The Definitive Guide to Task Chairs for the Office

Posted on by Mike Harley

The Definitive Guide to Task Chairs for the Office

The right office chair can make a world of difference in your comfort, as well as your productivity while working. According to Forbes, office workers spend an average of 15 hours per day sitting, compared to just 12 hours per day for other individuals. By investing in the right office chair, you’ll be able to work faster and more efficiently. While there are many types of office chairs though, task chairs have become particularly popular.

What Is a Task Chair?

What is a Task Chair?

A task chair is a type of office chair that’s designed to emphasize functionality and portability.  They aren’t particularly large or bulky, nor are they stationary. Task chairs are compact, ergonomic, and mobile.

They are known as “task chairs” because they are designed for tasks, specifically offer-related tasks that involve sitting. You can technically perform office-related tasks in any chair. Task chairs are simply designed to help you perform office-related tasks more easily.

History of Task Chairs

History of the Task Chair

Professional stenographers originally used task chairs. Stenographers, of course, are workers who transcribe voice dialogue into text. Most judicial courtrooms employ stenographers. During a court proceeding, the stenographer will type all the voice dialogue to be recorded and saved for future reference.

Before the inception of task chairs, stenographers often experienced discomfort while working for long periods. They would sit in oversized, bulky chairs that failed to offer proper support for their back. Task chairs provided a solution. With their emphasis on functionality and portability, they allowed stenographers to work more comfortably, increasing their productivity.

Task chairs are no longer limited to stenographers. You can find them in many different workplaces, including the office. Many companies purchase task chairs, which they provide to their respective office workers. Alternatively, many telecommuting and freelance office workers buy task chairs to use at home. Regardless, task chairs are now recognized as one of the most popular types of office chairs on the market.

Task Chairs vs. Executive Chairs

Task Chairs vs. Executive Chairs - What's the Difference?

In addition to task chairs, executive chairs are commonly used in the office. What’s the difference between a task chair and an executive chair? Task chairs are usually smaller and more compact than their executive counterparts, for starters. Executive chairs are somewhat bulky. Also known as manager chairs, they are taller and wider than task chairs.

Because they are smaller and more compact, task chairs tend to weigh less than executive chairs. Task chairs are very lightweight. Most of them only weigh about 25 to 45 pounds. In comparison, executive chairs often weigh 45 to 65 pounds.

Ultimately, task chairs are designed with an emphasis on functionality, whereas executive chairs are designed to emphasize aesthetics. Task chairs don’t feature unnecessary components or embellishments. They offer a basic design that allows you to perform office-related tasks easily. Executive chairs, on the other hand, offer a more luxurious-looking design. Executive chairs are attractive, but many of them feature unnecessary components or embellishments that restrict their functionality. Executive chairs can often be seen in upper management offices, around conference tables, and in board rooms.

Benefits of Choosing a Task Chair

Choosing the correct task chair can help with lower back pain

Investing in a task chair can improve your productivity. There’s a strong correlation between comfort and productivity. If you’re uncomfortable, you may experience fatigue, pain, or stress, all of which can hinder your productivity. With a task chair, you’ll stay comfortable all day long, regardless of how many hours you spend sitting.

You won’t have to worry about back pain when using a task chair. They feature an ergonomic design that stabilizes and supports your back. Back pain is common among office workers. If you sit in place for a prolonged period, the tissues or vertebral discs in your back may become strained. Fortunately, a task chair can protect you from back pain. It will stabilize and support your back so that you don’t experience back pain.

Practically all task chairs are designed with casters. Below the seat is a single-arm that branches out into five legs, each with a caster attached to it. This five-star caster configuration allows you to roll task chairs around your office. Instead of picking it up, you can move a task chair to a new location by rolling it on the floor.

Task chairs are ideal for small spaces. As previously mentioned, they are smaller and more compact than executive chairs. With that said, task chairs are also designed to fit under desks. When you are finished working for the day, you can roll your task chair under your desk to conserve space. For small offices, including corporate and home offices, task chairs are often preferred for this reason.

Task chairs are relatively inexpensive. Compared to executive chairs, they usually cost less. Whether you’re looking to buy a single office chair or 100 office chairs, you’ll save money by opting for the task style. Entry-level task chairs are available for just $50 to $60. But even high-end task chairs are inexpensive, with many of them costing less than $100. Executive chairs almost always cost more. If you’re on a budget, task chairs are the way to go.

How to Choose a Task Chair

How to find the perfect chair height for you

Since there are dozens of types of task chairs, you might be wondering how to choose one. Like all office chairs, task chairs have a maximum weight capacity. You should select a task chair that can accommodate the weight of your body. Task chairs are generally labeled with a weight capacity. Some of them have a weight capacity of 150 pounds, whereas others have a weight capacity of over 300 pounds.

