Branded Office Chairs Part 5: Neutral Posture Top 3 – 5000, 6000 & 8000 Ranges

This week we turn to Neutral Posture in our look at leading branded chairs from top manufacturers. Although not as well known as some brands Neutral Posture produces some excellent ergonomic chairs. It's particularly good at making chairs to fit pretty much any size of user. Far too many chairs are made to fit average sized users. These simply don't work for anyone whose build falls outside the size range of such chairs .

So if you are short built or very tall or maybe weigh over 300 lbs Neutral Posture is highly likely to have a chair that's right for you.

Let's start by taking a look at it 5000 series.

5000 Range
Neutral Posture's 5000 range chairs are great for short built users.

Neutral Posture 5000 chair

Neutral Posture 5400 Model In Grey

They will work well for both male and female users from 4 feet 8 inches up to around 5 feet 7 inches tall.

The chairs will safely support users weighing between 90 and 275 lbs.

These chairs come with a comprehensive range of options to help you get the right chair for your needs.

There are 6 different models in the 5000 series mostly offering different sizes of seat including some offering contoured seat pads for those who prefer a molded seat to a flat one.

Arms are height and width adjustable ensuring a good fit for any user. These can be further enhanced with gel pads on the supports and even a swing arm option if you need the arms out of the way for a particular task.

Next up is the 6000 series.

6000 Range
The 6000 is ideal for both male and female users between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 2 inches tall.

Neutral Posture 6000 chair

Model 6500 In Grey

The chairs can cater for a wide range of different user weights starting at 90 lbs and going up to 500 lbs.

As with the 5000 series there are 6 models to choose from each has broadly similar features and is highly adjustable. Most of the variation is in seat pad size and style.

There is also an optional headrest which can very useful if you like to recline a lot in your chair.

Another clever idea built into the right hand armrest is a slide out guide which explains how to adjust the various settings. And the options of gel topped arm pads and swing arms are both available to order.

Let's move on to the 8000 series

8000 Range
The 8000 range covers a broadly similar user profile to the 6000 and includes 6 models in total.

Neutral Posture 8000 chair

8600 Chair With Headrest

It's intended for male and female users between 5 feet 6 inches and 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing between 90 and 500 lbs.

However where it differs is in the styling of the back. It’s more sculpted so when you sit in the chair the back molds round your back rather than the flatter squarer surface of the 6000 range.

So if you prefer your chair back to wrap around your body this will make a good choice.

It also takes the optional headrest and works very well with it because the combination of the high back and headrest means that you get great support.

And these headrests include a lot of adjustability with a 9 inch height range as well as a 5 inch front to back adjustment too.

You can vary the angle of the rest and even the resistance too.

Summary

  • A 5000 series chair is great for short built users 4 feet 8 inches tall and upwards
  • 5000 series chairs can support users between 90 and 275 lbs
  • 6000 range chairs are designed for users between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 2 inches tall
  • 6000 series chairs can support users between 90 and 500lbs
  • 8000 series chairs have sculpted backs and otherwise similar capabilities to the 6000 range
  • All Neutral Posture chairs have very comprehensive adjustments for great user comfort.

Further information
Here's where you can find full reviews of these ranges:

And here are links to the four previous articles in this series:

  1. Herman Miller top 3 branded office chairs
  2. Steelcase top 3 branded office chairs
  3. Humanscale top 3 branded office chairs
  4. HÅG top 3 branded office chairs

 

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Why Buying A Branded Office Chair Makes Sense: Beware Of Deception By Description

Brands are powerful in office chairs, just like they are in many types of product. However it's important you don't get suckered into buying the wrong thing.

When you shop at the supermarket for your favorite brands you'll often see the supermarkets own version side by side with the real thing. And if you're not careful you can end up buying the look alike because they made it look almost identical.

This happens with chairs too, the only difference is you won't see the genuine article and copy sitting side by side. Even so you still need to take care to make sure you don't get misled.

