The time has come to purchase a new office chair for your home or business, and like most people you are not sure where to start looking. There is always the option to visit your local Staples or Office Depot for a quick fix, however being the informed consumer that you are, you already know that their chairs break after a short period of time which allows for their products to be priced cheaper. Another option would be to visit an office furniture dealership or showroom in your area, but that requires effort to drive out to view the chairs and also requires scheduling your time to visit during their hours of operation. The best and easiest solution for most individuals is to sit in the comfort of their own home and office and search for a new chair online in their free time. While trying to find the perfect office chair online may appear to be an overwhelming experience, it is actually a much simpler process than going out of your way to find one at a store.
The first step to purchasing an office chair online is to do some research on the company that you may possibly be purchasing your chair from to ensure they are in fact a real company and not a scam. A toll-free telephone number should be displayed prominently on the home page and every other page of the website; companies that want to provide good customer service want their customers to call them and encourage them to call to ease any hesitations. A physical address for the company placed on the homepage is another good indication that the company is legitimate and not just an operation running out of a home. Another great way to tell if a website is worth purchasing from is looking for evidence that customers have bought from the website in the past. The easiest way to find out this information is to search for product reviews left by past customers. Keep in mind not every product will have a review, so you may need to venture further into the site by clicking on a category page that allows you to see a list of chairs. From there, the reviews should have an eye-catching design easy for anyone to see.
Once you have determined the website is genuine, the next step is to take a look at the company’s return policy to ensure you will want to agree to the terms. It would be a waste of your time to have to wait until after you have selected your chair to learn that the return policy is not something you would not be comfortable agreeing to. An office chair is an investment and can take a bit of time to get properly adjusted to meet your needs, so make sure that the company’s return policy allows you at least thirty days to try out the chair. Some companies allow for even longer periods of time to try their chairs out, ranging from 60-90 days which is beneficial for a customer who may need a little extra time determining if the chair is a good fit for them. Almost always there will be some sort of restocking fee in place to return the chair to cover the money spent returning the chair back to the company as well as restocking chairs imposed by office chair manufacturers that will now have to sell the chair as used. This is completely normal and should be expected as long as the amount isn’t a ridiculous figure such as half of your purchase. Be careful to read the entire return policy as some companies will charge additional fees such as paying for return shipment back to the company on top of the restocking fee.
After reviewing the return policy and having a full understanding of how to return the chair if needed, the next step would be selecting the chair of your choice. Most people have already predetermined what they need in a chair after sitting in a few over the years and know what adjustments are necessary to keep them sitting comfortably throughout the day. For example, if someone experiences lower back pain, they will already know they need a chair that offers excellent lumbar support as well as some level of adjustability in the back rest such as back height adjustment and/or back angle adjustment to properly position the amount of lumbar support needed.
If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are unsure of exactly what you want and need in an office chair the best place to start is by consulting a chair expert. Most online office chair companies have friendly customer service representatives on hand ready to answer questions of this nature and are well versed in the product they are trying to sell. It is best to consult an expert on the matter than to go in blindly guessing at what you need, which leads to a greater probability of having to return the product and lose some of your money in the process. Before calling simply figure out how long you spend sitting in a chair on a daily basis, if you experience any pain from sitting in your current office chair, and what you will be using the chair for(in a conference room, as a work chair, as a reception chair, etc.) because your representative is more than likely to ask these questions.
Purchasing an office chair online is an easy and quick process that may require a little extra research just as most products that you spend a great majority of time using usually do. You can shop at your leisure and on your time schedule, making it much more convenient than visiting a furniture showroom or local office supply store. Most chairs that are not custom-made to order can also ship out relatively quickly and arrived delivered to your doorstep within a week or two of placing your order, depending on your location. You will also receive unsurpassed customer service and an account representative that will be there to attend to any issues or concerns even after the purchase is made. Online purchases also allow for quicker and faster communication with features such as live chat now available on many websites, getting in touch with a customer service representative is easier than ever and does not even require having to pick up the phone.
