Are you experiencing back pain or discomfort while sitting at your desk? Choosing the wrong office chair can have serious health consequences, including poor posture and chronic pain. On the other hand, selecting the right chair can improve your comfort and productivity while reducing your risk of injury. In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting a desk chair that supports your health and well-being.
Key Factors to Consider Shopping For Ergonomic Office Chairs
There are several essential factors to consider when buying an office chair.
Some of these include:
What human factors and ergonomic features does an office chair offer?
An ergonomic chair is designed to provide support and comfort while sitting for long periods of time. The purpose of an ergonomic chair is to promote good posture and reduce strain on your back, neck, and shoulders.
Ergonomic chairs typically have several adjustable features that allow you to customize the fit of the chair to your body. These features may include adjustable lumbar support, armrest, seat height and depth, and backrest tilt.
By providing proper support and promoting good posture, an ergonomic chair can help reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also improve your overall comfort and productivity while working.
According to a reference guide by Environmental Health and Safety at Oregon State University, maintaining the neutral or standing shape of the lumbar or lower spinal area is important for comfort and posture. Chairs can give appropriate and correct support. This seated lumbar support will help the spine maintain an S-shaped curve similar to the spine’s shape when standing.
Here are a few essential features to look for in an ergonomic chair:
Adequate Lumbar Support – According to Mayo Clinic, it is important to choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Lumbar support helps promote good posture by filling in the gap between the lumbar spine and the seat, supporting the natural inward curve of the lower back. Without lumbar back support, it’s more difficult to maintain correct posture and the lumbar spine and large muscles in the lower back have to work harder2
Adjustable Backrest – An adjustable backrest is important in an ergonomic office chair because it permits users to align the curve in the chair with the curve in their spine for optimal support. Ergonomic chairs support the natural ‘S’ shape of the spine, which prevents slumping and reduces stress on the spine and pelvis
Seat Height Adjustment – Seat height adjustment allows for the optimization of the vertical positioning of the user in relation to their work surface. Proper height adjustment facilitates a posture in which the feet are fully supported on the floor or footrest, with thighs parallel to the ground. This position promotes even weight distribution and reduces strain on the lower extremities and lumbar region. Additionally, correct height enables optimal upper body alignment with tools such as computer monitors and keyboards, reducing strain on the neck, shoulders, and arms.
Correct Seat Width – A seat that is too narrow can cause discomfort and restrict movement, while a seat that is too wide can make it difficult to rest your arms comfortably on armrests. According to Cornell University, a seat width of around 20-22 inches can accommodate clothed persons
Adjustable Seat Depth – Adjustable depth allows for customization of the distance between the front edge of the seat and the backrest, providing optimal support for the user’s back and thighs. When properly adjusted, depth can help distribute body weight evenly across the seat, reducing pressure on the ischial tuberosities (the points where your pelvis contacts the seat) and knee joints. Additionally, proper depth adjustment permits access to support from the chair back without cutting off circulation at the knees
Breathable Seat Surface (Breathability) – A breathable seat surface provides cooling and breathability for maximum comfort throughout your workday. A double-layered mesh backrest can offer durable and breathable support. According to CDC, “The goal of ergonomics (i.e. the scientific study of people at work) is to prevent soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by sudden or sustained exposure to force, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture”. A breathable seat surface can help achieve this goal by providing a comfortable seating experience.
Adjustable Armrests – Adjustable armrests deliver support for your arms and hands, which together comprise around 12% of your total body’s mass. Armrests can help reduce strain on your shoulders and neck by providing a place to rest your arms while working. An armrest should be positioned at a height that encourages neutral forearm and wrist position, usually protruding 4-8″ above the seat. It should allow you to bend your elbow at 90 degrees and rest the forearm to be level with your desk.
Ergonomic chairs often have multiple points of adjustment, including 3D armrests, which allow you to customize the ergonomic chair to fit your body and provide maximum comfort.
Headrest for Neck Support – Sitting for long periods of time can cause pain in the back, head, neck, etc., and a headrest can help prevent pain by supporting your shoulders and other parts of your back to maintain a natural posture. Ergonomic chairs with headrests prevent neck and shoulder pain caused by letting your head drift in front of your shoulders.
