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How to Select an Office Chair

We have over 30 years of experience helping customers select office chairs. 1000's of customers have visited our showroom and asked us for assistance in finding a chair. Our online store is focused on the business or institutional customer who is selecting office chairs for a particular job function, department, conference room, waiting room, telemarketing center, etc. We admit that if you are an individual purchasing a single chair for your own use that it is probably best for you to visit a local showroom to try chairs instead of shop on the Internet. We know from our showroom customers that one person can like a certain chair, while another person of the same size can dislike that same chair. A chair can be a very personal purchase. Our local showroom in Eden Prairie, MN (6900 Shady Oak Road - Eden Prairie, MN 55344 - M-F 9AM to 5PM) is here for the Minneapolis area office chair shopper who wants to try and purchase a chair in person.

The first step in selecting an office chair is to consider how the chair is going to be used. Do you need a desk chair for occasional use at a desk, an ergonomic chair for maximum comfort and adjustability for employees who spend hours at a time in their chairs, chairs for around a conference table, or guest chairs for a reception area or waiting room?

Desk chairs are multi-use chairs. A desk chair will have casters for mobility and will also swivel and tilt. Nearly all desk chairs today have pneumatic lift cylinders (also called "gas lift cylinders”) for immediate height adjustment. In addition to their use around a desk, desk chairs are commonly used as conference room chairs for around conference tables. Black leather chairs and black mesh chairs are particularly good choices because of their neutral color and comfort. They provide a nice contrast to wood finish conference tables and harmonize with existing carpet and wall colors as well as give a professional look to your conference room.

Ergonomic chairs are desk chairs with additional comfort adjustments. These adjustments can include knee-tilt mechanisms, synchro tilt, adjustable arms, forward tilt lock, and adjustable lumbar. Ergonomic chairs are adaptable to the user because they have so many adjustments. We've found that visitors in our showroom will sometimes sit in an ergonomic chair and at first think it's not comfortable, but they then realize that the chair has been adjusted for a person of a different height, weight, and body type. After a few quick adjustments they often find the chair to be very comfortable. When first sitting in an ergonomic chair you should adjust the height to a comfortable position. Then adjust the tilt tension (usually a knob on the underside front part of the seat) so that you can tilt the chair back with appropriate effort. The tilt tension adjustment depends on your weight, so heavier users need the tension to be tighter, while lighter users need it to be looser. Tilt tension is one of the most overlooked adjustments on an office chair. A lighter person who has a chair that seems stiff and difficult to tilt probably needs to loosen the tension. The opposite is true for a heavy person who has a chair that tilts backward too easily. The next step is to adjust the backrest. Adjust the backrest height and tilt if your chair has those features. Lastly, adjust the arm height and width if your chair has those features too. You may want to adjust an ergonomic chair during the day as you change tasks or your body tires and needs a change in position. That's the value of a good ergonomic chair -- to quickly adapt to the user and to the changing demands throughout the workday.

Guest chairs normally do not have casters. They are designed to stay in place when used as reception room seating or as chairs for a guest in front of a desk. Sometimes guest chairs are used as an economical conference table chair, but they are a little more difficult to move around compared to chairs with casters. Guest chairs are made in leather, vinyl and fabric.

Leather office chairs have always been a popular choice. "Split leather" is commonly used on office chairs. Split leather is from the lower layers of the hide and has been split away from the top layer. This type of leather usually has an artificial leather grain pattern stamped into it. "Top grain leather" is a higher quality leather that is also used on some office chairs. It's made from the top layer of the hide so it shows natural imperfections such as wrinkles and stretch marks. Split leather and top grain leather chairs often have matching vinyl used on the back sides of the chair. A new development is "faux leather" office chairs, which is a man-made leather look-alike that is amazingly realistic and feels like the glove-soft leathers used to make expensive purses.

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