Knowing how to choose a standing desk chair is vital when selecting one that will suit you. Fortunately, this article serves as a cheat sheet which could ultimately save you from injury, purchasing a dud or having to bear the unnecessary cost of return fees.
How to choose a standing desk chair?
When purchasing an active chair or stool, these 12 key criteria should be considered to ensure that the chair is suitable to your work style, needs and your environment.
1. Weight capacity
4. Ease of use
12. Return policy
The average sit stand desk chairs are rated to endure up to 250 pounds of weight.
Standard desk chairs have a higher weight capacity of approximately 250 – 330 pounds. Big and tall chairs can tolerate even higher weight capacities of approximately 300 – 800 pounds.
Choosing a standing desk stool that has too low of a weight limit can interfere with the performance of the chair. Issues which may occur include the chair dropping, poor stability or even the chair breaking or causing injury to the person.
Opt for a chair that has at least 10% more weight capacity than you will expect it to need. The weight threshold should be displayed on the website, but if it is not, contact customer service or the salesperson to obtain it.
Did you know? In the US, the average weight of a male is 197.9 pounds, and the average weight of a female is 170.6 pounds. Source
Comfort should be one of the leading criteria in determining if it’s suitable or not. Unfortunately, this may not be evident when you are sitting on the chair in a showroom; comfort might only be determined after a few days or weeks of using a chair.
While you probably won’t be able to expect that the comfort levels of a standing desk chair will be as high as those of a traditional office chair, you should feel as though you can use the chair for about an hour without feeling as if you’re sitting in a torture chair.
Firm seating is a recurring theme when it comes to these chairs and it’s also a leading cause of discomfort based on multiple product reviews that I have read.
Seat pans which feature a saddle shape can also be less comfortable to use, particularly in the initial phases of using the seat. However, as they are designed to improve your posture, it helps minimize back pain and upper body pain.
Comfort can be elevated with features including armrests, backrests, seat cushioning, adequate height adjustability to accommodate your stature and soft materials for the seat.
Generally, most standing stools do not come equipped with backrest or armrests, so a standing desk chair would be more suitable if these are the features that you are looking for.
Tip: Anti-fatigue mats improve your level of comfort if you feel tiredness in your feet or legs while standing.
Similar to a traditional office chair, a standing desk chair will need to have adequate height adjustability, seat tilt and swivel motions.
The Focal Upright Locus is an example of an active seat for short and tall people. It accommodates heights between 4’11” and 6’8″.
The user spec of chair should provide information on height ranges that are suitable for a standing desk and the height of the user.
Tip: If the stool height is slightly too low for you, an added form footrest may provide additional padding which can increase your height to the necessary amount.
Ease of use
An ideal setup involves the ability to easily alternate between sitting, standing and perching positions throughout the day. You should also be able to move your posture so that you can reach items without having to get off the chair each time.
Looking for a chair which allows you to swivel and lean forwards and back an adequate amount (without negatively affecting your posture) will make life a bit easier.
However, don’t expect to be able to wheel around or roll across to a cabinet the same way you do with a regular chair.
Fortunately, with the standing and perching posture, it won’t feel as much of an effort to take a few steps over since you’re already in a near-standing position.
Range of positions
Obviously, the core position that standing chairs are designed to provide is that of a leaning or perching posture. However, it should allow the ability to completely sit on the seat as you would with a standard stool along with leaning against the seat while standing.
Some chairs even allow you to bounce.
Feelings of stability are generally not something that you consider when purchasing a standard office chair. However, the nature of active chairs stools is to encourage movement. Consequently, the greater the balance, the lower the degree of movement that is required by the person.
For example, wobble stools have a rounded base which allows the user to tilt side to side by 30 degrees.
In contrast, standing desk chairs with a square base or even an anti-fatigue mat attached to the base tend to offer more stability since the base remains completely on the floor.
Therefore, the user is more likely to feel stable while they are seated on the chair.
Whatever chair you choose, look for a base which features an anti-slip surface.
It’s a matter of personal preference as to whether you prefer to have more balance and slightly less movement or more instability and greater movement.
I personally would prefer more balance as I would fear falling off the chair, this is probably due to my poor balance and the fact that I love the feeling of stability in my chair. What’s your preference?
The average cost of a standing desk chair is approximately $100 – $1100. A standard wobble stool costs between $100 – $150, while high-end standing stools cost between $300 – $600.
