Features to consider when choosing an office chair
There are many features to consider when it comes to finding the right office chair. Whether it’s the dimensions, the material, or the weight capacity, these are the features you’ll want to use to compare your choices.
There are two main types of material that office chairs are made from: leather and mesh. Leather is soft and comfortable and usually covers extra padding on the chair. If you want a really comfortable experience, especially if you sit at your desk for long periods of time, leather is a really good option.
The one downside with leather is that it can cause you to overheat. Furthermore, if you are wearing shorts or a skit, the backs of your legs can stick to the leather, making it a bit uncomfortable.
Mesh is another common material used with office chairs. Mesh office chairs won’t have padding on the back but it will cover a cushion on the seat. The biggest benefit of mesh office chairs is that they are extremely breathable. Because air can flow between you and the back of the chair, you won’t overheat and you definitely won’t become sweaty. If this is an issue, especially if you work all day in a warm climate, then mesh is the winner.
If you do choose mesh, just note that it won’t be as padded and therefore might not be as comfortable. While mesh office chairs are built in an ergonomic way, they are definitely not as soft as leather.
When looking at weight capacity for office chairs, always find a product with a greater weight than you are. And, if possible, add give yourself as much extra room as possible. While office chairs are rigorously tested for their weight capacity, there may be some internal defects. So, if you weight 240 pounds, go for a weight capacity of 300 pounds instead of just 250.
On our list, you can find office chairs with different weight capacities. On the lower end of the scale, the Bush Business Furniture Office Chair has a weight capacity of just 275 pounds. On the other end, the Flash Furniture Hercules Office Chair, the Space Seating Ergonomic Chair, and the HON HVST141 all have weight capacities of 400 pounds.
Backrest and seat dimensions
Nobody wants to squeeze into a chair and be uncomfortable all day long. Instead, you want an office chair that accommodates your size, whatever that may be.
To begin with, let’s look at the backrest. You might think that if you’re shorter, the size doesn’t really matter. However, if you are short and sit in a very tall chair, a lot of the ergonomic aspects are lost. Also remember that office chairs have backrests that can be altered, so you can shift the backrest up if you are taller.
As for seat dimensions, this is especially important if you have a larger waist. Most seats measure around 20 by 20 inches. However, if you have a chair that has movable armrests, you can add more room to the sides. The narrowest seat on our list belongs to SMUGDESK Mesh Executive Chair which has dimensions of just 17.1 by 19.5 inches. The widest seat belongs to the OFM Essentials Leather Chair which has dimensions of 22.6 by 21.5.
Too often, weight capacity is the standard of which to judge an office chair. But a large weight capacity with a narrow seat will not prove comfortable for many people.
One part of an office chair seat you should take note of is the edge. While some office chairs have a more sever edge, others now offer what is called a waterfall edge. For example, seat on the Flash Furniture Hercules Office Chair has a subtle, more curved edge to it. This promotes better circulation and improves comfort while you’re sitting. If you naturally suffer from circulation issues, then you’ll want to find a chair that has this feature.
The overall dimensions of an office chair can actually range quite a bit. They are measured in height, width, and depth, but the height is usually given as a maximum measurement. This is because office chairs can be adjusted, so the maximum height is given to show just how far they can be maneuvered.
The SMUGDESK Mesh Executive Chair is the tallest possible office chair on our list with a maximum height of 47.6 inches. This is in part because of the extra headrest which many office chairs don’t come with.
One area of office chair dimensions you’ll want to pay attention to is the width. This overall measurement will include the armrests, some of which can be moved outward or inward. However, the overall width should not be confused with the width of the seat, which in some ways is more important.
Office chairs with ergonomic properties only work if the person uses it is sitting in a proper manner. No matter what your height is, you should be able to sit at your desk with your feet flat on the ground. If you are shorter, you may have to look for an office chair and an office desk that allow you to adjust the height lower. An alternative would be to have a way to prop your feet up so circulation isn’t cut off.
If you are tall, you will want enough leg room from both your chair and the desk so you don’t feel cramped.
Because of the pneumatic properties of office chairs, the seat height is adjustable. Most office chairs accommodate average heights. If you are taller or shorter than average, you will want to pay attention to the seat height as it could negatively affect both your posture and your concentration.
One thing to note is that you want to find a chair that will lock the seat height. There are many products that will lose their height throughout the day. You might start at the perfect height in the morning, but by afternoon, you may find yourself sitting a few inches lower. While a simple adjustment will fix this during the day, it is nice if you can find the right setting and not have to worry about it again.
If the armrests are adjustable
Many people overlook the importance of armrests but they are actually a very important part of office ergonomics. Your arms should be straight and able to rest firmly on your armrests so you can type at your computer and not feel any strains.
The SMUGDESK Mesh Executive Chair and the Sihoo Ergonomic Office Chair have 3D armrests. This means you can move them backwards, forwards, and side to side. Having that much control over your armrests means you will always be able to find the perfect position.
Caster wheels features
Sometimes you need to quickly wheel yourself from the phone to the printer and back to your desk. Other times you like to add a bit of movement while you’re sitting to increase your concentration. Having the right wheels on your office chair will make both tasks a lot easier.
The sturdiest office chairs will have five spokes at the bottom that lead from the base to the wheels. This will make the chair much more stable.
As for the wheels, they should be able to move in a 360-degree manner, without any impediments. The freer the wheels move, the less risk of snags or annoyances.
The one thing to remember is that caster wheels add to the overall height. If you have found the perfect office chair but it sits too high for your liking, you might be able to replace the wheels with lower ones to offset the overall height.
Ergonomic seat and lumbar support
Whether you sit at your desk for an hour and eight, you need the right support. Your body, and especially your back, should always be supported properly so you don’t suffer any lasting damage. Nowadays, the importance of ergonomics is better understood which is why most office chairs are created to support your back, neck, and arms.
Generally, mesh office chairs offer a bit more ergonomic focus. While the mesh isn’t stiff, it is crafted in a way to provide the most support. Leather chairs, on the other hand, work to cradle your body, and are not always as supportive.
You will also want to pay attention to extra lumbar support. Again, mesh chairs, such as the Sihoo Ergonomic Office Chair are a bit better in this regard. Not only is the mesh curved at the lower back, but there are often extra lumbar supports to help with the lower back.
In addition to the function of an office chair, you will want to pay attention to what it looks like. Mesh office chairs, while solid choices, are often not as accommodating when it comes to design. They can be a bit more utilitarian and are often limited to black mesh material only.
Leather, on the other hand, has more to offer style-wise. Because leather covers extra padding, you can have very different looking chairs. For example, the OFM Essentials Leather Chair has almost extreme padding. It has a naturally curved area to accommodate your seat and lower back and cushions that support your entire back. It looks, and feels, like the perfect place to rest all day long.
While most leather chairs come in a black leather, there are some that offer different color choices. The Bush Business Furniture Office Chair has plenty of color choices to choose from. In addition to standard black, it comes in brown, grey, red, and white.
So, while there still aren’t too many options away from the classic black office chair, it is nice to know that there more design options are now surfacing.