Mid-Back vs High-Back Office Chair – What’s the Difference?

Choosing a new office chair can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to choose between a mid-back and a high-back chair.

But by getting to know more about these two office chair types, you can choose the best possible option that meets your needs, preferences, and budget.

Mid-Back Office Chairs

Mid-back office chairs are designed to support the middle portion of the back, and depending on your body size, they might be successful.

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Mid-back office chairs are some of the most common office chairs available, but they’re not always the most supportive or comfortable options.

That’s because mid-back office chairs can be awkwardly sized, and some offer zero lumbar or lower back support.

Still, if you’re of average height and weight, you might prefer to use a mid-back office chair over other types. After all, most mid-back chairs are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and fantastically affordable.

Benefits of Mid-Back Office Chairs

Though a high-back office chair might give your home office a classic, traditional look, it can also be overkill.

Many mid-back office chairs provide exceptional mid-back support, and some also offer lumbar padding to keep the lower back area comfortable.

Many workers choose mid-back office chairs due to their:

  • Wide range of styles and colors
  • Affordability
  • Lightweight design
  • Breathable mesh fabric backrest
  • Simple operation and included features

You could end up spending twice as much for a high-back chair, only to find out that the fabric makes you sweaty and the backrest is too high.

Additionally, individuals that are on the petite side might prefer a mid-back office chair due to size concerns.

A backrest that only reaches the middle of a tall person’s back might be a full, high-back chair for smaller, shorter adults.

Naturally, the opposite is true as well. High-back office chairs could be the better choice for taller, larger individuals.

High-Back Office Chairs

On the other hand, there are high-back office chairs.

These chairs have backrests that are far taller than other office chairs. In most cases, the backrest will rise up to cradle the upper spine, shoulders, neck, and head.

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Individuals that work long hours or use large monitors may feel more comfortable in a high-back chair.

Many high-back chairs offer reclined angling that allows users to tilt the backrest backward and forward, helping to customize each user’s level of back support.

Gamers and office workers alike could benefit from using a high-back office chair.

Still, it’s crucial to note that this style can be slightly more cumbersome than their smaller, low-back, and mid-back alternatives. High-back chairs can also be slightly more expensive and heavier than smaller office chairs.

That said, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to choose a high-back office chair over a bar stool or mid-back option.

Let’s go ahead and explore some of the most notable benefits of high-back chairs.

Benefits of High-Back Office Chairs

High-back chairs come with quite a few potential advantages.

However, the most crucial benefit of using a high-back office chair is increased back support. Unlike shorter backrests, the backrest on a high-back office is tall enough to keep the upper spine, shoulders, and neck supported.

Individuals that spend several hours each day working at a desk can quickly develop back pain, especially if they’re huddled forward over their keyboard.

Switching to a high-back chair could allow office workers to recline while working, helping reduce the weight on their spinal column.

So long as you’ve got a wireless keyboard and mouse, you could use a high-back chair to reduce and eventually eliminate back pain caused by long-term sitting.

But reduced spine discomfort is only one of the benefits of high-back chairs.

For example, high-back office chairs are typical:

  • More aesthetically pleasing than other types of office chairs
  • Chock-full of useful features such as lumbar padding
  • Equipped with a height adjustment lever
  • Made using high-quality fabrics and materials

Mid-Back vs High-Back Office Chair: What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between these two types of office chairs is spine support.

A mid-back office chair often offers exceptional lumbar support, but zero upper back and neck support.

Alternatively, high-back office chairs may provide much-need upper back support, but lackluster lumbar support. Still, you can make a high-back office chair more comfortable and supportive by adding a helpful pillow or cushion.

Altering mid-back chairs tend to be more complicated.

The better option depends on your specific needs, preferences, and scheduling. Individuals that spend an hour or less sitting in their office chair each day may prefer an affordable mid-back chair to a pricey high-back model.

However, those working from home or spending several hours at their desk each day may benefit from investing in an ergonomic high-back office chair.

That’s why it’s crucial to consider your budget, physical condition, and habits before choosing a new office chair.

