With very little guidance currently available on how to choose a kneeling chair, this article takes a deep dive into the 21 various features that you should watch out for when choosing a kneeling chair.
While you may think that choosing a kneeling chair is no different to choosing a standard office chair, think again! With kneeling pads, seating angles, distance between kneeling pads and seat and rocking features to consider that don’t exist in standard office chairs, these four components will it greatly determine how successful of a purchase you make and how suitable the chair will be for you.
Let’s get started.
Did you know? Since kneeling chairs offer less support to your back and core region, it engages them much more than when in a standard office chair. Source
How to choose a kneeling chair?
When choosing a kneeling chair, the below factors will be influential in choosing one that is suited to your requirements and area. Remember that the first 4 items are factors that are specific to kneeling chairs and thus require greater attention.
1. Seat angle
2. Knee pads
3. Distance between kneeling pads and seat
4. Rocking feature
7. Height requirements
8. Weight capacity
11. Duration of use
20. Return policy
The angle at which the seat is tilted will be influential in dictating how upright you sit. The angle of the seat on a rocking chair should be between 120 – 130 degrees to enable you to adopt an upright posture while tilting your pelvis forward and opening up your hips.
Most chairs will feature this downward angle, however, watch out for seats that are angled at 90 degrees and avoid them at all costs!
Similar to the seat angle, the knee pad angle is also a critical component which will determine how effective the kneeling chair is at supporting the desired posture.
The kneeling pads should be angled at 120 – 130 degrees and chairs with kneeling pads angled at 90 degrees should be avoided.
Some kneeling chairs will feature a single knee pad, but the most common style will incorporate 2 kneeling pads.
Distance between kneeling pads and seat
If the kneeling chair is adjustable, then there is some leeway for the chair to accommodate a wider range of heights. However, if the chair is not height-adjustable, then the range is reduced.
Generally, non-adjustable kneeling chairs can accommodate heights between 5’2” – 6’2”.
Some kneeling chairs even incorporate a rocking function which allows you to rock side to side as you sit on your kneeling chair. The easiest way to tell if a kneeling chair features a rocking motion is to look at the base of the chair.
If it has curves at the front and rear of the chair, then it most likely can rock. However, if it is an X-frame shape which has a flat base or castors, then it won’t be able to rock.
If you’re worried about instability or unwanted rocking while you try to concentrate on your work, don’t be. Generally, your feet will be stabilizing you on the kneeling chair while you sit.
It’s very similar to a traditional rocking chair, if you want to rock back and forth, you will need to give the kneeling chair a gentle nudge to get it moving. You can simply position your feet on the sides of the chair instead of on the floor so that they don’t inhibit the rocking motion.
Is a rocking kneeling chair better?
Rocking chairs don’t tend to be height adjustable, so if you are concerned about the height, try it out first or check with the salesperson or manufacturer to determine what heights the rocking kneeling chair is suitable for.
Otherwise, if you enjoy the motioning of rocking in a chair and think that it would help alleviate you’re fidgeting, a rocking feature could be just what the doctor ordered.
Tip: Some chairs come equipped with anti-slide strips to achieve a better grip between the floor and the chair. Plus, it also prevents damage to the floor.
Kneeling chairs can be categorized into 2 main types: rocker kneeling chairs and X-frame kneeling chairs.
Generally, most kneeling chairs feature a rectangular seat cushion, however there are saddle seats available in a select number of kneeling chairs. Saddle seats feature a pronounced curve designed to improve your posture as you sit.
Additionally, most kneeling chairs feature two separate square kneeing pads, while a number of kneeling chairs have one long rectangular kneeling pad.
This can be beneficial as it allows greater area for you to position your knees as opposed to being restricted to the two square positions where the kneeling pads are located.
If you intend to store the chair, it may be beneficial to choose a kneeling chair that can fold up. This will obviously make it more compact for storage
when you are not using it.
Unfortunately, some chairs cannot fold up, instead they need to be dismantled which is obviously more awkward and cumbersome.
Not all kneeling chairs feature height adjustability option. For this reason, it is more difficult to find a chair that will suit your needs, particularly if you don’t fall into the average height range.
In the US, the average height for a male is around 5 foot 9 inches; the average height for a female is 5 feet 4 inches.
Furthermore, kneeling chairs do not tend to be suited to taller people, especially people over 6 foot tall.
While some kneeling chairs feature a height adjustment function, it doesn’t necessarily enable the distance between the seat and the knee pads to be adjusted. This can make it challenging for a taller person since they may have to squish their knees into the knee pads.
