A woman sitting in an office chair with legs on the table

Office Chairs – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Buying an office chair may seem quite an easy task but when you take a deep look at it, so many factors come into play and drastically affect your decision.

From the type of tasks you perform to the average time you spend sited and even the climatic conditions of the country you are in, a lot of variables have to be put into consideration to ensure you will get the best office chair design that is comfortable and will stand the test of time.

Other than looking for an office chair review, you will have questions including what are the best office chairs? Which material is long lasting etc. Don’t worry, in this article, we are going to cover the frequently asked questions about office chairs to ensure you get value for your money.

What is an ergonomic office chair?

An ergonomic office chair is that which is designed to suit a range of people other than being made for a specific person or group of people. Ergonomic chairs are however not guaranteed to be the best for everybody but they are highly customizable to suit a range of sizes and different tasks too.

Why is finding the best chair for posture so important?

There is a lot that can go wrong with office chairs that aren’t ergonomic. Sitting in awkward positions in search for comfort can affect your mood and general productivity at work. You also risk back pain, wrist strain and other musculoskeletal problems which result from poor posture.

What makes office chairs so unique from others?

Office chairs are made from various high-quality materials, sleek design and proven and tested functionality. Unlike other chairs, an ergonomic office chair is made to prevent long term back injuries which may arise from improper sitting.

What do I need to know when choosing an office chair?

Before setting your mind on the best office chair to support your back, check what the chair is made from and ensure it is material you are comfortable with. The chair must also offer ultimate comfort to your spine for long hours of work. The price of the chair should also be considered to ensure you don’t overspend but get value for your money.

What is lumbar support in an ergonomic office chair?

Lumbar support is a design technique where chairs are made to fill the gaps in our backs while maintaining a proper spine alignment when we sit. The spine has a natural curvature which requires constant support to keep it in shape. When the curvature isn’t properly supported, our bodies tend to slouch forward; which leads to back pain over time.

How do I choose the best office chair?

Choosing the best office chair to support your back is a critical task in improving your productivity. The best office chair for you should have options to adjust the height, backrest and armrests. Make sure your chair also has a good locking mechanism to prevent jolting. Check for lumbar support and ensure the chair has thick but breathable padding so you won’t be constricted in an uncomfortable chair all workday.

How can I tell if an office chair is ergonomic?

The ergonomic nature of a chair can be told by how it can be easily adjusted for comfort and still maintain the perfect spinal structure to prevent strain and injury. The height of the chair should be easily adjustable, not forgetting a comfortable seat depth.

How should you sit in an office chair?

Maintaining good posture is as equally important as getting the best office chair for long hours. Ensure you position your elbows at 90 degrees angles whenever you are working, sit as close as possible to the desk and place your feet firm and flat on the floor. Your hips should also be the deepest they can go in the seat and your accessories close to you to prevent strain when reaching them.

Read our guide on how you should sit in an office chair to learn more about proper office ergonomics and the importance of good posture when working.

Should office chairs have armrests?

Typically, when we are sited, our arms are hanging and we are constantly trying to find a place to rest them. When we lack a place to do so, we rest them on our laps creating an awkward position which isn’t ergonomically right. Getting a chair with armrests allows you to comfortably rest your arms in a relaxed position without tightening your shoulders.

How do you lower the arms of an office chair?

First of all, you have to make sure your chair’s arms are adjustable before trying to lower them. Once you are sure they can be lowered, you will notice a lever or knob which can be moved to one direction and the arms will be free to move. Lower the arms to the desired position and push the lever back to position for grip.

Can I remove the armrests of an office chair?

Different office chairs have different mechanisms for attaching the arms, some may allow you to take them off while others entirely hold them back on. Although some chairs may allow you to unscrew the arms and take them off, we do not advise you doing so unless you really have to, lest you want to deal with upper back pain.

Should office chairs have wheels?

