Advice from our Managing Director – Peter Wormersley
In this article I am taking a quick look at what you will find to be the top ten misconceptions about what makes a good office chair. The ten points in the article aren’t in any order of priority; they’re all important things to consider before you buy a new office seat.
Misconception 1 – Just Buy A Cheap Chair, Why Waste Money
Truth – It just isn’t true to say that a cheap chair is all you need, if you are going to be spending any length of time in your office chair, you must make sure it will support your body healthily. The lack of adjustment features on cheap chairs mean it is virtually impossible to get correctly seated in this type of chair.
Choose the right chair first and then worry about the price, this is the right way to look at office chair selection.
Misconception 2 – The Label Says Ergonomic, So That Must Be For Me
Truth – Seating manufacturers are in the business of selling as many chairs as possible, so given the chance their marketing and advertising people are going use the term ergonomic chair freely and frequently. There is no definitive description of what the term means when applied to office seats.
So don’t lose sight of this and always treat descriptions with caution, until you are convinced by the chair’s features and functions that it meets your needs.
Misconception 3 – One Piece Shell Chairs Are The Top Choice
Truth – A lot of very expensive executive and managerial chairs sold today are based on a ‘one piece shell’ construction. A one piece shell chair is one that is made from a single combined back and seat component. Whilst they look great they are often very inflexible as the angle between back and seat remains fixed and consequently can’t be varied to your particular needs.
Yes, they can move forward and recline but always with back and seat at the same angle. This type of chair is best avoided for the sake of your body’s health and comfort.
Misconception 4 – Adjustable Arms Are A Luxury, Fixed Arms Are Fine
Truth – It is a bit frustrating that once you have adjusted your chair’s arms to suit your needs it’s likely you won’t have to move them again. The important thing is though that you are able to set the arms to properly support you. Unless you’re very lucky, fixed arms won’t be set at the correct height for you and are a compromise at best.
Misconception 5 – A Leather Chair Is Always The Top Choice
Truth – Very often choosing a leather office chair isn’t the smartest move. Leather varies enormously in quality. You should always go for quality and avoid cheap, too-good-to-be-true priced leather chairs.
You also need to bear in mind that leather can be quite a difficult surface to sit still on as it tends to be slippery and can also quickly shine your clothes.
Misconception 6 – Well Sculpted Lumbar Supports Are Great
Truth – You just don’t need great lumps of sculpted foam to be comfortable in an office chair. As long as the chair has a lightly shaped lumbar support that should be fine.
If you think about it if a chair has some deeply shaped back foam, it follows that they need to match your own back’s shape. This isn’t very likely and such chair backs will almost always be uncomfortable.
Misconception 7 – Inflatable Lumbar Supports Look Like A Cool Feature
Truth – Having inflatable lumbar supports really shouldn’t be necessary on a good chair. Properly designed, it will enable you to set up the chair back to properly support your back.
Misconception 8 – A High Back Chair Is A Must
Truth – You simply don’t need a high back on your chair, as long as the back gives good support to your lower back you should find that this will keep the rest of your back in a pretty good posture. Just make sure that the back is well adjusted for your lumbar region.
Misconception 9 – An Adjustable Back Doesn’t Matter Much
Truth – An adjustable back actually does matter and is very important to your overall comfort. So make sure that the chair you select has a back that can be both height and angle adjusted easily.
Misconception 10 – A Big Chair Is The Way To Go
Truth – We all like to feel important and what better way to do so than buying a nice big chair to make a statement. Well, unless you’re a nice big person you will invariably find such chairs unwieldy and uncomfortable.
A chair should fit your body size as closely as possible rather like a pair of gloves, this is why Herman Miller makes the Aeron in 3 different sizes, quite simply we aren’t all the same size and shape. You really do need to pay close attention to your body size when selecting an office chair.
If you apply this list of misconceptions to the selection of your next office chair, you’ll very likely avoid buying the wrong chair and will instead pick one that is closely matched to your specific needs.