After reviewing so many standing chairs, there have been a few models that have stood out from the crowd. One of them is the Back App 2.0. The original Back App first hit the market in 2007 and an updated version was released in 2014 as the Back App 2.0. The Back App 2.0 features a movement system that is not seen on any other standing chair. It also features a large saddle seat with thick padding, which is not common on standing chairs. While the Back App 2.0 has some attractive features, it may not be the right fit for everyone. This review will cover all aspects of the Back App 2.0. I will make sure to highlight what I liked about the chair and what I am not a fan of. In the end, I want you to be able to easily decide if the Back App 2.0 will be a good chair for your situation.
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Back App 2.0 Review Snapshot
- Increases movement while working
- Adjustable range of motion
- Good build quality
- Strong warranty
- Large seat with thick padding
- Good portability
- Saddle seat is not for everyone
- Limited height adjustment range
- There is an adjustment period
- May not be suitable for prolonged hours
Dr. Freddy Johnsen had suffered from overwhelming back pain and underwent two unsuccessful back surgeries. After the surgeries, he decided to try an alternative method. With his background as a scientist and inventor, he took on the challenge of creating a new style of chair that would help to alleviate the pain he had experienced for so long. He created the first version of the Back App, and in 2007, Back App Europe AB was formed.
Back App Europe AB is based in Anderstorp, Sweden. The company focuses on providing top quality products, with high functionality and are made of environmentally friendly materials. Back App also operates as Back App AS out of Auli, Norway.
Back App 2.0 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
Seat Size: 18.5”W x 14”D
Seat Height Range: 24” – 32.5”
Base Dimensions: 24” Diameter
Weight Capacity: 242.50 lbs.
Chair Weight: 19 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 25 lbs.
Shipping Box Dimensions: 18.5” x 10.25” x 16”
Increases movement while sitting
Pneumatic seat height adjustment
A ball is molded on a tube that is used to control the tilt of the chair
A tilt indicator with green and red color is integrated with the tube
Thick padded seat with a saddle shape
Rubber ring under base to help the movement
360° swivel seat
Optional wheel base
2019 Price – $596.00
The frame is available in a silver grey, black grey or a polished finish. The seat is available in black, brown, blue or red. You can also choose between a black or red adjustment ball.
You can return the Back App 2.0 within the first 30 days. The item must be returned in the original packaging and in like new condition. You will be responsible for a 20% restocking fee and the return shipping charges.
The Back App 2.0 comes with a five-year warranty and there are no excluded components. Five years of coverage puts the Back App 2.0 up there with other high-end brands, like aeris and Focal.
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Your Back App 2.0 will ship within a couple days of placing your order. It ships via ground carrier and will arrive within a few days of shipment. The item arrives in a medium sized box that weighs 25 lbs. It was easy for me to carry on my own. The packaging is comprised of cardboard inside the box that is designed to keep the parts held separately in place. There was no foam or padding to protect the parts. The first chair was handled very roughly and arrived with a cracked base. The second chair arrived in perfect condition with the same packaging. Damage is not uncommon when shipping with FedEx or UPS ground but I have to wonder if the first chair would have been damaged if it was protected with Styrofoam around the parts.
There is very little assembly required to get the Back App 2.0 ready for use. The base, cylinder, and seat arrive separately so you just need to put them together. To assemble you’ll need to lay the base flat on the floor and drop the cylinder into the base. Next, place the seat on top of the cylinder and the chair is ready to go. Finally, sit on the seat and test the seat height adjustment, with the lever under the seat, to make sure everything is working correctly.
The Back App 2.0 is made up of high-end materials that are sourced from Scandinavia. The base of the chair is made from 99% recycled die-cast aluminum. They actually use about 300 Coca-Cola cans to make each base. The base has a powder coated paint finish that is even throughout and does not have any imperfections. There is an extruded rubber material, called Nitrile, underneath the base. The rubber material is durable and flexible. The rubber ring provides a damping material to assist with the motion of the chair. The cylinder is made by Stabilus GmbH, out of Germany, who is known for producing high-quality products. It operates smoothly, quietly and does not have an excessive amount of lubrication. The seat pan is made from plastic and the seat features thick padding that does not bottom out when you sit on it.
