Before you buy an office chair, consider that a good office chair is much like an efficient office assistant. A good office chair and efficient office assistant both offer such good support throughout the day that you don’t even notice them. A comfortable office chair makes it easy for you to do your own job, and go from task to task without it getting in your way. Here are some features you should be looking for when you buy an office chair.
Height Adjustable Seat
You should be able to adjust the height of your office chair to your own height. For optimal comfort you should be seated so that your thighs are horizontal to the floor. Look for a pneumatic adjustment lever to let you bring the seat up or lower.
You should be able to position your office chair backrest in a way that suits your task. If the backrest is attached to the seat you should be able to move it forward or backward. A locking mechanism that holds it in place is good so that the back does not suddenly tilt backwards.
A backrest that is separate from the seat should be height adjustable, and you should be able to angle it to your satisfaction as well.
A contoured backrest on your office chair will give your back the comfort and support it needs. Pick an office chair shaped to match the natural contour of your spine.
Any office chair worth buying will offer lumbar support. Your lower back should be supported in such a way that it is slightly arched all the time so that you don’t slump as the day progresses. It is best to try out this feature so that you get lumbar support at the point you need it. Good lower back or lumbar support is essential to minimize strain or compression on the lumbar discs in your spine.
Sufficient Seat Depth and Width
The office chair seat should be wide and deep enough to let you sit comfortably. Look for a deeper seat if you are taller, and a shallower one if not so tall. Ideally, you should be able to sit with your back against the backrest and have approximately 2-4 inches between the back of your knees and the seat of the office chair. You should also be able to adjust the tilt of the seat forward or backward depending on how you choose to sit.
Material and Padding
A material that lets your body breathe is more comfortable when sitting on your office chair for extended periods. Fabric is a good option, but many new materials offer this feature as well.
The padding should be comfortable to sit on and it is best to avoid a seat that is too soft or too hard. A hard surface will be painful after a couple of hours, and a soft one will not offer enough support.
Get an office chair with armrests to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders. The armrests should be adjustable as well, to let you position them in a way that lets your arms rest comfortably while making you less likely to slouch.
Make sure all adjustment controls on your office chair can be reached from a seated position, and you do not have to strain to get to them. You should be able to tilt, go higher or lower, or swivel from a seated position. It is easier to get the height and tilt just right if you are already sitting. You will become so used to adjusting your chair that you will not have to make a conscious effort to do so.
Swivel and Casters
The ability to move around in your chair adds to its usefulness. You should be easily able to rotate your chair so that you can reach different spots in your work area for maximum efficiency.
Casters give you easy mobility, but make sure to get the right ones for your floor. Choose a chair with casters designed for your floor, whether it is a carpet, hard surface or a combination.