5 Best Active Sitting Chairs (Better Posture at Work)

In the Western world, countless people sit for most of the day.

Prolonged sitting weakens your legs and glutes, contributes to weight gain, creates chronic back pain, and increases the risk of anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Even if you exercise regularly, a sedentary workday will still damage your body.

To make a sedentary job more active and improve your posture, you can incorporate active sitting into your workspace.

During an active sitting session, you engage some of your muscles while sitting in a chair.

While standing desks and bouncy balls have gotten some attention, some jobs require you to take a seat. Active sitting helps you make small movements that will improve your strength and well-being with minimal effort.

Our review focuses on some of the best active sitting chairs to introduce some motion into your day. It will end with a buyer’s guide and some frequently asked questions so you won’t waste your time on a lousy chair.

Best Overall – Seville Classics Airlift 360 Stool

Seville Classics Airlift 360 Sit-Stand Adjustable Ergonomic Active Balance Non-Slip Desk Stool, Black

The best overall active sitting chair is the Seville Classics Airlift 360 Stool. We love the affordable price of this chair, and it offers excellent comfort and stability.

Furthermore, it is incredibly easy to assemble, with no tools required. This active sitting chair advertises itself as a sit/stand chair, but its height only allows shorter individuals to stand while using it.

This stool employs a plush foam cushion and a non-slip base and it helps you to correct poor posture by engaging your core muscles throughout the day. The design is sleek, clean, and minimalistic, letting the chair seamlessly slip into your office, dorm, or home.

Key Specs:

  • The stool weighs just over 16 pounds
  • 15.75” width cushion can comfortably carry most people
  • This seat offers four inches of adjustable height (24” to 28”) with a gas pneumatic adjustment.
  • The Swivel ‘N Lean feature allows you to lean up to 10 degrees from normal and rotate 360 degrees so you can spin, wobble, and tilt.
  • Supports up to 250 pounds.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Adjustable height
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Easy assembly
  • Allows for many different motions
  • Durable materials

Cons:

  • Slippery cushion
  • May not be suitable for taller individuals
  • False advertisement – does not work for most standing desks and comes with wheels

What Customers Are Saying:

Some users have complained that the cushion was slippery and that the height was too low for them to use with a standing desk.

The Seville Classics Airlift works best as a sitting stool, and you can consider purchasing a cushion cover to alleviate the slipperiness. Others reported that it came looking different than the photo as it had wheels. However, these are removable.

Also Check Out: The Swopper Chair Review (Motion Seating)

Best Budget Option – Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair

Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair – Exercise Stability Yoga Ball Premium Ergonomic Chair for Home and Office Desk with Air Pump, Exercise Guide and Satisfaction Guarantee, Charcoal

The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is a low-cost way to improve your health.

The 20.5” diameter balance ball design promotes correct spinal alignment to relieve back pain.

It focuses on micro-movements that forge a mind-body connection, raising energy levels and increasing productivity.

The chair’s backing provides extra support, so you won’t have to work too hard to sit upright.

We appreciate that Gaiam consulted the chiropractor Dr. Randy Weinzoft when creating this design. That way, you know that this medically-approved chair will alleviate your back pain.

Also, it comes in lots of colors so you can coordinate it with your home or office. Not to mention the desk chair exercise guide helps to shake up your active sitting routine.

Key Specs:

  • Ideal for 5’ to 5’11” height range, but Gaiam sells 2” leg extenders for taller individuals.
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds.
  • The ball chair comes with four caster wheels and an air pump to customize your experience.
  • 13 pounds

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Works for many heights
  • Approved by a chiropractor
  • Comes in lots of colors
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Promotes micro-movements and desk exercise routines
  • Customizable firmness and removable wheels

Cons:

  • Prolonged assembly time
  • Made of cheap materials
  • May lack longevity and durability

What Customers Are Saying:

Some customers say that the setup process isn’t the quickest. You may have to inflate the ball several times with the air pump. Many user complaints derive from not properly pumping the ball with air and placing the back support on the wrong side.

However, if you follow the instructions, you should be able to assemble this chair easily.

Because this product costs so little, you shouldn’t expect the highest quality material.

Nevertheless, many have found great comfort and pain relief from this chair. If you purchase it, play around with the inflation to find the best firmness, and figure out if you want to keep the caster wheels.

