The Best Ergonomic Kneeling Chairs
At 9 to 5 ergonomics, we like to talk about ergonomic chairs. Recently, we discussed the best ergonomic office chairs on the market as well as the the best office chairs under 200 dollars in the value segment. We’ve also started looking at more niche products, such as the best chairs for gamers. Today, we’re continuing our look at the niche chair market with our guide to the best ergonomic kneeling chairs.
Kneeling chairs are not a particularly new concept, but the design of kneeling chairs has evolved dramatically over the past few years. The kneeling chair attempts to resolve three key problems with typical office chairs.
First, typical office chairs have a bad habit of placing the spine in a rounded position. Though a rounded back position can be alleviated by focusing on proper sitting technique, the reality is that many Americans lack the core strength and flexibility to sit properly. A kneeling chair inherently promotes a better spinal posture by removing the back support found on office chairs and positioning the hips in a more forward position, thereby encouraging a posture somewhere between that of sitting and standing.
Second, a more upright posture improves diaphragm position and promotes more efficient breathing. This is particularly important when working at a desk job that requires deep concentration. Often we neglect our regular breathing patterns and other natural rhythms such as blinking when we are intensely focused at work. By sitting more upright and by opening up the diaphragm, a kneeling chair may actually improve breathing as well.
Lastly, a kneeling chair will naturally strengthen core muscles over time because the muscles of the abdominals and lower back are forced to support the torso rather than relying on a chair frame for support. This can be a double edged sword initially, because although we want to strengthen the postural core muscles, overdoing things off the bat before these muscles have had time to acclimate can actually promote poor posture instead.
With that said, this guide will go over some of the most important things to consider when purchasing a kneeling chair. Or, if you prefer to cut to the chase, click here to see our #1 pick on Amazon.com.
Top 3 Best Chairs for Kneeling Chairs 2016:
- Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden Ergonomic Kneeling Chair (Check Price >>)
Boss B248 Ergonomic Kneeling Stool (Check Price >>)
Work Smart Ergonomically Designed Knee Chair (Check Price >>)
Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Kneeling Chair:
Kneeling chairs are completely different from typical office chairs. Completely. Whereas office chairs are defined by bells and whistles, in many ways the ideal kneeling chair is minimalistic. As mentioned above, the philosophy behind the kneeling chair is that it strips features away, thereby engaging the core muscles that support proper posture.
That’s not to say that many of the same considerations don’t apply. Here are the 3 most important factors to consider when buying a kneeling chair.
It comes as no surprise that this is first on our list of considerations. It might be tempting to assume that all kneeling chairs have similar ergonomics. Not so. Kneeling chairs still vary greatly in terms of the resting angles and body types that they support. Seek out a kneeling chair that is comfortable and fits you. That means that it ought to be adjustable over a range of positions that fit your particular body dimensions and workspace preferences.
Not too firm, not too soft is the name of the game here. Whereas I typically look for firm support in an office chair, and soft cushioning in chairs designed for reclining and comfort, with a kneeling chair, you really want the best of both worlds. Kneeling chairs need to be supportive, particularly in the knees and seat cushion. However, due to their design, kneeling chairs need to support your full body weight. Therefore, cushioning is particularly important in the knees. Seek a kneeling chair that is soft enough so as to avoid pressure points, but still provides adequate support where you need it.
Because kneeling chairs are relatively simplistic, one might think that build quality doesn’t matter. It turns out that it matters a lot. In fact, the build quality is probably the single biggest factor when it comes to the way that a kneeling chair will perform over the long term in improving posture. If you are stuck with a flimsy kneeling chair, it is unlikely that the chair will provide the lower body support required in order to develop core musculature. Not to mention, poorly constructed chairs tend to be uncomfortable, which means you probably just won’t use it.
Our Favorite Kneeling Chairs:
- Build Quality – The wooden frame and grey cloth design is, simply put, fantastic.
- Portable – The caster design of the Flash Furniture kneeling chair is a differentiating feature.
- Appearance – Looks great in any setting.
- Angles – Unique design allows all angles to change as you raise and lower chair.
- Padding – Despite the quality materials, the padding is bit more firm than other chairs on the market.
- Adjustability – The Boss B248 features a pneumatic system to raise and lower, which allows you to really dial in exactly the position you prefer.
- Padding – The padding on the Boss 248 is top notch. Soft, but supportive memory foam.
- Appearance – The black metal frame flies under the radar, but is nothing to write home about.
- Quality Control – Hit or miss build quality according to some reports.
- Casters – Allows chair to be moved around relatively easily.
- Padding Quality and Support – Padding wears out quickly and is too soft to support the knees properly.
- Sizing – Too large for shorter folks
Kneeling chairs are inherently a very personal purchase and ideally you can try out a couple designs before landing on the one that suits you best. With that said, the Flash Furniture and Boss 248B are both fantastic kneeling chairs that will work for a wide range of folks looking to mix things up at work. Just remember to not overdo it off the bat and you should see postural improvements within a few weeks. Happy shopping!