Something else to consider when choosing a task size is the size. Task chairs are characterized by a small and compact design. Nonetheless, their size can vary. You’ll want to choose a task chair in an appropriate size for the desk or space where you intended to use it. Take a look at a task chair’s height, width, and depth to ensure that it will fit at your desk or workspace. You can always choose a task chair that’s smaller than your desk or workspace, but you shouldn’t choose one that’s too big.

You should also consider the backrest when choosing a task chair. Some task chairs have a solid backrest, whereas others have a mesh backrest. Those with the latter type of backrest are more breathable, making them ideal for hot offices. If your office is too warm for your liking, you may want to choose a task chair with a mesh backrest. The mesh, net-like backrest will allow heat to escape your body so that you stay cool and comfortable. A task chair with a solid backrest can leave you feeling hotter. They’ll trap your body heat, resulting in discomfort while working.

There are still reasons to choose a task chair with a solid backrest, however. Solid backrests, for example, are more durable than mesh backrests. They can withstand more use than mesh backrests without showing signs of wear and tear. If you choose a task chair with a solid backrest, it will likely last for many years. Those with a mesh backrest, conversely, may degrade more quickly.

Check to see what materials a task chair is made of before buying it. Most task chairs aren’t made of any single material. Instead, they are made of multiple materials. They usually feature a rugged and solid material for their frame and one or more fabrics for the upholstery. As a result, you should consider the materials from which a task chair is made.

Some of the most common materials used in task chairs include:

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Mesh
  • Real leather
  • Faux leather
  • Plastic
  • Acrylic

You should consider choosing a task chair with armrests. While nearly all executive chairs have armrests, task chairs may or may not have armrests. Of those two styles, armrests are the better option. According to a study conducted by researchers at Cornell University, armrests can increase productivity. Researchers found that office workers could type faster when sitting in a chair with armrests.

If your job involves typing, you may want to choose a task chair with armrests. Armrests offer a surface on which you can rest your elbows and forearms while typing. They’ll support your arms so that you can type more quickly and without experiencing fatigue or discomfort.

Tips on Maintaining a Task Chair

Tips for maintaining the casters on your office chair

If you’re going to buy a task chair, you should take some basic precautions to maintain it. Cleaning, for example, will protect your task chair from stains. Your task chair will inevitably accumulate dirt and debris. If you don’t clean it, your task chair may develop permanent stains. Stains won’t necessarily affect the function of your task chair, but they’ll make it look messy and unkempt.

Regardless of the materials from which your task chair is made, you should be able to clean it. Most materials can be cleaned with soapy water. To clean your task chair, fill a bowl with warm water and dish soap. Next, dip a washcloth inside the soapy water. Then, you can gently scrub any stained or blemished areas on your task chair with the damp and soapy washcloth.

Keep in mind that water may damage your task chair if it’s made of genuine leather. Real leather has a porous surface that can absorb and retain moisture. You can still clean your task chair using soapy water, but make sure you dry it immediately after that. After cleaning the leather parts of your task chair, go back over those same parts with a dry washcloth or towel to remove any excess water.

Remember to clean stains on your task chair as soon as possible. The longer a stain goes uncleaned, the greater the chance of it becoming permanent. If you discover a stain on your task chair, use the same technique from above to clean it immediately. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a stain-removing product.

Stain-removing products consist of sprays designed to lift stains out of upholstery. Before using a stain-removing product, test it on an inconspicuous area of your task chair. Some products may cause discoloration when used on certain materials. By testing the stain-removing product beforehand, you can determine whether or not it’s safe to use.

It’s a good idea to inspect the casters regularly. Casters are the wheels on the bottom of a task chair. Over time, debris can make its way inside the casters’ housings so that your task chair no longer rolls properly. If crumbs or lint become stuck inside of a caster’s housing, for instance, it may not roll. To keep your task chair rolling smoothly, you’ll need to remove any debris stuck inside the casters’ housings.

You can disassemble the casters to open up the housings on some task chairs. Once opened, you can then clean out any debris. On other task chairs, you won’t be able to disassemble the casters. To clean them, you’ll need to use a vacuum cleaner with a wand attachment to suck up any debris. Just place the wand attachment against the casters’ housings to remove any problematic debris.

You should tighten all accessible fasteners on your task chair as well. Most task chairs feature fasteners, the most common being screws and bolts. Fasteners are typically used to hold two or more parts together. Whether your task chair has screws, bolts, or a combination thereof, they may become loose. The fasteners will gradually work their way out of your task chair, making your task chair unstable. However, you can tighten the fasteners to preserve the structural integrity of your task chair. Using a screwdriver with the appropriate bit, tighten all accessible fasteners on your task chair.

For more information on how to maintain your task chair, read the owner’s manual. Most task chairs as well as other types of office chairs, come with an owner’s manual. This document will reveal how to clean and maintain the respective chair so that it lasts a long time.


Author Bio HeadshotMike Harley

President at Office Chairs Unlimited – I have been in the furniture industry for over 20 years, and I’m an expert (just ask me) on all things furniture. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.