Task Chair vs Office Chair

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Updated December 7, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best office chair, you may wonder what the difference is between a task chair and an office chair. While you may think that these types of office chairs are about the same, there are key differences that will affect your comfort level and productivity. So, read our guide to see if a regular office chair or a task chair is suitable for your office space.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Task chairs offer built-in lumbar support and enhanced comfort features to fight off back and shoulder pain.
  • Office chairs are cheaper than task chairs, but they still provide adequate support through busy workdays.
  • While task chairs are more expensive, they provide more features and have a better overall design than a basic office chair.

Comparing Task Chairs with Basic Office Chairs

While task chairs and basic models both offer standard features like height adjustment and basic lumbar support, you need to invest in either seat to make it count. Cheap models, regardless of the chair type, will not last long and won’t offer a perfect balance for your core muscles. In that case, you might like white office chairs or gaming chairs instead. Read on to see which chair is better for extended periods at the office.

Insider Tip

If you notice slouching in your office chair, consider using the adjustable tilt tension to change your sitting angle.

Comfort

If you work long hours at the office, finding a comfortable chair should be your top priority. Standard office chairs usually offer an adjustable height, a tilt mechanism, and a padded seat, but not much more. Office task chairs, however, have adjustable lumbar support and advanced adjustment features like arm height and tilt functions. In addition, real task chairs have a greater weight capacity, so your seat height won’t slowly sink during a long workday. For a glimpse of two chairs we recommend, read our mashup of the TUL MFTC 200 vs Staples Carder mesh office chair.

If you’re attracted to the idea of an oversized executive chair, consider reading our guide to faux leather vs bonded leather. High-quality materials make a major difference in all-day comfort.

Ergonomics

Ergonomic features are paramount for preventing back and hip pain. In addition, adjustable armrests are often forgotten, but basic chairs without armrests will cause a sore neck and shoulder pain. That said, you should read our guide to modern office chairs with pivoting armrests vs no armrests to see which is right for you. And if you would like to read about an armless chair, check out our AmazonBasics low-back computer chair review or our Hodedah armless task chair review.

Suppose you’re working in a desk chair for the foreseeable future. In that case, you should also consider a model with built-in lumbar support or an included lumbar support pillow. Cheap office chairs often skimp on lumbar curvature. Still, it is crucial for lasting comfort and properly dispersing your body weight. This doesn’t mean that cheaper task chairs can’t be comfortable, for instance, you can read our Boss Office Products Perfect Posture Delux fabric task chair review. Although it is probably best used for shorter periods of time than more ergonomic chairs. However, read our Nitro Concepts S300 gaming chair review if you want a comfortable gaming chair.

Design

Functional chairs do not have to look dull. In addition, an attractive office chair with a foundation in design often fits in ergonomic adjustments that blend in with the look of the furniture. There are plenty of options that will fit a wide range of body types and have an ergonomic design, you have to find what is right for you. That said, while a gaming chair may look cool with bright colors, it won’t usually match the quality of an ergonomic task chair or comfortable office chair. Additionally, some task chairs will be armless, like with our Boss Office Products budget mesh task chair review. Speaking of armless, if you need a comfortable drafting chair, you can read our Boss Office Products ergonomic works drafting chair review. However, if you require armrests, know that there are also some that can be flipped up out of the way, like in our Office Factor reception guest chairs review.

Warning

Do not rest your arms on the armrests while you type. It will contribute to a forearm strain and weaken your shoulders.

F.A.Q.S

Are expensive office chairs worth it?

If you spend long periods of time at the office, then an expensive chair is worth it. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot on a Herman Miller type of chair to get a comfortable seat. Like other office products, you should expect distinct features beyond what a standard chair offers. In addition, the expense of a high-quality chair will save your body from chronic pain so that you can focus better.


How long do desk chairs last?

The life of your chair depends on how much you sit in it. That said, most models should endure a few years of use. Keep in mind, that premium brands offer better warranties than models around the $100-mark, so your investment, while larger, should pay off over time.


How to make a cheap chair suck less?

If you don’t have an ergonomic office chair, you can make a few purchases to help your body and chair. For example, if your unit lacks seat height adjustment, consider getting a footrest. If, instead, you want better padding, purchase a couple of pillows for the seat and lumbar or neck support.



STAT: According to the BMC Journal, repetitive strain from suboptimal workstations resulted in $3.3 million in lost productivity in Washington State alone. (source)

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