Sitbetter.com prides itself in providing excellent customer service to both businesses and home customers alike and will always take the time and effort to find you the right chair for your needs. To view our expansive online catalog of office chairs please click here or call 1-866-311-9421 to have an office seating specialist assist you in making your purchase.
When looking to purchase an office chair online, more often than not you will end up finding yourself looking at the different options/mechanisms a chair comes with. To most
of us, these additional options read like a foreign language and most of us have to take our best guess at what they could be unless you have a chair expert to speak to. As with any product, it is important to fully understand what your office chair is capable of in order to adjust the chair to fit your body and needs. At the time of purchase if you do not understand the importance of adding on specific features and neglect to do so, you may be disappointed when your chair does not fully meet all your expectations. When you sit in your new office chair for the first time you want to be fully prepared to be able to know how to use the mechanisms that came with your chair correctly.
Most value oriented task chairs or leather conference chairs come with a standard spring tilt mechanism, the least ergonomic option. Chairs that have a spring tilt mechanism go up and down, swivel, and have one locking position. A variation on these is the multi-lock mechanism, which goes up and down and swivels, but allow for multiple locking positions. The pivot point for these is found at the center of the chair, which explains why they are not ergonomic. If you recline on a chair that has this mechanism, the front of the seat reclines at the same rate as the backrest, thus it puts pressure on your thighs and limits the circulation of blood.
A multi-function mechanism is the epitome of a classic ergonomic mechanism. It is also known as a mid-pivot tilt mechanism, as the pivot point is in the center of the chair, but it has just enough to cross that threshold. To be considered multi-function, one of these mechanisms will have to have at least three paddles that do the following:
1. Control the height of the chair.
2. Lock the back rest at multiple angles.
3. Knee Tilt Control – allows the user to lock and adjust the angle the seat is.
Other features with these mechanisms usually include manual ratchet control for back height and a seat slider. The seat slider, however, is an add on for most mechanisms, and not built in.
The knee tilt promotes keeping your feet on the ground and thighs parallel to the ground when you recline, thus reducing the pressure on your thighs and achieving more blood flow – more blood flow means less yawning and less feeling fatigued throughout the day. A knee tilt mechanism will have height adjustment, tilt tension and be able to lock the back rest in multiple positions. The 2:1 synchro tilt option keeps your knees and legs in an ergonomically correct position while allowing you to comfortably recline. The ratio means for every 2 degrees of back recline, the seat reclines 1 degree, thus ensuring ergonomic comfort. Most of these mechanisms are sloped down and back, putting the attachment point of the mechanism and chair towards the front of the seat. The knee tilt allows for one’s feet to be grounded while leaning back instead of hanging in the air, which as we all know bad for your circulation and can lead to the uncomfortable sensation of having your leg fall asleep.
The type of mechanism you choose largely depends on the application you need the chair for. For quick tasking or conferencing purposes, where sitting is limited to around three hours or less at a time, simple spring tilt mechanisms suffice. Conversely, any seating application where sitting duration range from 6 to 8 hours a day, a knee tilt mechanism is highly recommended and preferred by most. While office chairs with knee tilt mechanisms generally tend to run a little higher in price, the ergonomic benefits that will result from using such a mechanism will become evident over time. With that being said, the next time you are searching for a new office chairs take all the aforementioned mechanisms into account to determine which will be best for your specific needs, and consider a knee tilt mechanism if using your chair for more than three hours a day or for a more ergonomically correct way of seating.
Sitbetter offers many different ergonomic office chairs with knee tilt mechanisms take a look at our selection by clicking here!
When it comes to purchasing an office chair, or any item that you are personally going to use on a regular basis, and you do not have a lot of knowledge about the different options available, the easiest alternative is to look at the big brand names. Most turn to big brand names because they hear about them through word of mouth, have seen advertisements plastered on the television or internet marketing them, or they feel more comfortable going with a well known name. In some instances, cars for example, this may be the best route to go because your safety as well as others is involved and it is probably best to go with a car that has been tried and true. However, this does not have to be true in the case of items, such as office chairs, that can be purchased from smaller companies that will still offer quality and commitment to satisfaction. So what are the benefits of purchasing an office chair from a smaller company that does not carry the big brand names?
