Ten Rules for Choosing the Right Ergonomic Chair

Purchasing a new chair may not seem like a daunting task, but once you start looking at various ergonomic chairs and their adjustable features and options, sizes, heights, functions, and materials it can be downright confusing.

Here is a ten step guideline to help you choose the perfect chair for your body, environment, and task.

  1. Make sure casters fit the intended use of the chair – i.e. Nylon casters for carpet, urethane casters for hard floor surfaces, ect.
  2. The base of the chair should be the correct size and type for the size and type of the chair. In general, larger chairs require larger bases for stability. If bases are plastic, they should be made of 30% glass-reinforced nylon with a metal hub insert.
  3. Task chairs should have pneumatic seat height adjustment. This allows the seat height to be easily adjusted, and acts as a shock absorber when sitting down and allows the chair to swivel so you don’t have to twist your back when reaching for things. A brand name gas lift from one of the original manufacturers is advisable, as many lower priced versions are unproven at best.
  4. The seat pan should tilt forward and backward, should lock into any position to provide the variation in postures required by the human body, and have a tilt tension control if the seat has a free float mode.
  5. For a proper fitting seat:
    1. The seat size must allow the user to sit back against the backrest while leaving approximately a three-finger width of clearance between the back of the knees and the front of the seat.
    2. The seat should have a waterfall (curves downward) front edge to reduce pressure on the veins beneath the thighs and should subtly curve up at the sides to redistribute the user’s weight away from their seat bones.
    3. The seat should not be “dished out” (dip inward in the center), which puts pressure on the veins beneath the thighs and should not rise up at the back middle portion of the seat pan, as that puts extra pressure on the base of the spine.
    4. The seat pan depth should be adjustable
  6. To ensure the best support for your back:
    1. The backrest must have a firm lumbar support built into its structure, not just the foam, as foam alone cannot provide the force necessary to reposition the lumbar spine back into its natural curvature.
    2. The backrest must also have lateral curves to support the upper body, so as to reduce the amount if muscle activity required to keep it in the upright position.
    3. The backrest should be covered with foam to avoid having a hard structure come into direct contact with the user’s back and should not have hard edges that can cause discomfort for some users.
    4. The backrest should be the correct size for the length of the person’s back.
  7. The angle between the seat pan and back support should be greater than 90° to help reduce stress on the structure of the spine. The backrest angle should be adjustable to allow the user to vary their posture.
  8. The lumbar support should adjust up and down to fir people of different body types. A large range in lumbar height adjustment is more necessary than most people realize, as it must not only accommodate people of different heights but people of different weights, especially when additional weight is carried on the buttocks.
  9. Adjustable arms (when appropriate) should:
    1. Allow the user to pull their chair close to their work surface;
    2. Support the weight of the user’s arms to reduce stress on the shoulders and neck;
    3. Provide guidance and support when getting in and out of the chair.
  10. Adjustable arms must be safe and well built to avoid injury. A low quality adjustable chair can cause more harm than good.

Production Automation has many lines of seating available, whether you need basic office chairs, or seating that can be used in a Class 10 clean room, or even chairs that need to be autoclaved!

Find our entire selection HERE, or contact us at [email protected] and we can work on quoting you the type, and quantity you need FAST!

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Mel Meadows

Mel Meadows

Mel Meadows is a product specialist with over 13 years of experience. She’s a central source of expertise for thousands of industrial and critical-class products featured on the Production Automation web store. By working directly with manufacturers, Mel deciphers technical documentation and outlines product use in real-world environments. View her profile to learn more about proper techniques, protocol, and product usage in both industrial and cleanroom facilities.

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