Top Ergonomic Chair Reviews

August 7, 2020
Top Ergonomic chairs

What is An Active Chair?

As you stand at your desk all day, it may be tempting to plunge back into your cushy chair or at the very least lean on your desk to take a load off your back and legs. There’s nothing wrong with getting a bit of rest between standing or walking on a treadmill, but if you find yourself doing that often, you may want to explore intermediate solutions that will help you escape the chair as well as alleviate the hardship of prolonged standing.

Active workstation solutions are evolving so rapidly that even chairs (an old hallmark of inactivity) were bound to get a significant upgrade as well. Active chairs can be divided into two main subcategories—leaning stools and balance chairs. The only difference between them is ergonomics. While leaning stools keep your hips at an angle higher than 135 degrees (some models will practically have you standing), balance chairs allow you to move while seated.

Neither type is better than the other when it comes to raising energy expenditure, as shown by Mayo Clinic’s calorimeter testing, because both engage muscles in your legs and core and require an upright position, which also works your back. Prices differ all across the board, so choosing one over the other will be matter of personal preference rather than budget.

How to Choose One?

Before you start shopping for a new active seat, decide on the type you need. A leaning stool makes the transition toward standing easier. It keeps you upright but offers support to make prolonged standing more tolerable. A balance chair, on the other hand, might be a good option if you’re looking to keep active even as you sit.

When looking for a leaning stool, pay close attention to its seat. Shape, angle, and upholstery will determine its comfort and ergonomics. In our testing, we found the saddle and tractor shapes to work best. They don’t allow users to slip from the edge of the seat and don’t cut into the back of users’ thighs.

You won’t find a balance chair with a backrest, so if you’re replacing your regular chair, be sure to invest into one that at least provides lumbar support. It will help relieve some pressure from low back while sitting.

Chair base and weight limit are the two main factors that determine chair durability. If you need a strong, long-lasting chair, steel is the material to choose. Aluminum is both strong and lightweight, so it’s a better option if you need a chair that is easy to move.

Choosing a chair with an appropriate weight limit is crucial. Using one beyond its capacity may cause warping, foam compression, and breakage that may lead to injury. Regular office chairs are normally capped at 250 lbs, but tall options can go up to 800 lbs. Active chairs have average weight limits that range between 200 and 300 lbs.

If you are choosing an active chair for your traditional desk or a fixed height standing desk, it has to be the right height or have a decent adjustable height range to accommodate your setup as well as your height.

Standing Chair (Leaning Stool)

Standing chairs or leaning stools are great because they allow you to rest from standing without letting you sink into the hunch-inducing chairdom. They also keep the hips at an open 135-degree angle (as opposed to a constricting 90-degree angle). This takes the pressure off the lumbar area and creates a favorable upright position that’s closer to standing than sitting.

It doesn’t mean the stool guarantees you’ll be sitting with good posture. Most of these come with no back support, so it’s up to you to keep your back straight. You may also not want to stay in the half-sitting position for too long, because you will get tired from supporting your weight to stay perched on the edge of the seat.

We recommend using standing chairs as an intermediate solution between walking and standing. During lunch, you can plop on a regular chair, even sofa to allow your body solid rest.There are a few key players on the leaning stool market right now:

1. iMovR Birdi Perching Stool

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

Construction: Proprietary high-resilient foam cushion, non-marking rubberized bottom
Height Range: 25″ to 35″
Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
Colors: Navy, Black, Gray, Taupe
Warranty: 15 years on most components

Summary: The Birdi’s hourglass shape makes picking it up from the middle and carrying it like a regular bag a far simpler task than almost any balance chair, let alone traditional office chairs. It’s compact design is also worth noting for small workspaces and conference rooms where under-desk or closet storage is required.

Price: $159

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


2. iMovR Tempo Sit-Stand Stool

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

Construction: 100% polyurethane seat, chrome base
Height Range: 26″ to 34″
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Colors: Putty, Black
Warranty: Lifetime warranty

Summary: iMovR’s Tempo Sit-Stand Stool impressed us with both its quality and functionality. This American-made leaning stool works well with both treadmill and standing desks. It supports most of your weight and allows for active perching rather than normal sitting. Unlike many other stools, Tempo offers an ability to adjust the seat angle, which makes it more customizable to different anthropometry and sitting habits.

Price: $549

Read our full review Buy on iMovR


3. Focal Mogo

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

Construction: 100% polyurethane seat, chrome base
Height Range: 18″ to 37″
Weight Capacity: up to 200 lbs
Colors: Red, Black
Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Summary: Mogo may resemble a pogo stick, but at a closer inspection it is an elegant portable leaning stool that makes for a perfect addition to an active workstation. Perched on a stick with a ball, Mogo’s ergonomic leather seat keeps you comfortable, while the unstable base encourages constant subtle movement (which also puts it into the balance chair category). Portable and lightweight, Mogo is a great choice for those strapped for cash and space.

