If you have a desk job or sitting for long hours in a chair, you might probably come across the idea of sitting in a kneeling chair due to its recent popularity. We all know about modern ergonomic office chairs but we have very little knowledge about kneeling chairs and what effect they have on our health.
Kneeling chairs and office chairs offer ergonomic seating and are often recommended to prevent musculoskeletal disorders such as low back pain. Due to the recent popularity of ergonomic seating, many studies were conducted to prove which ergonomic seating offers the optimal sitting posture.
So, which one is better kneeling chair or an office chair? Kneeling chairs limit hip flexion and promote lumbar lordosis, which requires upright sitting that causes muscle activation and muscle fatigue in the long hour sitting. However, office chairs offer better posture in the long term due to their versatile ergonomic features than kneeling chairs.
In this post, I will discuss major differences between a kneeling chair and ergonomic office chairs to help you decide which one would be best suited for comfort and your health. Keep reading the post till the end; it will clear your thoughts on kneeling and office chairs.
Kneeling chair comes in different shapes and sizes. However, the characteristics of a kneeling chair are different than office chairs. On a kneeling chair, the seat is sloped, and some of the chairs are static (you stay in one place), some of them are dynamic to sit in a rocking motion.
Kneeling chair promotes upright sitting posture, which encourages active sitting. According to a study, due to the slope of the seat and less hip flexion kneeling chair promotes lumbar curvature, and it’s similar to standing posture. The study suggests sitting with a lordotic lumbar spine as it reduces the intervertebral disc pressure.
As sitting in an upright position requires a lot of muscles to activate and causes muscle fatigue. So, it is common to adapt slumped posture when sitting on a kneeling chair. Lumbar lordosis is better maintained on a kneeling chair than a flat chair, even in this slumped posture.
Another study suggested that a kneeling chair has the greatest potentials for the hip joint. Kneeling chair is built to sit more active and ergonomically so there is not many ergonomic features to fit everyone properly. Some of the kneeling chairs have seat height adjustability and lumbar support for long-term sitting.
The ergonomic office chair is everywhere and they provide a ton of features to offer you the best sitting experience. However, their ergonomic functionality differs from brand to brand.
You will have seat height adjustability, adjustable armrests, lumbar support, and a tilting mechanism in a decent ergonomic office chair. These ergonomic features help you sit correctly while working for long hours.
Ergonomic features in an office chair are common because you frequently change posture when you feel uncomfortable, and these office chairs help you offer the optimal support when you are changing your posture.
The ergonomic “S-shaped” backrest follows your back spine and help you relax your back muscle while you are sitting. Many office chairs offer high-back which is convenient for shoulders and neck support.
By using the tilting mechanism, you can easily recline back and rock on your office chair while working. These dynamic options promote more blood circulation to your body, and changing posture frequently is recommended.
The office chair is the clear winner here due to its enhanced ergonomic features to fit everyone properly whereas on a kneeling chair you can only adjust the height of the chair. However, the sloping seat design of the kneeling chair promotes ergonomic sitting.
Optimal Sitting Posture
What is an optimal sitting posture? According to a study, If your sitting posture is similar to the natural shape of the spine and has equivalent lumbar lordosis as standing posture, you achieved optimal posture.
Recent studies conducted on the kneeling chairs show that it has the highest lumbar lordosis compared to any ergonomic chair, and it’s similar to standing posture; thus, kneeling chairs offer the optimal sitting posture.
On the other hand ergonomic office chair with different settings, you can achieve the optimal sitting posture. According to Sitting Biomechanics, you can achieve optimal posture on a chair by reclining the backrest to 110 degrees and adding 1 to 2 cm of lumbar support. Also, you should rest your arms on the armrests.
A decent ergonomic office chair offers the tilt mechanism to recline and adjustable lumbar support to achieve the optimal sitting posture. However, you can also achieve the optimal posture by sitting upright although it’s not recommended for long-term sitting.
