Best Chairs & Stools
for Standing Desks 2019



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Ryan the authorResearch by Ryan
Updated: July 15, 2019

What is a Standing Desk Stool?

A standing desk stool, also known as a standing desk chair, is a type of seat that is often paired with a sit to stand desk. It allows you to rest in a position between sitting and standing. Many avid standers appreciate the third option aside from standing and sitting while working at their desk. There are also other options like drafting chairs, yoga balls and active sitting stools that that can compliment a standing desk as well.

If you'd like to learn more about standing stools and chairs, what to look for, and the various types, check our in-depth guide: Buyer's Guide to Standing Chairs and Stools

Standing Desk Stool

Why Get a Standing Desk Chair or Stool?

Standing desk stools are quickly gaining popularity among standers. Here are the main reasons people use standing desk stools:

  • More Options - Simply having another position to choose from is one of the main benefits of getting a standing stool or chair. Changing positions frequently is one of the keys to staying active at your desk and avoiding pain and soreness.
  • Reduced Pressure on Your Joints - Leaning takes a lot of pressure off your feet, knees, and spine without the increased lower back stress of sitting. It's a great middle ground.
  • Less Sitting Time - As more people become aware of the risks of excessive sitting, a leaning stool or chair can significantly reduce your time spent in a chair. You are actively sitting to remain upright. While it burns fewer calories than standing, you're still getting the majority of the benefit over sitting.

Our Process

Our review process is a simple process but each step is in-depth and critical for us to make informed recommendations for our readers.

While we do have extensive experience in office furniture, standing desks, chairs and stools we also tap our network of experts, doctors, and chiropractors to get an understanding of what our bodies need in a chair or stool paired with your standing desk. This is especially important for office furniture that enables you to sit. When seated, your spine endures much more stress than when standing. Having proper support, while still enabling movement is key.

Once we've established a foundation of what to look in a chair or stool for a standing desk we then survey the market and create a list of manufacturers and models for us to consider. This list is then refined by customer reviews, features, and price point to generate the list of products we will try to review in person.

Our team spent several weeks testing chairs and stools in our own offices to provide unbiased reviews so that you can decide which chair or stool will work best for you. Here are our criteria and what we've found to be important when considering a standing desk stool or chair.

  • Stability - Most leaning chairs and tools have a single tube supporting the seat. With the high pressure applied when leaning, it's important for the stool to be stable and confidence-inspiring.
  • Height Adjustment - Just like the standing desks these are often paired with, you will want to adjust the height to your exact posture needs.
  • Seat Comfort - fairly self-explanatory, we look for seat surfaces that are forgiving and ergonomic.
  • Design - This is a little subjective but design matters. We see a wide variety of design and quality in the standing chair and stool market. Some are very boldly designed and others are more generic.
  • Quality - What is the fit and finish like? Is it going to last? What areas, if any, are likely to fail with continued use? We ask ourselves these questions when reviewing any product.
  • Overall Value - Value is always very important to us. Our definition of value is getting the most benefit from the stool or chair for money spent.

Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

While we pick an overall top recommended stool, we realize that you may find one thing more important than another when shopping for a chair or stool for your desk. especially when it comes to standing desks, you can go in many different directions with your chair or stool. With this in mind, we have picked chairs and stools spanning multiple categories so you can choose which is best for you:

Varidesk Varichair

Best Value

The Varichair is a great stool for sitting or leaning made by Varidesk, the makers of many standing desk products. It comes pre-assembled; this is fairly uncommon for most standing desk products. Like most Varidesk products we've reviewed it is well made and has a very solid construction and benefits from good visual design. Above all this is a stool designed for sitting and leaning by a company that understands standing desks and ergonomics. Some customers report issues with their Varichairs but we've found Varidesk stands by their products and will make it right if you have an issues.

Songmics Stool

Songmics Stool - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best Budget

The Songmics stool is a great alternative to the Vaichair if you're on a budget. It has a very similar operation and was designed for standing desk use.  It can be assembled in about a minute, and you'll likely notice right away that it is very sturdy. The stool swivels very easily. You'll also be surprised at just how padded this stool is compared to many other standing desk stools. Overall, Songmics is kind of new but they do have great customer service and they, like Varidesk stand by their products.

Modway Veer

Modway Veer - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best Drafting Chair

Drafting chairs are a great choice for a standing desk and especially any fixed height standing desks. We've always been big fans of Modway chairs for having great features and adjustment at a competitive cost. It boasts an high 330 pound weight limit, ventilated backrest, variety of available colors and adjustable armrests. If you prefer to sit at your standing height or have a high work surface that you'd like to sit at this is a great option.

