How to choose an office chair

How to choose an office chair

How to choose an office chair

Choosing an office chair is an important decision. Does it support my body? Will it help my posture? Can it alleviate my back pain? Does it look stylish? These are all important questions to consider when making a purchase, however there are some important features of a chair that you should consider before you make up your mind.


1. Chair style

It’s quite easy to buy the biggest, most cushioned chair as we may assume it will be the best. But this is not the case. Your classic big office executive chairs which have the seat base and backrest attached together, fixed armrests and minimal adjustments are probably ones to stay away from. Look for a chair with a separate backrest and seat base and preferably no, or adjustable, armrests.


2. Chair adjustments

How a chair will adjust is important. Chairs with fewer adjustment options make it harder for the chair to be suited to an individual. Look for between 4 to 6 adjustment features on a chair, with the following being the minimum recommended;

  • Seat base tilt
  • Backrest tilt
  • Backrest height adjustment
  • Chair height adjustment

These other features may also improve comfort;

  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Sliding seat base
  • Adjustable armrests

3. Seat base

Seat base depth is crucial. A seat base which is too long will compress pressure-sensitive nerves in the user’s legs, affecting posture and impacting the ability for the individual to use the backrest of the chair. A good guide is to ensure there is a space of at least 2-3 fingers between the back of the knees and the seat base. Generally, the taller you are the longer the seat base required and vice versa if you are shorter.

Seat base tilt is just as important. You want to choose a chair where the seat base is positioned straight or on a slight backwards tilt. This will avoid you sliding forwards in the chair and provide greater support for your spine.

4. Backrest

The backrest of a chair is very important – it supports your spine! The top of the backrest should be between the middle to top of your shoulder blades, with the bump or curve in the backrest positioned into the curve of your lumbar spine. It is important that it doesn’t push you forwards as you should be able to relax your back into the backrest with it being positioned at an angle between 90-100 degrees. Look for a backrest where you can adjust the height as it will improve your comfort in the chair.

5.  Lumbar support

Most chairs will have at least a small curve in the backrest to provide some lumbar support. Others will be able increase or decrease this curve to enhance support levels. This is a useful feature if you suffer from lumbar spine pain, or want the option of extra support for your spine.

6. Armrests

Armrests are not critical when purchasing a chair. Sometimes they actually get in the way! If they are too high, they will affect your ability to be close into the desk, making you lean forwards (A position you want to avoid). If they can be adjusted to a low height, then they may be suitable, but otherwise try to look for a chair without them.


You can view our range of chairs here. If you are still unsure about which chair is right for you, you can book a chair fit assessment with one of our physios.



Bodysmart_Matt_CWritten by Matt Fulco. Matt is an APA titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist with vast experience in treating neck, low back and sports related pain. He is skilled in various manual therapy techniques and providing corrective exercise and gym based strengthening programs individualised to each patient.



If you’re concerned you are sitting too long every day and it may be effecting your health book into see Matt by checking is availability below. Alternatively, you enquire about our ergonomic assessments here.