Choosing the perfect office chair can be a daunting task, but fear not, as we’re here to simplify the process. In the realm of office chairs, they may appear distinct yet oddly similar. Feeling bewildered? You’re not alone, but there’s a path to clarity. Allow us to share crucial questions that will make the quest for the “best and most budget-friendly office chair for you” considerably more straightforward. Discover the best office chairs available online in South Africa!

Before you commit to a new office chair, ask yourself these essential questions:

1. Musculoskeletal Pain:

Are you experiencing any musculoskeletal discomfort, such as lower back pain, neck strain, or discomfort in the shoulders, hips, or knees?

If your discomfort arises primarily from sitting, the right office chair, combined with an ergonomic workstation setup, can often mitigate it. Your workstation encompasses your chair, desk, computer, keyboard, mouse, lighting, telephone, and any other tools you use during your workday. How to set up your workstation correctly.

If you’ve had surgery on your back, neck, hip, or knee, certain seating positions may exacerbate pain. Consult your healthcare provider to identify any positions to avoid, as they could influence your choice of an office chair. Do you need an Ergonomic or Orthopaedic Chair?

2. Weight Rating:

What is the weight capacity of the chair? Chair components are designed with specific weight limits. For instance, a Class 4 gas lifter is rated up to 150kg, and a Class 3 lifter supports up to 120kg. Selecting a chair with an incorrect weight rating may void its warranty. Given the potential investment in the best office chair in South Africa, it’s crucial to ensure its durability.

3. Compatibility with Your Workspace:

If your chair will be used alongside an existing desk, table, or counter, measure the height from the floor to the working surface’s top. All task-type office chairs offer height adjustability, and this adjustment range should match your work surface height. What is the correct height for my desk, computer monitor and office chair?

A general guideline is that the chair’s seat height, measured from the floor, should be 25-30cm lower than your work surface’s height.

Buying an office chair online or away from your workstation could lead to overlooking the chair’s height adjustability. It’s essential to inform your chair supplier of your work surface’s height to receive suitable recommendations.

4. Daily Sitting Duration:

How many hours per day do you spend in your office chair? This is a straightforward yet crucial question. Over a week, track the exact hours you spend seated at your workstation and calculate your daily average. The longer you sit, the more adjustable features your chair should offer for optimal support and comfort (See question 5 below). For instance, sitting for just an hour a day requires fewer adjustable features, while those sitting for six or more hours daily will benefit from a chair with extensive adjustability.

5. Adjustable Features:

When selecting the best office chair, consider the following adjustable features:

a. Height Adjustment: The chair should allow you to set the proper seat height and position it comfortably within your workstation. For optimal comfort, refer to our guide how to setup your workstation.

b. Backrest Angle Adjustment: The ability to adjust the backrest’s angle is vital to align it with your body and work style. By altering this angle from an upright to a more reclined position (for e.g. when you are on the phone or talking to someone at your workstation), you can stimulate the muscles in your lower back, promoting dynamic sitting.

Height adjustable backrest on OrthoAir Orthopaedic Chair

c. Adjustable Lumbar Support: People have varying back shapes and support needs. Opt for an office chair with adjustable lumbar support to ensure your back receives the comfort and support it requires. Vertical and horizontal (depth) adjustments are desirable for optimal lumbar support.

Lumbar adjustment on Luna Ergonomic Office Chair

d. Adjustable Armrests: Height-adjustable armrests are essential to alleviate strain on your neck and shoulders. They help transfer the force from your head to your elbows, which should rest comfortably on the arm pads. Ensure the arm pads align with the top of your desk or workstation.

Multi-adjustable armrests on the Fenix Ergonomic Office Chair

e. Maneuverability: The ability to move easily in your chair enhances overall comfort and functionality. Your chair should allow you to swivel and reach items such as documents and files. Chair castors (wheels) contribute to effortless mobility; choose nylon castors for carpeted floors and rubber castors for hard surfaces like wood, vinyl, tiles, and concrete.

f. Head or Neck Rests: While a headrest is a nice addition, it may not be effective in an upright working position. However, it can serve as a reference point for correct posture. Placing your head against the headrest encourages shoulder and chest elevation, enhancing breathing and concentration. Headrests also prove valuable for brief reclining breaks to relax neck and head muscles. The average a human head weighs 5kg balanced on 7 vertebrae and supported by about 20 muscles. As you tilt your head forward the weight bearing load can increase by more than 4 times significantly increasing strain and contribute to neck discomfort!

6. Price:

In a market where “price is everything,” affordability is a critical factor. Keep in mind that the price of an office chair can reflect its quality and features. What influences the price of an office chair? Bearing in mind that if your chair does not do its job your body will compensate to a greater or lesser degree. The more your body compensates, the greater the chance of injury and other long-term health problems. Cheap office chairs – what do they REALLY cost me?

Upholstery type, such as leather, can significantly influence the price. While leather is often the most expensive option, it’s essential to understand the distinctions between types like leather, bonded leather, and faux leather. Leather, Bonded Leather or Faux Leather – what is the difference?

Cutting costs by opting for a chair with fewer features may lead to long-term health problems. Not using your chair correctly will have the same effect.

In Conclusion:

Selecting the best office chair for your needs hinges on addressing these six key questions. By doing so, you can swiftly eliminate unsuitable options and make an informed choice, ensuring that you acquire the best and most affordable chair for your unique requirements.

To speak to an Office Ergonomics Risk Facilitator contact us on 011 392 6803 or email [email protected]

Article first seen on Karo’s Knowledge Centre – Follow the link for the full article –