“Article about office chairs. Couldn’t you come up with a more banal topic?”
Yes, we get it. Talking about office chairs may not seem like the most exciting thing in the world.
But, have you ever thought about how much time you actually spend sitting in your chair? If you’re one of the many people with a desk job, we guarantee you’ll be surprised. This includes programmers, designers, copywriters, digital marketers, accountants, and more.
No matter how different the professions listed above may be, they all share one thing in common – the endless hours spent sitting in a chair.
If the average working week is 8 hours a day and you spend about 6.4 hours of those sitting, that means you’re spending about 1900 hours sitting in a year. That’s a lot of sitting, right?
So, doesn’t it make you think that maybe you should pay more attention to the seemingly trivial process of sitting?
We’re now in 2022, and more and more people are moving towards occupations that involve prolonged sitting. The so-called desk professions are here to stay – proof of this is the upward development of the IT sector, the general march towards automation, the popularity of communication technologies, and so on.
As a result, people are paying more attention to not only their work, but also the way they work. They’re realizing that physical and mental health should not be neglected at the expense of another project.
Therefore, the modern professional’s office chair must be ergonomic, comfortable, and crafted to the highest standards.
It has been proven that a quality office chair leads to increased productivity, motivation in the workplace, and alleviates the physiological problems associated with poorly made chairs.
So, it’s time to start thinking about investing in an office chair as an investment in your health, comfort, and efficiency.
Our article will help guide you towards choosing the best office chair for your needs.
Let’s dive into the topic and get started on sitting smart!
How many types of office chairs are there?
Ergonomic office chair
When you think of modern office equipment, what comes to mind? Ergonomic office chairs, of course! And for good reason – they provide unparalleled comfort and a plethora of customizable options.
These chairs are ideal for busy professionals who work on intensive tasks for over 8 hours a day. With high standards in mind, manufacturers ensure these chairs meet all the criteria of the modern work environment.
Expect maximum ergonomic design, porous and breathable upholstery, and a backrest that supports your spine. Plus, options for customizing the chair’s size, a retractable footrest, and more.
If you want a comfortable work experience and the ability to switch positions throughout the day, look no further than the ergonomic office chair.
We’re about to rock your world with a controversial statement: “Computer chair,” “Ergonomic chair”…What’s the difference, really?
Hold on, hear us out.
When we say “computer chair,” we’re talking about the standard-issue office chairs that you’ve probably seen in countless workplaces. They’re functional chairs that typically slide easily under your desk, and often have a few basic ergonomic features built in.
Computer chairs come in countless shapes, sizes, and designs, with backrests, seats, and legs of every possible variation. And while they’re not the best choice for extended sitting periods (unlike ergonomic chairs), they still usually offer basic ergonomic adjustments like height, width, and length.
If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a top-of-the-line ergonomic chair, but still need a chair with some basic ergonomics built in, a computer chair is a solid choice.
These chairs are also a great option for larger workspaces with higher traffic and where ergonomic demands aren’t as high. They’re a decent choice for professionals who sit for shorter periods throughout the day.
Officeland is getting down and dirty by bringing up drafting chairs, huh? But hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it!
Drafting chairs differ from others in that they are slightly taller than standard computer and office chairs. You have seen this kind of chair in many places. The better models are distinguished by the aluminum rings that are located in the middle of the cylinder – their purpose is to change the position of the legs.
Drafting chairs are inferior in terms of comfort and ergonomics to either of the other two types that we discussed above. They are especially suitable for working on higher desks, drawing tables, countertops, and other surfaces that are located at a great height.
One of the advantages of drafting chairs is that they make it easier to change your posture from standing to sitting and vice versa.
However, the fact that these chairs are not as comfortable and do not offer as many options for changing the position of the backrest does not mean that sitting in them is torture. A good drafting chair is comfortable, has a soft back, and stable armrests.
In terms of design and appearance, don’t expect too much from drafting chairs. They are usually relatively minimalistic and simple in appearance. They are not a piece of furniture that will elicit astonished exclamations and looks of admiration.
Despite this, a drafting chair is a functional appliance that can work for you as long as you choose the right product for your needs.
When it comes to office chairs, we can’t forget about the armchair-type. While the name may not sound as exciting as other types, these chairs are still worth discussing.
