What makes a chair Ergonomic?
With extensive hours spent behind computers in modern day industries, there has been a major rise in the need for ergonomic furniture. Modern day customers are also well educated with regards to the importance of workplace ergonomics and the significant benefits that ergonomic furniture has. This understanding has further popularized such furniture amongst consumers. But as a customer, do you know what makes a chair ergonomic? Are you aware of the different components that make up an ergonomic chair and whether the chair that you are buying will truly make a difference to your well-being?
It is crucial that you are aware of the different ergonomic specs, and how you can benefit from them, before investing in an ergonomic chair. Here is a list of the specs that you should consider in your purchase:
Lumbar support provides support to the lumbar region of your back to keep your spine aligned to its natural curvature. This helps avoid your muscles from over-working themselves and can therefore reduce back pain and strain.
A good ergonomic chair will have a lumbar support that is adjustable for height, enabling you to adjust the support pad to suit your spine. Some ergonomic chairs further enhance this feature by making the lumbar support adjustable for depth as well.
Lumbar support pad as seen on the Merryfair Motion Mid-Back Office Chair
A good ergonomic seat will ensure that you not only sit soft and comfortable, but also ensure that you sit in an ergonomic position. This is achieved through various available features:
Memory foam: a memory foam seat provides comfort, improves your posture and circulation and reduces back strain.
Coil springs: a new innovation in office chair seats is the use of independent coil springs. They conform more accurately to your body than conventional foam and mesh surfaces which simply stretch to a uniform tension. The result is a more proportional pressure distribution for healthy circulation and comfort.
Coil springs seat as seen on the Merryfair Reya Ergonomic Chair
Height adjustable: an ergonomic seat should be adjustable for height as users’ proportions and heights vary. A user should be able to adjust the seat height to match their proportions and keep their feet flat on the floor.
Sliding seat: a seat that is adjustable in depth will allow proper support from the backrest without cutting off circulation at your knees.
Most ergonomic chairs have a high backrest providing support through a lumbar support pad and an ergonomic curve in the backrest that enables a natural position of the spine. Some top quality ergonomic chairs will also have an adjustable backrest to further enhance the natural positioning of the backrest to the user’s back.
You also get advanced ergonomic chairs, such as the Merryfair Spinelly, that has a backrest that moves with your body, providing support to every vertebra while moving in the chair.
Backrest of the Merryfair Spinelly Ergonomic Chair
A good ergonomic chair mechanism will allow the user to keep their feet flat on the floor while tilting the chair backwards. There are four main types of mechanisms used in ergonomic chairs. A more in-depth description of each mechanism can be found here.
Donati Synchro Mechanism
- Knee-tilt mechanism: enables the user to tilt backward using less effort, and while keeping the feet flat on the floor.
- Multi-function mechanism: has the same benefit as the knee-tilt mechanism, but also allows the user to lock the chair in various positions that range from the normal upright position, to the back tilt, front tilt and anywhere in between.
- Synchro tilt mechanism: has the same basic functionality as the multi-function mechanism, but what sets it apart is that the seat and backrest move at different angles when tilting or reclining backward. This is done in a 2:1 ratio, keeping you in an ergonomic position while you tilt. It furthers makes reclining easy and creates more fluid motion.
- Weight sensitive mechanism: will automatically recline and adjust to put you in the best ergonomic position for your body, when tilting or moving in the office chair. This position is based on your height, weight and how you are positioned in the chair at any given moment.
Most ergonomic chairs will come with a tension adjuster that enables you to adjust the tension of your recline motion, making it slightly easier (or harder) to tilt backwards.
The armrests should be designed to provide additional support to the upper body by holding the arm weight and maintaining a good posture.
Ergonomic chairs should have adjustable armrests enabling the user to adjust the height according to their body proportions. Advanced ergonomic chairs will have armrests that are also adjustable in depth and angle. This will allow the user to find the perfect ergonomic position for their arms, and also enable them to adjust it for different uses. An inward angle is usually used when typing while an outward angle is used while utilizing the mouse.
Adjustable armrests of the Merryfair Tune Ergonomic Chair
An ergonomic chair should provide support to the weight of the user’s neck. This will reduce neck strain. Some ergonomic chairs have adjustable headrests allowing you to adjust the height of the headrest to suit your length.
Quality gas lift:
An ergonomic chair is an investment, and should be usable for a long time. It is therefore important that an ergonomic chair comes with a good quality gas lift. This is to ensure that the chair remains in
a workable condition for a long time, and that it can also carry a good amount of weight. Ensure that your chair comes with a good warranty that covers the gas lift, or that the gas lift is certified by a quality standard body or association such as BIFMA.
The base of an ergonomic chair should be strong and sturdy. Ideally, an ergonomic chair should have five legs as anything less than five legs are usually prone to tipping and therefore reduce user safety. The castors connected to the base should also be proportionate, strong and allow free and easy movement.
Are you ready to invest in an Ergonomic Office Chair? Shop our range here.