How chair names and descriptions can be misleading
Sometimes unscrupulous vendors will give their products very similar sounding names to the branded chair or use words like ‘type' or ‘style' to create the illusion that you're getting the same quality as the real thing. They're trying to take advantage of the branded product's reputation. You need to be careful and watch out for these sorts of tricks.

One of the commonest terms you see used with office chairs is ergonomic. The reason it's used so freely is it gives the impression of quality and comfort. And yet there is no laid down definition of what an ergonomic office chair is. Consequently it gets added to the description of loads of really poor chairs. And because people assume it bestows magical properties on any chair which includes the description ‘ergonomic' they take it at face value and end up buying and regretting it.

This must be very frustrating for those manufacturers who do take the trouble to produce a chair that is good quality and comfortable and worthy of being described as ergonomic. So be careful of chairs labeled ergonomic. Whilst many of them are great chairs a lot aren't. Sticking with well known brands makes sense.

How do office chairs gain brand recognition?
Any supplier hoping to develop an office chair into a respected brand isn't going to do so by turning out a poor product. Creating a brand that's going to last and become popular means it's got to be well received by potential buyers. This is best achieved by offering a great chair that performs well and offers long term value for money.

Early movers who are amongst the first to buy an as yet unproven product are soon going to shout up if things aren't right. With the Internet and the popularity of social sites like Twitter and Facebook anything that isn't what it's cracked up to be will soon be discredited.

On the other hand if the product is excellent those same channels will greatly speed up its acceptance and conversion into a brand that can be trusted. This is why the major players take so much care to do everything they can to get things right. By getting broad acceptance for a chair half the job of selling it is done.

Why buying a branded office chair is a good idea
Building a successful brand can take years so any supplier who has done so will want to make sure they don't risk jeopardizing it. Look at one of the best known brand names in office seating the Aeron chair. Launched in 1994 it's still one of the most popular chairs on the market.

miller aeron

Herman Miller Aeron

It wasn't always like this though. Did you know when it was first developed Herman Miller sounded out the market and the feedback was pretty negative. However Miller bit the bullet and introduced it anyway and it soon became accepted. With over a million Aerons sold worldwide it stands to reason it must have a good bit going for it.

Major suppliers often spend years and millions of dollars to make sure that their new brand will perform as people expect. Steelcase's took 4 years to develop and test its Leap chair to make sure everything was right about it

Other companies like Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture also take great care of their brands to make sure their users are happy.

Summary
Let's recap on what we've covered here:

  • Beware of look alike products with similar names
  • Recognize that ‘ergonomic' when applied to an office chair means very little
  • Brand recognition is rarely built around a poor product
  • Buying a brand name ensures a good level of quality

Remember just like supermarkets some suppliers will try and create their version of a brand, usually at a fraction of the quality and price. Here's where you can find more about some of the most popular office chair brands from the likes of Herman Miller, Steelcase, Humanscale, Knoll, HÅG and Neutral Posture.

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What Is The Best Office Chair For Short People? Fixing The Discomfort Dilemma

When you need to buy a new pair of shoes chances are you know pretty much what size you need to purchase to make sure you get a good fit. Generally speaking it’s likely you will find new shoes will be the same size each time, so it’s easy to find comfortable footwear.

Why is the right chair important for short people?
Buying an office chair is really little different to shopping for shoes. Just as you wouldn’t buy a pair of size 10 shoes when you take a 6, you need to make sure that the chair you choose is a good fit.

There's a problem though. You see office chairs aren't the same as shoes they don't tend to come in set sizes. They might be offered with low, medium or high backs. However that's more of a feature rather than a good fit. In fact, apart from the Aeron, which does come in 3 different sizes to cater for different body shapes it tends to be, one size fits all.

Average built people often get by as chair manufacturers target the typical sized person whatever that is. However, if you're short built chances are buying a one size fits all chair will only lead to disappointment and discomfort. Nonetheless with a little careful planning, it is possible to get a chair designed to suit your build.

What essential features do short people need?
When shopping for a new chair there are usually 2 major problems smaller framed people encounter and need to get right.

First, the majority of chairs have a fixed seat and so the seat depth can't be adjusted. This often presents a major challenge for those with a shorter leg length. Frequently they find that they end up sitting on the edge of the seat because the seat is too deep.