Sitting pressure distribution – A study investigated the effects of sitting posture, body mass index (BMI), gender, and types of home office chairs (adjustable and non-adjustable) on sitting pressure distribution. The study found that pressure distribution is a popular objective measurement for sitting comfort.
Footrest – Studies have shown that sitting with unsupported feet can increase spinal compression in the lower back area. Therefore, using a footrest has been advocated in office settings when computer users’ feet cannot rest flat on the floor
Do you need an adjustable-height office chair?
Your chair should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground and your thighs are parallel to the floor. This will help promote good posture and reduce strain on your back and legs.
Here are some recommendations for office chair height based on typical desk heights:
- For a standard desk height of 29-30 inches: The seat height of your chair should be between 16-21 inches.
- For a higher desk height of 35-39 inches: The seat height of your chair should be between 23-28 inches.
- For a lower desk height of 22-23 inches: The seat height of your chair should be between 12-15 inches.
Keep in mind that these are general recommendations and the proper height for your chair may vary depending on your individual needs and preferences.
Is the office chair offers lumbar support?
Office Chairs lumbar support helps maintain the natural curve of the lower spine while sitting. Without proper support, you may be more likely to slouch or lean forward, which can put a strain on your lower back and lead to discomfort or pain over time.
Lumbar support is particularly critical for people who sit for long periods while working. It can also be beneficial for people with per-existing back conditions or those who are prone to back pain. However, everyone can benefit from proper support from the office chair.
Here are some specific recommendations:
- Look for a chair with adjustable lumbar support: This allows you to customize the level of support to fit your body and needs.
- Choose a chair with a contoured backrest: A contoured backrest can provide additional support to the natural curve of your spine.
- Consider a chair with a tilt mechanism: This allows you to adjust the angle of the backrest relative to the seat, providing additional support and comfort.
What features should a good office chair have?
Here are some common features a good office chair should have:
- Backrest Height Adjustment: – adjustable backrest height to fit the user’s height and provide support for the entire spine. Studies have shown that an adjustable backrest can help reduce the risk of musculoskeletal diseases.
- Back Angle Adjustment: adjustable back angle to allow for different sitting positions and postures. An adjustable back angle can help reduce pressure on the lower back and prevent discomfort.
- Back Tilt Tension Adjustment: adjustable back tilt tension to allow for customized support and comfort. This feature can help reduce strain on the lower back and prevent discomfort.
- Lumbar Support: proper spine support to maintain the natural curvature of the spine and prevent lower back pain.
- Armrests: adjustable armrests to allow for proper support and comfort during long hours of sitting. The armrests should be positioned below thigh height to prevent shoulder and neck strain.
- Stable Wheel Base: stable wheelbase to prevent tipping and provide stability during movement. This feature can prevent accidents and promote safety in the workplace.
- Quality casters: quality casters are essential for easy movement and stability of the chair on different surfaces.
- Headrests: headrests provide adequate support for the neck and head and prevent musculoskeletal conditions in the upper back and neck regions.
- Seat height adjustment: seat height adjustment is critical for proper alignment of the thighs and lower legs with the floor, thereby improving blood flow and reducing the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.
- Seat pan depth adjustment: seat pan depth adjustment allows users to adjust the length of the seat, which reduces pressure on the thighs and buttocks, providing comfort and improving circulation.
How much does an office chair cost ( Price )?
The cost of office chairs can vary depending on factors such as materials, style, functionality, and design. On average, an office chair price is around $200, but they can range anywhere from around $50 to over $2,000. Make sure you have a specific budget in mind before making a purchasing decision.
How comfortable is your office chair?
A comfortable office chair will help you maintain a neutral posture, which means sitting with your feet flat on the floor, your knees slightly higher than your hips, and your hips, shoulders, and ears all lined up with each other.
Here are some specific recommendations for choosing a comfortable office chair:
- Look for a chair with adjustable lumbar support: This will help support the natural curve of your lower spine while sitting
- Choose a chair with adjustable armrests: This will allow you to rest your arms comfortably while working
- Consider a chair with a reclining backrest: This can help reduce strain on your back by allowing you to change positions throughout the day
It’s important to try out different chairs and adjust their features until you find a comfortable and supportive position. Remember that everyone’s needs are different when it comes to comfort in a chair.
