Standing Desk Vs Treadmill Desk, Kneeling Chair, Exercise Ball

Looking for a good alternative to the standard chair and desk setup? Either one of these four options will be a good upgrade. However, they come with different perks of their own. We’ll compare a standing desk (the most popular option) with treadmill desks, kneeling chairs and exercise balls. This comparison of their pros and cons will prove helpful for deciding which one to get for your productive sessions at home or office.

What Are Standing Desks?

Stand-up desks, also known as standing desks, are designed to help you work comfortably in a standing-up position. Standing desks usually have complete height adjustability and sit-stand features, which allow you to sit and stand at your convenience.

Many high-end standing desks also come with pre-set heights stored in their memory banks that conveniently allow interchange between sitting and standing by simply pressing a button.

There are two types of standing desks, sit-stand desks and fixed-height desks:

1. Sit-stand desks are those whose height can be adjusted. These are further subdivided into two categories.

  • Power sit-stand desks are easy to adjust using a button.
  • Manual sit-stand desks, are adjusted using a handle, lever, or crank that comes with the desk.

2. Fixed-height desks are not adjustable and can only be used in a standing position.

If you’re getting a standing desk, experts recommend against getting these kinds of desks because of their lack of flexibility. Especially for someone who’s used to sitting down for hours and hours, the drastic transition might be uncomfortable, so I, just like these experts would suggest getting an adjustable one so you can gradually transition to standing all the time.

1. Standing Desk Vs Treadmill Desk

Although each has its own benefits and disadvantages, to put it simply, both are healthier options than standard desks. In comparison to each other, standing desks are usually more affordable and allow for flexibility depending on the model. In contrast, treadmill desks can help you multitask more efficiently and be more productive (constantly burning calories).

On the other hand, standing desks might seem ineffective in burning calories, and treadmill desks might seem to be too much work overtime. Both are great options; however, the difference between both these desks has a lot to do with their design and functionality.

What Are Treadmill Desks?

Treadmill desks are a relatively newer innovation in the marketplace. So what are they? It’s as simple as it sounds; they are basically a treadmill attached to a desk so you can walk or even run while you complete your work tasks for the day.

Now there are flexible options on the market that can change the height of the desk, and there are fixed options as well. Some options come with the treadmill attached and those that come with the treadmill detached. It’s all about knowing what works out for you and how much flexibility you’re okay with compromising on.

Comparison of Features

1. Fitness & Weight Loss

Standing Desks

It’s no surprise that standing is going to burn more calories than sitting. On average, you burn eight calories more per hour standing rather than sitting. Indeed, it’s not a very significant difference, and many people don’t expect any significant weight loss or hindrance in weight gain because of it. But the use of standing desks, in the long run, proves that the tiny amount of extra calories might accumulate to a lot, and you might see a change. Overall, it’s still a good small effort to help burn calories.

Treadmill Desks

Of course, standing and walking vary vastly in terms of the number of calories burned. You burn around 210 calories per hour walking while you only burn 88 when standing, so it’s a significant difference. Plus, it’s hard for many people to make time to hit the gym because they have such a busy schedule regularly. Not only that, even when they find the time, they almost always are so tired that they don’t end up doing a lot.

In these cases, people should find the simple yet effective walking exercise very useful! You don’t give much thought to walking. It doesn’t “feel” like work or training, but it still counts as it. That is what I like the most about it. You don’t have to expel much energy into it actively, it’s almost like a reflex, but you still get a lot of work and exercise done.

Winner: Treadmill desks

There’s no beating a treadmill desk in this one. They take the lead with an astounding difference of 120 calories per hour. In terms of exercise and weight loss, treadmill desks are superior.

2. Weight Loss

Standing Desks

On average, standing isn’t much different from sitting, so you can’t really exact a lot of weight loss using standing desks

Treadmill Desks

Unlike standing, walking actually does burn a lot of calories, so yes, unsurprisingly, you can expect to lose weight or see noticeable changes in your body after regularly using this desk. Many people claim that they feel much fitter after a while of using it.

Winner: Treadmill Desk

For significant weight loss, treadmill desks are much better and more effective than standing desks that don’t really do much for your weight.

3. Fatigue prevention

Standing Desks

Although standing desks can cause fatigue over time, it’s not a significant amount. Plus, many of them are adjustable and can be lowered enough to allow the person using them to sit. So overall, they’re not very tiring to use.

Treadmill Desks

For this one, experts suggest not walking too fast or running while you work, so you don’t wear yourself out too much. Many people say that walking at a regular steady pace felt comfortable at first and gradually it felt more and more comfortable.

