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Office stools empower you to work more efficiently and with greater agility. They promote healthy sitting at the workplace that increases comfort, improves body posture, and counters the ill-effects of passive or static sitting. Sitting on an office stool, you can avoid being a “slouch-potato” and transform your workstation into a high-productivity hub.

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If you need help with choosing an office stool, this article is for you. All important information is bundled here in one easy-to-read, friendly article. Let’s begin with the vital but lesser-known benefits of office stools.

Why Office Stools?

For sure, you know the common benefits of office stools. But did you know that their advantages extend far beyond avoiding lumbar pain and a stiff neck? Here are some important advantages of office stools that you may have missed out.

  • Self-supporting way to sit.

By not providing headrest, armrests, and backrest, most office stools help you to sit in a more self-supporting manner. Your upper body remains erect, and your spinal cord is well-aligned to your body posture. So, you have lesser chances of back problems, including the notorious low back pain. Your arms and lower limbs also experience lesser stress.

Remember, the human body was originally not created for a sitting position. An office stool minimizes the adverse effects of this posture.

  • Smooth transition from sitting to a standing position

An office stool being taller than a chair, your legs remain straight and not bent from the knee while sitting on it. Hence, the transition from sitting to standing position is less stressful as there is a reduced impact on the knees.

  • Better management of various body systems

When seated on an office stool, the erect upper body reduces pressure on the cluster of organs and systems in the chest and abdomen regions. Hence, your cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, waste management, and other systems function better.

  • Greater range of movement

You would have noticed that when sitting on a stool, you can reach out to objects and even people with greater ease. This is because, in the absence of armrests and backrest, your movements are not restricted. You have greater freedom to stretch, lean, bend, or stoop.

  • No inflammation of lower-body limbs

A taller office stool helps to reduce stiffness and cramps in calf muscles, and swelling of ankles and feet. This is because straight positioning of legs enables better blood circulation.

  • Lesser risk of internal injury

Long-term passive sitting invites internal injuries to ligaments, tissues, tendons, muscles, nerves, and joints. Office stools can help you avoid or minimize these problems.

  • More mental agility and enhanced productivity

The erect body posture, the enhanced blood circulation, and other benefits of an office stool also make you more mentally fit to deal with the rigors of the day. Healthy sitting keeps the body and mind more active, which increases productivity.

  • Enhanced productivity

Healthy sitting keeps the body and mind more active, which increases productivity.

Which Are The Types Of Office Stools?

Stationary Stools

These stools cannot swivel, and they also don’t offer mobility. They are part of workplaces where people need to sit steadily in one position and where steady handling of materials and objects is required. Examples are research labs, assembly lines, and creative professionals such as writers.

Gray Simple Metal Industrial Stool
Black Bar Height Metal Stool
Silver Classic Metal Lab Stool
Black Classic Metal Back Supported Stool
White Simple Plastic Industrial Stool
Silver Classic Metal Industrial Stool

Swivel Stools

The seats of these stools can swivel, enabling 360-degree movement. They are suitable for a wide range of settings, but especially for health check-up areas where the patient needs to move a full circle, ticketing counters, reception desks, and the like.

Black Classic Metal Swivel Active Stool
Black Simple Plastic Swivel Lab Stool
Black Modern Metal Swivel Active Stool
Black Classic Plastic Swivel Stool
Black Classic Metal Swivel Saddle Stool
Black Ergonomic Plastic Saddle Seat

Stools for active sitting

They are fitted with castors or other mechanisms that move them from one place to the other. You can function with enhanced efficiency sitting on these tools if you are working on standing desks. Architectural and civil engineering draftsmen, graphic designers, office assistants… these stools are made for such people.

Black Ergonomic Plastic High Adjustable Stool
Black Rocking Plastic Height Adjustable Stool
Black Modern Plastic Active Stool
Black Modern Metal Leaning Active Stool
Black Modern Metal Active Stool
Black Metal Height Adjustable Active Stool
Orange Modern Metal Active Stool

Today, office stools have become an integral part of workplace ambiance. There is a bespoke stool style available for a vast range of office interiors. Some major trending styles are:

Pedestal stools 

Pedestal stools usually have heavy central support with a seat perched on it. The base is often a round disk with or without a footrest. These are basic, no-frills sitting stools.

They are meant for people who are not supposed to be too comfortable or complacent, while at the same time, needing relief and relaxation from the rigors of their tasks. Security guards are an ideal example for whom these stools are meant.

