High Back Office Chair

Mid Back or High Back chair? Does it make a difference? Which one is best for you? Here are 7 questions to help you decide which option is best for you.

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High Back Office Chair – when do you need one?

The old office chair debate: mid back or high back chair - which one is better and does it really matter? The quick answer.....yes it does! There are 7 important questions that you need to answer before deciding whether a mid back or high back swivel chair with adjustable arms is the right option for your home or work office.

a makro range of modern office chairs and furniture at a good price in Johannesburg South Africa
Capri high back swivel office chair with adjustable arms and it's mid back counterpart

High Back or Mid Back Office Chair - what is the difference?

The difference between a modern high and mid back swivel office chair is immediately noticeable. A mid back chair is one where the backrest is approximately shoulder height.

The single key feature that differentiates a contemporary high back office chair from its mid back counterpart, is the addition of an adjustable headrest.

This inclusion ensures that our executive office chairs are our most comfortable products, with many having a 5 Star Ergonomic Rating

Do I need a High or Mid Back Swivel Chair in my Office?

To help you decide which is the best option, answer the following 7 questions: 

Question 1.
What is your body shape and size?

We are not all the same height, we do not weigh the same, our arm and leg lengths are different, and so the list goes on. With this in mind, purchasing a chair is a 'personal thing' as it must suit your physical shape and size.

If you are “big and tall”, an office chair with a higher back may be more suitable as it provides better upper-back and neck support.

Note: If you are very tall, ensure that the headrest can adjust high enough to correctly support your neck and head. Best Office Chairs for Tall People – A Comprehensive Guide

As stated by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safetya chair becomes ergonomic only when it specifically suits a worker’s size, their particular workstation, and the tasks that must be performed.

back pain sitting on an office chair. An ergonomic chair can help with sciatica and pinched nerve pain
How to adjust your office chair to prevent back pain

Question 2.
Do you have special requirements?

Not only should the chair match your physical size and shape, but it should also take into account any special requirements that you may have. For example:

    • Are you suffering from back pain, muscle strains or tendonitis? Do you require an Orthopedic chair?
    • Are you "big and tall" or work in a 24/7 call-centre and require a heavy-duty chair?
    • Do you require a chair that provides additional back support?

Question 3.
How many hours per day will you be using the chair?

If you are sitting on the chair for more than 5 hours per day, you require a chair with greater adjustability and support. Furthermore, the chair should be able to recline to allow you to relax, for example while taking a breather or talking on the phone.

The headrest on a high back chair supports your neck and head as you recline and relax. 

If there is a headrest on your chair, it is more likely you will prop your head on it and refrain from slouching over the keyboard.

What is an ergonomic chair and what features must it have?

small home office ideas

Question 4.
How much space do you have in your office?

Do you have a small office or are working from home with limited space? If so, a chair with a huge backrest may be 'overbearing'. In such instances, a mid back chair is usually the better option.

In shared office spaces, mid back chairs are often preferred because they do not obstruct other workers and they allow a better overall view of the office.

Sitting in an upright posture with your ears aligned with your shoulders

Because a mid-back chair doesn’t have a headrest, it is up to the user to maintain a good seated posture, specifically above the shoulders.

This means sitting with an upright head and with your ears aligned with your shoulders.

A mid back chair is lighter and has a less obtrusive footprint around the office.

Mid back chairs reduce the perception of 'clutter' in offices
Mid back chairs reduce the perception of 'clutter' in offices

Question 5.
Is your chair a status symbol?

The traditional executive chair was reserved for “those at the top”. The bigger the chair, the more senior was your position in the organisation. If you commanded power and authority, then you had the right to sit on a chair with a higher backrest. History of office chairs.

If you need to impress visitors to your office, an executive high back swivel chair is a good starting point.

Commander executive chair
The Commander is a classic executive high back office chair
Aragon thunder gaming chair
Aragon Thunder Gaming Chair
Aragon Thunder gaming swivel office chair with a high back and adjustable armrests
155 degree recline on Aragon Thunder

Question 6.
Are you an avid computer gamer?

If you spend many hours gaming, then a high back gaming office chair with adjustable arms is certainly the "go-to" option. 10 ideas for your gaming setup

Because many gaming chairs recline far backwards, the higher backrest is essential for both support and comfort.

Question 7.
What is your budget?

Last but not least, your budget plays a role. As you would expect, a mid back chair is always cheaper than the equivalent higher back option.

However, with most modern ergonomic office chairs, the price difference between the two chair types is marginal, so it should not be the determining factor.   

fenix executive and mid back swivel office chair with adjustable arms
Fenix high and mid back office chair with adjustable arms


A high back swivel office chair is traditionally aimed at senior people within an organisation. However, these chairs are also perfect for anyone who is:

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