How Does An Office Chair Mechanism Work? (Chair Mechanisms Explained)

Office Chairs need no introduction, but what is worth mentioning is that the introduction of the Ergonomic Office Chairs made users’ lives a lot better. Well, various effective mechanisms of Ergonomic Office Chairs ensure good posture and comfort and the same time.

But, How Do These Mechanisms Of Office Chairs Work? Each Office Chair comes with a different type of Mechanism, and with the advancement of technology, the mechanisms are becoming smooth and easy to conduct. Usually, these mechanisms are handled using knobs attached to the chairs.  

This article focuses on providing an overall idea about the Office Chairs mechanism so that you have a clear understanding of how this actually works. 

You might also wonder if these mechanisms are actually effective or not for your physical wellbeing. I will also be providing additional information on this area as well.

So, without any further ado, let us get started. 

What Is An Ergonomic Office Chair?

Ergonomic features are added to an Office Chair by combining the engineering, human body & psychology. These features help to support your body for an extended period of time and reduce the risk of minimizing the risk of body aches. 

An Ergonomic Office Chair is designed in such a manner that it provides overall support to your body so that even after spending a lot of time sitting, you stay relaxed without any body pain. 

These Office Chairs come with various mechanisms, which enhance good posture and comfortable adjustments.   

What Are The Office Chairs Mechanisms?

Nowadays, manufacturers do proper research before producing an Office Chair. This is because they care for your wellbeing, and they know you will look for ergonomic features before the purchase. 

Nonetheless, you will find all Ergonomic Office Chair with some basic mechanisms, which includes:

  1. Office Chair Seat-Height Mechanism.
  2. Office Chair Tilt Tension & Tilt-Lock Mechanism
  3. Office Chair Lumbar Support 
  4. Office Chair Back Height Adjustment Mechanism
  5. Office Chair Armrest Mechanism
  6. Office Chair Gas Cylinder Mechanism

However, some office chairs might miss some of these features, which is why experts always recommend initiating the purchase after proper research is done. 

As you need to make sure the required features are present in the Office Chair, and along with it, the features should be convenient to use. 

You have got nothing to worry about, cause in the latter part I will be explaining all these mechanisms separately. 

Office Chair Seat Height Mechanism

Seat Height Mechanism is one of the integral parts of your Office Chair. It is because the appropriate seat height can vary from person to person. When the Office Chair comes with seat height adjustment features, you can maintain the posture of your lower body.  

Here is how you can correct your sitting posture:

you need to keep your legs relaxed on the floor while keeping the foot perpendicular to the floor. In addition to that, you need to keep your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle.

Also, make sure you are getting proper lumbar support. If your chair has a lumbar adjustment feature, you can easily adjust the height of the lumbar pad according to your height. It helps achieve the lumbar curvature of your lower back.

If you are looking for a chair to buy and want to know the proper seat height of your chair, you can check our article regarding the topic.

So, How Does The Office Chair’s Seat Height Mechanism Work?

The Seat Height Mechanism is attached to the Chair Seat’s bottom, which further builds a connection with the gas lift. The seat can be adjusted as you turn the lever attached to it. 

To raise the seat height, you need to get up from the chair by using the lever, and to reduce the seat height, you remain seated and just use the lever. 

Some Office Chairs come with two levers, one that raises the Seat’s height and the other one lowers the height. On the other hand, some Office Chairs come with a single lever. 

Nonetheless, the seat height adjustments are pretty easy to conduct, but proper cautions should be taken. 

Office Chair Tilt Tension & Tilt Lock Mechanism

Tilting options are one of the amazing ones. Imagine taking a short nap in the Office Chair while reclining the Chair at a 110-degree angle. It would be a great nap, isn’t it? 

However, the tilting option gives you the privilege to recline the Office Chair back and forth without even getting up from the Chair. You should indeed use an Office Chair that has perfect tilt lock options along with a tilting option.

As you know, sitting for a long time is not advised; you should change your posture every one or two hours. The recline position helps to increase blood circulation and ease back pain. 