Black Classic Metal Pedestal Stool
Transparent Modern Metal Pedestal Stool
Black Modern Plastic Pedestal Stool
Blue White Simple Plastic Pedestal Stool
Black Classic Metal Pedestal Stool
Black Modern Plastic Pedestal Stool

Saddle stools 

Saddle stools have a minimalistic look and feel, with a bare, flat seat usually mounted on four or 3 legs. They have wide utility and can blend with many types of interiors and exteriors. From having lounge coffee to having a team meeting, you can conduct many tasks, perched on a saddle stool.

White Classic Metal Saddle Stool
Black Classic Plastic Saddle Stool
Black Classic Metal Back Supported Saddle Stool
Black Plastic Height Adjustable Saddle Stool
Black Classic Metal Pedestal Saddle Stool
Black Classic Plastic Saddle Stool

Wobble stool 

A wobble stool is the perfect choice for active sitting at your workplace. Active sitting is the opposite of static sitting. Stools designed for active sitting allow mobility, body movement, and change of sitting angles and postures.

Wobble stools offer all these features. They have a wobbling base that allows the long neck of the stool to be tilted at any angle. You can customize the stool’s height and perch on its seat at an ergonomically convenient height to work comfortably on a standing or conventional desk.

You can also swivel, tilt, lean, and even rock while sitting on it. A wobble stool ticks all the boxes of healthy sitting at the workplace. It is one of the key elements of this concept.

Blue Modern Plastic Wobble Stool
Blue Classic Metal Wobble Stool
Red Modern Plastic Active Wobble Stool
Black Modern Metal Wobble Stool
Blue Ergonomic Metal Wobble Stool
Black Modern Plastic Wobble Stool
  • Sit-stand stool 

This one is ideal if your work requires you to stand for long periods. Although standing is a natural human pose, too much of it can harm the joints, spine, hips, knees, and ankles. The ergonomic sit-stand stool offers rest and relaxation between prolonged standing periods.

Black Classic Metal Sit Stand Stool
Black Height Adjustable Metal Sit Stand Stool
Black Ergonomic Plastic Sit Stand Stool
Black Modern Plastic Sit Stand Stool
Black Classic Metal Sit Stand Stool
Black Modern Plastic Caster Sit Stand Stool

Stools with footrest or footrest ring.

These stools offer adequate support and rest to the feet and hence counter the stress on the rest of the body.

Black Classic Metal Footrest Ring Lab Stool
Black Classic Metal Footrest Industrial Stool
Silver Stylish Metal Footrest Lab Stool
Red Classic Metal Footrest Ring Stool
Blue Height Adjustable Metal Footrest Ring Stool
Gray Modern Metal Footrest Lab Stool

Kneeling stools 

Kneeling stools are of low height. They have an angled knee-rest on the rear of the base. Working from a knee stool gives ample lumbar support and the bent knees distribute body weight well. Also, since you would be leaning on the work desk, stress on your back will be reduced. These stools are not ideal for long work hours, though.

Gray Classic Metal Kneeling Stool
Black Simple Metal Height Adjustable Kneeling Stool
Black Modern Metal Kneeling Stool
Black Brown Simple Wooden Kneeling Stool
Black Metal Height Adjustable Kneeling Stool
Black Comfortable Metal Kneeling Stool

Important Criteria for Choosing an Office Stool

These are the important selection criteria:

Ergonomics

It is the primary and the most critical functional element to consider while choosing an office stool. A good piece should:

  • let you work comfortably for long hours, reducing the fatigue factor significantly.
  • share a synergistic partnership with your body, helping it to be more productive.
  • facilitate interactivity between the “stakeholders” – the stool itself, the human body and the work desk, making them complementary to each other.

It is difficult to check the ergonomic efficiency of these stools during your buying journey at a brick-n-mortar store, much more so on e-commerce sites. You must insist on no-obligation on-site trials for these stools, and assisted guidance during the trial period.

These products often have dense technical specifications, which are best left to the technical experts in your office. Or, resort to the user guide and talk to the customer service executive and understand the working mechanisms thoroughly before you make a purchase.

Stool structure

You should carefully check features such as adjustable height, swivel, tilting and mobility mechanisms, wobbling base, footrest and footrest ring height, and nonetheless, the stool body material. Metal, plastic, hybrid, wood or artificial wood – whatever the body material be, it has to serves you well for many years. That’s is why, you should fuss over it.

