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Are Armrests Good for Ergonomics?

Are Armrests Good for Ergonomics?

Did you walk in on a heated debate between co-workers about the ergonomics of armrests?

Maybe you’re the one having to defend your stance as a “pro-armrester”.

Or perhaps you stumbled upon this article because you need a new office chair and you’re not sure if you want one that has armrests or not.

Whatever the reason that brought you here, whether or not to buy an ergonomic chair with armrests has been subject to a wide discussion for years.

We’re not kidding! You can find a lot of threads online of people debating whether or not armrests help with their chair’s ergonomic capabilities.

So we’re going to settle this long-running debate once and for all.

If you want to learn whether or not your chair’s armrests help improve ergonomics, keep on reading!

Are Armrests Good for Ergonomics?

Armrests on a black office chair

To start, we have to know why people like armrests and why others don’t.

The first is that armrests help support our upper limbs and help reduce the pressure on our lower backs when sitting.

The latter is that armrests can cause shoulder shrugging, contact stress on your forearms, and leaning postures.

So which school of thought is correct?

Our answer to that is both!

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ergonomics. That’s the whole point!

Because each person is different, and their body, lifestyle, and work habits vary, so do their ergonomic needs.

It can also come down to a person not knowing how to adjust their armrests or work desk to the right height.

If your desk is set up in a way that helps your forearms rest parallel to the ground, then you may not feel the need to use armrests.

If your armrests are set up higher than your desk, that may also cause problems in your posture.

Armrests are good for ergonomics if, and only if, they promote the correct, unbiased sitting position or posture of the one using the chair.

So whether a chair’s armrests contribute to its ergonomic abilities will depend on the customer’s preference, needs, and how their workstation is set up.

Armrests Characteristics to Look for When Buying a New Office Chair

OFM ESS Collection Racing Style Bonded Leather Gaming Chair

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what you should look for in your office chair armrests.

Because you’ll be spending most of your time sitting in your office, you’d want a chair that can keep you comfortable during those long hours.

So, here are features that you should look out for when buying a new office chair:

1. Adjustable Height

As we mentioned above, your armrests need to be able to help keep your arms rested and parallel with your hands to avoid shoulder shrugging and increase sitting comfort.

If your armrests are too high, it can cause shoulder stiffness. Too low, and it can lead to you slouching unnaturally.

2. Adjustable Width

People have different shoulder widths, so you must choose a chair with armrests that adjust to your width.

Ideally, your elbows should directly line up under your shoulders.

As we said, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ergonomics!

3. Adjustable Length

Adjusting your armrests forwards and backward helps keep the right distance between you and your work desk.

This ability to slide your armrests will maximize your forearm position. So if you can find a chair with this feature, go for it!

An armrest on an orange office chair

4. Pivoting Capabilities

Are you someone who works on other mobile devices aside from a laptop or PC? Then you might benefit from chairs with pivoting armrests.

Because you can twist your armrests inwards and outwards, you will have enough support to prevent you from slouching forward.

Being able to relax while taking calls or replying to texts on your phone can be a huge game-changer.

Imagine having little to no neck pain after a long day talking to your clients, bosses, and business associates!

5. Can They Flip Up?

If you are sharing your chair with someone who dislikes armrests, or maybe you want the option to remove your armrests whenever you feel like it, then a chair with flip-up features is for you.

It’s also a great money-saving option, so you don’t have to buy two different chairs to suit your moods.

There is no such thing as “the perfect chair”.

So figure out what you prioritize the most, which will help make choosing an office chair much easier!

White office chair


Are you looking for a new office chair? We understand that you have a few questions. So we’re going to answer a few frequently asked ones. Take a look:

1. What is the main purpose of armrests?

Armrests were created so that your forearms and hands have support while you’re sitting.

2. Are armrests that important in office chairs?

Not really. If you can adjust your desk to the right height, then you won’t need armrests.

Choosing an office chair with armrests will also depend on the person buying it. So if you feel constricted, you can always choose a unit without armrests.

Black office chair for sale in furniture store

3. Can I replace my armrests when they break?

That will depend on your office chair. Some brands have replaceable armrests, and you can easily find the parts on Amazon.

4. Are there office chairs without armrests?

Yes, there are! Office chairs come in all types. Not everyone likes armrests, so companies make sure to cater to that demand as well.

Home Office Desk Chair


So which do you prefer?

Do you like having someplace to rest your arms while you work? Or do you like the freedom of not having armrests?

There are no wrong answers. What matters most is that the office chair you choose can fit your work habits and lifestyle.

We’d love to hear your own opinions; let us know in the comments section below!