A stability ball offers a more active way of sitting behind your desk over the totally passive way we generally sit during an already immobile desk job.
More and more desk workers are defying their sluggish professional existence by using a stability ball as an office chair, in student dorms, and at home work stations.
We’ve gathered the best rated balance ball chairs for sitting and reviewed them.
Just to be clear, exercise or fitness ball chairs are also called;
therapy ball chairs, yoga ball chairs, stability balls, pilates balls for offices, gym balls, or ergo ball chairs.
Despite the complex nomenclature they all do the same thing; improve your posture and mitigate the slothful pose that is so typical for desk work.
Why sit on a yoga ball behind your desk?
Conventional desk chairs invite you to slouch and lounge for hours on end, with all kinds of detrimental effects on your body.
You don’t have to bounce, roll around, and roll your ball chair under your back to do back stretches in between emails to reap the benefits of these chairs. Although you could, if you felt like it.
Just by not being able to lean back into your regular office chair and on its arm rests you are improving an unhealthy pose.
As a result you’ll…
- sit more upright, with engaged core muscles and abs, a healthier spine, and better overall posture
- keep your core strong and prevent muscle pain, soreness and other discomfort
- force your core muscles to keep your balance because of the instability of the bal l which also coerces you to stay focused
- if you want you can easily do some exercises during brief breaks
- these micro workouts also boost focus and productivity
- you may burn some additional calories while you’re at it as well.
14 Best stability ball chairs for desks
1. Classic Gaiam Balance Ball Chair
One of the reasons this desk chair / exercise ball hybrid is so popular is because it provides lumbar support. This can be a plus and a minus.
Hardcore balance ball desk workers claim that not having lumbar support is the actual purpose. Others may experience difficulties with sitting on a balance ball. Especially when starting when you need to get used to it, or after hour-long sessions.
At 52cm it’s smaller than typical balance balls. This allows it to fit in between desks with drawers where larger balls may not fit.
The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is best suited if you’re in between 5′ and 5′ 11″ tall.
- helps relieve back pain
- no height adjustment
- swiveling and wheel locking could be better
2. Gaiam Custom Fit Adjustable Balance Ball Chair
For those who find balancing on ball chairs difficult, Gaiam has come out with a new model called the Custom Fit Adjustable Balance Ball Chair.
The chair includes adjustable legs, locking castor wheels, a cushioned backrest for lumbar support but the best feature is its height adjustability.
The chair is also latex-free and ideal for those with sensitive skin. Unfortunately, the chair only works for those in the range of 5’0”-5’11”.
- height adjustable
- adjustable legs
- works wonders for back pain and better posture
- may get sweaty in hot weather
- the lumbar support is too far back for many, forcing users to lose their good posture in order to use it.
3. Backless Balance Ball Chair
You may be wondering why you should consider buying the Gaiam Backless Balance Ball Chair when there’s a model that includes a backrest. After all, backrests are better for you, right? Not this time.
Having a backless ball chair encourages better posture because you have to balance yourself without any aids. You’ll get more of a core workout, and your posture will remain straight.
While lumbar support is all well and good (and necessary for some), this chair improves posture by teaching you how to sit properly on any chair.
- casters can lock
- assembly instructions lack clarity
- hard to assemble
4. Kids Balance Ball Chair
Even pint-sized human beings need proper posture. Give your kids an early start with the Gaiam Child Size Balance Ball Chair. Gaiam’s kid-sized model comes with a removable backrest so your child can use it when they need to rest their legs.
Parents with children that have learning disorders such as ADHD and Sensory Integration Processing Disorder have found this chair incredibly useful in helping their child focus. It’s just too bad that the chair is too small for many children, despite the age/size range listed.
- helps kids who can’t sit still and have difficulty concentrating focus and sit still
- size is appropriate for pre-schoolers and first and second graders
- not height adjustable
- wheels don’t lock
5. Zenergy Ball Chair
Safco’s Zenergy Ball Chair looks a little odd, but it’s a great alternative to more mainstream medicine ball chairs that feel a bit slippery. The Zenergy chair is covered in mesh to provide more grip while sitting.
The stationary glides are a mixed basket; on the one hand, you don’t have to worry about castor wheel locks failing you. On the other hand, it can be difficult to move the chair around. There’s no height adjustment feature either aside from how much you inflate the ball.
- stylish; looks better than most regular bouncing balls
- keeps in place when you stand up
- sturdy construction
- not your most affordable option
6. Rockin’ Roller Desk Chair
It’s hard to shop for teens, but you really can’t go wrong with the Rockin’ Roller Desk Chair. These quirky ball chairs come with a variety of designs that pair well with the typically colorful teenage décor.
Each cover is removable for cleaning, but the downside is that you have to dry-clean it, which can get expensive if your teen is messy with their snacks. Oddly enough, PB Teen’s website states that you aren’t supposed to use the chair without the cover, but at least you can use the ball without the stand.
7. Isokinetics Balance Exercise Ball Chair
The Isokinetics Exercise Balance Ball Chair looks much like its Gaiam counterpart, but if you look closely, you’ll notice a key difference. Isokinetics’ chair has a backrest that’s pushed forward, allowing the user to receive lumbar support without losing their perfect posture, whereas Gaiam’s chair forces you to lean back for it.
While the Isokinetics ball chair has many pluses, they’ve discontinued the height extenders that added 2” to the chair, making the limited height range the same as Gaiam’s. The vinyl material is uncomfortable in the summertime, so it’s not suitable for hotter climates.
