Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Nowadays, especially with the advent of new technologies and the home office, it has become more and more common to spend the day sitting in front of a PC at a desk. This can lead to posture problems, which is often neglected due to a too hectic and busy life. To eliminate back problems and pain, the most convenient solution is to buy a practical ergonomic chair.

An ergonomic chair or stool allows the spine to be positioned correctly, from the head to the legs, as it can be perfectly adjusted to the user's body shape. If you know the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, but don't have time to research and compare all the ergonomic chair models on the market, our guide is for you.




The most important facts

  • Ergonomic chairs make it easier to sit properly at your desk, whether you work from home, sew or play computer games.
  • Unlike normal desk or office chairs, ergonomic chairs are adjustable not only in height but also in the angle of the seat, backrest and headrest.
  • There are many types of ergonomic chairs. The most popular are: Ergonomic office chairs, ergonomic kneeling chairs and chairs in the shape of a ball.

The Best Ergonomic Chair: Our Picks

Buying and rating criteria for ergonomic chairs

After you have decided to buy an ergonomic chair for your workplace instead of a regular chair, there are some factors you should consider when choosing. Here are the most important of them:

Below, we'll go over each of the buying criteria and show you what to look for in the ideal ergonomic chair for your workday.

Rocking function

The backrest is an essential part of the ergonomic chair. Its function is to support the spine. This should always rest on the backrest when sitting on a traditionally designed chair. The width of the backrest should vary between 30 and 58 cm for a chair (except for ergonomic chairs for children, where the dimensions are smaller). For cases where you sit in front of a screen all day at your desk, the rocking function of an ergonomic chair comes into play.

A rocking mechanism encourages movement so that you can prevent back pain and tension. For this purpose, you can individually adjust the backrest's counterpressure to your own weight. The best ergonomic chairs are equipped with a button behind the backrest that regulates the intensity of the chair's tilt. In this way, the body's natural need for movement is supported.

Adjustability of the armrests

Armrests are probably one of the least used elements of the ergonomic chair. However, it is good that your ergonomic chair has them anyway. Because in the course of the day, you may have to talk on the phone for a long time, for example, and therefore take the opportunity to relax your body a little.

In short, you can use the armrests to change your posture and not always and only put the strain on your shoulders and wrists. Remember: the best products are not only equipped with armrests, but also offer you the possibility to adjust the height of this component of the chair. This way, you can be sure that you won't have any problems with desk compatibility and will find the most comfortable position for you.

Adjustability of the seat

It is important to adjust the angle of the seat of your ergonomic chair as well. The seat should be angled downwards more so that the body can relieve the strain on the legs and feet, rather than on the lumbar area, which is already under a lot of strain. As for the width and depth of the seat, it is fundamental that the chair guarantees you the possibility to enjoy sufficient space when sitting.

If there are no special situations (for example, a severe form of overweight), it would be good if the width of the chair oscillates between 43 and 50 cm. The depth should rather be such that you can lean your shoulders optimally against the backrest. In addition, your knees should be at least 5 cm from the edge of the chair.

Presence of a headrest

When you go to the shop to choose your new ergonomic chair, pay close attention to the presence of support cushions. These can either be pillows for the neck and throat or for the lumbar muscles and tailbone. A good chair has a padded headrest. This allows you to properly relax your head and therefore your entire spine.

This is crucial for maintaining correct posture when sitting. The best ergonomic chairs are also equipped with lumbar supports, which are located in the lower part of the backrest at the level of the lumbar muscles. In most cases, these supports are removable.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about ergonomic chairs answered in detail

In the following you will get a deeper insight into the topic of ergonomic chairs. We have selected and answered the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

Who is an ergonomic chair suitable for?

Buying an ergonomic chair can be just as useful as spending time in the gym doing boring exercises. After all, your frequent, now almost chronic back pain could be the result of sitting in front of your PC for days on end on a chair that is not designed to support your spine. When you talk about an ergonomic chair, you are referring to a type of office furniture that adapts to the shape of your own body.

This makes an ergonomic chair the ideal product for people who spend many hours a day sitting at a desk, whether in the office or in the home office. Many people underestimate the negative consequences that sitting incorrectly can have on posture, joints and muscles. Inflammation of the back, neck or shoulders can be dangerous and lead to permanent health damage if not treated in time.

Ergonomischer Stuhl

Ergonomic chairs contribute to sitting comfort at work and at the same time to a uniform and elegant office design. (Image source: Maxime/ Unsplash.com)

The first way to avoid such inflammation is to sit properly. The back should be leaning against a movable backrest, the neck relaxed and supported from behind. The legs should be relaxed and balanced with the weight forward, the knees bent at right angles and both feet with the soles on the floor. The right ergonomic chair, properly adjusted, allows you to do just that.

What types of ergonomic chairs are there?

There are different types of ergonomic chairs that allow us to improve our sitting posture, increase comfort and reduce stress. The first category is that of regular office chairs. In the case of ergonomic chairs, they are adjustable in all functions: Inclination of the backrest and seat, angle of the headrest, height of the support bar, height of the armrests.

The second most popular category is ergonomic kneeling chairs without backrest. These are equipped with an adjustable seat and specific knee supports. The quality of these ergonomic chairs without backrest lies in the distance and angle between the seat and the knee supports. This angle determines the sitting position, which is typically forward on one side, with the weight unloaded and the back straight.

There are also ergonomic chairs in the shape of a ball. These are not real chairs, but actual medical balls that are large enough to support a person's seat. This type of ergonomic chair is also based on the principle of natural movement stimulation and active sitting.

The bounce of the ball keeps the lower limbs active by stimulating circulation and reducing stress and fatigue. Admittedly, the proliferation of this type of seating encounters some difficulties due to its appearance. It can sometimes be unsuitable for formal environments.

How high should my ergonomic chair be?

A good ergonomic office chair should be easily adjustable. In terms of seat height, a range between 40 and 52 cm from the floor is fine for most people. In terms of seat tilt, a range of at least 5 degrees forward and backward is a good starting point. For more comfort, it is important to adjust the height of the ergonomic chair in relation to your own height and that of your work surface.

To do this, adjust the height of the chair with the lever under the seat while sitting on it with your back straight and your legs bent at right angles. Logically, the height will be different for everyone. A useful hint: your arms should be relaxed on the table and form a right angle.

Conclusion

In office chairs, ergonomics lies in the chair's ability to help the user maintain the correct posture for as long as possible. In doing so, ergonomic chairs guarantee the user a pleasant feeling of comfort and well-being and do not exclude any action useful for the regular performance of their work. The importance of equipping the workplace with an ergonomic chair should not be underestimated.

Proper sitting can prevent damage to the spine and the muscles of the neck, shoulders and lower back. Purchasing an ergonomic chair is therefore advisable for anyone who spends at least eight hours a day at a computer. The current market offers a wide range of products and makes it easy to find the right chair without having to spend a lot of money.

Image source: Laura Davidson / Unsplash

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