10 Rules for Choosing the Right Task Chair

If you’re not sure which chair to buy for your facility or commercial production environment, you should start with the application. Defining how and where the chair will be used narrows down choices and solutions.

What are Industrial Task Chairs?

Static controlled seating is just one type of industrial task chair that excels for multi-shift environments. Industrial chairs are built for good ergonomics, heavy use, and long life. Industrial task chairs are an investment and are designed for maximum durability and worker safety. If you are looking for a seating application in one of the industries listed below, these chairs will be the best solution for you:

  • Manufacturing: Facilities that require long sitting periods & consecutive shifts.
  • Science & Education: Laboratory and Research facilities.
  • Healthcare: Nurse Stations & Exam Rooms.
  • Public Service: Security Stations & Checkpoints.
  • High Capacity: Workers in the 1-5 and 95-99 percentiles in weight & height.

Health Issues and Ergonomic Seating

A well-designed industrial task chair chair for the operator is one of the most important parts of a work station. It can favorably affect posture, circulation, the amount of effort required to maintain a position, and the amount of pressure on the spine.

Any job or activity that requires a fixed position over a long period of time can cause musculoskeletal discomfort. Poor job and workplace design contribute to many reported discomforts which are also found in other occupations.

A key to preventing such discomforts is to assume a range of comfortable positions and to have adjustable furniture, such as the chair, display table and keyboard support. However, the degree of adjustability for any furniture and visual display depends on how long and for what purpose they will be used. Prolonged work in the same position, whether seated or standing, can cause discomfort. Where possible, movement should be incorporated into the task to prevent discomfort and fatigue.

Benefits of Proper Ergonomic Seating

"Proper sitting contributes to the physical well-being of a worker. It may also add as much as 40 minutes of production to each work day if the chair is properly selected and customized to support the lower back."

N.C. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program Report - A Guide to Ergonomics; Cherie Berry, Commissioner of Labor, OSHA State Plan Designee

10 Rules for Choosing the Right Ergonomic Chair


The base of the chair should be the correct size and type for the size and type of 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.

Task chairs should have pneumatic seat height adjustment. This allows the seat height to be easily adjusted, 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.


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.


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 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.


To ensure the best support for your back:
  1. The backrest must have lumbar support built into its structure, not just the foam, as foam alone cannot provide the force necessary to re-position 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 of muscle activity required to keep it in the upright posture.
  3. The backrest should be covered with foam to avoid a hard structure that comes in direct contact with the user’s back. Hard edges cause discomfort for some users.
  4. The backrest should be the correct size for the length of the person’s back.


The angle between the seat pan and back support should be greater than 90 degrees to help reduce stress on the structure of the spine. The backrest angle should be adjustable to allow the user to vary their posture.


The lumbar support should adjust up and down to accommodate 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.


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.


Adjustable chairs must be safe and well built to avoid injury. A low-quality adjustable chair can cause more harm than good.


Make sure casters fit the intended use of the chair – i.e. Nylon casters for carpet, urethane casters for hard floor surfaces, etc.

What size should an ergonomic task chair be?

Measuring for Proper Ergonomic Seat Height

Seating Height Chart for Ergonomic Task Seating

User Height Seat Height Elbow (Armrest) Height Eye (Monitor) Height
5’0″ 14″ 22.5″ 41.5″
5’1″ 14.5″ 23″ 42″
5’2″ 15″ 23″ 43″
5’3″ 15″ 23.5″ 44″
5’4″ 15.5″ 24″ 44.5″
5’5″ 15.5″ 24.5″ 45″
5’6″ 16″ 25″ 46″
5’7″ 16.5″ 25″ 46.5″
5’8″ 16.5″ 25.5″ 47.5″
5’9″ 17″ 26″ 48″
5’10” 17″ 26.5″ 48.5″
5’11” 17.5″ 27″ 49″
6’0″ 18″ 27″ 50″
6’1″ 18″ 27.5″ 50.5″
6’2″ 19″ 28″ 51.5″
6’3″ 19″ 28.5″ 52.5″
6’4″ 19.5″ 28.5″ 53″

Why Shop at PAC?

Production Automation (PAC) supports technical products that solve manufacturing problems. Our success in supplying technical equipment extends across dozens of industries throughout the Americas.
  • We diligently choose suppliers and sell only the chairs that align industrial and specialty needs. 
  • We 100% stand behind all of our products.
  • You’ll enjoy not only great pricing but also great customer service.
  • Select from hundreds of base chairs on our site. Each chair allows dozens of customizable accessories, making tens of thousands of possible combinations.
  • We have the best possible pricing available for all of our suppliers.
  • Our product specialists have superior knowledge about the items we sell.

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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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