Fortunately there is a simple answer to this problem and what’s needed is to make sure the chairs you consider have a sliding seat adjustment. That way you get to set the seat’s depth to the proper position for comfortable working. Once you have the seat depth right your back is in contact with the back of the seat and so properly supported.

Second, short built people often find standard seat height adjustment ranges don't work for them. Frequently the seat doesn't go low enough and so it’s not possible to place your feet on the floor. This soon makes working uncomfortable.

To get around this problem what is needed is to replace the standard gas lift with a smaller strut. Most good seating manufacturers offer alternative gas lift struts.

Here's a quick tip for making sure you get the right size. Slip off your shoes, stand up and measure from the floor to the inside of your knee joint. Use that dimension to make sure the seat height can adjust at least an inch above and below it and you should be able to get your feet square and comfortable on the floor.

Whilst a change of gas lift won’t add much to the cost of a chair, unfortunately chairs with sliding seat adjusters do cost more, starting around the $300 level. It would be a mistake to buy a chair without these 2 features if you want to escape discomfort. So much for essential features, what should you be wary of?

What features should be avoided?
Although this may seem obvious many people tend to buy chairs on looks. Often something big and bold looks impressive and yet for shorter built people this can only result in disastrous discomfort. So resist buying chairs that merely look great. A good fit is what matters if you want to be comfortable.

Avoid chairs that don’t allow you to adjust the tilt tension. This is the setting that controls the amount of body weight needed to move the chair back. You want to be able to recline in a relaxed way and not feel you have to wrestle with your chair’s back.

Steer clear of fixed arms, they rarely suit the correct height to support your arms and shoulders comfortably. It’s much better to go for adjustable arms or even no arms when your budget is tight. Many chairs allow you to fit them at a later date. So lets see if we can shortlist some good options for seats for shorter folk.

Which chairs will work well for you?
Although you probably don't like the idea you have to realize that to get the right chair for your needs you probably need to spend between $300 and $600 and maybe more. Ouch! That's likely a lot more than you anticipated. Even so if you want to gain working comfort this is the sort of investment you need to be making.

Norwegian manufacturer HAG makes some excellent chairs to suit short people. HAG was the first company to offer sliding seat adjustment and understands the importance of working comfort. Take a look at either its H04 or H05 models

Neutral Posture is another company which specializes in seating for specific people. Its 5000 series chairs come with a huge range of options to suit your needs.

Herman Miller’s Aeron chair should also work well for you. It comes in 3 sizes and it’s likely that size A will be the most suitable model. There's a handy size chart to make sure it’s the right fit. Its open mesh upholstery is great in hot weather, although it’s a firmer sitting position than a foam padded chair.

Lets quickly recap on the key points we've covered:

  • Standard office chairs rarely work well for short people
  • Make sure you can adjust the seat’s depth
  • Check the height range suits your leg length
  • Avoid buying chairs on looks
  • Budget for at least a $300 to $600 outlay
  • Go for tilt tension adjustment
  • Avoid fixed arms
  • Look for manufacturers who understand your needs

Just like buying shoes, the right chair needs to fit you properly if you want true comfort. Here's where you can find more about the suggested seats from HAG, Neutral Posture and Herman Miller.

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Arm Options For Office Chairs: Making Sure You Make The Right Choice

If you look at chair manufacturers’ price books you will see that most chairs are offered without any arms at all. Why is this? There are occasions where this makes sense, more on that later.

What choices of arms are there?
Increasingly these days chairs come with adjustable arms enabling the user to set the position to suit their way of working and this makes good sense. Nonetheless, there are still a huge number of chairs sold with fixed arms. These are a permanent part of the chair and don't move and can be a hindrance.

What arms should you avoid?
You may just be lucky and find that fixed arms are the right height and shape for you. Frankly this isn't very likely, so choosing them is all a bit of a lottery. For this reason it’s always best to avoid fixed arms because they can often get in the way when you're working if their shape and position doesn’t suit your body. Given the choice between fixed and adjustable arms it’s always best to opt for adjustability, even the most basic versions are a big improvement on a rigid arm.