Flash Furniture

Flash Furniture Drafting Chair - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best Drafting Chair Runner Up

The Flash Furniture Drafting Chair is a very similar alternative to the Modway Veer. It offers an alternative look and feature set at a similar price but with a lower weight limit. it has a ventilated backrest, adjustable armrests and is available in three colors. It also has a more proven track record than the Modway Veer with over 2 thousand reviews on Amazon averaging nearly 4 out of 5 stars. It is a close second overall due to the slightly higher price and lower weight limit to the Veer.

Learniture Stool

Learniture Learning Stool - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best for Active Sitting

The Learniture Learning Stool was designed for sitting rather than leaning but is still a great pair for a standing desk to make your time spent sitting more active and movement based. If you are shorter in height you can use this stool for leaning at a standing desk. The maximum height is 27 inches, is very easy to assemble and is available in 3 colors.

Varier Move

Varier Move - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best High End Stool

The Varier Move is a very high quality and proven design originally created in 1985. It is an extremely versatile stool which works for sitting and leaning and a variety of in-between positions. Despite being designed in the 80s, it looks as modern as ever and has a truly timeless design. It is available with an optional rubber sole to prevent slipping and the seat is available in black, green, blue, red, and grey. On top of that, the base is also available in 3 different colors: natural, mocha, & black-stained wood. You'll be sure to find the right combination for your home or office.

Vivora Luno

Varier Move - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best Stability Ball

The Vivora Luno is actually a yoga ball that is designed for office use at a desk. It is wrapped in a durable material that us more suitable for daily use than a traditional yoga ball. It makes a great pair with a standing desk for times when you need a break from standing but still want to be active and move. We think the Luno beats many yoga ball/chair hybrid products that are becoming more popular since you could also replace your chair with this ball. It is available in 11 colors and two difference sizes depending on your needs and the height of your desk.

Ergo Impact Leanrite

Ergo Impact Leanrite - Best Chairs and Stools for Standing Desks

Best Stool Mat Combination

The Ergo Impact Leanrite is a very unique stool mat combination that has a very fitting name. The Leanrite enables you to find the perfect leaning position at a standing desk or high work surface. The integrated mat platform provides unmatched leaning stability and comfort over other stools, even when paired with a standing mat. The Leanrite is great for professions that spend a lot of time standing in a single area or want to reduce their sitting time. The Leanrite has also won may ergonomic awards.

Compare Table

Use the table below to compare the stats of our top recommended chairs and stools. You may want to pay special attention to the minimum and maximum height range. Depending on whether you prefer leaning, sitting, or both, shop for a stool with a height range that will work for you and your needs.


Chair/Stool Min
Height
Max
Height
Seat
Width
Seat
Depth
Price
USD
Varidesk
VariChair
23" 32.8" 14" 13.75" $250
Songmics
Stool
19.7" 27.6" 15" 15" $95
Modway Veer 21.5" 29.5" 20" 19" $120
Flash Furniture
Drafting Chair
17.5" 25" 20" 19" $141
Learniture
Stool
18.5" 28" 12.6" 12.6" $136
Varier Move 22" 32.25" 16" 16" $499
Vivora Luno 22" 24" 22" 22" $49
Ergo Impact
Leanrite
22.5" 46.3" 15.2" 13.1" $450

Types of Standing Desk Chairs and Stools

As you can tell from our list, there is a variety of seating types you can pair with your standing desk. While you may have something in mind, here's a breakdown of the different types of seating on our list and what they enable you to do differently than a conventional chair.

  • Leaning stool - a leaning stool like the Varichair allows you to rest in a position between standing and sitting. You keep your desk at standing height, maybe a little lower and lean back on your stool to take the weight off your lower body. Most stools like the Varichair are designed to be sat on as well but require support from your lower body to prevent tipping over.
  • Drafting chair - drafting chairs are basically a conventional office chair with a high minimum and maximum height that is designed for a fixed standing desk, reception counter or other high work surfaces. Drafting chairs are great because they allow you to simply step off your chair to begin standing. Some can be used for leaning as well.
  • Active Sitting Chair - a somewhat new type of chair, active sitting chairs allow you, as the name suggests to be active while you sit. They are designed to allow your body to move while you sit due to the lack of a backrest, armrests, and stability. The objective is to use your lower body to stabilize yourself and encourage movement while you sit. These chairs/stools are a great pairing with a standing desk because you can stay active both standing and sitting.
  • Stability Ball - A stability or yoga ball chair is also a version of an active sitting chair, but enables even more movement allowing you to continuously move side to side, up and down, osolate while you work. Stability balls also provide a light core workout and can be a great way to form good posture habits.