What is the best material and padding for an office chair?
The following materials have been extensively studied and shown to be effective in providing a comfortable and supportive sitting experience:
Foam Padding – Polyurethane foam is a popular choice for padding due to its softness, durability, and shock-absorbing properties. Studies have shown that foam padding can help distribute pressure more evenly across the body and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
Mesh Fabric – Mesh fabric upholstery is a highly breathable material that allows for better air circulation and helps keep the body cool during prolonged sitting. A study by Karakaya and colleagues (2016) found that office chairs with mesh backs were more effective in reducing back and shoulder discomfort compared to chairs with foam backs.
Leather – Leather upholstery is a durable and comfortable material that provides a classic and professional look to office chairs. A study by Vos et al. (2014) found that participants rated leather chairs higher in comfort and overall satisfaction compared to chairs made of synthetic materials.
Polyester – Polyester is a synthetic material commonly used in office chairs due to its durability, easy maintenance, and affordability. A study by Dianat et al. (2015) found that chairs with polyester fabric covers were effective in reducing the risk of developing musculoskeletal symptoms in office workers.
Steel – Steel is a strong and durable material commonly used in the frame of office chairs. A study by Gallo and colleagues (2019) found that chairs with steel frames were more stable and had lower vibration levels compared to chairs made of plastic.
Is an office chair offers mobility features such as a swivel?
The following mobility features have been extensively studied and shown to be effective in promoting mobility in office chairs:
Casters – Casters are small wheels attached to the bottom of the ergonomic chair that allows for easy movement and mobility around the workspace. Studies have shown that chairs with larger casters are more effective in reducing pushing forces and improving maneuverability. Some chairs suggest a preference between hard floor casters, for use on wood, tile, or laminate floor, and carpet casters.
Swivel Base – The swivel base allows the chair to rotate 360 degrees, providing easy access to different areas of the workspace. A study by Kwon and colleagues (2019) found that chairs with swivel bases were effective in reducing trunk and shoulder muscle activity during computer tasks.
Tilt Mechanism – The tilt mechanism allows the seat and backrest to move independently, promoting natural movement and reducing pressure on the lower back. A study by Lee and colleagues (2020) found that ergonomic office chairs with adjustable tilt angles were effective in reducing discomfort and improving trunk movement.
Armrests – Armrests provide support for the arms and shoulders, promoting proper posture and reducing upper body muscle tension. A study by Ediger and colleagues (2007) found that chairs with adjustable armrests were effective in reducing shoulder and neck pain.
What size of office chair do you need?
The size of an office chair that you need depends on your body dimensions and personal preferences. Most of the desk chairs fall within the following office chair measurements: Height of chair: 16 to 20 inches; Width of a chair: 19 to 21 inches; Depth of chair: 15 to 19 inches.
It’s important to choose a chair that supports your spinal curves and allows you to adjust the height so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. You should also be able to adjust armrests so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed
Most chairs fall within these measurements: Height of chair: 16 to 20 inches; Width of a chair: 19 to 21 inches; Depth of chair: 15 to 19 inches. The overall size of an average chair varies based on the height of the backrest and whether or not the desk chair has a neck rest; an office chair may range between 31 to 40 inches depending on the size of the chair from the floor to the top of the chair
There are three main sizes of office chairs:
Petite office chairs – for users with a smaller stature (read best Office Chair for Short People article)
Standard office chairs – for an average size adult that has a general weight of 250 pounds
Big office chairs – for individuals who have a larger stature and height
What type of office chair do you need?
The type of office chair that someone needs will depend on their individual needs and the type of work they do.
Here is the list of desk chair types:
- Task Chair: A task chair is for individuals who spend long hours sitting at a desk, performing tasks that require precise movements, such as typing, writing, or using a computer. These chairs are usually adjustable and have features such as spine support, adjustable arms, and a tilt mechanism to ensure comfort and proper posture. Studies have shown that using an ergonomic task chair can significantly reduce the risk of musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain.