Best Premium Chair – SWINGSIT Active Sitting Chair

SWINGSIT Active Sitting Chair, Get Fit and Active While Sitting, Continuous Movement, Improve Circulation and Burn Calories, for Home and Office [A Series]

If you have a big budget, you may want to consider the SWINGSIT Active Sitting Chair. This chair swings with you, letting you continuously move while sitting. The Effecore technology imitates your core’s natural movement while swaying.

Swinging for 25 minutes provides similar benefits to a one-mile walk, like core activation, blood circulation, and posture correction.

This chair emphasizes its calorie-burning potential, making it a nice choice if you wish to lose a few pounds. Additionally, it increases energy levels, relieves back pain, improves posture, and boosts productivity.

The design keeps your upper body stationary, so only your core moves. That way, you can focus on your work while trimming your waistline.

Key Specs:

  • Comes with wheels, back support, armrests, a headrest, and memory foam cushioning for optimal comfort and support.
  • The armrests and the seat have adjustable heights.
  • Weighs 63.6 pounds

Pros:

  • High-tech chair swings on its own to help you move continuously
  • Large calorie-burning potential
  • Activates core while keeping head, neck, and shoulders stationary
  • Usable as a regular chair
  • Extremely comfortable and ergonomic
  • Adjustable seat, armrests, and headrest

Cons:

  • Extremely expensive
  • Unclear specifications in terms of dimensions, weight capacity, and materials
  • Most reviews come from sponsorships

What Customers Are Saying:

Since this is a relatively recent product, a limited amount of users offered feedback. Majority of  users like that you can lock the swinging action to remain still if you want to use it as a regular chair.

Others like the SWINGSIT Sensor that connects to an app to determine your calorie burn and your total number of swings.

This high-tech chair can innovate the way you sit without feeling like you’re exercising, as with many other active sitting chairs.

Others were a little hesitant to try since there are no exact specs for weight capacity or dimensions. The higher price was also a drawback for some.

Best For Pain – Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair

Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair Designed by Peter Opsvik (Black Revive Fabric with Natural Ash Base)

If you have chronic back pain from a sedentary lifestyle, you need an active sitting chair.

The Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair features a minimalistic Norwegian design and has existed for 40 years. It is a tried and true kneeling chair, made of high-quality materials for the best experience.

The wood is flexible and strong, and the design follows your body’s natural movements. The cushion’s padding and fabric are springy, durable, and comfortable.

Using this chair stimulates your muscles, with an emphasis on core balance. Strengthening these muscles minimizes spinal pressure and helps your upper body to relax with good posture.

This kneeling chair comes with fidget options so you can rock or wiggle around. However, you will need felt pads or soft tape to protect your floor, as the chair will scratch it.

Key Specs:

  • Variety of colors
  • Wood supports instead of metal or plastic
  • Weighs around 14 pounds
  • Weight capacity is 240 pounds

Pros:

  • Minimalist design with many color options
  • Lightweight and portable
  • No height limit
  • High-quality wood and padding
  • Flexible, durable, and strong
  • The original kneeling chair that has existed since 1979
  • Manufactured in Europe
  • Alleviates back pain by building core strength and balance

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • No back support
  • Height and kneeling pads are not adjustable

What Customers Are Saying:

Many love how lightweight and portable the design is, as well as its long history of availability. Some commented that while the Variable Balans has no height limit, is it not adjustable, so someone very tall may want a different product.

The Varier Variable is somewhat pricey, but the quality makes it well worth the cost if you want to alleviate your pain and introduce more activity in your life.

Best For Children – Learniture Active Learning Chair

Learniture Active Learning Chair/ Stool, 18" H, Black, LNT-3046-18BK

If you have a child at home stuck on their computer or tablet all day, consider getting them the Learniture Active Learning Chair.

This plastic stool comes in a variety of heights and colors to fit your kid’s needs. It rocks and wiggles silently, making it perfect for class.

All in all, this chair is great for your active child that needs to focus or for an inactive kid who should get moving.

The bottom has a curved, textured, non-slip thermoplastic rubber that keeps the chair silent and still. Since it lacks backing, it encourages good posture and develops core strength. The chair itself comes from polypropylene, and it is simple to clean.

Key Specs:

  • The 12” one weighs 5.6 pounds and carries 75 pounds
  • 15” weighs 3.53 ounces and carries 165 pounds
  • 18” and 20” weigh 2.2 pounds and carry 250 pounds.
  • Each seat has a width of 13”.
  • The larger sizes work best with older children. It is unclear why the smallest one weighs the most, seeing as they are all made of rubber and polypropylene.