Walking slowly might decrease the effectiveness of the exercise, but you have to look out for yourself first, too. You wouldn’t want to accumulate too much fatigue that renders you unable to work or sick in the days that follow.

Winner: Standing Desks

Of course, when you’re working out more, you’ll get tired sooner and accumulate more fatigue. Treadmill desks are much more tiring to use than standing desks.

4. Practicality

Standing Desks

Standing desks are very practical to use no matter where you are and what you are doing.

Treadmill Desks

Yes, you have to be a bit more cautious when using treadmill desks than standing desks. You’ve got to be mindful not to slip and fall or drop any of your things. This is why the experts recommend starting at a slow speed.

In addition to that, you have to be careful of how much time you spend on a treadmill. The movement might feel good for your joints at first, but over time it can be very damaging for your body to be on treadmills for long periods of time. A maximum of 30-60 minutes is recommended. This means you can’t use them for long, and they aren’t the most practical solution for long-term use. You will still need a regular desk to work on.

Winner: Standing Desks

Standing desks are, in comparison, a lot more practical to use in the long term and can be used for longer periods than treadmill desks.

5. Productivity

Standing Desks

Research suggests a 45% increase in productivity for employees who preferred to use standing desks over regular ones. This works because your mood gets better due. After all, the movement helps with better oxygen circulation, so you naturally become more productive. This is a great way to increase energy levels. It keeps your brain awake and lowers your need for caffeine as well.

Treadmill Desks

If you’re a person who prefers to be on the move and stay constantly productive, staying idle and sedentary behind a desk for hours on end, it might just be the bane of their existence. Many people think much better when they’re out and about, so you can guess how very mentally taxing and tiring it is to sit on a desk behind a screen all day. It’s like it sucks all the life and joy out of you.

Not to mention how much it starts affecting people’s productivity. It’s hard even to account for all the boredom one becomes a victim of because of the lack of stimulation.

For people like this, treadmill desks are much better options to consider for many reasons depending on their level of preferred physical activity. Their minds work much faster and get better ideas when they walk, and it’s not as draining anymore. This is because the movement improves blood and oxygen circulation to your brain, which helps them to focus better.

You can simply hit two birds with one stone and truly optimize your productivity by working and exercising simultaneously.

For many people, especially managers or those working seven to twelve hours, using this desk can fine-tune their focus so much that they don’t even notice how fast the time flies by while they are using this desk.

Winner: Treadmill Desks

In terms of productivity, we gave the round to treadmill desks because more movement is involved, which means better blood circulation and more oxygen for your brain. On the flip side, it can also prove to be more distracting, but that is usually not the case with most people.

6. Pain and Posture

Standing Desks

Even with the most expensive and high-end ergonomic chairs, sitting in the same position for hours and hours every day would start to hurt your back from time to time, and many people get severe back problems. This is when you know that it’s time for a change.

If you struggle with bad posture, the bad news is that it gradually just gets worse. However, with standing desks, it can get much better. People say that their muscles weren’t as stiff as they usually used to be after being sedentary for a long time by using standing desks. Although the research in this field is lacking, there have been indications of lower back pain in those who use standing desks more

Treadmill Desks

While sitting and standing, after some time, people start feeling like they have a bad habit of slouching, but that is not the case with treadmill desks. Because when you keep walking constantly, your posture improves a lot

Winner: Treadmill Desks

This one was a close call. Although standing desks do help with posture, treadmill desks are more effective. And since treadmill desks are better for posture, they will naturally be better for back pain as well.

7. Endurance Training

Standing Desks

Standing for long periods in a proper posture can help with your core strength and build up your endurance. Thus, standing desks can eventually play a role in strength and endurance training

Treadmill Desks

Many people have a hard time walking for long periods of time at the start and would soon get out of breath. But gradually, they passively build quite the stamina for walking and exercising, all thanks to these desks.

Winner: Treadmill Desks

Both help in this aspect, but overall, treadmill desks take the lead because, ultimately, they are better exercise.

8. Mood-Boosting

Standing Desks

Standing more surprisingly also helps to better people’s moods and lower fatigue, tension, and depression. You can move around more, stretch more, and generally have more space, which honestly feels very liberating.

Treadmill Desks

People usually feel very pleased with themselves after a day of exercising and working on one go. They feel like they have completed a big task and should reward themselves. This is also because your brain rewards you with endorphins for exercising, so that helps the case.

Winner: Treadmill Desks

We gave this round to the treadmill desks as well because of the endorphins your brain is proven to release after exercise. They are sure to help better your mood.

