The Dos and Don’ts of Buying an Office Chair

buying an office chair

No matter if you’ve just moved into a new office space or you’re looking to replace your old chair, selecting an office chair is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember, you’ll be sitting in the chair you choose for hours a day nearly every day. Take a look at our list of DOs and DON’Ts before you take the plunge!

DO – consider the ergonomics of the chair or how adjustable it is. When it comes to your office seating, you’ll want all the right adjustments in all the right places. Chair adjustments might seem unnecessary, but they can completely change how comfortable, how well supported and how productive you are while you work. For a more detailed look into which ergonomic adjustments perform which functions, check out our comprehensive article on the topic.

DON’T – compare apples to oranges. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the price of a chair. Often times, the material and the number of adjustments greatly impact the price. A chair that is priced at $99 and a chair that is priced at $500 may look very similar, but there are bound to be crucial differences that may make the $500 chair a better option for your working needs. However, if you only use your chair or stool sporadically throughout the day, then a less expensive seating option may be just fine for your purposes.

DO – pay special attention to the type of material a chair offers. From mesh and fabric to leather and vinyl, office chairs come in a huge variety of upholsteries and other materials. Check out our breakdown of different types of chair options for a closer look at what type of upholstery might be best for you.

DON’T – go in blindly. Have a budget planned beforehand so you know how much you can spend. You’ll also want to know the specific needs of your workplace. For example, call centers will need chairs that are durable and designed for 24 hour use, while healthcare facilities will need chairs that are not only easy to clean but also able to withstand constant daily use by multiple users.

As there is no one-chair-fits-all solution to office seating, picking the perfect chair can be tough. Be sure to listen to what your body needs and what your office environment calls for when selecting the right chair for you.

Chair Ergonomics

ergonomic infographic

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. A huge portion of any workplace environment is its furniture. Today, many furniture manufacturers and designers understand that they simply cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to creating furniture, especially when it comes to office chairs. Because of that, many office chairs include ergonomic adjustments, like that of seat height and back height, in order to provide support to numerous individuals despite different body shapes.

Minimum Suggested Ergonomic Adjustments

There are a few recommended ergonomic adjustments to look for when selecting an office chair. These adjustments, when made to suit your unique body, can keep you supported throughout the day, keeping distracting aches and pains away.

  • Adjustable Seat Height: With adjustable seat height, shorter users are able to avoid the discomfort of feet dangling above the ground and taller users do not have to worry about their knees being raised in an uncomfortably high position. This adjustment should be used so that each individual can comfortably rest his or her feet on the ground.
  • Adjustable Seat Depth: Taller individuals need more space in a seat, and the seat depth adjustment will address this issue. Without enough room or enough support, a tall individual is sure to feel undesirable pressure under his or her thighs. On the contrast, shorter individuals require a smaller seat. If the seat is too large, a shorter user will feel pressure behind the knees. Typically, most chairs include 2″ to 3” of seat depth adjustability in order to accommodate most users.
  • Adjustable Synchro-Tilt: Synchro-tilt mechanisms allow the back and seat of a chair to move together in a 2:1 ratio. This is helpful when it comes to maintaining the proper posture while reclining. When seated, all users should have their feet placed flat on the ground. With the synchro-tilt feature, a user can recline while still comfortably resting their feet flat on the ground.
  • Adjustable Arm Height:Individuals will want to keep their arms parallel to the ground and in a position where they are resting comfortably and naturally on the armrests. You will want to avoid shrugging or straining your shoulder, a problem seen when the armrests are too high, and you will want to ensure that elbows are not stressed, which is a result felt when arm rests are too low.
  • Adjustable Back Height: The back of your chair has the very important role of supporting your spine throughout the work day. As the shape of the spine varies from one person to the next, ergonomic seating should include an adjustment for back height. This adjustment slides up and down – it should be adjusted so that the chair’s lumbar curve fits into and supports the user’s lower back curve.
  • Adjustable Lumbar Support: Typically, you can find this adjustment via a ratcheting column on the back of the chair. This column can be moved up or down to suit the individual user.

Additional Ergonomic Adjustments

These additional adjustments can further help to keep you supported as you work.

