Different tasks call for different types of office chairs. If you’re lost thinking about what type of office chair to buy, this list will show you every kind of office chair out there.
It will also help you decide which the best type to buy is based on:
- Ergonomics (Features)
Scroll on to learn more about the different types of office chairs.
Table of Contents
- A Summary of Office Chair Types
- 1/ Ergonomic Office Chairs
- 2/ Drafting Office Chairs
- 3/ Executive Office Chairs
- 4/ Leather Office Chairs
- 5/ Mesh Office Chairs
- 6/ Balance Ball Chairs
- 7/ Kneeling Office Chairs
- 8/ Saddle Chairs
- 9/ Leaning Sit Stand Chairs
- 10/ Big and Tall Chairs
- 11/ Petite and Small Chairs
- The Bottom Line
A Summary of Office Chair Types
For those of you who have little time to spend on finding out all the details about each type of office chair, here’s a brief chart for your reference:
|Chair Type||Best for –|
|Ergonomic Office Chairs||Best for preventing musculoskeletal disorders caused by sitting|
|Drafting Office Chairs||Best for employees who spend most of their time standing|
|Executive Office Chairs||Best for people who prefer plush sitting materials|
|Leather Office Chairs||Best for people seeking elegance and style|
|Mesh Office Chairs||Best for people who work in hot climates or who tend to sweat quickly|
|Balance Ball Chairs||Best for promoting better blood circulation|
|Kneeling Office Chairs||Best for people with chronic back pain|
|Saddle Chairs||Best for retaining the natural curve of the spine|
|Leaning Sit Stand Chairs||Best for art studios, banks, labs, and standing desk jobs|
|Big and Tall Chairs||Best for heavy and tall people|
|Petite and Small Chairs||Best for people who are smaller and shorter|
1/ Ergonomic Office Chairs
Ergonomic office chairs like the Steelcase S1 are designed to provide users with ample spinal support as they work long hours at the office. They cost a little bit more than your typical office chair, but their features make up for the difference in the long run.
This type of office chair is specifically designed to prevent musculoskeletal disorders such as cervical spondylosis and improve back pain, blood circulation, and poor posture.
Features to look for in an ergonomic office chair are:
- Adjustable armrests, headrests, and seat height
- Stable base made of solid materials (e.g., steel and aluminum)
- Sliding seat pain (to adjust seat depth
- Soft and comfortable seat padding
- Adjustable tilt tension
- Lumbar support
- Metal or nylon casters
2/ Drafting Office Chairs
As the name suggests, drafting chairs like the Modway Thrive are specifically designed to accommodate the height of standing desks and drafting tables. Artists and architects are the usual markets for this type of office chair.
Its adjustable height allows you to use it even with standard office desks.
Drafting office chairs almost always come with an identifiable foot ring where you can rest your feet.
Features to look for in a good drafting chair:
- Pneumatic height control
- Nylon or metal casters
- Steel or aluminum base
- Foot ring
3/ Executive Office Chairs
You can see Michael Douglass sitting in one of these bad boys in Wall Street, where he plays a successful stockbroker Gordon Gekko.
Executive chairs like the Saranco High Back Executive Office Chair are designed to have a regal and respectable look. These chairs often have a high back, plenty of cushioning and are typically made of superior materials such as pure leather, fine wood, or steel.
Nowadays, manufacturers also make executive office chairs using memory foam padding for a softer and superior feel. It’s perfect for office executives who want to add more character to their office’s interior design. However, it’s also suitable for people who prefer a plusher seat material.
Executive chairs might come at a slightly higher price than most chairs. But if you have the money to spend on it, it’s an excellent investment.
Features to look for in a high-quality executive office chair are:
- High-quality upholstery (e.g., leather or PU leather)
- Soft but thickly padded armrests
- Waterfall edges
- Contoured or layered cushions
- Wood or steel finish
4/ Leather Office Chairs
Like the ICOMOCH High Back Office Chair , Leather office chairs are a derivative of the executive office chair we previously mentioned. They’re great for people who are looking to add more elegance and sophistication to their workspace. But they don’t always come cheap, especially when you buy them in pure leather.
Unlike executive office chairs, leather office chairs don’t always come with thick padding and soft memory foam backrests. There are also several types of leather to choose from, e.g., polyurethane (PU) leather, bonded leather, and genuine leather.
If you’re planning to buy a leather office chair, it’s essential to know how to clean and maintain one.