Kneeling chair is the winner in this category because it promotes more lumbar lordosis than an office chair and lumbar lordosis is preferable when sitting. You can also achieve the optimal sitting posture on an office chair by making chair adjustments.
Size & Design
Kneeling chair and office chair both has different sizes and designs. However, an ergonomic office chair offers different types of design to choose from according to your interior. In contrast, a kneeling chair is more or less the same.
Let’s have a look at the size of different office chairs and kneeling chairs.
|Kneeling Chair Models||Dimensions (LxWxH)||Office Chair Models||Dimensions (LxWxH)|
|Varier Variable Balans||28.8 x 21.3 x 4.1 inches||Sidiz T50||27 x 27 x 42 inches|
|Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden||24 x 18 x 26 inches||Steelcase Series 1||23.75 x 27 x 41.25 inches|
|VIVO Kneeling Chair||27.75 x 19 x 8.5 inches||Hbada Office Task Chair||23.6 x 23.6 x 35.8 inches|
|YOOMEMM Kneeling Chair||33 x 17.72 x 35 inches||SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair||27.52 x 27.52 x 42.09 inches|
As you can see from the table sizes of the chair varies from brand to brand. However, the office chair has a lower size than a kneeling chair, and you will find an office chair for a small space.
Office Chair design varies as there are mesh office chairs, executive office chairs, leather office chairs, etc. If you want a minimalist office chair for your desk you will also find it.
The office chair is the winner here due to its versatile design for different use cases, whereas the kneeling chair has more or less the same design aesthetics.
Comfort & Productivity
Comfort is a subjective term and comes down to personal preference. However, the office chair and kneeling chair both have well-padded seats to provide maximum comfort. If you sit for a long time, you will feel discomfort and change your posture, which is very common for everyone.
But as an office chair has a high backrest and armrest where you can rest your back and arm so it would be more comfortable to sit for a long time, and you can change your posture frequently on an office chair.
Changing posture on a kneeling chair is difficult as you are stuck in one sitting position. You can just go upright to slumped posture as it requires more active sitting. So, you should sit on a kneeling chair for short tasks such as drawing, small computer projects that require less time.
In terms of productivity, both of the chairs are efficient. On a kneeling chair, you sit upright and stay active while working and on an office chair, you can also sit in an upright position. Productivity depends on individuals’ workload.
But in my opinion, kneeling chairs might be more productive in a short-term task whereas office chairs are for the long-term tasks.
The office chair is the winner for comfort due to its additional back and arm support, you can also recline while you feel uncomfortable.
Durability & Build Quality
Durability and build quality depend on the manufacturer and the price. High-end chairs are more durable than mid-range or standard chairs.
Since office chairs are made for intensive tasks like prolonged sitting and commercial use, they are more likely to be more durable. Let’s have a look at the weight capacity of a few kneeling chairs and office chairs to see which one has the durable chair base.
|Kneeling Chair Models||Weight Capacity||Office Chair Models||Weight Capacity|
|Varier Variable Balans||240lbs||Sidiz T50||300lbs|
|VIVOHOME Ergonomic Rocking Kneeling Chair||330lbs||Steelcase Series 1||400lbs|
|Defy Desk kneeling chair||300lbs||Hbada Office Task Chair||250lbs|
|YOOMEMM Kneeling Chair||250lbs||SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair||330lbs|
From the table, we can see both of the chair types have a pretty solid chair base. Although high-end office chairs are quite durable.
Build quality depends on the brand and the chair’s price. The above Varier Balans kneeling chair and Steelcase Series-1 has pretty solid build quality than other chairs.
Office chair has a versatile use case, you can use an office chair in the office, home, or any place you would like whereas kneeling chairs are mostly used at home if you want a more active sitting posture.
If you sit all day long for your desk job, then using a kneeling chair is probably a bad choice as you can not sit in an active position all day long. In that case, you can use the kneeling chair as your second chair to increase your productivity.
