Ergonomic Chair vs Regular Chair: 17 Pros and Cons

There is a clear difference between Ergonomic office chairs and regular office chairs, and I am here to inform you of that difference and how it can apply to your sitting experience and the ergonomic office chairs one should use according to their preferences.

The difference between an Ergonomic and a regular office chair is that Ergonomic chairs are designed to fix sitting posture and more for long hours of work, productivity, and provide better lumbar support, while regular office chairs are meant more for everyday work with small periods of productivity and most of the regular chair doesn’t offer lumbar support.

To learn more about the pros and cons of each of these office chairs and how this can affect the overall sitting experience, read on!

1. Adjustability:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Offers adjustable features such as seat height, lumbar support, armrest, headrest etc.

Con: All of these adjustable features are sometimes overwhelming to find in a chair.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Usually, a few regular chairs offer adjustable seat height.

Con: Doesn’t have much adjustable options and thus, does not offer a good sitting experience.

Ergonomic Office chairs come with a lot of adjustable options such as adjustable seat height, adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrest, and headrest. These adjustable features are necessary to get the best sitting experience while working for long hours.

A regular office chair usually does not come with a lot of adjustable features. However, you will find adjustable seat height features on a few chairs. These chairs don’t come with a headrest or proper lumbar support. So, sitting experiences are not optimal with these chairs.

These adjustable features depend on the brand of the office chairs. Not all ergonomic office chairs offer the same ergonomic functionalities. It’s also a good idea to consider all of these factors when purchasing an office chair.

2. Seat Height:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Seat height can be adjusted according to your size.

Con: Since the mechanism is a moving part, the height adjusting mechanism can be damaged over time.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Fixed seat height provides better stability.

Con: If the seat height is too short or too long for your height can cause discomfort while working at a desk.

In the seat height aspect between the Ergonomic and regular office chairs, Ergonomic chairs will always pass-up the regular office chairs in the long run.

In ergonomic office chairs, seat height ranges about 16 to 21 inches, which can be easily adjustable. They promote good sitting posture and keep more productive during work.

You should always remember that while purchasing an office chair. Seat height-adjustability is a vital feature to have, especially for the people who have long hour desk jobs.

3. Seat Depth & Width:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Seat depth & width is adjustable and thus ensures optimum comfort for people of all heights.

Con: Again, In ergonomic chairs, adjustable seat depth and width is a moving mechanism; if the ergonomic chair is cheap, the mechanism is sure to get damaged easily.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Fixed seat depth is less overwhelming and is made such that it fits most people easily.

Con: People who are very tall or short will not be able to sit comfortably. 

In ergonomic chairs, the seat height & width are adjustable. This actually allows you to move the seat forward and backward and adjust it according to your comfort. Thus ergonomic Chairs ensure that people of all height and size can sit comfortably by adjusting the seat depth and width.

On the other hand, Most non-ergonomic or regular chairs come with a fixed seat depth and width. The depth and width are actually set by the manufacturers as per the requirement of an average person. So, if you are a very tall or very short person, a regular chair may cause discomfort in your sitting experience and may cause health issues if you sit on your chair for a long period of time. 

4. Adjustable Tilt Tension:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Enhance the sitting experience.

Con: Chairs with tilt tension mechanism costs a lot.

Regular Chair:

Pro: They are cheap, so the backrest and sitting area remain fixed.

Con: Provide a bad sitting experience & not ideal for long hours of work.

An Ergonomic chair comes with adjustable tilt tension that enables the user to recline at a particular angle. Usually, this tilt tension knob is situated underneath the seat towards the front of the chair.

This tilting mechanism differs from chair to chair. From cheap ergonomic chairs to expensive ergonomic chairs, you will find different kinds of tilting mechanisms which obviously provide different sitting experience. You will find the best tilt mechanism in the rocking ergonomic chairs.

A regular chair doesn’t have this feature. These chairs come with a fixed backrest and seating area.

5. BackRest:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Adjustable backrest of an ergonomic chair helps to reduce back complications in people who sit for long hours.

Con: This adjustable feature does not serve for long if you buy cheap ergonomic chairs. 

Regular Chair:

Pro: Fine with most of the people who do not spend long hours on their desks.

Con: Fixed backrest can lead to back complications.

