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5 top-rated kneeling chairs for less strain and pain at work

Ergonomics experts reveal the advantages of kneeling chairs and how to shop the best ones.
If you’re feeling back pain at work, kneeling chairs can be a great alternative to the traditional desk chair.
If you’re feeling back pain at work, kneeling chairs can be a great alternative to the traditional desk chair.Amazon

If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain at your desk, it may be time to transition to a pain-free, more ergonomic setup. To help you get more comfortable, we rounded up some top-rated kneeling chairs, and talked to two experts about factors you should consider before buying one, like cushioning and height adjustment. Our favorite kneeling chair is the Varier Variable Original Kneeling Chair.

In previous guides, we’ve consulted experts on finding the best office accessories, including laptop stands, adjustable desks, ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice and even noise-canceling headphones. The next step to improving your overall comfort and efficiency at work may be a kneeling chair. While they look a little unconventional, the experts we spoke to note that kneeling chairs can be a better alternative than conventional desk chairs for your spinal alignment.

SKIP AHEAD What is a kneeling chair? | The best kneeling chairs of 2024 | How to shop for kneeling chairs

The best kneeling chairs to shop in 2024

Based on expert guidance, we’ve rounded up some top-rated kneeling chairs — including X-framed chairs, Balans chairs and even a saddle chair — that can help improve lumbar support, reduce pain and improve your posture.

Best overall kneeling chair: Varier

Varier Variable Balans Original Kneeling Chair

Both Drs. Conrad and Sriram recommend this balans kneeling chair — it has a simple, curved wooden base that allows the chair to rock back and forth, which can help maintain core strength and improve balance. “It weighs less than 15 pounds, but yet still provides stability and doesn’t feel flimsy,” says Conrad. “Some kneeling chairs don’t feel like they’re strong enough and will tilt with slight movements, but this one has been around for years and still offers great stability”. This chair is also height adjustable.

Type: Balans | Max weight: 240 lbs | Colors: Black, dark blue, dark grey | Rating: 4.3-star average rating from 852 reviews on Amazon

Best X-framed kneeling chair: Flash Furniture

Flash Furniture Mobile Wooden Ergonomic Office Chair

This X-framed kneeling chair sits on dual caster wheels and can be folded up and stored away when not in use, making it ideal for small apartment dwellers. The wood chair, which can be manually height adjusted, has two fabric-padded cushions that are two inches thick. .

Type: X-framed | Max weight: 250 lbs | Colors: Black, grey | Rating: 4-star average rating from 1,753 reviews on Amazon

Best saddle kneeling chair: Antlu

Antlu Saddle Stool Rolling Chair

Available with or without a backrest, this chair resembles more of a horse saddle than the typical kneeling chair with knee pads. The chair can support up to 400 pounds, and users can adjust its height between 21 and 28 inches.

Type: Saddle | Max weight: 400 lbs | Colors: Black, beige, grey, pink, white | Rating: 4.4-star average rating from 3,737 reviews on Amazon

Best wooden kneeling chair: Predawn

Predawn Ergonomic Kneeling Chair

This white oak wood-framed kneeling chair has pads made from 3.15-inch-thick foam and rocks back and forth as you sit. The chair can support up to 265 pounds and includes an anti-slip pad on the bottom, which the brand says can help prevent floor scratching.

Type: Balans | Max weight: 265 lbs | Colors: Black, white, grey, pecan, white oak | Rating: 4-star average rating from 544 reviews on Amazon

Best budget kneeling chair: Vivo

Vivo Wooden Rocking Kneeling Chair

Dr. Sriram also recommends the Vivo kneeling chair, which has a solid wood frame and 4-inch-thick black cushions for added comfort. It supports up to 250 pounds and has a 4-star average rating from 261 reviews on Amazon.