The recline up to 120 to 130-degree angle of the Office Chairs helps sit comfortably and maintain minimum disc pressure.

How Does The Tilting Mechanism Work?

The tilt mechanism is basically the recline function which is controlled by a knob and a lever. The lever is also used to lock the Chair’s backrest at a specific angle. It is situated mostly on the right side of the seat, and using it; you can lock the backrest to a certain angle.

Mostly it’s the same lever that works with seat height adjustment and tilt-lock feature. To lock the backrest, you need to push the lever inward and pull outward to unlock the angle.

If you look at the premium chairs like Herman Miller Aeron, the tilt mechanism works differently. They have a tilt-limiter option which is used to limit the tilt angle; it’s kind of like tilt-lock but not the same, it will work into a certain angle while you are reclining.

However, at the same time, you need to apply the force to recline it at a certain angle. The tilt locking option makes the Chair’s back at the perfect angle as long as you want. 

You can keep the seat in an upright position as you do some table work, like typing, reading, or writing. Then again, while in a meeting or taking a short break, you can make it recline at your preferred position. 

I have written a complete article on the working procedure of the office chair tilt mechanism. I suggest you read that article as well. I will link that article below.

Recommended Article: How Does an Office Chair Tilt Work? Everything You Need to Know

Office Chair Lumbar Support Mechanism

Well, the most desirable adjustment people now want from office chairs is the lumbar support. Many of us are already suffering from back pain, and sitting in an uncomfortable position for an extended period of time makes it even worse.

Then again, sitting on an Office Chair without proper lower back support initiates back pain. Remember, proper lumbar support helps to prevent back pain and fatigue by maintaining the natural S-shape back curve. 

Usually, office chairs have three types of lumbar support: Dynamic Lumbar Support, Lumbar Support with Manual Adjustments, and Fixed Lumbar Support. Your Office Chair can have any of these Lumber supports. 

To know more about these, you can read my other article by clicking here.

So, How does the Lumbar Support Mechanism work?

A manual adjustable lumbar support mechanism contains two types of the adjustment mechanisms. The most important one is the height adjustment.

Height adjustment allows you to raise or decrease the height of the lumbar support.

Since the height of every person is different, the lumbar support at a fixed place is not suitable for everyone. This mechanism takes care of that.

Very few office chairs have lumbar support depth adjustment. I have found this adjustment only in Steelcase Leap.

This mechanism allows you to adjust the curve of the back support. Taller people usually need a more robust and extra curve than short people.

This mechanism allows you to set the amount of curve you want to sit you more comfortably and provide optimal back support.

Dynamic Adjustable Lumbar Support:

Now let’s talk about dynamic lumbar support mechanisms. The dynamic lumbar support works with the increase and decrease of pressure you put on the backrest while sitting on your chair.

This type of lumbar support has a pronounced curve on the backrest. It provides resistance to your lower back.

The curve adjusts with the amount of pressure it receives. This ultimately gives you a resistance to sit maintaining the S curve of your back and holding an upright sitting position.

Lumbar support is to make sure that your spine stays curved naturally when you sit in a chair. That is why Office chairs have a curved back or put some extra cushioning to the back seat. 

An Office Chair with proper lumbar support makes your seat comfortable for a long time while maintaining the best posture. It further helps to reduce back or lower back pain. 

Office Chair Back Height Mechanisms

Along with the lumbar support, most Office Chairs have proper back height adjustments so that you can adjust the backrest height. The Office Chairs has a knob that helps you to adjust it appropriately so that the lumbar support can also be raised or lowered as per your need.

From my personal experience, I have sat on various Office Chair, and most of the time, even though the Chair had excellent lumbar support, I could not enjoy that privilege. It is because the Office Chair did not have any back-height adjustments.

Sometimes you might also find the headrest is not at the right place, but with the back-height adjustment facility, you can easily change it. The added advantage is that the back height can be locked in some chairs. 

Even if your Office Chair misses the lumbar support, you can add some portable lumbar support, like a curved cushion or pillow. 

