How much is too much, or how much is too little? Well when it comes to one of the main items of office furniture – the humble ergonomic office chair – there seems to be a huge price range and they all seem to do the same thing – give you a place to sit down in front of your desk and monitor.
But the decision should not simply come down to price as there is a huge variation in the level of support and features that each of the different office chair options provides. Ideally, the final choice of the most suitable chair should be made on the basis of fit and function – does the chair suit your body dimensions to support you in an ergonomically-sound seated posture and does it allow you to perform the work tasks that you are required to do in your job? Remember that you may spend many hours sitting on it throughout the week.
In Australia we have access to a large range of locally assembled and imported chairs, meaning that we can also see a very wide range in the pricing and quality of these items:
- Some will be manufactured in Australian factories from locally sourced (and some imported) materials while others will be fully imported and arrive already in a cardboard box.
- Some will be covered in natural fibres / materials such as Australian wool and others will be made from synthetic fibres – each with its own pros and cons.
- Some will provide a limited range of adjustments whilst others will be more customisable to accommodate a wider variation in body types – seat tilt, backrest height and angle, lumbar cushioning, armrest height and angle, headrest, firmness of cushioning, mesh back for ventilation, the right type of castor for the floor surface they will be used on – these features will all cost a bit more but can turn your seated experience from barely OK into Amazing.
- Some will have a gas strut rated for average users whereas others will have a heavier duty strut to accommodate a wider range of potential users.
- Some will come with a “marketing hype” or image that shapes the perceived value whilst others will offer the same, if not greater, range of adjustment, support and comfort and go about the business of being the ergonomic office chair you need with much less fanfare.
At the end of the day, our general advice would be that you do not need to spend a small fortune on an ergonomic office chair to find one that will look after your body and let you perform your work tasks “day-in-day-out” in comfort. Whilst it is probably true that spending too little on a chair will most likely result in an unsatisfactory outcome, aiming for something in the range of $300 to $850 will cover most people, and certainly there are many good options that retail for less than $500-600.
Please seek the advice of an experienced Workplace Ergonomic Assessor for guidance in selecting the most suitable item for you.
(Our sister company, Hunter Workplace Solutions, carries a range of sample items from leading Australian manufacturers that can be trialed as part of an Ergo Experts Assessment in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions – Contact Us to find out more information about this additional service).