lower extremities, and you get those things while retaining basic support for your back.

An image of 2xHome Ergonomic Saddle Seat

Those are all good things, but there are some tradeoffs here, but before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at the core stats that define this model. They are as follows:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 23.8” x 22.7” x 19” to 28.28”
  • Stool Weight: 30.3 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 19” to 28.25”

A couple of things jump out at us here. First, the seat height adjustment range definitely paints this as a chair for big and tall users, but there’s a catch. Look at the weight limit.

Granted, 250-pounds is about as good as it gets in the world of unconventional office seating, but it’s a jarring contrast with the impressive seat height adjustment range. A range like that almost makes this a good choice as a standing stool, and it’s certainly something that can be used at most drafting tables.

Unfortunately, although this is a great choice for taller folk, if you weigh more than 250-pounds, it’s simply a nonstarter.

There are other limitations besides the ones that the core stats reveal. These include things like:

You’re buying from a relatively unknown brand, so don’t expect much in the way of post-sales service or support. Second, this is a low-cost Chinese import, so the production quality isn’t great. It’s a cut above what you usually find in the value segment of the market, but this isn’t a seating solution built for the long term. At best, you’ll get a year or two out of it, and then when it starts showing its age, you’ll inevitably have to replace it with something else.

An image of 2xHome Ergonomic Saddle Stool With Back Support

And that fact that it’s only offered in black, so you don’t get any color or customization options, and the upholstery is PU, which is fairly fragile and not at all breathable. Under the strain of heavy daily use, it’ll start showing its age by peeling and cracking in as little as a year. Even if you’re careful and only use the chair lightly to moderately daily, don’t expect more than two years’ worth of life out of the upholstery, or the frame for that matter.

It also doesn’t offer any type of lumbar support. Even so, having a seatback in any form on a stool like this can be a godsend for the right person.

In any case, this is not a chair that’s optimized for power users who spend 8+ hours a day sitting in front of their computers. This is a chair designed for someone with an active job, who sits for short periods, gets up and moves around, and then returns to their seat for another short period.

If that describes your typical workday and you’re not sure you can live without a seatback, then despite this chair’s shortcomings and limitations, it belongs on your shortlist of options to consider. We provisionally recommend it.

Best Kneeling Chairs on the Market Today

Our Picks
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.2
Primary Rating:
4.2
Primary Rating:
3.6
N/A
$349.00
$99.99
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 23” x 11”
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”
Overall Dimensions:
27.5” x 19” x 18”
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Chair Weight:
18.85 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
21” to 28”
Pros:
  • An updated version of Peter Opsvik’s original design. The best kneeling chair on the market today. Built with top-end materials and designed to last. Includes rolling casters!
Pros:
  • The classic Peter Opsvik design that essentially invented this corner of the market. To this day, it sets the standard. Brilliantly constructed with top-end materials.
Pros:
  • Delightfully inexpensive. Includes rolling casters. Surprisingly well-padded and comfortable.
Cons:
  • Modest weight limit. Pricey.
Cons:
  • Modest weight limit. Pricey.
Cons:
  • Low-end material. Not designed to last. PU upholstery will start showing its age very quickly.
Our Verdict:
Absolutely recommended.
Our Verdict:
Absolutely recommended.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
Our Picks
Primary Rating:
4.2
N/A
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 23” x 11”
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Pros:
  • An updated version of Peter Opsvik’s original design. The best kneeling chair on the market today. Built with top-end materials and designed to last. Includes rolling casters!
Cons:
  • Modest weight limit. Pricey.
Our Verdict:
Absolutely recommended.
Primary Rating:
4.2
$349.00
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Pros:
  • The classic Peter Opsvik design that essentially invented this corner of the market. To this day, it sets the standard. Brilliantly constructed with top-end materials.
Cons:
  • Modest weight limit. Pricey.
Our Verdict:
Absolutely recommended.
Primary Rating:
3.6
$99.99
Overall Dimensions:
27.5” x 19” x 18”
Chair Weight:
18.85 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Seat Height:
21” to 28”
Pros:
  • Delightfully inexpensive. Includes rolling casters. Surprisingly well-padded and comfortable.
Cons:
  • Low-end material. Not designed to last. PU upholstery will start showing its age very quickly.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
07/21/2024 01:00 pm GMT

Our Pick: Varier Wing Balans

Our Pick
Varier Wing Balans
4.3

Recommended For: Anyone who’s interested in alternative ergonomic seating. This one’s a prize.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

This is an updated version of the classic Balans chair designed by Peter Opsvik. When this version came out, it replaced the Balans as the Gold Standard. It’s a tremendous design, crafted with top-quality materials, and built to last.

