Office Chair Buying Guide

Whether you work at a traditional or home office, your computer chair can be crucial to your comfort and productivity. A poor fit may lead to health concerns, whereas the right desk chair can help you stay content and focused throughout the workday.

Accordingly, choosing an office chair is a significant decision with real implications for your daily well-being. With so many kinds of office chairs to consider, searching for the right product can initially feel daunting.

Evaluate your office chair options, review which factors to assess, and decide which types of chairs to consider for your office furniture. Once you’re done reading this guide, you’ll have information to help make a smart purchase. See if you don’t work better once you choose the perfect seat.

Buying an Office Chair: Key Factors to Consider

Adjustable Height

Modifying the seat height of your office desk chair can be essential to keeping you comfortable even during long hours. Ideally, your seat should be adjusted so your thighs are roughly level with your hips (or slightly lower), limiting the risk of hip and back strain.

If your chair is too high, you may find yourself scooting forward to keep your feet on the ground, which could result in poor posture. If your chair is too low, your knees will be higher than your hips, potentially creating stress on your lower back.

An adjustable height chair allows you (and anyone else who sits in it) to pick the appropriate level for long-term comfort. If you want a chair with height controls, make sure they’re easy to use and durable enough to rely on over time.

Tilt Control

The angle of your seat back is another important consideration. Because any chair you buy probably won’t be perfectly suited to your body right out of the box, the ability to adjust the tilt of the back of your chair is a major benefit.

According to experts, a “slightly reclined” posture may help protect your spine while sitting at your desk. Look for a chair that allows you to tilt back just a bit so the back of your chair is at a 100- or 110-degree angle to your seat. Some chairs offer just a couple reclining options (if any), so it is a good idea to research tilt controls before making your purchase.

Seat Dimensions

You need a chair large enough to accommodate your body. Pick a seat that is too narrow, and you could feel constrained on a daily basis. However, a roomy fit isn’t ideal either. A very deep chair could cause some individuals to hunch forward, while too wide a seat could make using your chair’s armrests uncomfortable.

To find a happy medium, check the length and width of the seat for any chair you’re considering. There are also big and tall options available. Once you know the dimensions of the desk chair, see how those numbers compare to colleagues’ chairs or other seats you find comfortable.

Armrest Options

Studies suggest that armrests, on an office chair with adjustable arms, can be an important source of support, preventing discomfort in your forearms, neck, and shoulders. But because workers’ bodies differ, having armrests on your chair doesn’t guarantee a good fit.

For example, if adjustable arms are positioned too high, you might experience related tension in your shoulder muscles. And you could encounter discomfort in your forearms and wrists if they’re too low.

Thankfully, many desk chairs allow you to adjust the height of your armrests to correspond to your preferred forearm position. Experts recommend that you position your arms so your wrists are roughly level with your keyboard rather than flexing up or down to let you reach the keys. Additionally, some chairs enable you to adjust the armrest width or angle for even more customized comfort.

Materials and Padding

Office chairs vary widely in their upholstery and construction, so you’ll have plenty of alternatives to evaluate. Mesh back chairs offer a breathable feel, keeping your back ventilated. Leather chairs or faux leather chairs provide a slick, luxurious look sure to impress co-workers and clients. Certain chairs are distinctly firm, while others provide softer cushioning.

As you consider these possibilities, it’s important to prioritize sustainable comfort over first impressions. While a chair may look or feel great, it may not provide the ergonomic support your body needs over many working hours. For example, soft chairs can make it difficult not to slouch. So even if you love the feeling of sinking into a plush seat, you should probably look for more substantive support.


Office chairs with wheels offer valuable convenience, whether moving around your own desk or scooting over to consult with a colleague. Additionally, many swivel office chairs allow you to pivot in your seat, shifting the direction you’re facing. When you don’t want to move, you can lock your seat to maintain stability.

The key consideration is quality: Are the moving parts in your chair tough enough to survive daily use? Broken casters or wheels can be frustrating, as is a chair that constantly pivots when you’d prefer it to stay in one place. To gauge the durability of the chairs you’re considering, it is a good idea to read through customer reviews.

Some may prefer to have a Desk Chair With No Wheels, for reasons such as balance concerns, flooring protection, or aesthetics and design. Alternatively, you can also find office chairs with locking casters if you would like the ability to either roll or be stationary.

Lumbar Support

The lumbar region is a crucial spine section, running roughly between the hips and chest. While these five lower back vertebrae are the largest and strongest in your body, they still need plenty of support on a daily basis — particularly if you’ve had issues in this area previously.

Because lower back body strains are quite common among professionals, many office chairs are lumbar support chairs due to their specific design to provide lumbar protection. However, it’s important to consider these options in light of your own body and needs. In some chairs, the seat back is molded to encourage a healthy, S-shaped spinal posture rather than slouching. Others might prefer to buy a seat with a more neutral back and then add lumbar support for the office chair with their own lumbar support cushion.