Ergonomic Chairs always come with adjustable backrests. You will be able to adjust the backrest of an ergonomic chair according to your specific needs. You can change the angle and height of the backrest. This will allow you to sit comfortably for long hours, which will also reduce your chances of developing back pain if you sit for long hours at your desk.

On the other hand, regular or non-ergonomic chairs mostly have fixed backrests. The width is set by the manufacturers such that it will fit most people. Since the backrest is non-adjustable, you can not adjust the backrest according to your comfort level. This will lead your back to sit at a fixed position for a long time. This might cause back issues in the long run if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for long hours.

6. Lumbar Support:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Offers adjustable lumbar support

Con: Chair with adjustable lumbar support cost more than a regular chair

Regular Chair:

Pro: Some regular chairs Offers fixed lumbar support.

Con: The fixed lumber support can not be adjusted according to your comfort level.

Lumbar support is the designed part of a chair that curves inward at the lumbar region of our lower back. Simply it provides support to our lower back. Both ergonomic and regular chairs have lumbar support. 

However, for regular chairs, the lumbar support is fixed, which is a problem if you are shorter or taller than the position of the lumbar support. Ergonomic chairs usually come with adjustable lumbar support, which solves the issues for taller or shorter people.

You can also adjust both height and depth of the lumbar support in an ergonomic chair. This feature ensures that you can rest your lumbar back properly while working for long hours, and it promotes active sitting.

The lumbar support feature is the most important feature for a chair. This feature ensures that the lumbar vertebrae of the backbone receive enough support.

7. Armrests:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Comes with adjustable armrests.

Con: It is seen that in most ergonomic chairs under $100, adjustable features of armrest do not last long.

Regular Chair:

Pro: The fixed armrest fits most of the people as they are made, considering the height for average people.

Con: Most Regular chairs come with fixed armrests or no armrests at all, which reduces the comfortability of sitting.

In a comparison between both chairs, they both have armrest features. For an ergonomic chair, you will get an adjustable armrest, which is great because you can adjust it according to your need. However, regular chairs also have armrests. But they are fixed, as manufacturers want to keep the prices low.

Being able to adjust the armrests in ergonomic chairs ensures that you get the most comfortable setting. You can adjust them up and down, side-wise and forwards or backward. In this way, you can rest your arms in a very comfortable position during a long hour desk job.

It also enables you to sit closer to your desk while working. As some people prefer armless chairs with ergonomic features. It’s an extra benefit for them. They can adjust the armrest as down as possible and sit closer to the desk.

8. Additional padding:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Have extra soft padding on the seat and the backrest, making it comfortable for long sitting hours.

Con: Additional padding comes at an additional cost.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Most of the regular Contains padding to ensure comfort. 

Con: But they do not contain enough padding for long sitting hours.

All the Ergonomic chairs contain enough soft foam padding, which makes the sitting experience more comfortable even if you sit for long hours. The extra comfort will make sure you can work comfortably sitting at your desk for a prolonged period. 

You might have noticed that the good ergonomic chairs are also wrapped in quality leather or fabric, which increases the durability and comfort to a greater extent.

On the other hand, regular chairs have padding on the seat and backrests, but the padding is not enough to make your sitting experience comfortable for long hours. They might feel comfortable in the short term, but with time the experience becomes bitter. It’s just that they are made for short-term comfortability, unlike ergonomic chairs. This makes non-ergonomic or regular chairs bad for your productivity and as well as your health.

9. Mobility/Swivel option:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Swivel function is more wider and durable

Con: Swivel replacement harder to find.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Comes with standard swivel function

Con: Harder to move around the workspace.

Having the swivel function, you can swing the chair around your working area instead of having to stand up. Both of the chairs have this function. However, the swivel feature is more durable in ergonomic chairs, whereas it’s not a good experience in regular chairs.

Durable swivel function increases mobility. Ergonomic chairs generally have a stronger and wider base compared to regular chairs. The wider the base of a chair, the more stable it is and distributes your weight properly. It ensures safety while rolling around the workspace.

10. Seat Cushioning:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Provides extra support and comfort.

Con: If you get too much comfort, you might get addicted to sitting. Which is a bad thing, right?

Regular Chair:

Pro: Comfortable for short term sitting.

Con: Can cause pain in the butt during long sitting hours.

A good Seat cushion provides more support for your seat and back. This allows you to maintain better posture and increases comfortability when you sit for long hours.

Generally, In ergonomic chairs, seat cushions are designed to provide proper support and comfort for improving your sitting experience. On the other hand, most regular chairs come with a seat cushion that is not comfortable for long sitting sessions and causes discomfort.

