Why Is Selecting The Right Office Chair Mechanism So Important? The Function Factor

So what’s the big deal with an office chair mechanism?

Imagine you had a large lawn that needed to be mowed every week in summer, it’s unlikely you would use a push mower. Its lack of flexibility would make your task unbearable as you huffed and puffed cutting it.

Well the wrong mechanism can easily land you in a similar situation and make your working day intolerable.

In this article we’re going to take a look at what controls every office chair – the chair mechanism.

Here are the 3 areas we're focusing on:

  • What exactly is an office chair mechanism?
  • What functions on an office chair mechanism are vital?
  • What types of office chair mechanisms should you avoid?

Let's begin with the mechanism itself, the chair's gearbox.

What exactly is an office chair mechanism?

office chair mechanism

Office Chair Mechanism On Underside Of HÅG Chair

The mechanism is the heart of any office chair, quite simply it is the means by which the core functions of your chair are controlled.

It’s mounted underneath the chair seat and because it’s hidden from view most people never give it a second thought.

Which is just as well because they can look pretty strange.

Seating manufacturers generally do a pretty poor job in explaining what the different functions of a mechanism are for. They assume that because they know what the various types do that there is no need to explain things to the end user. So let’s cut through the different types of mechanism and look at what matters.

What chair mechanism functions must you insist on?
Mechanisms come with all sorts of features, some are essential and some are useless. Very often the things you need for flexible working are the functions most often missing.

Which ones do you really need? It’s safe to say all mechanisms will let you adjust the height of your chair, that’s a given. Aside of this there are 3 essential functions you need to insist on.

First, you need to make sure that the chair reclines properly meaning that when you lean back in it the back reclines too. Often chairs have a lever that locks the back in different preset positions. If you are using your chair for working actively at your computer this is not a good idea because you will soon feel seized up and stuck in a fixed position.

Next, and hugely important the chair needs to include a tilt tension control so it can adapt properly to your posture as you move. What this does is to allow you to set the pressure applied when you lean back and forwards in your chair. Quite simply it lets you set up the chair for your own weight so that reclining is natural and not forced.

Lastly, and most important of all the chair’s controller needs to include a seat slide mechanism to take account of your leg length. Without it short built users can find themselves perched on the edge of the seat unable to rest their back on the seat’s back.

Taller people have the opposite problem. Their legs overhang the seat edge by miles even though their back is hard up against the chair’s back. And even when you are average built things like upper and lower leg length variation still mean you shouldn’t skip this key adjustment.

What types of office chair mechanisms should you avoid?
Steer clear of any mechanism which only has a single lever control. It’s lack of flexibility will quickly drive you nuts, because all you will be able to do is raise and lower your seat and if you're lucky lean back to a limited degree.

And don't fall for chairs that come with more levers and knobs than you might find on an airliner. Lots of controls don't automatically lead to flexibility and comfort, the right controls are what matter.

So, make sure it does what you need. Don't assume because it has loads of paddles and buttons it must be OK, always check.

Here are the key points we’ve covering in this article:

  • What exactly is an office chair mechanism?
  • Why certain functions on an office chair mechanism are key
  • Why some types of office chair mechanisms are a mistake and should be avoided

Here’s where you can find a quick summary of great office chairs that include the vital functions you need so you don’t end up with a push mower model.


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