Ergonomic Vs. Regular Chair – What Makes a Chair Ergonomic?

Office Table and Chair

Ergonomic chairs are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace as they are designed to increase productivity, promote good posture, less exertion, and reduce musculoskeletal disorders. But do you need them at home? Let’s find it out in this article.

Office/Desk Chair – Buying Options

When shopping for a desk chair, you will find that they are of two types. First, task chairs and second, executive chairs. As the name suggests, task chairs are office chairs designed to pair with computer desks and are common type of chairs found in offices. The executive chairs on the other hand are designed to flaunt status and authority. They are made out of high-quality fabric or leather; and feature luxurious details.

Ergonomic option is available in both the chairs.

What Makes a Chair Ergonomic?

Buying an ergonomic office chair is not easy if you don’t know what makes them ergonomic. An Ergonomic chair will typically include the following features:

  1. Height Adjustable Seat: This is very important in order to put your body weight evenly on your back and feet. The ideal position for the height of the seat is just below your knee cap. If you find that your back is strained, you better raise the chair. If you feel more pressure on the front of the seat or on your knees, you need to lower it a bit. There is one very important detail regarding height adjustment that is necessary for you to know. It is about the Class-3 or Class-4 hydraulic gas lift. Hydraulic gas lift is the mechanism that is there for height adjustment. When you read about Class-3 or Class-4 hydraulic gas lift, know for sure that it is capable of lifting the load over 150 Kg.
  2. Depth Adjustable Seat: A knob under the seat cushion releases the back; the back then travels forward or backwards to modify the seat depth. This ensures that while working, your back is in full contact with the back cushion.
  3. Lumbar support is the gentle curve you see in the back rest of a chair. It is designed to help you keep a better posture, with the hips, ears and shoulders kept in line.
  4. Adjustability of lumbar support: It would enable you to adjust it at such a height as would align with the curve of your spine in your lower back. Because the height changes from person to person, this feature is a necessity and not something that should be considered as an extra.
  5. Recline Tilt: Ergonomic office chairs recline so you can find a comfortable pelvic position. The best tilt position for the back of your chair is from 100˚ to 110˚ but can vary a little from person to person.
    Ergonomic Vs. Regular Chair
    There are two types of tilt; one where your whole chair (seat and backrest) moves backwards when you recline.
    ergonomic office chair recliner
    The other is when only your backrest moves backwards.  The second type of chair usually includes a footrest as well. Such chairs allow for the backrest to be locked at any angle between 90 – 150 degrees. They are costlier compared to simple tilt chairs.
  6. Height and Width Adjustable Armrests: This is an important feature, and it allows you to adjust the height of armrests so you can reduce shoulder and upper arm strain. Some chairs come with width adjustable armrests as well. This feature is particularly very useful to heavy people. In absence of comfortable armrests, you may fall victim of ailments such as Rotator cuff syndrome and frozen shoulder. The latter is very common among computer professionals.
  7. Headrest: Most ergonomic chairs come with a height adjustable headrest to support your neck when reclining. It is helpful for people with neck and shoulder problems.
  8. Seat material & cushioning: The foam used on the seat and back should have enough padding to be comfortable.  If you see reference being made of memory foam, go for it. This type of foam acquires the shape of your body that it supports. Having a cloth fabric that breathes is preferable to a leather or PU surface.

Best Selling Ergonomic Chair

5 Features to Lookout for in a Regular Chair

Regular Office Chairs

A Regular chair will include just the basic features. However, there are many regular chairs (You may call them hybrids) that offer some of the features of an ergonomic chair without costing too much. Here are the features to look out for in regular chairs:

  • Height adjustable seat: The chair you purchase must be height adjustable. This is one feature that you must look for in a chair. It not only ensures proper posture of backbone, but also helps in adjusting according to the height of work desk.
  • Armrests: Armrests are an absolute must if you need to work on a PC or notebook. Armrests are not adjustable in regular chairs, but you can always adjust the height of the chair to make armrests reach a particular height.
  • Recline Tilt: Recline tilt makes sitting on chair a lot comfortable. So, make sure that the chair you buy supports some form of reclining.
  • Quality of Foam: The type of seat foam used in office chairs has an impact on comfort. Quality of seat foam is important to avoid making it a literal pain in your butt. Lookout for denser and firmer seat.
  • Swivel base and casters: A good chair should easily rotate so the user can reach different areas of work desk without straining.

A basic chair with the features above will be good enough to provide you with most of the comforts that an ergonomic chair provides and save your money as well.

Best Selling Regular Chair

Ergonomic Vs. Regular Chair – The Difference


Ergonomic Chairs Regular Chairs
More comfortable. Not very comfortable.
Easier to keep a better posture. Requires some effort to keep a good posture.
Allows you to work long hours and therefore increases productivity. You may get tired easily. It is actually quite natural to get tired when sitting for long hours.  When this happens, you will get up from chair. Which is bad for productivity but good for your health!
Prevents musculoskeletal disorders like back pain, shoulder and arm pain. May cause back pain if you’re not careful about posture.
These chairs are quite expensive These chairs start from quite a reasonable price.
May reduce your life span by allowing you to sit long hours without tiring. May support longevity by keeping you physically active.

One Word of Caution: More You Sit, the Less You’ll Live

An average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting, doing office work, eating meals, watching TV, among other things. According to the authors of an Australian study, sitting 4 or more hours a day puts you in the “risky” category. That’s hard news for most of us who spend much more than that at office jobs, to say nothing of leisure time. {Source: NYTimes 2012}

So, it’s important that you get up and get out. Don’t sit for long hours continuously.

Which One is Best for You?

4 Office Chairs

Depending on your priorities, you can pick one chair for you. While the Ergonomic chair is expensive, it also increases productivity thereby compensating you for the extra money you pay for it. Ergonomic chairs beat regular chair in comfort level hands down. If you are purchasing chairs for office, then you must stick to ergonomic chairs.

Also Read: Wi-Fi Keyboard Vs Bluetooth Keyboard

However, if you are purchasing chair for home, and are going to spend less that 4 hours of time sitting on chair, then you can consider purchasing a regular chair instead. It will not be very comfortable and therefore will make you get up from the chair often, and this is actually required to stay fit.

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