There are several differences between chairs with and without arms. Choosing the right one for you can be difficult if you don’t know the difference and benefits that each kind provides. I have also conducted a small survey which might give you a better understanding of the topic.
While you are purchasing a chair, you might wonder which one should you consider- office chair with arms or without arms?. Let’s answer this question.
Our definite answer is that office chairs with arms are more ergonomic, more comfortable, promote good seated posture, relieve muscular discomfort. By combining all that, an office chair with arms is obviously a better choice. However, this does not mean that you should not consider buying an office chair without arms.
Let’s check the differences between Office Chair with Arms & Without Arms:
|#||Office Chair with Arms||Office Chair Without Arms|
|1.||Chairs with armrests are more Ergonomic.||Chairs without arms are usually less ergonomic.|
|2.||Arms of the chair can help to rest your elbows.||Chair without arms do not provide the resting of elbows.|
|3.||Relieves Muscular discomfort.||Can cause muscular discomfort of arms and elbows.|
|4.||Helps to get in and out of the chair easily.||Do not provide extra support for getting out of the chair.|
|5.||Can not easily slide under desks.||Easily slides under desks.|
|6.||Chairs with armrests promote good seated posture.||Chairs without arms do not promote proper seated posture.|
|7.||Relieve loads on the shoulders, neck and arms.||Can not relieve loads on the shoulders, neck and arms.|
|8.||Can sit in only one position.||Have the flexibility to sit in any position.|
|9.||Office chairs with arms are comfortable.||In most cases chairs without arms are not comfortable.|
Why Is An Office Chair With Arms Better?
When you sit ergonomically on the chair and put your elbows to the armrest, it distributes the weight of your shoulder and upper back (including neck). It relaxes them completely. That’s why armrests are a better choice.
However, I will suggest you go with adjustable armrests. My chair has fixed armrests, where I can not put my elbows ergonomically as I described above. It does relax my elbows but not in an appropriate way. While you are purchasing a chair with armrests, make sure it has adjustable armrests.
1. Relieves Load on the Neck, Shoulders, and Arms:
Armrests are basically used to relax the elbow. When you put your elbow to the armrests, it supports the weight of your shoulder and upper back, which consists of the neck. It distributes the weight properly.
Our sitting posture is considered ergonomic when the armrest height approximates the desk height. When we rest our elbows on the armrest, the angle between arm and forearm is approximately 90 degrees.
This ergonomically sitting position relieves the load on the neck, shoulder, and arms. It helps you relax, make you productive, and prevents you from getting a long term injury.
2. May Help Promote Good Posture:
People who have long hour desk jobs have to sit for more than 40 hours weekly. Keeping their posture right is very much important. If you have long sitting jobs, you might have suffered from bad posture at any point in your life.
Office chairs with arms improve your working posture by providing muscular discomfort that you experience when you have to sit at your desk for long hours.
Armrests actually make it easier for you to be able to sit, keeping your back completely straight for long hours. This lets your head and spine stay perfectly aligned and promotes good posture.
3. Help Prevent Excessive Pressures on the Seat:
When you sit on a chair, your whole body exerts pressure on the seat. This also leads to excess pressure on your hips and lower limbs. If you sit for short hours, this is completely fine but, when you have a desk job that requires you to sit for long hours, excessive pressure can lead to serious health issues.
If your chair has arms, they tend to carry around 10% of your body weight, and that reduces pressure on the seat. Thus the pressure on your seat decreases.
This also reduces pressures on your hips and lower limbs to some extent and gives you several health benefits in the long run by preventing several physical issues like hip pain, tailbone pain, etc.
4. Assist the user to get in and out of the chair easily:
Sometimes getting up and sitting can be challenging for old people, pregnant women, and people who have other physical issues.
If your chair has arms, they provide extra support and let you hold onto them when you get up from your seat.
Also, in the above chart as you can see, the majority of people (50%) think that armrests provide extra support to get in and out of the chair.
This is really important for people who are suffering from physical injuries, pregnant women, and mostly for older people as chairs with arms can help to facilitate rising from a chair easily by reducing hip forces by 50%.
This is one of the major benefits that chairs with arms can provide, and chairs without arms can’t.
5. Armrests Good for Ergonomics:
You might have noticed that every ergonomic chair in the market has armrests.
According to many scientific research that was conducted, an armrest provides great ergonomic value as it aids in the promotion of good posture, and it also provides extra comfort for your elbows and arms.
All the experts who work with office chair ergonomics suggest using an office chair with armrests for those people who have long desk jobs.
