If you have never tried a kneeling chair before odds are, you might be feeling a little hesitant about pulling the trigger and pressing "buy." It makes sense- if you've never sat on one, how do you know if you'll like it? How will you know if it's right for you? Do you have the right body type? Who is the kneeling chair meant for anyway?
We get it - introducing something new into your daily routine is a big decision, and it's good to have a lot of questions. Plus, there have never been so many models and brands of kneeling chairs available as there are currently, so how do you know which one to trust?
We've got your back on this-- we've created an in-depth guide looking at all the kneeling chairs on the market in 2020, discussing what makes them great (or not so great), as well as all of the scientific and medical research that's gone into creating them to back us up.
What is a Kneeling Chair?
A Kneeling Chair is an excellent alternative if you're finding yourself uncomfortable in the chair you are currently spending your time. It's a versatile piece of furniture that is great for almost all body types. It's especially useful if you're trying to improve your posture, or looking to rid yourself of unwanted tension and have a healthy, happy spine.
Kneeling chairs challenge everything we ever thought we knew about healthy sitting and good posture… exciting, isn't it?!
This style of an ergonomic chair is meant to place you in a position with your thighs dropped to an angle of about 60° to 70° from vertical (as opposed to 90° when sitting in a standard chair).
This will take the weight out of your lower back by distributing more of your weight forward and allowing you to be supported by your shins. They are also designed to help you with your core engaged and strong - which takes a lot of the load off your back. When our core is weak, our back has to do a lot of overcompensating, and it will tire or get injured easily.
By placing your knees and hips into an S shape (or a lightning bolt shape if you're feeling that vibe) that feels natural and relieves hip pain instantly. We get this from the tilted seat that shifts you forward moving your weight into your legs and buttocks as opposed to solely your buttocks and helps to avoid that concave C shape in your back (also known as slouching)
Let's get medical--
You are reading a guide created by a company that makes kneeling chairs, so of course, we are a bit biased about the benefits of a kneeling chair, and naturally, you may be a little suspicious about this guide. We don't want you to just take our word for it- the research has been done, the science is there.
The National Institute of Biotechnology (NCIB) confirms our first theory- that sitting in a regular computer chair is not ideal for our long-term posture health and that poor seated posture may predispose us to develop low back pain. In a 2008 study, they confirmed that ergonomically designed kneeling chairs set at +20 degrees inclination do maintain standing lumbar curvature to a greater extent than sitting on a standard computer chair. The benefit of this position is that if you lean inward, the body angle remains 90° or wider instead of collapsing inwards and curving the spine in an unnatural C-shape..
Another research that was done over many years from the 1960s to 1990s by Dr. A. C. Mandal concluded that a forward sloping seat did effectively tip the pelvis forward, opening up the angle between torso and thigh, and thereby correctly aligns the spine, indicating a more suitable position for long periods of sitting.
Most recent medical research studies from 2008 “Ergonomically designed kneeling chairs are they worth it?” conducted by concluded that kneeling chairs set at +20° inclination do maintain standing lumbar curvature to a greater extent than sitting on a standard computer chair.
A huge misconception about the kneeling chair is that the body's weight bears on the knees, and so users with weak knees cannot use the chair. In a proper kneeling chair, most of the pressure remains on the butt, and some of the weight bears on the shins, not the knees- making sure that your knees do not experience any pain or injury. The primary function of the leg rests (knee rests) is to keep one from falling forward out of the chair.
It's been proven by medical studies many times over now that kneeling chairs will help alleviate back and lower back pain, sciatica pain, help heal certain spinal cord injuries strengthen your core, and enhance the overall ergonomics of your sitting. When you couple it with a standard office chair and actively alternate your sitting routine between the two, you can almost guarantee an improvement in your posture and, as a result, a reduction in body pains associated with sitting in the same position for too long.
As we always like to say - the next posture is the best posture!
We've taken the most prominent Kneeling chair models and stacked them up against each other in this easy to digest comparison chart. In it, you will see the high-end facts- the height and seat angle adjustment capabilities each chair offers, the weight capacity, and the ever-important rating on Amazon each chair has.
As you can see from this chart, the differences for the majority of them on paper aren’t all that much more different chair to chair on the high-end, but that’s not to say the sitting experience is the same in each chair.
We decided to do a deep dive into the top 10 best selling kneeling chairs available on Amazon and broke down the pros and cons of each one to help you decide which chair is the best option for you.
The Kneeling Chair Break Down--
If affordability is what you’re looking for, then look no further than that Flash furniture- it’s cost-effective, but at what price? We do like the range of motion this chair offers but like anything at this price point, you must still consider the quality of materials you’re going to get.
Here’s our breakdown of the pros and cons of the Flash Furniture posture kneeling chair.