The biggest differences between the Wing Balans and the classic design are as follows:

  • This version is on rolling casters. That’s huge, especially if you’re coming to the world of kneeling chairs from a conventional office chair. You’re probably used to zipping around in your chair, and this version allows you to do that, which makes the transition to this type of seating a simple proposition.
  • It’s not offered in a variety of colors like the classic Balans. You can only get it in black. That’s not really a deal-breaker. Most of the kneeling chairs sold today are offered only in black.
  • Unfortunately, although Varier sells a modest selection of accessories that allow you to customize and personalize your chair, the backrest attachment doesn’t work with this model. If it did, the Wing would have won top honors by an even larger margin
  • There’s a slight difference in the knee pad design. Here, the knee pad is all one piece, while on the Classic Balans, there are two separate pads, one for each knee. This is a marginal change, but some people might prefer one over the other.

This is, in our view, the best kneeling chair on the market today. The only disappointment we have in the design is that it doesn’t support a lot of user weight. Topping out at just 240 pounds, it doesn’t even quite meet the average in this corner of the market. That’s a pity because it means that a smaller segment of the market can enjoy this magnificent design.

Runner-Up: Varier Balans

Runner-Up
Varier Variable Balans
4.2

Recommended For: Light to moderate use. With the optional backrest, it could even be used heavily on a daily basis.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

The Varier Balans essentially created the market for this type of chair when Peter Opsvik developed it.

Until the model was updated years later, it served as the benchmark for the kneeling chair industry — the standard by which all other kneeling chairs were measured.

It’s a triumph of design and much more comfortable than you might think just by looking at it. Even better, you can order your chair in either an ash wood base or black lacquer. If you order your chair with an ash frame, you can select either grey, blue, black, or grey upholstery. If you order the black base, you can also get turquoise or light grey upholstery.

Kneeling chairs have a few powerful advantages over conventional office chairs. For starters, it’s virtually impossible to sit improperly in a kneeling chair. Doing so would be not only physically difficult, given the chair’s design, but likely too uncomfortable to bother with.

Because of that, when you’re sitting in a kneeling chair, your spine is properly aligned, so if you suffer from chronic back pain due to spinal compression, you’re going to notice an immediate improvement on that front.

An image of Varier Variable Balans Chair, Front view

Also, due to the way you’re sitting, you’re going to ease the pressure on your hips as compared to sitting in a conventional office chair, so you’ll notice an improvement on that front as well, although not as pronounced as the positive benefits to hip pain that is associated with saddle stools.

You will, however, be placing more pressure on your knees, and even though the knee pads are padded and relatively comfortable, if you have bad knees, this probably isn’t the type of alternative office seating for you.

Finally, while kneeling chairs are a lot more comfortable than they look, they can be a bit of an adventure to get into and out of, so if you suffer from some type of mobility issue, again, these probably aren’t going to be your first choice.

These days, kneeling chairs are about evenly split, with some coming equipped with rolling casters and others not. The Balans does not have rolling casters. So, if you’re used to sitting in an office chair that allows you to roll around your workspace, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to, and for the first week or so, you’ll probably feel somewhat constricted. The good news is that if you like the idea of a kneeling chair and want one with rolling casters, there are plenty of options available.

Aside from the lack of casters, the only other negative worth mentioning here is the fact that the Balans, like the Wing Balans, only supports 240 pounds of user weight. Most kneeling chairs support 250, so if you weigh more than that, it’s going to be very difficult to find a chair like this you can use.

Budget Pick: DRAGONN Kneeling Chair

Budget Pick
DRAGONN Ergonomic Kneeling Chair
3.6

Recommended For: Those who have lower back injuries. One of our top picks for an ergonomic chair under $150.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

When the Varier Balans was introduced, it prompted lots of imitators. Nowadays, there are legions of smaller, little-known brands importing chairs from China and offering them for sale here.

Most of them are virtually identical and made with low-end components in a bid to keep the cost as low as possible, but every once in a while, you run across an off-brand that produces a chair of surprising quality.

The Dragonn Kneeling Chair is a perfect example of this. Although the materials used in the construction of the chair are low-end, they’re at least a half step above what we’re used to seeing in budget-priced furniture, and the production quality is surprisingly high, given the materials constraints.

The two key selling points of the Dragonn are these:

  • It sports more padding than most other comparably priced chairs. Granted, the chair uses conventional block foam padding, but there’s enough of it to provide a delightfully comfortable seating experience.
  • It’s got rolling casters that allow you the same flexibility and freedom of mobility that a conventional office chair offers. If you’re coming to the kneeling chair market from the world of conventional office seating, the presence of those rolling casters will make the transition smooth and painless.

