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 in something that is known as ‘active sitting’.
Active sitting works by embracing your core muscles 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.
We’ll also review and cover the 10 best balance ball chairs worth trying for your home or office.
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 stability balls can also be used to sit on.
The rise in the popularity of these balls for sitting has led manufacturers into converting them into stability ball chairs with different looks and features (some of which we will go over later).
Many people are now swapping their normal office chair for a stability ball chair.
In general, yoga 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.
This type of active sitting brings many benefits with it, some of which we will discuss in the next section.
What are the Benefits of a Balance Ball Chair?
When you use an exercise 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 & Lower Back Pain Relief
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 exercise ball allows your spine to become more active and move around. This is not the case with a standard desk chair.
Traditional office chairs can cause you to slouch and have very little muscular activity.
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 office hairs burned 4.1 times the calories per hour.
You can also use your ball 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 .
What to Look for When Choosing a Balance Ball Chair
Choosing the best balance ball chair for your needs usually comes down to a few factors.
Balance ball chairs do force you to work on your posture and engage your core muscles, but they shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
You want an exercise 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 exercise 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 stability 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.
Having an exercise ball chair too large, will make it almost impossible to sit comfortably and engage in proper active sitting.
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 a larger diameter exercise ball.
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
Balance ball chairs that are designed to emulate office chairs have a back support and legs with wheels and are usually black in colour.
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.
Some balance ball chairs don’t have a base, and are a lot like a regular stability ball, but with additional features like a fabric cover around the ball or a handle for carrying.
The good thing about these stability 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 yoga ball is also a much cheaper option than the other types of chairs.
The 10 Best Balance Ball Chairs
Before you invest in a balance ball chair, let’s look at 10 of the best balance ball chairs on the market, each at different price points and defining features.
1. Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
The Gaiam 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, the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is comfortable enough to do the job.
Pros: Good option for small people or small spaces, comfortable and helpful for improving posture
Cons: Too small for many people, not built to last, no back support
2. Sitting Ball Chair by ProBody
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.
Pros: Soft felt cover, aesthetic appeal, less expensive, money-back guarantee
Cons: No base or wheels to separate the ball from the floor
3. LuxFit Ball Chair
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 exercise 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 exercise ball can easily come off and be placed back on the base, so you can remove it to use for yoga, stretching or exercise.
Pros: Chair comes with 2-year warranty, ball comes off and on easily, sturdy and durable, large ball size
Cons: Uncomfortable for people with long legs
4. Gaiam Classic Backless Balance Ball Chair
Because it has no back support at all, the Gaiam backless chair gives you more options for using this fitness 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 yoga 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 most users tend to love this ball chair there are a handful of people who report that the ball was of lower quality than expected.
Pros: Lack of back support makes it useful for exercise and stretching, 300lbs weight capacity, some users report poor quality
Cons: Only suitable for people between 5’0″ to 5’11”
5. Isokinetics Inc. Brand Adjustable Fitness Ball Chair
The adjustable fitness 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.
Pros: Highly adjustable, gives you more back support, more professional office chair appearance
Cons: Less durable
6. Safco Products Zenergy Ball Chair
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 yoga ball chairs.
Pros: Aesthetically appealing design, wide selection of colours
Cons: Expensive, no back support
7. Gaiam Adjustable Custom-Fit Balance Ball Chair
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 exercise 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.
Pros: More affordable, adjustable height, lockable wheels, ball comes in and out easily
Cons: Less durable
8. PharMeDoc Balance Ball Chair
The balance ball chair from PharMeDoc is adjustable and designed for people with different heights.
It has the look and feel of a desk chair, with wheels and a sleek black look.
You can keep or remove the back on the chair depending on your preference.
When using the back, it touches just your lower back, compelling you to pull back your shoulders and work on your own posture.
Users find the PharMeDoc comfortable and easy to set up, but larger users may find it pops out of its frame when they sit down on it.
Pros: Has a removable back for versatility, wheels feel like a desk chair, black design blends in with an office
Cons: The ball can pop out of its frame while you are sitting on the ball
9. Vivora Luno Ball Chair
The Vivora Luno ball chair is a cost-effective option if you’re going for simplicity and don’t need a back for your chair.
It’s covered with removable, machine-washable fabric, making it soft instead of rubbery.
Users love how this doesn’t catch on work pants and it blends in better in an office setting.
The other advantage of the Vivora Luno chair is that it has a handle making it easy to move around with one hand.
Because there’s no frame to the chair and it’s just a ball, you can’t adjust its height.
If it’s not the right height for you, it’s a dealbreaker.
However, it can hold up to 400 pounds of weight, so as long as it’s not too high for you, it’s considered very safe and durable.
You need to be able to sit up tall unaided, however, because there’s no back support.
Pros: Affordable, made with a washable fabric cover to avoid the “exercise ball” look in your office, durable, with a 400-pound weight capacity
Cons: Height is not adjustable, chair has no back, there’s no base keeping it from rolling
10. Trideer Ball Chair
The Trideer ball chair comes with a ring you put around it to prevent it from rolling away.
Otherwise, the ball itself is just like any yoga or stability ball, made with durable rubber material you inflate.
Some users complain about lint accumulating as the rubber material catches on clothes.
Considering how inexpensive the Trideer ball chair is, the problem is insignificant.
You can use the ring base that comes with this ball chair to help stabilize the ball for various strength training exercises.
Whereas stability balls tend to roll when you do situps and other movements, the Trideer will stay put thanks to its ring.
It’s ideal for use in a home office or gym, though it’s probably not the best choice for every office because it looks like gym equipment.
Pros: It has a base around the bottom to keep the exercise ball from rolling away, you can choose from 2 sizes, you can remove the ball from the base and use it as a fitness ball
Cons: No back support, rubbery material can catch on your clothes or collect lint, looks like it belongs in a gym and not an office
The Best Balance Ball Chair: Recommendations
The best balance ball chair for you depends on your needs and where you’ll use it.
The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is the best balance ball chair for your office because it’s versatile, adjustable, durable and suitable in an office environment.
It has wheels and a back, so you don’t feel like you’re just sitting on a ball.
Whether you have a home office or need a better chair at your place of work, the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is easy to set up and it has an all-black look that blends in with other desk chairs.
If the black colour isn’t for you there is a whole range of other colours to choose from.
If you want to use your ball for exercise as well as sitting to improve posture, the Trideer is a good option.
You can select your size, and there’s no back to it.
That said, it’s for people who are mostly focused on the health benefits of a stability ball versus finding a replacement chair at their office.
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.