Discover the best Kneeling Chair for you

Discover the best kneeling chair for you
Discover the best kneeling chair for you

What are kneeling chairs?

We have all seen those strange, backless, rocker type chairs in the office. They look uncomfortable, difficult to sit on, and impossible to stay on; but, the people who use them swear by them, and how good they are for their bad backs, and how comfortable they actually are to sit on for long periods of time, despite the apparent pressure they seem to put on the user’s knees.

When and where was the first kneeling chair designed?

The first kneeling chair was created by forward thinking Norwegians Peter Opsvik and Hans Christian Mengshoel in 1979 and was initially made of wood. However, the design has changed many times over the years and modern kneeling chairs are normally built around a steel frame and have wheels, though it is still possible to get kneeling chairs with an elegant rocker style wooden frame, either mass produced or bespoke, and made to fit only you.

In addition, today’s kneeling chairs often include armrests and back pads and are fully adjustable to cater for all of us regardless of how tall we are or how much we weigh.

What are the health benefits of using a kneeling chair?

The main health benefit of a kneeling chair is that they are proven to be good for your back. By design, they force you to improve your posture and sit upright. Having to sit upright on the chair forces you not to slouch, this helps strengthen your core muscles and straighten your spine, both at the same time. This is because:

  • When you use the kneeling chair, your pelvis is tilted, and this ensures correct alignment of your spine. In addition, the opening up your pelvis also helps improve your breathing by resulting in correct posture. There is less compression of your internal organs when the pelvis is in an open position and you are not hunched over in your normal chair, this helps improve digestion and sore muscles.
  • When you are sitting on a kneeling chair, you gradually strengthen your back and core muscles. This happens as you are engaging your abdominal and back muscles to retain your position; your body is getting a workout, you are just not aware of it at the time
  • As opposed to the 90-degree (or right angle) trunk/thigh angle that you are forced into with a normal office chair as you fight to keep your feet firmly on the floor, with a kneeling chair you end up with a much shallower 10-degree trunk/thigh angle provided by the kneeling chair. This angle provides for reduced pressure to the discs in your spine as you sit.
  • When using a kneeling chair, your hips slide forward. This is important as your weight gets evenly distributed and your neck, shoulders, and back are aligned. Therefore, there is less stress on your lower back, and this helps prevent spinal compression.
  • With most kneeling chairs, you have the options to adjust the height of the seat. This means that you adjust the slope. By so doing, you can control the pressure on your shins and the stress on your upper thighs as you get used to the seating style of the kneeling chair.

As you can see, kneeling chairs can be a great help to maintaining good back health and once you get used to one you will wonder how you managed before. You do not need to use a kneeling chair all day and every day and most people will mix and match their chairs during the day, dependant on how fragile their back is feeling at the time.

Combined with height adjustable ‘sitting/standing’ desks and a good quality ergonomic chair, you just need a kneeling chair configured just for you and you have all bases covered.

What to consider when looking for the best kneeling chair just for you?

The main things (apart from the price) you have to consider when looking for the best kneeling chair to suit your needs are whether it has wheels or is traditional rocking style, whether it has a back support and how adjustable it is.

Once you have considered these features of a kneeling chair you will be well on your way to choosing a chair with confidence that you are choosing the best kneeling chair just for you.

Does your chair have wheels or is it a rocker?

Wheels can be useful, rockers help you strengthen your core muscles as you site, they also can damage the floor over time, so rocker style kneeling chairs, like those offered by Varier, often come with tape that you attach to the rockers, to reduce the wear and tear they can cause to your floor.

Does the kneeling chair offer you back support?

The original kneeling chairs did not have any back support, they were literally a small seat, and knee pads on a rocker that almost looks like it could be used as a toboggan to slide you down a hill.

More modern kneeling chairs often offer an adjustable back support, sometimes you can also remove it if you don’t want to use it. The back support can make the chair more comfortable, for long term use.