Availability, Demand & Popularity:
Office chairs are more popular than kneeling chairs as every office requires office chairs and most of us use office chairs as our main sitting chair. On the other hand, both chairs are available on the market. As office chairs are on the market for a long time so there are more brands that make office chairs.
A kneeling chair has less demand than an office chair. However, chiropractors sometimes recommend kneeling chairs to promote spinal alignment.
Popular Kneeling Chair: My favorite kneeling chair is the Varier Balans Kneeling chair due to its wooden base and rocking option. Many researchers used this chair to study the lumbar curvature while sitting on a kneeling chair. If you are interested, you can check this chair on Amazon.
Popular Office Chair: Sihoo ergonomic office chair is a very popular and my favorite office chair with a ton of ergonomic adjustability. You can adjust every component of this chair to fit you properly and obtain the optimal posture. If you are interested, check the price on Amazon.
The kneeling chair and office chair both have different price ranges. Kneeling chairs start as low as $50 and can go up to $1000 whereas office chairs can go up to $2000 or more.
Let’s have a look at the price of different kneeling and office chairs.
|Kneeling Chair Models||Price||Office Chair Models||Price|
|Varier Variable Balans||$349.00||Sidiz T50||$358.58|
|VIVO Wooden Rocking Kneeling Chair||$109.99||Steelcase Series 1||$436.00|
|VIVO Kneeling Chair||$89.99||Hbada Office Task Chair||$109.99|
|YOOMEMM Kneeling Chair||$188.00||SIHOO Ergonomic Office Chair||$229.99|
I have added a price for different kneeling and office chair. From the table, you can see that kneeling chair has way less price than an office chair, and most of the kneeling chair price ranges from $100 – $200. On the other hand, decent ergonomic office chair price ranges from $200 – $350.
Pros & Cons – At a Glance
Kneeling chair promotes upright posture and maintains the lumbar lordosis throughout the sitting. Also, this chair offers the greatest potential for the hip joints.
Kneeling chair has several disadvantages as well. The main one being sitting down on them and standing up from them takes longer time than an office chair. So, you can not change your position frequently. Another disadvantage is that sitting position can put pressure on the knees, causing knee pain.
As this chair generally comes without lumbar support and armrest so, sitting on this chair for a long time can hurt your back and shoulder.
Using the optimal ergonomic setting, you can achieve the optimal posture on an office chair, or you can sit upright to maintain the lumbar lordosis on an office chair.
As you get all the ergonomic features on this chair, you can easily change posture whenever you want, and you can recline and rock to relieve your stress. If you purchase a decent ergonomic office chair, you will have a great sitting experience.
A basic office chair does not meet all the ergonomic criteria needed to achieve the optimal posture. So, it might hurt your back while sitting in a basic office chair, and it’s easy to slump on an office chair than on a kneeling chair.
Which one is the winner?
Although the kneeling chair offers an amazing optimal sitting posture that is close to the standing posture and good for spinal alignment, it lacks ergonomic features and other criteria. Kneeling chairs are good for productivity but you might feel uncomfortable after sitting for a while as they require active sitting.
Are kneeling chairs good for your knees?
Kneeling chairs are optimal for sitting posture and short-term tasks that require active sitting. However, kneeling chairs make you remain in one sitting position where your legs get stuck and can put pressure on your kneecaps, causing knee pain. So, kneeling chairs are not good for your knees.
Is kneeling chair good for long hours?
Kneeling chairs promote upright sitting posture, which requires muscle activation, causing muscle fatigue. Due to the lack of backrest, armrests and other ergonomic features kneeling chairs are not good for long hour sitting. You should always go for an office chair if you have a long hour sitting job.
Do chiropractors recommend kneeling chairs?
Chiropractors often recommend kneeling chairs because it promotes spinal alignment and upright sitting position that enhance lumbar lordosis. Though, sitting on a kneeling chair for prolonged hours is not recommended.