On the other hand, the Dragonn Kneeling Chair does have one shortcoming to be aware of. The upholstery is weak and fragile. PU just doesn’t stand up well to the rigors of heavy daily use, and even with light to moderate daily use, you can expect it to start showing its age after about a year.

An image showing Dragonn Kneeling Chair with Chair Lock Mechanism

Given the chair’s modest price, that’s not a deal-breaker because it’s a simple matter to retire your old chair and buy a new one when it’s time. It’s just one of the tradeoffs associated with buying budget-priced furniture.

All in all, though, we recommend it, especially if you’re not sure you’re ready to make the switch to a kneeling chair.

A product like this gives you a low-cost way of trying it on for size before you spend a ton of money on something that will last for the longer term.

Also Great: Flash Furniture Saddle-Style Kneeling Chair

Also Great
Flash Furniture Black Saddle Kneeler Chairs
3.6

Recommended For: Anyone looking for a quirky, fun alternative to the conventional office chair.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

We’ll be the first to admit that this fun little hybrid model isn’t for everyone, but for the right user, there’s just nothing better. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also offered by one of our favorite companies. What Flash Furniture lacks in size and brand heft, they more than make up for in heart.

This company has a longstanding reputation for making great products, and they regularly steal thunder from much larger brands, stealing spots from them on a number of the roundup reviews we’ve done in the past. The main reason this model wasn’t featured in one of our summary tables is that it doesn’t fall neatly into any single category, combining the best features of a saddle stool with a kneeling chair.

Before we talk about why that’s important and who it helps, let’s start by reviewing the basic stats that define this model. Here they are:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 27.25” x 19.25” x 28”
  • Chair Weight: 22 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Knee Rest Pad Dimensions: 19.25” x 10.5” x 2.25” thick
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 17” to 21”

As you can see, it’s small, unobtrusive, and lightweight, which makes it easy to move from one place to another. It’s also one of the kneeling chairs that come equipped with rolling casters, so if you’re coming from the world of conventional office chairs, you’ll be able to make the transition smoothly and easily with something like this.

An image of Flash Furniture Saddle-Style Kneeling Chair in Black color, Front view

Now let’s talk about who this chair was built for. First and foremost, kneeling chairs aren’t great for your knees, so if you have bad knees, don’t buy a kneeling chair. It’s only going to make your problem worse over the long term.

On the flip side, though, kneeling chairs are great for people who suffer from chronic back pain and especially lower back pain, while the saddle-style stool is great for people who suffer from chronic hip pain.

A chair like this then, is best paired with a person who suffers from both conditions, with the proviso that the weight limit of the chair is a modest 250 pounds, so if you weigh more than this, even if you suffer from both conditions this model was designed to help with, it’s just going to be a nonstarter.

An image of Flash Furniture Saddle-Style Kneeling Chair in Black color, Side view

The seat height adjustment range paints it as a chair designed to be used by people who range in height from about 5’2” to 6’2”, and it allows you to adjust the spacing between the seat and the knee pads, which enables you to tweak the chair for a perfect fit.

The bad news is that the saddle-style seat, while well designed, doesn’t sport much in the way of padding. If you’re looking for a chair you can sit in for eight or more hours a day comfortably, this isn’t the one you want.

It’s really best used by people who have highly active jobs that see them seated for short periods, then up and moving around to do something else for a time before returning to their chair for another short stint sitting down.

If the above describes you, then you’re going to love this little chair. If not, you’ll probably be unimpressed. It’s a niche product, but if you’re in that niche, it’s exactly what you need.

