So often at Ergoprise we are asked to help recommend a chair for an individual. The request is usually followed with the statement, “I can only spend between $200-$499” so I doubt that the chair will be ergonomic. I quickly reassure the person that we carry affordable, true ergonomic chairs.
The term ergonomic is not regulated and is often listed on a label so the user thinks it is valid. Here is an easy understanding for the definition of the phrase ergonomic; the equipment works for the person, as opposed to the person contorting their body to fit the equipment. In other words, the chair needs to fit the user, not the other way around.
How to choose a good, affordable ergonomic chair
The chair may well be the most important part of an office setup as the wrong chair can cause serious pain and injury. In order for a chair to qualify as an ergonomic chair, it is important to have a minimum level of adjustment specific features. I consider the decision of choosing options for the chair similar to the experience of visiting a car or home showroom. Would it be nice to have all the bells & whistles; most definitely, yes. However, are all of the options necessary? The answer is no.
When considering what to opt for in a chair, one must if the individual you are buying the chair for is uncomfortable or in pain. If so we recommend that the person seeks an examination from a health care provider (physician, chiropractor, physical or occupational therapist) before replacing their chair.
There are five specific features I always recommend for a chair, regardless of the budget.
- An Adjustable Back, this can be achieved by either a mechanism that has a ratchet back or an independent lever or paddle that allows the back to be adjusted. It is quite important to have the back supported (this includes the cervical, thoracic & lumbar regions).
- Height adjustable arms, often on many chairs the arms do not go low enough.
- Width Adjustable Arms, on many chairs (both inexpensive & expensive) the arms do not have the ability to be width adjustable. It is really important that arms are as close to body. Specifically for petite individuals, since most arms are too wide for their frame.
- Seat Depth Adjustment (also referred to as a seat slider). If one has the back of their knees pressed against the front edge of the chair it can cause pain and restrict circulation. Conversely if the knees are several inches away from the edge of the seat, the lower back is not being supported. The seat depth adjuster/seat slider allows the individual to adjust the seat to his or her correct location. A good rule to measure if the seat depth is correct, an individual should have 2-4 fingers spaced from the front edge of the chair to the back of the knees.
- The Weight Limit of the chair. If you weigh more than 250 lbs. this should be dispelled when deciding upon the chair. Most chairs are weight rated to 250 lbs. If one purchases a chair that is not equipped to hold their weight, the chair can break and the individual can become hurt. The warranty of the chair will be voided should the user weigh more than what it is rated.
Here are five chairs that meet basic ergonomic requirements and are under $500
Eurotech Apollo MFHB9SL High Back Task Chair with Headrest Seating with a mission… breathable black mesh synchro-tilt backrest, molded foam waterfall seat are combined with adjustability for out-of-this-world comfort and state-of-the-art control. Tilt Tension Control, Center Tilt, Tilt Lock, Back-Angle Adjustment, Seat Height Adjustment, Waterfall Seat, Forward Seat Tilt, Back Height Adjustment, Seat Depth Adjustment, Width Adjustable Arms and Height Adjustment Arms. Weight Capacity 250 lbs. The chair costs $279 (shipping waived in the 48 continuations states). It is also available in a fabric seat from $305.
Allseating Presto Highback With its rugged construction, contoured back and 4” thick seat, the Presto delivers the magic combination of versatility, durability and functionality. The Value Plus Mechanism includes seat height adjustment, forward seat angle adjustment, seat depth adjustment, tension control, back height adjustment, infinite tilt lock, back angle adjustment. We recommend the height & width adjustable T arm. In a grade 1 fabric this chair costs $400 (shipping waived in the 48 continuations states).
Via Riva Act2 Mid Back Mesh Chair features a sculpted mesh back with an adjustable lumbar support standard. Sleek contours are designed to support your body in comfort over a long work day. The mesh back is a soft mesh that is not abrasive to your clothes and gives with the curves of your back for a custom fit. We suggest the Syncro Control mechanism for optimal adjustment capabilities.
Mechanical Functions: Swivels 360°, Ratchet back height adjustment, Gas cylinder seat height adjustment, Sliding seat. Back recline tension adjustment, Weight capacity 300 lbs. We recommend the full functional arm. In a grade 1 fabric this chair costs $422 and it ships free.
Officemaster Affirm Mid Back Chair This attractive and affordable chair actually has all the adjustability required to make it a great office chair. The waterfall front helps keep this chair from pinching you behind the knees if your legs aren’t long enough. You can also make it your own. Unlike most mesh back chairs that only offer black mesh, the Affirm offers 9 different color meshes plus a host of fabric options for your seat and still stay under $400 with adjustable arms. Mechanical functions include the usual swivel, seat height and depth adjustment, back height adjustment, adjustable height arms (optional but included for $386 total), and synchro-tilt mechanism.
RFM Rainer 3600 Series Medium Back Chair This chair looks basic but has features rarely found at this price point. Optional arms (included in this price) are height and width adjustable. It includes all the basic adjustments required to make a chair fit the user. What makes the Rainer unique is that you can add a tractor shaped seat. A tractor seat spreads your weight more evenly, easing the stress on your back. You can also select the seat size you need so this will fit petite and not so petite people better than so called “average” sized chairs. If you have a bad back and a tight budget, this is the chair for you. Like most of the chairs we recommend, you have a selection of fabrics to choose from so it looks great in your office. $367 and it ships free.
Should you have questions about chairs please do not hesitate to contact us at 877-907-8688, or via live chat. Please feel free to complete our chair questionnaire and we can help take the guess work out of searching for the chair that fits your requirements.
Ergoprise: is a certified, woman-owned, multi-brand provider of high quality office, mobile, and industrial ergonomic tools located in Austin, Texas. Through our showroom, website, and sales team we offer a broad range of ergonomic products that have been selected to provide individuals with a comfortable working environment that delivers an excellent return on investment.