Perhaps the greatest benefit in selecting a smaller company to purchase your office chair from, is the fact that your chair is going to be significantly cheaper than a big brand name and still be high quality. Office chairs sold by smaller companies and less known manufacturers could be up to thousands of dollars cheaper than name brand chairs, and will last just as long if not longer. In an economy where it is difficult for many to make lavish purchases, it is critical that cheaper options become available for those who simply can not afford to buy items that are marked up. Name brand manufacturers have a lot of overhead to pay, which is why they must raise the prices so drastically on their chairs, whereas smaller manufacturers have little overhead to pay leaving them with room to offer office chairs at a discounted price.
Some turn to name brand manufacturers for the sleek and stylish chair options they have to offer. While these chairs definitely have a modern style to them that appears to be one of a kind, smaller manufacturers quickly catch on to these trends in order to engineer nearly identical replicas of these name brand chairs at a much lower price. These are not your typical knock offs either, where the buyer is expecting the quality to be much cheaper and to look fake, such as the classic example of designer purse knock offs. Office chair knock offs are closely constructed and engineered to look exactly like their name brand counterpart without skipping out on the quality of the chair and with customer satisfaction always in mind. Most smaller manufacturers also offer a substantial warranty in the instance that anything goes wrong with their chair, for example if an arm on the chair breaks or a wheel comes off. These warranties can last as long as the entire expected lifetime of the chair (10-15 years), which in perspective is longer than warranties car companies offer when their products cost over ten times more.
Perhaps trust is the greatest factor in weighing out the options of where you want to purchase your next office chair from, and you feel more comfortable with name brands you have heard of before. While you may have not heard of some of the smaller office chair retailers, there are numerous ways to assess whether they can be trusted, rather than having an advertisement tell you so. Look for reviews, have some or more than a few of their products been reviewed? If so, this means that there are people that have purchased from this store before and were satisfied enough to leave a review on their product. It is also generally simple to tell if an e-commerce site is a verified trusted site which can be seen by seals of approval from websecurity companies. Go with your intuition when looking at a website; if you think the site does not look well put together or like a typical e-commerce site to you, go with your instinct. With this being said, many small companies are just as reputable as the bigger name brands and can be just as trustworthy to make a purchase from.
With all this in mind, the next time you decide to purchase an office chair online try taking a chance with a smaller chair retailer, such as Sitbetter. You will be pleasantly surprised with your purchase and with the huge savings you will incur.
What are ergonomic accessories, and how do we assess their value in an era when the “hot” term in the office is ergonomics? Everyone wants a piece of them, and everyone wants to charge a lot for them, but before you dive headfirst into “ergonomicafying” your office, let’s get a deeper understanding of what will and what can work for your work environment.
Ergonomic accessories can be classified into 3 general categories: Monitor Arms, Keyboard Trays, and Footrests. Some mice are included in this conversation, but only a few. Anything else is really an office accessory, including CPU holders, glare filters and task lights. While not disputing the fact that these office accessories are valuable, they are not focused at providing the same benefits to one’s body at work like the aforementioned 3 ergonomic categories.
Monitor arms became increasingly popular with the decrease in price of flat screen monitors – at first a tool for the hip, now a tool for comfort. Not only do they allow for more desk tabletop space by freeing up valuable real estate, but the true ergonomic benefit comes in the ability to position the monitor at the right height for the computer’s user. Ideally, the top of the monitor should be level to users line of sight – this dissuades slouching or leaning to read the screen. If you use two monitors, a dual monitor arm may be employed, and the second monitor should be aligned an arms length in front of you and to the right of the main monitor. If you have a laptop, you can still use a monitor arm – you’ll just need a monitor. By using a laptop tray, you can use your laptop monitor effectively without using a monitor arm.
What does “not slouching” do? Basically, your mother was right. (Funny how we always hear that as we grow older). The monitor arm prevents slouching, which means you are going to be in the optimal sitting position most of your work hours. Your back is going to be where it should be – leaning against the backrest. Why is leaning against the backrest good, aside from feeling good? Let’s look at the shape of the chair to the shape of your spine. Notice the S shape of your spine and how it rests against the S shaped backrest? Most ergonomic chairs will have such a shaped backrest, so leaning all the way back allows your back to appropriately meet the backrest.
