Shopping for an ergonomic chair can be a daunting task, especially if you are serious about things such things as:
- Properly fitting the chair to you
- Selecting the controls you really need to keep your neck or back supported
- Learning how to use the controls you select
- Getting a chair with solid construction and excellent craftsmanship
- Getting a warranty you can live with
- Making sure you are purchasing your chair from a reputable company
- Obtaining excellent customer service when you need it
- Accomplishing the above for a price you can afford.
Researching your way through all the options involves learning to decipher brochures, web pages and other marketing materials, along with reading product reviews.
That’s the point in the process where I come in. At product reviews. I recently wrote a battery of articles on ergonomic workstation features, and how you might use them to support your neck and back. For example:
- Office Chair Height and Your Sitting Posture
- Why Your Seat Should Slide
- A Complete Guide to Computer Chair Arm Rests
Now I would like to apply some of that ergonomic knowledge to the selection and purchase of a chair. And what better way to do that than by writing product reviews for a few specific models?
Background on Big and Tall Ergonomic Chairs
For this first set of ergonomic office chair reviews, I selected chairs from three different manufacturers. Two chairs, the OFM 247 and the RFM BT55/56 are “big and tall” models. (The 3rd chair, the Global Goal, is a generic task chair, although it is built very solid.)
The “big and tall” rating enables the larger, more well-endowed among us to find and purchase a chair on their own terms, as opposed to adapting, as best they can, to one that will likely never really be appropriate.
Big and tall seating tends to support weight over 300 pounds, and often comes with larger seat widths than your typical office chair.
In general, big and tall chairs have to be “built like a tank”, according to one sales rep with whom I spoke. One reason for this is that when a manufacturer tells you what the weight limit is for a particular chair, the chair will reliably and without a doubt support that much weight. If you are told a chair can support up to 350 pounds during the sales process, for example, once the item has been delivered, you can depend on it. As long as you’re dealing with reputable manufacturer, that is.
Additionally, manufacturers tend to err on the side of caution when rating a big and tall chair; the weight limit estimates they give you may actually be on the conservative side. So if, for example, a sales rep tells you a chair is rated up to 300 pounds, it may be able to hold a few more. (By the way, 250 to 300 pounds tends to be the weight limit for most non big and tall chairs. Big and tall chairs generally start at about 350 and go up from there.)
Sales reps I interviewed while researching the following reviews indicated you could get away with up to 310 pounds in a chair that is rated for 300 pounds. I don’t think it is wise to chance it, though. For one thing, you might gain weight after you acquire the chair, which could “be the straw that breaks the camel’s back” so to speak. And if that happens, the fact that the person sitting in the 300 pound rated chair weighs 310 or 325, or whatever, could void the warranty.
Oh, and one more thing, especially for you employers out there. Because big and tall chairs have to be extra sturdy, they generally cost significantly more. Another reason why an employee wellness program may be a good thing to implement in your work place.
Big and Tall Ergonomic Chair Reviews
The following chairs were chosen because my research revealed they are feature rich, well-made and priced for value. Also the manufacturers are reputable.