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
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 the 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 review process is simple 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 points 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:
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 issue.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Best High-End Stool
The Varier Move has a very high quality and proven design originally created in 1985. It is an extremely versatile stool that 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.
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 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 different sizes depending on your needs and the height of your desk.
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.
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.
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 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 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, 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. A few of those include allowing your body to remain in a natural position as it forces you to be upright and waking up the muscles used for good posture. If you are going to try it, just make sure that your standing desk can get low enough for you to kneel comfortably with your forearms parallel to the desk and ground.
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 reduces 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 against their standing desk stool.
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 make sure that the base doesn't slip, is sturdy, and is comfortable.
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 do offer lumbar support.
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 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.