Best Bike Desks on the Market Today

Our Pick
 
 
Primary Rating:
4.3
Primary Rating:
4.2
Primary Rating:
3.9
N/A
N/A
$289.99
Overall Dimensions:
43” x 25” x 50.5”
Overall Dimensions:
53.5” x 25” x 40”
Overall Dimensions:
28” x 16” x 45”
Collapsed Dimensions:
30” x 25” x 61.5”
Collapsed Dimensions:
Collapsed Dimensions:
16” X 28”
Total Weight:
71 pounds
Total Weight:
72.6 pounds
Total Weight:
45 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
400 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Recommended for:
5’1” to 6’3”
Recommended for:
5’1” to 6’1”
Recommended for:
4’10” to 6’3”
Resistance Settings:
24
Resistance Settings:
12
Resistance Settings:
8
Extras:
Work tray tilts to various angles, two built-in cup holders, iOS and Android App capable, 24 pre-programmed workout routines
Extras:
Work tray tilts to various angles, two built-in cup holders, iOS and Android App capable.
Extras:
Premium accessories you can add on! (desk extension kit, water bottle holder, and universal seat adapter), work tray has built-in storage and is moderately adjustable. Has tension bands to exercise your arms too!
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, lots of settings, and tremendous workout potential.
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, enough settings to provide a good, varied workout.
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, great, high-value accessories that make this model customizable. Small footprint. Easy to fold and move.
Cons:
  • App could be better and more full-featured. Putting it together is a grind.
Cons:
  • App could be better and more full-featured. Putting it together is a challenge. Disappointing max. weight limit.
Cons:
  • Have to pay extra for the best accessories. No app. Disappointing number of resistance levels offered.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
Our Pick
Primary Rating:
4.3
N/A
Overall Dimensions:
43” x 25” x 50.5”
Collapsed Dimensions:
30” x 25” x 61.5”
Total Weight:
71 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
400 pounds
Recommended for:
5’1” to 6’3”
Resistance Settings:
24
Extras:
Work tray tilts to various angles, two built-in cup holders, iOS and Android App capable, 24 pre-programmed workout routines
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, lots of settings, and tremendous workout potential.
Cons:
  • App could be better and more full-featured. Putting it together is a grind.
Our Verdict:
Recommended.
Primary Rating:
4.2
N/A
Overall Dimensions:
53.5” x 25” x 40”
Collapsed Dimensions:
Total Weight:
72.6 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
250 pounds
Recommended for:
5’1” to 6’1”
Resistance Settings:
12
Extras:
Work tray tilts to various angles, two built-in cup holders, iOS and Android App capable.
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, enough settings to provide a good, varied workout.
Cons:
  • App could be better and more full-featured. Putting it together is a challenge. Disappointing max. weight limit.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
Primary Rating:
3.9
$289.99
Overall Dimensions:
28” x 16” x 45”
Collapsed Dimensions:
16” X 28”
Total Weight:
45 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Recommended for:
4’10” to 6’3”
Resistance Settings:
8
Extras:
Premium accessories you can add on! (desk extension kit, water bottle holder, and universal seat adapter), work tray has built-in storage and is moderately adjustable. Has tension bands to exercise your arms too!
Pros:
  • Good quality, quiet, great, high-value accessories that make this model customizable. Small footprint. Easy to fold and move.
Cons:
  • Have to pay extra for the best accessories. No app. Disappointing number of resistance levels offered.
Our Verdict:
Provisionally recommended.
07/21/2024 01:20 pm GMT

Note that we don’t have a table for hybrid office chair alternatives. Whenever possible, we’ve included hybrid products in the category they bear the most in common. In some cases, hybrid products are so unique that they defy proper classification in one of the groups we’ve defined above. In those cases, we’ll mention the products separately, calling attention to them.

Our Pick: Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i

Our Pick
Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Desk
4.3

Recommended For: Anyone who’s interested in getting fit, and on the hunt for an alternative to conventional office seating.

Check Availability Read Detailed Review

While none of the bike desks on the market today are absolutely perfect, this one hits all the right notes in ways that the products we compared it to didn’t. Before we get into the features, bells, and whistles, let’s take a moment to review the core stats of the 2000i.

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 43” x 25” x 50.5” (folded dimensions: 30” x 25” x 61.5”)
  • Bike Desk Weight: 71 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 400 pounds
  • Seat Width: 15.”
  • Seat Depth: 11.”
  • Work Tray Dimensions: 24” x 16”
  • Number of Tension Settings: 24 (along with 24 pre-programmed workouts!)
  • Manufacturer Recommended User Height Range: 5’1” to 6’3”

The two numbers that impress us most from these are the maximum supported weight limit and the number of resistance levels the machine offers.

An image of Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Desk Back Support

Let’s face it: Many, if not a solid majority, of people considering a bike desk as an alternative to conventional office seating are doing it because they want to get fit. This implies that they aren’t currently fit, which usually means being at least a little overweight.

Bike desks that don’t support a generous amount of user weight are, in our view, not properly targeting the market, and we’re impressed by the 400-pound weight limit this model offers. It’s best in class, and that figure makes it applicable to the vast majority of the market.

Even better, when you combine that fact with the presence of twenty-four resistance levels, you get some serious workout potential. Note that this model offers three times the resistance levels that some of its competitors do! That’s huge.

The more you customize your workout, the better it will be for you because when you can work out exactly how you want, you can do more.

