10 Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Office Chair

If you are a person like me who has a desk job and you spend a lot of time sitting on your chair, then it is very much essential for you to to know about the signs of a bad office chair. An average American person spends more than 6 hours sitting on his desk. That is more than 25% of the time of a single day.

So, an office chair is a major part of life for those who have desk jobs. In this article, I will discuss all the signs of a bad office chair and also why you should avoid any office chair with these signs as well. I believe knowing the signs and symptoms will help you to avoid office chairs that can be potentially harmful to your health and productivity at your workspace.

You can identify a bad office Chair by noticing the following signs:

  1. The Seat Height is Fixed
  2. It does not provide decent back support
  3. Not enough Ergonomic adjustable features:
  4. Lack of proper padding:
  5. Absence of swivel option
  6. Less Warranty Period:
  7. Lower Weight Capacity:
  8. The caster wheel movement is not smooth:
  9. Absence of armrests
  10. Poor Build Quality

After my thorough observation and research, I have found the above-mentioned signs in bad office chairs. Before jumping into details about these signs, let’s check out the effects of a bad chair on your health and productivity in the long run, shall we?

Effects of a Bad Office Chair:

A bad Office Chair Causes Back, Neck Pain & Leg Pain:

A bad office chair will not support your back and neck properly, and it will not have ergonomic adjustable features.

Thus your muscles in these areas will get fatigued very easily when you sit for long hours in a bad chair. This will lead to chronic back and neck pain.

Again, if your legs are short and you can not place your feet firmly on the ground, this will cause strain in your leg muscles. As a bad office chair usually doesn’t have height adjustments, you might experience leg pain sitting on one.

Compromised Posture:

Bad office chairs don’t have good lumbar support, and the curve of the backrest does not align with the curve of your spine.

For this reason, people who do not use a good chair in their office tend to suffer from the compromised posture in the long run.

This is a very significant effect of a bad office chair that will compromise your sitting experience to a great extent. If you find that your posture is getting compromised, maybe it is time for you to get a new office chair.

It Reduces comfortability & Productivity:

Bad office chairs are not comfortable at all. There is a lack of proper padding and ergonomic features.

For this, you will notice that it is not comfortable to sit for long sessions, and you will be tired after sitting for a while in such chairs.

If you can’t sit comfortably, can you expect to work properly? Nope! So, a bad office chair will reduce your ability to work efficiently, and thus your productivity in your workspace will be reduced.

After knowing the bad effects of sitting on a bad office chair, you might have already understood the importance of knowing more about the signs of a bad office chair. So, now it’s time to discuss this in detail. Let’s proceed without further ado.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Office Chair?

Some of the signs of a bad Office Chair are as follows.

1. The Seat Height is Fixed:

We all know that seat height adjustment is the most basic and most useful ergonomic feature of any office chair. The ability of your office chair to adjust the seat height let’s you adjust the height of your chair as per your height as well as the height of your desk.

If the height is not set or adjusted correctly, this will put a strain on your neck muscle as you will not be able to look at the screen of your computer at a proper or optimal angle.

Also, when you write or read something at your desk, the height of your office chair plays a vital role. If the seat height is adjustable, you can read and write or look at the computer screen on your desk while looking at the optimal angle.

So, if the seat height of a chair is fixed, and you can not adjust it, run away from that chair because this is a major sign of a bad chair.

2. Does not Provide Decent Back Support:

As I have noted earlier, most cheap office chairs do not provide proper back support. You will notice back pain after sitting in such chairs for a while.

Such chairs are not comfortable at all and promote back pain in the long run. If you already have back pain, you will need an office chair with adjustable lumbar support and a proper backrest. Otherwise, the issue will increase over time.

Also bad back support will encourage you to slouch more and this will compromise your sitting posture.

3. Not enough Ergonomic adjustable Features:

The adjustable ergonomic features of an office chair are very important for optimal sitting experience while minimizing health-related issues in the long run.

An office chair’s most important ergonomic features are adjustable lumbar support, headrest, armrests, seat height adjustments, 360 swivel feature, etc.

