When you work in an office, your chair is simply something that is there.
You take it for granted because the decision making process of “what chair” has been made for you.
Then you start working from home and you have to source your own chair for the first time and then you notice, there are a huge number of different types of home office chairs!
So, let’s take a look at the main types and what the pros and cons of each of them are.
Active Sitting Chairs
These chairs are a bit of a newfangled idea and we’re not sure exactly how good they are at delivering their proposed benefits.
The idea is simple, by creating a chair that has an unstable seat, you will be forced to move a bit all day long and, in theory, you won’t find yourself being killed by your chair.
The trouble with this is that we’ve no measurable data to see that this is true, if you check out our study on how many calories you burn when you use a standing desk, you’ll see that though there are “big health benefits” touted for standing desks, they don’t actually materialize in reality.
So, while we don’t see anything wrong with buying an active sitting chair our advice remains the same – as in our wellness tips for home workers – you need to exercise every day to stay healthy and this won’t do instead.
Balance Ball Chairs
Take a yoga ball and combine it with a chair and you get a balance ball chair. The idea is simply, if you have to fight for balance constantly, it will improve the strength of your core and your legs.
We’d note that they are not designed to be used all day long but in short 20-30 minutes bursts and while we have concerns that they may not deliver as powerful a set of benefits as advertised…
We don’t see that they can hurt either. And maybe they do improve blood circulation, burn calories and help you focus better? If so, that’s an added bonus.
Just don’t use them all the time, they will tire you out and if used constantly, they can damage your posture.
Big And Tall Chairs
If you are either big or tall or both at the same time, you want to ensure that you buy an office chair that won’t collapse under you and which adjusts to your body frame effectively.
That’s a big and tall chair – they can carry loads up to 1,000 lbs and they have better padding, armrests, etc. to support the larger user.
When buying a big and tall chair, it’s important to check the exact tolerances of the chair and ensure that it conforms to your needs.
If you need to both stand and sit for hours at a time, then a drafting chair is the ideal choice and we’d recommend that if you use a standing desk, you keep a drafting chair nearby.
It’s easy to move between sitting and standing positions when using this chair and it provides the right support for your back, limbs and body weight.
They should offer height adjustment and ideally, some sort of foot rest for when you are sat down.
We firmly believe that all chairs that you buy for long-term use should be ergonomic and you can combine “ergonomic” design with any other chair design.
These are highly adjustable chairs that ensure you don’t get neck, back or shoulder pain when you spend all day at your desk.
Look out for lumbar support, swivel support, adjustable components, adjustable padding, high quality casters, etc.
Executive Office Chairs
Yes, this is the kind of chair that your boss (or their boss) probably had in the office but there’s no reason you shouldn’t have one as the supreme ruler of your home office.
These chairs do cost more but tend to be super comfortable and they may even have bonus features like massage pillows.
If you suffer from back pain then an angled chair which forces the lower body into a “kneeling posture” may be the way to heal things up.
You should talk to a physician or physiotherapist before investing in a kneeling chair to see if it’s likely to help your back.
It is important to note that these chairs are never meant to be sat in all day long and you can seriously damage yourself if you use them inappropriately.
Leather Office Chairs
This is really just a variation of the executive chair which is covered in leather, pleather or bonded leather.
Pleather is made of polyurethane, it’s not real leather, and pleather is cheap, waterproof, durable, and very easy to keep clean.
Bonded leather is a hybrid of pleather and leather. It doesn’t last very well though and if you leave in direct sunlight, it will fall to pieces pretty quickly.
Leather is the real deal and it lasts very well, indeed. It’s also the most comfortable. However, it takes a lot of looking after to keep it looking good.
Mesh Office Chairs
Mesh is a highly breathable synthetic fabric and if you find you perspire at your desk, consider a mesh chair.
They tend to be very ergonomically designed as mesh is quite a modern material and you’ll find that most mesh chairs are super comfy.
These look like a saddle that you’d put on a horse and they tend to be used with high positioned desks.
These are the only desk chairs specifically grouped by the biological sex of the user too, a divided saddle is more comfortable for those born male as it removes pressure on the perineal area and the solid is better for those born female.
These chairs can be very good for your back and they are designed to be used all day long.
Joe Rogan is a famous user of a saddle chair.
Sit Stand Chairs
This is a leaning chair design that is meant to complement the use of a standing desk and allows the user to drop in and out of a standing position whenever they want.
If you want to go this route, make sure to pick a chair with an anti-fatigue mat, it makes it easier to use the sit stand chair all day long.
Petite And Small Chairs
For those at the other end of the scale from big and tall, you can also find chairs that are a bit smaller than the average.
This can make it easier on the back and joints of a smaller person as they don’t have to strain in a position set too high for them, or too far back for that matter.
As always, pay close attention to the specifics when shopping for this kind of chair, make sure it really does fit you well.
Choosing a home office chair can seem quite daunting at first due to all the different types of home office chairs, but in reality, it’s quite simple.
Find a design that you like that supports the way you work and then go from there. Focus on comfort and you’ll be fine.