Are you going to buy a new office chair and wondering how to identify its quality? Or do you want to know the quality of the office chair that you already own? Whatever the case is, we are here to address all your queries and confusions.
This article is going to explain the importance of good quality office chairs as well as factors that help you identify the office chair quality. Well, the quality of an office chair lies in the quality of the materials used in its construction. So make sure that strong and durable materials are used in its construction.
Apart from that, your office chair must be capable of fitting your body contours. It should have sufficient padding so that you remain comfortable and relaxed. Also, make sure that its safety standards are certified by quality insurance authorities. In the US and Europe, BIFMA and European CE are the two most reputed organizations that have dedicated testing systems for ensuring the quality and safety of materials used in your office chair.
Benefits of Choosing a High-Quality Office Chair
Choosing a high-quality office chair is an investment in yourself as there are a range of health and productivity benefits such as:
- It helps in preventing workplace injuries such as back pain, neck and shoulder strain, headaches and the possibility of falling.
- It relieves users from the risk of strains or aches in different body parts which allow them to focus on their work.
- It helps in boosting the productivity and efficiency of users.
- It improves the posture of users during long working hours.
- It provides a high level of comfort and ergonomic support to the back, shoulders, arms, neck and other body parts of the user.
- It improves blood circulation in your body which prevents the risk of blood accumulation at one point.
These are just a few benefits of a good quality office chair. It is undoubtedly capable of transforming the entire sitting experience of the user. Just as good tools improve the productivity of a craftsman, a good office chair is essential for enhancing the efficiency of a desk worker.
How to Identify The Office Chair Quality?
As you have gone through the importance of having a well-built office chair’ let’s discuss the factors that ensure the quality of your chair:
Adjustability is a key factor that makes a good-quality office chair. Its importance becomes multifold in shared workspaces. Adjustability allows the users to customize chairs according to individual needs. As no two users have the same body contours, therefore, high-end office chairs contain sufficient adjustability options catering to the needs of different body types. While choosing an office chair, make sure that it contains the following adjustment features.
- Seat height adjustment
- Seat depth adjustment
- Backrest adjustment
- Lumbar support adjustment
- Armrests adjustments (including height, depth, width, and pivot adjustments)
- Headrest adjustment
Also, make sure that these components can be easily adjusted from a seated position and you won’t have to make an extra effort to fix their setting at the desired levels.
If you are new to the word “ergonomics”, let us explain it briefly. Ergonomics is the practice of designing and arranging workspaces in a way that they provide maximum comfort and support to users. A high-end office chair contains the following ergonomic features:
- It has an adjustable seat height that allows user to comfortably place their feet on the floor or footrest.
- It offers seat depth adjustment so that the distance between the front edge of the seat and the backrest can be easily customized according to individual needs.
- It features built-in and adjustable lumbar support which is essential in providing support to your lower back and spine.
- It has a swivel mechanism so that you can easily rotate your body while sitting.
- Its backrest angle can be adjusted so that you get optimum comfort.
- It has fully adjustable armrests so that you can customize the height, depth, width and even pivot of armrests.
- It features a fully adjustable headrest that allows the user to keep the head in a neutral position rather than leaning forward or sideways.
- It features a back tilt adjustment mechanism that allows the user to adjust the resistance or tension when they rock the chair back and forth.
Mobility is an essential feature of a good-quality office chair. It allows users to easily move from one spot to another and access different things. The mobility of office chairs depends upon the quality of casters and the swivel mechanism used in their construction. Some manufacturers try to decrease production costs by inserting poor-quality casters. This becomes a source of constant discomfort for users as these casters tend to wear out and users have to change them every two or three months.
Therefore, always test the strength and mobility of casters before buying an office chair. This can be easily determined by sitting on the office chair and moving it back and forth. If you notice any squeak or hitch, it’s a sign of poor-quality casters and we advise you to immediately discard the idea of buying that chair. Instead, look for other office chairs that have smooth and strong casters.
Stability is also a key determinant of a good-quality office chair. There are certain tasks that require you to be seated in a fixed position and that’s where the stability of the office chair becomes more important. The stability of an office chair is mainly determined by two factors:
- Strong base
- Locking mechanism in casters
The strength of the base is further measured by the number of spokes and the quality of the material used in its construction. A five-star base tends to be more stable as compared to a three or four-spoke base. As far as material is concerned, nylon and aluminium are considered more durable and stable than plastic. Steel is the most superior and durable material to be used in the base but it is also very expensive.
The use of good quality materials in the construction of office chairs is essential in enhancing their overall quality. It not only increases the life span of the chair but also saves you from the hassle of upgrading it after every two or three years. While purchasing a new office chair, make sure that high-quality materials are used in its construction. For instance, its frame should be made of premium-quality steel or aluminium and its seat and backrest upholstery should be built with mesh, leather or premium fabric. Additionally, it should have stable and strong connections between different parts so that it can withstand regular use without squeaking or breaking away.
Smell and the Formaldehyde Levels
Formaldehyde is a colourless gas used in resins, glues, paints, plastics and finishes used in office products. It is also present in high percentages of natural wood. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde may lead to fatigue and stress. It can cause skin and eye irritation as well as damage the nervous system, immune system and digestive system. Therefore, we advise you to smell the office chair to check the level of formaldehyde emissions from its different parts. If you feel a strong, suffocating odour or other irritating symptoms such as soar throat or eye irritation, the amount of formaldehyde is likely to exceed the optimum levels.
A good quality office chair is certified by one or more design and safety standards. BIFMA and European CE are the most popular and trustworthy organizations that have dedicated testing systems for determining the quality of office chairs and related office products. We, therefore, recommend you buy an office chair that has passed relevant testing and obtained the desired certifications. Certification ensures the long-term stability and safety of office chairs.
In a nutshell, a well-built office chair can do wonders in improving your productivity and posture. It helps in relieving pain and strains in your body that you may feel otherwise. An office chair that fails to provide comfort and support is nothing but a liability for your health and productivity.
If you think that you can save money by buying a poor-quality office chair, you are wrong. Your savings would be automatically balanced or even exceeded by the amount spent on medications and stuff. So we highly recommend you buy a good quality office chair in light of the factors we listed above. Make sure that your chair has suitable customization and ergonomic options. Moreover, premium materials should be used in its construction. Hopefully, next time you enter the market for buying an office chair, you will be well-informed and well-educated about what you need.