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The best kneeling chairs: Improve your posture

What is the best kneeling chair? Our No. 1 pick is the Varier Variable Balans. But ZDNet combed through the many options available to choose the top five kneeling chairs that will take the pressure and pain off your lower back while fixing your posture.
allison-murray-2.jpg
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on

Working an office job means sitting for long periods of the day, and if you're not sitting correctly, this can hurt your shoulders and back. However, there's another chair option than your standard desk chair: a kneeling chair.

Kneeling chairs are more ergonomic than desk chairs since they decrease posture slope and ease lower back pain. This is because the lumbar slope when sitting in a kneeling chair allows angles in the legs to improve posture over time, and improved posture means less pain.

If you're interested in shaking up the way you sit, here are some of the best kneeling chairs available today.

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Amazon

Designed by one of the Norwegian designers of the original kneeling chair, Peter Opsvik, this chair has the classic kneeling chair (also known as a Balans chair) design while offering plenty of colors to choose from. You can choose from black on black, blue and natural, orange and natural, grey and natural, and more.

This chair has a weight capacity of 300lbs, the largest capacity on this list. It also comes with soft tape that you can put on the bottom legs to protect hardwood floors from scratches when your chair rocks back and forth while sitting on it.

Pros

  • Straightforward assembly
  • It comes in many colors
  • Largest weight capacity at 300 lbs

Cons

  • Can become creaky
  • Not adjustable
  • Expensive 
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Amazon

As a less costly option, this kneeling chair provides the same posture benefits while also being adjustable and having wheels to move around like your average desk chair.

Designed to hold up to 250lbs, this chair has a three-inch mesh cushion to support your shins and bottom while sitting in this new way. The chair is adjustable between 21 and 31 inches, so you can find the perfect sitting position and adjust the chair to your desk height.

Pros

  • Adjustable
  • Low cost
  • Wheels to move around

Cons

  • Does not rock
  • Instructions to put it together can be hard to follow
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Amazon

Another rocking option is the Sleekform Austin kneeling chair. This chair features a four-inch-thick cushioned seat and knee cushions and three reinforced 20 ply wooden bars at the bottom for extra support, making it super durable.

The weight limit for this chair is 265lbs, and the chair is the perfect height for the standard 29-inch table with a 70-degree seat cushion angle. You can also rock it back and forth while sitting on it to increase your blood flow and help maintain focus, and it is excellent if you're prone to fidgeting.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Thick cushions
  • Rocks back and forth

Cons

  • It cannot be adjusted
  • Those on the shorter side may find it difficult to get comfortable
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Amazon

This kneeling chair is outfitted with natural wood and a sleek design, making it a stylish option to improve your posture while working. The chair can be adjusted between 20 and 26 inches tall, depending on the height you need. It also has wheels so you can move around your office space if need be.

One caveat to this chair is that its maximum weight capacity is only 200lbs, though reviewers noted that it isn't as sturdy even at 190 pounds in some cases.

Pros

  • Adjustable design
  • Wheels make it easier to move around

Cons

  • Lower bodyweight limit (200 lbs max)
  • Foam padding could be thicker 
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Amazon

If you're not entirely set on the kneeling chair concept, this chair option could be a great compromise. This chair could be a great introduction to kneeling chairs since its seat is at a little less of an angle, and its added back support provides the ability to lean back that you're used to with a desk chair.

You can sit in this chair in a much wider range of positions than your average kneeling chair (such as turning it around and leaning your chest against the backrest while your feet are square on the floor) to always find comfort matter what. Like other options on this list, it also rocks back and forth.

Pros

  • Has back support as well
  • Classic Norwegian design
  • More ways to sit

Cons

  • Most costly option on this list
  • Limited color options
  • Not adjustable 

How do kneeling chairs work?

Kneeling chairs work by shifting the angle your body sits and where you place your weight. Your weight is still on your bottom when sitting, but the weight is placed on the shins when you shift or change positions. Therefore, it is essential that most of your weight is on your hips and that only about 10-15% is on your shins. Also, your kneecaps should not touch the padding; this will help your back be more aligned and balanced.

Keep in mind that there will be an adjustment period with your kneeling chair (especially when it comes to the new pressure you're putting on your shins), so don't start sitting on it for eight hours a day. Instead, see how you feel after sitting on it for an hour or two and switch back to your regular chair. You can work your way up to using your kneeling chair for an appropriate and comfortable time.

No matter what chair you are sitting on, it's recommended to take a short walk and stretch your back once every hour. 

What is the best kneeling chair?

Before jumping into the world of kneeling chairs, you'll have to consider what you want/need out of your chair. If you want to be able to rock, the Varier Variable Balans or the Sleekform Austin chair are both great options. If you'd like something that can be adjustable, choose the DRAGONN chair or the Flash Furniture model. And, if you're hesitant about kneeling chairs altogether and would feel more comfortable still having back support, opt for the Varier Variable Plus. 

Kneeling Chair

Price

Weight Limit

Adjustable?

Varier Variable Balans Chair

$379

300lbs

No

DRAGONN Chair

$110

250lbs

Yes

Sleekform Austin Chair

$230

265lbs

No

Flash Furniture Chair

$129

200lbs

Yes

Varier Variable Plus Chair

$600

240lbs

No

How did we choose these kneeling chairs?

We selected these kneeling chairs based on the amount reviews, the content of the reviews (both good and bad), product price, and comparison with competitor models.  

Are there alternative kneeling chairs worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into:

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