8 Different Types of Desk Chairs

In many offices and workspaces today, the desk chair is one of the most vital pieces of equipment to have. They not only help to provide comfort when working on strenuous projects but can keep your body supported to prevent back pain and other common problems caused by sitting for too long. What many might be surprised to learn is that these desk chairs come in a variety of different designs. You’ll find everything from tall drafting chairs to padded executive ones you can use.

Because of this, it can make shopping for the right desk chair a bit difficult. If you’re on the search for one of these items, you’ll find some helpful information below you can use to help guide your shopping experience as well as more details behind the different types.

What is a Desk Chair?

A desk chair is exactly what its name implies- it’s a chair you use specifically at a desk. Also known as an office chair, this type of chair usually features a high back to provide support and wheels on the bottom so you can easily move around. It can often swivel and you can adjust the height of it with a small lever located on the bottom of the chair.

Types of Desk Chairs

Parts of a Desk Chair

The anatomy of a desk chair is actually very intricate which might surprise those shopping for one. Below are some of the most common parts of a desk chair.

Backrest (Lumbar Support System)

The backrest is one of the main parts of a desk chair. It is what helps to support your back when you’re sitting on the chair. Known officially as the Lumbar Support System, this contains a foam padding or is made with a thin mesh layer depending on the type of chair you buy.

Seat Pad

The seat pad is the part you actually sit on. This is designed with various paddings depending on one’s preferences. Sometimes the seat pad can be flat and other times it might feature a curved design to help better support your body when sitting on it.

Arms and Arm Pads

The arms of a chair are located on the side and are what support the arm pads. However, not all desk chairs have arms and arm pads. Arm pads on certain chairs will also either come in adjustable or fixed styles.


A headrest is located on the top of the office chair and helps to keep your head supported when you lean back. As with arms and arm pads, not all chair models have a headrest. Usually, the headrest is either built into the backrest or is attached to the top of the backrest.

A Chair Base

The chair base is situated on the bottom of the product and is what holds the chair together as well as any wheels that might be located on the bottom of the chair. This is usually made of thick plastic or metal material.

A Chair Lever

Located under the seat pad is a chair lever. Most desk chairs have this feature which allows you to move the chair to different heights and angles to make sitting in it easier. The levers will vary in their designs as some might be a small one while others are a bit larger to help you grasp it easier.


The last main part of a desk chair is the wheels. These are located on the bottom and allow you to roll around easily with the chair.

Mesh vs. Fabric Seat Pads– Which is Better?

When shopping for desk chairs, you’ll find that the seat is covered in either mesh or fabric. While this might not seem like such a big deal, it is.


Fabric wins in this category as mesh can easily wear out and tear. Because fabric has smaller holes and is sewn tighter, it is much more durable. However, the colors of fabric can wear out unlike mesh so while it might stay intact, it will look old and faded after a while.

If you want to search deeper into how durable a certain piece of fabric is, you can look at its Martindale. This unit of measurement actually measures how durable certain fabric is so you get a general idea of how long it will last you.


Mesh has much better breathability than fabric. This means when it’s hot and humid, such as in the summer, the chair won’t cause sweat to form because it encourages air flow.


Because mesh has better air circulation, cleaning it is much easier because it prevents stains from forming. Also, if you happen to accidentally spill something on it, it won’t necessarily leave behind a noticeable stain like it might with fabric.

Color Choices

If you’re looking for different design and style choices you can pick from, fabric is the ideal option. This material comes in numerous colors and designs so you can find one that matches your office space or personality well. You’ll find everything from stripes to vibrant colors you can adorn your office chair with.

However, if you want something simple, mesh is the best choice. Mesh usually only comes in one color option: black. While it depends on the manufacturer, this is the main option you’ll have which can make it easier for you to limit your choices.

How to Test the Desk Chair

You should always test the desk chair you’re interested in out before you buy it. Sometimes, a chair might look like it’s perfect for you, but it might end up being more of a problem due to its design.

Check Your Legs

One of the most crucial things to do when testing the chair is to see how far your legs reach the ground. Do you need to lean over while sitting? Do you feel a strain in your thighs or back? If you find you have some problems with a certain model, that’s a high indicator that that model isn’t the right pick.

Try Out the Armrests

You should also try out the armrests. You can put your arms on the armrests and rest them for a bit. Do your arms feel comfortable? Are they level? Armrests should be able to support your body while also providing plenty of comfort.

Lean Against the Headrest

The last thing you need to try out is the headrest of the desk chair you’re interested in. To test it, you can lean back and slightly put your head against it. The headrest should be able to hold your head to provide support and without you having to lean back too much.

The Benefits of Using a Desk Chair

Using a desk chair surprisingly comes with a variety of benefits. Below are some you’ll find when you use one.

