The best chair for desk work does not exist. Done, article over. No, what I mean is that there isn’t a chair that is truly best for desk work as we are all slightly different in our anatomy and structure. There are some wonderfully complex and customizable chairs with adjustable armrests, headrests, lumbar support, seat tilt, height, back lean, wheel breaks, and even foot support. Please understand that all of the bells and whistles will not make a chair good for you. In my experience overly adjustable chairs leave people questioning if they have it set up correctly and most won’t adjust any further after the first use. To make this easier, here are the 3 most important things to focus on for the best chair for you.
1. Low Back Support
This does not have to be achieved with a specific adjustable lumbar support and can largely depend on your height. I strongly recommend going to a store to try out various chairs to understand the backrest height you need. It truly is trial and error for this piece. I prefer mesh chairs as they have more give and feel snug and supportive.
2. Adjustable armrest.
This is a near must. Adjustable armrests allow you to scoot the chair appropriately close to the desk without the armrest banging into it. When you can’t scoot up enough, you will either scoot up in the chair which negates the back support or excessively lean forward stressing your low back.
3. Adjustable height
While most chairs have this feature, it is important to note that you should strongly consider it if you are more than 6 inches above or below the US average height: 5’9” for men and 5’4” for women . It is not just the adjustability, but the maximum and minimum height of the chair that matters. You should be able to adjust the seat high enough to a 90-100 degree bend at the knees. Please use a step or pile of books to finetune this.
The adjustment of headrests and leaning back of backrests can be helpful, but most of the time we tinker very little with our chair after we set it up. I urge you to find a supportive setup and leave it at that. While a good chair can drastically improve your posture and discomfort while sitting, remember that frequent movement (every 20-30 minutes) is the only surefire way to maintain a healthy sitting habit. If you have specific chair questions, please feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.