Do weird-looking active-sitting chairs actually work?

We test-drove three different models to find out.

Chairs that engage the natural curve of the spine and allow for upper body movement encourage “active sitting,” which can offset some of the negative health effects of sedentary work. We tried three versions to see if we could leave passive sitting behind.

Buoy by Steelcase Turnstone chair

Photo, Erik Putz.

Buoy by Steelcase Turnstone

$433, 289-789-0220.
“The topsy-turvy Buoy has a rounded base that tips in all directions, engaging your core. It adjusts easily for height, and although I eventually felt some mild discomfort in my back, I could work on it for most of the day.” – Dominique Lamberton, Associate Editor

Gaiam yoga balance ball chair

Photo, Erik Putz.

Gaiam Balanceball chair

$100, Staples.
“Shifting my weight around on the Gaiam Balanceball chair warded off stiffness, but the plastic gets sticky and the base isn’t adjustable for height. It left me sitting lower than usual at my desk, resulting in a mild soreness in my shoulders and a slight blow to my pride.”— Diana Duong, Assistant Editor

Global kneeling chair

Photo, Erik Putz.

Global Kneeling chair

$130, Staples.
“This kneeling chair is designed to redistribute your body weight from your tailbone to your buttocks, knees and shins. I definitely felt less tension in my upper back at the end of the day. It was also easy to assemble, and it adjusts for height.”— Alexandra Kimball, Contributor

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