EXERCISE BALL OFFICE CHAIR
by Isokinetics, $100
This is a good short-term alternative to the traditional desk chair, says Sarro. The base with wheels makes it more stable than a regular fitness ball, and some testers appreciated how the lower-back support helped them maintain good posture. And like the regular fitness ball, this chair lets you do stretching exercises throughout the day.
But the lack of upper-back support caused one tester's shoulders to feel tight after a few hours, and everyone who tried it complained of a numb rear end because the ball is so firm. Furthermore, adjusting the height of the chair's back was hard, and there was no way to adjust the seat for taller desks.
by Herman Miller, $400
The most conventional of the five chairs we tested, this was a winner for everyone. It's from the makers of the Aeron chair, one of the most popular on the market, but costs about half as much. "It has the features I look for--adjustability of height, wheels, and ability to rotate," says Gillanders. Testers liked the adjustable armrests that move up and down, from side to side, and forward and backward.
Although the webbed back looked uncomfortable at first glance, one tester said, "I feel like it's hugging me in a way that discourages slouching." Said another: "You can relax and be comfortable without working to sit up straight like on the fitness ball." An added perk: The webbing helped one tester stay cool, as the holes in the back aid ventilation.
This article appears in the November 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.