Is your kneeling chair adjustable?

we all come in different heights and shapes. Some of us are tall and thin, others, a bit heavier and not so tall. Some of us have short legs and long bodies, others are long in the body. You get my drift. Any chair that you buy has to suit your body type, support your weight and ideally be fully adjustable.

More traditional chairs like those produced by Varier are not that adjustable. Vivo’s Dragonn however, may not have the Norwegian style kudos of the Varier Balans, but it is fully adjustable, comes with a backrest and is a fraction of the price, and suitable for use as an ‘all day’ chair.

Kneeling Chair manufacturers

We have mentioned a couple of kneeling chair manufacturers already such as Varier and Vivo, and though there are lots of smaller manufacturers and lots of generic kneeling chairs which are sold under a number of brands, the three main recognised brands of quality kneeling chairs are Varier, Sleekform and Vivo/Dragonn.

Varier

Varier is really the grand-daddy of kneeling chairs, it specialises in the production or the original rocking style kneeling chair designed by Peter Opsvik in 1979. Varier describes itself as:

Varier is a modern Scandinavian brand inspired by movement. Our Variable™ balans® kneeling chair and our Move™ standing chair are both design icons that are instantly recognizable. Since 1979, our chairs have offered a uniquely uncompromising experience, embodying activity, freedom, and innovation.

varierchairs.com

Varier is a Norwegian (Oslo) based furniture company that is built around the ethos or Peter Opsvik, it believes physical movement as a natural part of human life, and being sedentary as anathema to how we have evolved and developed over the millennia.

It see’s moment as the centre of all its designs and strives to ensure that all its furniture works with out bodies and not against them, and focuses on designing ergonomic furniture that fits into out environments and hectic work schedules rather than working against them.

VIVO

VIVO was formed in 2002 and is well as the desks, tv mounts and computer stands it makes. It is also known for its well respected range of Dragonn, kneeling chairs.

VIVO describes its mission as:

Many ergonomic office solutions come at a high cost. Our mission is to use innovation, creativity, and efficiency to produce a cost-effective solution that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

VIVO-US.com

Sleekform

Elizabeth Mercer is the Founder and CEO of Sleekform Furniture. Sleekform is a US company based out of Austin Texas, and focuses purely on the design, production and marketing of kneeling chairs.

Sleekform believes that with design you don’t need to sacrifice style for comfort. The company currently offers (as of December 2020), five kneeling chairs and a folding desk. Their chairs come in a variety of styles and materials and range from rockers, to chairs with wheels, to backless chairs to chairs with backs.

Their range of chairs is compact but well thought through and covers pretty much all the bases you need to consider earn you think of kneeling chairs, from looking after tall people, to those who want to move around a lot whilst working, to those with lower back pain and need more support and design classics.

Our best kneeling chair reviews:

Best overall kneeling Chair: DRAGONN by VIVO – Black Adjustable Ergonomic Kneeling Chair with Back Support

if you want a kneeling chair with wheels and back support, to replace your existing office chair then look no further than the Dragonn kneeling chair by Vivo.

It is full adjustable and comes with a three inch thick padded cushion and full back support. It is built to last with a metal base and can carry a weight of up to 250 pounds.

it comes in one color, black, and is designed with a busy office environment in mind. it is not the coolest looking kneeling chair around but it is solid, does the job and is height adjustable from 21 to 28 inches.

One other benefit of the chair is that if you feel uncomfortable at the thought of whizzing around on it, you can lock the wheels so that it stays in one place, if needed.

VIVO offers a one year (limited) manufacturers warranty on their chair as well as tech support when you need it most.

