Best Chairs & Stools for Standing Desks

Stools are Great for Standing Desks

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 offers 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 the time spent in a chair. You are actively sitting to remain upright. While it burns fewer calories than standing, it burns more than sitting.

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Our Process

Our review process is simple, but each step is in-depth and critical 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 understand what our bodies need in a chair or stool. 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 for 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 points to generate the list of products we will review.

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 to create comfortable office chairs.
  • 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 - How is the finish? 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 aspect more important than another, especially when it comes to standing desks, as 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:

Songmics Stool

Best Budget and Value

The Songmics stool is a great alternative if you're on a budget. It functions well 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 new but they do have great customer service and stand by their products.

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 their great features and adjustments at a competitive cost. This one boasts a 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.

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 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 2,000 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.

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, it is very easy to assemble, and is available in 3 colors.

Best High-End Stool

The Varier Move has a very high-quality proven design, created in 1985. It is an extremely versatile stool that works for sitting and leaning and has 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 gray. The base is also available in 3 different colors: natural, mocha, and black-stained wood. You'll be sure to find the right combination for your home or office.

Best Stability Ball

The Vivora Luno is a yoga ball that is designed for office use at a desk. It is wrapped in a durable material that is more suitable for daily use than a traditional yoga ball. It makes a great pair with a standing desk 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 popular as replacements for your chair. It is available in 11 colors and two different sizes depending on your needs and the height of your desk.

Comparison 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. 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
Songmics
Stool
19.7" 27.6" 15" 15"
Modway Veer 21.5" 29.5" 20" 19"
Flash Furniture
Drafting Chair
17.5" 25" 20" 19"
Learniture
Stool
18.5" 28" 12.6" 12.6"
Varier Move 22" 32.25" 16" 16"
Vivora Luno 22" 24" 22" 22"


Standing Desk Chair Frequently Asked Questions

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the standing desk chairs and stools.

What is a standing desk chair?


A standing desk chair is a stool that you can lean against while working at a standing desk. Standing desk stools reduce pressure on your feet, knees, hips, and lower back.

Why should you get a chair for your standing desk?


Many standing desk users use a chair or stool to give them even more flexibility when working: they can rotate between sitting, standing, or leaning.

How do you make a standing chair?


Making your own standing desk chair or stool will require some skill working with wood and/or metal to ensure that the base doesn't slip, and is sturdy and comfortable enough.

Where can you buy a standing desk chair?


Standing desk chairs and stools are available online through companies that specialize in standing desk products. You can go directly to a manufacturer's website and some companies sell on amazon.

Do chairs for standing desks offer lumbar support?


Some standing desk chairs, such as a leaning stool, offer no lumbar support but position your hips in a way that correctly supports your lower back. Other traditional options provide lumbar support.

Types of Standing Desk Chairs and Stools

As you can tell from our list, there are a variety of seating types you can pair with your standing desk. Here's a breakdown of the different types of seating and what they enable you to do differently from 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 a little lower than standing height 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 and require support from your lower body to prevent tipping over.
  • Drafting chair - This is 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 and some even offer an adjustable height. Just make sure to match the height of the chair to the height of your desk to ensure proper ergonomics.
  • 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 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, and oscillate while you work. Stability balls also provide a light core workout and can be a great way to form good posture habits.
  • Kneeling chair - Kneeling chairs are gaining popularity for a lot of great reasons. They allow many benefits, including allowing your body to remain in a natural position. It forces you to be upright, engaging the muscles used for good posture. If you are going to try it, make sure that your standing desk can go low enough for you to kneel comfortably with your forearms parallel to the desk and ground.

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 pain - Standing 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 mistakes - When you're just getting into standing or leaning it's easy to make 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: http://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: http://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.

  7. I see the only place to buy these items is on Amazon. As a federal employee we are unable to buy from Amazon. Is there a direct vendor we can buy these from?

    1. Hi Laura, most of the companies we recommend in this guide have either their own website where you can order and/or a commercial sales division if you’re looking to buy in volume for an office for example. Hope this helps!

  8. Have you looked at the SONGMICS Standing Desk Chair? It looks to be similar in design to the Verichair, but with thicker padding. The Verichair has had several people comment on how hard and uncomfortable the seat is. You recommend the SONGMICS stool – so wonder if you can chime in on the chair?

    1. Hi Jim, we haven’t researched their chair yet, we’ll look into it and update the page if needed. Thanks!

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