Office Chair Armrest Adjustment Mechanisms

An Office Chair can come with different types of armrests. The armrests can have 1D, 2D, 3D, and 4D levels of adjustments. That is, the armrests of an Office Chair can be altered height-wise, length-wise, depth-wise and angle-wise. You can even rotate them at 90 – 360 angles both inwards and backward. 

Remember, it is ideal for keeping your arms perpendicular to the top of your desk. However, you can make other adjustments as per your need. To avoid stress injuries and shoulder & neck pain, you need to maintain the appropriate armrest height. 

However, some of the Office Chairs do not offer any adjustments with the armrest, and they are fixed in a certain position at a certain angle. 

If you are interested, you can read an article about office chair armrests. Click here to read the article.

Office Chair Gas Cylinder Mechanism

The Gas Cylinder is the center of the Ergonomic Office Chair. The gas lift helps the height adjustments of the Office Chair, which is why the Gas cylinder is considered essential for an Office Chair. 

When you move the lever or knob, the gas cylinder helps to adjust the seat height. 

How Does The Gas Cylinder Of An Office Chair Work?

The gas cylinder is filled with pressurized nitrogen. It also has a piston rod that moves upward and downward inside the cylinder. When you remove weight from the Office Chair, it eventually moves the piston rod, and the seat height becomes adjustable. 

For instance, when you remove the weight from the Chair and loosen the knob, the air inside the gas cylinder expands, pulling the piston rod upward, resulting in the entire seat pulling upward.

Then again, when you put on pressure on the Office Chair and pull the knob, the air inside the cylinder is compressed, and the air pressure inside is increased, which makes the chair seat move downward.

However, let me tell you the gas pressure does not hold the Chair up; there is a lever lock that holds the seat at a certain height. The presence of lubricant oil makes the piston’s movement smooth.

We tend to love moving up and down while sitting in the Chair. But this can be very risky as it can cause serious accidents. The Office Chair can even explode if somehow the gas is leaked from the gas cylinder. 

Moreover, if the gas is not properly filled or there remains a leak of the gas, then the height mechanism function does not work appropriately. 

Well, when we talk about the Office Chair’s Gas Cylinder, two names come to our mind. One is a Hydraulic Chair, and the other one is Pneumatic Chair.

So, what are Hydraulic Chairs and Pneumatic Chairs? And How do they work?

What Is Hydraulic Mechanism?

Hydraulic is used to indicate the application where fluid power is used. Hydraulic Mechanism is used to load or move heavy matters. It is the advancement of technology that enables the Mechanism to load a heavy thing so swiftly.

How does the Hydraulic Mechanism Work?

Well, Hydraulic Chairs has a cylinder where a compressed liquid substance is stored to make the machinery movement effortless. Various Office Chairs use this function, but this function for Office chairs is known as Pneumatic Mechanism.

What Is Pneumatic Chair Mechanism?

Pneumatic Mechanism also includes the application of fluid. However, in the case of the Pneumatic Mechanism, compressed gas is used for the smooth functioning of the Chair.

Suppose you are confused about both Hydraulic Mechanism and Pneumatic Mechanism. Let me tell you; they are almost the same.

However, the main difference between Hydraulic and Pneumatic Mechanism is Pneumatic Mechanism is used to lift the lighter weights, and the heavy loads are lifted using a Hydraulic Mechanism.  

Moreover, Pneumatic Mechanism is highly used in Office Chairs.

So, How Does Pneumatic Chair Mechanism Work?

Pneumatic Chairs have a lever that usually handles the height adjustments of the seat. When you lift the lever, the fluid moves down, lifting the seat up, and the opposite occurs when you push down the lever. 

Well, the process is not that simple as it sounds. It is the complete effort from the Chair, gas cylinder, the lever or the knob, and the user using the Chair.

Meraj Jahan

Hey, I am a co-author at Office Chair Trends. Not only have I experience working for extended hours behind the desks at my workstation, but I also have seen people in my surroundings suffer from body aches. Being a reader by day and writer by night, I have researched this matter and gathered knowledge along the way. I am sharing all my experiences on this site.