Are Stools Better for Your Back?

If you have, or are thinking of getting, a standing desk for your back, then you probably know that the best way to use one is by alternating between sitting and standing.

That means that you want the best sitting option for your back as well. You may want to know if it is better to sit without back support and what chairs are best for lower back pain. 

Also, check out this video comparing two types of standing desk chairs.

Are stools better for your back?

Are Chairs Without Backs Better for You?

There is a lot of confusion about whether backs without back support are better or worse for your back and your overall health. More research needs to be completed, but there are some things that we can look at. 

When there is no back on a chair, there is no way to slouch. This means that they promote better posture than chairs with backs. There is a correlation between posture and back pain, so the use of a backless chair may aid some people in reducing or eliminating back pain. 

Read More >> Are Standing Desks Better Than Sitting?

Also, with good posture comes good blood flow. When we sit upright, our organs are naturally aligned and may work better than when they are scrunched up in sitting position. The circulation is improved when we are either standing or sitting with good posture and it is easier to take big breaths. This can get oxygen to the brain quicker as well. 

Studies indicate that there is increased focus and engagement with the use of a backless chair or stool. The use of a backless or ergonomically backed chair can also make for a more active sitting position. There are also active seats and wobble chairs that you may want to be aware of. These types of chairs and stools wobble and rock which engages muscles throughout the body. 

Are stools better for your back?

When we move, our cognitive functioning and performance increases. This may help us increase engagement and productivity. Backless stools allow the user to sit high with good posture and move while working.

The higher seating position will provide a downward slope to the thigh position which can help to alleviate back pain. This is because the spine will be able to naturally curve the way it is supposed to. This may contribute to a reduction in back aches and pains.

Are Office Chairs Bad for Your Back?

Some people believe that office chairs do not do your back any favors, and they may be right. There is a sitting position known as the 90-90-90 position. This is where your elbows, hips, and knees are all at 90 degree angles. However, even though this position was touted for years, it seems to position the back unnaturally. 

A lot of office chairs also have lumbar support. Adding in lumbar support may correct some positioning or improve posture for some people. Lumbar support pushes against the small of the back in order to regain the natural curve. However, this does not fix the issues caused by the unnatural sitting position. 

To reduce back pain and other problems caused by sitting, you should sit with your knees below your hips. The only way to sit like this is to sit high in a chair which is made easier with stools than it is for office chairs. That is not to say that there are not ergonomically correct ways to sit in office chairs and not all office chairs are bad for your back and overall health. 

Are Chairs or Stools Better? 

If you have found that you are not comfortable when using a standing desk with a chair, then a stool may be the answer you are looking for. Stools are generally better for the back for a few major reasons. 

First, a stool allows the back and spine to be in the natural position. This can help to alleviate excessive tension. Then, the back pain will gradually subside. This is because the higher position allows you to sit straight up and you will not be tempted to slouch. Also, a high seated stool will allow the thighs to slope downwards which can help the back as well. 

Read More >> How High Should a Standing Desk Be?

Finally, sitting on a stool promotes active sitting. This may offer the most advantages because it allows you to strengthen your core and back muscles. Not only is this great for the back, but it is also great for your overall health. 

There are office chairs that encourage ergonomic sitting and good posture. However, generally you will be better off purchasing a stool, especially one that promotes active sitting. 

How Do You Sit On a Chair With No Back?

So, you have decided you want to get a backless chair or stool. But how do you sit for the most benefits and comfort? 

When you are sitting in your stool, you should sit high so that your back is straight. Your shoulders should be back. For the most comfort, your bottom should be near the back end of the stool. However, if your chair or stool has a back, then it would be better to sit closer to the edge to improve posture and encourage active sitting. 

You should never cross your legs and your knees should be below your hips. Then, your thighs will have a slight incline. Feet should remain flat on the floor. Also, be sure to get up or switch to standing position regularly throughout the day. It is also a good idea to have your monitor slightly below eye level whether you are sitting or standing. The monitor should be about a foot away from your face. 

Your body weight should always remain centered and placed evenly on both hips. When you stand up from the sitting position, straighten your legs without bending forward at the waist. Slowly extend you back. Then, it may help back pain to occasionally stretch the back throughout the day as well. 

What Chair is Best for Lower Back Pain?

There are several different chair options that can be good for lower back pain. We chose our top options for you to consider and there is surely one that fits your style and your budget. 

