General Advice & Guidelines
It’s surprising how often we’re asked if we can recommend a comfortable office chair.
Although it seems like a completely fair question, in reality choosing the right chair is entirely subjective.
An elderly gentleman visited our showroom recently and explained that he had recently slipped a disc in his back.
Naturally, our first recommendation was an ergonomic office chair, in particular an Ergohuman Mesh Chair. Strangely, he didn’t find it particularly comfortable because of his back problems.
In the end, he bought a cheap, hard-backed GGI Bahia polypropylene chair (pictured) with a hard, curved back. This chair actually comes from our education furniture range but he found it the most comfortable and suited his individual needs.
#1 Try Before You Buy
So our first piece of general advice would be to physically try as many chairs as you can until you find one that works for you. That might seem a little obvious but if you’re going to spend long periods sitting in an office chair, it’s imperative that your choice of seating fits your body shape and supports you in all the right places.
Needless to say I’m spoilt for choice working in an office furniture showroom. I personally tried and tested several chairs before I found one that was the most comfortable for me.
If you want to know which chair I use – please comment below 🙂
#2 Adjustment & Tension Controls
Another good reason to try out some chairs before you buy is that ergonomic chairs are adjustable. This means that you might not find them comfortable initially until you have altered some settings.
Most chairs will come with gas lift height adjustment as standard. This is important because to sit correctly at your desk, your eyes should be level with your computer screen.
However, some of the more advanced systems will also allow you to control the following:
Seat Depth – Adjusting seat depth allows you to comfortably reach the back rest while relieving pressure on the back of your knees. When adjusted correctly, it will also help you to sit up straight.
Tilt – Chair tilt is useful for alleviating pressure on the back of your thighs and improving circulation. It allows you to sit with both feet placed firmly on the ground.
Backrest Angle & Height – Another useful feature which gives you full control over the backrest for extra comfort. It allows you to slide the back up or down according to your requirements and adjust the angle to suit your body shape.
Inflatable / Adjustable Lumbar Support – Lumbar refers to the lower region of your spine and back. It is this area which causes the most problems for people who spend long periods sitting at their desks. Therefore, this is one of the most important considerations when choosing a comfortable office chair. The lumbar area of good ergonomic chairs will be adjustable so that it fits the curve of your spine and properly supports your back. Additionally, some chairs have an inflatable lumbar support feature which literally enables you to hand pump air into the part of the chair that supports your back.
#3 Take A Break
Even if you think you have the most comfortable chair in the world, it is still advisable to take a break every hour for 5 or 10 minutes. Most good ergonomic office chairs today will help you to maintain a good posture but you still need to get your circulation going once in a while.
Armrests & Headrests
Armrests – If you decide to have armrests on your chair, it’s better to have ones that are padded and adjustable. Fixed armrests can cause strain on your shoulders and wrists if used for prolonged periods. Adjustable arms can be lowered so that you can get closer to your desk. Also, they can be altered to improve your posture and prevent slouching.
Headrests – A headrest can be added to your chair (see image above) usually for an extra cost. These will generally be adjustable and if properly set up can help to reduce instances of neck, shoulder and upper back pain.
Base & Chair Legs
Here are the most common types of office chair base and legs:
Cantilever frame – What these chairs lack in mobility, they often make up for in comfort. Cantilever frames make the chair ‘springy’ which some users prefer to other types of base . They may not be suitable for heavier users because the back of the chair will be lower than the front. This can encourage users to tilt backwards which could potentially cause back problems.
5-star base with wheels – Offer great stability and mobility.
3 leg base with wheels – Not as stable as 5-star bases but generally cheaper.
4 fixed legs – Not commonly found on most office chairs because people generally want the mobility and flexibility that wheels offer.
Swivel base chair – Most chairs with wheels have bases that spin 360 degrees. Some chairs have auto return bases that will automatically return to their original position when the user stands.
Most people have know what type of material they want for their office chair. Leather and faux leather are popular choices because they can be wiped clean in most cases (see previous blog post Leather Care Guide for tips and advice).
Fabric chairs generally offer a wider range of colour choices and they are less likely to be damaged by sunlight or sharp objects.
Mesh chairs are designed for comfort. The increased air flow through the mesh helps the body to maintain a steady temperature.
Questions / Advice?
If you have any questions relating to office chairs or office furniture in general, please don’t hesitate to call us using the freephone number at the top of this page, or send an email via the Contact Us page.
For our full range of office chairs, please visit: