If you spend most of your professional life sitting in a chair, you’re bound to deal with some of the consequences that come with long hours of sitting.
Beyond affecting your posture, it can even put stress on vital organs and put your spine at risk of disk damage. Too much sitting also reduces circulation and can result in painful neck and shoulder strain .
Research shows that even daily exercise doesn’t mitigate the risks of spending too much time in a chair.
Thankfully, there is a way you can reduce the danger of prolonged sitting, by swapping your chair for something that’s better for your body.
This is where balance ball chairs come in.
Balance ball chairs have a rounded seat which forces you to engage your core to remain in a comfortable seated position. This engagement promotes a whole range of benefits such as reducing lower back pain and improving your posture.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some more benefits of these chairs, what to look for when choosing one for yourself and the best chairs worth trying.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the following chairs:
- Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
- Sivian Health & Fitness Balance Ball Chair
- Luxfit Ball Chair
- Sitting Ball Chair from ProBody Pilates
- Isokinetics Chair
- Zenergy Ball Chair
- Gaiam Adjustable Balance Ball Chair
What is a Balance Ball Chair?
A stability ball, commonly called a yoga ball, is a large, bouncing air-filled ball typically used for exercise and stretching. You’ve seen people using them in gyms and during workouts but these balls can also be used to sit on.
The rise in the popularity of these balls for sitting has led manufacturers to make them into chairs with different looks and features (some of which we will go over later).
However, in general, balance ball chairs are chairs that contain a stability ball instead of a typical seat cushion so that you can get a more active way of sitting at your desk.
What are the Benefits of a Balance Ball Chair?
When you use a balance ball chair during your long hours of sitting, you’ll see better posture, a healthier spine, stronger muscles, better balance and even weight loss.
Better Posture & Reduces Lower Back Pain
Most of these benefits derive from the fact that balance ball chairs require you to sit upright and engage your core muscles to stay balanced. When your core is engaged your spine is in a healthier and more comfortable position.
In addition, the frequent shifting of your weight on the ball allows your spine to become more active and move around this is not the case with a standard desk chair.
However, on a balance ball chair, things are much different. Your core is engaged, chest open and head held up high.
Balance ball chairs bring better posture and can help reduce lower back pain that traditional chairs can bring.
You also get a brain boost that can make you more productive at work, because the increased circulation it gives you enhances your focus. The increased activity level may also promote better hormone balance and improve your mood.
With the boost in circulation and movement, you’ll have less muscle tension from working at your desk.
One study found that people who sat on balance ball chairs instead of regular chairs burned 4.1 times the calories per hour.
You can also use your chair to take short breaks during work to do some exercises or stretches that further boost circulation, release feel-good endorphins, burn calories and help you focus.
If you’re trying to lose weight, trading the hours spent sitting in a chair for sitting on a balance ball could help you get results .
Types of Balance Ball Chairs
Not every balance ball chair is the same and the choice is now much more diverse than just the standard yoga ball.
Here are some of the differences you can expect to find:
Office Design Ball Chairs
They’re made to blend in within office settings and they tend to provide more back support than other ball chairs.
Ball stools, on the other hand, don’t give you back support but have wheels and function like an office chair without the back. These are a great option for people who are worried about the traditional ball-shaped chair taking up too much space and want something much smaller.
Stationary Ball Chairs
If you’re on carpet or you don’t want wheels, a stationary ball chair can keep you in place, as it has legs but no wheels. These types of chairs come as backless stools or in the office balance ball chair style.
The good thing about these balls is that they can be used for exercise and workouts too. If you want the best of both worlds you may opt for one of these.
The standard ball is also a much cheaper option than the other types of chairs.
What to Look for in a Good Balance Ball Chair
If you’re looking into buying a balance ball chair for your home office, there are a few basic qualities you want it to have:
Balance ball chairs do force you to work on your posture and engage your muscles, but they shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
You want a ball you can sit on for as long as possible at your desk so you can get the benefits of using a stability ball instead of a chair.
For you, this might mean having a ball chair that provides back support.
The size of the ball and adjustability of the chair also play into the comfort it’s able to provide.
Durability & Warranty
You need a ball chair made with quality materials that will withstand daily use over time.
Look for anti-burst balls and other signs of quality construction, and opt for a chair with a money-back guarantee or warranty.
Adjustable balance ball chairs let you get a custom fit for your body.
When you can change the height and the placement of the back support, it helps you find better comfort and better back alignment.
This is an important factor to take into consideration. You do not want to get a ball chair that is too high or big for you as you do not want to have your legs dangling off the edge.
It is best practice to make sure you can place both feet comfortable on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor. It is also true that you do not want a ball chair that is too small. If your knees are higher than your hips then you’ll probably want to look for a bigger or higher ball.
The 7 Best Balance Ball Chairs
Before you invest in a balance ball chair, let’s look at 7 different models on the market, each at different price points and defining features.
1. Gaim Classic Balance Ball Chair
- ALTERNATIVE DESK CHAIR: Created by health and...
- BOOST ENERGY & FOCUS: Micro-movements from sitting...
- RECOMMENDED USER HEIGHT: Designed for users 5 feet...
- Good option for small people or small spaces
- Comfortable and helpful for improving posture
- Too small for many people
- Not built to last
- No back support
The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is smaller than other balance ball chairs, so it may work well in a small space.
However, be aware that this chair is only designed for people between 5 feet to 5 feet 11-inches tall.
Also, it may not be built to last, as it’s made with cheap material and has broken after a couple months of use, according to several reviewers.
If you want a balance ball chair that can provide some back support, this one isn’t for you. Its plastic back isn’t firm enough to help support your back, as it will just lean back if you put any weight on it.
On the other hand, if you’re not interested in back support and want to use it to work on your posture and strengthen your back muscles, this ball is comfortable enough to do the job.
2. Sivan Health & Fitness Balance Ball Fit Chair
- Can be used in home or at the office to ease body...
- Rolling base features 4 lockable, rolling wheels
- Use to stretch, correct posture, reduce stiffness...
- Lack of back support makes it useful for exercise and stretching
- Made with quality material
- More costly
Because it has no back support at all, the Sivian chair gives you more options for using this ball to take exercise breaks while you work. You can lay your back over it to stretch your back, for example.
Its wheels lock into place so that the ball remains stationary.
Another benefit to having no back support is that it eliminates the temptation to lean back and slouch, forcing you to work on your posture.
Although it costs more than the Gaiam chair, it’s made with durable material and should last a lot longer.
3. LuxFit Ball Chair
- EXERCISE BALL CHAIR SPECIFICATIONS -Yoga Ball...
- OFFICE CHAIR DESIGNED BY HEALTH EXPERTS - To help...
- YOGA BALL CHAIR IMPROVES REHABILITATION TIME - may...
- 2-year warranty
- Ball comes off and on easily
- Sturdy and durable
- Large ball size
- Uncomfortable for people with long legs
The Luxfit Ball Chair is a cost-effective choice because it’s not on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but it’s durable and comes with a 2-year warranty.
The only drawback is that it sits quite low, and taller individuals may find it too uncomfortable.
Although the height is better for people under 6 feet, the size of the ball is quite big, which makes it overall more comfortable for longer periods of sitting.
The backrest gives you the chance to lean back occasionally if you want to.
Another pro is that the ball can easily come off and be placed back on the base, so you can remove it to use for yoga, stretching or exercise.
4. Sitting Ball Chair by ProBody
- CLEAN DESIGN AND ATTRACTIVE, our sitting ball has...
- POSTURE IMPROVING sitting solution is intended to...
- INLUDES: cover, inner inflatable ball, inflation...
- Soft felt cover
- Aesthetic appeal
- Less expensive
- Money-back guarantee
- No base or wheels to separate the ball from the floor
The Sitting Ball Chair from ProBody Pilates is a ball without a base or wheels. The lack of wheels makes it harder to move around at a desk, and without a base, there’s no protection between the ball and the floor.
It does have a small handle you can use to pick it up without having to wrap your arms around the ball.
Unlike many balance ball chairs, this one has a felt cover. This gives it a soft surface, which you may prefer over rubber material that grips your clothes.
It also gives it a more aesthetic appeal compared to models that look more like exercise equipment than office furniture.
The product comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can return it if it doesn’t work well for you.
It’s also a lot easier on your wallet relative to most balance ball chairs.
5. Isokinetics Inc. Brand Adjustable Fitness Ball Chair
- EXCLUSIVE: Office size 60mm (2.5") wheels, versus...
- CHOICE of 2 frame finishes: Silver Flakes on Black...
- ADJUSTABLE TWO WAYS: 4 leg height positions and 4...
- Highly adjustable
- Gives you more back support
- More professional appearance
- Less durable
The adjustable balance ball chair from Isokinetics Inc. has a metal frame and adjustable back support.
If you’re looking for a balance ball chair that helps you align your back in an upright position and feel like you have some support, this one may work for you.
The small size of the back support feature allows you to lean slightly but not enough to offset your posture.
There are 4 backrest positions and 4 leg height options, so you can adjust it to suit your body size and back support needs.
The metal frame with wheels and back support make it look a little more like an office chair compared to other balance balls, which helps if you need it for a professional setting.
However, the materials used for the chair are not high quality, and the chair can wear down or even break over time.
6. Safco Products Zenergy Ball Chair
- HELPS KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING. Safco Zenergy Ball...
- ENCOURAGES BETTER POSTURE. Designed with an...
- CHOOSE YOUR ALTITUDE. Each Zenergy ball chair lets...
- Aesthetically appealing design
- Wide selection of colours
- No back support
The Zenergy ball from Safco products has an aesthetically pleasing appearance that fits well in a modern office setting.
It has a mesh fabric colouring and chair legs that make it less like an exercise ball and more like furniture.
It comes in 8 different colours, so it can match up with any home office decor you may have.
Instead of wheels, its 4 legs are designed to be stationary so that you don’t roll around unintentionally.
There’s no back support on this one, so you have to balance on your own.
It’s also a lot more costly than most balance ball chairs.
7. Gaiam Adjustable Custom-Fit Balance Ball Chair
- ALTERNATIVE DESK CHAIR: Custom-fit adjustable desk...
- BOOST ENERGY LEVELS: Using the same ball as the...
- RECOMMENDED USER HEIGHT: Designed for users 5' to...
- More affordable
- Adjustable height
- Lockable wheels
- Ball comes in and out easily
- Less durable
At a slightly lesser cost than the Isokinetics ball, the Gaiam adjustable ball gives you a comparable amount of adjustment so that you can customize the fit for your body size.
Like the Luxfit ball chair, the ball on the Gaiam adjustable chair can be easily removed and replaced so that you can use the ball by itself for exercise breaks.
It has lockable wheels, a cushioned back and 5 leg heights to make it the perfect level for you and your desk.
The downside is that it’s not made with high-quality material and the construction could be better.
If you plan to get a lot of use out of it, you may want something more durable.
Tips & Advice When Using Your Balance Ball Chair
There are a few risks you should know about if you’re considering using a balance ball chair in place of your regular office chair.
If there’s no base and only a ball, it’s a lot more difficult to balance, and it could cause an injury if you lose your balance and fall.
Because of the relative lack of support, using a balance ball chair instead of an office chair can actually cause your muscles to become too tight and tense when you’re not used to the position .
If you’re just starting out, you should try using the balance ball chair for a short duration each day, and not your entire workday.
This way, you can slowly build up to using a balance ball chair for work and reaping the benefits of improved posture, strength and more.
Ensure You Use Your Chair with Proper Posture to Reap the Benefits
Changing your posture not only improves your health and helps prevent injuries, but also boosts your confidence and changes the way you carry yourself.
But the most important point to remember is that you must ensure that you sit on your chair with proper posture.
If you continue to allow yourself to slouch whilst on your balance ball chair, then you will not reap the posture boosting benefits of your new chair.
If sitting is something you do a lot every day, changing the way you sit with the help of a balance ball chair could go a long way for your back, as well as your productivity and overall well-being.