- Drafting Chair: A drafting chair is similar to a task chair, but it is for individuals who work at higher workstations such as architects, designers, and artists. These chairs are more elevated than task chairs and feature a footrest and adjustable height to provide suitable support and comfort.
- Executive Big and Tall: An executive chair is created for someone in a position of authority, such as a CEO or supervisor. The executive chair is often larger than other chairs and may have features such as padded armrests and a headrest. The big and tall executive chairs are designed for larger individuals, with a higher weight capacity and wider seats.
- Conference Chair: A conference chair is developed for use in meeting rooms or conference rooms. These chairs are often stackable and have a slim design to save space. They may also have features such as armrests and a tilt mechanism for comfort during long meetings.
- Guest Chair: A guest chair is invented or used in reception areas or as a visitor chair in offices. These chairs are often smaller than other chairs and do not have as many features, but they are still designed for comfort and support.
- High Back Chair: A high-back chair is for people who need more support for their back and neck. These chairs have a taller backrest and may have a headrest. The high-back chair is often used by people with back problems or those who spend long hours sitting.
What chair Mechanisms are available in a good office chair?
Multifunction mechanism – multifunction mechanism provides users with ergonomic adjustments, such as seat height, tilt tension, and backrest angle, to optimize the sitting position for maximum comfort and productivity.
A synchro-tilt mechanism: a synchro-tilt mechanism makes the seat and backrest tilt simultaneously, maintaining a constant angle between the thighs and torso, promoting good posture, and reducing lower back strain.
Dynamic mechanism: dynamic mechanism allow for movement and flexibility, encouraging users to shift positions and engage core muscles, reducing the risk of prolonged static postures associated with poor circulation and fatigue.
Knee-tilt mechanism: knee-tilt mechanism permits a natural reclining motion by pivoting at the knee joint, reducing pressure on the lumbar region and facilitating better blood flow to the lower leg.
What are the popular desk chair brands to consider?
There are several popular desk chair brands to consider:
Herman Miller is a leading brand that offers innovative chair designs with modifiable lumbar support, multi-dimensional armrests, and breathable mesh materials that promote optimal blood flow and reduce discomfort.
Steelcase is another well-known brand that provides a range of chairs, such as the Gesture and the Leap models, which incorporate advanced technology for improved posture, circulation, and reduced back pain.
Knoll is a brand that specializes in high-end office furniture, offering modern office chairs with a sleek design that combines form and function, providing users with optimal comfort and support.
HON is a brand that focuses on affordable and practical solutions for the workplace, providing chairs with intuitive adjustments, breathable mesh backs, and a wide range of customizable features to suit different user needs.
Is an office chair provide a tilt lock mechanism?
The tilt lock mechanism allows the user to sit in an upright position while providing a comfortable reclining or rocking motion during meetings, phone calls, and various task activities.
There are several types of tilt mechanisms available. One common type is the synchro-tilt function which allows the backrest to tilt at twice the speed of the seat cushion or at a ratio of 2 to 1. This allows you to tilt while keeping your feet on the floor instead of having a traditional “rocking chair” type recline2.
What is a good weight for a desk chair?
The weight of an office chair can vary depending on factors such as materials used, design, and size. On average, a standard desk chair weighs anywhere from 16 to 30 pounds.
However, it is important to note that weight capacity is different from office chair weight.
Weight capacity refers to the maximum amount of weight that an object can hold.
On average, most ergonomic office chairs tend to have a weight capacity of about 250 pounds. However, this can vary significantly depending on the chair.
|Chair Type||Weight Capacity Recommendation|
|Task Chairs||200-350 lbs|
|Executive Chairs||250-400 lbs|
|Big and Tall Chairs||350-500 lbs|
|Mesh Chairs||200-300 lbs|
|Guest Chairs||200-250 lbs|
AESTHETICS Considerations for Office Chairs
While the primary consideration for office chairs should be ergonomic design and functionality, aesthetics can also play a role in creating a comfortable and inviting workspace.
Here are some aesthetic considerations to keep in mind when choosing a desk chair:
Color: choose a color that complements the office decor and reflects the company’s branding. Neutral colors such as black, white, and gray are timeless and versatile, while bold colors such as red or blue can add a pop of personality to the workspace.
