Why Ergonomic Office Chairs Are So Expensive?

Office chairs have a wide range of prices, with the majority being under $100.
Ever wonder why some are so expensive? Ergonomics is just one of many reasons.
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Why Are Office Chairs So Expensive?

Office chairs have a wide range of prices, with the majority being under $100.

The average consumer may look at the more expensive ergonomic chair and wonder what the differences are that make for a higher price tag.

  • Cost of Research and Development
  • Durability Has a Fixed Price; You Get What You Pay For!
  • More Features Will Add Extra Cost.
  • The Finish You Choose Significantly Affects The Price.

With the modern worker spending on average 8 hours a day (40 hours per week) in a chair, splurging on something you spend 1/3 of your time in is worth the extra money!

Repair Your Office Chiar | Common Issues & SolutionsYes, if you’re suffering sedentary aches or spend too much time sitting.

Splurging on something you might spend around 33% of the day is worth the investment. 


Not convinced?

We explain the importance of why it is necessary to spend extra on your next office chair.

Research & Development In Ergonomics

An expensive process that only a few companies thoroughly explore.
The resources allocated to designing and creating top tier ergonomic office chairs don't come cheap. Some of the top brands in the workstation swivel chair market spend years and tens of millions of dollars on a single product.

Ergonomics is part art & part science, it designs things to fit people instead of asking people to fit things.

The steelcase leap chair, took over 4 years of development, burned through $35 million in R&D, and partook in 11 academic case studies.

Ergonomic research on seating is mostly interested in the bio mechanics of sitting–Things like the positioning and posture of the spine and pelvis.

The contraction of the sitters muscles and their pressure distributions.

Today, research understands that sitting is a dynamic activity that changes from person to person.

Studying individuals in their natural work environment has been the best way to gain insight.

Most of our current studies tackle sedentary sitting and its risk factors.

Unfortunately, the research on sitting with comfort and discomfort isn’t well understood. Reason being that most people sit in two common sitting positions.

  1. Erect Posture (Sitting Up Straight)
  2. Forward Leaning Task posture (As If You Were Writing)

The issue with using so few sitting styles is that in actual life we often change positions.

The Future of Ergonomic Office Sitting

The future of workstations & office activity has a few issues that need to be addressed.

  • Start the design process with cognitive ergonomics before physical ergonomics. Thoughtful design like easy access to control levers.
  • Support the widest variety of diverse work activities.
  • Incorporating “Smart Materials” like Nano-fibers that are stronger than conventional mesh.
  • Environmentally Friendly Manufacturing Practices.

How Are Ergonomic Chairs Premium?

These sedentary saving features prove their expensive price tag.

They are superior to regular office chairs & gaming chairs in more ways than one.

Posture Correcting Features

One of the most common is lumbar support. Without proper lumbar support, the core muscles that support your neck, shoulder, and spine become strained.

More Customization

Most ergonomic office chairs come with armrests that can move in up to 12 different directions.

They can also unequipped off all together and headrest. Some other customization features include the following.

  • Adjustable or Removable Lumbar Support 
  • 2D, 3D, 4D Armrests
  • Quality Memory Foam Seat Cushions
  • Tilt-Lock-Control
  • Multi-Surface Dual Wheel Casters

Without these features, our body would slump forward (unhealthy posture) and our shoulders would get heavy during lengthy periods of sitting.

Promotes Healthy Posture

Sitting for too long all hunched gets the vertebrae compressed, which leads to a weakening of your spinal discs.

Compared to standard traditional swivel chairs, they equip ergonomic office chairs with higher quality features that ease pain when sitting for extended periods of time.

Key Features Within Ergonomic Office Chairs

Lumbar Support

Curves naturally to your spine and will improve overall posture. They make many chairs 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 are also height adjustable.

The lumbar support should curve to the lower section of your back. Memory foam is the best type of material because it should mold around you, supporting your unique posture.

Quality varies on a per chair basis, but the most important feature is that the lumbar support is adjustable.


The type of armrests is very preferential and some go without them all together.

When looking at the quality of armrests, 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 are more adjustable with 12 directions of change.

Here is an explanation if you’re wondering what exactly is the difference between a 3D and 4D armrests.

Why are professional ergonomic office chairs so expensive? 1

Backrest Adjustment

The adjustments that fall under this category are features such as adjustable back support, forward tilt-lock, and headrest.

Headrest can often be a hit or miss. We recommended that your next chair has a detachable head-rest option.

Seat Height Adjustment

Most chairs are one size fits all, but they designed some ergonomic chairs in different variants. Since they design the average office chair for sitters in the 5th–95th percentile.