What features are available on adjustable arms and which should you go for?
Adjustable arms come in a wide variety of levels of sophistication. Entry-level versions usually just adjust in height and this is by far and away the most important feature. It means you can set the arm height to support your shoulders naturally and safely. So the good news is even the most basic adjustable arm will offer you major benefits.

From there you can get highly adjustable arms where the arm tops swivel inwards and outwards. This can be very useful for people with narrow shoulders as the arm width is often too wide for them.

Additionally some arm tops also slide backwards and forwards and this again can be handy for fine-tuning the arm supports. It’s particularly convenient if you like to work close to your desk because you can push them backwards so they aren't in the way yet still support your arms.

Some top end chairs allow the width of the arms to be adjusted making it easy to set them to suit your shoulder width, so your arms hang at a natural angle.

If offered it is always a good idea to opt for padded arm tops because prolonged use of hard plastic arms can create a lot of discomfort to the underside of your lower arms.

A few manufacturers take things a stage further and offer arms that can be completely moved out of the way. HÅG’s Futu chair allows you to quickly push the arms behind the back of the chair. With Neutral Posture’s swing arms it’s possible to rotate them by 180 degrees to achieve the same effect. Effectively your chair becomes armless.

When don't you need arms on an office chair?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article there are instances when an armless chair makes sense. Some people like to work close up to their desk and so for them the actual desktop takes the place of the chair arms. And if this is how you prefer to work then this makes good sense.

It’s all down to how you like to work and if you're not sure whether you want arms or not, why not decide later? Many chairs allow you to retrofit arms so you could start out by buying a chair without arms and see how you get on. If all goes well that’s good and if not buy a set of adjustable arms and add them later. Just make sure they can be fitted later as not all chairs allow this.

Let’s summarize the keys points I've covered in this article.
Chairs often include the option of no arm, fixed arms and adjustable arms
Avoid fixed arms where possible they're uncomfortable and inflexible
Adjustable arms come in varying levels of sophistication to suit how you work
Armless chairs can be good for people who like working close up to their desk
If you pick the right model you can try armless first and add arms later

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The Perfect Office Chair: Why Is It So Difficult To Find One?

Imagine you’ve just left your tailor’s shop wearing a $3000 suit he just made to measure for you. As you walk down street you feel like a million dollars, everything fits perfectly. The fabric feels great and you sense people’s admiring glances as you stroll on in your new suit. Perfection doesn't get much closer than this. Back at work you’ve been sitting for a while and start thinking about finding the perfect office chair.

Everyone wants the perfect office chair
Most office workers would love to own the perfect office chair, and many strive to find it. Some even achieve it. Unfortunately any office chair will by its very nature always be a compromise, a one size fits all solution.

And therein lies the problem because humans come in all manner of sizes but the majority of office seats only come in one size. Of course they all adjust so it is possible to get much closer to that perfect seat.

How close can you get to the perfect office chair?
When you buy the right office chair you can actually get pretty close to the ideal chair. It’s always going to be easier for people of average build to find a good chair, because most manufacturers cater to the average. So for them the choice will be wider and the opportunity of acquiring a great chair will be that much easier.

For those not falling within the typical parameters of the average chair size adjustment range things will be more difficult.

Who will find it more of a struggle?
Both short and tall people will find many office chairs just don’t cater for their body size and so that perfect office chair is a lot more difficult to track down. Nonetheless, some manufacturers recognize that this group of users risks getting shortchanged and so have taken steps to accommodate short and tall users by producing models specifically made to suit their frame size.

One of the best specialists in this corner of the chair market is Neutral Posture, which makes some excellent seats to serve not only short and tall people, but also light and heavy framed users too. Its seats provide a huge range of adjustments.

BodyBilt another specialist, as well as having an excellent range of ergonomic chairs, will even tailor make a chair to suit your body’s dimensions. Thus making it possible to find the perfect office chair provided cost isn't a problem. Whatever size you are, you must insist on certain features to ensure you can tailor your chair for your body.