How to Choose the Best Office Chair

Now that you’re more familiar with the differences between mid-back and high-back office chairs, you can select an option that best fits your needs.

However, choosing a chair type isn’t the only thing you’ll want to do when picking out a new chair.

To choose the best office chair, you’ll want to follow four simple steps. These steps are:

  1. Measuring Your Space
  2. Choosing a Style
  3. Focusing on the Features
  4. Sticking to Your Budget

By sticking to these four steps, you can ensure that you end up with the most comfortable, supportive, and affordable office chair. But before you begin comparing prices and colors, you’ll want to measure your desk space.

After all, even the best office chair can be a disaster if it’s too short or too tall for your workspace. Be sure to grab a tape measure and head on over to your desk or work area.

Measuring Your Space

How large of a chair do you need? Some office chairs don’t allow users to alter the height of the chair, so it’s crucial to measure your space.

To do this, you’ll need to know how tall your desk or work surface is. You’ll also need to measure the width of your area.

Once you have these measurements, go ahead and factor in your body size. For example, a desk that is 36in tall and 48in wide will likely fit a chair that’s thinner than 48in.

However, it likely won’t fit beneath a desk if it’s incapable of reaching a height below 30in.

That’s because the seat will need to fit neatly beneath the desk while you’re sitting, and your body may add a few inches to the total measurements.

Be sure to write your measurements down and keep them close by while browsing office chairs.

Choosing a Style

When you know what size chair you need, you can go ahead and begin perusing the many different styles of office chairs. Some chairs might have simplistic designs and straightforward colors, while others might be detailed and ornate.

Your sense of style and personal preferences will play a large role when choosing a chair style.

You could select a modern, ergonomic office chair with few flourishes, or you could choose a velvet-covered mid-century modern chair with wooden legs and armrests.

Whichever aesthetic direction suits your needs, you’ll want to consider your chosen chair’s features. Some models offer adjustable height levers, padded armrests, and specialized lumbar support padding.

These features can make your chair far more comfortable and convenient, and it’s often worthwhile to choose an office chair with at least one specialized feature.

Let’s explore what features to keep an eye out for when browsing.

Focusing on the Features

There are tons of potential features from which to choose when selecting a new office chair. Some of the most common features include:

  • High-Traction Wheels
  • A Height Adjustment Lever
  • Added Lumbar Support Padding
  • An Extra-Wide Seat
  • Breathable Fabrics
  • Padded Armrests
  • Backrest Angle Adjustments

These features help your chair remain stable on slick surfaces, fit neatly beneath your desk, and keep your back comfortable and erect during usage.

They can also help ensure a comfortable sitting experience by ensuring that your hips have plenty of room, your arms have a place to rest, and your body doesn’t generate excess sweat due to stuffy fabrics.

Additionally, some office chairs allow users to recline at an angle, which may help improve posture and relieve tension along the spine.

Office chairs that exhibit most of these features tend to be slightly pricier than simpler options, so you’ll want to check your budget before settling on your top must-have features.

Sticking to Your Budget

Lastly, you’ll need to stick to your budget. The average office chair costs anywhere between $40 and $1,000, though there are exceptions.

Children’s office chairs tend to be the most inexpensive of these options, and luxurious armchair-style office chairs are often the most expensive.

For most individuals working from home, a suitable office chair should cost no more than $300.

A chair in this price range will likely have a handful of helpful features and be made of durable hard plastic or steel.

Chairs that fall below this price range can be just as high-quality, though they may lack a height adjustment level, armrests, or additional spine support.

Still, your budget will help you select a model that’s right for you and your office.

Final Thoughts

Mid-back office chairs tend to have backrests that rise halfway up the user’s back.

These chairs may offer plenty of lumbar support, but they don’t help keep your neck or shoulders comfortable.

High-back office chairs have backrests that rise all the way up to meet the user’s shoulders, neck, or head. These tend to cradle the upper spine and neck to reduce discomfort in those areas.

However, high-back office chairs sometimes lack effective lumbar support for the lower back.

Both options present unique advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the best option for your home office or desk area depends on your preferences, physical needs, and budget.

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