Saddle chairs and stools have been a staple in dentists and beautician salons for many years, but the increasing focus on good posture and ergonomics in office environments has seen them migrate into offices all over the United States, and indeed the world.
But saddle chairs are not for everyone – or rather, not every saddle chair is for everyone.
Just as with saddles you use to ride horses, there’s a saddle chair that can help everyone, but finding the best takes more than blind luck and the internet. Finding the best saddle chair takes discrimination. It takes time. It takes more than anyone’s fair share of sitting and gripping and analysis.
Do you have the kind of time it takes to narrow down the wide field into the handful of options that are really worth looking at?
We didn’t think so. That’s why we’ve done it for you.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
The Antlu Saddle Stool is an option that works well for all those with a slimmer figure.
Why for slimmer figures? Well, because the design of the Antlu is narrower than many at just 14 inches wide, and its seat height range is lower too (from 21-28 inches).
Its narrow seat makes the Antlu a particular favorite among women, and with a more contoured design than some others, it helps with the alignment of the spine, so that even after a dull 8-hour day, it can give you significantly less back pain than most standard seats, even those adjusted for ergonomics.
The Anltu is covered in synthetic leather, giving it a chic, somewhat grown-up look, and its rubber wheels are safe even on the likes of hardwood floors. That means it not only looks the part, but can be used in any office – business or home – without running the risk of damaging the floor.
It’s also extremely easy to put together – there are no tools required, it just snaps together, which works in its favor as a saddle stool that’s ready for anyone within its height and weight range.
That weight range is among the issues that might give you pause for thought with the Antlu. Obviously, its weight and height range automatically filter the range of users for which it’s ideal. But it advertises itself as suitable for anyone up to 400 pounds.
The truth is that anyone over 350 is unlikely to get the best performance out of the Antlu. So it’s worth taking some of the Antlu’s claims with a pinch or two of salt.
But for lighter, smaller-framed office workers of either sex, the Antlu can deliver some great posture advantages all day long.
- The Antlu can deliver postural advantages to anyone who can use the saddle chair
- It’s especially useful for lighter users, which makes it popular with women
- It has wheels that won’t damage any flooring surfaces
- While it claims to be suitable for users up to 400 pounds, the likelihood is that this claim is significantly inflated
Using a saddle chair over the course of a full day’s office work tends to mean you need a backrest, to maintain spinal support and reduce the potential for pain.
To that end, the Frniamc Heavy-Duty saddle chair comes with its own backrest, and an adjustable overall height from 20-29.5 inches, which is taller than most saddle chairs on the market. That height makes for a chair that acts to straighten and relax your spinal alignment while you sit.
Solidly built on a metal and aluminum frame, the Frniamc has smooth-rolling, noise-free casters, making it suitable for all office environments.
The backrest is the equivalent of training wheels on the Frniamc – as soon as you’re confident you’ve acclimated to the correct sitting position for your spinal alignment, you can take off the backrest, or keep it on as an additional support, as you see fit.
The impressive thing about the Frniamc is that with its lowest setting at 20″, you can use it with a standard office desk – a luxury that’s beyond you when you use some other saddle chairs on the market.
Already a favorite among beauticians, hair stylists, tattoo artists and other professionals that need a comfortable way of sitting while accessing unusual areas and angles, by also being able to extend all the way up to 29.5”, it’s a favorite of taller people in offices too.
- With a seat that’s adjustable from 20-29.5”, the Frniamc is a great option for taller people
- The backrest here is useful for training people in the right posture and spinal alignment; once trained, the backrest can be used or removed as the user sees fit
- The heavy-duty nylon casters are suitable for use in any office environment, even at maximum weight pressure
- The seat struggles to be comfortable for heavier people, despite its heavy-duty reputation
The Varier Move Tilting Saddle Stool is exactly what it sounds like - a saddle stool with a combination wobble stool. You can use it with both standard desks and standing desks.
Looking unlike most other options on the market, the Varier Move has a style that’s fairly distinctive, and the wobble element actually drives you to be more active during your everyday office life.
The base of the Varier Move is fixed, with a slight curve that lets you tilt in several directions. There’s not as much of a tilt in the Varier as there is in the likes of the Antlu, so if you’re less loose in the hips, it should give you less pressure in the hips even during a long day’s work – and ride.
The variability of wobble means you can use the Varier in a wide range of positions. That in turn means you can move around on the wobble seat during the course of the day, getting relative relief from any pressure points.
Does that mean it’s the most comfortable chair in the world? Not really – every hour, you might want to change your position so that you make the most of the available options. Make no mistake – the Varier Move won’t necessarily support all your muscles. It exists to help you move around, despite being seated at your desk.
Add that to an impressively elevated prince point and you begin to wonder whether the Varier is worth picking up. Ultimately, it is, especially if you use a standing desk, because the Varier Move does both what it promises and what you need a saddle chair to do.
It improves your posture throughout the course of an office day, and it helps keep you moving, to avoid the problems attendant on a sedentary day-job.
- The Varier Move has a wobble that lets you keep moving throughout the day.
- The style of the chair is close to unique in the market
- You can use the Varier Move with either standard or standing desks
- The price is higher than might seem fair, and might make you question whether you get enough value out of the chair
The HAG Capisco Adjustable Standing Desk Saddle Chair is quite the mouthful to pronounce, but in keeping with the title, it is a particular favorite among taller office workers. You can adjust the seat height from a basic level of 22 inches all the way up to 21 inches – which is what makes it the favorite of taller people. Its elevated level means you can achieve the perfect angle in the leg to help ensure good movement and correct posture.
As well as the adjustable seat height, the Capisco also comes with adjustable seat depth, back height, and, unusually in our list, adjustable back tilt.
When the HAG Capisco says it’s adjustable, it really means it.
