Choosing the Right Office Chair

There are many options to consider when choosing an office chair such as style, material, mobility and adjustability. In this guide we will go through the most important points to help you make the best choice.

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  • How to choose an office chair?

    The choice of office chair for the home or workplace can make a big difference to posture and health, especially if it is used for many hours a day. Here are some key criteria to consider:

    • Ergonomics
    • Mobility and adjustability
    • Frame and upholstery material
    • Style
    • Options and trends
  • How should ergonomics affect my choice of office chair?

    HAWORTH Ergonomic Office Chair

    HAWORTH Ergonomic Office Chair

    Ergonomics is key when choosing an office chair because it will have a major impact on health. An office chair that will be used regularly should be adjustable to allow the user to sit in a relaxed position, minimizing strain on the articulations and the back. Recommendations for office desk chairs include:

    • Adjusting the seat height to allow the feet to touch the floor comfortably so that knees are bent, slightly lower than the hips at around 90 degrees.
    • Setting the armrests at the same height as the desk, so that shoulders stay relaxed and the elbows rest open between 90 and 110 degrees.
    • Providing a lumbar support and/or an adjustable seat depth to help prevent slouching.

    If the chair has many adjustable features, make sure that they are easy to use. Check for demonstration videos and other information available from the manufacturer.

  • What does the chair base have to do with my choice?

    The type of base can have a big impact on the style, stability and mobility of the chair. The standard for an ergonomic office chair is a swivel star base on casters, which offers good mobility and stability. Many have a lever operated gas lift so that the height can be easily adjusted. Office chairs used less frequently might not need to be height adjustable or have casters. They might instead have a fixed base configuration such as a central support, sled base or 4 legs. The mobility requirements will depend on how the chair will be used and how often.

     

  • What should I consider in regards to the type of back support and height?

    HAG Office Chair With Backrest

    When sitting for long hours, supporting the lumbar spine curve is very important. Preferably, an office chair should have a lumbar backrest which is height, depth and angle adjustable for a better fit. A few chairs on the market even have the back support split into parts to better support either side of the back.

    Low and mid back rests are better for tasks that require the upper body and arms to stay mobile. Tasks that require sitting forward might not require a back rest. High back rests are more suited to reclining and need to support both the upper and lower back evenly to prevent slouching. Some office chairs even offer adjustable headrests to support the head and neck.

  • Do I need to think about armrests?

    Similar to back support, armrests are meant to offer aid while seated. While working on the computer, our arms are often in a lifted position and require momentary rest throughout the day. For ergonomic office chairs, arm rests should be height adjustable so that they can be set to the same height as the desk to offer continuous arm support. Some are also angle adjustable for extra comfort, or can even be folded up vertically when not in use

  • What are the different materials I should consider?

    The most common frame materials for office chairs are metal, wood and plastic or a combination. The frame material can have a big impact on the weight and style of the office chair. The type of upholstery and materials can change the level of comfort, longevity and ease of maintenance of the chair. While hardback office chairs are easy to maintain, they are less comfortable to use for long periods of time. Most upholstered chairs are foam padded. The density of the foam and the quality of the fabric can make a big difference to the support and tactility.

    TEKNION Mesh office chair

    TEKNION Mesh office chair

    • Fabric office chairs are comfortable and available in a wide range of colors. Favour materials that are resistant to dirt, stains and friction so that they maintain their finish over time.
    • Mesh office chairs are breathable and the level tension of the mesh supports the back, without need for foam padding, making them easier to clean.
    • Leather office chairs offer a great level of comfort and style but require special maintenance and tend to be more expensive.
    • Synthetic leather office chairs are less expensive than real leather ones and are easier to maintain. However they are less breathable. Ensure that the finish is tough enough to withstand regular use: softer finishes may rub off over time.

     

  • What different styles are available?

    TECTA Contemporary Office chair

    TECTA Contemporary Office Chair

    There are a few different styles to take into account when choosing an office chair . The shape of the chair as well as the frame and upholstery material can have a big impact on the overall style of the chair. The majority of office chairs available are contemporary although there are some classic designs on the market. For example, some leather chairs are button tufted for a more classic appearance.  Ergonomic chairs tend to have more constraints with the design due to all the adjustable functions; however, simpler office chairs can be more creative and more attractive.

  • What are some additional options to think about?

    On top of the essential criteria mentioned above, there are a number of options and trends to take into consideration.

    • Many companies are starting to use recycled or more environmentally friendly materials.
    • Manufacturers are increasing their offer of ergonomic chairs with more aesthetic controls.
    • Some chairs even come with options to improve comfort such as heated seating, massaging backrests or integrated footrests.
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