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Buying Office Chairs

In a typical year the average office chair spends around 2000 hours in use, over a working life that's more than 10 years of constant use! Most would agree that something which has such a big impact on physical comfort and well being is something worth getting right.

The best way to choose an office chair is to kick the tyres. At the very least it is worth making the effort to visit an office chair show room and try a number of different chairs to see which fits your personal shape the best. Better still find a supplier willing to lend you your choice of office chair for a few days to try, very often an office chair which seems comfortable initially can cause problems after an extended period of use. Many suppliers are willing to do this, especially if you are shopping for more than a single office chair, and many will even bring a selection of office chairs to your office, give a full demonstration, and then leave them for you to try.

The best chair is the one you find most comfortable. For a chair to be comfortable it has to adjust to your personal shape, and everyone is different. This is why making chairs is difficult, but manufacturers have invented many mechanisms to try and make their chairs suit the largest number of people possible (and thus increase the size of their potential market). the various aspects of a chair to consider are:

Seat: The front edge of the seat should be 2 fingers width behind the top of the thighs with the users back properly in the back of the chair. To achieve this for tall and short users a seat slide mechanism to adjust seat depth is desirable.

Back Support: Chair back should be in contact with the lower and middle part of the back to provide adequte support. In most cases this will mean it needs to be adjustable in both height and rake.

Mechanism: Synchronised seating mechanisms which adjust seat and back angle simultaineously can be a benefit but add cost, in most cases a simmple back rake adjustment is adequate.

Arms: If desired should be suitable for both the task and the workstation. Will they make contact with the front edge of the desk? Do they adjust in height such that the user can work with horizontal forearms?