Pros and cons of a standing desk chair


Considered the new kids on the block, standing desk chairs are growing in popularity along with the increase in standing desks. So, are standing desk chairs any good and what are the pros and cons of a standing desk chair?

In the battle against siting disease, active chairs could be the answer to your problems.

Are standing desks a good idea
Are standing desks a good idea

Let’s dive straight into it so that you can decide if you should get a standing desk chair or not.

Did you know? Standing chairs and stools are intended to be used for short periods of time at a go. Source

Pros and cons of a standing desk chair - Adjustable standing desk stool Bush

Pros and cons of a standing desk chair

The below table highlights the advantages and disadvantages of a standing desk chair.

Pros of a standing desk chair

Cons of a standing desk chair

Encourages movement

Difficult to get used to

Portable

Users may feel uncomfortable

Lightweight

May cause more tiredness than sitting

Minimal assembly

Not suitable for use over long periods of time

Easy to store

Limited weight capacity

Encourages maximum use of standing desk

Users require a standing desk

Users may feel unstable

Limited range of movement

Can cause reduced productivity

 

Advantages of a standing desk chair

Encourages movement

Sedentary positions are taking over our lives at the moment and the effects of being stationary, often titled “sitting disease”, are becoming more prevalent in both the workplace and home.

When seated at an office desk chair, the chair doesn’t encourage as much movement as an active chair does. Plus, the position that you are seated in makes the effort of getting up more cumbersome than if you are in a perched position.

Standard office chairs limit your movement and position. Although you can lean backwards on the chair and adjust your posture within the chair, that tends to be the extent to which you can adjust yourself.

With active chairs, you can alternate between multiple positions including:

  • Sitting: as you would on a stool
  • Perching: not quite sitting but not fully standing
  • Leaning: resting your body against the chair

Some active chairs even allow you to bounce on the chair itself. Plus, the fact that you are in a semi-upright position makes it is easier to stand up and walk around.

In addition, the nature of the position that you are perched or leaning in will naturally encourage more movement of the body.

Portable

Active desk chairs have a small footprint especially if they don’t have an anti-fatigue mat attached. The average footprint of a wobble chair is around 13 inches wide and between 16.1 – 32.37 inches at the lowest and tallest height.

If your standing desk chair features an anti-fatigue mat attached to it, this obviously increases the footprint and can also make it more difficult to transport since it’s a larger object to manoeuvre and heavier too. 

On the plus side, most of these types of active chairs allow you to fold the seat which makes it easier to store.

Lightweight

Standing desk stools weigh an average of 9kg, which makes them lightweight. This is a salient point since you are likely to move the position of you’re standing chair regularly so that it is out of your way while you stand, or so that you can move the office chair into place.

Minimal assembly

Assembling a leaning stool or chair generally warrants limited effort. The extent of assembly usually involves attaching the rod to the seat and the base of the chair. If an anti-fatigue mash is provided with the chair, this would also need to be attached.

Fortunately, these tasks can be performed as a single person and shouldn’t require many (if any) tools.

Easy to store

Storage is an important consideration if you intend to use you’re standing chair for only short periods throughout the day.

This is especially true if you intend to alternate between a standing chair and your regular office chair. 

Fortunately, most standing chairs are relatively small, and I include some examples below to give you some insight into how large active chairs are. The smallest one that I could find is the Sitmatic Pogo Standing Desk Chair.

Name

Type of chair

Height (Inches)

Width (Inches)

TYLINK Ergonomic Stool

Wobble Stool

16.1 – 23.6

13

Focal Upright Locus

Standing desk chair with anti-fatigue mat

31.0 – 40.9

44.88

Sitmatic Pogo

Wobble Stool

18.5 – 36.25

15

Varier Move

Wobble Stool

22.05 – 32.28

14.17

Songmics Stool

Wobble Stool

19.7 – 27.6

15

Encourages maximum use of standing desk

When using a sit stand desk, a common issue experienced by people is that they feel tired after standing for a period of time. Consequently, they alternate to a sitting position and lower the standing desk to normal sitting height. In a way, this detracts from making use of the standing functionality of the desk.

By investing in a standing desk chair, you can increase the amount of time you spend at an elevated position by alternating between standing, perching, leaning and sitting positions.

Plus, the scope of a standing chair isn’t confined to just a standing desk, if you were positioned as a bench or tall work top, a standing chair grants you the freedom to rest in various positions other than simply standing for long periods or sitting on a draft chair.

Pros and cons of a standing desk chair - Swooper Classic Active Chair

Disadvantages of a standing desk chair

Difficult to get used to

Standing desk chairs take more time to adjust to and get used to when compared to a traditional office chair. Not only is this a new posture that you’ll need to become comfortable with, but also the use of the standing stool will probably be a new concept for you as well.

Consequently, people will spend more time adjusting the chair to meet their criteria, especially if in the initial hours, days and weeks of getting used to it.

Finding a comfortable and suitable position for the chair, and even simply getting used to having a technique to perch yourself on the chair will all take time.

Furthermore, this new style of sitting is likely to take its toll on your body and muscles as they get used to the new pressures being placed on them.

Users may feel uncomfortable

The design of the seat pan is more unconventional when compared with a regular office chair.

The size, shape and hardness of the chair are three key parameters which are likely to cause user discomfort as they sit.

