Types Of Office Chairs | Different Types Of Chairs Explained

Types Of Office Chairs | Different Types Of Chairs Explained2021-10-11T10:22:53+00:00

If the average desk-bound office worker were to determine how much time they spend in their office chair, they would probably be surprised. Working 40 hours per week, it is estimated that they would rack up approximately 1900 hours over a year. That is why chair is one of the most important, if not the single most important piece of office furniture. The choice of office chair must go beyond aesthetics. To find out what to look for in a perfect task chair for the office, how to pick the best office chair for your employees and don’t spend a fortune, take look at our buying guide, as well as our top pick for the top 5 office chairs.

Herman Miller office chairs on white background

Types of Office Chairs

Looking for a new office chair for your desk? With so many options to choose from, it can be tough to know what to go with. This overview of different types off chairs will help you narrow down your options and decide what’s the best office chair for your needs.

Executive chairs

executive leather chair

Executive chairs are the upgraded versions of computer chairs, usually a high-back featuring leather upholstery and stately design. The most distinguishing feature of an executive chair is the presence of a headrest, that can be built-in or detachable. The higher back and headrest of an executive chair give it a more impressive look that’s fitting for corner executive offices, but also provide additional head and back support.

Computer chairs

basic computer chair

These are the most basic of the bunch. The term’ computer chair’ includes several different types of desk chairs, including ergonomic chairs and armless chairs. In fact, any chair you use at a computer desk could be considered a computer chair, but those which we call computer chairs or desk chairs typically feature very few ergonomic adjustments. A basic low-back computer chair is the most cost-effective, but definitely not the most comfortable seating option for the office.

Ergonomic chairs

ergonomic chair sitting position

Many office workers spend most of their time sitting. If you are one, you know how important a comfortable chair is. And ergonomic chairs provide a special kind of comfort that doesn’t put a strain on your body and allows you to perform your tasks in the most efficient way. These chairs feature multiple ergonomic adjustments that enable the user to easily find his or her ideal seated position by adjusting the chair accordingly. Ergonomic chairs are commonly recommended for use as task seating as they have the ability to conform to a wide range of body types and user needs.

24 hour task chairs

24 Hour chairs are, as the name implies, designed to be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are suited for call centers, 911 dispatchers, control rooms, and other applications that have someone constantly seated round-the-clock. These heavy-duty seating options are reinforced to withstand constant use, making them the best office chair for applications such as army bases and 24-hour call centers.

Drafting stools

height adjusting drafting stool

Drafting chairs or stools are ideal for use at standing height workstations as they allow the user to easily switch between sitting and standing in seconds. They are designed for people who need a full range of motion at the workplace. Most drafting stools come with very few ergonomic settings, but all are height adjustable and have a much greater height range than computer chairs.

Kneeling chairs

kneeling chair ergonomic position

Kneeling chairs presented an entirely new way of sitting that promised to ease those aches and pains experienced day-to-day by so many office workers around the world. A kneeling chair is a type of chair for sitting in a position with the thighs dropped to an angle of about 60° to 70° from vertical. Kneel chairs were especially popular before active seating options gained popularity, but are quickly being replaced by ball chairs and other active sitting solutions.

Active seating

With new research confirming that a sedentary office lifestyle is leading to increased health issues, standing desks are becoming more and more popular and active seating is taking the world by storm. However, there are steps you can take to make even the process of sitting healthier, and that’s done via active sitting. Active seating includes the ever-popular ball chair as well as newer, more unique solutions such as leaning chairs. These chairs and stools force the user to balance while seated, providing comfort while allowing the user to fidget in order to burn energy and stay active.

Studying chairs

Chairs for studying must have an ergonomic design and provide comfort to the student that will spend many hours on it, studying hard. Those are usually ergonomic office chairs that can be used for many other things, but, for studying, those are the best. Other types of chairs simply don’t provide enough support, which is much needed when studying hard for that hard exam.

Leather Office Chairs

Leather Office Chair

Leather office chairs are, simply put, any office chair that is covered in leather. These types of chairs quite often resemble the executive chairs. Since they are big, leather office chairs are comfortable because their size allows for a lot of padding. Not only they are comfortable, but they are also so stylish that they would make anyone who sits on this type of chair feel a lot more confident and special. There are three types of leather office chairs and are classified by the type of leather they are made from.

1. PU leather – Faux leather, or polyurethane leather as it’s also called, is a type of leather that actually isn’t real leather at all, rather an imitation of it. Since it is not real leather, rather an artificial one, chairs made from PU leather are quite cheap and don’t have the great looks that real leather has, but they do have some positive sides. PU leather is very easy to clean and is considered vegan. However, it can crack much easier than real leather and can have a bad smell.

2. Bonded leather – The second type of leather is called “bonded leather” because it contains 10 to 20% of the actual real leather. Consider it a combination of fake and real leather. Like faux leather, it can have a bad smell and it doesn’t have the softness to it that real leather has. Also, the lifespan of bonded leather chairs isn’t great, and its repairs can be time and money-consuming. But, the price is considerably lower than the real leather, so for those who are on a budget, a bonded leather office chair is a good option.</0>

3. Real leather – The absolute best option if you are looking to get a leather office chair is to get the one made from real leather. Sure, they have a high price, but the positive sides to them are countless. Real leather ages like fine wine; the longer you have it, the softer it becomes. Also, its looks are much, much better than the fake ones and are more breathable. However, even real leather has its downsides, which include the constant cleaning and care that you have to put in and the much easier staining compared to the ones with imitation leather.