As you can see from the basic stats, it’s also a big, weighty piece of equipment. But if you’re patient and don’t mind getting a workout, you can master collapsing it for storage when you’re not using it. If you’re short on space or have room for both this and a conventional office seating arrangement, then by all means, find it a permanent home and leave it there.

The Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Desk comes with a free app that didn’t start so well, but over time, the company has made steady improvements, too. It’s still not what we’d call world-class, but at this point, it is stable and genuinely useful. Combine that with the 24 pre-programmed workout routines this model comes with, and you have a serious piece of exercise equipment that will serve you well regardless of your fitness goals.

Of course, this is much more than an exercise bike. It’s also a work desk, and as such, it boasts a generously sized work tray that’s big enough to hold most of the laptops on the market today. The tray is as adjustable as the rest of the machine.

You can adjust the height, depth, and angle for a perfect fit. It includes a padded wrist and forearm brace that makes working from your bike desk comfortable. The tray even sports a pair of cup holders, allowing you to use one for your drink and the other to hold your cell phone, pens, or other small but essential supplies.

Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Pedal

Unfortunately, although the work tray is big enough for your laptop, you’ll almost certainly want to incorporate a side table into your setup. That’s not a deal-breaker by any means; in fact, it’s something you’ll need to do with any bike desk you purchase. Just be mindful of it when planning your space!

Most conventional exercise bikes that aren’t pulling double duty as workspaces don’t have seatbacks.

This one does, and it’s a great addition to the chair. The seat features AirSoft technology, which makes it surprisingly comfortable for short to medium periods. However, even with the padded seatback, you’ll struggle to stay in the chair for a full eight-hour day.

It’s possible, but your backside will likely be sore unless you change how you work and incorporate regular stretch breaks into your routine.

If you can’t or don’t want to do that, then this should be considered a part-time solution. For the rest of the day, you’ll find yourself gravitating to your regular desk and office chair.

In our view, this model hits all the right notes. It’s got a good feature set that offers you the best of both worlds. You can get exactly the workout you want at whatever level of intensity you’re interested in, and it provides a solid, reliable platform to work from. It’s everything we had hoped to see on a bike desk.

Sure, we could quibble that the app could use some more fleshing out, and it might be nice if the machine was a little easier to collapse and move, but honestly, for the money, this is the bike desk you want. Its flaws are trivial compared to the strengths it brings to the table. This is a fabulous bike desk.

Runner-Up: Exerpeutic 2500 Bike Desk

Runner-Up
Exerpeutic 2500 Bicycle Desk
4.2

Recommended For: Anyone willing to give a bike desk a try. 

Check Current Price Read Detailed Review

Exerpeutic dominates our list with a second-place entry; by any reckoning, the 2500 is a solid machine. It is not, however, as robust as the 2000i. Before we look at specific features, let’s quickly review the 2500’s core stats. They are:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 53.5” x 25” x 40”
  • Bike Desk Weight: 72.6 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 250 pounds
  • Seat Width: 13.”
  • Seat Depth: 17”

The core stats jump out at us because the Exerpeutic 2500 Bike Desk can’t support nearly as much weight. Two hundred fifty pounds is surprisingly modest, making this a much more narrowly targeted machine than the 2000i. On top of that, although the 2500 uses the same app that our top pick does, there are only 12 resistance settings on offer here.

An image of Exerpeutic 2500 Bike Desk, Features

That’s still better than the eight offered by the other bike desks on our list of finalists, so it still gives you a fair amount of workout flexibility, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the 2000i.

Surprisingly, the seat is an inch thicker, making this one a little more comfortable for extended periods, and the seatback is a shade more adjustable. Unfortunately, neither of those is enough to compensate for the loss of 12 resistance settings and the pre-programmed workout routines our top pick boasts.

An image of Exerpeutic 2500 Bike Desk, AIRSOFT Technology Seat

Even so, assuming that the weight limit isn’t a deal-breaker for you if you’re looking for a bike desk better suited for use over longer continuous periods and don’t mind sacrificing half of your workout flexibility, this option is worth considering.

Despite differences at the margins where the seat and seatback are concerned, the 2500 uses the same work tray you find on the 2000i. It’s every bit as flexible and adjustable, ensuring you can precisely position your work table to easily reach your keyboard and stay productive while getting a good, low-intensity workout. It’s not as robust, but it is well-deserving of a second-place entry on our list of bike desks as alternative office seating.

Also Great: FitDesk Bike Desk

Also Great
FitDesk Exercise Bike Desk
3.9

Recommended For: Anyone who is 300-pounds or less looking for a bike desk optimized for light to moderate daily use.

