When making purchasing decisions, consumers are smart to evaluate all the options available to them on the market. This decision is one that many take quite seriously, particularly when purchasing products that they use daily like an office chair and that affect their lives, such as phones, equipment, and cars. But people tend to make a lot of important purchasing decisions without much of a second thought, analysis, or research. Chairs are the perfect example of a product that everyone uses, yet one that tends to go under-researched or understood before purchase.
But what research even goes into buying a chair?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand why chair purchases should be taken just a little bit more seriously. In an increasingly technological world, the average person spends more than half of their day sitting, especially between work and sedentary activities like watching TV or driving. The chair(s) that we spend most of our time in can potentially affect our health (think muscle and joint pains) and our productivity (think comfort), so choosing the right furniture for you is imperative.
When it comes to furniture pieces, the variety in size, colour, and shape is extensive, but many would argue that the most important aspect is function. A functionally designed chair serves to provide the user adequate back, neck, and arm support to minimize discomfort and prolonged seating risks. This is called an ergonomic chair, and the latter is referred to as non-ergonomic or traditional chairs.
The differences between non-ergonomic and ergonomic chairs can be quite extensive, but here’s a list to get you started:
Aspects of an Ergonomic Chair
- Posture Support
One of the most distinguishing aspects of an ergonomic chair is the comfort it is able to provide to the user compared to its competition. These features make the seats suitable for long-term use by effectively curbing the common aches, tensions, and pains that come with long periods of sitting. Ultimately, it also reduces your chances of future chronic pain.
- Seat Height: ergonomic chairs offer adjustable seat height settings to suit the different height requirements of its users. Ideally, a chair is the appropriate height if it allows you to rest your feet flat on the floor whilst leaning on the backrest
- Seat Depth: An ergonomically sound chair offers adjustable seat depths allow users to move the backrest forwards or backwards. This is done to create custom seat depths where individuals should be able to sit comfortably and leave a few inches between the back of the knee and the seat.
- Arm Rests: resting your arms reduces shoulder and neck tension, and ergonomic chairs have an adjustable setting to accommodate all users and their unique arm lengths.
- Backrest: a properly designed backrest supports the natural curvature of the spine, allowing for angle adjustments and reducing lumbar aches.
- High Quality Materials
Ergonomic chairs tend to be made from materials that last through consistent wear and tear. They’re made from top quality, comfortable, and breathable fabrics that retain steady temperatures, so users are not troubled with feeling too hot or too cold.
These chairs can vary from one hundred to several thousand dollars. As you can guess, the more customizable it is, the more expensive it will be. Though the initial cost might seem too high, it is important to consider that the repair/replacement costs of these chairs are typically very low because they are built to last. In addition, they curb or at least significantly reduce the need for potential corrective healthcare (chiropractor, pain medicine, and more) in the future.
Ergonomic chairs are not as easy to come by as traditional ones. Chances are, if you’re looking for an ergonomic chair, you’re concerned about its function and quality, so research and brand comparison is imminent.
Aspects on Non-ergonomic Chairs
Many are attracted to the lower costs of traditional chairs. You get what you pay for, so keep in mind that it is not reasonable to expect a twenty-dollar chair lasts you your life. If you’re looking for a short-term solution or won’t be using the chair a lot, it may make more sense to opt for the lower price.
- Wide Variety of Styles
Although ergonomic designs are appealing to our sense of comfort, multiple people complain that they are not appealing to the eye. Most non-ergonomic are designed for aesthetic purposes, built in unique shapes and sizes. For decorative purposes, traditional chairs take the win.
Traditional chairs can be purchased basically anywhere. This means less time looking around, researching, and comparing different brands and models.
So, what’s the verdict? In summary…
A chair that is designed for efficiency and comfort is an ergonomically correct one. The priority should be to optimize the user’s experience with their environment so that they can focus on the tasks at hand rather than the discomfort that comes along with lengthy periods sitting. Even still, it is important to note that one type of ergonomic chair is not guaranteed to suit everyone; different ergonomic chairs are designed for different body dimensions, work environments, and other tasks. Height, weight, activities, and more should all be considered when choosing the right chair for you. Considering cost alongside maintenance and repair, ergonomic chairs tend to be more expensive because they out-perform competitors, so the initial purchase may end up costing less in the long run.
Traditional chairs do not take into account various factors for optimal function, such as adjustability, height range, depth, arm and back rests, angles, stability, and material. Because they lack these features, they are able to be sold at considerably lower prices. At the same time, not focusing on function makes way for prioritizing aesthetics, and may make these chairs more convenient to find and purchase.
In short, each chair has its pros and cons; as a consumer it’s critical to evaluate your needs and choose the option that’ll get you the best bang for your buck.