  • Knee Tilt: A knee tilt mechanism allows the user’s feet to remain flat on the ground. To achieve this action, the pivot point for a knee tilt mechanism is at the front of the chair rather than in the middle of the seat like most office chairs. Because the user can keep his or her feet flat on the ground, there is no pressure exerted on the back of the legs in the process, thus reducing fatigue.
  • Adjustable Headrest: A headrest gives the user a place to rest their head, thereby helping to reduce the weight that the neck must support during recline. If you are experiencing constant neck pain, a chair with a headrest may be a great choice for you.
  • Flip Arms:This adjustment makes it possible to flip the arms up and down or to the side. This feature allows for easier movement, whether for the individual who wants to easily move out of the chair or for the individual who wants to get close to their working surface without the chair arms getting in the way.
  • Adjustable Arm Width:Arms should be resting comfortably, not too close or too far away from the body. This adjustment ensures that individuals won’t feel discomfort from their sides pushing up against the arms of the chair. Likewise, this adjustment also ensures that people won’t need to strain to get their arms to reach the rests.
  • Adjustable Arm Depth: Adjustable arm depth affects the forward and backward motion of the arms. Remember, the arms of your chair should support your elbows, not your wrists. Chairs with this feature are also less likely to bump into the user’s desk throughout the day.
  • Adjustable Arm Pivot: A pivoting action expands on addressing the same issues that adjustable arm depth and width aim to solve. Pivoting arms can accommodate specific tasks, making it so that the arms of your chair won’t get in your way if you are working on a task or project that requires more space.
  • Adjustable Arm Pad Depth: Some users prefer to have their arms resting in plush comfort, while others require less padding. This adjustment lets you go with either option so that your arms are resting exactly as you desire.
  • Adjustable Arm Pad Pivot: Like adjustable arm pad depth, adjustable arm pad pivot adds an extra level of cushioned comfort so that you can work on your projects with ease.
  • Adjustable Foot Ring Height: A foot ring offers a place for users to rest their feet when sitting on a stool. It is an especially important feature when the stool height cannot be adjusted or when the user is sitting at counter height, as the user will be unable to rest his or her feet on the ground. With an adjustable foot ring, all individuals may be accommodated with a place to rest their feet.
  • Adjustable Tilt Tension: This adjustment gives the user the power to determine how much force is needed to tilt or recline in the chair. Some users may prefer little to no force, making it extremely easy to recline, while others prefer the opposite.
  • Tilt Lock: A tilt lock control makes it possible for any individual to lock his or her chair in place during recline so that they won’t need to apply any pressure to the chair to get it to stay in the desired position.

Chairs Around the Office – The ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair

This month, we interviewed one of our Virtual Visit showroom advisors, Nicole Sedivy, about her office chair—the ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair. Of the dozens of chairs in our showroom, what makes this one Nicole’s favorite? Find out below!

mesh chair

Q: What is your favorite thing about your chair?

A: My favorite part about my ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair is its adjustability and comfort. With all its ergonomic adjustments, I can truly make the seat my own. The thick cushioned seat is extremely soft, and I am comfortable all day long!

Q: Do you use the ergonomic adjustments? Which ones do you use and why?

A:  My favorite ergonomic adjustment is the tilt lock, which I can lock into any position. I really enjoy leaning far back, and this chair has the ability to tilt further than other chairs I have sat in. However, when I need to type at my computer, I can easily adjust the seat back to an upright position. Since I prefer to lean back in my chair, the synchro-tilt keeps the front of my seat closer to the floor, allowing me to keep my feet flat. This increases circulation while relieving pressure on the back of my legs. As a shorter person, I use the seat slider and seat height adjustment to accommodate my smaller legs.

mesh office chair

Q: What do you think about the mesh back and fabric seat? Is it comfortable?

A: The mesh back is very supportive and breathable. The mesh flexes with my back as I move throughout the day. The seat back also curves toward the bottom to provide extra comfort and support near my lower back. I love the fabric seat on this chair! The cushion is really comfortable and definitely my favorite feature of the chair.

Q: What do you think about the look of the chair?

A:  I really like the modern look of the chair. I appreciate the all-black mesh and fabric, as well as the black base. With other fabric color and pattern options to choose from, it is a great choice to match a variety of offices!