Wheels on office chairs are an added advantage and greatly help with mobility. Think of having a printer stationed three meters away and you have to stand every time you have to print. Having a chair with wheels saves you the frequent standing and helps you navigate better.

What are the best types of wheels for an office chair?

Since you know wheels are built to enable easy navigation with your office chair, the surface your chair is going to move on will greatly dictate which types of wheels are best for you. If your workplace has a hard floor e.g. tiles or terrazzo go for a chair with soft rubber wheels. On the other hand, if you have a carpeted floor or one padded with soft material, hard wheels will make your navigation even easier.

What height should an office chair be?

Since office chairs are no ‘one size fits all’ product, the average height varies with design but a typical one is between 40 and 52 cm. Some office chairs are made for tall people meaning they are higher than the average while others are lower – specifically made for shorter people.

How do I get the correct height to sit on my office chair?

It’s important to know that not everyone will sit at a set height on the office chair. To get your ideal height, stand in front of your chair and adjust it so that the seat cushion is just below your kneecaps. Then sit on it and continue adjusting until you get a comfortable position. Your ideal position should let your feet rest flat on the floor and your desk almost in line with your elbow.

How much does an office chair weigh?

The weight of an office chair varies greatly since each is made using different materials and targeted user standards but an average standard chair lies between 20 – 27 kg. The standard chair also supports around 115 kg of weight.

What is the difference between an office chair and a task chair?

A task chair is a specially designed desk chair to support maximum productivity but can’t be used for long-hour sittings while ergonomic office chairs can keep you comfortable for up to 8 hours or even longer. Task chairs, as the name suggests, are made with ultimate comfort in mind to increase worker productivity, professionalism and workplace efficiency. Task chairs are highly versatile for different workspaces and can be easily adjusted for different body types.

Are mesh chairs good for your back?

Mesh chairs may not be the most comfortable and durable pieces of furniture you will get but they definitely stand up to the task. Although it may be coarser than leather or fabric, mesh is usually preferred because of its breathability, compactness and a low price tag. If you work in a warm region or a heated office and find yourself with a sweaty back often, then the mesh chair is what you need.

Do mesh chairs wear out quickly?

Soft mesh chairs give a very comfortable and heavenly feeling to the back but they tend to wear out and sag over time.

What is a rolling chair?

A rolling chair, unlike non-rolling ones, is a wheeled chair designed and adapted mostly for recreational use. Rolling basically means rotating on an axis or along a surface which explains the concept between rolling chairs. They may also be described as a piece of furniture set on top of a swivel or small wheels to facilitate movement.

What is the best seat cushion for an office chair?

The best seat cushion for office chairs should be determined by the user’s personal preference and also the climatic conditions of the workplace. If you love a coy feel you should go for leather- which may disadvantage you if you work in a warm place. Mesh is good for breathability but doesn’t last long and tends to sag over time.

How high should your chair be when working?

There is no golden height that a chair should be when working, a rule of the thumb is finding the comfortable height for you or adjust your seat to suit your needs. Most chairs are about 18 to 22 inches high which is comfortable for the average person. But it won’t hurt finding either higher or lower seats to fit your body shape.

Are leather chairs any better than others?

Leather offers a great elegance and prestigious feel which makes it a preferred material for many. Leather is also thick and lasts for an extremely long time compared to other finishes plus it’s easy to maintain. If you spill a drink on a leather chair, all you have to do is wipe it out, unlike other fabrics which need more care to clean up and prevent staining.

How can I improve circulation in my legs when sitting?

When sitting for long hours, keep your feet flat on the ground or use a footrest. A footrest helps your ankles find a natural posture alignment to prevent fatigue and strain. Avoid sitting with your legs closed or pushing them back into the seat since this can reduce blood flow and cause muscle pain.

Are kneeling chairs good for posture?

The kneeling chair makes you sit at about a 20-degree angle compared to the regular office chair. This is an ultimately recommended posture since it distributes your body weight more evenly. Continuous use of a kneeling chair also strengthens the core back muscles by training them to support you in the absence of a chair’s backrest.

