Buying the Best Office Chair: Top 4 Things to Consider

Did you know that, on average, Australians spend nearly 10 hours of every day sitting? It’s no wonder, then, that when the time comes to replace your office chair, you definitely want to invest in one that is well suited to your needs—after all, you’re going to be in it quite often. The right chair for you should make it easier for you to work while providing body support in key areas.

While the search can feel daunting, given all of the new bells and whistles and comfort options available on modern office chairs, we’ve narrowed the field in terms of what to look for when buying a new chair. Here’s our list of the top things to consider when buying the best office chair for the workplace or home office.

Set Your Budget

Buying an office chair is very similar to buying a car—the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can spend, so it’s a good idea (unless you’re wildly wealthy and, if that is the case, congrats!) to go into the process knowing what you can afford. And, while there is some truth in this case that you get what you pay for, take comfort in knowing it IS possible to buy a fully functional and comfortable office chair without breaking the bank.

If your budget is tight, you might consider buying a chair second hand. Opting for a pre-owned office chair means you can get more bang for your buck, as high-end chairs are designed to last longer than their more economical competitors. Often, businesses change their aesthetic before the furniture has worn out, so it’s possible to get a great deal on a quality chair with years of life left in it.

Ergonomic Features

If the comfort of your chair isn’t high on your priority list, it should be. Having the ability to adjust various aspects of a chair means you’re going to be able to achieve a custom fit based on your needs and enjoy a much more comfortable sitting experience while working. Learn more about the importance of ergonomics in office chairs here.

Adjustability varies widely depending on the brand. While chairs offering five areas of adjustment are great, there are models that allow you to make up to 14 individual adjustments (that’s some serious fine tuning). At a minimum, you should have adjustability in these key areas:

Lumbar Support – allows you to adjust support to lower back, reducing the risk of back strain.
Seat Pan – allows you to slide the seat itself forward or backward
Back Rest – allows you to adjust the incline of the chair
Seat Height – should be able to raise or lower the height of the seat
Arm Rest Height – allows you to raise or lower the arm rests and move them away from or closer to the chair

Give It a Test Spin

It’s easy to be enticed by bargain-basement prices for chairs you find online but, if at all possible, you should try to test out the chair you’re considering BEFORE you make a purchase. No matter how many glowing online reviews a chair receives, unless you’ve spent some time in the seat, you can’t know if it’s the right chair for you and your needs.

While a brief experience in a chair won’t equate to an eight hour work day, it often helps you narrow the field—if a chair is instantly uncomfortable, the comfort level is unlikely to improve over a long work day. Trying out a variety of brands and styles in person helps you discover what you love (and what you don’t). You can then take this knowledge with you as you search online for a great bargain-basement deal.

Consider the Casters and Swivel

This is one of those small things that can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with your chair. When trying out chairs, be sure to confirm the turning radius will allow you to reach everything in your office area.

Make sure you take a look at the casters on chairs and choose wheels made for your office flooring—some are specifically designed for hardwood, carpet or both. If you fall in love with a chair that has casters not designed for your flooring, you can always invest in a chair mat to avoid any damage.

Whether you are looking for a new chair for the workplace or your home office, it’s worth the effort to do a little research and spend time trying out different brands of office chairs. After all, the right chair can reduce fatigue and physical discomfort, and improve workplace productivity.

So, don’t underestimate the power of a good office chair. It IS possible to strike a balance between economical and comfortable…and your body will thank you for going to the effort to search out a quality chair in the long run.

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