The best ball chair
For those in need of better support when sitting at a desk or anyone who wants a versatile piece of equipment for exercising at home, look no further than the simple, wondrously effective ball chair. A ball chair is a large, inflatable sphere often made of durable PVC. It can be used to sit on or in conjunction with workouts, offering support to your back while improving core strength, balance, and flexibility.
Our buying guide details what a ball chair can do for you and what to look for when shopping around. Our top pick from Safco is ergonomically designed and comfortable to sit on or exercise with.
Considerations when choosing ball chairs
The diameter for the ball chair should correspond to your height -- a ball chair that's too small won't be supportive enough, while a larger one may not offer enough balance. Most ball chairs are measured 45, 55, 65, or 75 centimeters and come with appropriate sizing charts for optimal usage.
While you may buy a ball chair to provide comfort and relief while sitting, there are a variety of exercises that can be done with it as well. It can be used in yoga and core activities, such as planks, pushups, or situps. Ball exercises can tone and strengthen all parts of your body while improving flexibility and balance.
Note the weight limit of your potential purchase so you know it can safely accommodate you. Some ball chairs may have a high weight capacity to allow for more exercises, but some may cater more to sitting and have a lower limit. Keep in mind that when you're bouncing or applying pressure to the ball, that force is increasing the weight on it.
Ball chairs are offered in a wide range of colors and designs to cater to your personality or home décor. You may choose different colors if several people in the household have one, or opt for a look that matches your desk or office décor.
Some ball chairs come with a chair framework or stabilizing ring to prevent the ball from rolling easily. The framework features legs and a backrest for added comfort. The ball fits into this when used as a chair and can then be removed for exercising. A ring, meanwhile, sits on the floor and the ball is contained within it. This is also useful for storage so it doesn't roll away.
Ball chairs need to be inflated, and some may come with a handy pump. Pumps are relatively inexpensive, but it's certainly more convenient getting it with your purchase. Regardless, inflate your ball around three-quarters of the way full, then let it rest for 24 hours before filling it up the rest of the way.
Most ball chairs run between $40 and $80, and you have a choice of size and color. Generally, inexpensive ball chairs are less durable than more expensive ones, which come from trusted brand names.
Q. How long does a ball chair last?
A. A ball chair is an investment that should be expected to last for many years. Store it in a cool, dry place when not in use and keep it out of the sun. Make sure to clean the ball chair after use as it can accumulate dust or sweat. You will likely need to regularly inflate it over time.
Q. Can I use the ball chair outside?
A. If you decide to work or exercise outside, you can use the ball chair -- with some caution. Avoid placing it on flat, hard surfaces, especially those that may heat up in the sun. Soft grass is best -- just make sure it's free of branches or rocks that may puncture the ball. Be sure to wipe down the ball after use.
Ball chairs we recommend
Best of the best: Safco's Zenergy Ball Chair
Our take: Ergonomically designed ball chair with stabilizing legs for maximum support.
What we like: Comfortable, elegant looking chair that improves posture, balance, and core strength. Comes in a variety of colors.
What we dislike: Design does not allow for certain exercises.
Best bang for your buck: Gaiam's Backless Classic Balance Ball Chair
Our take: Durable, versatile yoga ball with chair framework from a trusted company.
What we like: Use as a stationary, comfortable chair or remove the ball to stretch and exercise. Ball comes in various colors.
What we dislike: Taller users need to purchase separate leg extenders.
Choice 3: Isokinetics' Fitness Ball Chair
Our take: Use the ball on its own or plug into a chair frame for comfort during the work day.
What we like: Chair frame features backrest and rolling wheels. Ball can be plugged in or removed as desired.
What we dislike: Plastic frame feels flimsy. Height is not adjustable.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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