Most ergonomic chairs have a designated height change from 380mm (14.9 inches) to 530mm (20.8 inches) from the floor.

This range in height accommodates most people if you fall on either side.

There are office chairs catered towards both petite sitters and people that are large and tall.

The top names in ergonomic chairs like Steelcase & Herman Miller offer their products at different sizes to better accommodate every sized customer.

This is one reason they are more expensive than standard office chairs.

This data was gathered from Amazon, Walmart, & eBay Market Places.*
Optimal Seating Height For Petite Sitters Average Sitters Large & Tall Sitters
Seated Height 14.0" to 16.0" inches. 19.0" to 16.0" inches. 20" to 28" inches.
Seated Width 15" to 18 inches. 18" to 20" inches. 20" inches. plus
Seated Debth 15" to 18" inches. 18" to 20"inches. 20 inches. plus
Backrest Height 13.9 to 18.0 inches. 18.0 to 22.0 inches. 22.0 inches. plus

7 Ergonomic Features To Consider In Your next Chair

Here are 7 Ergonomic Features Your Next Office Chair Should Have!
Researching your next office chair? Be sure they include these features.
  • Backrest Should align with shoulders

    An Ergonomic chair should have a curved backrest that molds to the sitters back, head rest are optional. To check if chair if, make sure that the back-rest aligns just below your shoulder level.

  • Adjustable Lumbar Support

    The chair should have a five star base on casters,

  • Tilt Control

    An Ergonomic chair should have a backrest adjustable for tilt.

  • Stong 5 "star" base Structure

    An Ergonomic chair should have a five star base of casters (wheels), preferably double casters.

  • Let The Sitter Lean Back With Ease

    An Ergonomic chair should have a bit of give when the sitter leans back.

  • 2D or Above Armrests

    An Ergonomic chair should be adjustable for a height of 14’.0" - 20’.0" inches

  • Watch for Seat Height From Ground

    An Ergonomic chair should be adjustable for a height of 14’.0" - 20’.0" inches

You may not find these features in every chair but pick the ones that matter most to you.

The most important feature in my chair of this list is the armrests.

Personally, I rather have no armrests if they’re too short Interested in what features help promote postures and their importance?

Well, you’re in luck. Here is why you need to pay more for an office chair and which features make for a great ergonomic chair.

office chairs so expensive
Gainsborough Dupont Sir Richard Perry CC0 Public Domain Designation

Related Questions

Helpful Info & Some F.A.Q. Answered About Office Chairs
To put it simply, ergonomics = “Optimally Designed For The Human Body”.

There is no such thing as a One Size Fits All”. The adjustable features in ergonomic office chairs help mitigate these problems.


Just because a product has the word “ergonomic” slapped on it does not mean it’s optimally designed for you.


Shorter sitters who have worked in an office workplace know this by experience.

Notable advantages ergonomic chairs have over conventional ones.

Such as better back support for your body, discourages slumping and slouching, and letting the sitter choose their desired sitting posture.


With that being said, Is there an actual difference between an ergonomic office chair & a gaming chair?

When it comes to swivel chairs, ‘pneumatic cylinders’ sets the height.


They are found within all swivel chairs and can be located just below the seat pad on top of the 5-star base.


  • The gas inside these mechanisms enables the sitter to adjust their chair's height and makes sure it stays there.

This is not your average compressed air, pneumatic cylinders require a special gas to keep them from malfunctioning. There are rare cases over the past decades of swivel chairs exploding due lack of quality assurance.


VINK, P., and M. A. J. KOMPIER. “Improving Office Work: A Participatory Ergonomic Experiment in a Naturalistic Setting.” Ergonomics, vol. 40, no. 4, Apr. 1997, pp. 435–449, 10.1080/001401397188071.

Springer, T. (2010). The Future of Ergonomic Office Seating. Retrieved from https://www.knoll.com/document /1352940440338/ wp_future_ergonomic_seating.pdf

Shiyu Wang. “Ergonomic Chair Design | Human Factors.” Tufts.Edu, 9 Mar. 2018, sites.tufts.edu/humanfactorshiyuwang /2018/03/09/ergonomics-chair-design/. Accessed 2 Nov. 2019.

Tim Springer, Dr. “The Future of Ergonomic Office Seating.” Knoll.Com, Knoll Workplace Research, www.knoll.com/document /1352940440338/wp_future_ergonomic_seating.pdf.​

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Hello, My name is Claude and I enjoy sitting comfortable. Research into what separates the good from the bad in the matter of chairs started when I made a new year’s resolution to have better posture.

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