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 chairs are the only logical option.
However, there are many types of office chairs available in the market 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.
Big and Tall Chairs
This is more of a seating subclass, but it deserves mention here. Any of the types of desk chairs made today can be purchased in a big and tall variants. These chairs are distinguished by being physically larger, capable of supporting users up to 6’6” tall and being fashioned of studier materials of extra thickness.
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 when compared to some other models. Of the various types of computer chairs sold, these then, make a relatively poor choice for day-to-day long-term use.
They had the advantage of being somewhat cheaper, so if you only plan to be sitting at your desk for no more than half-day increments, this could be an excellent choice.
As the average length of the workday increased, and more and more people began spending more time sitting, the realization dawned that chairs with additional support were needed.
Ultimately, this is what spawned the ergonomic movement, which saw the creation of office chairs with much better lumbar supports, fostering better overall posture.
If you spend several hours a day sitting in front of your computer, then you need a chair with ergonomic support. You’ll pay more for it, but the extra money will save you from doctor and chiropractor bills.
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 of them 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.
Types of Executive Chairs
While there aren’t actually multiple subtypes of office chairs, it is true that they come in quite a number of varieties. For instance, just like with regular office chairs, you can find executive chairs in “big and tall” and petite sizes. Mostly though, executive chairs are defined by a robust set of features.
The overwhelming majority of executive chairs have the following features in common:
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.
These are a necessity in any office that has 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.
Kneeling Ergonomic Chairs
These chairs aren’t widely used in most offices, but they do offer some compelling advantages. If you suffer from chronic back pain, these are an excellent choice.
Unfortunately, they’re not all that comfortable, which means that if you have to be in your chair for several hours at a stretch, they can be exhausting to sit in. For stints no more than four hours at a time, though, they’re a great solution.
As with big and tall chairs, this is more a seating subclass, and like big and tall chairs, any of the types of computer chairs sold today can be ordered in a petite variant, which is smaller, lighter, and constructed of thinner materials, optimized for physically smaller people.
Also like big and tall chairs, their other defining features are informed by the specific type of chair.
Cheap and easy to mass produce, stacking chairs are typically pulled out of the storage closet any time 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. This is not something you want to buy for home use, but they certainly have their place in the office seating ecosystem.
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.
These are inexpensive, moderately comfortable chairs that 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.
Ideal for corporate use, these aren’t a great option if you’re self-employed and working from home. If that describes your situation, then you’re better off, by far, spending the extra money and getting something more robust.
Other Types of Seating
This list, although fairly extensive, doesn’t do the category justice. Among each of the different types of chairs in the office category, designers and manufacturers offer dozens of subtypes.
For example, some offices use exercise balls for seating, and you can even find chair frames with a mid-back back support with 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 of the chair types can come in either mid-back or high-back varieties (mid-back variants tend to be less expensive) and are made with either mesh, cloth, or leather upholstery, giving you virtually unlimited choice.
Types of Office Chairs Conclusion
There are numerous types of computer chairs made by a host of different 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, and you’re ready to explore the market for a new office chair!