It’s usually easier to find a kneeling chair that fits shorter people. When purchasing a kneeling chair, check what heights are suitable for using the chair with the manufacturer or the retailer. Often this is not revealed on the website or brochure.
On the other hand, if you are below the typical height, finding a kneeling chair that suits can be more difficult. Fortunately, the height adjustable features
of a kneeling chair can adjust to heights which tend to be outside the average height range.
The Fully Balans kneeling chairs are suitable for people between 4 foot 8 inches and 6 foot 2 inches.
The Posture Pro Ergonomic Kneeling Chair claim to accommodate heights as tall as 6 foot 4 inches.
The ProErgo Pneumatic Ergonomic Kneeling Chair reviews suggest that it would be suitable for shorter adults and even children! I even reached out to the customer support of the manufacturing company, and they stated that it could be suitable for children around 10 years of age and older. However, this will ultimately be contingent on the height of the child or user.
If there are several people using the kneeling chair, a greater height range is more desirable. Some kneeling chairs can accommodate people with heights both under 5 foot and over 6 foot. Plus, with a wide height range, you can be more certain of a chair that will suit your needs.
An example of a kneeling chair that is appropriate for both short and tall people is the Dragon VIVO ergonomic kneeling chair which permits height adjustments between 21 to 31 inches.
The rocking chairs can be more difficult to navigate since they don’t tend to be height adjustable. I checked out the Variable Balans by Varier. Reviewers with heights of 5 foot 8 inches to just over 6 foot claim that they are comfortably able to sit in the rocking chair.
The average weight capacity of a kneeling chair is 250 pounds. Kneeling chairs tend to have a low weight capacity, so taller users or people over 250 pounds may struggle to find a chair that has a suitable weight limit for them.
Tip: As a rule of thumb, the more a kneeling chair weighs, the more weight capacity it can hold.
A standard kneeling chair tends to weigh between 14.2 – 24 kg. The average weight of a kneeling chair is approximately 18.32kg.
Features that will increase the weight of a kneeling chair include:
- design of the chair
- material that is used
- amount of padding
- dimensions of the seat and knee pads
- number of knee pads provided
If you’re interested in finding out more, I’ve written a dedicated article on the weight of kneeling chairs.
A material that the seat is made from will dictate how easy it is to clean. For example, the Dragonn ergonomic kneeling chair is made of vinyl, so it is a bit more difficult to clean if it becomes dirty or stains appear on the surface.
From this perspective, a leather cushion covering may be more easily cleaned.
On the other hand, leather can be a little bit slippy, so you may find that you do not achieve as good of a grip when seated on the chair.
Durable parts are also a critical component, from both a safety and reliability perspective.
I have read a number of customer reviews where the metal bars of the Dragonn chair have broken off the seat. However, this was only in a small minority of the reviews posted.
Duration of use
Kneeling chairs should be used for short duration tasks where you need to tilt forward to complete an activity, for example, reading, typing, writing or sewing.
Kneeling chairs are somewhat restrictive in terms of how many positions that you can adopt while you’re using one. Consequently, it’s likely that you may get tired of your position faster and require more rest breaks from the kneeling chair.
When you compare this to an active chair, which offers as many as three to four different seating postures, you’re less likely to use the kneeling chair as much.
Kneeling chairs don’t tend to be used all day unless users have alternative postures or are taking regular breaks. This may not pose an issue if you have a variety of tasks such as alternating between desk tasks and tasks on the floor.
Additionally, it would be less of a problem if you have a standing desk or other types of chairs which you intend to use as part of an active seating regime.
You should adopt various postures between a kneeling chair and a regular office chair or standing at a desk to alleviate pressure on your knees and hips.
From reviewing hundreds of customer reviews, the general consensus is that the majority of kneeling chair users tend to feel comfortable when seated in the kneeling chair once they got used to the new posture.
Since kneeling chairs tend to lack a backrest and since they introduce more pressure on your knees and shins, they tend to be unsuitable for long periods of use. However, that can be alleviated by purchasing a kneeling chair with a backrest or buying an add-on backrest.
People may encounter discomfort in the early phase of adjusting to the kneeling chair, so there may be a period of getting used to the new posture before you feel completely comfortable.
A number of users alleged to experience pain and discomfort in their knees and shins if used over a long period of time or if they suffered from pain in their knees in general.
Depending on the quality of the kneeling chair cushions, knee and shin support may be sub-optimal.
Some kneeling chairs may have a poor-quality cushion which flattens out easily over time.
A decent seat cushioning on the knee pads and seat cushion tends to be around 3 – 4 inches thick.
