There are many options when choosing an office chair, and so many mechanisms advertised about them can become quite confusing. Take, for example, the Synchronous Tilt.
Synchronous Tilt in office chairs is the mechanism that allows the seat of your chair and the back of your chair to move together as you recline. The seat moves at about half of the back’s angle as you recline, allowing your feet to stay planted in an ergonomic position.
The tricky part of choosing your chair is figuring out each mechanism and what it does. Let me help you learn the different seat mechanisms below.
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What is the Synchronous Tilt?
Synchronous tilt allows the back and seat of the chair to move simultaneously. The chair’s seat moves about half the distance of the angle of the back of the chair, which allows your feet to stay planted on the ground as you recline.
A synchronous tilt chair is a better ergonomic option than the swivel-tilt, center-tilt, knee-tilt, or multi-function mechanism. All of these are common tilt mechanisms, and each of them has its ups and downs.
The synchronous tilt option is popular in high-end ergonomic seats. It does not allow much rocking but keeps you in a better ergonomic position throughout your reclining motion, which is why it is considered a better ergonomic option than the other tilt mechanism options.
Also, they usually have locking positions for the backrest and the seat. This is convenient when you are searching for a comfortable seating position.
How Does the Synchronous Tilt Work?
Synchronous tilt uses a mechanism built in the chair to adjust how the seat and back move together when reclined. For example, your seat would move slightly upward if you recline back.
As you are reclining, you can also lock the seat into a position you like.
A locking mechanism is an excellent option for when you want to relax and recline for some time and then move back to the working position. This allows you to stay in an ergonomic position while working and lounging, or when you are doing both.
As I describe this, you may be thinking, “How is this different than other office chairs?” Let me explain some of the other mechanisms common in office chairs.
What Other Mechanisms Can an Office Chair Have, and Which One is Best?
Here are the more common mechanisms used in office chairs: swivel or center-tilt, knee-tilt, multi-function, and weight-sensitive.
I will briefly explain each of them below.
- Swivel or center-tilt: The angle of the seat does not move when reclining back, which leaves the seat in the same position no matter how you are reclined. It stays in a permanent “L” shape.
It reclines back at the center of the chair, causing your feet to lift off of the ground when reclined back. Having your feet raised off the floor creates a poor ergonomic sitting position.
Compared to the synchronous tilt, this style has less ergonomic qualities, with the pivot point being in the center. It also doesn’t come with back options or locking mechanisms.
- Knee-tilt mechanism: This is considered an upgrade from the swivel or center-tilt mechanism.
The pivot point is centered under the knees instead of the center of the chair. The center point position allows for a more ergonomic sitting position because your feet will not leave the floor when reclining.
Compared with the synchronous tilt, this style provides less back support and fewer locking mechanism options.
- Multi-function mechanism: The multi-function mechanism is similar to the previous two mechanisms when comparing their ergonomic capabilities.
Similar to the center-tilt mechanism, the pivot point is positioned in the center, which can cause a poor ergonomic sitting position.
The difference with this mechanism is it allows the seat to recline forward, the seat to lock into position, and the back to be adjusted. You have more control with the multi-function mechanism, but it is still less preferable to a synchronous tilt mechanism.
Compared to the synchronous tilt, this mechanism does not keep you in an ergonomic position, so you must adjust each section as you move.
- Weight-sensitive mechanism or mechanism-free: This chair-style mechanism is getting more popular. It keeps you in an ergonomic position no matter how you sit. There are no knobs or levers to control, giving it a more simplistic style.
Once you set the height and sit in the chair, you should be in an ergonomic sitting position. Some drawbacks are that you do not have as much control over your sitting position and cannot recline forward.
Every mechanism has its good and bad points. However, the synchronous tilt mechanism is your best bet. The synchronous tilt chair provides good ergonomics while allowing you more control than the other options listed above.
There are many uses for the synchronous tilt mechanism in office chairs.
- Synchronous tilt expands your chest without applying extra pressure on your thighs.
- The seat pan rise is minimized, allowing your feet to stay firmly planted on the floor.
- You can recline without putting undue stress on your knees.
- The locking mechanism allows you to find the perfect setting and lock it in place.
- There are fewer levers for adjustments making it easier and more efficient to recline.
- The seat keeps you in an ergonomic position leaving out some guesswork.
There are many options out there, and often they are based on price.
The synchronous and weight-sensitive options are more expensive than the center-tilt, swivel-tilt, multi-function, and knee-tilt options. The synchronous tilt and weight-sensitive options are in the same price range, although the weight-sensitive chairs can go higher in price.
Overall, we think the synchronous tilt chair provides the best combination of ergonomics and adjustability.
I hope this information helps you choose the right chair and provides some clarity amongst the many options and the confusing names of mechanism styles.