Got a Junky Office Chair? Here Are 7 Tell Tale Signs

Here's a quick check list of 7 things frequently found on junky cheap office chairs, you've got to be really unlucky to suffer all 7 of them.

If you've got 3 or more then you ought to think seriously about replacing your chair with something better because it's doing you no favors.

This list isn't exhaustive, these are just some of the commonest problems.

1. Fixed arms – never seem to be where you want them especially the sort with a great curve in them, like we've all got curved forearms haven't we?

2. Poor back height adjuster – a piece of oval steel on the back plugs into a hole in the back of the seat mechanism. It's held in place with a single screw knob which just can't seem to resist working loose all the time. And to hide this piece of non-engineering it maybe has the luxury of a length of concertina black plastic which always manages to ride up and expose the tube it's supposed to hide.

3. Cheap seat foams – do you find after a short while of sitting back pain and discomfort sets in and it feels like the foam disappeared? Maybe it's totally flat anyway, give away sign is chair fabric that's all loose and baggy like clothing someone wore before they dieted.

4. Seat doesn't tilt – let's you sit at any angle as long as it's 90 degrees and after a day sitting like this your body will be aching all over and thinking it's morphed into a set square.

5. Chair has no tension adjustment – maybe you got lucky and are the same weight the manufacturer made the chair to suit. Chances are though it's not like this for you, if you're light built your chair will always dictate to you how you sit in it, you'll always be fighting it. If you're well built you may well experience being bounced all over the place because you're stronger than the chair's mechanism. Neither scenario is good, you just be comfortable or productive.

6. Seat doesn't adjust to your leg length – this is still a feature that is the exception rather than the rule on office chairs, 80% don't have it and yet it's key to achieving proper seating comfort. Look around any office you'll see the sufferers, short legged people perched on the seat edge because it's way too deep. Long legged people sat back in their chair and still their legs overhang the chair edge by a mile.
Are you suffering discomfort as a result of this missing adjustment?

7. Adjustment levers are loose and imprecise – do the adjustment levers on your chair slosh around, are they really awkward to operate and feel like you're stirring a cake mix? This is a common problem on cheap office chairs caused by poor design and low quality steel allowing excessive wear to build up in the moving parts.


So there you have it 7 tell tale signs which define junky office chairs. If your chair fails inspection on 3 or more of them, chances are you're pretty fed up with it anyway, so maybe it's time to look for a quality ergonomic office chair. Here's a summary of the reviews of some quality office chairs worth looking at.

What are your pet office chair hates?


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13 Responses to “Got a Junky Office Chair? Here Are 7 Tell Tale Signs”

  1. Gotta have an ergonomic chair – especially if you’re at the computer all the time. I just bought some gel armrest covers for my chair and love them!

  2. When you think of how much time we spend in our chairs – most of us sit for a lot of the day – I probably spend more time at my desk than I do in my bed. I’m not afraid of spending money on a good bed because I know how important that is – so why should I scimp on my chair?

    Get a good chair dude – your back is way too precious to muck about with

  3. My chair tilts, twirls, rolls and the back comes up high enough so I can rest my head on it when I lean back for an office time nap. You have some great points above and anyone looking for a chair should be well advised after reading this article.

  4. This is so true – if your chair isn’t suited to you, you are at a computer all day, then you need to invest in a good ‘ergonomic’ chair. It doesn’t just stop at the chair though – it’s your whole desk/office setup.

    Thanks for sharing – there will be people out there that get it – oh…that’s why my back, neck, arms etc hurt.

  5. Ergonomic chairs are totally worth it. I just got one at and I have to say even though it was a reduced price, it has done SO much for my back.

  6. Unless you’ve had a bad chair, you just don’t realize how important it is to have a comfortable office chair. You have some really good points, and I’m sure anyone looking for a new chair will be able to benefit from this article.

  7. WoW we are talking my favorite subject here … as humans we were not designed to sit around all day or the long spells we as computer user do on a daily basis … I don’t really think adjusting any kind of chair we sit on will stop the long time pain you will end up with from sitting over long periods of time … the best methods I have come up with to ease this fidgety habit is to sit on a Gel Cushion … and get up after every hour no longer than an one hours worth of sitting … to walk around and do my own computer sitting designer exercises to 3 minutes of a youtube music track blasting through my speakers to motivate me to do the full routine three minutes to every hour …

    Keeps me pain free and ready for the next hours sitting work … you should do the same … if not well I’m afraid you will end up with a bad back or painful knees an rsi complaint … or even all three … so do something to help yourself from being abruptly stopped doing what you love to do … yes your staring at it your computer work

    All my best to you and your Simple Health Exercises
    Phillip Skinner

  8. Phillip

    I agree with what you say, we simply weren’t designed to sit in a fixed position for hours on end. Like yourself, I take regular breaks and do some simple exercises, if I didn’t I doubt I would be able to work at a computer as I do.

  9. I have a friend who suffered from constant and debilitating back pain for years. So much so, that his Doctor eventually referred him to a Surgeon.

    The Surgeon’s only remedy was to suggest permanently locking the lower parts of his spine. This was not something my friend was too happy about.

    Then, on being promoted, he was given a new office and a new chair… you guessed it… the pain disappeared.

  10. Kevin

    You raise a very interesting point, it’s frightening to think how many needless operations are carried out each year, always look into the cause first before the effect.

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