Do ergonomic office chairs improve the general body health?

Yes, they do. Ergonomic office chairs not only reduce discomfort when you are sited but also reduce symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion. Users can relax comfortably allowing them to focus better on the job or project at hand.

How wide is a standard office chair?

The width of a standard office chair is between 17-20 inches. This determines the cushion size of the seat as well as the distance between each arm. When choosing an office chair, consider the size of your hips to know how much width you need to sit comfortably.

What is a footrest?

A footrest, sometimes called a foot stool is a tool that you put your feet on to raise them above the ground level when you are sited. Other than preventing leg discomfort, footrests reduce ankle strain and promote better body posture.

How do you use a footrest at a desk?

If you have a desk which is too high and can’t be adjusted then you need a footrest. Simply raise your ergonomic office chair to create a comfortable level with the desk and put a footrest under your feet to support them as needed.

How do I stop my neck from hurting when I sit at my office chair?

Neck pain is caused by straining muscles and ligaments that support the neck, often by slouching forward when we are sited. Practicing good posture such as raising your backrest higher so that you are sited with a slight reclining angle of 100 to 110 degrees can help eliminate neck pain. You can also get a seat with a dedicated headrest to help you keep your head in position.

What is a drafting chair?

A drafting chair is usually designed to be taller than the normal office chair and with a significant amount of padding. It may or may not have armrests depending on the purpose it is built for. You can easily identify a drafting chair by a ring located just above the base of the chair which functions as a footrest since the chair’s height isn’t compatible with traditional footrests.

Can my chair cause hip pain?

Yes, absolutely. If you sit in awkward positions without observing the rules of ergonomics you are prone to suffer hip pain. Sitting with poor posture or without the right back support puts a lot of pressure on your hip which causes hip pain over time.

How do you adjust the seat depth of an office chair?

Finding the right seat depth of an office chair is key to working for long hours while sited without stressing your lower back. If your seat features a sliding backrest mechanism you will most likely find a knob at the back where the backrest attaches. To adjust the seat depth, loosen the knob then slide the backrest to a point where you can entirely sit back. If your chair has a sliding seat the challenge is finding the right knob or lever- under the seat. Once you identify it, adjusting is a walkover.

Is it good to sit with legs elevated?

Sitting with your legs elevated helps in taking pressure of the veins and improving the natural floor of blood. Rather than having your veins fight gravity to pump blood back into the heart, elevating your feet gives them a break and it’s a generally good posture technique.

Can sitting for long hurt my knees?

Sitting for long shortens muscles and increases stiffness in joints which in turn brings up pain. Staying in the wrong posture for a long period of time can be quite rough on your knees as well. It is advised to have your knees lower than your hips when sited- you can achieve this by finding a chair that is not too low or using a pillow to stuff your current one up.

Are saddle chairs best for the back?

Saddle chairs relieve back and neck pressure which in turn straightens the upper back leading to a generally improved posture. Saddle-sitting also increases back muscles activation and reduces fatigue.

Why are leather chairs quite expensive?

Leather is a premium high-end material which offers great comfort and also lasts long. Not to add that leather is easy to clean and harmless to your skin. Although leather chairs are quite expensive, they are a good investment and won’t disappoint you.

What are gaming chairs?

Gaming chairs are fairly new to the block with keen interest put to delivering a comfortable gaming experience. They differ from other office chairs in that they are designed with high backrests for supporting the upper back and shoulders. Some have armrests which are customizable while others are armless.

Can gaming chairs be used as office chairs?

The short quick answer to this question is, no while an elaborate answer is it depends on the task you are doing and the specific gaming chair in question. This is because most or rather all gaming chairs are designed with a focus on visual appearance and comfort rather than observing the rules of ergonomics. Some may even have a padding that looks good to the eye but upon sitting it turns to be too comfortable that it makes you want to nap a little.

Are the expensive office chairs really worth it?