They are Comfortable

Spending long hours sitting at a desk is not only monotonous but uncomfortable. However, thanks to desk chairs, this doesn’t have to be so. Desk chairs can help to provide comfort while also giving your body support. This can end up preventing intense back pain and other similar problems that come with being sedentary.

It Can Prevent Some Health Problems

As mentioned above, desk chairs can actually help to stop certain health problems from forming. One of the biggest problems it can prevent is back pain. This is because it will provide support and comfort to your spine so the pressure isn’t put on it.

In addition to this, desk chairs can promote circulation. If you’re sitting down often, circulation in your legs can get cut off, which can result in pain and loss of feeling in them. These objects can stop this from happening because they align your body properly which prevents circulation problems in your legs. In fact, certain chairs are designed to help with this, like kneel desk chairs.

They Come in a Variety of Styles and Features

Desk chairs come in numerous styles and designs which means you can find one that perfectly fits your taste and needs. You’ll discover everything from traditional leather desk chairs to modern and glamorous ones.

Besides unique design schemes, you’ll also find they come with different features. Some chairs will give you adjustable height settings while others allow you to tilt the backrest so you can lean against it without problems.

Overall, desk chairs are a helpful way to not only provide comfort to your body when you work, but make it easier to get around your workspace. These products not only come in a variety of styles, but with many features as well. Because of this, they are a great investment to make.

Things to Look for in a Desk Chair

Before you go shopping for a desk chair, you want to make sure you look for a few important things.

The Price

The price is an important thing to consider before you buy a desk chair. While it might seem like an expensive chair would be best, sometimes this isn’t always the case. Some expensive chairs are made mainly with pricey materials, like leather, and don’t give you many features and comfort. On the other hand, sometimes less expensive chairs have better features and are more comfortable compared to pricier models. However, cheaper models aren’t always the most durable.

Because of this, it’s important to create and consider your price range to ensure you find the desk chair that matches your preferences and budget perfectly.


Another important feature to check in desk chairs is its adjustability. Most chairs have a lever on the bottom which allows you to move the chair up or down so you can reach an area better. You should check to see how the lever on the bottom works and if it’s easy to reach and use.

If It’s Rolling or Stationary

You should also check to see if a desk chair is a rolling or stationary model. A rolling desk chair has wheels built on the bottom which allows you to roll it around. However, a stationary model stays in one spot so you have to get up to go to certain spaces.

If It Swivels

Another good thing to look for in a desk chair is if swivels. The bottom and seat pad of the chair should be able to rotate which can help you to move from side to side without effort. If it doesn’t swivel, you’ll have to use more energy to turn the chair around to the sides which might end up being a major hassle.

A Footrest

While not all desk chairs have a footrest, it’s still a good feature to consider. This is usually found on tall chairs, like drafting models, and helps to keep your feet supported so they aren’t dangling when you’re sitting on it.

The Style

While it might not seem like it’s an important thing to consider, looking at the style of a desk chair is a good idea to do. The style can help to show your business’ theme better and can make sitting in it a little more fun. For instance, if you work for a trendy and modern company, you might want to look at using a glamorous or industrial chair style.

Desk Chair Styles

You’ll find that desk chairs come in numerous styles which can make picking the right one a little difficult. It’s important to consider the type of style you want in one of these products before you move on to the type of desk chair you prefer.


A traditional desk chair style is often a very bulky option that’s made with materials like leather. This style usually is a basic one and has a lever under the seat pad and a few wheels on the bottom. It often looks like an actual chair but one that just has wheels on it.


A popular desk chair design today is the modern style. These often focus on curvature and lines and are compact. They also tend to use more metal pieces than other styles which can add a unique contrast to the type of fabric or material installed on it.


A mid-century desk chair highlights the designs of the 1950s and 1960s. It has a low back with small armrests built into the sides of the chair. It has basic features like wheels and an adjustment lever, but is mainly known for its compact and chic style.


The industrial style can often be seen in drafting chairs. They are built to have a high height adjustment and usually only have a small seat pad and backrest. There are no armrests, but sometimes they will have a footrest on the bottom. This style focuses on using metal and brown/gray color schemes.


True to its name, glamorous chairs use only the finest and trendiest materials. These chairs are usually covered in fur and have a solid backrest with high shoulders rather than armrests. In addition to this, glamorous chairs also usually use silver or gold on the bottom where the main metal structure attaches to the wheels.

Types of Armrests

There are actually two different armrests you’ll find when it comes to desk chairs: fixed and adjustable.

Fixed Armrests

Fixed armrests are ones built into the chair and can’t be adjusted. They are usually made of metal or a similar solid material and tend to be a little more secure than adjustable armrests. However, fixed armrests usually don’t have pads on them so they might be a little uncomfortable to use.