Mesh Office Chairs

For the people who live in hotter places and for those who sweat a lot while working, mesh office chairs are the ultimate choice because they add a ton of breathability and airflow. The mesh is usually found on the backrest, but some chairs have the seat made from mesh. The knit on mesh chairs are intertwined and therefore they create a large mesh surface.

High-end mesh chairs can get pretty pricey, but the quality and durability of the mesh found on these chairs are levels above the one found on budget mesh chairs. So, look for chairs with soft and durable mesh. Herman Miller Aeron is a great example of a high-quality mesh chair. On the other hand, cheap mesh office chairs can have a bad quality mesh that can itch your skin and cause irritations, and nobody wants that.

Conference chairs

Conference chairs are all about, as their name implies, conferences. Since they are used for conferences only, these are designed and engineered to keep their user focused at the meeting. That also means that conference chairs aren’t as comfortable as other chairs on this list, and the lumbar support they offer is somewhat slim. However, their mission isn’t to be crazy comfortable yet to keep the user concentrated at the conference. They are also very inexpensive because of their lack of lumbar support and padding, and that means that you can’t spend more than a couple of hours on them.

Gaming chairs

Gaming Chair

Not quite associated with offices, more with home offices and gaming spaces, gaming chairs can be a great option for you even if you aren’t a gamer. Why? Because gaming chairs are big, roomy, have a ton of padding and adjustments, like the adjustable arms. The parts of regular gaming chairs are very similar to those found in office chairs, yet their design and style are quite different.

In many cases, gaming chairs are colorful, have logos on them, and resemble racing chairs. But, since they are designed for gamers who are spending a lot of time gaming and streaming, they must be comfortable for long hours. Another huge difference compared to the regular office chairs is that the gaming chairs have higher backs. If that is not an issue for you, you can use a gaming chair for work and study also because of the padding and support they offer. There are also pricier gaming chairs that have massagers in them, so that can be a great, in-handy feature that will help you relax after a long day of work.

Big & Tall Office Chairs

Tall, big people can fit on the regular office chairs, so this is where these types of chairs, big and tall, come into help. They are specifically designed for taller and bigger users, so you can expect a heavy-duty frame and a wide and big seat to fit its big users.

Everything is bigger on big & tall chairs, including the armrests and the backrest. The weight limit is also much higher than on regular office chairs.

Small and Petite Chairs

Just like there are chairs for tall and big people, there are also chairs for smaller people which have smaller parts and features that are designed for people with a smaller frame. Lower armrest, lower lumbar support, and lower headrest are standard features on these chairs. They are also lighter than the standard office chairs.

Petite chairs make sitting on them a much more enjoyable experience for smaller people than they would have with regular chairs and importantly, a lot fewer issues with back pain.

Armless Office Chairs

These are similar to standard office chairs except for arms. Arms on office chairs can take up a lot of space, therefore making it harder to put under the desk. Armless office chairs are a solution to that problem. They are also cheaper than office chairs because of their lack of arms. So, the big plus with armless chairs is their versatility, space-saving abilities, and affordable price.

Ergonomic Chair Design

There have been many ergonomics studies done and it has been shown that a supportive office chair increases productivity and maximizes the efficiency of the person sitting in it. A good, supportive office chair prevents fatigue and discomfort that can come from siting in the same chair for hours on end. A bad office chair, on the other hand, can lead to back strain, leg problems, and carpal tunnel, all of which cause lost time at work and send turn send productivity spiraling. But is the ergonomic model really the best office chair there is?

A whole purpose of an ergonomic chair is to keep your body in a good neutral position. That means with both feet on the floor, your hips a bit above your knees, your spine balanced over your pelvis, backrest giving you support in your low back, armrests are out of the way, so your arms are free to move. Ergonomic chairs are designed to be fully adjustable so they can fit different bodies perfectly.

Ideally, an ergonomic office chair is designed so you can adjust not only the height of the chair, but also the tilt of the seat, position and height of the backrest, and be able to slide the seat back and forward. The more adjustability the chair offers, it’s more likely you will be able to stay in that neutral position that doesn’t put a strain on your body and doesn’t cause discomfort in your back, neck and legs.

What to Look for in an Office Chair

Office chairs are one of the focal points in any office, and many people care more about the looks than about how it influences the health of the person who uses it. However, the ergonomic design should be a priority when looking for a chair for your office. Here are few things to consider to make sure you have picked a good, supportive office chair:

Lumbar Support

A good office chair has to have support for the lower back. Some of the better models even have adjustable lumbar support allowing the user to fit the chair to their lower back like using mid-back mesh. This prevents back strain that can worsen and become sciatica – a potentially debilitating condition.

Adjustability

Almost all office chairs have a height and arm adjustment, but this is just basing adjusting and not the most important ones if you are looking for a really comfortable chair. The best office chairs have at least five adjustments with some having up to 14 different adjustments. Important features that should be adjustable include lumbar support, arm width and height, seat back width and height, seat and back angle, and tension control. Many of the supports are dial controlled while a few are controlled with a hand-held bulb pump, similar to a blood pressure cuff pump.

Wheel Base

Nearly all office chairs have a wheelbase; however, if the office is carpeted it may be necessary to get a chair with wheels specifically made for carpet. Rolling is important in preventing strain due to reaching across a desk to retrieve items that are out of reach.

Swivel Base

All office chairs should swivel freely to allow for easy access to various parts of the desk. If the chair doesn’t swivel freely, arm fatigue can result from over-extending to reach various items.

Fabric

The fabric should be breathable to keep the chair from becoming hot and uncomfortable after hours of sitting in it. In addition, it should have enough cushion to support the person sitting in it without feeling the base of the chair through the cushion.