A chair is to the office worker as a mattress is to all of us – a place we spend way too many hours that absolutely must be comfortable. Thus, the question arises often – how do I pick the best office chair? Again, I’ll use the mattress – chair analogy here; one size definitely does not fit all. Another place this analogy works is price; if you buy a really cheap mattress you’re likely to be unhappy with it over time, and yet a mattress that is extremely high-priced may still be an inappropriate choice. Just as with mattresses, some chairs are firm, and some softer. The right choice is the one that makes you comfortable.
Fit is Everything
There is not a single chair that’s a great choice for everyone. A chair must fit the body that will use it properly and it must be comfortable to the user. That latter point can be subjective. While some people have specific health or pain issues that require specific features, most people can choose a chair based on fit and comfort.
The word ergonomic has a definition but there is no legal requirement for its use thus that label on a chair does not guarantee it meets any ergonomic standards. In order for a chair to be ergonomic, it needs to be solidly constructed and be adjustable enough to fit the body. Thus a chair with fixed arms, or a fixed back and seat doesn’t meet our requirements for an ergonomic chair. The more points of adjustment that a chair offers, the more likely it is to fit the person who sits in it.
Ergonomist don’t always agree on everything but one universal concept is that the human body is meant to move. Sitting in one position for long hours is actually dangerous to your health. When you are looking for a good chair for yourself, find one you can move in. Most chairs accomplish this by offering a tilt, also known as rocking, option and the ability to lock or unlock the tilt. Flip a lever and you can reposition the angle you are sitting at or, in many cases, leave the tilt unlock and move at will. Some chairs, such as the Humanscale Freedom Chair don’t offer a lock, so the chair can move effortlessly with you, or the newest standing desk Fehn Chair.
The best ergonomic office chair:
- Fits your body correctly
- Allows you to change positions throughout the day
- Is comfortable for as many hours as you use it
This is the first in a series of articles that will assist in the search for the best ergonomic office chair. Further articles will cover material options, features, and fit. In the meantime, if you’d like some help narrowing down your choices, we offer a short ergonomic chair selector questionnaire you can complete that will allow us to make some great recommendations. Ten minutes of your time and we’ll help you sit pretty.
Did you find a comfortable office chair? What did you get and how did you choose that one? Tell us your story.