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Sitting at your desk for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable, resulting in bad posture and neck and back problems. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to a Harvard Medical School blog post, sitting too long can also increase the chances of developing deep vein thrombosis, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
While an adjustable standing desk can greatly improve your health, it’s only part of the healthy work environment equation. You also need the right chair to maximize the desk’s effects.
“Whether you’re sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, being in the same position for too long will lead to postural strains, poor circulation, and generally could bring rise to new aches and pains,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, B.S., D.C., CSCS, at the Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pa. “If you are using a sit-to-stand desk, opting to also have a sit-to-stand chair could be beneficial if you are looking for a bit of added support in a standing or sitting position.”
Most adjustable standing desk chairs are categorized as either drafting chairs or active seating stools. We researched the best options—and reached out to get input from experts—to narrow our list down to the nine best adjustable standing desk chairs.
Best Overall: Seville Classics Airlift 360 Sit-Stand Desk Stool
Rotates 360 degrees
Only two color options
Seat Dimensions: 15.75-inch diameter | Item Weight: 16.1 pounds | Seat Material: Mesh-covered foam | Height Adjustment: 20 to 28 inches | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
The best overall standing desk chair is the Seville Classics AIRLIFT 360 Sit-Stand Adjustable Ergonomic Active Sitting Stool. It’s an active balance chair with a half-dome shape that rotates 360 degrees and can also lean 10 degrees off center. As a result, you can tilt, wobble, and spin while sitting on the chair. The seat has a thick foam cushion covered by breathable mesh. It’s easy to lift and lower the chair by using the AIRLIFT pneumatic gas adjustment level.
You can raise the chair’s height from 20 to 28 inches to find the perfect height. And with a weight limit of 250 pounds, the chair is designed to comfortably hold most people. If you’re concerned about the chair toppling over when you tilt or spin, don’t be: A circular, nonslip base keeps the chair in place—and keeps the chair from ruining your floor. It’s also easy to assemble the chair, and no tools are necessary.
The AIRLIFT 360 comes in two color options: blue and black.
All of this is available at a great price, making the AIRLIFT 360 our best overall chair.
Best Budget: SONGMICS Office Stool Chair (UOSC01BK)
Swivels 360 degrees
Two height-adjust levers
No color choices
Does require assembly
Seat Dimensions: 14.6-inch diameter | Item Weight: 17.4 pounds | Seat Material: Polyester-covered Reflex foam | Height Adjustment: 19.7 to 27.6 inches | Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
If you’re looking for an inexpensive adjustable standing desk chair, the SONGMICS Standing Desk Chair fits the bill. Padded with 2.6-inch-thick high-density Reflex foam (covered with polyester fabric), it has a very cushy seat. The chair swivels 360 degrees and tilts 8 degrees, providing plenty of movement.
You can raise the chair from 19.7 to 27.6 inches in height, so it’s ideal for various adjustable desk heights and various users. It’s also easy to adjust: There are levers on both sides of the chair for your convenience. In addition, the chair is sturdy, with a generous weight capacity of 265 pounds, and it has an anti-slip bottom.
Assembly is easy, requiring no tools to set it up.
Best for Back Support: Modway Veer Drafting Chair
Four color options
Flip-up padded arms
May be uncomfortable for short people
Seat Dimensions: 19 × 20 inches | Item Weight: 32 pounds | Seat Material: Mesh-covered foam | Height Adjustment: 21.5 to 29.5 inches | Weight Capacity: 331 pounds
If you’re not a fan of backless adjustable standing desk chairs, then the Modway Veer Drafting Chair provides the support that your back needs. The chair’s back is made of breathable mesh and has lumbar support.
Also, the seat—which has a 2.5-inch-thick cushion covered in mesh—has a waterfall design for your legs. Since it’s an ergonomic drafting stool, the height adjusts from 21.5 to 29.5 inches, and the foot ring keeps your feet from dangling. It’s a good option for tall people. Adjusting the chair is easy, using the one-touch pneumatic lift. You can swivel the chair 360 degrees and even flip up the padded arms 90 degrees.
The chair is easy to assemble and available in black, blue, gray, and red.
Best Eco-Friendly: Varier Move Tilting Saddle Stool
Wood harvested from sustainable forests
Three color choices
Seat Dimensions: 17 inches in diameter | Item Weight: 16.81 pounds | Seat Material: Upholstery-covered foam | Height Adjustment: 22 to 32.3 inches | Weight Capacity: N/A
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly choice, consider the Fully Variér Move stool. The wooden base (beech plywood) is harvested from sustainable forests and covered with an ash top veneer. The base also has an integrated rubber disk, which allows the chair to move 360 degrees on any type of floor surface—including carpet.
The saddle seat is designed to support your posture, keep your back and abdominal muscles active, and reduce pressure on your spine. The seat also has cushy foam covered by upholstery. Using the adjustable gas lift, the chair’s height can easily be lifted from 22 to 32.3 inches. In addition, there’s a rubber fixture underneath the chair that allows you to hang the chair on the side of your desk.
The Fully Variér Move is available in three colors: black, blue, and gray.
Best for Tall People: Vari Active Seat
Adjusts to 35 inches in height
No assembly needed
No color options
Seat Dimensions: 17 × 13 inches | Item Weight: 23.84 pounds | Seat Material: Vinyl-covered foam | Height Adjustment: 25½ to 35 inches | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
The Vari Active Seat rises considerably higher than most adjustable standing desk chairs that we’ve seen, making it a good choice for tall users. Using the commercial-grade, air lift piston mechanism, the chair can easily adjust in height up to 35 inches.
It also has a wider seat of 17 inches, compared to the Vari Active Seat Basic version, which has a 14-inch seat. The seat is made of foam, which is covered by vinyl. Also, the seat can accommodate up to 250 pounds.
The fully articulating pedestal lets you lean and rock in any direction while standing or sitting. However, it also has a tilt guard to ensure that the seat doesn’t move forward more than 20 degrees.
The Vari Active Seat arrives fully assembled.
Best Weight Capacity: SOHO Soft Pad Drafting Chair
Supports up to 400 pounds
Ten choices (seven vegan leather, three fabric)
May be too tall for short people
Seat Dimensions: 18.5 inches | Item Weight: 50 pounds | Seat Material: Vegan leather or poly-cotton fabric cushion | Height Adjustment: 24.5 to 33 inches | Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
Drafting chairs are frequently used with adjustable standing desks, and the SOHO Soft Pad Drafting Chair is ergonomically designed to enhance the features of work/stand desks. The steel frame and aluminum base make it study enough to support up to 400 pounds. There’s also a steel foot ring so your feet won’t dangle.
The chair tilts and swivels, and it uses an easy-to-operate gas lift lever to adjust in height from 24.5 to 33 inches. The chair also has three supportive pads; one seat cushion and two back cushions provide comfort and support for your rear end and your back. The chair ships with armrests but is designed so it can be used with or without them.
Vegan leather color choices include black, white, brown, dark brown, blue, gray, and dark gray. Fabric options include dark blue, gray, and dark gray.
Best Ergonomic: LeanRite Ergonomic Leaning Stool with Mat
Provides a variety of ergonomic positions
Built-in anti-fatigue mat platform
Optional electric back massager
Seat Dimensions: 15.24 inches | Item Weight: 37 pounds | Seat Material: Closed-membrane integral skin foam | Height Adjustment: 22.5 to 46.2 inches | Weight Capacity: 270 pounds
The LeanRite Ergonomic Standing Chair is designed to provide a totally ergonomic experience. The seat can be manipulated to support a variety of positions and adjusts in height from 22.5 to 46.2 inches.
While standing, the chair tilts to provide lumbar support; you can also flip the seat vertically for even more back support while standing. The seat can also be lowered to tailbone height when you want to sit in an angled perch position. In addition, you can lower the chair somewhat, to sit on the stool in an upright position, or fully, for a more traditional seating experience. The chair also has a built-in fatigue mat platform that provides ergonomic support for your feet.
The chair is sturdy and weighs 37 pounds, but it includes wheels to make it easy to move. Optional accessories include the electric back massager and footrest.
Best Splurge: Humanscale Freedom Saddle Stool
More than 12 options, in leather and fabric
Customizable frame, cylinder, and casters
Customization is expensive
Seat Dimensions: 22 inches | Item Weight: 14 pounds | Seat Material: Leather or fabric cushion | Height Adjustment: 17.5 to 33 inches, depending on customization selection | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
If price isn’t a factor, consider the Humanscale Freedom Saddle Stool. It’s expensive but worth it. The triangular cushion provides a “saddle” posture, which reduces pressure points and encourages a 135-degree posture instead of the traditional 90-degree posture that causes slouching. It also has a generous 22-inch seat and is designed so you can sit in multiple positions.
The chair can also be customized every step of the way. You can choose a graphite frame or get polished aluminum with graphite trim. Other options include a leather or fabric seat, and there are 13 color choices, including black, dark brown, pumpkin, peacock and Thalo shades of blue, and balsam green.
Instead of a standard cylinder, you can choose among several other types, including a low cylinder, high cylinder, and cylinder with foot ring. Caster options include standard, soft casters, glides, or locking casters.
