Should Office Chairs Tilt Forward?

Some office chairs tilt forward and others don't. It depends on the design of the chair and if it has a backrest or not.

The ultimate goal of sitting in an office chair should be to ensure your spine sits in a neutral position.

Therefore, whether an office chair should tilt forward or not will depend on personal comfort levels.

But, if your office chair tilts forward in an uncomfortable way or because of something faulty with the chair, then you’ll have to fix it.

Far too many people will endure a poorly positioned chair. This results in back, neck, and shoulder pain along with muscle spasms and headaches.

Should Office Chairs Tilt Forward

Backless Office Chairs Tilt Forward

The office chairs most often found to have a natural forward tilt are those that are backless.

These usually sit lower to the ground and you brace your legs around the legs of the chair. The position forces your spine to sit in an upright, thus neutral, position.

Many studies promote this as being good for the back, arms, and neck. Its ergonomic design is optimal and ideal for preventing structural issues.

The weight distribution between the legs and rear balances the spine to provide for a more comfortable experience. But, they don’t often have armrests.

However, many people find this to be very uncomfortable, especially after several hours of continuous seating.

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This will be truer for those who have preexisting back pain from things like car accidents. Plus, it doesn’t offer a comfortable place to rest between typing for long periods.

Backed Office Chairs Tilt Forward

The classic office chair is one that most people think of, the kind that comes with a backrest.

While some of this tilt forward by design, most of them should sit even and balanced.

Therefore, in most cases, a slight tilt back will be better. This is to support the idea of maintaining a neutral spine while sitting for several hours at a time.

The bonus feature of these is that backed office chairs usually have armrests. This makes it more comfortable for brief resting periods while sitting in the chair after vast amounts of typing.

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Importance of Office Chairs Tilt Forward

Office chairs that tilt forward aren’t for everyone. It depends on what you do and for how long you sit in the chair.

Computer and software developers, writers, bloggers, website designers, and other similar jobs will find a forward tilt far more comfortable.

This keeps you in a forward, almost perched position and forces you to keep your spine in a neutral position.

Staying seated for hours this way will help reduce the potential pain and structural damage that can result.

Should Office Chairs Tilt Forward

How to Adjust the Forward Tilt in an Office Chair

The forward tilt of an office chair is an essential component to comfort and efficiency.

The seat angle will be the focus for adjustment but so will the backrest.

The angle of the Seat:

In regards to office chairs, there are three positions: standard, reclining, and forward.

While you shouldn’t have to make any adjustments for the standard posture, you will for reclining and forward.

However, many people prefer a chair slightly backward so they sit snuggly into the chair.

When forward, the seat tilts somewhere between five and 10 degrees. Reclining or forward tilts will require raising the chair with the height lever.

Then, depending on the chair, there will be a dial or knob on the chair's underside that you can turn.

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The angle of the Backrest

An office chair’s backrest should never feel like it’s pushing you off the chair. There should be an adjustment dial on the backrest.

For forward tilts and standard posture, the backrest should be straight up.

For chairs that lean backward, the backrest should also recline with the back and thighs staying at a 90-degree angle.

How to Troubleshoot Problems with a Forward Tilting Office Chair

If you have an office chair that tilts forward because of prolonged wear-and-tear, you can try to fix the problem yourself.

Locate the tilt adjustment knob under the chair and consider the following steps to repair it.

1. Sit in the Chair

First, evaluate the chair and its position. Place your feet with even space between them on the floor.

Put your back up against the backrest but ensure you’re sitting naturally. Now, let the chair lean forward the way it does. Note how this feels.

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Observe the degree of difference between a parallel state and the broken one.  

Try turning the adjustment knob or dial and see if the position holds. If the position doesn’t hold, take note of how long it takes for the position to falter.

While if it didn't hold at all, you might be missing a screw.

If it takes a while, you might just have to tighten the screws.

2. Turn the Chair Upside Down

To understand what’s happening with the screws of the chair, you will have to turn it upside down.

Check to see if anything is loose or missing. 

Once you fix this aspect, then turn the chair right side up to see if this takes care of the problem.

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3. Repeat Step #1

See if you fixed the problem by sitting in the chair again. Don’t worry about the position of your feet yet, just see if the fix holds.

If not, reposition your feet firmly on the ground. Check to see if there’s any difference from your initial assessment.

In the event, nothing changes, you may need to invest in a new chair or take it to a professional technician.


As you can see, whether an office chair should lean forward or not will largely depend on if the chair has a backrest or not.

Ideally, backless chairs tend to lean forward. But, it’s more common to have one with a backrest. In this case, a neutral or slightly backward position is best.

However, it's advisable for those who type for long periods to sit a little forward.

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Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!
Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

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