Brand Spotlight: FireKing

Fireproof Furniture

Did you know that after a catastrophic fire strikes, approximately 80% of businesses will need to close down shop within two years? This is often a result not of physical damage done to the office building, but rather of crucial documents being lost in the blaze. This month’s featured brand, FireKing, offers reliable solutions to solve this very issue. FireKing designs high quality commercial furnishings that protect your assets from fire and water damage alike, providing you with peace of mind whether a natural disaster occurs or not. Every product the company makes is manufactured using innovative technology that helps to ensure your documents and belongings are safe and sound no matter what.

fireproof file

File cabinets: FireKing offers a wide range of fireproof filing cabinets that can outfit any office, large or small. From two-drawer lateral files to four-drawer vertical files, you’ll find a solution to suit whatever your company’s needs may be. Many assume that all file cabinets are fireproof, but the majority offer little to no fire protection in reality, no matter how durable the unit may appear.  The national average for a fire response is nearly nine minutes, so FireKing tests its filing cabinets for a full hour to ensure that contents are perfectly protected in the event of a catastrophic fire. It’s this diligent protection and dedication to document safety that has made FireKing the standard for file and record safety for more than five decades.

fireproof storage

Office storage: If you’re looking for a way to keep your office supplies and larger belongings safe from harm’s way, then you’ve found it. FireKing offers a wide array of storage, wardrobe and key cabinets, most of which are lockable for added protection. Most storage cabinets come with adjustable shelves so that you can accommodate your belongings regardless of how much area they take up. Whether you’re in need of security for binders or keepsakes, these cabinets will do the trick. Not only do FireKing products protect your items from fires, but they also safeguard your belongings from serious damage that is often caused by water. In the event of an office fire, most businesses are equipped with a sprinkler system that will go off automatically. While this is effective toward eliminating the fire, it does no good for your important paperwork. FireKing products are water tested with firefighter grade hoses to ensure superior protection from moisture.

fireproof safe

Safes: Most often used for housing money, jewelry and other valuables, FireKing safes are some of the best you can buy. Not only do these safes keep your items protected from natural disasters, but they also come equipped with high security locks to safeguard them from theft. Many of FireKing’s safes are also drop tested to withstand damage caused by up to a 30 foot drop which may occur during a floor collapse or burglary attempt. FireKing even manufactures safes disguised as everyday objects such as books to provide an extra level of protection for small valuables and money. No matter what personal or office essentials you’re trying to keep safe, FireKing is the most trusted and renowned brand for the job.

Check out these FireKing products in action!

#SpookYourSpace Instagram Contest


NBF’s Instagram

Check out the prize!

Terms and Conditions

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO SUBMIT A PHOTO FOR CONSIDERATION. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Any information provided is being provided to National Business Furniture and not Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Contest/submission period: The National Business Furniture #SpookYourSpace (the “Promotion”) starts October 6th, 2014 at 12:00:00 AM United States Central Time and ends October 31st, 2014 at 11:59:59 PM United States Central Time.
  2. Eligibility: This promotion is open to Instagram users in the United States. Employees of the Sponsor are eligible to participate, but are not allowed to win the prize listed below.
  3. How it works: During the contest/submission period, participants must follow @nationalbusinessfurniture on Instagram and submit their photos that show off their Halloween themed office space. The photo must be labeled with the tag #SpookYourSpace. Failure to include the tag will result in the submission being automatically disqualified. Participants may submit as many photos as they wish for this contest. All submissions become the sole property of the Sponsor and will not be returned. All submissions must be received by October 31st, 2014, 11:59:59 PM Central Time.
  4. Selection Criteria: At the end of the contest/submission period, one winner will be selected at the discretion of the Sponsor based on creativity, originality and style.
  5. The Prize: The winner will receive a Zenergy Mesh Ball Chair.
  6. Submission Content Guidelines: Submissions may not contain, as determined by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, any content that
  • Is sexually explicit or suggestive;
  • Unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, profession or age group;
  • Is profane;
  • Promotes any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous;
  • Promotes any particular political agenda or message;
  • Is obscene or offensive;
  • Endorses any form of hate or hate group
  • Appears to duplicate any other submitted submission
  • Communicates messages inconsistent with positive images and/or good will to which the Sponsor wishes to associate;
  • And/or violates any law.

All submissions that do not comply with these Official Rules or that otherwise contain prohibited, or inappropriate content deemed unacceptable by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, will be disqualified and will not be published.  The Sponsor makes the final determination as to which submissions are eligible to take part in this promotion. The sponsor reserves the right to modify the criteria, dates, & guidelines of the contest at any time.

