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Office Chairs Buyers’ Guide

Posted on October 14th 2014 by Peter.
Updated on: July 28th 2017.

Office Chair Buyers Guide

Without a doubt, the right office chairs make a massive difference to your work environment. When it comes to selecting the right office chair, do you know what to look for?

With so many different office chairs out there, it’s hard to determine which chairs will be ergonomically suitable for the way you work.

The right office chair is going to support you in all the right ways and look good at the same time.

If you already know the type or style of chair you want, then head over to our office chairs section and you’ll easily find the perfect one for you. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or would like to know more about seating mechanics and what you’re actually buying, then we’ve put together the handy guide below.

Before we get started, there’s a couple of terms you’ll come across when choosing chairs for an office.

Ergonomic office chairErgonomic
Typically when you’re working in an office, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting down to work. Sitting in that same position for long periods of time adds stress to your spine. To help avoid these kinds of problems it’s ideal to select a chair that has an ergonomic design. Many people mistake ergonomic as an actual type of chair, but it really means that the chair helps support the lower back and encourages you to keep a proper posture.

Lumbar support
An important ergonomic feature of good office chairs. As the lower part of your spine has an inward curve, it requires a bit of support to avoid the user slouching and putting strain on it. A lumbar support helps with this by adjusting both the height and depth of the backrest.

Types of office chairs

Chairs for your office. They can come in a wide range of sizes and styles. These are the most common options you’ll find on offer:

Operator Chairs

Operator chair exampleAlso known as:
Computer Chairs, Task Chairs, Task Seating.

These are the standard type of chair that your everyday desk worker would expect to use. They provide a fairly comfortable seat for people working at a computer for a hours at a time.

Operator chairs come in many different styles with a few different features. As standard, they will feature a plastic base with decent swivel castors for movability. The adjustment mechanism tends to be fairly basic, offering the ability to change the seat height and back height.

Higher-end chairs will come with more adjustment features such as seat position and adjustable backs for better lumbar support. Some even have a headrest.

If you tend to sit and work for more than 6 hours at a time, it’s worth knowing that cheaper chairs will not be as suitable for working in for long periods of time as other dearer options.

Operator chairs come in a wide range of materials. The seats will tend to be a moulded plastic shell with adequate padding, finished in different materials such as fabric, leather, and even mesh.

Who would this type of chair be for?
The chairs are designed for all-round use and will provide a decent level of comfort for the whole working day. Find an operator chair that will give you ergonomic support in the areas you need the most.


Executive Chairs

Executive leather chair example
Also known as:
Managers Chairs, Management Chairs, Leather Office Chairs.

Usually executive chairs look like an upgraded version of an operator chair. These tend to be slightly larger with more adjustments options making them much more comfortable. The seat tends to be longer with deeper padding. Backs tend to be higher and also have deeper padding.

Top quality executive chairs will have a metal base with robust castors. The mechanisms underneath the chair will be metal and the seat itself tends to be metal or moulded plastic with padding finished in either real leather or a leatherette material. Cheaper versions will look the same but may have moulded plastic backs with a dark fabric or faux-leather finish.

Who would this type of chair be for?
Executive chairs are ideal for desk users who want comfortable upgrade to a standard operator chair. They are great for managers and team leaders who will be moving about a lot, but also comfortable enough to work at for extended periods of time.


Are your office chairs letting you sit as comfortably as you’d like?

Here are the main things to consider when choosing an office chair:

Common features of office chairs

There are plenty of things to consider when selecting and purchasing your new chairs. After all, the application of good ergonomics in your workplace will make the office and workspace more comfortable for all employees. Research has proven that good ergonomics can boost productivity and reduce stress; something that benefits employers and employees alike! What’s more, selecting the right office chair doesn’t have to be complicated.

Before you read the following check list, it helps to know how long the chair would need to be used for. E.g: is it for an operator who will be sat for 6-8 hours per shift, or is it for an administrator who will only likely to be sitting 1-2 hours per working day. Also consider the activities the chair’s user will doing while seated. This will all help when thinking about the following common features:

Common features of office chairs - Office chair buyers guide

Back Rest
This should allow the spinal column to follow the natural ‘S’ shape.
Tip: Look for chairs with height adjustability and lumbar supports to assist this.

Seat Height Adjustment
The seat height should be just below the knee cap when standing. This allows for your feet to be firmly on the floor when you are seated.
Tip: Check the seat height range in the product description before purchasing.

Seat Slide / Depth Adjustment
Your office chairs seat depth should allow the user to use the back support of the chair without the front of the seat pad pressing against the back of the lower legs.
Tip: Look for an independent seat tilt feature to maximise comfort.

Arm Rest
Supporting the upper body, arm rests help reduce the stress on the users shoulders and back. The arms of each chair shouldn’t restrict free movement.
Tip: Many of our office chairs have a few arm rest options including fixed, height adjustable, fully adjustable and pivot arms.

Seat Base & Castors
Each seat comes with a 5 star black base as standard unless otherwise stated. Upgrades are available on request or to purchase in some cases on some product pages.

So with these few things in mind, take a browse through our office seating range a choose your next office chairs.


For very specific guidance on how to ensure workplace seating is safe and suitable for all – including special needs – with examples of good practice, including information on design and selection of models, see this health and safety executive publication.

2 thoughts on “Office Chairs Buyers’ Guide”

  1. Alexis Barker says:

    Nice and comfortable, adjustable headrest.
    I am going to need a new office chair.
    Will try this one.

  2. Steven Snow says:

    I really liked your article as it helped to me sort out the factors I need to focus on while buying a chair.
    I wish for an ergonomic chair but, didn’t know what to look up for.

    The article ended all my confusion and now I can easily create the check list of factors to consider before buying a chair. I will share this info with all my friends as it helped a lot.Have a great day.

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