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Find the Right Sitting Height For Your Ergonomic Chair

by Kate K on November 27, 2012

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Finding the correct sitting height is key to staying healthy and comfortable while sitting in an office chair.

How would someone like me — who is admittedly terrible at golf, tennis and other sports — get golfer’s elbow? Or rotator-cuff strain without going swimming?

As it turns out, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and other repetitive stress injuries that sound sports-related often have more to do with your daily ergonomics than whether or not you have any sense of aim. If you’re sitting incorrectly in your office chair, your incorrect sitting style can cause pain and health issues for many parts of the body, including arms, elbows, back, shoulders and more. So how do you combat these issues while sitting and working? Setting your chair at the correct seating height is a good start!

If your seat is too high or too low, you’ll find yourself reaching too far for your keyboard and mouse or straining for other items on a regular basis. Being out of position in your chair will cause strain in several parts of your body. Luckily, it usually only takes about 30 seconds to find the right height position for your office chair.

  • Stand facing your chair
  • Raise or lower the seat so that the top of the seat or cushion hits right below your kneecap
  • Then, fine tune the height while seated. Check to make sure that your thighs are horizontal, your lower legs are vertical, and your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Seat height should also allow a 90 degree angle at the elbows for typing.

A few more notes on what to look for in a seat, beyond its height adjustability:

  • The seat should be deep enough to permit the back to contact the lumbar backrest without cutting into the backs of knees.
  • Avoid bucket-type seats. The seat should swivel easily.
  • The front edge of the seat should be rounded and padded, with an adjustable seat slant (0 to 10 degrees).

A range of 16 – 20.5 inches off the floor should accommodate most users.  If you consider yourself taller or shorter than average, give us a call to see if a different cylinder is necessary. Although the notes above will work with most chairs, allow me to demonstrate how to adjust a couple of our favorite chairs so you can apply this advice in the “real world.”

The Humanscale Diffrient World Chair (note: this one is also available in a quick-ship model) is a modern, elegant chair with intuitive adjustments and an automatically-adjusting recline support. You can adjust the seat height with the accessible lever directly underneath the seat. With a standard cylinder, you have a 5″ range to work with.

The Office Master YS84 Mid-Back Task Chair is a budget-friendly office chair that offers a refreshing mesh back and total ergonomic control.  This Office Master chair also offers 5″ of seat height range.

The ergoCentric airCentric Chair goes a step further and offers adjustment paddles under the seat in differing geometric shapes, so you can instantly recognize which adjustment you’d like to make. As with the other two chairs, the pneumatic seat cylinder adjustment allows for a wide range of users.

And here at The Human Solution, we also offer standing desks. A comfortable chair is key to a good ergonomic workstation, but we encourage everyone to stand for at least part of their working day. Check out our most popular standing desks.

Check out all of our most popular ergonomic chairs. And if you need help adjusting your workstation or picking out products to improve your comfort and your health, please give us a call at 800-531-3746, talk with one of our experts via chat.

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Written by Kate K

Kate K

Kate is a content writer for THS. She hails from the legendary land of Delaware, where she wore rain boots from October through April and developed tremendous upper body strength from shoveling snow. She thanks her lucky stars each day for being in Austin and enjoys riding her bike, laughing at dog-shaming pictures, and having philosophical discussions while watching ‘How I Met Your Mother.’

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