There are many different types of office chairs that you can choose from. They come in different colors, sizes, shapes, and materials. However, the one thing that you should always keep in mind is that the chair height should be in line with your physical stature.
A 2022 study on the ergonomic status of chairs suggested that chair height and depth are imperative for a good posture. And the dimensions of chairs should be based on anthropometric measures.
If you’re sitting in your office chair for 8 to 10 hours then you should know what is the standard office chair height. And how does it affects your health and productivity?
What is the Standard Desk Chair Height
Data suggest that approximately half of the office workers suffer from backache and the culprit behind this is a poorly designed chair. The chair should be tall enough to allow the shoulders to rest comfortably but not so high that the user must stoop to reach the keyboard or mouse. Also, the height of the seat should be adjustable according to the user’s height.
To understand a desk chair’s height you should know the complete formula for seat design:
Measurement for Seat Height
There’s no one size fits all, different chairs suit different users. Although a chair’s height can be defined in the following ways:
Conventional office seat height is designed to support a straight sitting posture with knees at a right-angle (90 degrees). The minimum seat height for office chairs is 15 inches or 38 cm from the floor. While the non-adjustable chair has a height of 17 inches or 43 cm.
Modern office seat height can be adjusted from 17 to 21 inches. Although there are some recliners and massage office chairs that are higher, these values are ideal for desk or computer chairs.
A chair that is too high may cause increased pressure under the knees (popliteal fold) whereas a low seat will put the pelvis and hip under stress.
Seat Depth and Width
Along with cushioning and contoured shape, the depth of the seat pan influences the way you sit. For regular office chairs, a fixed seat depth of 16.5 inches (41.9cm) is practiced.
On the other hand, adjustable office chairs have a seat pan depth of 14 to 18.5 inches (35.5 to 22cm).
A 20 to 22 inches width is perfect for an office chair. It is the recommended chair width by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association BIFMA.
Also, you should know that having too much cushioning makes you sink into your seat. Less cushioning helps you sit up straighter. It is comfortable to sit on a soft chair at first, but after a while blood circulation reduces to the lower extremities.
Does the Ideal Office Chair Height Exist
There’s no universally accepted standard set for office chair height. It has remained debatable through the years. But one thing is certain, any chair that is comfortable for hours of sitting is the right chair for you.
I know this is a silly question, but why there is no industry standard regarding desk chair height? If you have a problem with sitting in a desk chair that is too low for you, just get a chair that is higher than your knees. You can always adjust the height by pushing your legs back under the desk.
The ideal height of a chair is when the upper and lower legs of the person sitting on it form a right angle, and both their feet are flat on the floor. When the person is seated in the right seat, the seat’s entire area should be wholly taken, and the backrest fully supports the person’s back.
Office Chairs Heights of Famous Manufacturers
These are some well-known manufacturers with high market value. Their standard minimum and maximum heights vary depending on the relative size.
- Herman Miller Aeron Height – 17 to 20.5”
- Steelcase Leap Height – 16 to 21.5”
- ErgoHuman – 16 to 20.5”
- Sihoo Office Chair – 17 to 21”
Why is Chair Height Important
The answer is quite simple: ergonomics
Sitting puts more pressure on your backbone than standing. Ergonomics is all about designing chairs that are comfortable for people to sit in. A good chair height helps you in the following ways:
- distributes some of your weight to the floor through the seat pan, armrests, and backrests
- you will find it easier to reach the keyboard and mouse
- preserves the natural curve of the spine
- keeps your feet flat on the floor
- flexed knees and hips, paired with the rotated pelvis, minimize lordosis or flat lumbar
- decrease pressure on the underside of the knees
- reduce pelvic pressure and prevent hip pain
- increases upper body mobility
- decreases fatigue
- maintains good circulation to the thighs and feet
- prevents foot swelling
How to Measure the Height of an Office Chair
If you’re in the market for a new office chair, you may want to consider taking measurements of your current one.
The tape method is easy to do. You just need a tape measure, a pen, and some paper. First, find the seat height on the existing chair. This will be the distance from the floor to the bottom of the chair’s backrest.
What Happens If the Chair is Too Low
An estimated 2 million American workers suffer from work-related musculoskeletal injuries each year. Furthermore, around 600, 000 of these workers have to take time off work. Thus employees should use ergonomic seats with the proper seat height for every person working in the office.
If a chair is too low, your spine will not be able to be in its natural position and may cause discomfort or injury. Your knees will bend too much causing a distorted pelvic-to-knee angle. This is called a knee hug position. It leads to a forward head posture, lower back pain, and muscle fatigue.
According to a study on male and female workers, researchers found that office chair height can affect posture. Also, fixed-height chairs cannot provide enough comfort while sitting for hours.
The standard office chair height ranges from 17 to 21 inches. That means that if you are sitting in a chair that is too low, you’ll have to bend over or sit on a stool to see the screen. On the other hand, if your chair is too high, your feet will not reach the floor.
Lastly, remember a good chair will give you back more than you paid for it. It’s comfortable and supports your back, knees, and legs, and allows you to sit up straight.
1. What is the standard office chair height?
The standard office chair height is 43 to 53cm from the floor.
2. Can I get a chair with a higher back?
Yes, you can get chairs with a higher back.
3. What’s the biggest misconception about office chairs?
The biggest misconception about office chairs is that they are all the same. You need to choose a chair that fits your body type.
4. How do I measure my standard office chair height?
There are several ways to measure your chair. You can use a tape measure, a ruler, or a yardstick.