How to choose an office chair

Sihoo M18 Ergonomic Home Office Chair
(Image credit: Sihoo)

Selecting an office chair for your needs is an essential part of staying productive. It doesn't matter whether you spend your days at a place of work of staying productive from home; a top-notch office chair is vital.

Considering how much time we all spend in front of our computers it’s surprising how so many of us also tend to overlook our seating arrangements. We've tested many of the best office chairs - a comfortable easing position is essential for improved posture, better back support and weight distribution, wellbeing and boosting productivity too.

So if you’re looking to improve your workflow and enjoy your days spent in front of your laptop, picking the right office chair is worth spending some time over.  If you’re wondering how to choose an office chair our following list of pointers will help to get you on the right track. 

Step by step guide to choosing an office chair

1. How long do you sit down?

This is perhaps the best place to start if you’re thinking about choosing an office chair. It doesn't really matter how long you spend in front of your computer because even short periods sat on inferior seating can be detrimental to your health. However, if you’re sitting in your office chair for shorter periods of, say, up to four hours, it is possible to purchase a more affordable office chair without too many bells and whistles.


The more time you expect to spend in your office chair though requires a little more consideration. Anyone looking to work up to eight hours a day is a good average time period to factor in when buying the right office chair for your needs. This is a sizeable chunk of your day, so be prepared to lookout for an ergonomic chair that will offer a raft of adjustment features, so you can be in a rested position while working.


Anyone working even longer hours, say up to 12 or even 24-hour periods if you’re stuck in a shift or rota that demands it will mean an even beefier office chair solution. Expect to pay a premium for an office chair for this scenario, as it is likely you will need to have optimum levels of adjustment and comfort. 

2. Adjustment is essential

Anyone who spends lots of time in an office chair needs to factor into their budget the ability to have plenty of adjustment. Being able to get your office chair into a variety of different positions is critical, especially if you already suffer with back or posture issues after years of sitting on the wrong type of seating. Take a look at the Permanent Contact Back or PCB, which can be useful for supporting your back while you work.


Similarly, a lock tilt mechanism can be really beneficial that offers plenty of support, as you stay productive. In addition, it’s worth considering a synchro aspect to your office chair, working to the 1:2 ratio that allows resistance to be set based on your current weight. A multi-synchro seat works on the same principle but offers even more flexibility and can help to boost blood circulation, which is essential if you’re stuck in your chair for lengthy periods of time.

3. Ergonomic is vital

Some office chair designs might look the part, but they’re not always as ergonomic as you might expect. Remember that consider your height, weight and general body shape when you’re shopping for the best office chair. Consider having an adjustable seat height as a vital part of the checklist, while being able to tweak the seat depth is another essential to think about.


Selecting an office chair that features adjustable backrest height will also mean greater levels of comfort. You’ll be able to relax thanks to having a backrest that works with the curvature of the lumbar spine and pelvis too, rather than working against these parts of your body. Having a tilt-able seat is a definite bonus that allows you to tweak the sitting position for optimal positioning. Meanwhile, adjustable armrests complete the overall picture for the best office chair.

4. Additional features

It’s well worth spoiling yourself when you’re shopping for an office chair. Adding some extra cash into the equation will doubtless offer you a much better range of features and accessories that can improve comfort levels. It obviously also depends on personal preference, but think about whether you want a chair with a high or low back. You may well want a headrest too, which can deliver support to the neck and shoulders.


Going back to the subject of armrests – these aren't always something for everyone and some workers find them intrusive. However, select a quality office chair with some well-designed armrests as part of the package and you’ll find that you can sit in a much more rested position at your desk, with less train placed on your forearms. 

Adding to the comfort level is an office chair that features a breathable mesh back, especially if you’re used to working in warmer climes. Finally, spoil yourself with a lumbar pump feature that can help with lower back pain by offering extra support that can be tweaked as needed.

5. Aesthetics matter

While choosing the right office chair is mainly about just how comfortable you’re going to be while you stay productive, think about how it looks too. If you’ve got a home office set-up there’s nothing more depressing or uninspiring than having an office chair that looks sorry for itself. If you’re keen to boost your productivity there’s nothing more invigorating that walking into the room and seeing your dazzling new chair inviting you to sit down and get started.


Everyone has different tastes; so once you’re checked off how good your office chair will be for your health, spend some time considering the design, colours and materials used in its construction. While some folks are eschewing leather these days, there are decent vegan and faux leather options available now too.

We've tested the best standing desks and the best office desks for creating your ideal workspace. 

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.