More Resources

If you're interested in leaning chairs and stools or standing desks in general, we encourage you to check out the following related resources:

  • Proper Posture -  Even with the use of a leaning chair you're likely to spend a decent amount of time standing or sitting at your desk. Check out our guide to Proper Sitting & Standing Desk Ergonomics
  • Preventing Back PainStanding and leaning will help back pain but there is more you can do to help. Here are 17 things you can do to prevent back pain
  • Avoid Common MistakesWhen you're just getting into standing or leaning it's easy to make a few mistakes. We've compiled a list of 10 common problems and what you can do to avoid them.
  • Interested in Kneeling? - Our resident chiropractor Dr. RJ Burr lends his expertise on the cutting edge topic of kneeling and how it can benefit you and your spine.

Comments

  1. Which chair would you recommend for switching all the way between fully upright to fully sitting on an adjustable standing desk? Preferabely I would like it to be the highest value for the money rather than a premium option.

    1. For the money, I would take a look at the Varichair. If you don’t think that fits your needs, you would probably want to take a look at the options that Focal is providing. One final and sound alternative is to explore drafting chairs as an option.

    2. I believe the only product that allows for changing between fully upright and fully seated is the LeanRite chair from Ergo Impact. I don’t know why they aren’t on this list? http://www.ergoimpact.com

      1. Jeremiah, thank you for calling this out. We will look into this chair and consider putting together a review if everything checks out.

  2. The weight recommendation is 220 lbs. What about if you’re heavier than this? How does it work for someone a bit over 6′?

  3. Do you recommend using a footrest? Also, how long do you recommend sitting all the way down vs. standing vs. leaning?

    1. Ryan, all great questions!

      We do think most people would benefit from a footrest. We discuss that a bit in our varichair review which you can find here: https://www.startstanding.org/standing-desks/best-chairs-stools/varichair-review/

      As for switching your working positions, we find that most people benefit from taking a break from one position fairly often. I personally switch from sitting or standing to another position about every 30 minutes. Some of the doctors that we work closely with recommend switching positions as often as once every 15 minutes. There are many free desktop or mobile timers you could purchase that set an alarm as a reminder at whichever interval you prefer. Either way, try to ease into changes over the course of a few weeks so that you can develop a healthy, sustainable habit.

      Two other alternatives you could consider to standing and sitting are walking and kneeling. Walking around the office as a break or on a treadmill desk can be an option. Kneeling is a bit less common, but we think it is tremendously underrated. See our guide here: https://www.startstanding.org/kneeling/

    1. Hi Mak, we have not, but we are looking into that chair as a potential future review opportunity. Thank you for writing in with your question!

  4. On #8, Modway Veer, why are 4 of 5 points marked with red X’s. They all seem like positives to me.

  5. Modway Veer Drafting Stool-Chair is Easy to assemble and feels very sturdy. Feels incredibly sturdy. I have a particularly tall desk, and this is great. I love that the arms can move up or down (not adjustable, just swing up and out of the way). The foot stool can be changed and the amount that the back leans or it’s resistance can also be adjusted. Seat is very comfy and large. Never even thought about being uncomfortable once. Some people were saying that they slipped out of the seat because it’s at a weird angle, but that’s only because they put the seat on backwards. I did that at first, but quickly realized that I needed to switch it around. I will say that the instructions are horrible, but it’s simple enough to figure out. There not a lot of pieces and the only slightly confusing piece is what direction the seat goes. It’s easy to fix if you get it wrong though. Overall, I’m happy with it and I think it looks really nice.

    Over all i like this post very informative . I decided to buy this product via http://bestbudgetdeskchair.com/ this reviews . and i am sure buy this product because you site information thanks

  6. I tried the Varichair. For the price point, it was a good choice but after trying it for a day, I had to return it back. The seat is so uncomfortable it didn’t make sense to use it for more than a few minutes. I was disappointed because I have a Varidesk desk so I love their products. I’ll definitely have to try the Ergo Impact even though it’s a little pricey. I stand up all day at work so I need something to relieve my legs/back.

    1. Same here, I just got the Varichair and I am going to return it. The seat is so hard that it is making me HAVE butt and back pain now…. No way Jose.

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