Kaleurrier Ergonomic Rolling Swivel Saddle Stool

Kaleurrier Ergonomic Rolling Swivel Saddle...
  • Comfortable - Features a ergonomic horse saddle seat with brand new dense sponge to encourage better posture & more comfort,ease your spine stress and back pain,which is much more relaxing than normal stools.
  • Lightweight but sturdy and durable - Heavy duty stool is equipped with reinforced aluminum base,in solid structure for longevity,weighs only 9 lbs,but supports 300 lbs. maxinum weight.Light weight and Easy Carry.The hypoallergenic,CFC-free,Wear-resistant,oil and water proof upholstery is backed by a 5 year guarantee use premier thicker PVC leather.

This is a wonderful chair for back pain and that is why it is our pick as the best for your budget. Not only is it incredibly affordable, it is also durable and has caster wheels that work great. It also has a saddle seat that is comfortable and highly cushioned. This stool is light weight, but also strong and supports up to 300 pounds. 


  • 300 pound weight limit
  • Hypoallergenic and wear-resistant upholstery
  • Pneumatic lift range from 22.8” to 28.7”


  • May be wobbly
  • Wheels are not large enough for thick carpet
  • Not suitable for very short people

Rolling Saddle Stool with Split Seat

Rolling Saddle Stool w. Split Seat (Beige)
  • COMFORT - Split seat saddle style offers unique comfort
  • ERGONOMIC - Saddle stool positioning engages the core and provides lower back comfort

This stool is very comfortable and strong. It has a 400 pound weight limit and a 21 to 28 inch height range. This is a great stool to promote active sitting and the two part cushion can help to reduce back pain and strengthen the core. 


  • 400 pound weight limit
  • Good for back pain
  • 21 to 28 inch height range


  • May be uncomfortable
  • May wobble
  • Caster wheels are not very good

Geboor Hydraulic Saddle Stool

Geboor Hydraulic Saddle Stool with Wheels...
  • ERGONOMIC SADDLE DESIGN: Saddle Seat design for extra comfort on your back and spine. The horse saddle stool cushion made from molded foam for memory foam effect coated with PU leather which is showerproof, oil and scratch resistance.
  • STURDY CONSTRUCTION: The hydraulic saddle stool has durable metal base, durable stylish reinforced 2"update nylon casters for the noise-free movement, easy to roll on the hard floor. The weight capacity high to 300lbs.

This seat is great for back comfort and natural spine position. Not only that, but the cushion is molded foam for comfort and coated for water, oil, and scratch resistance. The weight capacity is 300 pounds and it adjusts from 19.7 to 25.2 inches. This is one of the best options available for bad lower back pain.


  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable seat
  • Great saddle design


  • Low-quality caster wheels
  • May not adjust high enough for tall people
  • May wobble some

FRNIAMC Professional Saddle Stool

FRNIAMC Professional Saddle Stool with Wheels...
  • Save Your Back From Painful- The ergonomic "saddle" shape seat design corrects your posture to be straight and upright thus reducing the stress of neck and back, provide extra comfort for long-hours sitting work
  • Quick altered from 20-29.5'' to accommodate individuals of various height

This ergonomic stool has a great saddle shape and is good for upper back and neck pain. It has a large height range from 20 to 29.5 inches and has a 400 pound load capacity. It comes with a 1 year guarantee and has high-quality caster wheels. 


  • Caster wheels
  • 20 to 29.5 inch height range
  • 400 pound weight limit


  • Not very comfortable
  • Fake leather upholstery 
  • May wobble when in higher positions

Master Massage Ergonomic Swivel Saddle

Master Massage Ergonomic Swivel Saddle...
  • Saddle seat design for more comfort and support to the spine by reducing painful pressure on the back.
  • Features pneumatic-lift mechanism. Seat Diameter(L x W): 18 x 16 inches and full 360° rotation

This comfortable and supportive saddle stool has a 5 year guarantee on the upholstery. It is also one of the stronger and durable chairs, especially considering the price. It can support up to 550 pounds and has a height range between 20.5 and 27.5 inches. 


  • 550 pound weight limit
  • Easy to assemble
  • 5 year guarantee on upholstery


  • Not good for tall people
  • Low-quality caster wheels
  • Difficult adjustment

Final Thoughts on Stools and Back Pain

If you have a standing desk, but still suffer from back pain, it could be because of the chair when you use the desk in the sitting position. There are plenty of great options for back pain and the ones that seem to work the best are the ones that are stools that do not have a back. In addition, you may benefit from a saddle or two part seat that can promote a naturally curved back and active sitting. 

Last update on 2021-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

About Athlete Desk

Learn about standing desks, bicycle desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs & accessories.

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