9. Cost

Standing Desk

Standing desks are rather affordable. The high-end adjustable ones might cost you a pretty penny, but getting those isn’t an absolute necessity. You can easily find an appropriately priced adjustable standing desk to fit your needs.

Treadmill Desks

Treadmill desks, in comparison, are a bit higher on the cost scale and are not always affordable. This is because they include a treadmill in addition to just an adjustable desk.

Winner: Standing Desks

Standing desks cost much less compared to treadmill desks and are a more budget-friendly option.

10. Flexibility

Standing Desks

For people who get standing desks that are not adjustable, the constant standing might tire them out quicker and lead to them being more fatigued. Inflexibility can be a big problem, especially if you’re not used to standing for long. They will have a difficult time getting used to it.

But for those who get the adjustable kind, it can be much more flexible and comfortable.

Treadmill Desks

Unfortunately, these desks aren’t very flexible, and you can’t use them once you’re too tired or want to sit down.

Winner: Standing Desks

Standing desks win this round because they can be more accommodating when it comes to flexibility, and the adjusting kind even allow people to sit down after a while

Final Winner: Treadmill Desks

Overall, treadmill desks win this comparison since they are better in many aspects. It is to be noted, though, that it was a relatively close call in many of the rounds. An important thing that might affect how practical they are is that they are not to be used for long periods of time. It might take you a while getting used to the walking while working experience, but once you do, it will be all the more worth it.

2. Standing Desk Vs Kneeling Chair

If you’re not a big fan of standing or, for some reason, can’t stand (because of Age or medical factors), then you should try the kneeling chair. They can do wonders for your back and posture too. However, kneeling chairs, which once took the market by storm, were affected in sales once the standing desks were introduced. It became a serious debate which was better, and many still wonder which one they should go for. Well, I’m going to be telling you about it all now.

There’s no denying that standing desks are more productive and help to counter a sedentary lifestyle better. Still, kneeling chairs are more comfortable to use and arguably do more for your posture. But the real question is whether standing desks actually are that much more productive to prefer them over kneeling chairs and whether kneeling chairs are really that much more comfortable.

Are standing desks given more credit than due, or are kneeling chairs overrated? Let’s find out.

What Are Kneeling Chairs?

Kneeling chairs are essentially chairs designed at a lower angle to keep the back at a 90-degree angle constantly. Kneeling chairs are different from regular office chairs in the sense that they are guaranteed to keep your spine in its natural posture and redistribute your weight properly between your hips and shins.

Your knees and shins will have padded resting support, and pressure will be relieved from your facet joints. Kneeling chairs keep your thighs at a 60 to 70-degree angle as opposed to the 90-degree angle in regular office chairs to direct some of the weight to the shins. These chairs are highly effective in countering aches and pains caused due to posture.

Comparison of Features

1. Posture and Back Pain

Standing Desks

Standing desks can help keep you upright at the start and might help with posture, but their results vary from person to person, and it’s debatable how much they help in that regard because many people still experience posture problems.

Kneeling Chairs

Yes, a standing desk also claims to benefit posture but think about it, don’t we also sometimes slouch when we stand? We do, especially if we’re standing for long. So, standing desks aren’t completely slouch-proof. But then, neither are regular office chairs. Even expensive ergonomic chairs sometimes still cause back pains after extended use. So then, what should be done? Opt for the kneeling chairs!

The kneeling chairs are, by far, the most effective in preventing back problems and providing a good posture. It’s because no matter how tired you are or how you sit, it’s just not possible to slouch in them, so whether you like it or not, your spine will be in the position it should be in.

On the flip side, kneeling chairs can sometimes divert too much of that pressure towards the knees and shins, which can cause pain in them. Using these chairs for long periods of time can sometimes cause aches and issues in the legs.

Result: Tie

Standing desks don’t do as much for pain relief and posture as kneeling chairs which are designed specifically to help with this issue. But kneeling chairs can cause pain in other areas, and thus this round goes to no one.

2. Exercise

Standing Desks

Standing desks don’t make you very active, but they do provide more exercise than sitting.

Kneeling Chairs

Since kneeling chairs cater more to a sedentary lifestyle, you will burn more calories using a standing desk than you will by using a kneeling chair. Fortunately, though, the difference isn’t much and is only about eight calories per hour.

However, many people are unaware of this, but sitting in a proper manner can actually help to engage the core, which is very good for strength and endurance training.

Winner: Standing Desks

Although the difference isn’t great, there still is one, and the eight-calorie lead on kneeling chairs gives standing desks this round.