Material: the material of the chair can affect both the look and feel of the chair. Leather chairs offer a classic, luxurious look, while mesh chairs have a modern, sleek appearance. Fabric chairs can add warmth and texture to a space.
Design: the design of the chair should not only be functional but also visually appealing. A chair with clean lines and a minimalist design can provide a modern look, while a chair with a more traditional design can add a touch of elegance and sophistication.
How much space do you have in your office?
When an office chair is based on the space you have in your office, it’s important to consider the accurate size and dimensions of the chair. You’ll want to make sure that the chair fits comfortably in your workspace and allows for enough room to move around.
Start by measuring the available space in your office where you plan to place the chair. Take into account any other furniture or equipment that may be in the area. Once you have these measurements, you can compare them to the dimensions of different office chairs to find one that will fit well in your space.
For example, if you have a small workspace with limited room for a large chair, you may want to look for a compact chair with a smaller footprint. Also, having a standing desk may influence your decision as well. A petite desk chair typically has a seat width of 19 inches or less and a seat depth of 15 inches or less. On the other hand, if you have more space available, you may want to consider a larger chair with more room for adjustments and features.
What is the best type of office chair for your spinal posture?
The best type of office chair for spinal posture is an ergonomic chair that promotes a neutral spine position, supporting the natural curvature of the spine. A chair that provides support, adjustable height of the seat, and a seat depth that accommodates the length of the user’s thighs can help promote good posture and reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders.
Different types of chairs may be best for different spinal conditions. For example, a saddle chair, which positions the user’s hips in a forward tilt and separates the thighs to create a more natural and stable spinal posture, can be helpful for individuals with lower back pain. This type of chair can also benefit those with hip pain, as it reduces pressure on the hip joints and facilitates proper hip alignment.
However, it’s essential to note that a saddle chair may not be suitable for everyone and should be chosen based on individual needs and preferences. Other types of chairs, such as kneeling chairs or balance ball chairs, may be more appropriate for some individuals based on their specific spinal conditions and work requirements.
In conclusion, when buying a good office chair it’s important to consider factors such as ergonomics, adjustability, size, and design. Look for a chair that offers good support and has adjustable features such as armrests and seat height to ensure a comfortable and supportive fit. Consider the size of your workspace and choose a chair that fits well in your space. Take into account the style and design of the chair to ensure it complements your office decor. By following these tips and using our comprehensive buying guides, you’ll be able to find the perfect office chair.
How Much Difference Does a Good Office Chair Make?
A good office chair can make a substantial and scientifically proven difference in terms of comfort, health, and productivity for individuals who spend extended periods seated at a desk.
Ergonomic Support: A well-designed office chair provides proper ergonomic support by aligning the spine, and reducing strain on the neck, shoulders, and lower back. This support minimizes the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders and discomfort.
Posture Improvement: Good chairs encourage better posture by offering features like lumbar support and adjustable armrests. Maintaining correct posture enhances blood circulation, reduces fatigue, and prevents the development of poor postural habits.
Comfort and Productivity: Comfortable seating positively influences productivity. When you’re not distracted by discomfort or pain, you can focus better on tasks, resulting in increased efficiency and concentration.
Health Benefits: A high-quality chair can have significant health benefits. It reduces the risk of conditions such as back pain, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, proper lumbar support can prevent herniated discs and reduce the pressure on spinal discs.
Long-Term Impact: Investing in a good chair is an investment in your long-term health. It can help prevent chronic health issues that may arise from poor seating habits. Scientific studies have shown that ergonomic chairs can reduce the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Mental Well-being: Physical comfort and support provided by a good chair can contribute to better mental well-being. Reduced discomfort and pain can lead to higher job satisfaction and overall contentment.
In conclusion, a good office chair can significantly impact your physical health, mental well-being, and productivity. Scientific evidence supports the positive effects of ergonomic chairs on posture, comfort, and the prevention of health issues associated with prolonged sitting. Investing in a quality chair is a wise decision for anyone who spends a considerable amount of time working at a desk, as it can lead to a healthier, more comfortable, and more productive work environment.