Pros:

  • Affordable cost
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Available in different colors and heights to fit your child’s needs
  • Helps active children focus and inactive kids increase activity levels
  • Designed for the classroom, but works at home
  • Comfortable seating

Cons:

  • Price changes often
  • A popular product that is frequently low in stock
  • Materials lack durability
  • Will need to buy a new one as your child grows

What Customers Are Saying:

Many parents have said that the Learniture improved their child’s behavior and wellbeing. We saw some complaints about the materials not being very durable, but most users have seen no issue on that front.

Related: Check out more great office chairs for kids

Buyer’s Guide

Adjustable Height Active Learning Stool - Padded Office Desk Chair with Rocking, Wobble, Tilting Motion - Black

When purchasing an active sitting chair, try to keep a few things in mind.

Assembly

First, figure out its ease of assembly. Something that comes assembled or requires no equipment will let you use your chair quicker and reduce the chance of misusing it. Also, it boosts the chair’s portability if you want to take it home from the office.

Cushion

Different people like varying amounts of cushioning. Maybe you like it soft or extra firm.

An inflatable ball design will allow you to adjust this yourself, but for more traditional stools or chairs, you will want to check out reviews for the seat’s plushness.

If it is a kneeling chair, ensure that the padding is sufficient to prevent bruising.

Height

Choose the best height for your needs. Keep the elevation of your desk in mind. If it is a sitting desk, a mid-height chair may be your best bet.

Lower desks work well with kneeling chairs, and standing chairs need tall stools. If you plan on using it for both standing and sitting desks, you should look for a chair with adjustable height.

Also, consider how tall you are when looking for the perfect seat. Having your feet planted on the ground will make muscle engagement much more manageable.

Room Space

Lastly, consider how much space you have. Smaller, simplistic designs often take up less space and have the added advantage of portability, like the Gaiam or Learniture. However, if you have a big area and don’t plan on moving the chair much, something like the SWINGSIT may work well.

Related: Check out some of the best rolling stools for your workshop

FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about the best active sitting chairs.

Does Active Sitting Count as Exercise?

Active sitting is a way to increase non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). You engage your muscles and make micro-movements throughout the day, improving muscular strength and balance while burning a few extra calories. However, sitting should not be your only form of exercise.

Since it requires minimal physical effort, you should implement a regular exercise routine to complement your active sitting.

It boosts calorie burn, but not to the point where you will lose a significant amount of weight by switching chairs.

Related: Check out some of the best exercises you can do at your standing desk

Why are Active Sitting Chairs Better than Exercise Balls?

Exercise balls are one way to introduce motion into your workplace cheaply, but they lack the necessary structural support for your sit bones, hindering good posture.

\Also, exercise ball heights are not adjustable and usually aren’t tall enough for a desk. They lack a backrest, which can make sitting tiring, reducing your focus and productivity.

A balance ball integrated into a chair, like the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair, compensates for a plain exercise ball’s shortcomings by keeping it stationary and providing a backrest.

Should I Get a Chair with Armrests?

Many active sitting chairs are more like stools, such as the Learniture Active Learning Chair and Seville Classics Airlift 360 Stool. Others, like the Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair, employ unconventional methods of sitting.

These chairs lack armrests because they stabilize your body, meaning you will use fewer muscles to stay upright.

Without armrests, you can better improve your posture and strengthen your core while also having more freedom of motion.

The SWINGSIT Active Sitting Chair has armrests to isolate your core muscles and wear you out less. Since the motion is automated, you do not have to focus as much energy on engaging your muscles because the chair does it for you.

The armrests and headrest may help you focus on your work better and facilitate a smoother transition to an active sitting chair.

How Can I Get Used to an Active Sitting Chair?

At first, active sitting chairs may tire you out. Many are like forms of low-intensity exercise equipment, and most people will not be able to jump right into using them all day.

Try to transition into full-time usage by switching between an active and traditional chair throughout the day, gradually increasing your time on the former.

Once you have adjusted to an active sitting chair, you won’t want to turn back. It will help your back pain, improve your muscle tone, and get you on your way to looking and feeling your best without a drastic change in your lifestyle.

Conclusion

Overall, our favorite chair is the Seville Classics Airlift 360 Stool because of how affordable, comfortable, durable, and adjustable it is. It is lightweight, stable, and lets you fidget around. You can also bring it between the home and the office.

We also like the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair since it is cheap, portable, colorful, and medically approved. While not the most durable, you get a great return on investment.

Our third favorite is the Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair because of its simple design, years on the market, excellent construction, and lack of a height limit. This chair is on the pricier side, but it will revolutionize the way you work.