My journey through the world of leaning chairs continues with the Pivot by Focal™ Upright. With a price of less than $300, the Pivot is still a high-ranking product on my list of the best standing chairs. We have had the Pivot in our office for several years but it wasn’t until recently that I really put enough time into it to fully understand the chair. The Pivot is the first standing chair I tested that has a base that allows the chair to wobble. This design gives the chair a lot of freedom but it also comes with some downsides. In this review, I will go over my entire experience with the Pivot, including what I liked and didn’t like. This should help you to answer the question of whether or not the Pivot is a good option for you.
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The Pivot is a product by Focal™ Upright Furniture, LLC. Focal was founded in 2012 by Martin Keen. You may recognize his name because of his popular line, KEEN Footwear. Martin Keen is an industrial engineer who decided to take on the problem of a lack of leaning chair options. He began designing his own chairs and started Focal™ Upright Furniture, LLC. In 2016, the assets of Focal™ Upright Furniture, LLC were purchased by Safco Products Company. Safco is an office furniture company with a wide range of product offerings. They are based in Minnesota and have been in business for about 50 years.
Focal™ Pivot Seat Quick Summary Video
TABLE OF CONTENTS
– Specs / Features / Pricing
– Return Policy and Warranty
– Shipping and Assembly
– Build Quality
– Seat Comfort
– Range of Motion
– Making Adjustments
– What I Like
– What I Don’t Like
– Bottom Line
Country of Origin
Seating Surface Size: 16″W x 11.5″D
Seat Height Range: 26” – 35.5”
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Chair Weight: 25 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 32 lbs.
Fiberglass-reinforced nylon seat pan
EVA foam seat cushion
Steel gas piston cylinder
Rubber Octogrip Overmold grips on bottom of base
Easy-adjust piston-release handles raise and lower the seat
Tri-Flex Seat Cushion has built-in bone contours and a waterfall edge
2019 Price – $290.99
The base, seat pan and piston are black. The seat cushion is available in four different colors: black, blue, citrus and red. Citrus is an orange/yellow. One cool thing about the Pivot is that the seat cushion can be replaced. If your seat wears out or you want a different color, you can swap the seat cushion out within a few seconds.
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The Pivot does not have a standard return policy. The return policy will vary depending on the authorized dealer you make your purchase from. If you are on the fence about whether or not you are going to like the Pivot, then I would recommend contacting a few different dealers to see what their policies are.
The Pivot is covered by a limited lifetime warranty. All of the parts are covered for a lifetime except the seat cushion and the piston. The piston and cushion are covered for five years. This warranty is among the industry leaders in the active seating category.
The Pivot typically ships within 48 hours of placing your order. It will then arrive within a few days via FedEx or UPS ground. The item arrives in a fairly small box that weighs about 30 lbs. The item is packaged well which really helps to reduce the chance for damage.
When you open the Pivot, you will find that it is in three pieces: seat, cylinder and base. The assembly is as simple as dropping the cylinder into the base, placing the seat on the cylinder and then sitting on the chair to lock the parts in place. It will only take you a couple minutes for assembly.
The Pivot is made in China and has a low price point but it actually has a good build quality. The seat pan is made from fiberglass reinforced nylon and the cushion is made from EVA foam. The base is also made from fiberglass reinforced nylon and is weighted with concrete. The bottom of the base is covered with Octogrip Overmold grips to help give the base more stability. The piston is constructed of steel. The cylinder functions smoothly with no sticking points or awkward noises.
One area that the Pivot excels in is potability. It weighs 25 pounds and has a built-in handle right under the back of the seat. I found it easy to carry around the office. The footprint is small and the unit can be collapsed down to fit into tight spaces. This makes it easy to place in a corner, a closet or even under your desk.
The seat on the Pivot is made from EVA foam. This is a high-density foam that is soft to the touch. It is easy to clean and provides good support but the sitting experience is quite firm. This is a big change from a normal office chair with thick foam padding. I have a tough time sitting in the chair for longer than a couple hours because of the stiff seat. The seat has a concave, contoured shape. It features a waterfall front edge with a slight forward tilt to make it easier to lean at taller heights.
The forward tilted seat, waterfall edge and wobble base make it possible to sit on top of the seat when at taller heights instead of just perching on the front edge like you do with the aeris GmbH Muvman or Focal Mobis. One thing that could pose a problem is that the seat has a pretty specific shape and it is not very large depth wise. This will limit the amount of people that can sit in the seat comfortably.