Keyboard trays also encourage proper ergonomics by keeping your arms at an even level. This posture of your arms will reduce the strain on the wrists that is commonly associated with constant and repetitive typing. Keyboard Trays are becoming more popular and are usually a more commonly bought accessory – installation requires only a few screws and the benefits are immediate. There are many different types of keyboard trays – they all pretty much function the sames so quality is where the price differences arise.
So getting a keyboard tray is effective in relieving wrist related stress while typing, but like the monitor arm, it has a practical use as well – it frees up valuable desk space. While the paperless office has been attempted, lets face it, paper will always be around. Might as well have more room to spread your clutter!
You may be one of the many people that employ a laptop. As I write this from a laptop, I can tell you that having a laptop is no excuse to eschew ergonomics. There are utilities available to take advantage of a keyboard tray and monitor arm with a laptop, such as this nifty Laptop Docking Station (which is the one I use, by the way):
Lastly, the ergonomic footrests. What is the benefit of that? None if you don’t use it right. (Like anything). An ergonomic footrests is generally made for two purposes – one, to give users a place to rest their feet on high chairs or seating areas or two, as an accessory to encourage movement of the feet while sitting. This constant motion won’t burn many calories, but it will promote bloodflow, which in turn reduces fatigue. And that’s always nice. They even have some with massage balls – so you can get a nice massage in the workplace, provided your feet don’t, well, smell.
The idea behind ergonomic accessories is to add overall comfort to the user’s workplace atmosphere, and that is a goal that is not to be overlooked nor understated. The modern work lifestyle has evolved to the point where these items are not a luxury anymore- with people spending more and more time on a computer and on the Internet these days, being comfortable for a prolonged period of time is critical to overall well being.
Just think of how many hours a day you’d spend working in front of your computer, slouching forward and trying to make sense of the small text on the screen. (Make the font bigger, if you keep squinting!) A good monitor arm/keyboard tray/footrest combo will quickly and, if chosen right, inexpensively make your or your employees work days more efficient and better over the long run. All of the accessories sold at Sitbetter are quality items – nothing that will fail within a week or even a year, and if it does, it is a good thing you bought it here, because we have your back. It’s ok to drink our ergonomic kool-aid – we do.
The Generation Chair by Knoll – Tested and tried at NeoCon 2009
This is a very unique chair – The first of its kind in terms of backrest motion and malleability. Not to mention a very good looking little task chair. But is it a once in a generation chair? We sat and tested this chair at NeoCon Chicago 2009. It is one in a new movement towards creating more unique tasking solutions. The idea in concept is very sound, and the design team hit a home run on the backrest, but there are certain detraction’s that left us a bit disappointed, considering the hype.
To start, let’s put this chair in perspective to what it is, as it cannot be compared to leather office chairs, for example. More reasonable comparisons are the Humanscale Diffrient Task chair and the Herman Miller Setu Chair. (We’ll be reviewing the Diffrient Task Chair shortly – the Setu was also tried out, and we’ll have a basic review of that as well…) It is a task chair, meant for, and creating for, working environments. With that said…
According to Knoll, it is a task chair meant for “collaborations” and fluid work environments. However, if you sit in your desk typing all day, I hardly think this chair will do you any good. Why? The philosophy behind the chair is that we actually spend more time moving in our chair than sitting in it – this should be true, we should be moving, but do we? I mean, how many of us can type effectively in any of the positions shown below? These people demonstrating the chair are in the act of talking, hanging out, possibly working. The world will know. But the basic fact remains that a workplace envornment where 95% of the time these are the ideal sitting positions doesn’t exist. And you certainly cannot type in any of these positions. Have you tried typing with your leg over the armrest? More errors than you can imagine! Which brings us to the next point regarding the use of the chair in respect to what it capacity the chair could be beneficial in…
As I mentioned before, it is a very good chair to collaborate in. In spaces where people meet informally, talk a lot together, brainstorm, etc, it is an ideal chair. You can relax well in the chair. But I’m not sold on it as a cubicle chair for a variety of reasons…Let’s go into detail about the good, bad, and my lasting thoughts on the chair…
What’s Good about the chair?