Best for Versatility: Capisco Puls by HÅG
Cushioned seat and back
Can sit in any direction
Seat may be too narrow for some
Seat Dimensions: 8.5 inches | Item Weight: 30.5 pounds | Seat Material: upholstered cushion | Height Adjustment: 22.5 to 33 inches | Weight Capacity: N/A
If you like the idea of a saddle chair but would prefer a backrest, the Fully HÅG Capisco Puls offers the best of both worlds. It’s designed so you can sit forward, backward, or even sideways and stretch, lean, or perch on the chair. The chair is fully adjustable, meaning you can vary not only the seat’s height (using the pneumatic lift) but also its depth. In addition, you can adjust both the height and tilt of the chair’s back.
The ability to make these tweaks can help you find the best position for maximum health while sitting down. The chair has a smaller seat (8.5 inches), but it allows you to sit with your legs closer together. The aluminum base is available in three colors (black, silver, and white), and color options for the seats are black, “fathom” (a blue shade), and light gray.
The Seville Classics AIRLIFT 360 Sit-Stand Adjustable Ergonomic Active Sitting Stool (view at Amazon) is our top pick. You can tilt, wobble, and spin while sitting on the chair, which has a thick foam cushion covered by breathable mesh. Lifting and lowering the chair is easy, and the chair is also offered at a good price.
If you prefer back support, the back of the Modway Veer Drafting Chair (view at Amazon) is made of breathable mesh and has lumbar support. It’s also easy to adjust, and the arms can be flipped up 90 degrees.
What are the advantages of a standing desk chair or stool? Are there any disadvantages?
According to Dr. Rahul Shah, board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon in Vineland, N.J., standing desk chairs and stools are a modification of high stools and traditional chairs. “They can serve to help you stand or sit in a semi-erect fashion with support,” he says. “These chairs, by definition, will allow the hips to be somewhat flexed and the pelvis somewhat more tilted—as compared to being upright.”
For people with hip problems, Dr. Shah says these types of chairs can have advantages and disadvantages. “People may find these chairs help with alleviating hip pain, especially the type of hip pain that is experienced in a low chair or couch,” he says.
On the other hand, since the pelvis is tilted in a forward position, Dr. Shah says these types of chairs can also be harmful. “They could also encourage slouching with rounding of the lower back,” he says.
Ariana Ince is an ergonomics consultant at State Compensation Insurance Fund in California. She is a Certified Personal Ergonomist (CPE) who works with policyholders to make workplaces safer and protect workers from injury. “A standing desk chair can make it more likely that you will alternate between sitting and standing more frequently—which is the actual advantage of owning a sit-stand desk,” she says.
But Ince says an adjustable standing desk chair will only be advantageous if you’re actually going to take advantage of the desk’s benefits. “If you find that you prefer to sit the majority of the time, this option may not be best,” she warns. “The taller chairs don’t allow you to place your feet on the ground for support, and the ring on the chair, designed to use for leg support, limits where you can place your feet, restricting your leg movement while seated.”
And if you get a stool that lacks back support, Ince says it’s possible that you will end up slumped over by the end of the day—unless you have the abs of an Olympic gymnast. That’s why you should vary standing and sitting throughout the day.
Drafting chairs vs. stools
Adjustable standing desk drafting chairs and stools serve different functions. Instead of continuously raising and lowering the desk, some people prefer to keep the adjustable standing desk at standing height. Since drafting chairs are tall and provide rings to keep your feet from dangling, they’re a good choice for people who want to sit at a raised height. They also provide a backrest, which is helpful to people with back problems, and they offer armrests.
On the other hand, stools provide active standing, which means that even though you’re sitting down, you’re moving around on the chair. You can tilt, lean forward, and rotate on the stool, and this works the muscles in your back, core, and legs, which helps you to burn calories. Some people admit that when they start using adjustable standing desk stools, they find them uncomfortable, so it may be best to start out using the stools for maybe 20 to 30 minutes at a time, then build up to using them for longer periods of time.
Tips for choosing the best adjustable standing desk chair
Dr. Shah recommends test-driving an adjustable standing desk chair (so if you buy it online, make sure that you can send it back if it doesn’t work for you). “Pay attention to how your hips feel and how your back feels,” he advises. “I would recommend that you try to see how much the height and angle of the chair can be modified and if any of these positions affect comfort.”
In addition, Dr. Shah recommends trying a chair for at least 15 minutes before reaching a conclusion. “The 15-minute mark is a good rule of thumb for when muscles fatigue when you’re in an awkward position,” he says.
Why to Trust Investopedia
After researching dozens of highly rated adjustable standing desk chairs (and consulting with experts), we used several factors to narrow down our picks. The ability to provide ergonomic support while being comfortable was the most important factor. We also evaluated the quality of each product, including materials and sturdiness, and provided selections at a variety of price points.
Terri Williams is a professional writer who has tested hundreds of products. She has written product reviews for Tom’s Guide, The Spruce, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, and more. She also has personal finance bylines at Time, Yahoo!, The Balance, and Realtor.com, in addition to Investopedia.