Yes. Ergonomic office chairs are worth the investment since they have a high quality craftsmanship that your back will thank you for. They will also eliminate potential injuries that may arise from poor posture and keep you off work.

What are the best office chair manufacturers?

A background check on the manufacturers is a great idea in knowing what you are getting yourself into. The best chair makers are those that have been in the game for a long time and have the reputation. Good manufacturers also know the quality of what they build and won’t shy from offering long warranty periods which is a statement of confidence in the expected lifetime of the chair.

Why are ergonomic office chairs best for working from home?

When working from home it is important to be focused on whatever task you are doing with little to no distractions. Ergonomic office chairs do exactly that plus even more. You won’t worry about moving the couch or stacking pillows to get a comfortable working position, thanks to the adjustability of office chairs.

How can I stop my chair from sinking?

Chair sinking is quite a common problem that comes after a long time of using the office chair. This is caused by a faulty valve, also known as the chair cylinder. If you are someone who loves DIY projects then get a horse clamp and tighten it down at the exact place where the chair post enters the shaft. This will help with the sinking and will also keep the chair adjustable- just loosen the clamp and tie it at the desired position. Another fix to sinking is replacing the office chair’s piston.

How do I fix a squeaky office chair?

One of the common reasons for a chair to start squeaking is loosened bolts but your chair could also be rusty or the springs are worn out. Firstly, identify the source of the noise then eliminate it. If you have rusty parts use lubricating oil to grease up the squeaking parts. If you notice any loosened bolts or moving parts tighten them.

How do I prevent my chair from dragging?

Chair dragging is often caused by failing to identify the wheels that are compatible to your floor. If you have a flat floor and your chair keeps dragging you should use a carpet or chair mat. If the dragging problems persist then you should consider replacing the wheels with more compatible ones to prevent damage to your floor.

Am I too big for an office chair?

As you know there is no one size fits all in office chairs since we have different body sizes and shapes. As much as office chairs are made to be versatile to almost all different body sizes, you might find a chair that won’t fit you. That however isn’t the end of the road since you can request for a custom-built office chair that will respect your body size and respond to different positions you take all day long.

Are there office chairs for short people?

If you are a shorter person in need of an office chair you have every reason to get it. There are petite ergonomic office chairs built with short people in mind but can also be customized for tall people. The chair you choose should always be adjustable and supports your back to the max.

Can I buy a second-hand office chair?

If you really need an office chair but are pulled behind by a strict budget then second-hand office chairs will save you a great deal. Finding the best chair with this method is however not guaranteed since most sellers won’t give every detail about the chair.

Will a comfortable office chair make me lazier?

If you have second thought buying an ergonomic office chair imagining it would make you lazier then you are wrong since it will increase your productivity and make you focus more on the tasks at hand.

What are the common office chair problems?

Even after getting the best ergonomic office chair for posture, you may still face issues with your chair but that doesn’t mean you lost your money. Office chairs, like any other furniture piece wears out and sometimes develop complications. Here are the common office chair problems:
Commonly referred to as chair wheels, castors are a great part when it comes to navigating your office chair. Manufacturers recommend using office chairs on a chair mat to enable you to move smoothly. But when they just can’t hold your weight anymore, consider replacing your chair’s wheels.
Gas cylinder
Defective gas cylinders are commonly caused by exceeding the recommended chair carrying weight or normal wear out. You will find yourself constantly sinking in a chair with a faulty gas cylinder.
Seat cushioning
After some time of use, you will find your seat cushioning not as comfortable as it was once, perhaps your cushioning has worn out and needs a replacement.

Should I consider getting an ergonomic office chair?

Working all day- whether in an office or at home, can exhaust and draw away motivation leaving you wishing tomorrow doesn’t come up. Luckily ergonomic office chairs can help keep you working in a comfortable and safe posture all workday long. What is more is that they can be easily adjusted to suit different tasks and body shapes as well. Get an ergonomic chair and your back will always thank you.