Office chair for the very tall
March 5, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Are you a tall person with a great office chair that works great for you? I am looking for an office chair to fit my very tall (6'4") self.

All of the chairs that I see online that may work are for big AND tall. While I am tall, I am not particularly big (205#). Do I still want a big/tall chair? Also, I want a chair with good lumbar support per my physical therapist's instruction (mild back pain off and on mostly in lower and mid-back).

I work in a cube and as such I do not want an overly flashy nor executive style chair. I work from 6-10 hours a day from my chair. Cheaper is better and it needs to be available from Office Depot or Staples....I'd prefer that it is something that I can try out in person, but since quite a number of models are only available online this might be a challenge.

(I've seen the previous similar questions but those were all folks looking for big/tall chairs and the most recent I saw was from 2010). Thanks.
posted by fieldtrip to Shopping (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a professional office furniture buyer. I would say that you should avoid the "big and tall" type of chair if you are not Big as well as Tall. The seats are wider on those types of chairs, and the armrests are spaced farther out. If you are tall and narrow you may find those chairs uncomfortable when you rest your arms. Look for a chair with a deeper seat so that you don't have a big gap between the backs of your knees and the front of the chair.

If you can't spring for an Aeron chair (which is crazy expensive) try a Steelcase Leap chair if you can find a sample in your area. Everyone is a special snowflake when it comes to office chairs so don't buy one without trying it first.
posted by Deodand at 5:37 PM on March 5, 2013

Well shorty (6'-5" here), I got this thing at Office Depot a little over a year ago and it works great. I'm more in the ~240lb range, and I'm a little concerned about the longtime life of the chair with that, but I haven't noticed any defects yet. The chair is not quite Aeron or other name-brand type super-adjustable, but it has enough adjustments that I can sit in it comfortably for long periods (I'm typically in it for 10 hours a day or so). At the store where I bought it, the different task chairs had ratings for how long they were comfortable to sit in, and this was one of the few that was listed for over 5 hours. The most important thing it had over other chairs in accommodating my height was the adjustable seat, which can move in and out.
posted by LionIndex at 5:39 PM on March 5, 2013

I finally broke down and bought an Aeron. I'm 6'4" and 210, so I feel your pain.

I'm sort of annoyed that it has come to that, but I've taken to standing in front of shorter people at concerts and shows to compensate.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

You might try a drafting chair (Staples has a whole section). When I worked in an office, I had a tall desk and an inexpensive drafting chair (I'm 6'2") that were miles more comfortable than a normal-height chair. The chair at its lowest was about the same height as a regular office chair, but went up really high and had a great footrest ring.
posted by rikschell at 6:19 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Rikschell - interesting solution. I have something similar at home. But, at my workspace that isn't an option...I've already coerced the powers that be into moving my desk height a smidge (1") higher to its maximum height (dictated by its interface with the cube walls).
posted by fieldtrip at 7:31 PM on March 5, 2013

If you'll pardon a hint from a height-challenged person (sorry, I'm a mere 5'1"!):

I work with a guy who's 6'7"; one thing he's done, besides providing his own decent chair (sorry, I can't find a brand name on it), is raise his keyboard and monitor --- cubical desktops aren't the right height for you, either. When you sit, your thighs and forearms should be parallel to the floor, your lower legs straight vertical, and your feet flat on the floor. So what mycoworker has done is build a wood shelf that raises the keyboard to the proper height for his hands, and another even higher to raise the monitor to his face-level.
posted by easily confused at 3:19 AM on March 6, 2013

6'6" guy here. I have to second the Aeron chair. I was having horrible back pain in each chair I tried, then finally got an Aeron and haven't had trouble since. I'd follow the advice above too, make sure your monitor is at eye level and you aren't hunching over to look at it.
posted by averageamateur at 7:56 AM on March 6, 2013

Side note #1: If you have a flex spending account, you may be able to use that for the "extra" cost of an ergonomic chair over a regular chair (check your plan for details, but it usually entails at least a doctor's note/prescription). You could also see if your employer will reimburse some of the cost (again, may need a doctor's note to prove it's a reasonable accommodation for a medical condition).

Side note #2: Try this workspace planner to get the right dimensions for all of your workspace items.

Actual recommendations:
I, a 5'11" female, have the Setu chair and LOVE it. My first choice, though, if not for price would have been the Embody chair. You can try them in person at Design Within Reach.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:22 AM on March 6, 2013

For slightly less than an Aeron, you can get a Mirra which is my personal favorite chair. I also have one of the Office Depot chairs linked above by LionsIndex. It is good too. Not as good as the Mirra, but it also only costs about half as much. In any case, get the best chair you can afford -- it is a too that you'll use many hours per day. It pays to have a good one.
posted by spilon at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2013

Steelcase Leap with the tall back. No need for the wide version.
posted by Nelson at 2:27 PM on March 6, 2013

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