There’s plenty to like. It’s a nice looking chair – modern, sleek lines, and a nice selection of colors for the back and the seat. It is VERY green, recycled and recyclable. It is not an eyesore, and only complements modern work environments. The backrest is the real success story regarding the chair. It is a mid back, meaning, for 99% of the population, the backrest is not going to provide support above the shoulders, and for most won’t reach the shoulder height. But with this chair, that’s ok. The flexing back material (seemingly made of a rubber composite) has no frame on the back, which allows for flexing in a wide range of motion, particularly nice for stretching or turning around, (albeit you could just swivel around) and talking to co-workers rather easily. The backrest is also comfortable, not a hard plastic, and molds well to your back shape.
Add in the optional lumbar support and you get sufficient lower back support. Won’t relieve back pain, but won’t cause it either. Essentially, the motion the backrest allows is good – I’m just a little skeptical about how much we would use it, and the price vs. functionality that an innovative feature like this commands.
And the not so good?
Unfortunately, there is one area where the Generation Chair takes a step back to the previous generation. It was uncomfortable enough to spoil the uniqueness and comfort of the Back – the Seat. It seems in designing and implementing the back, Knoll forgot that the seat is where our all day pressure is. It really was not comfortable for me, right off the bat. The seat has a thin foam cushion which is upholstered on what seemed to be a plastic seat pan – not solid plastic, but plastic strips. I could feel those within 5 minutes of sitting on it. Not ideal.
The foam itself is not soft, rather firm, but even so, the thinness of it was quite surprising. The seat does have a seat slider, but in using it, I encountered another issue. I adjusted the seat pan a bit forward (I am 5’7″, 145 lbs.) but not much. After re-sitting on the adjusted seat, I felt towards the back of the seat two hard pressure points. It felt like two little blocks of wood on my buttocks. Not comfortable at all. I sat in another Generation (the showroom at Neocon must’ve had over 50 Generations) and felt the same issue. So I asked my brother to give it a whirl. He is 5’11″, 195 lbs, and he immediately remarked, “What is that?!”. It was disappointing, to say the least, to have experienced this. We sit on the seat of the chair on average 8 hours a day, and are not always leaning against the back. This is why the seat is THE most critical part of the chair, and the easiest to make comfortable. Knoll simply forgot how to on this chair, and the chair lost all long term comfort value for us. From being a nice innovative task chair, the way the seat felt immediately moved it into the “1-2 hour meeting chair mode”.
Update: Knoll apparently offers a thicker seat cushion at no extra charge. I would recommend this. I don’t know how it feels, since we weren’t told at the showroom which ones had it, but I can imagine with the thicker cushion it would be much better. If the thick cushion makes it so you don’t feel the plastic straps, then it would be a much better task chair – it would be worth the price at that point.
What’s the price?
We don’t know the price – the chair doesn’t release until July 15th, but were told at NeoCon by Knoll representatives that the chair will be retailing from $750 to upwards of $1000.00 USD, depending on the options selected, such as arms, leathers, lumbar support, etc.
For a task chair, to sit in 8 hours a day and hash out emails, etc, it is not the ideal chair. The seat will kill you and really be painful after 4 hours, especially if you are heavier. Combine that with the estimated price, and the chair becomes, in our opinion, overrated. As a conference, meeting room chair for informal settings, for a modern workspace where employees don’t have to sit 8 hours a day, it could be a nice chair. It would look nice anywhere, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel nice everywhere. And you need that in a chair, we think. Thus the 3 – a pricey, sub-par chair with a great and unique backrest.
Update: It would get 4-5 “chairs” if you got the chair with the upgraded seat cushion, which would minimalize the seat cushion issue. But I don’t know for sure whether 4 or 5, since I’ve only sat on it with the thin seat cushion. If anyone has one with a thick cushion, let us know what your value assessment of the chair is!