What makes a good ergonomic office chair? Design? Price? Functionality? 5 things to look out for - with these tips you can immediately recognise a good ergonomic office chair.
One thing is clear: an ergonomic office chair is the most important thing for relaxed work in the office. Although other factors should not be ignored, we sit on the office chair every day - for hours on end. The wrong sitting posture can cause considerable damage to our health. Chronic back problems and even slipped discs are not uncommon. So what should an ergonomic office chair be like? There is a huge choice on the market, but if you consider these 5 things, you are guaranteed to recognise a good ergonomic office chair.
1. does the ergonomic office chair have 3D ergonomics?
Not every office chair that calls itself ergonomic is also ergonomically perfect and comfortable at the same time. And only very few have so-called 3D ergonomics. A conventional office chair even tends to stand for a lack of movement - it hardly allows any movement at all. Conventional movement technologies, such as the synchronous mechanism, the Smart-Spring technology or the rocker mechanism, allow movement in two dimensions at most. No matter what design such a swivel chair has, it results in hours of rigid sitting. Due to such a permanently incorrect sitting posture, there are often only a few working years between the intensive use of a "normal" office chair and the first clear symptoms of illness.
But what exactly is 3D ergonomics? 3D ergonomics means that the ergonomic swivel chair enables movement when sitting in three dimensions: forwards and backwards, to both sides and up and down. Thanks to 3D ergonomics, such an ergonomic chair promotes the intuitive movements of the person. This feature leads the body back to natural movement patterns - even when you are sitting.
What does that mean? Quite simply: the chair follows your movements and not the other way round. This combines natural sitting and controlled swinging with posture-optimising lateral, forward and backward movements. This ensures a special sitting comfort.
With 3D ergonomics, the ergonomic office chair moves in all three dimensions: back and forth, left and right, and up and down.
This is the 3D ergonomics in detail
Vertical swinging is movement in the third dimension. This only works if your ergonomic office chair is spring-mounted. This relieves the strain on your intervertebral discs, promotes blood circulation and gets your circulation going. This ensures an optimal oxygen supply. The up and down swinging should be individually adjustable to the respective body weight.
2. Lateral flexibility
Harmonious 3D movements with wide lateral deflection increase your range of action and at the same time optimise your natural sitting position. In addition, they activate your circulation with every change of posture, which also increases your concentration.
3. Lean forward
To enable an ergonomic office chair to lean forward naturally, it is important that the chair has a 3D joint close to the floor. The advantage of this is that as soon as you lean forward towards the desk, the entire spring column of the chair moves and goes into a forward tilt. As a result, your pelvis assumes a posture similar to walking, your back remains straight, your breathing is deep and your circulation is activated. And best of all: the "hunching over" when writing on the PC is gone forever.
2. can I adjust the ergonomic office chair individually?
Individual setting options are essential for a modern, ergonomic office chair very important. Make sure that you can adjust the office chair not only in terms of seat height and body weight, but also to your individual needs for movement.
Sitting correctly means above all that you pay attention to the correct seat height. Ideally, there should be an "open" angle between the upper and lower leg (> 90°). To ensure healthy sitting, you must also take the height of the workstation into account when adjusting the height of the office chair. A good model is therefore continuously height-adjustable and the lever for height adjustment is easily accessible and easy to operate.
Tip: If you do not have a height-adjustable desk in your home office, for example, jack up your normal desk a little if necessary to achieve the ideal sitting height.
To be able to adjust the seat height of your office chair quickly and easily, it is important that the lever is easy to reach. In addition, the height should be continuously adjustable.
No two people are alike. And that's a good thing! Some people have long legs, others a long upper body - but this is often a problem for optimal sitting. That's why you should make sure that your ergonomic office chair is individually adjustable to your body weight and fits your proportions. The office chair should therefore function according to the motto "one for all" and still offer a high level of sitting comfort. A standard spring leg, for example, can be variably adjusted to a body weight of approx. 50 kg to 120 kg.
Traditional, ergonomic office chairs often have adjustable armrests. It is important that they are adjustable both in height and width. Some armrests can also be turned backwards if you don't want to use them. Innovative, orthopaedic office chairs deliberately do without armrests altogether. This is because armrests can cause you to sit tilted in the office chair or increase the distance to the work surface in an unfavourable way. Sitting for long periods in such an incorrect position is particularly harmful.
Backrest with lumbar support
The majority of ergonomic office chairs on the market have a backrest. It is usually height-adjustable. The angle can also be adjusted. One important feature: the high backrest needs A back-friendly, adjustable lumbar support. This part of the backrest can be adjusted to the (S-shaped) curvature of your spine and supports it when sitting in the lower area (lordosis). If a swivel chair with a backrest does not have such a lumbar support, you should definitely look for an alternative.
