Shopping for a new office chair? Trying to adjust your current chair to improve comfort? Whatever the case may be, an office chair’s height forms the basis of an ergonomic workstation, with its importance hard to overstate. So just what is the standard office chair height, and more importantly, is there an ideal height?
Standard Office Chair Height
This one’s simple- unlike desks that in North America have a standard height of 29”, there is no standard office chair height. Different office chairs have different ranges, though measured from floor to the seat, the typical range is from 16” to 22” (41cm to 56cm).
We took a look at 7 popular office chair models; here are the height ranges each manufacturer has chosen to go with:
|Chair Model||Supported Height|
|Herman Miller Embody||16 – 20.5″|
|Steelcase Leap||15.5 – 20.5″|
|Steelcase Gesture||16 – 21″|
|ErgoHuman Eurotech||17- 21”|
|Haworth Zody Chair||14 – 21”|
|Duramont Office Chair||17 – 20”|
|Sihoo Office Chair||16.5 – 20”|
Note that all of the above are standard ergonomic office chairs. Some office chairs for tall people can be adjusted beyond 21″ in height. Other types of chairs such as drafting chairs obviously have an even higher range of heights.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are office chairs for petite users that can go as low as 14.5″.
The Ideal Office Chair Height- Does it Exist?
So just what is the ideal office chair height? Does it even exist?
Turns out, there is in fact a perfect height where you will magically start to levitate, and the meaning of life will be revealed to you.
Ok, maybe not quite like that, but from an ergonomic standpoint, there is an optimized office chair height where the negative effects on your thighs, shoulders, neck and even arms are minimized as you work.
To explain that ideal seat height, let me work my way backwards, and first describe what it should look like when you’re seated:
- Your two feet are effortlessly touching the floor and knees bent 90 degrees.
- If you’re working on the computer, your forearms are at the same height and parallel to the desk, with your elbows assuming an open 90 – 110 degrees open angle.
The two parts of the equation above do not always coexist in harmony, which makes set up a little tricky (but not impossible).
Two Parts to Calculating the Ideal Chair Height
Now that you know the two outcomes you should look for to achieve the perfect office chair height, here is how to calculate each part.
Two Feet Firmly touching the Floor
This is easy if you’re already sitting in the target chair. Simply adjust the height lever until your two feet touch the floor completely and your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Do not over lower the chair, which has a reverse negative effect of exerting pressure on your ischial tuberosities, or sit bones:
Another way to calculate the best seat height where your two feet are touching the floor can be done sitting up. This lets you assess a chair even faster, or when you’re browsing in a store.
To do so, simply stand in front of the chair and adjust its height so the top of the seat is just below your knee cap:
Forearms Parallel to the Desk
The second part of the perfect seat height equation for any one that works in front of a desk (especially if you do a lot of computing) is to make sure your forearms are at the right height.
Raise your seat height so your elbows form a 90 -100 degree open angle. Further adjust the height so your forearms rise just above the desk, parallel with or sloping slightly towards the desk:
With the proper seat height, your shoulders are relaxed and your wrists are in their neutral position. This greatly reduces arm fatigue and helps prevent a host of RSI such as carpal tunnel syndrome over time.
By adjusting your chair for your arms, you may find that your feet are now off the floor. The solution? Just use a footrest or even a stack of paper to prop them up. It’s always easier to accommodate your feet position than your arms’, which without an adjustable-height desk or keyboard tray is hard to do.
Ideal Office Chair Height Chart
To quickly look up the best office chair height based on your height, refer to the following office chair height table we’ve prepared. It uses recommendations from BFIMA and other data sets to come up with a general working guideline:
|Your Height (feet)||Ideal Chair Height (inches)||Your Height (cm)||Ideal Chair Height (cm)|
|4’11”||15.9 inches||149 cm||40.2 cm|
|5’0″||16.2 inches||151.5 cm||40.9 cm|
|5’1″||16.4 inches||154 cm||41.5 cm|
|5’2″||16.7 inches||156.5 cm||42.2 cm|
|5’3″||17 inches||159 cm||42.9 cm|
|5’4″||17.2 inches||161.5 cm||43.6 cm|
|5’5″||17.5 inches||164 cm||44.2 cm|
|5’6″||17.8 inches||166.5 cm||44.9 cm|
|5’7″||18 inches||169 cm||45.6 cm|
|5’8″||18.3 inches||171.5 cm||46.3 cm|
|5’9″||18.6 inches||174 cm||46.9 cm|
|5’10”||18.9 inches||176.5 cm||47.6 cm|
|5’11”||19.1 inches||179 cm||48.3 cm|
|6’0″||19.4 inches||181.5 cm||49 cm|
|6’1″||19.7 inches||184 cm||49.6 cm|
|6’2″||19.9 inches||186.5 cm||50.3 cm|
|6’3″||20.2 inches||189 cm||51 cm|
|6’4″||20.5 inches||191.5 cm||51.7 cm|
|6’5″||20.7 inches||194 cm||52.3 cm|
|6’6″||21 inches||196.5 cm||53 cm|
|6’7″||21.3 inches||199 cm||53.7 cm|
|6’8″||21.6 inches||201.5 cm||54.4 cm|
|6’9″||21.8 inches||204 cm||55 cm|
|6’10”||22.1 inches||206.5 cm||55.7 cm|
|6’11”||22.4 inches||209 cm||56.4 cm|
|7’0″||22.6 inches||211.5 cm||57.1 cm|
|7’1″||22.9 inches||214 cm||57.7 cm|
|7’2″||23.2 inches||216.5 cm||58.4 cm|
Don’t overly rely on it however, as at the end of the day, each person’s body ratio is slightly different, and what works for one person may not for the next.
If your current office chair is too low or is sinking, there are a few ways to make it higher.