There are ball chairs and then there are just balls. I’ve heard people comment favorably on their experience of replacing a typical office chair with one of those fitness balls or swiss balls, but there’s no back support, and when I tried it, a couple hours was enough to convince me it didn’t feel that great. According to a recent opinion piece on Ergoweb, that perception may be justified. In Balls as Office Chairs a Bad Idea, numerous experts in the ergonomics field are quoted, all suggesting that the lack of back support doesn’t make them a good choice.
The exercise ball might be great for strengthening and toning in the gym or at home, but it can’t compete with a truly ergonomic chair for long-term sitting in an office environment.
The Swopper chair was also mentioned and put into the same category–a neat idea for short term use maybe, but not as a replacement for a more conventional office chair.
The article mentioned “ball chairs” as well, but seemed to be referring to the swiss balls again, which was a bit confusing since there are also chairs based on the ball principle (ball for a seat) but with the more traditional 5-support base and back rest. It sounds like the critics would be less likely to object to something like that. The generally low price of the ball chairs (such as the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair I found at Amazon for under $100) does make me wonder about their quality though. I think I’../../../2004/06/herman_miller_a.html”>Herman Miller Aeron.