Seat cushion

Your office stool seat is going to bear the pressure of your body weight for years. Also, you would be usually working in 75 F (24 C) air-conditioned ambient temperature. The most suitable cushion materials are the ones that offer optimum cushioning, help in distributing body weight evenly, do not warm up soon, and do not cause dermatological problems for various skin types

Memory foam is the universal choice for seat cushions, because it is very durable and offers ideal support to the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine, as well as the pelvic region. As such, memory foam seats are proven stress-busters and they help you to maintain correct posture. They are also stable temperature-wise. 

Other seat cushion materials are high-density foam and organic fillings such as coir fiber.

Upholstery

The seat cover has functional as well as aesthetic aspects of consideration. Functionally, the upholstery should be absorbent, comforting, durable, non-creasing, and easy to clean; preferably washable. Consider vinyl, leather, or fabric covers for your office stool.

  • Vinyl covers are cost-effective, durable and moisture-resistant.
  • Leather cover options include genuine leather, bonded leather, which is up-cycled leather and gives the premium look at a lower cost, and artificial or faux leather – durable, but no one will be fooled it's genuine. 

As for fabric cover options, the sky is the limit. Fabrics offer unique customization and personalization possibilities and can add to the décor and ambiance of the workplace. You can create your signature stool just by personalizing the upholstery. Think of these fabric options:

  • Cotton, the all-season and all-reason fabric. It has excellent absorbent property. There is a vast array of colors, shades, prints, patterns, and finishes that you can experiment with. 
  • Linen is durable yet soft and comfortable.
  • Synthetic fabrics such as** polyester, rayon, nylon, or acrylic**. Apart from being very durable, they are also easily washable and do not lose their properties under stress or pressure.
  • Canvas. With its rugged, sturdy and wild-West look and feel, you can make your stool stand out.
  • Corduroy. This sober yet robust fluted fabric is making a comeback in office furniture. Its no-nonsense plain shades make it abundantly clear that while at work, you mean business. Being made of cotton or blended cotton, corduroy fabric is soft yet durable. 
  • Denim. Give your office stool a bit of denim dash, it’s tough yet trendy!

Whichever seat upholstery you choose for your office stool, keep in mind that contrast with the stool body and finish gives a richer overall appeal. For example, if your stool body is steel and the footrest is black polypropylene, a deep maroon faux leather or firebrick colored fabric upholstery will make the right match.

Design and Aesthetics

Because of the vast array of designs and styles available in the market, it would be discriminatory to talk about particular design trends or aesthetic influences. However, there are four important pointers to help you choose “your kind” of office stool.

  • Go By Your Personality and Persona. It is rightly believed that your office stool says a lot about who you are. It mirrors your personality and professional and social persona. So, go by your birth sign traits. If you are Aries, pick up a solid, dependable style that reflects determination, passion, and leadership. And if you are a Fish, opt for the one with graceful, tapered curves and fine linen upholstery. You can even go by your birth color, birth season, your favorite cult culture… the possibilities are as wide as your imagination.
  • Think Of the Big Picture. While choosing an office stool, contemplate which style, design, structure, and upholstery will blend naturally with your office interior. Visualize the stool as part of your larger office space. Consider that it has to fit snugly into your cubicle or integrate with the open office ambiance. Likewise, create various imageries wherein your office stool design will either complement or add to the functional and aesthetic value of the office.
  • Go With the Flow. Go by the design and aesthetics code of your office.

  • Stand Out In the Crowd. In a “dare to differ” approach, you can think of a stool that is unlike the rest. Make a difference, but be mindful of not overdoing it. Be different, not disruptive.

Quick Tips

Since the information in this article is detailed, let’s do a quick wrap-up to help you remember the key points:

  • Office stools offer many lesser-known benefits that can become decisive in selecting the right type for you.
  • The three main types of stools are stationery, swivel, and active sitting stools
  • Six trending styles are pedestal, saddle, wobble, sit-stand, footrest and footrest ring, and kneeling stool styles.
  • Important criteria for office stool selection are ergonomics, structure, seat cushion, upholstery, and design and aesthetics.

Office stools have a unique "character." There is something about them that is energetic, lean, upright, and purposeful, while at the same time being chic and fun. Make your conscious choice, and sit happily and productively ever after!