Armrests provide long term benefits and help you to maintain good posture and reduce muscular discomfort.
These properties of chairs with arms provide great ergonomic values that chairs without arms do not provide that much.
6. Chairs with Arms Provide Extra Comfort:
If you have made it this far, you have already realized that chairs with arms are more comfortable than chairs that do not have armrests.
Having armrests allows your arms to rest comfortably near to the sides of your body in a very relaxed position.
We have taken opinions from several people who have used both chairs with arms and without arms.
Almost 100% of them reported that armrests allow them to work more comfortably and reduces the uncomfortable symptoms that arise from sitting for long hours.
So you should consider using a chair with armrests to reduce discomfort and work comfortably at your desk.
7. Office Chair Arms are Mandatory in Some Circumstances :
If you are suffering from any muscular discomfort while working on a long hour desk job. You can easily solve this issue by improving your working posture.
When you sit completely straight, with your head and spine in perfect alignment. If you keep your hand to the table, in this case, your arms might be able to rest comfortably close to the side of your body. While you are actively working, you might consider moving your keyboard and mouse closer together.
But it’s not the case for everybody. In some circumstances, you will need the armrest. If you are pregnant or if you have some other issue, you can make yourself closer to the desk, then you need to consider having an armrest to your chair.
Why Are Chairs Without Arms Better?
It’s not like that office chairs without arms are bad. According to our survey around 32.7% of people think office chairs without arms are a better option. Among them 55.8% think chairs without arms provide more flexibility. There are also few other benefits of chairs without arms that provide us, any chair with arms can’t.
We will discuss them in detail, so that you can understand the difference between the chair with arms and without arms, and I believe that this will help you in choosing the right chair for your workspace.
For the circumstances below, office chairs with arms can be better for you:
1. Chair Without Arms can be Taken Closer to the Table:
A chair with arms is a definite choice, but if you would like to slider your chair towards your table or you want to be as close as possible to your table. You can not do that with a chair with armrests. In this case, chairs without armrests are better.
Also in my survey 26.9% of people think office chairs without arms are better as they can be taken closer to the desk through sliding.
Sometimes I want myself to be as close as the table, but I can not do it because of my fixed armchair. Also, some adjustable armrests have the option to up and down the armrests completely. In this case, adjustable armrests are a better choice.
2. Chair without arms provides more sitting flexibility:
We conducted a small survey where round 55.8% respondents agreed that chairs without arms provide greater sitting flexibility for which chairs are better.
We also asked for an explanation. Most people think that chairs without arms let them sit in many different positions and even sideways.
But chairs with arms allow you to sit only in one fixed position, and this gets monotonous and boring at times. People also reported that they can not sit, keeping their legs in the crossing position on the seat.
So, that’s why some people who prefer flexibility goes for chairs without arms.
3. Chair without arms are Cheaper in general:
Office chairs with arms slightly cost more than a chair without arms. Although most of the chairs you will find nowadays are chairs with arms.
Because most of the chair comes with a lot of flexibility and adjustability to make you sit comfortably and improve your sitting posture.
Office chairs without arms are cost around $40 – $80. Whereas office chairs with arms are $40 – $500. However, you will find a few expensive chairs without armrests.
Also in the survey, 17.3% respondents think that chairs without arms are better as they are cheaper. The percentage is not that big but I think it is still significant enough.
Office chairs with arms have a lot of benefits, it does not mean that without arms are not better. Office chairs without arms have some benefits too. So, according to the survey it is understandable that some people prefer chairs without arms while the majority of people think chairs with arms are the best.
According to my small survey, 67.3% of people think that Office chairs with Arms are better than those chairs which do not contain any arms.
I also agree with most people. We can not deny that a chair’s arms provide major health benefits for people like me who have long desk jobs.
So, I would say if you work at a desk for long hours and you are looking for a perfect chair, try getting a chair that has armrests.
Thoughts on the Survey:
I would like to thank all the people who gave their valuable time to fill up the questionnaire and helped me with valuable information.
I would also like to mention that, due to the current pandemic situation, it was not possible to take an interview in person.
The survey was taken in google forms. Digital means for taking interviews and surveys can lead to significant biases.
Again, the sample size was too small. If a person has given biased or wrong information the effect on the result would be tremendous. This type of research should be done with a huge sample size to get the actual view.
Also, the opinions were only taken from people who spend lots of time sitting at their desks or have long desk jobs with the intention to give the reader a better understanding of the topic only.
Thanks for reading! Before you go, take a minute out and check out my top recommendations for Ergonomic Office Chairs.