What key features must the perfect office chair have?
Any good office chair must have 5 key features to give the user the ability to set up their chair to fit them properly. Here's what your chair needs:

  • Adjustable seat depth for optimal leg comfort
  • Adjustable back height to allow the lower back to be correctly supported
  • Adjustable Arm Height for ease of movement and minimize the risk of RSI
  • Pneumatic height adjustment to suit your body height and weight
  • Adjustable tilt tension allowing each individual user to set the correct pressure

Some top end chairs actually automate some of these features or provide fixed full height backs with lumbar adjustments to achieve the necessary user comfort. Here's where you can find a quick summary of quality office chairs, which have the essential functions needed.

Let’s end by reviewing the key points in our quest for the perfect office chair.

  • Average built people will always find it easier to find the right seat, due to greater choice
  • Short and tall users will need to look to a specialist to get the ideal chair for them
  • Make sure any chair you consider has the 5 key features listed above

Although you may not find the seating equivalent of a custom tailored suit, follow these simple guidelines and you will come pretty close and may even end up with a chair that is perfect in all respects.

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Neutral Posture’s New 5 Way Arms Offer The Ultimate In Office Seat Comfort

Neutral Posture 5 Way Arm

5 Way Adjustable Arm

Neutral Posture has recently upgraded its adjustable arms and these are available  for all its chairs.

The previous arms already had great functionality.

However its new 5 way arms offer outstanding adjustability and flexibility and are unequaled in features on any other office chair I know.

Here's what you can do with these latest arms and all this can be achieved while still sitting in you chair.

Armrest Height
The arms can be adjusted over a generous 4 inches in height, simply press the squeeze button on the side and move them up or down to suit your needs. This gives the ability to set them in a choice of 10 different positive pre-set positions.

Arm Angle Rotation
The head of the arm can be rotated through a full 360° and set in a choice of 24 different angle settings. This is very useful for different tasks like data entry, reading books and reports, intensive mousing etc.

The settings are easily controlled by a squeeze lever under the arm.

Arm Pad Side To Side Setting
This is a fine tuning adjustment allowing the width of the arms to be varied by an 1 inch to ensure the arm pads are fully supporting your arms correctly.

Arm Pad Front To Back Adjustment
A very useful feature when you need to get in closer to your work and still have good arm support. It enables the user to move the arms 2 inches front to back and is controlled by a squeeze button on the edge of the arm pad.

Arm Width
This is a feature far too few office chairs have and allows you to adjust the overall width of the arms by up to 4 inches. Using a simple lock release lever at the base of the arm makes setting this up very easy.

This feature is likely to be useful if you have narrow shoulders as it will enable you to support your arms squarely. All too often fixed width arms are too wide for smaller framed users and they end up having to splay their arms outwards which can cause discomfort when working.

All in all the flexibility and comfort of these arms with their soft urethane pads are unrivaled; here's where you can find more detail on the 5-Way 360° adjustable arms. This article takes a look at Neutral Posture's most popular office chair ranges.

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How Big and Tall People Can Get Office Chair Selection Right First Time

One of the annoying facts of life for people who are above average height, weight or build is the majority of office chairs are made to fit the average user, whatever that is.

Generally speaking, people between 5’ 6” and 6’ 0”tall and weighing up to 250 pounds are deemed to be average build.

From the manufacturers’ point of view, this is the bulk of the market, so it makes sense for them to focus on this low hanging fruit. That’s all very well. What should you do if you don’t fit this closely defined size range?

Fortunately, a number of office chair manufacturers produce specific seating aimed at catering for you. Whilst this helps there is a problem, not all of these so-called “big and tall” chairs are a good choice, and one particular category needs to be completely avoided.

If you’ve spent any time looking at different models, you will probably have seen quite a number of chairs looking rather like armchairs on wheels. They are often offered in leather and look big, imposing and super comfortable, yet this sort of chair is the very one you need to avoid.

The reason for this is the lack of flexibility due to the way these chairs are constructed. The technical term for this kind of chair is a one-piece shell chair.