By the way: according to the latest ergonomic findings, a backrest is not absolutely necessary. Quite the opposite. No matter how well upholstered, how comfortable or how perfect the lumbar support, a backrest often impedes the free, natural movement that one should strive for even when sitting. More on this in point 5.
The lumbar support of the backrest supports your lower back. It must be able to adapt to the S-shaped curvature of your spine.
The seat of your ergonomic swivel chair should be adjustable. Adjust it so that the backs of the knees are always free and do not rest on the seat. This is the only way to ensure sufficient blood circulation - especially from the legs back to the heart.
3 What does an ergonomic office chair cost?
What should an ergonomic office chair actually cost and is the price a sign of high quality? Good question, to which there is no blanket answer. The price range for ergonomic office chairs is very wide. The simplest swivel chairs offered as ergonomic chairs start at around 200 euros. For particularly exclusive models, however, up to 2,000 euros may be due. However, orientation purely on the basis of price is not sensible! As mentioned above in the first two points, it depends primarily on the functions of the office chair and whether it meets your ergonomic requirements. All in all, it also depends on how much you want to invest in your own health. Very good ergonomic office chairs with an excellent price-performance ratio are already available in the mid-price range.
Independent expert tests confirm ergonomic properties
In order to make a good decision regardless of the price, you should also make sure that a professional office chair has been scientifically tested and recommended by experts. Such an independent office chair test - for example by Stiftung Warentest or the TÜV checks manufacturers and provides consumers with valuable information on functionality, usability and quality.
4. how long does an ergonomic office chair last?
You should replace conventional, non-ergonomic office swivel chairs after eight years at the latest. The reason is quite simple: depending on the price range and the shape of the seat, these "normal" office chairs more or less quickly develop seat recesses that fix the pelvis and thus significantly restrict freedom of movement.
A good ergonomic office chair, on the other hand, has a much longer useful life. Chairs with a convex seat, for example the Aeris Swopper, are explicitly designed in such a way that no hollows can form in the seat in the first place and seating comfort remains permanently high. The ergonomic design of the upwardly curved seat also has the advantage that your weight is borne precisely by the bones of your body that are designed for this purpose - the ischial tuberosities.
Tip: You can feel the ischial tuberosities when you sit on your hands.
You should also pay attention to the quality of materials and workmanship. High-quality materials and excellent workmanship increase the lifespan of your ergonomic office chair considerably. And best of all: the resale value also remains correspondingly high. It is not uncommon for a good office chair to last 20 years. Good for your wallet and your health.
By the way: The warranty and customer service often show you whether an ergonomic office chair is of high quality. A company that has high quality standards will help you with all your questions about the ergonomic office chair and help you to get the most out of your back- and movement-friendly chair. In addition, high-quality office chairs come with a guarantee of several years.
5. Does an ergonomic office chair need a backrest?
As here using the example of the Aeris Swopper, a backrest is not a must for an ergonomic office chair. On the contrary: you sit best without a backrest.
The clear answer: No! Sitting on a professional office chair with 3D ergonomics is ergonomically the very best and healthiest without a backrest. Why?
Because the active-dynamic sitting in motion without backrest activates the muscles - especially the back and leg muscles. By sitting without a high backrest and especially without armrests, you can move freely and naturally. This dynamic sitting exercises your muscles and increases your concentration. More movement stimulates the circulation, the brain is better supplied with blood and oxygen.
The use of backrests and armrests "incapacitates" the muscles and prevents you from intuitive, spontaneous movements. Sure, most people are used to sitting on conventional office chairs with backrests and armrests. However, sitting (more or less motionless) over the years makes your back muscles slack. This is reactivated by an ergonomic office chair without backrest.
It's not said for nothing that "a rolling stone gathers no moss".
Therefore, our tip: Do without the backrest and trust your own muscles. Then you will always sit ergonomically correct.
What should an ergonomic office chair be like? The most important facts at a glance
- 3D ergonomics - movement in all three dimensions
- Adjustable seat height
- Individual weight adjustment
- Adjustable armrests (for office chairs with armrests)
- Height-adjustable backrest (for office chairs with backrest)
- Adjustable lumbar support (for chairs with backrest)
- Seat adjustable in depth
- Confirmation of the ergonomic properties through independent expert tests
- A convex shaped seat
- Several years warranty and customer service for questions
- Not necessarily a backrest