If you own a standing desk or like to work at the kitchen counter to avoid sitting for too long, you know how grueling it can be after a while. Standing for too long comes with its share of adverse health consequences (just ask a cashier or retail clerk). So where do you find a chair that’s tall enough to work with your standing desk to give you periodic respite from standing without breaking your workflow? Two words: drafting chairs.
No longer reserved for architects or artists, drafting chairs and stools have entered the mainstream as an ergonomic solution in the modern workspace. The perfect companion to standing desks, these chairs support your body and let you easily switch between standing and sitting when working at a standing desk, kitchen counter, or any type of elevated work space. Better yet, drafting chairs typically can be lowered to normal desk heights to work with conventional desks as well when needed.
The best drafting chairs and stools support your back and upper and lower limbs as you sit at an elevated height. They should be sturdy enough to support your body weight while you’re perched up high, come with a foot rest so your feet aren’t dangling, and follow the same ergonomic principles when it comes to seat design . Below are the 5 best drafting chairs and stools you can get based on these criteria.
Chair height adjustment: 21.5 to 29.5 inches.
With its simple yet modern design, this chair from Modway looks like a typical office chair. However, don’t let it fool you — the extra tall gas cylinder makes this chair very compatible with standing desks. The chrome-plated foot ring is a welcome addition, allowing users to rest their legs. The height-adjustable armrests can be folded up and the seat tilt and tension control can be tweaked based on personal preference.
The padded mesh seat with a waterfall edge and breathable backrest offers a great sitting experience overall. The relatively high chair back provides upper back support to alleviate the weight on the lumbar, though the small size of the backrest may not be suitable for taller users.
The Modway Veer drafting chair rests on a five-pointed base with dual-wheel nylon casters that are friendly to carpeted and wooden floors. The chair can bear a maximum weight of 330 pounds, where reviewers have lauded the sturdy design of the chair components.
Most users found assembly to be fairly straightforward, though some reviewers have noted that the chair comes with spare parts that were not used. All in all, the Modway Veer is one of the most well rounded ergonomic drafting chair that’s very affordable to boot, and as such, makes it to my list of the best drafting chairs.
- Great ergonomic lumbar support for value
- Sturdy design with up to 330 pounds weight limit
- Easy and quick assembly
- Great color choices- white, blue, black, and red options.
- Small size of foot ring may not be optimal for taller people
- Backrest is a little short for tall people.
Chair height adjustment: 30.3 to 36.2 inches
True to its name, the AmazonBasics drafting stool is minimalist in design. The bonded leather that covers the thickly padded seat and backrest makes for a smooth and comfortable feel.
You can configure the AmazonBasics drafting chair into a true stool by removing the backrest. The 360-degree rotation and absence of armrests enables a wide range of unobstructed movement, allowing workers to do their jobs while seated. The chair height is the only thing that can be adjusted, compared to the Modway chair above with lockable tilt of the backrest.
The foot rest is quite sturdy so that the chair can easily sustain a weight of 250 pounds. However, although the product description says that “The foot rest can be raised or lowered as needed,” it is in fact not adjustable from what I can tell. Users on Amazon have echoed the same sediment.
The chair comes with a Proposition 65 warning as per California law stating that the chair contains chemicals known to cause various health issues. That’s not to say the chair will kill you, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Backed by Amazon’s one-year limited warranty, we’ll see if sales for this chair take off like Jeff Bezos’ planned rocket…
- Simple and minimalistic chair that provides ergonomic support at an affordable price
- Well-padded seat and backrest covered with bonded leather for comfort
- Ultra high 30 inches seat for tall work spaces.
- Foot rest advertised as adjustable but does not actually adjust
- Only adjustable function is seat height
Chair height adjustment: 24” to 32” inches
The melrose gold frame and smooth curvature of the Flash Furniture Drafting Chair gives it a refined polish that’s a rarity in drafting chairs. Looks aside however, the Flash Furniture drafting chair provides excellent lumbar support, with a mid-back backrest and a waterfall edge seat for great lower limb circulation.
Tilting the backrest on the Flash Furniture Drafting Chair is as smooth as can be, by using a a 2-to-1 locking synchro mechanism. This lets you recline without feeling like you’re about to fall over. Combined with the tilt tension knob, and this is the drafting chair to get if you like to kick back often to relax.
The padded armrests on the Flash Furniture support the upper limbs well and can be flipped up for greater range of motion, similar to the Modway drafting chair above.
Many users have lauded the chair’s sturdy and comfortable ergonomic support. The mesh backrest and seat offer cooling for those who choose to sit for longer periods of time. However, some people have reported discomfort at the backs of their legs when seated for long periods, due to the chair’s lack of cushioning along the edges of the seat. Most of us who use the drafting chair for short sitting breaks will not mind this issue, however.
Overall the Flash Furniture Drafting chair is one of the most solidly built drafting chairs available, with a ultra tough nylon composition and adjustable seat that makes long hours of working in front of the computer while standing an easier chore.
- High-quality, heavy duty design using premium materials
- 2-to-1 locking synchro mechanism for stable backwards tilting
- Flippable padded armrests that get out of the way when you want them to.
