This data was gathered from Amazon, Walmart, & eBay Market Places.*
Sizing Up Office Chairs for Petite Sitters
They design most office chairs for a medium-sized people
Until recent years, the industry has neglected a not so small segment of the market; petite sitters. This has made it difficult for women and short men alike to find a chair that fits proportionately.
Whether your frame is petite or vertically challenged, your choice of an office chair is a brief list. Luckily, we live in a world that has engineered the pneumatic chair cylinder.
Pneumatic chair lift capabilities aside, the average office chair is designed for sitters in the 5th–95th percentile. This means a petite 5’2″ woman is technically at the 5th percentile will most likely find that their office chair is not proportionate to them.
Most office chairs have a seated height that begins from 16″ to 19″ inches and extends from 20” to 28” inches for Large & Tall seats. However, the optimal seated height of a shorter person is anywhere between 14” – 16” inches.
So a five foot tall sitter who has a 14” inch optimal seated height has some slim pickings while shopping for an office chair.
Sitting at the ergonomically ideal seated height is not the only common problem. Armrests extend the desk, and if they are not adjusted properly, you can end up with severe shoulder pain. I know this firsthand after purchasing a “Large and Tall” office chair when I was around age 14.
A properly fitting seat has two to four fingers’ (2″ Inches) width of space between the front of the seat edge and the back of the knee.
- Too deep of a seat may create circulatory problems for the lower legs.
- Too high a seat can make your legs and back side fall asleep by restricting circulation.
(If this is the only problem, a footrest is a quick fix.)
Shorter sitters are usually most comfortable with a seat depth of 18″ or less. To avoid sedentary sitters strain (Mostly Shoulder Pain), avoid anything 19″ or above.
Armrests are very preferential and some go without them all together. When looking at the quality of armrest check the padding and make sure it’s something that won’t jack up your elbow.
I prefer the gaming type of armrest that is 4D because they give me more accurate dimensions to my workstation. Here is an explanation if you’re wondering what exactly is the difference between a 3D and 4D armrest.
Lumbar Support curves naturally to your spine and will improve overall posture. Many chairs have a design with fixed support cushions that do not align with petite sitters.
This standard feature is available in two types. Some chairs have built-in lumbar supports to the cushion and are height adjustable. The other more common way is detachable foam “pillows” that also heighten adjustable.
Quality varies on a per chair basis, but the most important feature is that the lumbar support is adjustable.