How to Buy a New Desk Chair: The In-Store Sit Test

Last month I was buying some office supplies at my local Costco. In one of the side aisles I came across a man sitting in one of the office chairs for sale. Just sitting. He smiled and explained that he wanted to test out the chair before he bought it. I gave him a big thumbs up and we both laughed.

Last post was about what I call “decorator chairs” and how looks need to take a back seat to comfort and function when you choose a desk chair.

The sit test

You test drive a car or try on shoes before you buy. “Try on” a chair before you buy it.

You are in the store. You have already checked-out the features, read the online reviews and scoped out the best prices.  A brand name or price tag (either high or low) is not a guarantee of the best office chair for you.  Nor is a chair your friend swears is the best thing since sliced-bread.

You test drive a car before you buy it. You try on a pair of shoes before you buy them, Why not test an office chair before you buy it? You will be spending hours in your desk chair. You want it to fit you and work for you. Do your own sit test – for at least 10 minutes. Don’t let anyone rush you.

  • Adjust the chair so your feet can rest flat on the floor.
  • Does the seat edge cut into the back of your legs? If so, look for a smaller chair seat.
  • Does the seat fully support the back of your legs?
  • If you lean back in your chair then check out your comfort that way.
  • Does it give you the back support in the right places? It could be a chair designed for someone taller or shorter than you.
  • Mime typing. Is there room for your arms and elbows?
  • Are armrests sufficiently adjustable? Remember your hands will be relatively close together when you work on a keyboard.
  • Then ask your body – your arms, neck, back and knees if this is the right chair.

Just like a good pair of shoes. you want a chair that combines comfort with the right support  The only way you can find that out is to “try the chair on.”

How do you know that a desk chair is right for you?  What do you look for/do when buying a desk chair? Share your ideas with a comment.

If you want to learn more about office furniture and ergonomics check out my book The Smarter Home Office: 8 simple steps to increase your income, inspiration and comfort.