As the price of the chair increases, you can expect to have higher quality materials, greater reliability, comfort and more features. They also tend to offer a stronger warranty compared to those of a cheaper leaning chair.
Leaning chairs have a relatively small footprint when compared with the standard office chair; you can collect it from the store and bring it home yourself in a standard sized car. If you are purchasing your standing desk chair online, shipping fees are something that may increase depending on the type of chair you purchase.
Couriers charge by weight, dimensions, destination, delivery times and declared value.
So, if you purchase a chair with an anti-fatigue mat attached, it’s going to have larger dimensions, weigh more and cost more than a wobble stool.
Delivery charges can be avoided if you purchase from a seller that offers free shipping. However, if you need to return the item, this cost is usually born by the customer.
For example, cost of shipping a wobble stool weighting costs $14.99. I scanned through about 20 different active chairs to find a shipping cost comparison to a wobble stool, but every single result I searched for had free shipping!
They also had free returns for the majority of the items too!
The degree of assembly required with standing stools tends to be minimal. If there is an anti-fatigue matter attached, it may not come fully assembled.
Assembly tends to involve attaching the rod to the seat and to the base of the chair; it should be relatively manageable as a single person task.
The average footprint of a wobble chair is approximately 13 inches wide. The height range varies between wobble stools, but they can have a height as short as 16.1 inches and reach up to 32.37 inches in height when extended.
If standing desk chair has an anti-fatigue mat attached, the average footprint extends significantly.
Take the Focal Upright Locus as an example, it features a footprint of 44.88 inches wide and 40.9 inches in height. Fortunately, the seat can be folded so that it can be slotted into a corner or under a space, such as under a bed or desk that’s wide enough.
Type of chair
TYLINK Ergonomic Stool
Focal Upright Locus
Standing desk chair with anti-fatigue mat
Storage becomes an important consideration if you are investing in a leaning chair that you only intend to use for short periods throughout the day. This may be the case if your leaning chair does not have the ability for adequate comfort to sit on it to rest from you’re standing and perched positions.
Additionally, if you intend to alternate between a standing desk chair and a traditional office chair, storage for both items becomes more of a consideration.
However, it may be the case that you have enough space to the side of your desk where you can store each chair without it getting in your way or posing a trip hazard or nuisance.
Standing desk stools weigh an average 9kg and are relatively lightweight, for example the TYLINK wobble stool weighs 12.12 pounds. Thus, lifting and moving them should be manageable.
Standing desk chairs which feature an anti-fatigue mat have higher weights in the region of 32 pounds. Fortunately, they can come equipped with wheels to make the process of moving them easier and also minimizes the manual handling risk.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the footprint of these types of chairs extends greatly due to the mat attached, therefore, portability of these active chairs becomes more of a challenge.
If a portable chair is a key consideration for you, an active stool is one of the more compact choices.
A good manufacture will provide a warranty of at least three years or more. Some manufacturers even provide as much as ten years or even lifetime guarantees under products.
A key watchout is the scope of the warranty; some warranties will only cover a portion of the components of the chair, whereas others may exclude or limit the duration of the warranty.
For example, the chair may have a 10-year warranty, but the gas lift may only be covered for three years.
If you are new to the concept of standing chairs, then a hassle-free change of mind policy is an important factor. Typically, you should be able to expect to trial the chair for 30 days and return it if it isn’t suitable for you.
If they have one of these policies, find out how you will be reimbursed as well. It may be in the form of a credit note or a complete monetary return.
There may also be charges associated with returning the chair that you’ll have to cover, typically the shipping costs to return the item. Sometimes the shipping costs can be nearly as expensive as the chair!
Fortunately, as you have seen from the costs section, many websites offer free shipping and returns, which means that this becomes less of a consideration, or perhaps not something you’ll need to think about at all!
By doing some careful consideration and planning, you can find the perfect active chair for you. These 12 criteria should be more than enough to guide you towards the features that will suit your needs and desires. One size doesn’t fit all, so remember that when you are investing in a chair.
If you’re not ready to take the plunge to an active chair or stool just yet, an ergonomic chair may be the intermediate that you’re looking for. This is why I personally love that the CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair comes with plenty of adjustable features and even a lifetime warranty!
If you’re curious as to how to use a standing chair or wondering are standing desk chairs any good, then you’re not alone. Find out whether a standing chair is worth your while by reading: Pros and cons of a standing desk chair
My goal with this website is to help you on all topics related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any queries or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I would love to hear them.