Do you need a chair with adjustable height? This is important if more than one person is likely to use the chair. Choose a model that you can adjust whilst seated, preferably using a gas lift.
This provides lumbar support. Look for a separately-adjustable backrest that moves forward and backwards, and up and down. You should be able to adjust the backrest to fit the small of your back. Again, it's best to be able to adjust the backrest whilst seated. Chairs with tall backs provide support for your upper back and are good for reclining.
You should be able to adjust the height and tilt of your seat. Your weight should be absorbed in your buttocks rather than your thighs. Seats should have a rounded front edge — sometimes described as a ‘waterfall’ — to reduce pressure on the underside of your thighs. The seat should be deep enough to be comfortable without pushing into the back of your legs when you lean on the backrest. It should also be wide enough to fit your body.
A five-star leg base provides the best stability. Slides or locked castors should be fitted to chairs for hard floors; standard castors can be used on carpet.
These depend on the user. If your main tasks include working with a keyboard and monitor, armrests probably aren’t necessary — they can get in the way and push your shoulders up. Padded armrests are good for people who perform tasks that require their arms to be held away from their body.
Strength and durability
The Australasian Furnishing Research & Development Institute (also known as Furntech and AFRDI) is an independent organisation that tests and certifies furniture. It tests products to make sure they meet the Australian and New Zealand Standards and certification requirements, including strength and durability. You can download a list of office chairs that meet the Standards from the website, www.furntech.org.au.
You shouldn’t be able to feel the seat or backrest under the padding, which should feel firm. Choose breathable cloth fabric upholstery instead of vinyl or leather.
Swivel chairs suit people who need to move around their desk to perform other tasks.