Humanscale Ballo Stool First Look
Like most reviews sites, our editorial staff and laboratory testing expenses are partially offset by earning small commissions (at no cost to you) when you purchase something through those links. Learn More
The Ballo (price: $ 399) is an active-seating stool manufactured by Humanscale, who also make the Quickstand desktop riser and the Float Table standing desk, which earned our ‘Experts’ Choice’ rating. It was created by Don Chadwick, the designer behind the famous Aeron Chair. The Ballo is a simpler kind of chair – a fun and portable multi-purpose stool for short-term sitting.
Our team of experts is currently evaluating the Ballo in our testing labs, and our definitive analysis review will be out soon. In the meantime, here’s an advance look at the Ballo.
Getting to the Core of the Matter
Humanscale advertises the Ballo as a portable active chair which, like the Back App and the Varier Move, have built-in instability that activates your abdominal core muscles and encourages your back and hips to move while you’re sitting. The Ballo achieves this instability with the two inflatable rubber domes that cover the top and bottom of the stool. These are separated by a cylindrical base, resulting in a shape that calls to mind an apple core. It’s purpose-built to be easily moved around, with a total weight of only 14.5 lbs. and handholds underneath the top for easy transport. This portability make the Ballo especially appealing for shared, casual spaces – cafeterias, break rooms, libraries, and anywhere else that can benefit from spontaneous active sitting.
The Ballo simplifies – and arguably improves – the design of the exercise balls that have spread throughout offices across the country in recent years. Exercise balls take up too much space and are prone to rolling out from underneath their owners, posing a safety hazard. The Ballo’s unique shape takes up less space than a whole ball, and its counterweight base keeps it neatly upright, so it can’t roll away from you.
Unlike many other chairs in this category, the Ballo is not height-adjustable, apart from the inflation level of the two domes. People come in different sizes, and not everyone will have the same experience sitting on the relatively short stool. Moreover, the lack of height adjustment also means that users have to consider their desk height if they plan on getting any work done on the Ballo. Naturally, adjustable-height desk users will have an easier time in this department (Score one for standing deskers!), but we’ll test it out at a standard fixed-height desk position as well.
The Ballo comes in seven different colors, which range from a demure black or sky blue to brighter, more saturated hues – you know, fun colors, which somehow seem an appropriate match for Ballo’s whimsical design. At $299, the Ballo is priced more affordably than the more adjustable active seating chairs, so you can furnish a whole conference room for the price of one “executive” chair. The Ballo is covered under a 3-year warranty, for lasting comfort and bounce.
We’re evaluating the Ballo in our testing labs, and will soon publish our comprehensive review. We are particularly interested in learning how the Ballo’s fixed height accommodates users of different heights.
Subscribe to our online monthly newsletter to be in the loop when our full Ballo review hits the press and to get the latest news, advice, and product reviews. Also check out our other active seating reviews for other weird and wonderful chairs.