Check Current Price Read Detailed Review

Our third-place winner is interesting on a couple of different levels. First and foremost, it has a surprisingly small footprint, and one of its major selling points is that it’s super easy to collapse and move from one place to another. That works on two levels.

If you’re short on space, you won’t have to worry about finding this one a permanent home. Just set it up anywhere you can find room, and then fold it up and move it out of your way when you’re done with it for the day.

Or, if you have some space to work with, it’s easier to find a permanent home for this model than any other on our list of finalists.

An image of FitDesk Bike Desk, Screens Holder

That capability comes with a couple of trade-offs, though. First, this bike desk isn’t as comfortable or well-suited for more than a few hours at a stretch. If you plan on using it for more than 2-3 hours a day (tops), you’ll need to change the structure and flow of your day to incorporate more stretch breaks to get up and get the feeling back in your buttocks.

Second, this model is significantly less flexible regarding workouts than the ones on the top half of our list. You’ll only find eight resistance adjustment settings here; worse, the first few all feel the same. That means that in practice, you’ll only have 4-5 significantly different resistance settings to work with.

It’s enough for a basic workout, but if you’re looking for more, you’ll want a bike desk that offers more resistance settings, which means looking at the top half of the list.

Both the seat and the seatback are a little problematic on this model. The seat is exactly what you’d expect to find on an exercise bike. It’s reasonably well-padded, but the longer you sit on it, the less comfortable it will be.

We applaud the addition of a seatback, and it’s height-adjustable, which helps. Unfortunately, it’s only about the size of a waffle and doesn’t provide a whole lot of support. Like the seat itself, the longer you lean against it, the less comfortable you’ll find it. It’s fine for shorter periods, but realistically, you’ll need to get up and move around every 2-3 hours.

On the other hand, the FitDesk Bike Desk can do a few things that no other model on our list of finalists can, including the fact that it has resistance bands tucked under the seat that allow you to exercise both your arms and your legs and the company also sells a few interesting and high-value accessories that make the model shine. These include:

  • A work desk extension kit that dramatically increases the surface area of your workspace
  • A water bottle holder (the desk extension also comes with a cup holder)
  • A universal saddle adapter allows you to swap out the seat with a perfectly fit seat.

We would have preferred that all three were standard features and part of the core design, but it’s incredibly cool that they’re available, and it allows you to customize the bike desk to make it exactly what you want.

An image of FitDesk Bike Desk Frame, Adjustable Seat

The work tray itself is rather innovative, too. Rather than utilizing a padded wrist and forearm guard like our top picks, it features massage rollers that cradle and massage your wrists and forearms as you move forward to type on your laptop.

It also features a hidden storage compartment big enough to hold a touchscreen and other assorted office supplies. We love it!

Had the accessories been included as standard features, it’s likely that this model would have ranked second and perhaps even claimed top honors. However, since you have to pay extra for those things, it did tamp down the final score a little. Nonetheless, it is well-deserving of a spot on our list of finalists!

Honorable Mention: Flexispot Exercise Desk

The Flexispot Exercise Desk rounds out this section of our review. We included it for several reasons, but most notably, if none of our other top contenders are exactly what you’re looking for, we wanted to showcase another option.

Although the Flexispot didn’t rank quite as highly as our other contenders, it didn’t miss the mark by much. Although this bike desk has a few limitations, it has the basics covered, is a good investment, and is well worth considering.

To start with, let’s take a look at the core stats that define the model:

  • Overall Product Dimensions: 37.6” x 22.8” x 42.5” to 48.4”
  • Bike Desk Weight: 89 pounds
  • Maximum Supported Weight: 300 pounds
  • Seat Height Adjustment Range: 29.6” to 37.2”
  • Manufacturer’s Recommended Height Range: Users between 5’1” and 6’2”
  • Number of resistance levels: 8

A couple of observations here. First, it’s got a footprint that’s notably smaller than our top contenders, but with the wrinkle that it’s not collapsible. This is the model you want if you have some space to work with to set your bike desk up permanently.

An image of Flexispot Exercise Desk in Black color, Adjustable Seat

It supports a decent amount of user weight, falling squarely between our first and second-place winners. It has a fairly modest eight resistance adjustments, which means it can deliver a basic workout but not much in the way of fine-tuning or customizing.

The good news with this model is two-fold. First, it can frequently be found on sale, and if you catch it on sale, it becomes one of the best values in this market segment. Unlike all the other bike desks we’ve discussed, this one comes 99% assembled. All you have to do when your new bike desk arrives is snap the work tray on and go.

