Office chairs are made for workers who spend most of their workdays at their desks. When shopping for a chair for your desk, you’ll have the option of getting a task chair or an office chair.
Both are used in office settings, so what makes them different?
The Difference Between a Task Chair and an Office Chair
An office chair is a term that refers to many types of chairs used in an office setting.
A task chair is a type of office chair, but not an office chair is a task chair.
Task chairs prioritize the user’s productivity and spine health. This is what differentiates them from other office chairs.
All office chairs are indeed made to suit the work environment, but not all are made equal. A task chair purposefully improves productivity during work.
It achieves this through features that prevent strain on the spine and limbs. This makes it less tiring to work at the desk for long periods.
The design model for task chairs was inspired by the chairs used by typists and stenographers in the past.
Manufacturers designed these chairs to provide ample support for the back and to enable fast typing.
Other types of office chairs may focus more on comfort, style, or design. They may also be made for productivity, but with extra features to cater to comfort and style.
A task chair, on the other hand, is simple, only including basic comfort features suitable for a majority of office workers.
To better understand the difference between a task chair and an office chair, let’s take a deeper look into various factors that bring about the distinction.
It’s easy to tell task chairs from office chairs with a single glance due to the design. Task chairs are generally minimalistic and simple in design.
Because they’re made for productivity and not much else, most task chairs look similar regardless of the brand. This is unlike other office chairs manufactured with many aspects in mind.
Most office chairs have more features than task chairs. For instance, they may have more adjustable parts, which affects their overall design.
Also, some office chairs are made with a specific type of user in mind. Task chairs, on the other hand, are made to suit all types of workers. The varying user needs create a disparity in chair design.
Comfort and Productivity
While a task chair boosts productivity, not all office chairs deliver the same. Task chairs provide just enough comfort to the user to ensure they survive long periods of sitting.
An executive chair is a great example of a chair that emphasizes comfort more than productivity. Such a chair comes with extra padding and is undoubtedly more comfortable than a task chair.
But, not many executive chairs are ideal for a full day’s-work behind the desk. The additional features that boost comfort require a bit of effort to work with.
These include the adjustments necessary to tune the chair to your height, desk height, back tilt, etc.
With a task chair, all these are a no-brainer. They provide enough support for good posture and easy movement without worrying about a myriad of adjustments.
Some office chairs offer a lot in terms of ergonomics, while others are lacking. Task chairs are somewhere in the middle. They offer just enough to keep you comfortable and with your body well-supported.
Task chairs come with basic ergonomic features designed to promote productivity. These include 360-swivel, mobility, adjustable height, and a mesh-back with fixed lumbar support.
Office chairs built for maximum comfort come with these and more ergonomic features. Additional features you’ll find in them include adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and synchro tilting.
The more ergonomic features in an office chair, the more support you’ll get for your back, neck, head, shoulders, and legs. But this doesn’t mean task chairs are lacking.
They simply only include the basic features necessary for good posture without compromising on productivity. The features found on task chairs, while limited, are more than those on non-ergonomic office chairs.
Non-ergonomic office chairs lack mobility, don’t have swivels, and have no adjustable settings. These are unsuitable for desk workers and are more suitable for use in places such as waiting areas.
With their simple design and minimum features, task chairs are generally smaller in size than other ergonomic office chairs. Smaller chairs are necessary for smooth movement at the desk.
Hence, task chairs are made to fit effortlessly under the desks. Their smaller size is also generally ideal for the space available to most office workers.
Executive chairs, leather chairs, and high back chairs are types of office chairs that are typically larger than task chairs. Such chairs usually have wider seats, taller backs and are much heavier than task chairs.
The majority of task chairs are made using plastic and fabric materials. These two materials are more than enough to support their minimalistic features and design.
With other office chairs, manufacturers use a variety of materials. Besides fabric and plastic, they also use wood and leather, among others.
A material like leather is preferred on chairs made for comfort, durability, or design. This is why most executive office chairs are made of leather. Wood is also a popular material with designer office chairs.
Task chairs are typically cheaper than office chairs. Once again, this comes down to their basic features and design aspects. Their construction materials also enable lower pricing.
An ergonomic office chair costs more than a task chair because of the differences in material, design, size, and features.
Due to the wide range of features offered on other office chairs, their price range is wider than that of task chairs.
High-quality task chairs from different brands have a narrower price range because they mostly have the same features to offer.
The durability of both task and office chairs depends on the quality of their build and materials. Therefore, both high-quality task chairs and office chairs can last many years.
However, a major differentiating factor is the frequency of use.
As we’ve already mentioned, task chairs are made for everyday, all-day use at the office. With so much use, many task chairs wear down faster than other office chairs.
Task Chair vs. Office Chair: Which is Better for You?
The better chair for you between a task and an office chair depends on several factors. First, are you more interested in comfort or productivity?
Of all the office chairs in the market, a task chair is your best bet if you’re pursuing productivity. After all, it’s made specifically for this.
If you’re searching for something with more comfort, you’ll find a better chair among other types. Ergonomic exclusive, gaming, and leather office chairs are super comfortable.
Another important aspect is space. How much space do you have in your work area, and which chair fits well under your desk? Task chairs are best for smaller spaces.
Budget is another factor to consider in deciding which chair is suitable for you. Most companies provide their workers with task chairs because they’re more affordable.
Plus, with a task chair, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for a lower price. They provide enough support and comfort even with their lower pricing, which is why they’re so popular.
If you’re looking for a chair with more features, be ready to spend more.
Finally, we have the frequency of your use. A task chair is ideal if you work at your desk all day long. It’ll promote good posture, meaning you’ll not feel tired from sitting too long.
This improves your productivity.
Features to Consider When Choosing a Task or Office Chair
Whether you decide to go for a task chair or an office chair, there are features you shouldn’t compromise on. These features are equally important on each type of chair and will make your workday much easier.
First, your chair should have a pneumatic height adjustment feature.
Height adjustment ensures good posture, with your feet on the floor and your elbows on the same level as your working surface.
This prevents slouching, which would put a lot of strain on your spine.
Second, the chair needs to have lumbar back support. This feature fills the gap between the seat and the small of your back.
In this way, it allows your back to maintain its natural lumbar curve when you sit.
Lumbar back support protects you from stiffness and pain due to pressure on the lower back resulting from poor posture.
Armrests and headrests are also crucial, whether in a task or office chair. These two go into maintaining good posture and preventing back injuries that occur from prolonged periods of sitting.
We cannot overstate the importance of having the right chair in your office. Many office workers end up with chronic back pain because of using the wrong chairs over many years.
Now that you know the difference between a task chair and an office chair, you can choose the best one for you.
To make choosing easier, consider your needs and preferences, always with your spine health in mind.
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