A Workout Chair And Office Chair Combined! Gaiam balance ball chair review.
If you want something completely different than your typical boring office chair, then the Gaiam balance ball chair could be the answer. It may look extraordinarily uncomfortable at first glance but is in fact, a truly ergonomically designed chair, aimed specifically at offering its users an alternative comfort experience.
How does the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Work?
The Gaiam ball chair is a very popular model of exercise ball office chair. The idea behind this chair is that it combats the way people normally sit at a desk when the natural inclination is to slump, so your spine is bent and your arms are also angled, putting pressure on your back, neck, and shoulders.
You cannot do that with the balance ball chair as you have to sit upright to stay on it. The backrest fits into the base of your spine, but as you have to sit upright, you are using the core muscles of your stomach to stay in that position also to keep your balance on the ball. This means that the very act of sitting on the ball is an exercise; you are strengthening your core muscles and improving your spinal alignment at the same time. And with the annoying aches in your back, legs, and arms all eliminated, your overall well being can reach its optimum state, thereby allowing you to concentrate on your tasks.
The Gaiam ball chair is also not just a simple chair with a balance ball. It also employs a special adjustable support bar and easy-glide casters for adjustability and flexibility.
The chair itself has an ideal height of 2.5 feet, and its base is 20 inches wide to give you enough stability. What’s surprising is that it can actually hold a maximum load of 300 pounds.
Background to the Balance Ball
Another advantage that the Gaiam balance ball chair has over competitors is also the reason why the brand is called Gaiam. Gaiam was taken from the words Gaia, which refers to Mother Earth, and the expression “I am”.
True to its name, the Gaiam chair was created with a strong sense of social responsibility. The Gaiam is an ergonomic ball chair that is created using natural and eco-friendly materials. So the Gaiam balance ball chair does not just take care of your back and your well-being; it also helps takes care of the planet.
Gaiam, the company that makes this ball chair is not a furniture manufacturer; they are a healthy lifestyle company. They make products aimed at people choosing a healthy approach to life, so products range from organic cotton household products to eco-friendly cleaning products to meditation mats and sandals that improve the circulation in your feet.
The balance ball chair is one of Gaiam’s most successful products. Many people with back problems have bought this chair in the hope that it will help to alleviate their back pain.
Design and Style
The balance ball itself is removable form the chair base and can be used separately as an exercise ball, either on the chair or off the chair. The chair seat itself is 25 inches high, and some customers purchase height adaptors that fit between the wheels and the base of the chair, to add two inches in height to the chair overall.
The Gaiam balance ball chair is available in charcoal, plum, sage and pool blue, on a black base from the manufacturers and other retailers. The base of the chair is 6 inches off the ground, and the height of the ball means that the seat is between 23 and 25 inches off the ground depending on how inflated the ball is and whether you have chosen to add height adaptors.
The overall height to the top of the back of the chair is 31 inches in height, and the back is shaped to allow some lumbar support. Gaiam themselves state that the chair is only suitable for people between 5 feet and 5 feet 11 inches tall, which is mostly women.
The height is appropriate for most office desks, allowing the user to write or type comfortably whilst sitting on the chair.
Gaiam are somewhat concerned about the environment, so they have made the ball out of materials free from latex and other harmful phthalates. It takes a while to stretch to its full capacity, so when you first get the ball you get an air pump with it, and it would be good to inflate it again on the second day after you have used it and the material has become more pliable.
The second time you add air you can get it to its full size of 22 inches or 55 cm. The ball itself is made of very pliable PVC plastic which is designed to be safe and flexible either as office seating or in a workout situation. The base of the chair is molded plastic and some small metal fixings.
- Height: 2.5 feet
- Base: 20 inches wide from wheel to wheel
- Equipped with 2 locking casters and 2 regular casters
- Dimensions: 31 inches high, 21 inches wide, 22 inches deep
- Weight of Chair: 13 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 300 pound maximum
- Colors Available: Black, Green, Blue or Purple
What Do Current Owners Think?
This is the kind of chair that a friend might recommend to you as it is an unusual chair for an office. The majority of current owners are quite pleased with the comfort level and how the chair helps their posture and improves the act of sitting up straight. It has over 300 reviews and an impressive average customer rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com.
Returning customers have bought previous versions of the Gaiam ball chair, and this new version has a larger ball which addressed a previous complaint. New customers have been concerned about not being able to inflate the ball to full size, but this is fixed by allowing a day or two for the PVC to stretch and become pliable before you add more air.
The most common problem that customers experienced was related to the casters. If you put the casters on as the instructions say, the locks are on the front. Generally speaking, this is fine for those who do not want their chair to move. However, if you do, you may find yourself accidentally locking the casters at the front.
This is annoying if you are trying to scoot across the office in order to pick something up! The solution, suggested by a number of buyers, is to put the locking casters on the back of the chair. This avoids accidentally locking the wheels but enables the casters to be locked when you want.
What’s Included in the Box?
You get the ball chair, plus air pump to inflate the ball, which you will need to do twice, to allow it to become pliable and then inflate to its full size. In addition, you get the casters which are lockable once attached to the base. The support bar that goes on the base is separate and adjustable. You also get a booklet that details the exercises you can perform with the exercise ball.
Who Is This Chair Best For?
This is an unusual chair, mostly suitable for people of average height, due to the height constraints and not suitable for anyone over 300lbs in weight. It is a relatively simple design; an exercise ball in a cradle with the unusual use as a piece of exercise office equipment.
The Gaiam ball chair is most popular with people who are looking for comfortable seating at a desk and feel they need improved posture and/or balance. Its owners clearly feel that their posture is improved and back and neck ache reduced.
It does take some getting used to as you have to learn to balance and it is not recommended to lean back. The back is not very comfortable and besides, leaning back would defeat the whole purpose of this chair, which is to help you develop good posture and strengthen your muscles. The back is also detachable, if you want to sit centered over the ball.
Price and Where To Buy
We compared prices and found that the Gaiam balance ball chair usually retails at around $100 but is available from Amazon. Click here to check the latest price, which includes free shipping.