You’ve probably seen them before – they’re the chairs that prioritize design over functionality. But that doesn’t mean they’re not comfortable. In fact, quality armchair-type chairs are known for their deep and dense backrests, fine upholstery, and overall softness.
However, unlike ergonomic and computer chairs, armchair-type chairs don’t offer a lot of customization options. They’re best suited for casual reading or short periods of sitting.
If you need a chair for intensive and prolonged desk work where you need to change your posture, move freely, and protect your body from excessive sitting, then an armchair-type chair might not be the best choice. But if you want to add a touch of style and comfort to your workspace, then a quality armchair-type chair is definitely worth considering.
Luxurious office chairs
Luxury chairs are the epitome of comfort and convenience, designed for those at the top of the corporate ladder. These chairs are an upgrade from traditional armchairs and come with a host of positive and negative aspects.
The good news is that these chairs are designed with classy aesthetics in mind. You can expect premium quality natural leather upholstery, padded memory foam, a spacious backrest, and massive armrests. Luxury chair manufacturers do not skimp on materials and opt for solid aluminum complimented by stylish decorations such as fine wood.
However, with luxury comes a hefty price tag. These chairs can be quite expensive, making it challenging to fit out large office spaces or for those on a limited budget. Additionally, these chairs are bulky and heavy, making transportation and positioning difficult.
But let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to sit like royalty? So, if you’re looking for maximum comfort, luxury chairs are the way to go. Just make sure your budget can handle the royal price tag and prepare yourself for some heavy lifting.
If you’re skeptically raising your eyebrows at the title of this article, let’s be clear that gaming is no longer just a “kids’ hobby.” The gaming industry has evolved into a global phenomenon, with the market estimated to be worth around 173.7 billion dollars in 2020. Yes, you read that correctly – billion with a “B”.
Given the popularity and growth of the gaming industry, it’s only natural that gaming chairs have emerged as a distinct category in their own right.
These chairs are specifically designed to accommodate long hours of gaming, whether by professional or amateur gamers.
When you look at the most prominent gaming chairs, you’ll immediately notice several aspects that set them apart from other chairs we’ve discussed so far.
Some of these features include a more daring and eye-catching design, high backrests with fixed headrests, and various options for adjusting the chair’s position.
One of the most important features of gaming chairs is the flexibility to adjust the armrests, allowing gamers to move their hands freely during intense gameplay.
And let’s not forget about the multitude of color options available for gaming chairs. These chairs often come in bold and vibrant colors, unlike the more muted tones typically found in professional chairs. After all, why settle for boring black when you can have a bright red or electric blue gaming throne?
What Makes Up an Office Chair: Understanding its Components
Well, well, well, let’s delve into the anatomy of office chairs, shall we?
We’ve already covered the various types of office chairs available, but understanding the components that make them up is equally important when searching for the perfect chair.
While a chair may seem like a simple device, its construction is far from elementary.
Although there are variations in construction between different types of chairs, they all share certain elements.
It’s important to understand these basic principles, especially if you’re using your chair for work. After all, as they say, even a small stone can cause a big bump.
So, to ensure a smooth ride, let’s take a closer look at the components of an office chair!
Castors, also known as wheels or rollers, are essential components of office chairs. These rollers are attached to the bottom of the chair body, and most office chairs have 5-6 wheels, each with a different axis of rotation to enable easy movement in various directions. Though it may seem like a small detail, poorly calibrated castors can cause discomfort with prolonged use.
One critical aspect of castors is the material of the floor on which the chair will be used. If the floor is solid, such as granite, terracotta, or parquet flooring, the castors should be covered with cushioning material such as rubber. Conversely, if the workplace is covered with carpet, it’s best to have castors made of hard plastic.
If you find that the wheels of your chosen chair do not provide maximum traction with the floor, don’t worry. Replacing the castors is usually not a difficult task, as many types and sizes of castors for office chairs are available online or at specialized retail stores.
Legs and base
Let’s talk about the legs and the base of office chairs.
The first thing you should know is that a quality office chair should have exactly five legs. These legs are part of the 5-star base that is a common sight in most offices.
However, this doesn’t mean that chairs with more than five legs are not good. In fact, heavier chairs may require six, seven, or even eight legs for more stability.
When it comes to the base, it should be hard, stable, and made of high-quality materials such as wood, steel, durable hard nylon, or aluminum. Don’t hesitate to ask about the material before making your purchase.