Other cheaper chairs may have a poor-quality cushion but try to compromise by adding more of the material which ultimately bottoms out after a period of time. I read one review of a kneeling chair where multiple users claimed that seat padding was flattening out after only a day of use.
On top of that, not all kneeling chairs includes comfortable seat cushioning.
A common question people have is do you need a back rest with a kneeling chair?
A backrest is not necessarily required with a kneeling chair because you are oriented in an upright posture regardless of whether there is a backrest or not. By not using a backrest, it engages your core muscles because there is more effort required in maintaining this posture.
Some kneeling chairs will come with a back support as an optional accessory, or they can also be built into the design of the chair.
Users may also feel that the lack of the backrest could become tiring on their back since they have no backrest support it with.
A backrest may come in useful if you feel attached to your current backrest or enjoy leaning back occasionally. Additionally, if you have back issues, a medical profession may recommend if having a backrest is best for you.
If you are simply feeling fatigued from sitting in that posture without back support, the preferred option would be to take a break from the chair by standing up as opposed to remaining seated in the static posture and leaning back on a backrest.
Standing up will not only give your muscles a break from this posture, but it will also contribute to active seating.
Standard kneeling chairs generally don’t come equipped with armrests.
So, if you tend to use armrests on your current chair or feel that you will need them while kneeling, it would be prudent to have them in a kneeling chair.
This will allow you to rest your arms and lessen the pressure on your shoulders.
Kneeling chairs are generally designed for indoor use the likes of office desks, sewing machines are reading positions. I have yet to come across one that is designed intentionally for outdoor or industrial work environments.
However, that is not to say that the chair could not be used in a work environment where there is dust or additional elements.
Standard kneeling chairs can range in price from $99 99 to upwards of $379.00. If a kneeling chair includes additional components, such as a backrest or armrests, the value can increase to approximately $244 – $1999.
X-frame kneeling chairs tend to be cheaper and more common than rocker chairs.
Like many products that you buy throughout life, it is generally accepted that the more you pay for a kneeling chair, the greater the quality and durability will be. However, purely selecting the most expensive chair available does not ensure quality or reliability.
As an alternative, look for good customer reviews, purchase from reputable companies, and select a chair with a decent warranty length will empower you to choose a chair that is proportional in quality and cost.
The quality of kneeling chairs tends to be related to the type of material and cost itself. Properties to look out for include good design, high density foam in the seating and knee pads, a good warranty, mid-range price and positive product reviews.
The type of material also helps indicates the quality of the chair. If the kneeling chair is too light, it’s likely to feel less sturdy and offer less support as you sit on it.
The importance of being able to easily move the chair will be some more dependent on the weight of the kneeling chair. Obviously, the heavier the kneeling chair, the more difficult it will be to move.
The frequency which you need to move the chair will depend on how often you tend to use the chair and how often you plan to swap the kneeling chair with your office chair. Since kneeling chairs are relatively lightweight, it’s unlikely to pose a significant manual handling issue, unless you suffer from back pain.
If the kneeling chair has castors, it obviously makes it easier to push the chair out of your way as opposed to lifting it as you would with a roller kneeling chair.
Tip: If castors are provided, check that there are at least 2 lockable wheels provided so that you can prevent unwanted movement while you are seated.
If it’s your first time using a kneeling chair and you’re hesitant about investing with the fear that you won’t end up liking the chair, remember that most companies offer a return policy of 30 days, so even if you discover that the kneeling chair isn’t suited, you can usually return it for another one!
Just make sure you check their returns policy before you finalize the deal!
At a bare minimum, there should be at least a 1-year warranty provided for a kneeling chair. A decent warranty should range from 3 to 5 years. Some kneeling chairs even come with a lifetime guarantee!
When researching a kneeling chair, considering the above criteria will help determine which type of kneeling chair suits you best. Learning about the pros and cons of kneeling chairs along with the above factors is one step. To further advance your research, you can look at product reviews and reputable companies for a general consensus regarding the chair and how suitable and comfortable it is will ensure you pick a good chair first time round.
If you’re still uncertain as to whether a kneeling chair is something that would suit you, I answer some common FAQs which you will find here: What is a kneeling chair? Beginners guide
If after reading the beginners guide article and a kneeling chair still sounds like too much of a change, then perhaps a multi-functional office chair may be more suited. My personal favourite office chair is the CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair. It features a large range of adjustable components for a comfortable experience. Plus, it also comes with a lifetime warranty!
My aim with this website is to help you on all matters related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any questions or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them!
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321132#:~:text=For a woman raised in,around 5 feet 9 inches .