Choosing an office chair is likely less exciting than shopping for the new Nike or Tommy Hilfiger runners or jeans, but the effect on you would be much greater. An ergonomically built office chair perfectly supports your lower back, holds your spine in line and provides sufficient padding for your buttocks without constricting blood flow to your thighs while you sit for long periods.
An ergonomic office chair is important for people who spend thirteen hours a day sitting, as the average American does. No one size fits all when it comes to office chair ergonomics. For a chair to be comfortable, it needs to be flexible.
The perfect seat height, armrest angles, tilt angle, and lumbar support position are usually only discovered after fine-tuning your office chair for a few days. Many customers of my most famous office chair, the Herman Miller Chair, state this exact sentiment after purchase.
It took about a week of fiddling with the settings before all is actually in order. A point to remember is that adjustability is good, as there is no “one size fits all” but instead the optimal setting for each individual. Do not buy an office chair that prohibits you from adjusting the chair.
Now we discuss some points that will clear your question: How do I choose an ergonomic office chair?
Let’s start with something simple, which is the material of the chair. Usually, office chairs have two dominant surface types: mesh and leather (faux or genuine leather), but fabric office chairs can also be found. In addition to their respective advantages and drawbacks, each of these options has distinct pros and cons to consider.
Elastic and made of synthetic materials such as Polypropylene, mesh is used in the production of office chair surfaces, as they tend to be breathable and go well a lot longer. If you sweat a lot, and you’re in a warmer environment, consider using a mesh seat to prevent your body from sticking to the chair’s surface when the weather is hot.
The primary drawback of mesh is often lacking cushioning, especially around the seat edges where the mesh meets the frame. To fix this, place a fabric over the region where the thigh and the seat frame meet. The Herman Miller Aeron is one of the most comfortable mesh office chairs I’ve ever sat in. The seat integrates a waterfall edge design, a flexible frame, and a high-tech mesh with multiple stress zones to lessen any pain.
Fabric is very common in the home, used on sofas and dining chairs, but it can also be used on office chairs. With a fabric that’s mostly made of cotton, vinyl, or even hemp, fabric provides a uniform experience of color and design that suits every décor. The Serta Microfiber Office Chair comes in an amazing variety of color options, including sky blue, beige, ivory, and standard white, black, gray, and brown.
The stain problem is the most difficult to overcome when choosing fabric. Bear in mind that, whether you want to snack or even eat your meals in your office chair, your chair shouldn’t be tainted by food, as you cannot just throw your chair into the washing machine like a T-shirt at the end of a buffet line. Spot cleaners have good effectiveness when applied promptly.
Mold buildup can also occur in hotter climates by using fabric chairs. Using these other home remedies will help you to successfully combat the problem, such as taking the chair outside on a sunny day to prevent mold from developing on it, or regularly using an alcohol solution to ensure the chair is properly disinfected. When searching out an office chair, be mindful of these nuisances.
Genuine Top Grain Leather
Cow and buffalo leather are commonly used to make top grain real leather seats. The skin’s top surface is sanded to extract any natural grain and imperfections, and as a result, the end product is both comfortable and sturdy.
Bonded leathers have a propensity to peel over time. On the other hand, top-grain leathers age better and will last a lifetime if properly cared. Choosing genuine leather over other styles of leather is an easy preference due to how it sounds, looks, and works, as seen in the Gates Leather Executive Chair, which is our top pick for the real leather executive office chair overall.
Although leather has a very high advantages when it comes to office chair upholstery, it also has some issues. If you have kids in your home, stains on leather surfaces must be cleaned right away to prevent permanent staining.
Additionally, exposure to direct sunlight can fade and dry out the leather, making it completely unusable for outdoor activities. genuine leather office chairs are much more costly than their polyurethane or bonded leather counterparts.
Ultimately, the bottom line is, take good care of genuine leather seats, and they will serve you for many years.
Bonded leather is a decent alternative for those who prefer the more natural feel of real leather, but who don’t want to pay the extra cost. Often made from genuine leather scraps mixed in with faux leather, this is slightly finer than PU leather, but is unable to match the top-grain leather.
Compared to pure leather, bonded leather has a tendency to peel over time. Anyone who has leather furniture in their home has probably seen this first hand.
