Ever wondered what features to look for in an office chair?
Shopping for an office chair is an overwhelming task. There are plenty of attractive options out there with countless features.
This makes it difficult to narrow down your choices, but understanding what features you should be looking for can make this task infinitely easier.
Interested in what features your office chair should have? In this article I will go over:
- Depth and width
Let’s get started!
When looking at office chairs it is important to choose one that reaches the appropriate height when you are seated.
The seat of the chair should be level with your hips or even slightly lower.
Chairs that sit too high can cause you to scoot forward, while office chairs that are too low will put your knees higher than your chips.
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Choosing a chair with adjustable height is helpful because it can accommodate you for different work positions.
Adjustable height will also allow others to sit in your workspace comfortably if needed. Check out this video to make sure you are sitting in your chair correctly:
You have a few different options when it comes to a backrest, but you need to pick what supports you best.
At the least, you need to support your lumbar area in some way.
These five lower vertebrae are the strongest of your back, but they need support to prevent lower back pain.
Lumbar support is especially important if you have existing pain in this area.
Some chairs have a contoured back to support and encourage a healthy s shape when seated correctly.
Others have a divided backrest to allow you to create a shape appropriate for your posture.
You can choose a seat with a neutral, flat back, but you should look to add lumbar support with a cushion. This helps you maintain proper posture and reduce back pain overall.
Armrests are a major debate when it comes to ergonomic sitting, but the consensus is that armrests help reduce the strain on your neck and shoulders.
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Like most other parts of your office chair, you should look for adjustable armrests.
If you have them too high then you will have tension in your neck and shoulders, but too low will cause discomfort in your forearms and wrists.
Make sure the armrests are positioned so your wrists are level with the keyboard and your elbows can rest comfortably at your side.
Depth and Width
The dimensions of the chair need to accommodate the proportion of your body, including your height and width.
Choosing the wrong size chair can leave you drowning in extra space or caged in.
Make sure you sit comfortably in the chair and everything can be adjusted properly to your seated position. Ideally, you want to be able to:
- Sit back against the backrest
- Have 2 to 4 inches of space between the back of your knees and the seat
- Be supported appropriately by each part
If you find that most chairs are too small for you, then you should start looking for “big and tall” varieties.
Office chairs are an investment, and you should take the time to make sure the material of the chair is durable enough to stand up to everyday use.
You may also check into how easy it is to clean, especially if you are prone to spills while working.
Opt for a material that will provide prolonged comfort. It should be breathable so that you are not sweating and/or sticking to your chair throughout the workday.
When it comes to padding, look for a chair that is a good middle ground between soft and hard.
A soft seat may seem like a good idea, but this promotes slouching as the day goes on and fails to provide proper support.
Choosing comfort over style in this area will pay off in the long run, but you are bound to find a chair that fits both.
Controls and Adjustments
You should be able to reach all of the controls for your chair when seated without straining. This includes any controls for:
- Raising or lowering the chair
- Adjusting the armrests
- Swiveling from a seated position
Choose a chair that locks in these controls to prevent reverting to its original form while you work.
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For example, a chair that locks in place can prevent you from tilting backward as you lean back.
Controls and adjustments are essential for accommodating different tasks at your workstation. This allows you to move from VDU to non-VDU tasks with ease.
Another important feature for switching between tasks is the mobility offered by a chair. Start by ensuring the chair you are looking at features swivel and casters to allow you to move freely to different parts of your workstations.
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Casters may require a closer look. Cheap casters are prone to breakage, and this can quickly become a nuisance.
You should also make sure that the casters on your chair are appropriate for the floor in your workspace, whether that is carpet, hard flooring, or a combination of both.
This can be remedied by investing in a chair mat, but make sure that you choose a chair with casters that will not leave you stranded during the workday.
Final Thoughts on What features to Look for in an Office Chair
Taking the time to choose an appropriate and ergonomically designed office chair will help you out in the long term.
Most office chairs come with most, if not all of these features, but you need to take the time to make sure everything fits your body and level of needs in these areas.
If you have any medical concerns relating to back pain or posture then you should reach out to your doctor for personalized recommendations. Consider adding a headrest or additional back support to reduce strain in these areas and prevent issues from developing.
Assuring a chair fits your body specifically in these areas takes longer, but the right office chair will improve your comfort and health while you work.