It is always a hassle to buy a brand new piece of furniture. And it can be daunting when you use it only a few times, and it breaks because it’s too weak!
This problem is common in office chairs of every shape and size.
Overall, average office chairs can support up to 250 pounds. For more weight support, you need special chairs, which tend to be pricier.
The standard office chair or computer chair can hold a weight of 250 pounds. Bigger chairs, and chairs with high-quality materials, can hold up to 400 pounds.
Specialized chairs, whose main feature is that they can hold more weight, can support between 300 and 800 pounds.
According to a study first published in 2011, many chair testing methods and design parameters date from decades ago.
Several key parameters of current chair test methods and design specifications may no longer be valid for the dominant weight range of the current U.S. population.
This study also considered that the office work tasks were less computer-based back then. So, they concluded that several key factors that go into the current chair test methods are inadequate.
In this sense, as engineers get access to more information, they will be able to revise the current design standards.
Comparing Chair Types
The types of chairs people use most often on a daily basis are office chairs and gaming chairs.
Though similar in setup, office, and gaming chairs are different due to a few key factors.
It’s important to understand these differences, as both designs have their specific pros and cons according to the type of user.
The main differences between gaming and office chairs are some design choices, lumbar support, and accessories.
Gaming chairs offer recreational options like adjustable armrests, cushioned headrests, and even being fully reclinable.
They also include optional technological additions like speakers in the headrest and adjustable lumbar support or massage options.
Designed for productivity, office chairs support your body for long hours. A good office chair can reduce problems like carpal tunnel and back pain.
They also offer a few more features than gaming chairs: feet support or waterfall seat, and adjustable back height.
Another key difference, though the result is similar, is in the lumbar support: while gaming chairs usually have detachable pillows, office chairs have adjustable support.
The focus of support you get from office chairs is because you’ll be spending 40+ hours a week using one. They have to be able to hold a fully-grown adult’s weight long-term.
They also provide improvements in posture and provide long-lasting comfort.
Almost 65 million working adults in America suffer from back pain, and finding the right office chair can help offset this discomfort.
Ergonomic office chairs have built-in lumbar support that follows your spine’s natural curve. When this area of your lower back has support, your overall posture improves.
When you sit in a chair without lumbar support, you’re more likely to slouch and your muscles have to overcompensate to keep your spine in alignment.
In addition to finding a chair with lumbar support, you might also want to find those with armrests and neck support.
Chair backs are taller to support your neck and keep your spine straighter than shorter chairs do.
Office chairs that can recline slightly also keep you more comfortable throughout the day.
When you’re able to find the ideal position to work, your body can rest while you’re sitting. If you’re in an uncomfortable chair, you keep your muscles tense all day long.
This stresses out your body and makes you feel exhausted when you leave work.
Also read: Most Comfortable Executive Office Chair
Gaming chairs have changed dramatically over the years.
Their primary purpose is to ensure the gamer is comfortable, as some of them spend 8+ hours a day using their chair.
The adjustable parts and the superficial design of the chair itself provide more variety than an office chair.
Gaming chairs can move, shift, rock, tilt and recline for comfort. They also have built-in features like an adjustable headrest, lumbar support, and armrests.
The more expensive gaming chairs have built-in speakers and other tech gadgets to better suit a gamer’s play style.
Flair and Functionality
Office chairs are better suited for productivity. You’re going to sit for a long time in a relatively stagnant position. Gaming chairs, on the other hand, have more flair.
They’re still functional, since many gamers play for hours, rivaling a full-time job.
While many gaming chairs have ergonomic features, it’s not necessarily the focus of the chair.
These chairs make you more comfortable and help you get completely immersed in the game. Therefore, comfort takes priority over posture.
Gamers who love to race can find racing chairs that have foot pedals and steering wheels integrated so you’re engaged with gameplay.
Conversely, you’re basically sitting on the ground in a rocker gaming chair. The chair design is a basic L-shape with a curved base so you can rock as you play.
Pedestal gaming chairs are similar to rocker chairs, but they don’t sit directly on the floor. Since they’re elevated on a pedestal, you have a broader range of motion.
You can tilt from side to side, rock back and forth, and recline. This drastically differs from office chairs, which can swivel and recline slightly.
Also read: How Many Years Should an Office Chair Last?
Materials and Design
Manufacturers design the typical computer chair with aluminum, plastic, steel, and high-density foam filling. Most chairs have a metal frame for the base and the backrest.
Metal, whether it’s steel or aluminum, offers more support and is a long-lasting material.
Chairs with a steel frame are much heavier than aluminum office chairs. Aluminum is lightweight yet durable.
If you need a chair you can move around your office or wheel down the hall to the meeting room, you want to choose one with an aluminum base.
However, the benefit to office chairs with steel bases is that they can handle more weight. Office chairs with aluminum bases can hold up to 400 pounds. Big and tall chairs with a steel base can handle up to 800 pounds.
Fabric can be fundamental. It is usually made by sewing the foam padding with the primary material.
For a longer-lasting finish, the more expensive chairs use leather. Faux leather is popular and more budget-friendly, but genuine leather gives an executive look and feel.
The final piece to consider is the spring mechanism. Usually, there is an adjustable lever that raises and lowers the chair.
The spring within is steel and aluminum and often supports the person’s entire weight using the office chair.
Some are bucket seats, others are wing-backed chairs. The most expensive office chairs offer additional lumbar and weighted support.
Comparing the designs is a good idea because some chairs, like those with bucket seats, do not offer as much support for long hours of work as wing-chairs and benches.
Waterfall-design seats are usually better for you as well, as your feet get to rest on the floor. Additionally, winged chairs and benches are solid, usually with more padding.
Overall, your choice of chair is up to you. If you prefer a bit of flair with your functionality, there are gaming chairs that offer great support.
If you’re looking for basic options with support and ergonomic design, office chairs are the best way forward.
Both office and gaming chairs can handle up to 800 pounds of weight if you buy the big and tall versions. The standard office and gaming chair, however, can only support up to 250 pounds.
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