Other Ergonomic Features

The term “ergonomic” refers to the scientific improvement of workplace conditions, and many chairs possess distinctive features rooted in physiological research.

For example, an office chair with a headrest can help reduce stress on the neck and shoulders. Others divide the seat back into multiple parts so the upper and lower back receive different support.

If you have specific medical concerns or want more support than what a standard chair might offer, it’s worth considering an ergonomic office chair.

Office Chair Options: 7 Types To Choose From

Task Chairs

Task chairs are the classic office chair category: They’re intended to slide neatly under various desks, allowing workers to accomplish tasks over a typical day.

Common features include wheels, high backs, and armrests (though some models are armless). Task chairs come in various materials and offer differing degrees of support. While some types can be expensive, savvy shoppers can find great task chairs at surprisingly affordable prices.

Ergonomic Office Chairs

Ergonomic office chairs resemble task chairs in their basic components. Most are mobile, with high backs and armrests. But these products take support extremely seriously, with advanced design features that promote good posture and minimize physical distress.

Some ergonomic chairs include headrests, whereas others have separate components to help support your lower and upper back. A common theme is customization: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to adjust the chair to fit your body. Many are mesh chairs, but there are also leather-like ergonomic chair options.

Drafting Chairs

Used by architects and other visually oriented professionals, drafting chairs offer more elevation than the typical office swivel chair. From this higher vantage point, you’re in a great position to survey drawings, blueprints, and other visual media.

Many drafting chairs lack armrests, allowing you freedom of movement when drawing. Some also include rings where you can place your feet comfortably even when high off the ground.

Big and Tall Office Chairs

If you’re going to spend hours working at your desk, you deserve a chair built for your body. Big and tall office chairs are suited specifically to individuals with larger body types, so you’re not stuck making do with a poor fit.

Even if you’ve grown accustomed to working in cramped quarters, a big and tall chair could help improve your experience at work. Just check the exact measurements before making a purchase to ensure the dimensions will work for you.

Gaming Chairs

Gaming chairs can also be used as office chairs, providing a unique and comfortable seating solution for your workspace. With their ergonomic design and adjustable features, gaming chairs can help you maintain proper posture, reduce strain on your back and neck, and enhance your overall productivity, whether you're gaming or working on important tasks.

So, if you're seeking a versatile chair that combines style, comfort, and functionality, consider using a gaming chair in your office setup.

Accent and Reception Chairs

Some office chairs aren’t for constant use by workers. A set of comfortable reception chairs can set visitors at ease, while an accent chair or guest chair can make an executive’s office the perfect place for small meetings.

If you’re looking for the right blend of professionalism and comfort, this category of modern office chairs is worth considering. Upgrading could help you make a great first impression on all your guests.

Shop our Accent Chairs and Side Chairs

Shop our Reception and Waiting Room Chairs

Stackable Chairs and Folding Chairs

When conference room meetings or events demand flexible seating options, stackable chairs or folding chairs can be a good bet. While these chairs won’t be installed permanently, they don’t have to be uncomfortable or unattractive.

From sleek modern looks to impressive padding, you might find these options more appealing than you imagined.

Shop our Stackable Chairs

Shop our Folding Chairs

Supplementing Your Seat: Office Chair Accessories

Seat Cushions

While a seat cushion can help reduce pressure on your glutes, it can be especially helpful in relieving back discomfort. Seat cushions help support your spine from its base and encourage better posture.

Some models conform to the shape of your body over time, while others provide a firm feel. They can be combined with a compatible backrest to facilitate comprehensive spinal support.


Like seat cushions, backrests or lumbar support cushions offer differing degrees of firmness to help keep your spine in an optimal position. They typically attach to your high- or mid-back chair through straps, allowing you to make adjustments tailored to your seat and body shape.

Some backrests cater to the entire back, while others support the lumbar region specifically. No matter which kind you choose, give some thought to materials. A firm mesh backrest could keep you cool, but a memory foam option might be more adaptable to your body.


While you may not associate back discomfort with your feet, switching up your footing may help to improve your posture. Sometimes, your chair, desk, and computer arrangement makes it difficult to achieve an ideal sitting position while your feet are on the floor.

Footrests prevent dangling legs and slouching, with adjustable heights and angles to suit any sitter. Some even have extra features, such as massage rollers for tired feet.

Chair Mats

While they’re not directly related to support, chair mats can help prevent damage to your office floors and make maneuvering around your desk easier. Check out our guide for buying one well-suited to your work area. You can even find decorative chair mats to match your home décor and office aesthetic.

Supportive Solutions

With the advice in this guide, you’re well prepared to choose a great office chair. But one more crucial piece of the shopping process is getting a great price. Whether you shop online or at a retail location, look for industry-best value and a vast selection.

Looking for additional insight and guidance to select ergonomic chairs that work for your distributed workforce? Our furniture specialists can provide you with comprehensive, turn-key furniture solutions from space design to delivery and installation (and everything in between).

About the Author

Carly Johnson pairs SEO expertise with a knack for narrative and specializes in crafting copy for content marketing projects.

All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.