Mid Back vs High Back Office Chair
9 mins read

Mid Back vs High Back Office Chair

There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing an office chair. Comfort, support, and adjustability are some of them. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to choose a mid-back or high-back chair.

Your office chair will be your partner for the rest of your career and this makes your choice crucial. The right office chair will not only help eliminate health problems but will also affect workplace ergonomics.

room with mid back office chair

What are Mid Back Chairs?

Mid-back chairs are shorter and lighter than high-back chairs, and they provide support for the lower and middle back. These chairs are a good choice for people who sit for shorter periods or those who need a chair that is easy to move around.

Benefits of Mid Back Chairs

1. Affordability

Mid-back chairs are more affordable than high-back chairs because they require less material to manufacture and are less complex to design. As a result, they are a more budget-friendly option for those looking for a comfortable and supportive chair without putting a hole in your wallet.

2. Compactness and Mobility

These chairs are smaller and lighter than high-back chairs, making them easier to move around and store, which is beneficial for smaller workspaces. The compact design also allows for greater freedom of movement and flexibility, making it easier to switch between tasks or reach for objects without feeling restricted.

3. Less Obstruction

With a shorter backrest, mid-back chairs take up less space visually, a particular advantage in smaller offices where maximising space is crucial. The unobtrusive design allows for a more open and airier feel, promoting a sense of spaciousness and minimising clutter.

4. Suitability for Shorter Sitting Periods

Mid-back chairs are well-suited for individuals who spend shorter periods of time sitting at their desks. The lower backrest provides adequate support for the lower and mid-back region, while the lighter weight and compact design facilitate easy movement and transitions between tasks.

For those who primarily use their desks for quick tasks or occasional work sessions, mid-back chairs offer a comfortable and convenient solution.

room with high back office chair

What are High Back Chairs?

High-back chairs provide full support for the entire back, including the upper back and neck. They are a great choice for people who sit for long periods or who have back pain.

Benefits of High Back Chairs

1. Comprehensive Back Support

High-back chairs provide complete support for the entire back, including the upper back, neck, and head. The extended backrest cradles the natural curvature of the spine, aligning the vertebrae and reducing strain on the muscles and ligaments.

A comprehensive support like this helps prevent back pain, fatigue, and muscle tension, especially for those who sit for a long time.

2. Reduced Back Pain and Fatigue

The extended backrest of high-back chairs alleviates pressure points and promotes proper posture, effectively reducing back pain and fatigue. The continuous support helps to maintain a neutral spine position.

As a result, user prevents the habit of slouching or hunching that can lead to muscle strain and discomfort. Because of these, high-back chairs will be useful for individuals who suffer from chronic back pain or who are prone to fatigue due to prolonged sitting.

man resting on office chair

3. Improved Posture and Alignment

High-back chairs promote proper posture by providing a natural alignment for the spine. The extended backrest encourages an upright sitting position, aligning the head, neck, and shoulders, and reducing the risk of developing misalignment issues like kyphosis (hunchback) or lordosis (swayback).

This proper alignment helps improve circulation, reduce muscle strain, and enhance overall well-being. Harvard University also reiterates the importance of proper posture and illustrates how it is done.

4. Suitability for Longer Periods of Sitting

High-back chairs are specifically designed for individuals who spend extended periods sitting at their desks or workspaces. The extended backrest provides the necessary support and comfort to maintain proper posture and prevent back pain even after hours of sitting.

Thus, high-back chairs are an ideal choice for office workers, students, and anyone who spends a significant amount of time seated.

High Back vs Mid Back Office Chair: Considerations Prior to Purchase

Choosing the right office chair is essential for your comfort, productivity, and overall well-being. High-back and mid-back chairs are two popular options, each offering distinct advantages and drawbacks. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors prior to purchase:

1. Ergonomics

Ergonomics is paramount when selecting an office chair. A chair that supports proper posture and aligns your spine is crucial for preventing back pain and fatigue.

High-back chairs provide more comprehensive support, extending from the lower back to the headrest, cradling the natural curvature of the spine. Mid-back chairs, on the other hand, support mainly the lower and mid-back regions.

A study in August 2012 conducted by Sjan-Mari van Niekerk and Quinette Abigail Louw from Stellenbosch University in South Africa with Susan Hillier from Australia confirmed that an office chair with adjustable features reduced the occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms. 

2. Budget

Office chairs range in price depending on features, materials, and brand. High-back chairs fall on the higher end of the spectrum due to their more complex design and additional support features. Mid-back chairs, on the other hand, are often more affordable, making them a more budget-friendly option.

credit card for budget and purchase

Mid Back vs High Back Prices

In Australia, mid-back office chairs typically range from around $150 to 500, while high-back office chairs can range from $400 to 2,500 or more. This difference in price is due to several factors, including the following:

  • Materials: High-back chairs often use more premium materials, such as leather or mesh, which can increase the cost.
  • Features: High-back chairs often have more features, such as adjustable lumbar support, headrests, and armrests, which can also contribute to their higher price.
  • Construction: High-back chairs are typically more complex to construct, which can also increase the cost.

Here are some examples of mid-back and high-back office chair prices from Australian retailers:

Mid-back chairs:

  • Flash Furniture Mid-Back Black Quilted Vinyl Swivel Task Chair – $140
  • BestOffice Home Office Chair Ergonomic Desk Chair – $129
  • Modway Prim Mid Back Office Chair – $130

High-back chairs:

  • Bestoffice High Back Adjustable Office Chair – $400
  • Itoki YL6-BLEL Salida YL6 High-back Office Chair – $597
  • Iris Ohyama RWC-520 Office Chair – $702

3. Desk Space

The size of your desk and overall workspace should be considered when selecting an office chair. High-back chairs have a taller backrest, which will not slide under a desk with limited overhead clearance. Mid-back chairs, with their shorter backrest, are generally more suitable for smaller workspaces or desks with limited overhead space.

4. Purpose of the Chair

The primary purpose of the chair should also be considered. If you plan to spend long hours sitting at your desk, a high-back chair with comprehensive support is recommended to prevent back pain and fatigue.

For shorter periods of sitting or occasional use, a mid-back chair may be sufficient. Moreover, consider the type of work you will be doing. If you engage in tasks that require frequent movement or reaching, a mid-back chair will provide more flexibility.

man working in the office

The Bottomline

Choosing the right office chair is an important decision that can affect your comfort, productivity, and overall health. When selecting between a mid-back and high-back chair, consider the factors discussed in this article, including ergonomics, budget, desk space, and the purpose of the chair.

By carefully evaluating your needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision that will ensure you have a comfortable and supportive chair for your workspace.

Danielle Edenworth
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