An office chair, also called a desk chair or computer chair, is a common type of seating with a padded chair back and seat set on casters for rolling and swiveling.

Although primarily used in a work or office setting, office chairs have become common in homes due to the prevalence of computers. Since other chairs are unsuitable for computer work, causing discomfort and pain, office desk chairs are the only logical option.

Black Chairs and Brown Wooden Tables

However, many types of office chairs are available today to cater to different preferences and tastes. So, to give you an overview of the major types of office chairs, we scoured the market and listed them below.

1. Big and Tall Chairs

Different Types of Office Chairs Big and Tall Chair

This is more of a seating subclass, but it deserves mention here. Any desk chair made today can be purchased in big and tall variants. These chairs are distinguished by being physically larger, capable of supporting users up to 6’6” tall, and fashioned from stronger materials of extra thickness.

2. Conference Chairs

As the name suggests, these chairs are designed for use in a conference room. Meetings and conference calls can run somewhat long, but at the outer edge, you can expect to spend no more than three or four hours at a stretch in them.

As such, they have inferior lumbar support compared to other models. Of the various computer chairs sold, these make a relatively poor choice for day-to-day long-term use.

Conference Chair for Types of Chairs for Office

They had the advantage of being somewhat cheaper, so if you only plan to sit at your desk for no more than half-day increments, this could be an excellent choice.

3. Ergonomic Chairs

As the average workday length increased and more people began spending more time sitting, the realization dawned that chairs with additional support were needed.

Ultimately, this spawned the ergonomic movement, which created office chairs with much better lumbar supports, fostering better overall posture.

Ergonomic Office Chair for Types of Desk Chairs

If you spend several hours a day sitting in front of your computer, you need a chair with ergonomic support. It will cost more, but the extra money will save you from doctor and chiropractor bills.

4. Executive Chairs

These are hands down the most expensive of the various types of desk chairs sold. They’re high-end, with better padding for added comfort, and most feature a full range of ergonomic features.

If you’re buying one for home use and can afford it, spend the extra money and buy an executive chair. Not only are they better looking from an aesthetic standpoint, but they’re also more comfortable and tend to combine all the best features of other types of chairs.

La-Z-Boy Bellamy Executive Office Chair Front View

Types of Executive Chairs

While there aren’t actually multiple subtypes of office chairs, they do come in quite several varieties. For instance, executive chairs come in “big and tall” and petite sizes like regular office chairs. However, executive chairs are mostly defined by a robust set of features.

The overwhelming majority of executive chairs have the following features in common:

  • They’re on wheels (casters)
  • They swivel
  • They almost always have very high backs
  • About 80% of them feature padded arms (a minority can be found with no arms)
  • About half are overstuffed for maximum comfort
  • About 40% of them feature ergonomic supports
  • And they’re upholstered with the “best in class” upholstery in their price range (so, a high-end executive chair will typically be upholstered in top-grain leather, whereas the office chairs in the same price band might be upholstered in high-quality fabric or an inferior leather – moving down the price band, a low-end executive chair will typically be upholstered in bonded leather where comparable office chairs are upholstered in PU or low-end fabrics)

In addition to the above, a small minority of executive chairs will come with “extra” features like massage heads or a recline function.

It’s possible to find an executive chair with any combination of these features, which gives you the ability to find the perfect executive chair for you, complete with all your favorite features.

5. Guest Chairs

These are necessary for any office with a waiting room or reception area but are not recommended for anything other than incidental, short-term seating. They’re reasonably comfortable but lack the support necessary for extended use.

Different Types of Office Chairs Guest Chair

6. Kneeling Ergonomic Chairs

Kneeling Ergonomic Chair for Different Types of Office Chairs

These chairs aren’t widely used in most offices but offer compelling advantages. If you suffer from chronic back pain, these are an excellent choice.

Unfortunately, they’re not all that comfortable, so sitting in your chair for several hours at a stretch can be exhausting. For stints no more than four hours at a time, though, they’re a great solution.

7. Petite Chairs

As with big and tall chairs, this is more of a seating subclass. Like big and tall chairs, any type of computer chair sold today can be ordered in a petite variant, smaller, lighter, and constructed of thinner materials optimized for physically smaller people.

Also, like big and tall chairs, their other defining features are determined by the specific type of chair.

Aurora Petite Office Chair in Orange

8. Stacking Chairs

Different Types of Office Chairs Stacking Chairs

Cheap and easy to mass produce, stacking chairs are typically pulled out of the storage closet whenever there’s a dinner or company-wide meeting when mass-seating is needed for a short period.

They’re not terribly comfortable but will serve in a pinch. You do not want to buy this for home use, but they certainly have their place in the office seating ecosystem.

9. Stools

In recent years, ergonomic stools have exploded onto the office scene. It’s an interesting seating option, but not for everyone. While they do foster better posture and are ideal for short to medium-term seating, if you spend several hours at your computer at a time, like ergonomic stools, these can be exhausting to sit in.

Different Types of Office Chairs Stool (Ergonomic Office School)

10. Task Chairs

These inexpensive, moderately comfortable chairs tend to have a limited feature set. They’re excellent for short-term seating (1-3 hours at a time), but more than that, their lack of posture support features will make them increasingly uncomfortable.

These are ideal for corporate use but aren’t a great option if you’re self-employed and working from home. If that describes your situation, then you’re better off spending the extra money and getting something more robust.

Different Types of Office Chairs Task Chair

Other Types of Seating

Although this list is fairly extensive, it doesn’t do the category justice. Designers and manufacturers offer dozens of subtypes for each of the different types of office chairs.

For example, some offices use exercise balls as seating, and you can even find chair frames with mid-back support that have space for an exercise ball where the seat would go.

There’s even a recent trend to forego the seat altogether, which has led to the creation of the standing desk. “Sitting is the new smoking,” as the saying goes.

In addition, most chair types can be mid-back or high-back (mid-back variants tend to be less expensive) and are made with mesh, cloth, or leather upholstery, giving you virtually unlimited choice.

Final Thoughts: Types of Office Chairs

There are numerous types of computer chairs made by various manufacturers, and we have an extensive list of office chairs brands to showcase them.

But before looking at brands, fully understand the type of office chair you want by determining your usage, ergonomic needs, comfort, style choice, and budget. Then, you’ll be ready to explore the market for a new office chair!