How to Make a Cheap Office Chair Comfortable and Ergonomic
– Unfortunately, you’re probably gonna have to spend somewhere between about 500 dollars to like, somewhere around like, 1,200-1,300 dollars on the high end. There are a few things you can do to make a cheap office chair, or any chair, work better for you.
(upbeat elevator music) The number one thing about good office chairs is that they’re supremely adjustable. You should be able to adjust the arm height. You should be able to adjust overall height of the chair.
The tilt of the seat. You should be able to recline. And you should also be able to adjust the force with which you actually have to like, push back to recline, and that costs money. Through several different rounds of testing with different panelists over several years, nobody likes sitting in like, these cheap office chairs, and by cheap I mean, you know like, $200, for more than like, 30 minutes.
After that, our panelists are saying they’re uncomfortable. That they just like, flat-out refuse to sit in it for any longer. (laughs) (upbeat jazzy music) So when you’re sitting your feet should be flat on the floor.
Your hips and your knees should be about at a 90-degree angle of your knees to the floor. And possible reclined back to about like, 100-110 degrees. And you should be able to sit straight against the back of the chair.
You do not wanna be sitting like, straight upright like you’re on an airplane or something. (upbeat elevator music) If your feet are dangling when you’re sitting all the way to the back of your chair, get a footrest.
You know, you could use a cardboard box. You could use, as one of my colleagues does, a dog sleeping at her feet. Or you can buy an actual footrest like we recommend. Anything to keep your knees a 90-degree angle and even with your hips.
(upbeat elevator music) So if your chair is too low and you can’t adjust it, you wanna bring, you know, your whole body up. So you should get a seat cushion. Anything basically that’s like, even and thickness and to bring you like, your whole body up.
(upbeat elevator music) If you can’t sit with your feet flat on the floor and have your back against the back of your chair at the same time, then you would want a lumbar-support pillow to kind of fill in that gap to allow you to sit comfortably.
(uptempo pop-rock music) Well, you wanna make sure that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle or maybe like, a little bit wider than that so that your wrists are like angled down when you’re typing ’cause that’s gonna be the most comfortable for most people.
You could also be typing with your hands about shoulder-width apart. You don’t wanna be typing, you know, too close or too far, otherwise you’re gonna get strained. When you’re looking at your monitor or your laptop screen or whatever it is, you should be looking about two-to-three inches below the top of the screen.
That’s like the most comfortable way to not strain your neck and not lean forward, not squint, do any of those things. Well, I am working on a presidential biography and some computer science programming textbooks.
(laughs) So that’s just whatever you have around. (laughs) But we also recommend, you know, laptop stands, maybe just an external monitor. Or if you can’t get the monitor at the right height you can always get like, a monitor arm.
A comfortable chair is all about the right angles. So approach the chair you have like a sculpture. Add material to certain spots in order to bring your knees, arms, and spine where they will experience the least amount of strain.
If you aren’t happy with your Franken-chair, consider making a long-term investment in a chair that has all the adjustments built right in. Great chairs last for years and it’s worth it. And if all else fails, try a standing desk.
Our favorite DIY option is a good old ironing board. For links to our guides to the best footrests, seat cushions, lumbar pillow, and office chairs, check the video description below.