3. Practicality

Standing Desks

Standing desks don’t confine you to a place and allow a person to move about here and there easily.

Kneeling Chairs

Kneeling chairs can take a bit of effort to get into and out of. It’s not anything complicated, but it can be pretty inconvenient at times.

If someone is to be confined to their desk for very long, then it’s fine, but in case they have to move about often, attend calls, go to the bathroom, meet people, it can be quite annoying to get in and out of the chair again and again. This is why some users have complained that the seat design is a bit impractical.

The restricted movement can often be very frustrating to deal with. It’s recommended that people start off slow and gradually add to their time in a kneeling chair.

The awkward position takes a bit of getting used to before you can get the hang of it.

Winner: Standing Desks

Since kneeling chairs can be inconvenient to get in and out of, this round goes to standing desks, giving a person all the space they need.

4. Health Benefits

Standing Desks

Standing desks have been linked to showing several benefits, especially for those with acute medical conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Still, conclusive research has yet to be done on the matter. Even if that hasn’t been proved, we do know that physical inactivity is much worse than people give it credit for. The extra movement from standing desks can be really good for joints and has also been linked to better blood and oxygen circulation.

Kneeling Chairs

Not only are you guaranteed to get rid of all your back strains, but you can also avoid certain health risks associated with standing for long periods of time and preventing foot pain.

Research has proven that sitting in a slouched position compresses your internal organs. They have nowhere to go and get squished together and remain in that position for hours. They might affect the lungs and the digestive system, which can be detrimental to one’s health. Kneeling chairs also help to prevent this from happening.

In addition to this, a kneeling chair also improves blood circulation. A perfect posture is also linked to better blood circulation. Since your body is relieved of pressure in all the wrong spots and is no longer compressed, the blood flow in many areas becomes much better.

Result: Tie

This round is also a tie because both of them have similar benefits but balance out the cons as well. If standing is bad for your feet, then sitting all the time is also not very good. So, this is why there is no winner for this round.

5. Ease of Use

Standing Desks

Standing desks are usually easy and accessible for everyone. However, for women who are used to wearing heels at the workplace, it might feel uncomfortable to stand for long periods, and it might hurt their feet. Aside from that, they are inclusive.

Kneeling Chairs

Unfortunately, these chairs cannot be used by people who suffer from mobility issues because of how they are positioned. These chairs lack inclusivity for everyone.

Winner: Standing Desks

This round is taken by standing desks for obvious reasons. Kneeling chairs can’t be used by everyone.

6. Comfort

Standing Desks

Standing can become uncomfortable to use after long periods, but usually, they’re adjustable and comfortable

Kneeling Chairs

These chairs are usually pretty comfortable too. They’re not like those chairs forcing you to sit up straight in an uncomfortable position. They don’t compromise on comfort just because they keep your back straight.

Winner: Kneeling Chairs

Kneeling chairs cater to your comfort more than a standing desk would, and this is why they win this round.

Final Winner: Standing Desks

Kneeling Chairs are best suited to people who don’t have to move for long periods of time and don’t have any mobility issues. For people who do not fit into this category or, for some reason, find kneeling chairs uncomfortable, standing desks or ergonomic chairs are a good alternative option, and they outdo the kneeling chairs in comparison.

3. Standing Desk Vs Exercise Ball

If you’re looking for an exciting seating option in exchange for a boring office chair, you should consider getting an exercise ball chair! Not only is it an effective way to exercise while you work, but it will also keep you constantly alert as you’ll have to balance yourself.

In comparison to a standing desk, an exercise ball is a more mobile option that builds better core strength and develops more stability. However, this comes at the cost of support provided by the ball. A standing desk is also a comparatively more flexible option because it allows you to change heights and sit when you feel too tired, whereas a ball will remain the same height.

Some people might find the ball more comfortable to use, and others might get annoyed with the constant effort it takes to stay up on it. Both the exercise ball and standing desk have their own strengths.

What Is An Exercise Ball?

Exercise balls, also known as yoga balls, are soft and elastic inflated balls used for various exercises. They are versatile, and there are over 100 different types of exercises you can do with them. However, it is important that you choose the right ball for the job, and that depends on your height.


  • If your height is between 4′ 8″ and 5’5″, then an exercise ball of about 18 inches should suit you well.
  • For people between 5’6″ and 6’0″, a ball with a 22-inch diameter will be a good choice.
  • For folks that are 6’1″ to 6’5″, a 26-inch ball will do the job.
  • And lastly, if you are taller than 6’5″, a 30-inch exercise ball should fit your body.

