An office chair is an integral part of office furniture. Being routine user, we must know how does an office chair work. Office chairs come with different types, designs, and qualities.

An ideal office chair helps the user sit around 8-9 hours or even more in a day. In contrast. In contrast, a non-adjustable and uncomfortable office chair doesn’t let the user sit for a long time, and may result in neck and back pain.

Many people like to know how an office chair work. To get the answer, we need to understand the basic structure of an office chair.

An office chair consists of three basic parts.

  • Chair Base
  • Gas cylinder/lift
  • Seat

Office Chair Base:

Many users underestimate the base, but the truth is chair base has the same value as other parts of a chair. It bears the overall pressure of a user. While moving, a low-quality chair base may break and result in an accident. A good quality chair base is a must for the smooth working of a chair.

Usually, the chair base comes with five arms, but there are designs that offer four or three arms too. The tips of these arms are equipped with casters (wheels). The caster help in the rolling of a chair. A caster made of quality material plays important role in the movement of a chair.

Types of material for chair base:

Chair bases are available in different materials like metal, plastic, and wood.

Metallic Chair Base:

Metallic bases are the most liked among the users. Such type of base is very strong, and durable. It can withstand the heavy pressure of users. It has a rare chance of breaking and can last longer. Metallic bases are further subdivided into steel and aluminum.

Steel Chair Base:

The steel chair base is recommended for heavy users. Being a strong one, a steel chair is less likely to break if used by heavy users. Most executive chairs come with steel bases.

Aluminum Chair Base:

Such type of base is best for small to medium type users. Such type of base is the most commonly available and most demanding chair base. Compared with the steel base, the aluminum base has lightweight.

Plastic Chair Base:

Although high-quality plastic bases are available in the market, chair bases made of plastic are not popular among users. As per users, such types of bases are not reliable and may break off by the heavyweight.

Wooden chair bases:

These bases are made of wood. In most cases, such types of bases have a wrapping of wood over the metallic base. If come with the best quality, these are some of the best designs for an office chair.

Office Chair Cylinder:

A chair cylinder also called a gas cylinder or gas lift is a part of a chair found between the chair seat and the base. The upper part of the gas cylinder connects with the seat while the lower part connects with the chair base.

The chairs come with two types of gas cylinders I.e. pneumatic cylinders and hydraulic cylinders.

Pneumatic cylinders:

The majority of office chairs come with pneumatic cylinders installed in them.

How does a pneumatic cylinder work in an office chair?

An office chair is connected to a gas cylinder which is filled with compressed air. After releasing your weight, whenever a chair lever is unlocked, the high air pressure pushes the piston upward, which in turn moves the chair seat up.

In contrast, when you sit on the chair by unlocking the lever, your weight pushes the piston into the gas cylinder, causing the seat to move down.

A chair with the right height not only boosts smooth working but also helps the user to maintain a healthy posture. Ideally, a seat height of sixteen (16) to twenty-one (21) inches from the floor is recommended for most users.

There are exceptions for dwarfs and tall people.

The height of the chair should be adjusted in a way that both of your shoes firmly touch the floor, and have parallel alignment with each other. This helps to equally distribute the body weight on both halves. 

Office Seat:

The main function of a seat is to provide enough space and comfort. The seat should be big enough to cover the different sizes of people. An adjustable seat is the most liked one among the users.

Moreover, the seat should have good quality fabrics to support the long sitting.

Usually, an office chair seat consists of a backrest, armrest, and a tilt lock.


The backrest, the back of the seat that provides lumbar support, is a most important part of an office chair. Considered best for an office, a backrest with good lumbar support helps the user to sit for around 8-9 hours a day.

Lumbar Support

While sitting, the lower part of the spine makes a curve by moving inward towards the tummy. The lumbar support of an ergonomic office chair fills the gap between the lower back curve and the seat and provides support for the posture.

Well-positioned lumbar support helps in the alignment of the ear, shoulders, and pelvis (hips). Plus, it helps to maintain the natural inward curvature of the lower spine.

The inward spinal curve is a natural phenomenon. Most of the users who sit for a long time have a tendency to slouch forward. This may cause the inward spinal curve to move outward i.e. outward curve toward the seat. This may result in lower back pain.

Lumbar support may adjustable or portable

Adjustable Lumbar support

These chairs come with adjustable lumbar support. Some of the chairs have built-in lumbar support while others offer more adjustments. In some chairs, we can adjust the height, while other chairs allow us the adjust the depth too.

Portable Lumbar Support

Removable cushions and pillows are used in Postable lumbar support. Designed in different shapes, these cushions can be manually placed by a user to support the lumbar regions. The cushions can be used at home, car, office, etc.


Like other features, an office chair must be equipped with an adjustable armrest. Adjustable armrest not only aids in comfort but also boosts productivity by helping to maintain the correct posture. The armrests come with a lever. You can use the lever to raise or lower the armrest. Armrests with an ideal height are not only comfortable but also help to prevent arm, shoulder, and neck pain.

Armrest cushion:

Though not every office chair has padding on its armrest, it offers more comfort and softness.

Tilt lock and tilt tension of an office chair:

Most of the office chairs have a tilt lock. A tilt-lock locks the backrest into a specific upright or reline position.  For this, a pin or a bar is used to lock the seat in an upright position.

How to use the tilt lock of an office chair?

  • For an upright position, push the paddle “in” around ¼ (towards the chair stem). This will engage the lock.
  • To recline, pull out the paddle “out”. This will release the tilt lock.

How to control tilt tension?

The chair with a tilt lock has a lever or round knob underneath the seat. The knob controls the tilt tension. The clockwise movement of the knob decreases, while the anticlockwise movement of knob increases the tension. Tilt tension adjusts the force needed to tilt a chair. (Source)

Headrest: headrest is not the most popular among office chairs. Though it can add more comfort, it is not in demand among users.


After reading the article, you will be able to understand how to properly use an office chair. A user must know how much chair height is good for health and smooth work. Plus, there must be better lumbar support. Moreover, the gas lift and tilt lock should be of good quality.

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