Adjustable Armrests

Adjustable armrests are either attached to the seat pad or the middle of the backrest. They allow you to move the arms up or down to your desired preferences. While they are comfortable to use, thanks to their padding, they aren’t always the most secure and might feel a little flimsy. They also are only usually available on modern models.

Seat Pad Choices

As with armrests, you’ll find that desk chairs also have two different seat pad choices you’ll need to keep in mind. While they both can help to give you comfort and support, how they do so differ.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is one of the most popular seat pad options because it’s durable and comfortable. The thickness of the memory foam in the seat pad will depend on the model you buy. Some models will have foam that only measures one inch wide while others can be substantially more. However, memory foam can eventually start to wear out and you might find it leaving behind indentations.


Gel seat pads are not common, but they are still sometimes used. Gel pads can help to provide better support compared to memory foam as it provides stronger security to the body because it relieves pressure points.

Types of Desk Chairs

You’ll discover there are actually many different desk chairs you can invest in. Some of the most common are listed and described below.

Conference Chairs

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Conference chairs are some of the most common forms of desk chairs. This type is a bit larger compared to other office chair models and leans slightly forward. This design is intended to help make the person sitting in it more engaged with meetings, hence its name. They have padding on the backrest and armrests as well as a lever on the bottom to adjust the height. While they have these features, these are very simple desk chairs, and because of this, they don’t have many additional features. They also might eventually become a little uncomfortable to sit in after a while.

Executive Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Hon

This type of chair is intended for those who want to make an impression which is why many bosses and CEOs tend to have them in their office. Usually designed with leather and other high-quality materials, the backrest is packed with comfortable foam and also features padded armrests.

Executive chairs tend to have a curved backrest which is filled with pockets of foam. This can help to support all areas of your body, and thanks to the curvature, can prevent extreme back pain. However, if you’d like to change the angle of the backrest, executive chairs allow you to do so thanks to a back angle adjustment built into them.

Kneel Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Staples

Kneel chairs are one of the most unique forms of desk chairs. To use it, you sit on its seat pad and then rest your knees on the front kneel pad while your legs go under the chair. It might sound a little strange to use at first, but it’s a helpful design nonetheless.

Kneel chairs tend to be a bit smaller compared to the average desk chair type and do not have armrests. The kneel pad on the front keeps one’s thighs lifted at a 60 to 70-degree angle to help provide better back support. This makes it a great option for those who often suffer from back pain to use because it helps to distribute your weight evenly. Besides back pain, kneel chairs can also help to promote circulation in your legs thanks to its angled front.

24 Hour Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Beyond the Office Door

24 hour chairs are ideal for those who plan to sit long hours in their chair. They are usually designed with extra padding to provide supreme comfort and support and feature headrests and armrests. These chairs also have multiple wheels on the bottom which can help you to get around much easier. 24 hour chairs are very large so you need to make sure you have enough room in your office or workspace if you plan to use this type. In addition to being able to move around with it freely, it’s also very durable and is built to withstand heavy usage.

Computer Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Wayfair

Computer chairs are intended to be used when one is on the computer for a few hours. Unlike 24 hour chairs, they are not meant to be sat on for long periods of time. However, despite this, the seating is still made with thick padding to help provide support for your back and legs. They feature a high backrest and can be adjusted thanks to a lever on the bottom. Computer chairs do feature wheels, but not as many as 24-hour chairs have so you’ll need to be careful when moving them around although this isn’t typically a problem.

Ergonomic Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Wayfair

This type of chair comes with numerous levers under it which allow you to adjust the chair in multiple ways compared to other models that only allow you to move it up or down. Ergonomic chairs are designed to be used by all as it can be customized to fit one’s needs perfectly. You can tilt the chair forward to give knee support, tilt it back to give better back support, or lift the armrests up for shoulder support. Ergonomic chairs typically have an open design with the backrest attached to the seat pad with a plastic or metal arm on the back. This leaves your lower back exposed rather than enclosed like with a conference or computer chair.

Drafting Chairs

types of desk chairs

Source: Wayfair

Ideal for those who work on high drafting tables, like architects, drafting chairs are very tall options and have a lever on the bottom to help make this chair even taller if necessary. The chair usually has a footrest around the bottom which you can use to support your feet when sitting on it. There are also armrests on the side which feature a curved design to help better support your arms when sitting at such a high level. Drafting chairs tend to be very stylish and feature modern designs and colors making them perfect for those who want something sleek for their office space.

Task Chairs

brenton office mesh task chair

Source: Office Depot

A task chair is one of the most affordable desk chair options. It’s designed with a basic structure and features a small seat pad and backrest. There are no armrests on this type as it’s meant to be used for simple and quick tasks rather than ones that require you to sit for a long period of time. On the bottom, there is a small lever which you can use to adjust the height as well as a few wheels you can use to scoot around in your workspace. However, task chairs are not comfortable and do not provide adequate support to your back.