Back App has put their product through a lot of testing processes to verify the quality of components they have used. The Back App 2.0 passed ANSI/BIFMA testing standards by an independent, certified laboratory in Germany. The Back App 2.0 has also passed strict environmental testing standards in accordance with ISO 14025. The testing was performed by The Norwegian EPD foundation and the certification is valid through 6/1/2021. The referenced service life for the Back App 2.0 is 15 years.
The Back App 2.0 weighs less than 20 pounds and features a minimalistic design. It does not have a built-in handle like a lot of standing chairs but it is still easy to move around your office. There is also the option to add a wheelbase. The wheelbase is a separate part that lets you place the Back App 2.0 on top of it. This will give you more mobility while sitting in the chair and also lets you roll the chair around your office instead of having to carry the chair. One thing to keep in mind with the wheelbase is that you will not be able to extend the ball to increase the range of motion when using it.
The seat on the Back App 2.0 has a moderately sloping saddle shape with a collar around the back. The size of the seat is among the largest I have seen on a standing chair. It is about as wide as a standard office chair. The seat has thick padding and it is not firm like many other standing chairs. It provides comfortable support for all parts of the seat. The collar is as high as 3” above the flat part of the seat. The collar helps to hold you in the seat but you can also sit on it. Sitting on the collar makes the seat feel larger and more padded. I found it more difficult to stay moving while sitting on the collar compared to sitting on the seat normally.
There are a few different upholstery options for the Back App 2.0. The first is a Nordic Wool option that features a wool blend. The second option is called Alcantara upholstery, which is a synthetic suede. The model that I tested featured the Black Alcantara upholstery. The material is soft to the touch and featured nice stitching throughout. It certainly helped to add to the comfort of the seat. The final upholstery option is a synthetic leather. The synthetic leather is the best upholstery for cleaning.
Range of Motion
The movement system on the Back App 2.0 is very unique. There is a ball attached to the end of the piston that can be extended to be lower than the base. This allows you to sit on top of the ball, which causes the base to rock, wobble, etc. Since the ball is under the center of the seat, you can move in any direction you’d like. There are colored bars near the ball so that you can see what adjustment level you are currently using. At the lowest setting, the ball does not make contact with the ground. There is still a small range of motion because of the rubber ring around the bottom of the base. At the highest setting, the Back App 2.0 has a very large range of motion. The highest setting will really test your balance and engage your core.
Adjusting the Back App 2.0
There are two different adjustments on the Back App 2.0. The first is seat height adjustment. There is a lever underneath the seat. Holding down the lever will unlock the pneumatic cylinder, which will allow you to raise or lower the seat. The pneumatic lift will automatically raise the seat if there is no weight on it. You can raise the seat height by holding the lever and standing up from the seat. To lower the seat, you will want to hold the lever and sit on the seat to use your weight to push it down.
The second adjustment is the ball that controls the range of motion. Turning the ball will extend it out further or bring it in closer. When the ball is closer, the range of motion is smaller. When the ball is fully extended, the range of motion is at its max.
Like most standing chairs, the Back App 2.0 takes an unconventional approach to ergonomics. The Back App 2.0 does not have armrests, a backrest or a traditional flat seat. Your knees, hips, and elbows are not meant to be at 90° angles while using the BackApp 2.0. Instead, the seat is saddle shaped and designed to support the pelvis from the front and the box with an open hip angle. The philosophy behind the Back App 2.0 revolves around a concept called the “balance motor”. The muscle activity used to move slightly to keep your body in balance is the balance motor. Unlike most standing chairs that have your feet flat on the floor, the Back App 2.0 is designed so that your feet are resting on the base. By placing your feet on the chair itself, you are forced to balance while sitting.
Back App has conducted a few different field studies to test the Back App 2.0 vs a standard office chair. One of them was conducted in 2017 in Finland. The study tested 70 people over a 6-month period. The final results showed that 44% of people experienced reduced headaches, 38% of people experienced reduced shoulder & neck pain and 50% experienced reduced back pain.
