Contributions from Joe Bootier (MA, CIE, CIEE, ACSM EP), Ozelle Taylan (MOT/L, CEAS III), Lori Romero-Ellingson (OTR/L, AEP, CIEE, CEASIII, AOEAS) and Megan Otto
You may not realize it, but choosing the right office chair is super important. As many of us spend eight hours a day, five days a week in a chair while working, the perfect office chair for your body and needs can make a world of difference.
We reached out to our experts in worksite health to learn more about what to look for when picking out the best and most ergonomically sound chair for your body and physical needs. Their tips and tricks to choosing the right chair are below, along with three of their favorite chair options.
Whenever possible, we recommend testing a few chairs prior to purchasing one. Ask yourself the below questions and see if the chair can be adjusted to fit your needs accordingly.
Does the backrest support your entire back, especially your lower back?
- One of the most common statements our ergonomists hear is “my back hurts.” Having a chair that both fits and supports your whole back is one of the most important aspects in choosing the right chair. Look for a chair that can adjust to fit your lumbar (up and down), movement (rocking) and posture. You’ll want to adjust the backrest tilt for an upright or slightly reclined position. Meanwhile, the lumbar support should be adjusted to fill the curvature of your lower back.
Are the armrests in my way when working?
- We love a chair that has armrests, but you’ll want to be sure that the armrests are not impacting your posture. Find a chair that allows you to adjust the height of your armrests. Decrease the armrest height to make sure you are not reaching for your keyboard or mouse, or elevating your shoulders. When armrests are too high, many people tend to work above them and hold a contraction between their shoulders and neck which can lead to fatigue and strain. If armrests are too high, people often lean on them, which restricts circulation and can cause numbness in their hands and fingers.
Does the size of the seat fit my body well?
- Finding a chair where you can adjust the seat depth is a big plus. You want to ensure that there is a gap between the back of your knees and the front of the chair that is about two to three fingers wide. Place your feet flat on the floor and adjust your seat depth (and height!) of the chair accordingly.
Three ergonomic chairs to future-proof your home office, as recommended by our experts:
The Herman Miller Aeron Remastered
- This Herman Miller chair was designed specifically so you do not notice pressure or discomfort points when you are sitting in it, allowing you to focus on your work. The Aeron Remastered comes in three sizes and features improved tilt controls and lumbar support positioned lower to better support the pelvis.
- Rated for 24/7 use
- Has an excellent warranty
- Includes recline and forward tilt settings
- Features breathable mesh material
- The mesh seat material can be too firm for some
- Cannot adjust the seat depth
- Cannot adjust the back height
- Retails for $1,395
The Steelcase Leap V2
- This chair is a workhorse of an ergonomic chair! It fits most user’s needs as it offers several adjustments. It is a great choice if you’re looking for all day comfort and support while working at the computer. The Leap is one of the highest rated chairs around and is a great option for individuals or organizations that want one chair that fits most user's needs.
- High quality construction
- Highly adjustable
- Comfortable seat
- 400-pound weight capacity
- No back height adjustment
- The cushioned seat and back feels warmer than a mesh chair
- Retails for $899
The Office Master YES YS88
- This chair delivers all day support and comfort at a mid-range price point. The YES chair fits both medium and tall users well. It features a cushioned seat with a mesh backrest, giving you the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for a seat with adjustability, this is it! You can change the seat slider, tilt-lock and back height to fit your needs. The YES delivers great value and comes with an excellent warranty.
- Excellent adjustability
- 300-pound weight capacity
- 12-year warranty
- Lower cost ergonomic chair, starting at $450
- Does not fit smaller users well
- Mid-range build quality
- Cushion seat feels warmer than mesh
You should always feel comfortable and well-supported by your office chair while at work. If you are unhappy with your current chair or workspace set up, our team of ergonomists are here to help. Connect with a member from our PRN Worksite Health team today via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (408) 586-0800 ext. 10.