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Different Office Chair Types and Their Ergonomics
Jul 11, 2022
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There is no denying that working at a corporate office where one has to sit behind a desk for hours on end is exhausting. This exhaustion can quickly seep into our mood, make us irritable, and, more importantly, have adverse effects on our health. But the good news is that you can reduce your degree of tiredness with the right furniture to support you all day, such as an ergonomic chair or even a standing desk like the Willow Solid Wood Standing Desk.

In simple terms, choosing the right ergonomic office chair- or any other furnishing for that matter can make a world of difference in a white-collar employee's physical wellbeing. However, that’s not an easy task to do because of the many chair varieties available in the market. With the furniture market bursting with seats, you cannot simply pick one and be on your way. You need to think about your choices and choose the right one because it will impact your overall health and body posture. Keeping that in mind, we decided to give the lowdown on different office chair types and their ergonomics.

Here is everything about office chairs so that you know how to choose the right type of ergonomic office chair.

Ergonomic Chairs

Ergonomic Chairs

The first entry on our list is ergonomic chairs that are specifically designed to provide users support and comfort. Support and comfort can often be used interchangeably when discussing office chairs because a comfortable chair is bound to be comfortable. Well, not really!

A comfortable chair means one with plush cushions, headrests, and all such features that feel good to the body. However, having all said characteristics will not guarantee that a seat is supportive in that it keeps the user's spine straight and neck upright. A supportive chair is one that supports a neutral posture to improve circulation and keep the spine erect.

To cut a long story short, ergonomic chairs have both qualities. They will keep your back straight while also providing sufficient comfort.

With everything said, it’s important to mention that an ergonomic chair is quite costly. But it saves users a lot of money in the long run by preventing many disorders such as cervical spondylosis, back pain, etc. In other words, you will not have to run to the doctor for backache or other problems that come from improper posture.

Common characteristics of an ergonomic chair are

Adjustable height
Cushioned seat and back
Modifiable headrest, armrest, and in some models, footrest too
Lumbar support
360-degree smooth swivel
Recline-able, the ability to tilt
Reliable base
Nylon caster wheels
Sliding seat pan

Executive Office Chairs

Executive Office Chairs

As the name pretty much gives away, executive office chairs are pretty lavish in that they are heavily padded and appear formidable or rather make the person sitting in one look so.

They are made with super-fine materials such as leather and high-quality wood. Many people confuse executive office chairs with ergonomic ones, but that's not the case. The former is all about luxury and may or may not support the body as the latter ones do.

Defining features of an executive office chair include

A thickly cushioned seat, headrest, and armrest
Upholstered in top-grade fabric

Leather Chairs

Leather Chairs

Leather office chairs fall under the category of executive models but are often recognized as different furnishings, even though they aren't.

A moniker leather chair is self-explanatory as it is made with the finest leather and is overstuffed.

Executive office chairs or leather chairs are typically used by the high up on the office hierarchal ladder. That means CEOs, CFO, senior managers, and people with similar designations have the said furnishings to go with their desks.

Common leather varieties used to make leather chairs include

Polyurethane or faux leather
Bonded leather
Genuine leather

Drafting Chairs

Drafting Chairs

If you are an artist, architect, or painter, you would know what a drafting chair is. For those who don't know, a drafting chair is one that allows artists to work at elevated heights and not stand for too long.

People involved in arts and crafts often need to stand in order to draw or design pieces. But that can be tiring, and that is where drafting chairs help. They enable artists and architects to stand for however long they wish to and sit on an elevated chair without breaking workflow.

Telltale characteristics of a drafting chair are

Pneumatic height control
Nylon seamlessly-gliding wheels
Swivel
Foot rings

Mesh Office Chairs

Mesh Office Chairs

Mesh office chairs are arguably one of the most commonly used furniture pieces in workplaces. They are known for their breathability, which allows moisture to trickle away. Mesh is a net-like material that makes the back of said chairs; hence sweat from the user’s back can easily pass through.

These chairs often feature some qualities of an ergonomic chair, such as a waterfall seat edge and lumbar support.

Ball Chairs

Photo Credit: Amazon

Ball Chairs

As strange as the name sounds, a ball chair is a good furnishing option when working at a desk. However, it cannot (and shouldn’t) be used for long hours. It comes with a giant inflatable ball, aka a yoga ball, in place of the seat, often supported by a backrest so that it's considered a 'chair.'

Ball or yoga chairs are excellent for tightening the core, burning calories, improving blood circulation, and enhancing productivity. But as mentioned above, you cannot use these for a long while as they can cause poor posture and make the user worn out. They are good for people working to bring their bodies in shape.

If you wish to work your body and burn calories, don't run head-on straight into the balancing ball chair camp and get one for your office. First, try using it at home and see how your body responds. If you think you can manage using it at work or switch between a traditional chair and the ball chair, only then consider buying it.

Kneeling Chairs

Photo Credit: Amazon

Kneeling Chairs

Kneeling chairs are designed to keep the knees bent while working at a desk. They make users lean forward, spreading the stress throughout the pelvic region and legs. Getting a kneeling chair is a suitable choice if you want to engage your core and reduce pressure on your lower back.

When we lean forward by sitting on the edge of a seat and bending the knees, our weight gets distributed over the lower section of our body. As a result, our back is not strained, and our core muscles become active.

But as with most non-traditional chairs, a kneeling chair comes with its fair share of drawbacks, such as

It doesn't allow the user to move their legs much-an activity needed to relax the limbs while working.
It negatively impacts circulation in the legs
It can cause cramping in the legs

Active Sitting Chairs

Active Sitting Chairs

An active sitting chair comes with an unstable seat that keeps shifting along with the weight present on it. That is, when the user moves even in the slightest, the seat will also move in the same direction.

Active sitting chairs are designed to keep users active and in motion as much as possible while sitting. They can sometimes have short backrests to force the person sitting on one to stay erect as the seat under them moves.

Sit-Stand Chairs

Photo Credit: Health Postures

Sit-Stand Chairs

As the title implies, a sit-stand chair refers to a seat that can change shapes according to the user’s need allowing them to sit or stand whenever they want.

Bike Chairs

Bike Chairs

If you are a fitness fanatic, you must love the concept of bike chairs. They are basically an amalgamation of the fitness equipment stationary bike and a regular chair. When using one, you sit on a seat as in an ordinary chair, but the lower portion of the furnishing is like a bike with pedals for you to ride.

Simply put, now you can burn calories while typing away on your laptop. However, bike chairs are not drawback-free. They can interfere with your work and affect your concentration. So, only go for it if you can multitask!

Choosing the Right Chair

Choosing the Right Chair

Now that you are aware of the most common type of office chair, it's time for a few tips that will help you pick the right option for yourself.

Know Your Needs

The first and foremost thing to know before you go office furniture shopping is your requirements. Ask yourself do you need, do you want comfort over support, or do you want both? Do you want a chair that allows you to burn calories and keeps you active? By answering these questions, you will narrow your options, reducing confusion and double-mindedness.

Consider Buying Two If You Are Trying a New Model

Let’s say you decide to give the active sitting chair a chance, but you haven’t used it before. So, instead of investing in just that one, think about buying a mesh or ergonomic model as well to be able to switch between the two, if need be.

Ending Note

Office chairs play a pivotal role in our lives as they significantly affect our health and posture. Therefore, be sure to buy the right chair if you wish to stay fit.