That back tilt is the special feature that sets the Capisco apart from the crowd. You can adjust it from a standard seating position to a sideways lean, or even to reverse seating if you really want to. That makes the Capisco pretty much unique in the saddle chair market.
It’s a versatility that lets you move and flow throughout the day, changing your position as you change the jobs you do. If you have a history of back pain, the Capisco is on record as being able to minimize that pain, and even correct it completely in a handful of heartbeats.
This is a secondary concern, given that the principle aim of the Capisco – and other saddle chairs – is to keep you moving and minimize spinal misalignment, but it helps to salve your conscience when paying the price for the Capisco to know that it’s made from up to 50% recyclable materials, and in itself is up to an impressive 90% recyclable.
So if you have a green streak in your soul, there’s every chance you’ll go for the Capisco over some more technically effective or comfortable saddle chairs, simply on the basis of a lighter planetary footprint.
It’s worth knowing that it also comes with a Greenguard certificate, and that the pneumatic lift at the heart of the saddle chair comes with no less than a 10-year warranty.
That product longevity is another green check mark in a relatively disposable world - the Capisco is not about to wear out after 3 years and leave you needing to buy a replacement. It helps with your alignment, corrects any lingering back pain and it’s also in it for the long haul – just like you are.
Are there downsides? Well, sure. No environmental conscience ever came cheap, and the Capisco is priced to absorb the fact that you won’t be back in the buying cycle in just 3 years. So you’ll feel the power of doing the right thing for the planet in the place where the pain will feel the best – right in the pocket.
It’s also, perhaps, just slightly controversial, in that if you weigh over 250 pounds, it’s not going to be able to take you. Green ethics are for the lighter people only, as far as the Capisco’s carry-weight is concerned.
That said, if you fit the criteria to use a Capisco saddle chair, and you have the disposable income (or an understanding boss that is happy to heavily invest in the ergonomics of your office chair), there’s no faking the results it can bring, and that’s more than enough to make it worth its weight in gold.
- This is one of the greenest saddle chairs on the market
- It can minimize or even reverse long-term back pain
- A favorite among tall office workers, the Capisco is the most radically adjustable saddle chair on the market
- The price is almost as wince-making as the back pain you’re trying to avoid or reduce
- The Capisco has an upper weight limit of just 250 pounds
We began this list with a saddle chair that was especially suited to women or lighter users. It’s only fitting – not to mention unavoidable – that we end our list with a pick that’s ideally suited for men or heavier users.
The Master Massage Saddle Stool is a heavy-duty split saddle chair that appeals to men by virtue of its weight tolerance and its saddle design.
That saddle design comes with a unique split panel design with a larger than usual center gap. Gentler contouring in the front means men in particular get better blood circulation while using the Master, especially for long term sitting.
Oh, yes – we mentioned it was heavy-duty, right? How heavy-duty are we talking? How about a weight limit of over 600 pounds? That heavy-duty enough for you? What it means is that there’s no need for heavier users to worry, as they may have done with less sturdy units.
If you want an extra robust saddle chair, accept no substitutes. The Master Massage Berkeley Split Stool is the only model on our list – and pretty much the only model on the market – that will do the things you need.
- With a 600-pound weight limit, the Master Massage Berkeley is the most heavy-duty saddle chair around
- The unique split saddle and gentler contouring at the front makes the Master particularly suitable for male users
- The Master opens up saddle chairs to those with heavier builds
- It’s a lot of stool, so unless you need a heavier weight option, it’s not for you
Best Saddle Chair Buying Guide
If you’re buying a saddle chair, there are a handful of things to take into account before you pay out your cash.
Size And Weight
Ideally, look for a saddle chair that helps you to make the most of the experience. For instance, if you’re slighter and lighter, the Antlu will give you the best experience. If you need something more robust and with a heavier weight limit, you can go all the way up to the Master, which will support you all the way up to 600 pounds.
Choose the model that’s most appropriate to your particular needs, so you can get the most out of your saddle chair dollar.
To Wobble, Or Not To Wobble?
Whether your saddle chair has a wobble function or not may not strike you as a definitive question to ask before you spend money on a saddle chair.
But bear in mind, if you get a wobble chair, it will keep you in motion hour after hour as well as helping to align your spine and minimize your back pain. That in turn will help you avoid issues intendant with a sedentary day-job.
Getting a wobble chair is by no means an absolute necessity, but if you can add it into your saddle chair, it increases the amount of use you’ll get out of the individual chair.
Many of the saddle chairs on our list make their mark by their especially adjustable elements.
From chairs with backrests that can train your spine into the correct posture, to chairs like the Capisco, where most of the available elements can be adjusted and modified to make them right for you in the moment of your use, the adjustable elements of your saddle chair can make the world of difference to how much use and effectiveness you can get out of the chair.
Don’t spend money on adjustable elements that don’t feel relevant to your postural needs, obviously, but investigate the adjustables of each of your favored models, because they might revolutionize what you can expect from the chair.
Best Saddle Chair - FAQ's
Are Saddle Chairs Good For You?
Yes – they’re useful to help strengthen your spine and arrange your posture into better alignment. They can also help strengthen several key muscles that usually aren’t affected by a sedentary day-job, improve circulation, and can reduce fatigue.
Are Chairs Without Backs Bad For You?
Usually, a lack of back support would disrupt your posture. That’s why most saddle chairs come with backrests for at least the start of your use of them. Some have removable backrests that you can get rid off once your core muscles have strengthened enough to support you in good posture.
Is Sitting Leaning Back Bad For Your Posture?
Leaning back into the backrest of your chair can be bad for your lumbar spine and neck. On the other hand, if you sit with your weight too far forward, you might find yourself leaning forward on your desk, which will also put your spinal alignment out of whack.