To ensure that the chair base is reliable, try it out in different positions – when it’s raised, lowered, or when the backrest is adjusted. This will give you a better idea of what to expect from the base.
And remember, a good base will provide the necessary stability to support you for years to come.
You may have heard the phrase “top hat” before, but we assure you that we’re not talking about a fancy accessory for your head. We’re talking about the adjustable cylinder on office chairs that allows you to go up or down, depending on your needs.
This small but mighty component is responsible for one of the most important features of any office chair: height adjustment. Without it, you would be stuck at one height, unable to adjust to your desk or work surface.
The most common type of cylinder is pneumatically actuated, which uses air pressure to move the chair up or down. A quality cylinder will make height adjustment a breeze, with smooth and easy movement.
Pay attention to the top of the cylinder, which is the pointed end that goes into the bracket under the seat. The second part of the cylinder, called the column, is inserted into the base of the chair and is typically around 2 inches in diameter.
Before making your purchase, be sure to test the height adjustment feature to ensure there are no obstructions or difficulties during regulation. Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck with a chair that won’t cooperate when you need to adjust your height.
Let’s dive into the main component of every chair – the seat.
Seats come in many varieties, distinguished by size, color, material, thickness, and more.
We suggest choosing office chairs with seats that are at least 45cm, and we’re not just saying that to be size queens. Going for a smaller seat may be tempting, but trust us, it’ll be a pain in the butt (literally).
For those who demand perfection, there’s another detail worth mentioning about the seat. Truly ergonomic chairs provide the ability to adjust the seat angle freely. It’s not just a luxury; adjusting the tilt of the seat can ease the strain on your legs, which can be a real lifesaver during long work sessions.
Speaking of leg strain, we should also mention the subtle but significant feature of a quality seat – a slight downward slope that improves blood circulation and relieves your legs while in a seated position.
This feature may go unnoticed while chair hunting, but you’ll definitely appreciate it once you start using it.
Many people argue that the pillow is a matter of personal preference, and they are not entirely wrong. However, there are still some basic rules that must be followed.
Sure, some prefer firm cushions and bases, while others prefer to sink into their chair, and there is nothing wrong with either option. But, it’s crucial to find a pillow that provides consistent and stable support throughout the workday.
Soft pillows can be deceiving, and although they feel comfortable at first, they can cause pain and tension in the body over extended periods. Luxury chairs and armchairs may look soft and cozy, but they are designed to provide maximum ergonomics and stability. Memory foam is often used to provide comfort while still providing balance and support.
While you can’t always buy comfort, sometimes you can buy it at a high price. The most expensive office chairs, which can cost upwards of 2,000 BGN, often have airbags and special technologies for lumbar support that go beyond the average pillow.
We’re making our way up the office chair components, and now it’s time to talk about armrests.
While armrests aren’t a requirement for an ergonomic and functional chair, many professionals prefer the added comfort and stability they provide.
But, if you decide to go with armrests, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a minimum length for them to be effective. The optimal length for elbow supports is between 23cm and 30cm.
Armrests come in a variety of materials such as padded, wood, metal or plastic, but comfort should be your top priority. If you’re going to be using the chair for long periods of time, make sure the armrests provide the necessary comfort.
Luckily, most specialized office chairs come with adjustable armrests, allowing you to change the length, height, and angle of inclination to suit your needs.
In summary, armrests aren’t essential, but if you choose to have them, make sure they provide optimal comfort. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in that chair.
The backrest is perhaps the most important component of any office chair, responsible for the condition and integrity of our spine. Regardless of the type or model of chair you prefer, you must make sure that the backrest is of good quality. The main factor that determines the overall quality of the chair is the backrest, which should provide the necessary lumbar support, cushioning, and ergonomics.
We don’t need to explain why the spine is so important to our overall health, so it’s vital that the backrest supports and protects it in the best and most comfortable way possible.
Some office chairs have an S-shape to protect the lumbar region, while others allow for customization of the shape. Generally, it is recommended that the lumbar support area is located 15-30cm from the seat pan to provide adequate support.
Additionally, the backrest should be at least 35cm high and 30-50cm wide. Look for a fixed or automatic tilt mechanism with an angle of 90 to at least 110 degrees to ensure maximum comfort.
Remember, no matter how great the other features of a chair may be, they won’t matter if the backrest isn’t of good quality!
