How to Buy the Perfect Office Chair

The chair is considered one of the most important pieces of furniture you will ever own. The history and evolution of the chair dates back, approximately to the first semblance of a seat or bench, assumed to have been crafted as early as the Stone Age.

There is little known after this period when the first attempt at crafting a seat with a back, a bench or even a stool with legs began. Historians have found that these early designs throughout history were strictly utilitarian in design and purpose. Creative style, comfort and balance in the design of a chair did not come about until much later in history.

In modern day times, the demand for chairs is obviously different. The office chair is a crucial item as most individuals spend a large amount of their day seated at their desk or table. The perfect office chair is as unique as the person and depends on many factors, such as height, weight, posture, possible areas of pain, and ultimately what the chair will be used for on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself the following questions before you begin:

  • How many hours per day will you be seated in the chair?
  • Does your work involve the computer, phone, and/or paper work?
  • Do you have any existing issues with your back and spine?

These variables will jump-start the required thinking and planning process for chair buying as each individual needs to determine their personal, custom physical needs and what their expectations are for the chair. The following guideline and key points will help you in the process of researching, choosing, trying out and eventually reaching a buying decision for the perfect office chair for you:

  1. What To Spend: Experts say you should spend approximately 50% of what you spend on your desk, on your chair.  If you spend $1,000 on your desk, you should spend $500 on your chair (much like your bed mattress, you will be spending a great deal of time in that chair and position and will require proper support).
  2. Ergonomics: This is very important when purchasing a chair and most of the cost comes from the actual mechanism of the chair (much like the engine of a car). The more adjustment features the chair offers, the more it will ultimately cost.
  3. Mechanisms & Features: Try out the two (2) types of mechanisms available: Tilt Mechanism which means the chair simply goes up and down and back and forth, and the Synchrotilt Mechanism where the back separates from the seat so your feet do NOT come off the floor when you lean back (this mechanism type is the most ergonomic).
  4. Proper Body Posture: Always keep your body’s posture at 90 degrees; Your elbows should be bent and your hips and knees should all be at 90 degrees when you are sitting in front of a computer.  If they are NOT, you either don’t have the right chair or your chair is not adjusted properly for your body.
  5. Seat Slides: The most ergonomic chairs have seat slides which allow for the depth of the chair to be adjusted. This feature accommodates individuals with long torsos and short legs as well as someone who has longer legs and a shorter torso. Expert TIP: The basic rule of thumb is you should be able to place your fist between your knee pit and the seat of your chair.
  6. Lumbar Adjustments: This feature is crucial for without lumbar adjustments; you will NOT have the proper support in your lower back to ensure proper posture and comfort over a long period of time in the chair.
  7. Always Sit Properly: You need to sit well into the back of your chair. Too often individuals sit on the very edge of their chair and are thus NOT taking full advantage of the adjustments and engineering the chair’s structure and design have to offer.
  8. Adjustable Arms: The adjustment of the arms on the chair is crucial when performing the task of typing at a computer. If your arms are NOT supported, you are at greater risk for carpal tunnel syndrome as well as upper back pain and especially neck and shoulder pain, mainly due to the stress of holding your arms in place at 90 degrees for 8 hours of work or more.
  9. Fabric or Leather vs. Mesh: There is no rule of thumb for choosing what type of fabric you decide upon when you buy a chair. If you tend to feel warm or overheated when sitting, a mesh chair will give you more breath-ability, but will provide less cushion in the seat and back area of the chair.  Fabric or leather will provide the most cushion, but you need to remember that this is NOT a couch and, in comparison, a commercial grade chair with commercial grade foam will often “sit” harder than you are used to, but will translate into that chair lasting much longer over time.
  10. To Headrest or To Not Headrest: That is the question. If you spend a majority of your time on the phone and less time on a computer, a headrest does make sense. The headrest allows you to recline in the chair and give your head and neck the support it needs while on the phone for long lengths of time.

Follow these suggested guidelines to ensure you find the perfect chair for you and your office space. For more details and information regarding finding and buying the perfect office chair, call us at 239.337.1212 or visit our online store at www.officefurnituredesignconcepts.com.

Stay tuned, as our next e-Book will cover more in-depth chair-buying tips! Look for it at the end of this month.