Sale
DRAGONN by VIVO Ergonomic Kneeling Chair with Back Support, Adjustable Stool for Home and Office with Angled Seat for Better Posture - Thick Comfortable Cushions, Black, DN-CH-K02B
  • Ergonomic Kneeling Chair - We’ve got your back (and your knees, shins, and your behind!) Your ergonomic kneeling chair with back support is equipped with a mesh three-inch thick cushion to ensure...
  • Better Posture While Tilted - There is no reason to hunch over your keyboard or desk for hours on end anymore. This posture chair has a functional design that gives you the posture benefits of...
  • Heavy Duty - This ergonomic kneeling stool is designed with a strong metal base and is constructed to last. Your new rolling kneeling chair supports up to 250 lbs.

Last update on 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best adjustable kneeling chair: Sleekform Alpharetta Kneeling Chair

The Sleekform Alpharetta Kneeling chair is so popular, it literally is a case that if you can get your hands on one, just do it. It is often out of stock and your back will thank you on a daily basis if you manage to get one.

Like the Dragonn, it is an adjustable, wheeled kneeling chair with lockable wheels so you don’t find yourself sliding across the office at an inopportune moment.

It beats the VIVO Dragonn though based on its sheer adjustability. Sleekform claim the Alpharetta is their most adjustable kneeling chair yet. it’s height can be adjusted across 19″-28″ vertical inches and the seat is also fully adjustable and the angle of the seat can be adjusted from 91°-137°, without you having to adjust the height of the chair.

It can carry a weight of up to 265 pounds and is designed for people between 5’2″ in height to a whopping 6’6″.

The Sleekform Alpharetta is currently unavailable. Check out this alternative Sleekform kneeling chair:

Sleekform Kneeling Posture Chair | Ergonomic Office Desk Knee Stool Relieving Back & Neck Pain | Computer Seat, Wheels & Adjustable Height | Backless Meditation Seat | 4" Ergo Mesh Cushions
  • KNEELING CHAIR: This uniquely designed ergonomic posture chair can replace any traditional chair, with the added plus of health benefits you can actually feel. It’s the perfect chair for, working at...
  • BETTER POSTURE This angled kneeling desk chair will keep your back at an upright position, distributing your weight evenly throughout your buttocks and legs, all while keeping your spine aligned.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL This adjustable chair is comfortable for a variety of different sizes and comes equipped with four rolling wheels so it can easily be maneuvered throughout your home or office.

Last update on 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Most stylish kneeling chair: Varier Variable Balans Original

If you are looking for a classic, no frills kneeling chair that oozes quality for your home and office, then look no further than the chair that started it all, the Varier baluns kneeling chair.

With the Balans you are paying for style, simplicity and comfort. It has classic rocker design, no backrest and is made from durable environmentally friendly wood, the same that is has been for over 40 years. It comes in a range of colours and will complement any home office or small studio perfectly.

It literally is simplicity at its best.

Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair Designed by Peter Opsvik (Black Revive Fabric with Natural Ash Base)
  • The ONLY original kneeling chair designed by Peter Opsvik in 1979
  • Now includes FREE soft tape ($50 value) for floor protection! Avoid scratches on hard floors
  • Norwegian design, manufactured in Europe

Last update on 2021-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It helps keep your body in balance and gently tilts your pelvis forward for a natural, upright posture while stimulating your muscles and putting little pressure on your spinal discs. And though it comes with a hefty price tag, the chair includes free soft tape for protecting your floors from scuffs and scratches.

Our final thoughts on choosing the best kneeling chair for you

Any kneeling chair you decide on has to be chosen based on your requirements, your budget, style decisions and what you want from the chair, and how you plan to use it.

This means you should consider whether you want an adjustable chair with wheels and back support, or a traditional rocker, that will work your core muscles as you sit, such as the stylish, traditional Varier Balans.

The choice is yours and good luck in your choice. In our opinion, Sleekform, Vivo and Varier lead the field in quality, adjustability and design. You can get cheaper from other smaller brands, but you get what you pay for and you should also consider the customer support and manufacturers warranties that are offered by the different companies.

You will rarely need them but it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Written by Simon
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. I have life long interest in creative design, art and function and this website is an exploration of that in all its forms and guises.