Range of Motion
The wobble base design on the Pivot gives it fantastic range of motion. The weighted concrete base will always force the seat to sit upright when not being used or leaned on. But, you can move in any direction you want and as far as you feel comfortable. You are not limited in any direction. The weighted base does not make it difficult to lean. It takes very little effort to move the Pivot. One thing to keep in mind is that the Pivot gives you some of the most freedom, in terms of range of motion, but it also takes more effort from your core to use the chair. A chair like the Muvman is doing a lot of the work to keep you in place. On the Pivot, you are doing most of the work.
Adjusting the Pivot
Seat height adjustment is the only adjustment on the Pivot. The seat height is done with a gas cylinder that is controlled with a lever underneath either side of the seat. Pressing and holding the lever will unlock the cylinder, which will naturally force the seat to raise. To lower the seat, you will need to hold the lever and sit on the seat to use your weight to force the seat height down. Once at your desired height you can release the lever to lock the cylinder in place. The height adjustment range is about 10” but the maximum height is quite tall at 35.5”. This is a good height adjustment range for both short and tall people.
The Pivot follows the same ergonomic principles as the previous standing chairs I have reviewed. The goal is to get you set-up with an open leg angle, somewhere around 135°. This puts you in a position in between sitting and standing. This open leg angle helps to alleviate pressure placed on your hips and lower back compared to sitting with a traditional posture that places your knees and elbows at 90°. The leaning position also has its benefits compared to standing because you are placing less pressure on your feet, ankles and legs. There are some trade-offs to this sitting style though. Not having armrests or a backrest to help you to keep a good posture can make a leaning chair tough to use for long periods.
One of the biggest concerns with wobble chairs is their stability. The nature of the wobble base makes it inherently less stable than a chair that has a base and remains firmly on the floor at all times. A wobble chair opens the possibility to lean too far in a direction to become unbalanced and possibly fall. While this is a concern for some people, I did not see this as a problem while using the Pivot. At no point did I ever feel like I was going to fall. If you have your feet planted on the floor or a footrest, then you can keep the chair stable without a problem.
What Do I Like?
Safco covers the Pivot with one of the best warranties in the industry. The parts are pretty basic on the Pivot and it only has one function but it is nice to know that you will have a working standing chair for at least five years.
Large range of motion
I really like the freedom that the Pivot provides. You are not restricted by the base design, tension adjustments or any other factors. You are free to move as much as you want. One thing that wobble stools allow you to do is tilt backwards. I like to do this every once in a while, just to help stretch my back.
Fits a wide range of people
The Pivot does not have the widest height adjustment range but the range that Focal chose makes it a suitable option for large range of people. Some of the other lower priced products also have 10” adjustment ranges but they start out at a lower height so they are not tall enough for people that are over 6’0”. The Pivot’s range makes it suitable for people that are under 5’0” and over 6’5”.
I really like the portbility that the Pivot provides. This makes it a great option as a secondary chair or as a chair that is used for numerous applications at the same office. The Pivot is a suitable option for an office desk, meeting room, lab and many other applications that require a portable chair.
What Don’t I Like?
Seat may be too stiff
One of my biggest concerns with the Pivot is the seat comfort. The stiff seat and pronounced contour is such a different style from almost every other office chair that it may not be a good fit for everyone.
Wobble base may feel unstable
While I didn’t find the stability to be a problem on the Pivot, I do think there will be people that won’t like how easily the chair moves. For people that view themselves as clumsy or are not confident in their balance abilities, then you may want to look for a chair with a fixed base.
Not a suitable for prolonged hours
The Pivot follows the continuing trend of standing chairs that I cannot use for more than a couple hours at a time. I just do not feel that the chair design is suitable for someone to sit in for prolonged hours at a time. The Pivot is best suited as another tool for you to use with your standing desk and regular office chair.
Poor sitting mobility
The Pivot has a wobble base, which makes it easier to move the chair when sitting in it, compared to other standing chairs with stable bases. But, it still doesn’t move as nicely as a chair with glides or wheels. Not being able to move the chair around while seated makes it more difficult to get into a comfortable typing position right away. It may take a few small adjustments.
The Pivot leaning chair is not perfect but I think you will be hard pressed to find a better value than the Pivot offers for $279.00. The chair will take some time to get used to and I do not think it is suited for long hours but that has been the case for every standing chair I have tested. The same can be said for the stiff seat. The difference between the most comfortable seat I have used and the Pivot is not very big. To get that increase in comfort, you need to get a product like the Sitmatic Pogo or aeris GmbH Swopper, which are more expensive than the Pivot.
The Pivot has a large range of motion, good mobility and has an adjustment range that is wide enough for a large number of people. I think that the Pivot is a nice standing chair that provides really good value. I feel very comfortable recommending the Pivot due to its high functionality and low price point.