If you have a desk job and always have long sitting hours with your chair, these features will benefit your health and productivity. If most of these features are missing on your chair, you can consider your chair as a bad office chair.

4. Lack of Proper Padding:

You will find many office chairs do not have proper padding on the seat, back and arms. If a chair has proper padding, then you will notice that this chair feels really soft and it feels very comfortable while sitting.

So, if a chair does not have proper padding, it will feel stiff and hard by touch. Prolonged sitting hours will never be comfortable in such office chairs. So, I think not having proper padding is also a major sign of a bad office chair.

5. Absence of Swivel Option:

Most people think that the swivel option is not necessary at all. But in my experience, I found the 360-degree swivel feature is a very useful feature of an office chair.

It lets me pick nearby things around my workspace through rotating without standing up or turning my chair by force.

This improves my productivity at work and lets me work more efficiently. For this reason, I have considered the absence of a swivel feature as a sign of a bad chair.

6. Less Warranty Period:

Having one year or less warranty period is an alert that it is going to be a bad chair. It is a proven fact that office chairs with a longer warranty usually last longer.

Most cheap office chairs in the market have one year or less warranty period from the manufacturer. This is a clear sign that the quality of such chairs is definitely going to be bad in terms of build quality and durability.

7. Lower Weight Capacity: 

An office chair with great build quality often provides greater weight capacity. If you look at the big and tall office chairs, they often have a weight capacity of 400-500 pounds. Their build quality is top of the line. Otherwise, having such big numbers as maximum weight capacity is practically impossible.

If you notice that the weight capacity of an office chair is very low or lower than your weight. Then this is a sign that this chair is definitely bad for you.

8. Caster Wheel Movement is not Smooth:

If the caster wheels of an office chair do not move smoothly, then it is a sign that this chair is a bad choice for you.

We all love rolling office chairs. But if the wheels of an office chair are not smooth, then it compromises the ability of mobility.

If the floor is hard, the caster wheel movement must be smooth. Otherwise, it will create extra pressure on your legs while you try to move those wheels.

This might lead to leg muscle strain in the long run. So, having unsmooth caster wheels is also a sign of a bad office chair.

However, the movement of wheels on a fluffy carpet will never be smooth. In that case, it is not because of the wheels. I have a whole article where I have explained this issue. You can check it out if you want to protect your carpet from your rolling office chair by clicking here.

9. Absence of Armrests:

 I think office chairs without arms are less ergonomic as you can not rest your elbow properly. As it does not provide support to rest your elbow, it can cause muscular discomfort while you work for prolonged hours.

An office chair with armrests can relieve the load on your neck and shoulder and ultimately improve your sitting experience by improving your overall comfortability.

Still, many people prefer an office chair without arms. But I personally think it is a sign of a bad chair. I have a whole article on an office chair with arms vs. without arms; read it by clicking here if you want more details.

10. The Office Chair is Unstable:

If you see that an office chair is not stable after you sit on it, you will never be able to sit comfortably on that chair. It is very much important to sit in a stable and sturdy chair to work properly at your desk.

If your chair is not very stable, it suggests that the chair is not well built, and this is a major sign of a bad office chair.

Why Do You Need your Office Chair to be Good?

Most people with a desk job spend more than a quarter of his/her day sitting on an office chair. So, it is very much essential for those people to sit on a good office chair. Sitting on a bad office chair can lead to various physical issues in the long run while decreasing your daily productivity at your workspace.

That’s why if you spend a long hour sitting, you must get a good office chair with adjustable ergonomic features to work comfortably at your desk.

Final Thoughts:

There you have it! I have mentioned all the signs and symptoms of an office chair that make it a bad one. All these signs are experienced by me at different times. 

My suggestion for you will be, try to avoid buying any office chair if you find the above-mentioned signs. I hope this article was helpful. Are there any other signs or symptoms of a bad office chair that I have missed? Let me know in the comments below.

Asif Iqbal

Hi, I’m the co-owner of officechairtrends.com. I had spend hundreds of hours researching on Office Chairs. This is the site where I share everything I’ve learned about office chairs.