Something else about the work tray that’s worth considering: While our other top contenders have trays that will support something on the order of 40-50 pounds because this model’s work tray is mounted on the central column, it can support a whopping 99 pounds. The question becomes if you even have 99 pounds’ worth of work-related equipment, but even if not, the figure is impressive enough to warrant a mention!

It’s a good bike desk that falls short of greatness and isn’t quite in the same league as our top picks, but if you catch it on sale or are looking for something with no-fuss assembly, this one belongs on your shortlist.

What if Our Rankings Differ From Yours?

Although we’ve carefully considered each alternative seating option discussed here, we understand that needs, tastes, and preferences will differ.

Given that your rankings of these alternative desk chair ideas may differ from ours, that’s okay.

An image showing different types of Ball Chair

Below, we’ll spend some time discussing each of the seating options we just covered and offer tips for finding the right chair for you. It matters because each of these options serves a different segment of the market.

For instance, if your main goal is to find a chair to help you get through a workday while managing your chronic lower back pain, then a bike desk, no matter how awesome it might be, isn’t a good fit for you.

This section’s ultimate purpose is twofold: First, it will guide you to the right alternative office seating and help you make the best choice among the products available in that corner of the market. Let’s take a closer look.

Tips For Choosing the Perfect Ball Chair

Ball chairs are primarily good for two things: improving spinal alignment, thereby reducing nerve compression, and giving your core a good workout. They’re a good choice for anyone who suffers from chronic back pain and wants to get healthy and fit and make their office chair an integral part of their overall fitness plan.

Unfortunately, finding the right ball chair can be a tricky proposition. If you were buying a conventional office chair, you could look at the seat dimensions and the height adjustment range and decide if a given model was a good fit for you, but none of those things apply to stability balls.

Here, then, are the things to keep in mind when making your selection:

Determine the Kind of Ball Chair You Want

There are several different subcategories of ball chairs, so the first order of business is to determine what you want from your new seat. In the simplest form, you buy and sit down on an exercise ball.

That gives you a great core workout while sitting on your new “chair,” but it has a few issues.

An image of CanDo Classic Ball Chair in Black color, Front view

First, they’re not all that stable, so you might spend so much time focused on not falling off the thing that you can’t get any work done. Second, there’s no back support of any kind. If you’re specifically looking for back support, that’s a non-starter.

Then, of course, there’s the problem: if you’re sitting on a ball when you get up, it will roll across the floor. You’ll have to find and corral your “chair” whenever you’re ready to sit back down.

You could opt for a stationary ball with a base or feet to solve the rolling problem and offer more stability. Still, the trade-off is that the natural core strengthening effects of sitting on an exercise ball will be blunted, and you still don’t have a proper seat back.

If you buy an exercise ball with a seat back and possibly armrests, you’ll have an office chair with a ball seat. It’s more comfortable than most conventional office chairs. Still, it offers the benefit of better spinal alignment and a reduction of spinal compression, but you lose most of the health benefits. Since the ball is no longer free to move, your core won’t get much of a workout.

Rightsizing Your Exercise Ball

When you sit on a correctly sized exercise ball, the following conditions should be true:

  • Your knees should be level or slightly lower than your pelvis, creating something quite close to a 90-degree angle.
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor in front of you, and your weight should be evenly distributed.
  • Your ears, shoulders, and pelvis should all be in alignment with each other. It would be best if you did not have to lean your body to one side or another to serve as a counterbalance. If you’re not happy with your alignment in the chair, fixing that is usually as simple as bouncing up and down on the ball slightly a few times.

Exercise balls come in five different standardized sizes. Consult the chart below, find your height range, and it will help you zero in on the ball diameter that’s right for you:

How Tall Are You?Get An Exercise Ball This Size
5’ or less45 cm
5’1” to 5’8”55 cm
5’9” to 6’2”65 cm
6’3” to 6’7”75 cm
6’8” or taller85 cm

Understand, however, that the chart above is just a general guideline. It’s crucial to test before you buy because if you have a heavier or lighter build than average, moving one size category up or down might provide you with a better overall fit, as described by the three conditions we discussed above.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to leave your stability ball fully inflated. If you let some of the air out, it won’t try to roll away from you when you get up, which gives you most of the benefits of buying a ball chair with a base without having to spend money on the actual base.

Naturally, if you do this, then the workout your core gets will be inferior to what you’d get from a fully inflated exercise ball, but it’s certainly an option to consider if you can’t quite get the fit you’re looking for, and you don’t want to have to go chasing after your chair every time you stand up.