This is another discount brand on Amazon- although the star rating on Amazon is slightly higher than the Flash Furniture chair we found that this chair had a number of more problems. Both build quality and ergonomic benefits are questionable and with it costing more than the Flash Furniture chair we are skeptical of this chair and would warn buyers to really consider their options before pressing “buy” on this guy.
Here are our pros and cons for the Office Star x-frame kneeling chair:
The Boss Office kneeling chair is the lowest cost chair on our list coming in at a shocking $77 USD. The chair is similar to the first two on the list, but this one comes with a pneumatic gas lift which makes it incredibly quick and easy to adjust the height of the chair.
The Varier Balans Kneeling chair is the grandfather of the kneeling chairs. It is the original Norweigan design created by Peter Opsvik in 1979, so you know right off the bat that it’s going to have style. In true Norwegian fashion, the Varier Balans has struck an elegant balance between function and design. They’ve made ergonomics fashionable, and that’s…. impressive.
If active sitting and quality are what you’re looking for, the Varier is your best bet.
Dragonn is a classic Amazon brand- it’s got none of the flare, fashion, and fun of Varier.
Dragonn is not a company that specializes in ergonomics or kneeling chairs. They sell several different items for the home varying from kneeling chairs, to wine decanters to cutting boards to water filters to chess boards- so if you’re looking to buy from an expert who spends their days trying to figure out how to improve your sitting experience, they might not be what you’re looking for.
Dragonn sells two different styles of kneeling chairs, and you can purchase them in various shades of black, grey, and white. Both forms are the x-frame style on rolling castors with a manual height adjustment bar, one model is backless, and the other model they sell has a backrest.
If you’re looking for a good buy and a very basic kneeling chair, Dragonn is good for that. If you’ve never tried a kneeling chair and aren’t sure if you’d like and just want something to sample and see if you’d like it, it’s a safe bet, but if you’re looking for something that will last, we wouldn’t recommend this version.
And now for the most biased part of our Kneeling Chair guide!
We are, of course, Sleekform and thus, we are OF COURSE big fans of ourselves- if you want some non-biased opinions we encourage you to read the reviews on our Amazon listings or some of the various reviews that have been done of our chairs over the last year or so. Check out the The Best Ergonomic Kneeling Chairs for 2019 and The 8 Best Kneeling Chairs of 2020 to see how they stacked us up against the competition last year.
But in the meantime - let’s talk about what we’ve tried to achieve with our brand.
Our goal in creating this brand was to create a strong, reliable, trusted brand like Varier but with the accessibility in price that Dragonn offers. We have six different models available that all offer something different, depending on what your issues are. We fill our days with studying and researching ergonomics and pride ourselves in providing a lot of free educational content to anyone who wants to learn about how furniture and habits affect our well-being.
Our Balance Models:
We offer two different styles of balance chairs- one made of wood, The Austin with a very similar look as the Varier provides, and one made of metal, The Amsterdam, that has all the same features, but with a different visual aesthetic. The Amsterdam also has faux leather fabric on the cushions that add to the durability and more practical appeal of that model, compared to the more fashion-forward, designer appeal the Austin offers with it’s natural or black wood and black fabric cushions.
Unlike the Varier models, our balance chairs have four support bars as opposed to one who gives it a lot more support while still managing to maintain the range of motion required for a great active sitting experience.
Sleekform X-Frame Models:
We understand the demand for adjustability when it comes to quality ergonomic seating. That’s why we offer three different x-frame style kneeling chairs that all offer something a little bit different.
One thing they all offer is an unmatched foam cushion. Not only are they 4x thicker than any of the competition we’ve also tossed in a delicious layer of memory foam that will allow you to sit and work in comfort for as long as you need (although we recommend getting up at least every hour and taking a little walk and a stretch).
Things to keep in mind after purchasing a kneeling chair:
Whichever brand or model you end up with, there are few key things to keep in mind once you get your new chair set up- how you use a kneeling chair is just as important as what kneeling chair you choose to use.
The most crucial factor is that you shouldn’t expect to be able to sit on it all day at first. Keep your main chair and just use the kneeling chair for 20 minutes or so at a time. It will take time for your body to adjust to this new way of sitting, and it’s very typical and should be expected to experience stiffness in the back, neck, and shoulder as well as tenderness in the shins for the first couple of days or even weeks. You may also find that switching between a regular chair and kneeling chair throughout the day is the best way to use your chair in the long term. We are always going back and forth between chairs during our workday.
When you get down to it, the only way to know if a chair is going to be right for you is to try it out. We understand that can be a bit scary in the land of online shopping, but the good news is we know that you need a bit of one on one time with the product and most brands offer a trial period. For fun, you can check out our little quiz that will help you find the right Sleekform chair model! At Sleekform, we offer 30 days to try it out, and if you don’t like it, we will give you a full refund.
We hope you found this ultimate kneeling chair guide helpful and insightful and that you are one step closer to finding the perfect ergonomic chair for you. If you have any remaining questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.