What You Need to Know About Ergonomics and Office Chairs
Ergonomics is not just a trendy buzzword; it’s a scientific field that studies the relationship between workers and their environment. Its aim is to minimize health risks and improve work efficiency.
Despite the sterile appearance of an average office, there are many risks associated with excessive sitting, stress, obesity, and physical discomfort. That’s why it’s crucial to have effective office chairs that provide ergonomic support. Modern chairs, designed to meet ergonomic standards, help prevent health risks and fatigue. However, having a good chair is not enough; we’re never in one position, even when sitting.
An ergonomic chair should provide both comfort and stability in every position we take during work. Don’t be fooled by advertising claims that a chair can “fix” you; true ergonomics means maximizing comfort and stability.
What are the basic principles of ergonomics
Here are the basic rules of ergonomic work:
What are the essential ergonomic features your office chair should have?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of ergonomics and the importance of healthy sitting habits, let’s dive into the specifics. A high-quality office chair should come equipped with essential ergonomic features to ensure proper posture and comfort during long work hours.
Adjustability is key when it comes to office chairs, as every individual’s body is different and requires different settings to achieve optimal comfort and productivity. In this section, we will outline the most important settings that an effective office chair should have.
However, it’s important to note that it’s unrealistic to expect one chair to have every possible option. The goal is to find a chair that combines the most important features for your individual needs. We also want to stress the importance of consulting with an ergonomic specialist or manufacturer before making a final decision on a chair, as every body is unique and requires specific adjustments.
With that said, let’s get into the details!
To make the most of the height adjustability feature, we recommend selecting office chairs with a height range of 30cm-50cm (from floor to the seat’s center). Doing so will help you keep your hips aligned with your position and parallel to the floor.
Additionally, this height range will make it easy to find the best position for your neck and monitor. When it comes to the adjustment mechanism, we suggest opting for the pneumatic one.
It is much more effective and straightforward to fix compared to standard hydraulic or lever adjustment systems.
Certain office chairs provide the option to adjust the seat’s depth, enabling users to move it forwards or backwards. Although it may seem like a minor feature, this adjustability can significantly benefit proper posture while working.
By modifying the seat’s depth, we can effortlessly adapt to any distance between us and the computer. Even if it still appears insignificant, our spine will undoubtedly feel the difference.
Additionally, this chair modification is an excellent choice if several individuals with varying leg lengths use the same chair.
As previously mentioned, the backrest plays a vital role in the ergonomic design of office chairs.
Ideally, the backrest should have a tilting feature that moves with your body, providing lumbar support as you lean forward or backward.
A well-designed backrest should also have clearly marked recline points, giving you the ability to easily adjust the angle of the backrest to suit your posture. Some models offer more recline points than others, depending on the manufacturer and your budget.
Certain office chairs also feature manual backrest angle adjustments, which some users may prefer for a more customized seating experience.
Ultimately, the choice between these two backrest adjustment mechanisms comes down to personal preference, as both are suitable for ergonomic use when used correctly.
Adjusting the armrests
Adjustable armrests on an office chair provide the much-needed support to our arms and shoulders when we need it most. They can help us maintain the recommended 90-degree angle of our elbows while typing or using a mouse.
But don’t just settle for any armrests. Make sure they can be adjusted in height and width to fit your body size and posture. Trust us, having armrests that are too high or too low can be as uncomfortable as wearing shoes that don’t fit.
Also, don’t forget that armrests are not just for when you’re typing. They can be a lifesaver during those long conference calls, where you can finally relax your arms and take the load off your shoulders.
Some work chairs offer the option to detach and reattach armrests as needed. This feature is particularly useful if the chairs will be used by multiple people in an office setting.
Who among our readers can deny the pleasure of sitting on a soft and cozy chair? None, we bet!
But just because we’re discussing office chairs doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice comfort for function. Sure, desk work can be stressful and taxing, but we still need to prioritize ergonomic support.
In fact, chairs that are too soft may actually be detrimental to our health in the long run. So, we recommend opting for seats that are about 4.5cm – 7cm thick.
This thickness strikes the perfect balance between comfort and support, and will keep you feeling good throughout the workday.
Lumbar support has been a recurring theme throughout this article, and for good reason.
Top-quality office chairs are designed with lumbar support in mind, so finding one that provides optimal support should be a top priority.
Many chairs incorporate an S-shaped design, which has proven to be effective in supporting the natural curvature of the spine.