- comfortable, adjustable backrest
- optional 2″ height adapter for persons taller than 5’11”.
- wheels may lock occasionally causing the chair to twist
Balance ball desk chair alternatives – Wobbly desk chairs for better posture and (work-)flow
You’re all for forcing your office-slouched body into a better posture? But feel that therapy ball chairs are just one step too far? The following desk chairs may offer you the benefits without the Spartan feel.
8. Buoy Chair
If balance ball chairs aren’t your thing, there are some creative alternatives on the market. The Steelcase Buoy provides a more active sitting experience and has a flat top for better balance.
The base swivels in order to allow you to rock back and forth, twist and turn, and generally stretch normally achy legs. Some complaints about the Buoy include the seat area, which barely has any cushioning to it and can make your butt sore. Overall, it may not be worth it for the price it’s currently at.
- encourages active sitting
- pneumatic height adjustable
- a built-in handle for easy moving
- too little cushion on the seat to sit on a full day
9. ErgoErgo Ergonomic stool
The ErgoErgo stool is a nice alternative to ball chairs because it’s usable indoors and outdoors. Rather than picking up sticky mess and lint, the stool is made from mess-free technopolymer and won’t roll out from underneath you because of its flat base.
If there is a problem with the ErgoErgo it isn’t it’s functionality, but rather its durability. Some of the ErgoErgo chairs are known to leak quite a bit of air. Despite this, it’s a very well received active sitting desk chair.
- affordable, “well worth the price.”
- no padding, you’re basically sitting on plastic
10. Kore Chair
The Kore Chair seems to be the perfect middle man. Rather than rolling or rocking, the chair “wobbles” just enough to thoroughly exercise your core muscles while staying put in one spot. Assembly is required, but the Wobble Chair goes together in a few simple steps.
It looks quite sophisticated for an ergonomic chair, making it ideal for office jobs and professional environments, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. Several models have had breakage issues centering around the base and lack of durability doesn’t make it an ideal choice.
- stable and flexible
- lacks durability
11. Pogo Task Stool
This three-sided stool encourages active sitting with its ergonomic shape. It features a raised footrest and pneumatic height adjustment so you can find the perfect position for you.
The slight instability of the seat means that you’re engaging your core while sitting on a Pogo, counteracting that sludgy feeling that comes from a day spent at a desk. Designed for busy offices, the Pogo works brilliantly for hot-desking spaces or as a seat for quick meetings.
- pneumatic height adjustable
- encourages active sitting
- 360 º swivel chair
- easy portable
- available in various colors
- slight instability
12. Mobis Seat
The tilting mechanism in the Mobis Seat encourages active sitting. It’s designed to give you a hip-to-torso tilt of 130 to 135 degrees, thought to be the best angle for a standing stool: leaning back at this angle reduces pressure on your hips and engages your muscles, while still being far more comfortable than standing up for long periods. It’s ideal to use with a standing desk.
- support a better posture
- a built-in handle for easy moving
- height- adjustable
- comfortable and solid
- not angle enough to use as a real standing stool
13. Swopper Height Adjustable Stool
If you want a truly durable ergonomic chair, the Swopper Stool is a great option. Granted, it’s not perfect, but you get some pretty outstanding quality for the price you pay (a wallet-crunching $699).
The stool is ideal for those who want an active sitting chair for back and hip issues. Although there’s a backrest available for purchase, going without is the better option to promote proper posture.
- high-end active sitting desk chair
- height adjustable
- some users have complained that the leather seat option is a bit slippery
14. Swopper Stool (special edition)
We saved the best for last. Improvements have been made to the original Swopper chair, and the Swopper Special Edition is turning heads. No tools are required for assembly, and color options for the seat material are now available.
This version is also lighter and not quite as cumbersome as its counterpart. The range of heights and weights the chair can support is rather large compared to other products on the market.
The price may irk some thrifty shoppers but many users find that $699 isn’t a lot to pay for an ergonomic chair that feels fabulous on your backside and brings you all the health benefits of modern desk sitting.
- it works wonders for sore backs and to improve posture in general
- padded seat
- allows for genuine mobility while seated (pivoting, rocking, bouncing)
- looks stylish
A short buying guide to help you consider the various aspects of getting the right-sized stability ball for you. Here’s what to keep in mind.
- Hybrids –Without the frame you may the ball too wobbly, with frame you don’t have all the benefits of a stability ball. Consider what you’re want in a chair or try various models before you buy.
- Proper size – Depending on how tall you are and your desk size / office set up you may find that your ball chair isn’t the right height or size for your desk. For the correct ergonomical position a balance ball chair should allow you to sit with tension-free shoulders hanging but straight.
- Proper inflation – Keep it as firm as possible, this ensures you’ll keep the correct height as is advertised.
- Size – Common sizes are; 55cm, 65cm, and 75cm. Sometimes, optional size extension tools are available.
Wrapping it up
If you’re new to desk working on a ball chair you should know it’s recommended to build up your time gradually.
Especially af first it can be tiring and discomforting to sit with your new, healthy posture for hours on end. Initially, your butt and back will hurt.
Just get up and walk around for a bit. Depending on your fitness level, your muscles will typically need a few weeks to get used and will get stronger quickly.
The above are all office ball chairs for adults. Here’s a review of the best active sitting chairs for children.
By Amber Autumn.