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How to Select an Office Chair

How to Select an Office Chair

The furniture pros at InStockChairs and Modern Office have decades of experience helping customers select office chairs. Thousands of customers have visited our Minnesota showroom and asked us for assistance in finding the right chair for them.

Our online store is focused on the business or institutional customer who is selecting office chairs that fit their budget, whether it's for a particular job function, department, conference room, waiting room or telemarketing center. All the high-quality options for office chairs displayed on our website are in stock and ready to ship fast to accommodate your tight turnaround needs.

If you are an individual purchasing a single chair for your own use, our huge online selection may seem a bit overwhelming. We would still be delighted to help you find the perfect office chair for you, but it is probably best for you to visit our showroom to try out our selection of chairs in person. We know from our showroom customers that one person can like a certain chair while another person of the same size finds it disagreeable for some reason. A desk chair is a very personal purchase. Our local showroom at 7550 Corporate Way in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the office chair shopper who wants to try and purchase a chair in person. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff welcome your visit.

Here's our professional advice for How to Select an Office Chair:

What's the Use?

The first step in selecting an office chair is to consider how the chair is going to be used. The type of chair you select should be different depending on whether you need an office chair for occasional use at a desk, an ergonomic chair that provides maximum comfort and adjustability for employees who spend hours at a time in their chairs, conference room chairs for executives in the boardroom or office guest chairs for a reception area or waiting room.

Desk chairs are multi-use chairs with casters for mobility and swivel and tilt features. Nearly all modern desk chairs have pneumatic lift cylinders - aka "gas lift cylinders" - for immediate height adjustment. In addition to their use as office chairs, desk chairs are commonly used as conference room chairs. Black leather chairs and black mesh chairs are particularly good choices for conference rooms because of their comfort and neutral color. They provide a stylish contrast to wood-finish conference tables and harmonize with existing carpet and wall colors as well as lending 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 multiple users because they have so many adjustable features. We've found that visitors in our showroom will sometimes sit in an ergonomic chair and at first think it's not comfortable. Once they realize that the chair has been adjusted for a person of a different height, weight and body type, they begin to see the versatility of an ergonomic office chair. After a few quick adjustments they often find the chair to be very comfortable.

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. Some guest chairs are stackable, allowing maximum flexibility for seating needs that change frequently.

How to Adjust Tilt on Office Chairs

When trying out an ergonomic chair, you should begin by adjusting the height to a comfortable position, then adjust the tilt tension. Office chair tilt tension is usually controlled by a knob on the underside of the front part of the seat. Grasp the knob and twist or pull until you can tilt the chair back with little 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 thinks their chair 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 height and tilt if your chair has those features. Lastly, adjust the arm height and width to your comfort level if your chair has those features. You may want to tweak the adjustment of 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 their changing demands throughout the workday.

Cover All the Bases

The final decision when selecting an office chair is the material it's covered with. Airport beam seating and many types of stackable chairs come in all metal or a combination of metal and molded plastic for durability and low maintenance. Office chairs for use at desks, in tech centers or in other office settings are available in mesh for maximum airflow, vinyl or leatherette for easy care and bonded leather for durability and a luxurious feel.

Leather office chairs have always been a popular choice, especially for executives and big and tall users. Bonded leather is glove soft, durable and easy to care for, making it an excellent choice for both office chairs and conference room chairs.

Mesh office chairs come in a wide variety of colors and styles, including stackable guest chairs, adjustable recliners and ergonomic chairs that can accommodate up to 400 pounds. The openness of a mesh back keeps team members cool under pressure, and many mesh chair models include padded seats, casters and adjustable features.

Vinyl and leatherette upholstered office chairs combine low maintenance with high comfort for a budget-friendly option. With a variety of styles and designs, leatherette office chairs work well in conference rooms, training areas and offices for mid-level executives.
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