- Lack of cushioning around edges of seat
Chair height adjustment: 16” to 21” inches
The smooth leather covering and simple monochromatic black design makes this task stool a must-have for anyone wishing to project sophistication into their workspace. What’s better is that the chair is relatively affordable, costing about the same as the above chairs.
This HON chair boasts tailored stitching and soft bonded leather, with a generously sized backrest and seat that should satisfactorily fit many body types.
The adjustable foot rest is a bonus, allowing users to raise or lower it based on individual preference. The chair itself measures 27 by 29.5 inches (L x W), and can support a maximum weight of 250 pounds.
With HON’s full lifetime warranty, this chair definitely brings a lot of quality for its value. The one thing lacking for users looking for a more traditional top seat is the armrest, though that can be purchased separately to complete the picture for everyone.
- Adjustable footrest that support your feet regardless of your legs length.
- Bonded leather has a comfortable look and feel
- Lifetime warranty
- Non-adjustable back and tilt
Chair height adjustment: 20.5” to 28” inches
Perfect for environments like a clinic, workshop, or home, this stool has a thickly padded seat that is comfortable to sit in. Reviewers have noted the excellent workmanship of the chair and the ease of assembly. Another nice touch? Users can choose among 12 coloured seat covers. The small footprint makes this chair the perfect drafting stool for use in a variety of settings, such as salon, spa, medical office, workshop, garage, salon, spa, or as a kitchen counter stool.
Although it appears to just be a regular stool, Perch has put a lot of thought into the design. The vinyl is protected against microbes and bacteria and has an anti-stain finish. The wheels for this chair are different from those of many others because they have a glossy rubber coating, allowing smooth movement across hardwood, ceramic, and tile floors.
The padded chair is comfortable for the lower limbs and tailbone, but the absence of a back support means that users should maintain a proper posture to avoid chronic back injury.
Like most of the drafting chairs reviewed here, the Perch Stool can support up to 250 pounds with a seat diameter of 14.8 inches and a heavy duty nylon base diameter of 21 inches.
Though it doesn’t have a lifetime warranty like the HON drafting chair above, the Perch Drafting Stool provides an impressive 12-year warranty for its chairs and lifetime warranty on cylinders.
- Anti microbes and bacteria vinyl finish
- Rubberized casters suitable for all types of hard surfaces, from tiles, ceramic, to hardwood.
- Choice of 12 different colored seat covers to suit your decor.
- No back support
- Only adjustable function is seat height
What to Look for when purchasing a drafting chair
If you are interested in investing in a standing desk, getting an ergonomic drafting chair is vital to maintaining a balance between sitting and standing, so that you can work longer and healthier.
All of the above drafting chairs blend high quality with essential ergonomic design. Their wide range of height adjustment means most of these drafting chairs can also be used as a regular office chair from time to time.
Here are the most important things to consider when purchasing a drafting chair.
Comfortable Seat: This should be the most important criterion when buying an ergonomic drafting chair chair! The chair seat should be designed to properly support the upper and lower limbs and the back, so that adequate circulation and healthy posture is achieved. This is especially important, as your feet won’t be touching the ground when seated on a drafting chair. A waterfall design at the edge of the seat usually works best.
Foot Rest: A foot rest is critical so your feet don’t dangle and no excess pressure is put on your inner thighs when you’re seated.
Seat Backrest: When it comes to the backrest, some people gravitate towards a backless design so they are forced to maintain an upright and good posture at all times. However, I personally prefer a drafting chair with a backrest, as my mid body tends to get tired rather easily. If you’re in the same boat, make sure the backrest has a gentle “S” shape that contours to the shape of your back, plus tilt adjustment if you lean back often.
Armrests or no armrests: Armrests on a drafting chair is another important consideration. Think of the type of job you’ll be performing when making your purchase decision. If you’re working on the keyboard often, armrests are a great addition to properly support your arms when you type. However, for other types of jobs such as drafting or any type of design work where you’re working with a variety of physical objects (like large charts), an armrest won’t be utilized much, and in fact only gets in the way.
Comfort: Comfort and ergonomic support usually go hand-in-hand — pain is sometimes your body’s way of telling you that you’re not sitting properly. The drafting chair’s padding should be sufficient to support your body — it’s an ominous sign if you can feel the chair’s frame when you sit down. A seat with a larger surface area enables more movement, while the covering should also be comfortable to sit on. Mesh is usually my preferred material for longer bouts of sitting, while faux leather feels better if you’re only occasionally sitting down.
Durability: The quality of the materials used to make the drafting chair is critical, especially the base and gas cylinder that prop up the chair. Look for chairs with a heavy duty 5 star nylon base and strong metal cylinder with hydraulic lift. The lift will invariably wear out over time, though luckily there are replacement lifts you can get easily and install yourself. The quality of the wheels are important too, as faulty wheels are a potential injury waiting to happen.
Budget: Sometimes our finances may stop us from getting the very best things in life, including office chairs. When looking at chairs however, you should also consider the longevity of the chair — a chair with a metal frame may be more expensive than a plastic chair, but it’ll most likely have a longer lifespan. Similarly, your health is invaluable, so it’s not worth getting a poorly fitting chair only to sacrifice your posture (which can lead to chronic injuries that costs much more to fix). In short, aim for the best drafting chair you can afford based on your needs, versus the cheapest.