Tips for Choosing Between a Balance or Saddle Stool

If you’re considering a stool as an alternative to an office chair, there are a couple of things to factor into your thinking that will guide you toward the right choice.

First and foremost, balance stools (and their close cousins, standing stools) are designed primarily for people who have active jobs that see them up and moving around for as much of the day as they spend sitting.

In general, these types of stools aren’t a good choice if you plan to park your butt in front of a computer and work all day, although a balance stool with a saddle-style seat could be used like that in a pinch.

An image of Varier Move Stool in Black color

The general rule of thumb here is: The more time you spend on your feet and moving about for any given day, the happier you’ll be with a balance stool. The more time you spend in one place, the happier you’ll be in a saddle stool.

The other issue to consider is how much of a workout you want your office seating to give you. 

Like stability balls, balance stools give your core a pretty good workout simply by sitting in them. If that’s important to you, even if they’re not quite as comfortable for long-term sitting, you may find yourself gravitating in the direction of a balance stool.

Saddle stools represent an excellent way to improve your posture and are great for mitigating lower back pain, but there’s a trade-off. If you plan on sitting on one for most of the day, you may suffer some hip discomfort by day’s end (although the Salli stool gets around this for the most part, given its highly adjustable seat). You may also experience some numbness in your buttocks in the same way you would if you spent the better part of the day riding a bike with a saddle-style seat.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Kneeling Chair

Kneeling chairs are an excellent choice for people looking for alternatives to conventional office chairs and spend most of their day sitting down. They’re especially beneficial to people who suffer from hip, knee, and lower back pain. If you suffer from any of those, some kneeling chair belongs to your shortlist of alternative seating options to consider.

An image of Varier Wing Balans Kneeling Chair in Blue color

If you can afford it, there’s really only one choice to make here. You want a Varier chair (either the Balans or the Wing). To this day, they represent the gold standard in this corner of the market and are the chairs that everybody else tries hard to emulate.

If you don’t have that kind of cash, then there are many decent budget options available, but they’ll all leave you wanting in one way or another.

Note that one of the limitations of kneeling chairs is that it’s virtually impossible to find one that supports more than 250 pounds of user weight. Even the best kneeling chairs in the business seem to stick close to this weight limit. If you’re heavier than that, it’s going to be a challenge to find one that will work for you.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Bike Desk

While the other alternative seating options we’ve talked about in this roundup give you a nice passive workout, using a bike desk is a decidedly active form of sitting. As such, it’s got the potential to give you a much better and more robust workout, which will see you getting healthier and losing weight faster, assuming those are your goals.

Understand, though, that these are reasonably sizeable contraptions, so the significant limiting factor is space.

Another big factor is the type of job you have. If you have a fairly active job that sees you getting up and moving around regularly, then you won’t be spending extended periods at your bike desk, so the limitations of the seat design won’t be much of a problem.

An image showing that a girl stands with Exerpeutic ExerWork 2000i Folding Bike Desk

While it’s theoretically possible to spend an entire workday sitting at your bike desk, the seats aren’t really comfortable enough to do that every day, which means you’ll want to have both a bike desk and a regular desk with some other type of seating on offer.

Not only is that more expensive in terms of the amount of furniture you’ll have to buy, but it further magnifies the space issue.

Even so, if getting healthy is your goal, then a bike desk is an incredibly strong option that will see you burning far more calories and do more to tone your muscles than anything else in this roundup review.

If you’re not entirely sold on the idea, it’s worth looking into treadmills or standing desks.

Those products are outside the scope of this review, but we wanted to mention them briefly so you’re aware of your other options.

Final Thoughts on Office Chair Alternatives 2024

There’s a lot of information in this review, and one of the things we hope our roundup of office chair alternatives has revealed is how big and vibrant this market segment is. If you’re becoming increasingly frustrated by the options available in the world of conventional office furniture, you’ll find a lot to like here.

While we absolutely stand by all of the recommendations made here, we also understand that with so many alternative chairs for office use to choose from, it may still be challenging to find the one that’s best for you. That’s why we also included a section briefly discussing the pros and cons of each of the major types of unconventional office seating.

If it’s something you’re interested in exploring, we are confident you’ll find what you’re looking for somewhere in this review. The question, then, is which of these is right for you?

Recommended Reading

Office Chair for Short Person

Our comprehensive review compiles the best office chair for shorter individuals today.

Ergonomic Office Chair Under 150 Dollars & 100 Dollars

In this roundup review, we took a deep dive into the best ergonomic office chairs under $150 and $100.


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