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How Many Types of Office Chairs Are There?

How Many Types of Office Chairs Are There?

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)
  • Purpose
  • Durability
  • Price

Scroll on to learn more about the different types of office chairs.

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

Steelcase Series 1 Work Chair Office Chair

Ergonomic office chairs like the  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

Modway Thrive Drafting Chair - Tall Office Chair for Adjustable Standing Desks

As the name suggests, drafting chairs like the  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:

  • Swivel
  • 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

Modern Style High Back Office Chair - Soft Leather Ergonomic Executive Boss Chair Swivel Computer Chair, Adjustable Height Thick Padded Stable Durable Base Conference Desk Chair for Home Office Work Like the , 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:

How To Clean and Care For Your Leather Office Chair

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
  • Swivel
  • Backrest tilt
  • Metal or nylon casters

5/ Mesh Office Chairs

Steelcase Series 2 Office Chair, Pink Lemonade

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  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

Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair with Swivel Base

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 , 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

Luxton Memory Foam Ergonomic Kneeling Chair

Kneeling office chairs such as the 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

Master Massage Berkeley Ergonomic Split Seat Style Backrest Saddle Stool

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 and the divided saddle chair like the .

This type of office chair places the thighs at a 135-degree angle, which helps maintain the lumbar curve and relax the muscles.

Reasons why Saddle Stool gives better posture.

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

VIVO Sit Stand Perch Stool for Home and Office

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.

Leaning chairs often come with an adjustable seat tilt, like the , or an articulating pedestal, like the .

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 & Tall 400lbs Executive Office Chair with High Back Ergonomic Lumbar Support

Big and tall chairs like the  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

Hbada Office Task Desk Chair Swivel Home Comfort 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  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.

Good luck!