The seat pan is much smaller than that of a regular chair. The shapes typically come in a convex shape. They also come in a concave shape which has a dip. Also available are saddle shaped seats which have a pronounced curve designed with the intention to improve your posture as you sit.

Seat padding tends to be stiff or firm, which often makes it an uncomfortable experience for users perched on the standing chair. The firm seating is a recurring theme when it comes to the chair hardness.

There are, fortunately, some options available which have good quality cushioning to offer a softer seating experience for users, such as the Sitmatic Pogo.

May cause more tiredness than sitting

With a standing posture comes greater pressure being applied to your legs, feet, and even your shoulders and back may feel tired from adopting this new posture. That is attributed to the adjustment period which comes with these standing desk chairs.

With most sit stand desk chairs, you are lacking a backrest and armrests to support the upper regions of the body; this means that they need to support themselves.

As well as that comes the extra weight being applied to your legs and your feet can result in tiredness as your body adjusts to the new pressures.

The key solution to this is to ease yourself into to the chair over short periods of time. For example, using the chair for 10 to 20 minutes the first few times, and building up the time over the days and weeks.

Not suitable for use over long periods of time

It’s worth remembering that the chair is not designed for use in the same posture over long periods. Nor is any chair or position for that matter.

With this in mind, an active chair that facilitates a range of positions enables you to use the chair for longer as you can alternate between perching, leaning and sitting.

Furthermore, the position engages more muscles to maintain this position. The legs, back and core muscles are the muscles that are engaged to hold this stance, so if you’re not used to the position, you’re likely to fatigue quicker anyway.

Limited weight capacity

Most standing desk chairs are rated to withstand up to 250 pounds of weight.

In the US, the average weight of a male is 197.9 pounds, and the average weight of a female is 170.6 pounds. Therefore, the weight capacity of a leaning chair should be more than adequate for the majority of the population.

However, if you’re outside that 250 pounds weight threshold, you might struggle to find a standing chair to accommodate you.

Users require a standing desk

By the nature of the height that you will be standing at when using a standing desk chair, a tall bench or standing desk is generally required.

So, can you use an active chair while sitting? – The answer is yes.

There are active seats which allow you to sit, lean forward and side to side as you sit. For example, the Swopper active chair or chair balls, but these are a separate type of furniture to a standing chair and stool.

Users may feel unstable

The majority of standing desk chairs lack a backrest and armrests. That combined with the fact that the seat pan is much smaller than that of standard chair, it’s no surprise that users often feel unstable as they try to balance themselves on the chair.

Based on user reviews of these chairs, the feeling of instability seems to be a trend with chairs which have a rounded base. Since they are designed to encourage rocking motions and tilting, the base is not positioned as securely to the floor.

It’s not surprising when you look at images of people tilting up to 60 degrees or more on the chair.

Limited range of movement

Since most types of standing desk chairs lack wheels, they don’t offer as much ability to move around while you are on the chair.

With an office chair, the wheels allow you to rollover in and out so that you are closer or further away from your desk or the object you’re trying to reach. However, these standing chairs only allow you to move from a fixed position.

So, while you may be able to pivot 360 degrees on the chair and reach by leaning over, it does inhibit your range of movement.

Consequently, you’ll have to get out of the chair to reach the object. Also, you’ll possibly have to readjust the location of the chair to suit the location of your equipment. This feeds back into the reduced productivity point that I previously made.

Can cause reduced productivity

A vital element of these chairs is that they encourage movement. By the nature of the position that you adopt, you are likely to spend more time adjusting your posture while you are perched on the chair.

This can lead to additional time being spent thinking about alternating your posture, plus if you are feeling tired or discomfort, this will detract from your attention to your work.

As well as that, the fact that they are designed for short periods of use means that you will consume time moving the standing chair and swapping it for your regular office chair along with spending some time adjusting the height of the desk to a seated position.

These factors combined with a limited range of movement and the feelings of instability which were discussed in the previous paragraphs are all factors which could reduce productivity for the user. These will be particularly obvious during the infancy stages of using a sit stand desks stool.

Consequently, you should consider your workload and also how likely you are to tolerate all these changes.

It could be a case that you grow tired of the tedious alternating between chairs and the standing chair may become an ornament.

Pros and cons of a standing desk chair - Fully luna standing desk stool black

Conclusion

Standing desk chairs are an excellent way to increase the range of positions that you can adopt while at a desk. However, there’s no denying that standing desk chairs require more effort and an adjustment period when compared to standard office chairs.

Most chairs are fitted with a stiff seat material and these tend to offer little padding, if no padding at all. That combined with a standing posture can make it more uncomfortable and tiring for the user to sit on.

If an active chair or stool isn’t something you fancy investing in just yet, an ergonomic chair may be the intermediate that you’re looking for. With plenty of adjustable features, the CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair is a solid choice for attending to your comforts and posture. Plus, it also comes with a remarkable lifetime warranty!

Very few chairs come with a lifetime warranty such as the chair above. The lifespan of a chair is an important consideration to bear in mind when choosing an office chair. The last thing that you want is to throw money at a chair that breaks after a couple of months.

Considering that they are an investment, don’t run the risk of squandering your hard-earned cash on a poorly researched chair by reading: How long does an office chair last? Insider tips & facts!

My aim with this website is to help you on all matters associated 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’d love to hear them.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/average-weight-for-women

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/average-weight-for-men

Pogo

Sharon

With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

Recent Posts