Best Ball Chairs

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

10 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
155 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best ball chairs

Last Updated July 2020

Sometimes the simplest device is the most versatile and effective at getting the job done. When it comes to staying healthy and fit at home or the office, there is one item that offers benefits to your physical and emotional well-being and is super easy to use: the ball chair.

The ball chair is a large, inflatable sphere, often made of durable PVC, designed to offer exercises that focus on strengthening the core and improving balance. Notably, one can be used in place of a chair in order to improve your posture and alleviate short- and long-term back pain. These versatile chairs are useful for a variety of stretches, yoga routines, and meditation practices as well.

You may opt to sit on and work out on just the ball, or you can purchase one that comes with a base or frame that has a more stable and familiar chair-like design, including a backrest. Our buying guide explains the options available in more detail and offers some recommendations so you can find the one best suited to your lifestyle.

Ball chairs have a lot of different names. They may be advertised as yoga, exercise, Swiss, stability, or fitness balls. They’re all the same!

Key considerations

How it works

Ball chairs are inherently unstable, but they aren’t so unstable that you easily lose your balance or fall. They’re just unstable enough that they force your core to work a little bit harder than normal to keep you upright. 

It’s easy to slouch on the hard surface of a regular chair. A ball chair, on the other hand, forces your stabilizing muscles into action, thereby strengthening your core and providing more support to your bones. Because you’re forced to sit correctly, ball chairs are terrific at curtailing and preventing lower back pain. If you use a ball chair regularly, your posture can improve. Indeed, just by sitting on a ball chair you are, in fact, exercising. 

Desk height

You may find yourself sitting at a different height than normal when using a ball chair. It’s important that your desk or workspace can accommodate this change. If you have to stretch up or lean over in order to work, then you’re canceling out the positive effects of the ball chair. Consider your work setup when investing in a ball chair.

Exercises

You can use a ball chair to perform a wide range of exercises targeting your entire body. You can use the ball for yoga, Pilates, stretching, and core and free-weight exercises. These workouts may focus on strengthening and toning your shoulders, arms, chest, back, glutes, and legs. Exercising with a ball chair can help tone and shape muscles and build a bit of muscle mass. Generally, ball chairs offer little in the way of cardiovascular fitness, but they can be used for deep breathing and meditation sessions.

Weight limit

Most ball chairs have a relatively high weight capacity. Some balance balls for exercising can hold up to 2,200 pounds, but many ball chairs have a limit of about 250 or 300 pounds. These weight limits are for sitting only. That is, just because your weight is under the limit, it doesn’t mean you can bounce or jump on the chair. Improperly using a ball chair can cause the ball to deflate or burst. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Ball chairs can lead to improved balance, but you may not start off in perfect equilibrium. Know that falls are possible and be cautious.

Features

Color

Ball chairs come in a variety of colors and patterns to suit your mood, personality, and décor. They can be bright, muted, or two-tone. If more than one person in the household uses a ball chair, you might want to buy two different colors. 

Stability

Ring: Some exercise balls come with a stability ring rather than a frame to keep the ball from moving as you sit or exercise on it. This is helpful to those looking to improve their balance who otherwise have a tough time sitting (or working) while trying to keep the ball in place.  

Frame: Some ball chairs include a framework in the shape of a chair, with legs and a backrest.. The exercise ball fits in this frame to be used as a chair and can be removed and used alone for exercising. Sitting on the ball still works your stabilizing muscles, while the frame offers more functionality and practicality for those who want to use the ball at a desk. A few ball chairs are a single unit, without the versatility of using the ball separately as a piece of exercise equipment.

Pump

Some ball chairs include a pump for quick and easy inflation. Having a pump on hand is helpful because it’s likely your ball chair will need to be inflated again over time. While pumps aren't particularly expensive, it represents an extra cost if you have to buy one separately. 