What this means is that the chair and seat back are all made as one piece, so they don’t move independently of each other. This is not good.

When you spend long hours in a desk chair each day, you need to be able to vary the angle between your back and legs throughout the day, as variation and movement keeps your body healthy.

Even when this sort of chair reclines the angle between you back and legs remains fixed and so you end up sitting in the same fixed position all day, leaving your muscles tired and stiff. So it’s best to avoid these armchairs-on-wheels models.

A better idea is to look at specialist manufacturers who really understand what you need and offer a comprehensive range of solutions. Probably two of the best to consider are BodyBilt and Neutral Posture. Both are excellent products for the big-and-tall user. And if you prefer not to have to make lots of adjustments it’s worth taking a look at Humanscale's Freedom chair which largely self adjusts and looks great too.

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Is Your Office Chair Like Being Jammed In A Dodgem Car?

Although most manufacturers tend to make their chairs with generous sized seats, if you are very tall and or well built you may find your chair is cramped in the length or width leaving you feeling wedged into it.

This makes it very difficult to get comfortable as it restricts your movements and so consequently you can end up sitting in a very rigid way which is bad news for your posture and muscles.

Fortunately, the answer is pretty simple to fix because just as certain manufacturers realized the need to make below average seat sizes for petite users, a number also produce larger than average sizes.

Frequently these are referred to as Big and Tall chairs which is a good thing as it alerts potential buyers who they are best suited for.

A word of caution though, just because a chair is referred to as big and tall by no means makes it a good chair, it's just a name with no guaranteed level of quality.

Here are some ideas for quality built big and tall chairs from specialist manufacturers.

First, Neutral Posture really understands the sort of chair needed by well built and or tall users and its NP6000 and NP8000 ranges are well worth a look. You could also consider an Aeron it comes in 3 sizes and likely a size C will be best, you can check here on the size chart, the new Embody is another potential answer. BodyBilt is yet another manufacturer to check out

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Is Your Office Chair Like Sitting In A Boat?

A lot of office chairs are just plain big and petite and slim built people find them almost impossible to get comfortable in, for some it's like having to wear size 10 shoes when you real size is a 6, not very practical.

So why does this happen? Well there are 2 reasons, first people frequently buy chairs on looks and more often than not big looks good, it carries a sense of importance.

Second manufacturers try and produce seats fitting the widest spectrum of users and consequently usually make things bigger rather than smaller. I suppose it makes some sense, a small framed user can always fit into a big chair, whereas a large framed person may not be able to sit in a small chair.

You should never buy a chair which looks big and imposing unless you are the right build for such a seat. As a rule of thumb a suitable office chair should leave around an inch at each side of the seat. So, simply measure the distance across the top of your thighs when sitting and then check it against the seat width and make sure it is a good fit for you.

Some of the better quality seating manufacturers recognize the need for producing chairs specifically designed for a petite office chair user and lighter framed people.

So, if you need a more compact sized seat take a look at HÅG H04, HÅG Futu, Aeron or a Neutral Posture 5000 series as these should work well for you.

In the next post I will take a look at seating problems big and tall users face and how to resolve them.

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Replace The Office Chair Turkey – Day 4 Neutral Posture

It's day 4 of replace the office chair turkey and I'm looking at Neutral Posture which has some of the most highly adjustable chairs available fitting quite possibly the biggest range of individual user sizes too, both large and small.

It has chairs for people weighing anything between 90 and 500 pounds, so whether you are petite, average build or big and tall Neutral Posture is the most likely company to have a chair to fit you or your loved one.

Typically its models have 10 different adjustments as standard, so if you like the thought of fine tuning settings it is possible to tailor things exactly as you want.

Here are links to 3 reviews of its most popular models.

 

Be sure to check back tomorrow for yet more great office chair ideas as Thanksgiving presents.

Links to earlier articles in this series
Gobble Up The Office Chair Turkey This Thanksgiving
Replace The Office Chair Turkey – Day 1 HÅG Seating
Replace The Office Chair Turkey – Day 2 Steelcase
Replace The Office Chair Turkey – Day 3 Herman Miller

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