 If you feel like your chair’s seat cushion is not comfortable enough, I would suggest you get an ergonomic Seat Cushion from Amazon here.

11. Materials:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Better quality materials are used.

Con: Increases manufacturing cost

Regular Chair:

Pro: Less cost due to poor build quality and materials used.

Con: Less durable.

Since ergonomic chairs are more expensive, the materials that are normally used in Ergonomic chairs tend to be more durable. 

On the other hand, regular chairs are usually not as expensive as an ergonomic chair. Thus generally, manufacturers spent less on the material quality, and they are not as durable as an ergonomic chair would be. 

12. Maintenance:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Replacement parts are available

Con: Higher maintenance cost

Regular Chair:

Pro: Less maintenance cost

Con: Replacement parts are harder to get

Maintenance cost depends on the chair brands, what type of chair you are using, and a lot of factors. Ergonomic chairs aren’t easy to maintain. They have a lot of adjustable parts that can break over the years, and you might need to replace the part. 

Regular chairs are a lot cheaper than ergonomic chairs. There aren’t many adjustable parts that can get broken. You might want to replace the whole chair. However, a cheaper chair has fewer replacement parts available.

13. Productivity:

Ergonomic chairs are designed to give you the best sitting experience possible. They are comfortable and promote active sitting, which makes you more productive. 

On the other hand, regular chairs do not offer ergonomic features. Although they generally have fixed lumbar support and armrests, they aren’t comfortable for working long hours. It will decrease your productivity in the long run.

14. Headrest:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Support head and neck and reduces neck pain

Con: People might get lazy due to excess comfortability

Regular Chair:

Pro: Makes the chair look simple.

Con: Generally don’t have a headrest

The headrest is not an ideal part of the chair. Most of the chairs don’t come with a headrest. Even some of the expensive ergonomic chairs don’t have headrests. The reason behind this is; you won’t use headrest while you are actively working. 

However, a headrest is ideal for the people who suffer from neck pain because of long hour desk jobs. The headrest will help you reduce neck pain. Regular chairs generally don’t have headrests as it’s a lot cheaper than an ergonomic chair. If you are picking a chair with a headrest, choose the one that is adjustable.

Adjustable headrest has a tilting mechanism that can go up and down, move forward and backward. You can adjust it according to your height.

15. Design & Color:

Ergonomic chairs and regular chairs both have a variety of designs and color options. Usually, ergonomic chairs have more customizable options. You will find more color and design options in the ergonomic chair as it costs more than the regular chair.

16. Health Benefits:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Promotes Healthy sitting posture and reduces physical issues like back pain. 

Con: People tend to sit longer in an Ergonomic chair, and this might cause a reduction in their social skills.

Regular Chair:

Pro: Healthy for short term use and for good people who spend less time sitting.

Con: Long term use can cause physical issues.

Most people who sit for long hours daily should buy an ergonomic office chair due to its long term health benefits. Ergonomic chairs are designed to provide more health benefits than regular chairs by improving posture and helping in the reduction of physical issues like back and neck pain.

17. Price:

Ergonomic Chair:

Pro: Ensures better sitting experience

Con: Comes with higher cost

Regular Chair:

Pro: Cost less

Con: Offers less adjustability

The ergonomic chair costs more than the regular chair because the manufacturer spends a lot of money on their research and development to deliver the optimum sitting experience.

Ergonomic chairs feature tons of adjustability that usually cost more than ordinary chairs. Regular chairs offer a standard sitting experience, and it lacks the adjustability ergonomic chair offers.

Final Verdict:

If you made it this far, you already know that the ergonomic chair is the clear winner and better in every aspect. An ergonomic chair has advantages you simply can not ignore. It provides great features that guarantee a positive impact on your health. 

Regular chairs are way less expensive than ergonomic chairs. An ergonomic chair is the best investment you can make. You will be more productive while working for long hours without having a negative effect on your health.

Thanks for reading! Before you go, take a minute out and check out my top recommendations for Ergonomic Office Chairs.

Sifatul Shohan

Hi, I'm the co-owner of A blogger and a freelance web developer.  As I work as developer, I have to work for prolonged hours at a desk that's where I developed back pain. I started researching on ergonomic chairs and gained knowledge throughout the process.  This is the site where I share everything I've learned about office chairs.