All submissions become the physical property of Sponsor and will not be returned. By submitting your submission, you grant the Sponsor full and unlimited usage right to your submission, in whole or in part, in any manner or medium and unlimited right to display, reproduce, record, exhibit, distribute, copy, edit, change, modify, add to, subtract from, and re-title.

  1. General Conditions/Conduct:

By participating, users agree to these Official Rules and the Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter terms and conditions which are final and binding in all respects. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law.  Failure to comply with these Official Rules may result in disqualification.  If for any reason the promotion is not capable of running as planned due to causes that affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the promotion, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion to cancel, modify or terminate the promotion.

Further, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual deemed to be (a) tampering or attempting to tamper with the selection process or the operation of the promotion; (b) violating the Official Rules; (c) violating the terms of service, conditions of use and/or general rules or guidelines of any property or service, or (d) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.

  1. Limitations of liability:

Sponsor assumes no responsibility or liability for (a) any incorrect submission information, or for any failed electronic data transmissions; (b) any unauthorized access to, or theft, destruction or alteration of submissions at any point in the operation of this promotion; (c) any technical malfunction, failure, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or communications line failure; or (d) inaccessibility or unavailability of the Internet or any website or any combination thereof.

  1. Sponsor:

The Sponsor of this promotion is National Business Furniture.

Collection Spotlight: Physical Therapy Collection from Clinton Industries

NBF has recently added the new Physical Therapy Collection from Clinton Industries as part of our ever-growing selection of high quality, affordable healthcare selection. This collection focuses on providing the pertinent pieces that every physical therapist needs to aid patients throughout their recovery and rehabilitation journey.


The Physical Therapy Equipment Rack conveniently stores all of the items needed for any therapy session. With rolling casters and peg rack design, it’s easy to simply grab and replace whatever your patient needs to complete their session, whether it’s a resistance band or a set of weights. With easy to clean laminate, the storage rack is a functional fit for a healthcare setting.


If you’re in need of a larger storage cabinet for all of your equipment, the Mobile Physical Therapy Exercise Cabinet, which is available with or without a weight bar, might just be the ideal solution. This cabinet reaches a height of 65″ and allows you to neatly store everything from cuff weights to exercise bands. Keep your physical therapy space clear and safe for patients by using these convenient storage cabinets.


Mirrors, too, can prove to be extremely helpful as a physical therapy tool. Mirrors allow patients to view and correct their form as they perform strengthening exercises. Whether relearning to walk or using mirror therapy to help patients who are suffering from phantom limb pain, this Physical Therapy Adult Mirror is sure to be a crucial part of any physical therapy clinic.

Seat Material Guide

When it comes to seating materials, you have quite a lot of options. So how do you know what material is best for you and your working needs? This furniture guide will help you determine just that.


Fabric Chair

As one of the most common materials used in seating, fabric is a great choice for many working environments.  It provides suitable support, is soft to the touch and can also be found in a stunning array of colors. Fabric can be difficult to clean, so it’s best to avoid this seating option if shopping for any type of healthcare facility.


Vinyl seating

Vinyl is water resistant and easy to clean. This type of material is a great choice for high traffic areas or areas where the chair will have multiple users, such as a waiting room or a call center. Vinyl is quite durable, and acts as a suitable and less expensive alternative to leather, but it is subject to cracking over time.

Antimicrobial Vinyl


This is the ideal choice for any healthcare setting. This material prevents the spread of germs and can easily be cleaned with hospital grade cleaning solutions. Antimicrobial vinyl is built to withstand these harsher cleaners, even those that contain bleach.


Mesh seating

Mesh offers comfortable and breathable support that other materials cannot duplicate. With a grid-like pattern, air flow is encouraged even when the user is seated. This is great for individuals who often overheat in a fabric or leather chair.



There are a few varieties of leather. Both genuine leather and faux leather are very similar, although genuine leather is a bit more durable and, therefore, a bit more costly. Genuine leather is known for its luxurious, smooth feel and for offering an appealing level of comfort. Faux leather not only looks like genuine leather, but also has a similar feel and comfort level.  Bonded leather, on the other hand, consists of a blend of both leather and vinyl.