Office chairs buying guide

A vital part of any office, the office chair is the one piece of equipment you'll use above all others. Picking the right chair for your desk can often be an afterthought, but it is advisable to take a little time to ensure you make the right choice, as you can easily end up spending a lot of time on it.

As well as comfort, it is important that a computer chair offers the appropriate lumbar support and back support, and that it is at the right height relative to your desk to make sure you don't suffer any neck strain whilst on the computer. Arm rests and head rests are also key ergonomic features that can aid comfort.

It's also important to find a chair that complements the look of your office or study. With these considerations in mind, Tesco have put together a guide to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice.

So whether you want a leather office chair, mesh office chair, swivel chair, reclining office chair, ergonomic chair, or even a gaming chair, look no further than Tesco and make sure you are always sitting comfortably.

Office chair features

Your office chair should be suited to your workstation and its overall use. Freedom of movement while minimising stress on your spine is important for your productivity and overall comfort. Your chair should level your eyes with your computer screen, and make sure your posture is easy to maintain.

Most office chairs are ergonomic chairs and take these points into consideration during the design process. This is why many office chairs have an adjustable height or gas lift, to make it easy to find the most comfortably viewing angle for you to work. Other features such as seat tilt and adjustable arm rests also help to customize your seating position for maximum comfort.

If you are not going to be using your desk chair that regularly, you might not need to look for many additional features. However, if you're using the chair for long periods of time, the more you'll appreciate having a range of adjustment features.

Working in the correct position is not only important for immediate comfort, but over prolonged periods of sitting other issues can arise; from neck and back pain to headaches and even digestive problems. This is why it is important to get an ergonomic office chair for desk related work.

For the ideal seating position, your eyes should be level with the screen, with your feet flat on the floor and your wrists resting on the desk. Your shoulders and back should be relaxed to keep good posture.

Adjustable height

If you want to sit comfortably on the same chair every day, it's a good idea to raise or lower the seat until you can rest your feet flat on the floor so you're not restricting the blood supply to your lower legs and feet. Gas lift functions provide an easy way to adjust the height of your seat, while providing a comfortably cushioned feel.

Back support

As their name suggests, loomed rugs are made on a shuttle loom. Loomed rugs are made by hand and tend to be of a high quality.

Lumbar support is provided through gentle curves in the backrest of the chair or inserts placed into the body of the backrest. Lumbar support can be adjusted to support your back in the areas where you need it most; promoting good posture and avoiding strain. Your lumbar region refers to the lower portion of your back.

Additionally, the back support should be capable of providing full support for your middle and lower back, without restricting your arm or shoulder movements. Some high-back chairs have also been designed specifically to support the shoulders, head and neck.

Some office chairs are built with lumbar support as a key feature. The lower back support for chairs can be boosted by taking advantage of lumbar support cushions. These are placed on the seat and help offer a better quality of support.

Seat depth

Whilst seated, you should ideally be fully supported by the backrest. It's recommended you adjust the seat depth by moving the seat or backrest in and out so that you can reach the backrest, while reducing pressure on the back of your thighs.

Seat tilt

Tilting the seat widens the angle between your body and thighs, which sends more oxygen to your muscles and helps you to breathe better. Tilt the chair forwards or backwards until you find an angle you like and then simply lock it in place.

Armrests

Fixed armrests are fine for occasional use, but for extended use, adjustable armrests are better. Adjustable armrests not only help to reduce the strain on your wrists and shoulders, they also reduce the tendency to slouch into your chair. They can also be lowered so you can pull your chair closer to your desk and still stay sitting in a comfortable position. Padded armrests could help you avoid putting uncomfortable pressure on the undersides of your forearms and elbows.

Swivel chairs

The vast majority of office chairs can swivel around 360° on their base, giving you excellent maneuverability. This makes it easy to reach other parts of your desk without twisting or injuring your back.

Office chair material

Just as with your sofa at home, the material on your office chair seat and back rest should have enough padding to keep you comfortable for as long as you need and offer appropriate posture support.

Office and desk chairs can be upholstered with all sorts of different materials with their own advantages- for example, fabric upholstery is durable and easy to clean, mesh office chairs are comfortable and breathable helping to minimise the buildup of heat, and leather always offers a hard-wearing and luxurious finish.

Office chair wheels

Most office chairs have wheels, and having a wheeled computer chair or desk chair offers extra flexibility for everything from moving closer to the waste paper bin to seating impromptu team meetings.

Chairs with a 5-wheeled star base are more stable than a 3-wheel base, particularly if you need to move around a lot. Chair castors on the base make it easy to manoeuvre the chair around; hard wheel castors (e.g. nylon) are best used on carpet and solid surfaces, while soft wheel castors (e.g. polyurethane - PU) are ideal for hardwood floors and don't cause any damage.

Headrests

A headrest can be particularly helpful for people who need extra neck or head support, such as those with back problems. They allow the muscles to relax and increase the blood flow. A headrest is usually only used when the chair is slightly reclined.

Taking a break

Remember, no matter which chair you buy, health and safety guidelines recommend taking a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes' continuous screen time. In addition, if you're working with a keyboard a 15 minute break every two hours is recommended. Please visit the Health and Safety Executive site for more info.

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