Type: Balans | Max weight: 250 lbs | Colors: Black | Rating: 4-star average rating from 261 reviews on Amazon

Unlike a traditional office chair, in which your hips are closed at a 90-degree angle putting pressure on your spine, a kneeling chair is specifically designed with a seat that has a 20-degree downward slope and a cushion that supports your knees. This angle allows your hips to rest in an open-angled position of 110 degrees, relieving unwanted pressure on the spine and properly aligning your back, neck and shoulders to encourage core engagement and prevent back strain.

“One of the most important features of a kneeling chair is that it helps open the pelvis and bring the spine into a more neutral position,” says Dr. Sapna Sriram, CEO and founder of Integra Health, an agency that offers personal health-care services in your home.

Dr. Allen Conrad, a chiropractor at Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania, agrees: “The standard chair we all use at the computer puts the low back at approximately a 7-degree angle,” he says. “This may be fine for only sitting,” says Conrad, “but combined with leaning forward for prolonged computer work, this can lead to back pain and other painful conditions.”

While taking breaks and walking around can help with circulation, our experts all agreed that kneeling chairs uniquely offer an advantageous alignment for your spine by setting your lumbar spine at a 20-degree angle, which helps contract your postural stabilizer muscles and improve lower back pain, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information in a research study.

Dr. Conrad cautions that if you suffer from certain knee conditions, like meniscus tears or injuries to your patellar tendon, a typical kneeling chair might not be the best choice. Instead, he suggests looking into an ergonomic saddle chair — named so because it resembles an equestrian saddle — as an alternative. Like a kneeling chair, a saddle chair encourages the forward rotation of your pelvis, taking pressure off your spine and permitting it to maintain its normal lumbar curve.

How to shop for kneeling chairs

Kneeling chairs offer various key elements, such as height adjustments, different weight capacities, cushioning and sometimes even wheels — all of which should be explored to find the right fit for your needs. For example, Sriram suggests looking for a chair with “generous” or thickly-padded cushions, since they can “offload the pressure placed on the shins and knees with prolonged use.” She also recommends looking for kneeling chairs that allow for height adjustments and have locking wheels.


Aside from those elements mentioned before, there are a few different types of kneeling chairs that may benefit people of different body types and/or injury histories. Conrad highlights the following:

  • X-framed kneeling chairs: These chairs have an X-shaped lateral frame. One of the advantages of these chairs is that they can adjust to people’s heights, so they work well for both young kids and people over six feet tall.
  • Balans-type kneeling chairs: In 1979, Scandinavian inventor Hans Christian Mengshoel created the Balans chair to provide a more balanced way of sitting. It’stypically made of wood and has a curved leg so you can rock back and forth.
  • Saddle chairs: A good option for people with degenerative knee conditions, these chairs are a “cross between X-framed and Balans kneeling chairs,” says Conrad. Saddle-type chairs don’t have knee pads for you to rest on and instead have you sit on top of them like a horse saddle, which, like the typical kneeling chair, encourages the forward rotation of your pelvis, taking pressure off your spine and permitting it to maintain its normal lumbar curve.

Additional Knee Padding

As mentioned before, Sriram recommends purchasing a chair with thick padding, in order to help relieve pressure on your joints. Conrad agrees, calling it one of the most important elements of your kneeling chair: “Even if you don’t have knee problems, the extra padding can help prevent soreness from prolonged usage while on the computer,” he says. When in doubt, he recommends choosing the chair with the thickest padding, which he says will be more comfortable and cost-effective in the long run.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Sapna Sriram, CEO and founder of Integra Health, an agency that offers personal health-care services in your home.
  • Dr. Allen Conrad is a chiropractor and owner of  Montgomery County Chiropractic Center in North Wales, Pennsylvania.

Why trust NBC Select?

Hanna Horvath is a personal finance reporter based in New York City. She currently writes for Policygenius and her work has appeared in Business Insider, MSN, Inc Magazine and more. 

Justin Redman was formerly a reporter for Select on NBC News.

Ashley Morris is an associate SEO reporter for NBC Select, covering skin care, lifestyle and more. For this article, they spoke to experts to learn about the best kneeling chairs, including recommendations and tips on how to shop. 

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