Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Ergonomic office chairs make every long day at the desk easier. They adapt to every body size and every sitting position, so that above all the neck muscles and the spine are protected.

Ergonomic office chairs are available in different sizes so that both tall and short people can find a chair that is ideal for them. Ergonomic office chairs are also available for people who are overweight as well as for children. Since they are good for your health, it is possible to get a subsidy for the purchase from your health insurance.

With our big ergonomic office chair test 2021 we want to help you decide on the best ergonomic office chair. We explain what alternatives there are to ergonomic office chairs and list the advantages and disadvantages of office chairs with armrests and headrests as well as gaming chairs as office chairs. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Ergonomic office chairs adapt to all body measurements and sitting positions and are thus ideal for long periods of sitting at the workplace.
  • Anyone who struggles with back pain or slipped discs will be happy to have an ergonomic office chair. They protect the muscles and ensure an ideal sitting posture.
  • To work comfortably at your desk, you can also apply to your health insurance or pension fund for a subsidy to purchase an ergonomic office chair.

The Best Ergonomic Office Chair: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying an ergonomic office chair

What is an ergonomic office chair?

Ergonomic office chairs are ideal chairs for working and sitting at a desk for long periods of time.

Sitting for long periods of time is not natural for humans, so some ergonomics are necessary to make it easier for your body.

An office chair must have features such as adjustable seat heights, adjustable armrests, headrests and shock absorption to be ergonomic.

Ergonomischer Bürostuhl-1

Ergonomic office chairs help you sit at your desk for a long time. Typical features are headrests and an ergonomic backrest.
(Image source: unplash.com/Samule Sun)

An ergonomic office chair can adapt to your height and its structure protects your spine as well as your neck. It shouldn't matter which sitting position you adopt. The ergonomic chair will adapt to any position and make sitting easier for you.

What does an ergonomic office chair cost?

Price differences in office chairs can be attributed to materials and fabrics. The biggest differences, however, lie in the construction of the ergonomic office chairs. Depending on the construction, the cost varies.

Type price range
Chair with headrest 9-350 €
Chair without headrest 75-250 €
Chair without armrests 50-120 €

Ergonomic office chairs are usually offered with armrests. Headrests are also often fitted. Ergonomic office chairs without armrests are comparatively cheaper. You should still consider chairs with headrests and armrests, especially if you often suffer from back pain at work.

Why should I buy an ergonomic office chair?

If you work long hours and spend most of your time at your desk, an ergonomic office chair is highly recommended.

An ergonomic office chair is a must, especially for people with slipped discs.

The ergonomic office chair allows you to adopt comfortable sitting postures without harming your neck or back. The structure of the office chair relieves the strain on your spine and also improves the circulation of your intervertebral discs. By the way, ergonomic office chairs are also made for people who are overweight.

There is an ergonomic office chair for everyone according to their height and body weight.

Where can I buy an ergonomic office chair?

Ergonomic office chairs can be bought in furniture shops as well as in many online shops. You will find a wide range of models and designs.

What are the alternatives to ergonomic office chairs?

Many health experts are of the opinion that there is no way around ergonomic office chairs for long periods of sitting. However, there are alternatives to the classic ergonomic office chair that are also used for healthy work.

Alternative Description
Gymnastic ball Even if the design does not fit into every office, gymnastic balls are increasingly used at desks. The ball enables flexible and mobile sitting and ensures healthy muscle tension. It is also an inexpensive alternative.
Office stools Unlike ergonomic office chairs, these do not have castors, armrests or backrests. Loose sitting and tilting leads to trained back muscles.
Saddle chair Like ergonomic office chairs, saddle chairs are available with or without armrests. Their biggest difference from ergonomic office chairs is the saddle-shaped seat. This provides mobility for the body. It also tilts the hips forward and stabilises the spine.

These alternatives have a modern and disruptive approach. If you're looking for something new, you're sure to find something that suits you.

Decision: What types of ergonomic office chairs are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy an ergonomic office chair, you can choose between three options.

  • an ergonomic office chair with armrests
  • an ergonomic office chair with headrest
  • a gaming chair as an office chair

An ergonomic office chair with armrests can of course also have a headrest. It is important to us that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the individual parts of the ergonomic office chair.

What distinguishes an ergonomic office chair with armrests and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The majority of ergonomic office chairs are sold with armrests. Armrests serve primarily to relieve the strain on your muscles. However, it is necessary that the armrests are height-adjustable. This is the only way they can serve an ergonomic purpose.

Advantages
  • Comfortable support for the arms
  • relief for the neck muscles
  • simplification of sitting down and standing up
Disadvantages
  • obstructive
  • damaging to muscles if incorrectly adjusted
  • incorrect adjustment damages stability of chair

If armrests interfere with your work and you may have to roll the chair back and forth, you can find plenty of models of ergonomic office chairs without armrests.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an ergonomic office chair with a headrest?

A headrest or neckrest prevents you from arching your back and staring too much at your screen. Especially if you suffer from tension, a headrest is an advantage.

Advantages
  • Relief for the cervical spine
  • good for your back
Disadvantages
  • must be adjustable
  • not used when sitting

As soon as a headrest is not adjustable, it can damage rather than help your muscles. If you tend to put your head too close to the screen, the headrest can help improve your sitting position.

What distinguishes a gaming chair as an office chair and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Gaming chairs are just as ergonomic as classic office chairs. They were primarily developed for gamers and therefore differ mainly in the shape of the seat.