Price: $124

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


4. Focal Mobis Upright Seat

Experts’ Rating: 4-Stars

Construction: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon seat pan, EVA foam seat cushion, powder-coated, anodized extruded aluminum
Height Range: 25″ – 35″
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Colors: Red, Black, Yellow, Blue
Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Summary: Focal Mobis Upright Seat bears a close resemblance to Muvman—one of the first leaning stools by Aeris—but it comes with slight improvements. For one, Mobis uses a piece of flexible material in place of a spring strut to give the chair its mobility. And it also comes with a tractor-shaped seat that allows normal sitting at a lower height.

Price: $399

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


5. Muvman Leaning Stool

Experts’ Rating: 3.5-Stars

Construction: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon seat pan, EVA foam seat cushion, powder-coated, anodized extruded aluminum
Height Range: 20″ – 33″
Weight Capacity: 265 lbs
Colors: Black
Warranty: 3-year warranty

Summary: Muvman leaning stool has set a trend for adjustable height leaning seats. Inspired by the company’s previous design—Swopper chair—Muvman was made to accommodate the standing desk revolution. With a central pole angled at 4 degrees, the stool allows users to move around comfortably while perched, either on the edge or on top, of a comfy and convex leather seat. A stylish handle makes the chair portable.

Price: $449

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


6. Biofit Bimos Fin Leaning Chair

Experts’ Rating: 2-Stars

Construction: PU foam and brushed aluminum
Height Range: 24.5″ – 33.5″
Weight Capacity:
Colors: Silver and black
Warranty: 13-year warranty against mechanical or structural failure due to defective material or workmanship. Lifetime warranty on pneumatic cylinders.

Summary: It’s easy to love the Biofit Bimos Fin from first sight, but its performance can easily diminish the first impression. A non-contoured seat and a base inclined at 4 degrees does not make for comfortable sitting or leaning. You have to work hard to keep from sliding from the smooth PU foam seat, putting pressure on your legs and feet, which seems to defeat the purpose of a leaning stool, which is to relieve pressure.

Price: $863.97

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


7. Focal Upright Locus Leaning Stool

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

Construction: Fiberglass-reinforced nylon seat pan, EVA foam seat cushion, powder-coated, anodized extruded aluminum
Height Range: 31″ – 41″
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Colors: Red, Black, Yellow, Blue
Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty

Summary: We’ve reviewed Focal Upright Locus Leaning Stool as part of the Locus leaning workstation and loved how it performed on its own. What it lacks in Focal Mobis’s portability, it makes up in comfort providing users with a lavish anti-fatigue angled footboard that keeps the feet from overextending, which in most leaning stools is the cause of fatigue.

Price: $ 1,106

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


Balance Chairs

Balance chairs have become a niche following the fad that was the balance ball chair. In case you missed it, office workers took up using exercise balls in place of their regular office chairs. Gaiam made huge business by marrying a balance ball and a chair frame. Unfortunately, their product quality is very poor, according to numerous user reviews that report breakage after only two months of use. Quality options available on the market include:

1. BackApp 2.0 Active Chair

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

Construction: 99.9% recycled, die-cast aluminum
Height Range: 21.4″ – 30.3″
Weight Capacity: 242.5 lbs
Colors: Black, Red, Grey, Anthracite, Blue
Warranty: 2-year warranty against against construction fault and broken parts

Summary: The BackApp 2.0 chair is an improvement on the original seat that earned an Award for Design Excellence. This balance chair is unlike any exercise ball out there. Safe and ergonomically sound, it will keep you seated firmly in the Alcantara-upholstered saddle while allowing you to move and balance thanks to the adjustable red ball feature that gives it its wobble. It is the best balance chair in the market right now. Its only downside is that it’s too tall to be used with a fixed-height standing desk.

Price: $596

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


2. CoreChair Active Ergonomic Chair

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

Construction: made from recycled or recyclable materials. Seat covers are made from 100% recycled post consumer polyesters (water bottles).
Height Range: reg: 17.1″-19.2″; tall: 18.7″-22.3″
Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
Colors: Green and Black, Black, Blue, Gray
Warranty: 12 years

Summary: CoreChair is the first NEAT-certified active chair. Unlike all others, it features a short backrest that, in conjunction with a sculpted seat, creates a balanced spinal position. There are 48 moving parts in the mechanism that allow the chair to move up to 14 degrees in any direction, which means you can balance, fidget, and sway—good options for when you can’t stand.

Price: $795

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


3. Varier Move Leaning Chair

Experts’ Rating: 4-Stars

Construction: 99.9% recycled, die-cast aluminum
Height Range: 22″-32.3″
Weight Capacity: 242.5 lbs
Colors: Grey, Green, Black, Red
Warranty: 7 year warranty for wooden base, all mechanical parts warranty for 5 years, and foam and upholstery for 3 years

Summary: Move by Varier is for those who want a leaning chair that could also be used for normal sitting or a balance chair that does not force constant adjusting movements but rather allows them. A stylish upholstered saddle seat lends the stool its elegance, but it is prone to compression, so we recommend that heavier users look for a sturdier product. Closer to a traditional stool, Move provides more comfort for consecutive sitting hours while raising energy expenditure by almost 20%. It is the second chair to receive NEAT certification.

Price: $349

Read our full review Buy on Amazon


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