I found the Back App 2.0 to be stable at all heights. The base is wider than the seat and it sits firmly on the floor. This gives you a nice anchor point to build from. Being able to sit on top of the seat feels more stable to me than a lot of the leaning chairs that only allow you to rest up against a small portion of the seat. Increasing the range of motion will make the chair feel less stable because you are able to tilt more but I still did not feel like it was going to tip or that I was going to fall out of the seat.
What Do I Like?
Increases movement while working
The biggest attraction to the Back App 2.0 is the movement that it incorporates into your work day. Being more active helps to increase energy levels, burn more calories and for some people, it can help to reduce pain and soreness experienced from a standard office chair.
Adjustable range of motion
One thing that really separates the Back App 2.0 from a lot of other standing chairs is the adjustable range of motion. Being able to control how much the chair moves makes the Back App 2.0 a suitable choice for a wider range of people because different people want different levels of motion. I also like that you can start out at a small amount of motion and then work your way up to higher levels of motion at your own pace.
Good build quality
The Back App 2.0 has a good build quality. It is comprised of high-quality parts throughout the unit. This is verified by numerous industry testing standards, which is something that many standing chairs do not submit to. The chair is also eco-friendly and almost entirely recyclable at the end of the product’s life cycle.
The high-quality parts are backed by a five-year warranty. Having five years of guaranteed use from your chair helps to justify the higher price point and also gives you peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to replace your chair for several years.
Large seat with thick padding
The seat on the Back App 2.0 is one of my favorite aspects of the chair. It is not small and firm like the majority of the other standing chairs I have used. It is about the same size as a standard office chair and it also has thick padding. This is one of the only seats I have used on a standing chair that was comfortable for more than an hour or two at a time.
What Don’t I Like?
Saddle seat is not for everyone
I like the saddle seat but not everyone will. Our office is split about 50/50 on saddle seats. The saddle seat on the Back App 2.0 is not nearly as pronounced as a lot of other chairs but it is a noticeably different feeling to sit on compared to a standard office chair.
Limited height adjustment range
The height adjustment range on the Back App 2.0 is smaller than most of the other standing chairs I have tested. It has one of the tallest minimum heights while also having one of the shortest maximum heights. Due to the style of sitting, the Back App 2.0 should still adjust high enough for most people. You cannot use the chair with standard height desks and instead will need to have an adjustable height desk.
There is an adjustment period
Every standing chair I have tested so far has taken some time to get used to and this is also true for the Back App 2.0. Using different muscles and sitting in a different posture can produce soreness and fatigue. The adjustable range of motion on the Back App 2.0 helps to reduce the problems associated with changing your sitting posture.
May not be suitable for prolonged hours
The Back App 2.0 is the first standing chair I have tested that has still been comfortable after 3-4 hours of use at a time. With that being said, I have not gotten to a point where I can use the chair for a full day. While there are many people that can use the Back App 2.0 comfortably for a full day, there are others that feel the same way as I do. Reading through the numerous test reports on the Back App 2.0 showed that the motion produces a higher energy expenditure than a normal chair. There were also reports that users were less comfortable while using the Back App 2.0 compared to a normal office chair.
The Back App 2.0 is certainly a unique chair but it will not be the right choice for everyone. The saddle seat is a very specific shape and the limited height adjustment range will be a problem for people with standard height desks. The adjustment period can be tough and you may find that the Back App 2.0 is not comfortable for prolonged hours, even after your body adjusts to the new sitting posture.
Even with these downsides, the Back App 2.0 is right there with the Swopper by aeris BmbH as one of my favorite active chairs. The build quality is solid and the chair comes with a good warranty. I am a big fan of the adjustable range of motion and the thick padded seat. These factors made it much easier to use the chair for longer than two hours at a time, which is something I struggled with when using almost every other standing chair I have tested. The price point may not be something that everyone can afford but I do think that the quality of components and unique features justify the higher price point. I hope this review has covered any questions you may have with the Back App 2.0 and helps you to narrow down your standing chair selection process.