Advantages
  • high comfort
  • sporty designs
  • sport shell seat provides more support
Disadvantages
  • Design does not correspond to typical office atmosphere
  • comparatively expensive

The gaming chair provides a high level of comfort and the sports shell seat shape also provides relief for your neck, lumbar and spinal muscles. However, if you are interested in a chair for an everyday office, an alternative with a simple look is probably preferable.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate ergonomic office chairs

In the following section we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between a variety of models of ergonomic office chairs. The criteria you can use to compare ergonomic office chairs include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important in each of the criteria.

Material

Many office chairs are made of a mixture of metal and plastic. Others, on the other hand, are largely made of aluminium. The materials have more of an influence on the weight of the chair than on its appearance. You decide which you like better.

This also applies to the fabric or the design of the upholstery. You have the choice between colourful mesh fabrics and imitation leather. Fabrics that allow moisture and body heat to exchange are recommended. In summer, materials such as leather are not ideal, as they stick to the body due to the heat and are therefore detrimental to comfort.

Structure

There are differences in the structure of an office chair, firstly in the type of backrest. While some models offer a plain simple backrest, there are alternatives such as the bucket seat, which additionally provides more support. Furthermore, many ergonomic office chairs have a so-called lumbar support, a curvature at the level of the waistline. This ensures a better curved position of the spine.

Ergonomischer Bürostuhl-2

Office chairs without headrests can also be ergonomic. Adjustable armrests take the strain off the muscles and lumbar supports enable a long but healthy working day at the desk.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Austin Distel)

You can also choose between chairs with or without armrests or headrests. Here you have to rely on your needs and requirements. If you suffer from severe back pain quickly, you should not do without a headrest, lumbar support and armrests.

Functions

The most important feature you should look for is height adjustability. The backrest and armrests should definitely be adjustable in height.

In order for the chair to adapt ergonomically to your body measurements, the height-adjustability function is unavoidable.

With some models, it is also possible to change the distance between the armrests and the seat. It is also important that you can adjust the headrest to your body size to relieve the strain on your neck muscles. Many models also have a so-called rocking function to tilt the backrest backwards.

This serves to relax and relieve stress. The office chair should also have brakes. You should pay particular attention to this when buying a children's chair.

Size

The sizes of the different models vary greatly. However, since the backrests and armrests are often adjustable, almost every model can be adjusted to your body size.

When buying an ergonomic office chair, your own height is the most important factor. You can choose the chair that best fits your measurements.

In general, the size of the backrest and the seat are the most important factors. It is recommended that the seat is at least between 37 and 47 cm. The top edge of the backrest should ideally be at least 45 cm above the seat and about 40 cm wide.

Weight

The weight of the office chair is not the primary consideration. They can weigh between 15 kg and 30 kg. Instead, the weight that the office chair can support plays a role. Suppliers of ergonomic office chairs specify up to how many kilograms of body weight the person sitting on the chair can have.

The majority of office chairs are suitable for a weight of up to 150 kg. However, you will also have no problem finding office chairs that have a greater load-bearing capacity of, for example, up to 180 kg.

Facts about ergonomic office chairs

Can I get an ergonomic office chair on prescription from my health insurance?

Yes, it is possible to apply for a cost subsidy for office chairs. You will need a medical certificate from your orthopaedist, for example, stating that you have a medical condition.

Before you buy an office chair, you should talk to your employer. Your employer decides which work equipment can be used in your office.

Under special circumstances, you can also receive subsidies from the German pension insurance or apply for partial reimbursement of the costs at the employment office. If you are self-employed, you can also deduct the purchase of an ergonomic office chair from your taxes as a business expense.

Are my employers obliged to provide ergonomic office chairs at the workplace?

No. Your employers are free to decide what your workplace looks like and what work equipment is available to you. However, it has been shown that most employers have a high interest in keeping the health risk of their employees as low as possible. Therefore, many are willing to invest in ergonomic office chairs to avoid sick leave.

Ergonomischer Bürostuhl-3

The wrong sitting posture can lead to severe neck and back pain. This often leads to absenteeism from work.
(Image source: unsplash.com/Jesper Aggergaard)

Most sick leave can be traced back to muscular weaknesses and weak connective tissue. According to a health report by the TK, every tenth day of sick leave is due to the widespread disease of back pain. So you should show your employer that investing in ergonomic office chairs is worthwhile for the future.

How do I adjust an ergonomic office chair?

In order for you to sit as ergonomically as possible, we will show you in the following section how to adjust your office chair correctly.

  1. Seat height: Make sure there is a right angle between your upper and lower legs. Your knees should also be at the same height as your hips. Your feet should be firmly on the floor.
  2. Seat: You should be able to use the entire seat. Sit fully against the backrest and make sure that the back of your knees are not pressed against the edge of the seat.
  3. Back surface: Your upper pelvic area should touch the backrest. The lumbar support, a curve on the backrest, should be level with your waistline.
  4. Headrest: The headrest is for relaxation between work periods. You should adjust it so that you can lean comfortably when you rock your back backwards.
  5. Armrests: Your upper arm and forearm should form a right angle. At the same time, your neck muscles must be able to relax when you rest your arms.

Now that you understand everything, you can go straight ahead and hopefully work at your desk with the best comfort and without pain in the future.

Image source: Balcerzak/ 123rf.com

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