Comparison of Features

1. Strength and Endurance Training

Standing Desks

After using standing desks for a while, you can build better endurance through standing, and it can enhance your core strength, but it’s not as effective as a gym would be.

Exercise Balls

Improving your posture can passively train your core and improve your strength and endurance. Now, it won’t be a stark difference, but you will gradually build up better core strength. Exercise balls can be used for a multitude of different exercises and bring a lot of versatility in this regard as compared to standing desks where you can only stand.

Winner: Exercise Balls

Exercise balls provide more of a challenge than standing desks, and that’s why it takes more effort to overcome that. This is why we gave this round to exercise balls.

2. Enjoyment

Standing Desks

Standing desks don’t offer much enjoyment, but they can help to keep you alert.

Exercise Balls

Sitting on a therapy ball might not be the best seating option out there, but it sure is the most enjoyable one. Many people have reported actually having fun using an exercise ball as a seating option and now prefer it over chairs and desks.

Winner: Exercise Balls

Exercise balls are more fun and enjoyable to use in comparison to standing desks, and this is why they win this round.

3. Support

Standing Desks

Standing desks lack a lot of support as well, but since they are adjustable, they can be adjusted to administer more aid. This is not the case with exercise balls.

Exercise Balls

The exercise ball, although fun to use, lacks support. It can be nice to use for a short while, but over time, it can feel uncomfortable and cause discomfort constantly having to hold yourself up. After some time, it can be physically and mentally exhausting to sit on these exercise balls. They provide no back or arm support either. This is why they might not be the most accommodating option out there.

Winner: Standing Desks

Standing desks, in comparison, are more flexible and supportive, so they are the winner of this round.

4. Posture

Standing Desks

We have already established that standing desks only contribute meagerly when it comes to improving posture and lack effectiveness in the matter.

Exercise Balls

Using the yoga ball can be an excellent way to train for better balance and stability, and in this way, your posture improves as well. Since you can’t exactly slouch while sitting on a yoga ball, or you won’t be able to balance, you naturally build more strength and stability in your muscles. This better posture might also help you breathe better.

Winner: Exercise Balls

Since exercise balls teach you how to master better balance and control of your body, they are the winner of this round and are better for your posture.

5. Calorie Burn

Standing Desks

Standing only burns about 88 calories per hour, so it’s not a significant difference.

Exercise Balls

Using an exercise ball might be slightly more useful as it burns 6% more calories than sitting on a normal chair.

Winner: Standing Desk

Both methods burn more calories than sitting on a regular chair, but standing desks still involve, well, standing. Standing is simply more efficient at burning calories overall.

6. Safety

Standing Desks

In terms of safety, standing desks are completely clear and pose no immediate health risks. You do not need to be cautious while using them.

Exercise Balls

Using yoga balls will keep you on edge the whole time because only a second of carelessness can cause you to lose balance and fall, and it might hurt you. So exercise balls are also not the safest option out there.

Winner: Standing Desks

Standing desks are a safer option than exercise balls, and you won’t have to worry about getting any serious injuries or falling victim to any accidents while using them.

7. Focus and Concentration

Standing Desks

In comparison to exercise balls, standing desks keep you awake and alert but don’t contribute to diverting your attention elsewhere.

Exercise Balls

Using these balls as chairs might hinder your concentration sometimes. You might find it hard to work with all the movement, and a part of your brain might constantly be occupied in keeping yourself upright.

Winner: Standing Desks

Since standing desks don’t interfere with your work and don’t give you anything else to be occupied with while you work, they can help you focus better, which is why they won this round. Some people might not be as affected by the side engagement from exercise balls, and some might even like it, but most people will find it distracting, especially at the start if they are not used to it.

Final Winner: Exercise Balls

Exercise balls are great for those looking for a seating option that will require constant engagement and stimulation to keep them active, whereas standing desks are better for those who prefer more stability and don’t like to move as much. But overall, in this comparison, we found exercise balls to be a better seating option than standing desks.


All three options are better than using a regular chair and desk. You will burn more calories, improve your productivity, posture, strength and overall health by being more physically active and staying in better posture while doing intellectually demanding work at the same time.

For some folks switching to either a standing desk, kneeling chair, exercise ball or treadmill desk altogether would be too extreme. Take some time to adjust and switch back and forth between what you’re used to and the new method you’re eager to test for yourself. Talk to you soon!

Jelica Klapan

Full-time blogger and copywriter. Outside of work, I like to venture on California's finest hiking trails with my kids and our golden retriever Buddy. Doesn't get better than that!

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