Here’s a video to help you out:
Features to look for in a high-quality leather office chair are:
- High-end structural and upholstery materials
- A steady and heavy-duty base
- Backrest with lumbar support
- Backrest tilt
- Metal or nylon casters
5/ Mesh Office Chairs
Mesh office chairs have become a popular option for many buyers because of their breathability and affordability. It’s an excellent option for people who tend to sweat a lot or who work in warm or hot conditions.
High-quality mesh office chairs like the Steelcase S2 are designed with significant considerations for ergonomics. Those who buy high-end mesh office chairs can often enjoy features such as adjustable seat depth, fully adjustable arms, pneumatic seat height adjustment, recline tension adjustment, and flexible mesh backrest upholstery.
Features to look for in a good-quality mesh office chair:
- Breathable mesh material
- Adjustable head, back, and armrests
- Adjustable recline tension adjustment
- Adjustable seat depth
- Adjustable seat height
- Comfortable and soft seat pan
6/ Balance Ball Chairs
Also called exercise balls or Yoga balls, balance ball chairs are giant inflatable balls secured in a solid and secure base. Some balance ball chairs, like the Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair , come with backrests and casters that imitate the image of typical office chairs. Others may have no wheels or a backrest at all.
When used for a short period, balance ball chairs can help strengthen the core muscles, boost blood circulation, and improve concentration and productivity. On the flip side, prolonged use of balance ball chairs can lead to poor posture and fatigue.
Features to look for in a high-quality balance ball chair are:
- Sturdy base made of nylon or metal
- Wheeled base for better movement
- Comfortable backrest
- Removable inflatable exercise ball
7/ Kneeling Office Chairs
Kneeling office chairs such as the Luxton Home Ergonomic Kneeling Chair have recently become a popular choice for offices and other facilities throughout the nation. They present an entirely new way of sitting in an office chair that promises to ease day-to-day aches and pains experienced by many an office worker.
But while kneeling chairs can help ease back pain and relieve spinal compression, kneeling chairs also have some notable drawbacks, such as:
- Restricted leg movement
- Reduced blood circulation in the lower body
- Falling hazard, as getting and out of a kneeling chair can be tricky
As kneeling chairs and ball chairs aren’t recommended for prolonged use, consider alternating them with an ergonomic office chair for better comfort.
8/ Saddle Chairs
Saddle chairs are great for people with chronic back and chest pains. Inspired by traditional equestrian saddles, saddle office chairs come in two types: the solid saddle chair like the Senkelly Swivel Stool and the divided saddle chair like the Master Massage Split Seat Saddle Stool .
This type of office chair places the thighs at a 135-degree angle, which helps maintain the lumbar curve and relax the muscles.
Because of the forward sloping structure of a saddle stool, this chair can help improve muscle strength, relieve back pain, and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
9/ Leaning Sit Stand Chairs
Leaning chairs, AKA leaning sit-stand chairs, are height-adjustable chairs that are often found in banks, art studios, laboratories, and offices. They provide a way for workers who do a lot of standing and walking around to find respite in between tasks.
These chairs typically come with padded seats that are covered with vinyl, fabric, or leather. High-quality leaning sit-stand chairs will have a solid and sturdy base made of either aluminum or steel.
10/ Big and Tall Chairs
Big and tall chairs like the Saranco Big & Tall Office Chair are designed to carry weights ranging from 300 lbs to 1000 lbs. This type of chair comes with a higher and wider backrest, made to accommodate, well, the big and tall.
Big and tall chairs also have higher height adjustment features, thicker padding, a wider seat pan, and reinforced frames for better support. The base is often durable steel or aluminum to make for a stabler and steadier base.
Features to look for in a high-quality big and tall chair:
- Long and wide armrests
- Tall backrest
- Heavy-duty frame and base material
- Extra-wide and deep seat pan
11/ Petite and Small Chairs
Just as its name suggests, this chair type is designed for petite users. They have a smaller seat pan and a smaller base. It also has a short cylinder gas lift so shorter people can rest their feet flat on the floor without trouble.
If you’re someone who’s always struggled to maintain proper arm alignment with standard ergonomic chairs because of your petite frame, this chair type has all the answers to your problems!
Petite and small chairs like the Hbada Office Desk Chair offer fully adjustable components, including adjustable armrests, backrests, lumbar support, seat pan depth, and seat height.
The Bottom Line
Different office chairs serve different purposes in the workplace. And while some of them offer long-term health and ergonomic benefits, some might also be riddled with flaws. This list will help you weed out unlikely candidates so you can make the best decision possible for yourself and your health.