It has no effect on the chair’s efficiency, but it may become unsightly. Partial patching of the peeled areas is not possible, and will take a costly upholstery job if you want to keep the chair.
Faux or PU Leather
Faux leather is the most widely accepted type leather used on office chairs, and is usually a synthetic material that has a similar look and feel to genuine leather, but is much cheaper to manufacture.
The benefits of PU leather are that it is water resistant and easy to clean, and it is generally easier to care for. Unlike all other leather fabrics, it is not as breathable as mesh or cotton fabric seats. It is something to keep in mind if you sit in your chair for longer periods of time.
The seat pan depth can be changed with a lever, which is often used to shift the seat forward or back. An often ignored yet significant feature can be found in more costly ergonomic office chairs, such as the Herman Miller Embody and Steelcase Leap Chair.
Your thighs will be resting entirely on the chair’s seat regardless of your torso length or body size because of this feature. If you change the seat depth, you can better position your lower back against the backrest, supporting your posture and helping you maintain good posture.
Tilting and Reclining
You should buy a chair that tilts and reclines to help you alleviate stress and obtain the most comfortable position to watch movies or take a short nap.
The common types of tilting and reclining mechanisms in office chairs include:
The chair’s seat, armrest, and backrest all shift in unison as a result of basic tilting. Due to this, your whole lower body and arms would be tilted upwards, making it to be difficult for your eye sight to stay parallel to the floor.
with synchronous tilting, the chair and seat both tilt, but the tilt on the backrest varies (usually 2:1). This holds the seat level and the feet firmly on the ground. Syncro tilting is more ergonomic than basic tilt, since it holds your knees and arms at the preferred, recommended angle of 75-90 degrees that doctors advise you to maintain while working.
The seat and backrest on a multi-function tilting chair may be independently tilted to give the preferred angle for both. Although in practice this is better than syncro tilting, the majority of users prefer the simpler syncro tilt mechanism over the extra levers necessary to change the seat and backrest angles separately.
A reclining backrest usually signifies a reclining backrest with a high degree of recline, which can be any number from 135 degrees upwards (upright is 90 degrees). Pay attention to reclining backrests that can be locked at any angle between the two spectrums, as the Songmics High Back Executive Swivel Chair has.
In regards to backrests, I always recommend trying out a seat with syncro or multi-function tilting, and tilt tension control in order to enable you to regulate how much effort is needed to tilt the backrest. Some office chairs come with a “free floating” setting that enables the chair to function as a rocking chair.
The armrests should be adjustable so that your arms are not hanging while you are typing at the keyboard. Here are the important features to explore with regard to armrests in an ergonomic office chair:
Other than the basic up and down, these armrests can be modified in two ways. Usually, 2D armrests can be adjusted horizontally to allow your arms to be completely supported, even if you are leaning forward or have longer arms.
With these armrests, we get an extra dimension of adjustability on top of the 2D adjustability. Usually, this describes pivoting armrests that pivot outwards or inwards by 5 degrees. This is very beneficial to protect the arms while they are in a “v” shape. These kinds of activities usually involve, like using your smartphone with both hands, or interacting with your tablet with just your hands.
The “4D Armrests” are another popular armrest choice. These armrests build on top of three-dimensional armrests with another customizable feature. A most common feature is the ability to manually change the armrests.
Generally, I’d suggest armrests that are at least two dimensional. Most people will rarely move the armrests beyond two dimensions.
If you suffer from neck pain, or tend to lean back often during the day, find a chair with a high back or dedicated headrest. When choosing a headrest, ensure it is height adjustable to ensure it correctly aligns with the back of your head regardless of your height or sitting posture.
With the right chair, you can change the headrest so that you can increase and decrease the lumbar support, but ideally you want both. This helps you to individually change the headrest and lumbar support to align with your back and neck.
The X4 Chair, my top choice for an ergonomic office chair for back pain, combines with solid design.
Some headrests can be tilted upward or downward by up to 30 degrees to match the curve of your neck. Having this is a good choice alongside having the ability to be height adjustable.
You can see that there is a lot to consider when you are buying the best ergonomic office chair. Hopefully, the details in this guide would reduce the amount of guesswork, as every chair included in this guide excels in the activities they perform.