EXPERT TIP

There are myriad workout options with your ball chair, from planks to sit-ups to push-ups. Take the time to learn the options and create a workout routine.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Yoga mat: Jade Yoga Harmony Mat
Pair your ball chair with a yoga mat for easy, effective, at-home core and balance exercises. We love this comfortable and durable mat from Jade Yoga. It comes in over a dozen colors so you can pick one to match or contrast with your ball chair.

Ergonomic keyboard: Logitech Wireless Wave Keyboard
Take care of your arms and wrists as you work with an ergonomic keyboard. The Wave keyboard from Logitech has a cushioned wrist rest, long battery life, and no cord to worry about.

Ergonomic mouse: Logitech Wireless Trackball Mouse
Pair your ball chair and ergonomic keyboard with an ergonomic mouse. This sculptural model from Logitech includes a trackball with precise cursor control. You can pair it with a compatible wireless keyboard, too, so you don’t use up multiple USB ports.

Yoga pants: Under Armour Women’s Heatgear Leggings
Stay comfortable and breath easy when using your ball chair by investing in a pair of yoga pants. Under Armour makes quality options, including this sweat-wicking, machine-washable pair for women. 

Ball chairs can be used outside, but they risk damage and puncture. Grass is the preferred surface. Avoid any rocky terrain or potentially hot surfaces like pavement.

Ball chair prices

Inexpensive: You can find a few ball chairs for under $40, but you may not have a choice when it comes to color. These include few, if any, extras.

Mid-range: For between $40 and $80, you can find a wide range of options when it comes to colors and features. These are more durable, high-quality ball chairs.

Expensive: Spend over $80 and you can purchase the most durable ball chairs in your choice of colors. These come with a stability ring or frame.

Tips

  • Measure the ball’s diameter. You have to inflate the ball when it arrives. To know when it’s fully inflated, simply measure the diameter and compare it to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Don’t overinflate the ball.

  • Store the ball chair properly. When not in use, store your ball chair in a cool, dry place. Make sure to keep it out of the sun and high temperatures, which can degrade the material.

  • Keep your ball chair clean. The ball chair can accumulate dirt, dust, and even sweat over time. Use soap and warm water to keep it sanitized and ready for use.

  • Know your limits. Ball chairs are not toys, and some exercises or maneuvers may require a certain level of balance or strength. Avoid injury by not trying anything beyond your skill level.

A ball chair is an investment in a healthy future. Poor posture may not hurt you right away, but it can deteriorate your spine over time and cause problems later.

FAQ

Q. How long does a ball chair last?
A. If stored properly and treated carefully, your ball chair should last for years. It may need to be regularly inflated, but provided it isn’t damaged, the durable material should last a long time. However, it’s possible to puncture or damage the outer layer, at which point the ball chair will no longer be effective.
 

Q. What size ball chair should I get?
A. Ball chairs are measured by diameter in centimeters. For those who may be out of shape or overweight, it’s better to choose a larger ball for more support and protection.

  • For children or those under 60 inches tall, choose a ball of 45 centimeters (17.55 inches).

  • If you’re between 60 and 66 inches tall, choose a ball of 55 centimeters (21.45 inches). 

  • If you’re between 66 and 72 inches tall, choose a ball of 65 centimeters (25.35 inches)

  • If you’re over 71 inches tall, choose a ball of 75 centimeters (29.25 inches).

 

Q. What should I do if my ball has a rip or tear?
A. It’s best to replace the ball if it’s damaged. Because these balls are designed carefully to withstand a fair amount of pressure over a long period of time, repairing it may not be satisfactory or safe.
 

Q. How do I properly inflate my ball chair?
A. An electric pump is the quickest and most effective way; a hand pump will take more time and effort. Make sure the ball is at or around room temperature before inflating. For the initial inflation, fill the ball up to around 80% and let it sit for a day before you fill it up the rest of the way.

  • Don’t inflate the ball beyond the recommended size. 

  • Don’t inflate the ball if it’s cold, whether it arrived that way or has been stored in a cold room, like a garage.

  • Don’t fully inflate the ball and begin to use it when you first get it. Break it in first.

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The team that worked on this review
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    Writer
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