Ask LH: How Can I Pick The Best Office Chairs?

Dear Lifehacker, I work in an IT-related company as a team leader. My manager has generously assigned me the task of looking into getting better office chairs for my team (I have back issues). What is the ‘best’ office chair for people who are sitting down for more than eight hours a day? Are there companies that offer chair trials? Is there a sweet spot for price versus functionality? Any advice? Thanks, The Chair Person

Office chair picture from Shutterstock

Dear TCP,

We’ve expounded the virtues of office balls and standing desks in the past, but your workmates will probably prefer something a little more conventional.

The first thing to do is to get an idea of your budget allocation — there’s no point examining options that are outside your spending limit. In the unlikely event that money is no object, here are five of the best office chairs that money can buy.

In terms of ergonomics, some basic things to look out for include comfortable cushions, adjustable seat and back rest height, lumbar support and the ability to swivel with ease.

For more ergonomic advice, check out our Ergonomic Workspace Guide, which contains a section on office chairs. You can also glean some handy hints from this office chair infographic.

It’s a good idea to buy from a physical store so you can test the chairs prior to purchase. Shopping online might save time and money, but it’s also a riskier gamble. Using a local retailer also makes it easier to exchange the chairs if they don’t meet your expectations.

While some companies offer trial periods, they tend to be for more expensive executive-style chairs. That said, if you are ordering a sizable fleet the supplier will probably be persuaded to let you try before you buy.

You should also remind your bosses that a “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t necessarily the best option — if you already have back issues, buying a better chair for you will be cheaper than subsequent OH&S fixes.

See also: The Quest For The Perfect Office Chair | How To Ergonomically Optimise Your Workspace | Is There An Affordable Ergonomic Chair Out There?


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