Choosing an office chair can be a daunting task. There are tons of options and dozens of features to sort through. However, there are a few things to ask yourself when shopping for an office chair that can help simplify the task.
- How long will I be sitting in this chair in any given day?
- Will I be sitting for very long periods of time?
- What kind of activities will I be doing when I am sitting in this chair?
- What problems do I have with my current work chair?
If your current work chair is giving you trouble, it’s important to keep in mind what currently is not working. Maybe you aren’t getting enough back support or maybe the back of your legs get sore because your chair is cutting off your circulation. Your answers to these questions will help you rule out the chairs that are not ideal for you.
Finding the right “fit” is something that is very unique from person to person. The best way to determine the best fit is to spend some quality time sitting in chairs. There are a few things to focus on when you’re trying a chair out. First of all, does the chair provide appropriate back support? Important areas of the back to think about are the lumbar region and the upper back area. Keep in mind that some chairs will have adjustable lumbar back support. So, make sure you know how to play with this adjustment to properly determine whether or not you are supported and comfortable. If you like to recline occasionally (or often), look for a chair that is high enough to support your entire back. Some chairs are even high enough to support your neck. However, this might not be a necessity for you if you spend your days upright.
Possibly just as important is seat depth. A common problem for many people is the seat of the chair cutting off circulation in the back of the legs. This is an uncomfortable problem and it’s not good for your body – the pressure on your legs is preventing oxygen from getting to your cells. To avoid this problem, look for a chair that has an appropriate seat depth. (Some chairs will even have adjustable seat depth or multiple seat sizes to choose from.) Also look for chairs that have a curved seat front.
Another common issue is heat build-up. If you are someone who tends to feel hot and/or sticky after sitting in an office chair, look for mesh-like materials that allow air to get to your body. Foam and additional padding can retain heat and make you feel uncomfortable over time, especially if you’re sitting for eight hours!
Adjustments. I’ve already gone over a couple of possible adjustments, but there’s plenty more out there. Think about whether or not you want to deal with a lot of manual adjustments. Knobs and levers can provide increased control, but they also require a little more thought. Herman Miller produces chairs with a lot of manual adjustments, while Humanscale designs chairs that adjust and move with you – these chairs tend to be a bit more intuitive. Additional adjustments control the degree of recline, the tension of the recline, and the angle of the seat. Also, some chairs will have fixed arms while some have fully adjustable arms that move in almost any direction. Consider the tasks you conduct while sitting in the chair and whether or not they require different arm heights. For example, some people like to have their arms at a lower position when typing and a higher position when chatting on the phone.
If you get overwhelmed when looking for an office chair, don’t panic. We know chairs and we are here to help. We have many options at our Home & Office location at 3420 University Avenue. With a little information from you, we can help guide you to a chair that will make working a lot more enjoyable.