Although the ergonomic office chair market is currently dominated by chairs with armrests, many people continue to swear by armless office chairs for a variety of reasons. There are some definite advantages offered by armless office chairs compared to those with armrests, but there are also some clear drawbacks. It’s up to you to decide whether those advantages or drawbacks apply to your situation. Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider if you’re thinking about going with an armless chair.
What are armless office chairs?
Simply put, armless office chairs are any chair without armrests that is designed for use in an office. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on ergonomic armless chairs, as we really wouldn’t recommend non-ergonomic chairs of any sort for office use due to their inability to prevent fatigue or discomfort after prolonged use.
The critical advantage provided by armless office chairs is their space conservation relative to chairs with arms. This can be beneficial in a number of ways. If things are a little tight around your office, an armless chair can make a big difference, as arms may just end up being one more obstacle for you to navigate around. They can also be moved around more easily.
Similarly, armless chairs are more likely to fit seamlessly with your desk, regardless of its design. If for whatever reason you like to sit very close to the desk, a chair with arms may make this impossible, so an armless chair is probably the way to go. This is especially true if you use desk accessories such as a keyboard tray.
Depending on the type of work you do, an armless chair may provide further benefits. If you need to move from one side of your office to the other on a regular basis, an armless chair will allow you to do this more easily, without having to get up as often.
All other things being equal, an armless chair will almost always be substantially more affordable than a comparable ergonomic chair with arms. In fact, with many high-end chairs, the arms are the most intensively engineered aspects of the chair, so they contribute to the cost of the chair more than you might expect. Of course, armrests do provide significant benefits of their own (more on that in a minute), so the added cost is usually worth it, but if you feel like you can do without them, it could well be worth taking advantage of the savings provided by armless office chairs.
Armrests tend to be some of the most easily damaged parts of a chair, so in a sense, armless office chairs are more durable. Also, if you like to move around in your chair, the arms may cause damage to other furniture items when you do so, so having an armless chair can help prevent damage to other things in the office as well.
The main disadvantage of armless chairs is that, not surprisingly, they aren’t able to offer the benefits that a well engineered pair of armrests can bring. Depending on your preferred posture or sitting positions, having arm support may be an absolute must, and this is the main reason why armrest-enabled chairs continue to be the standard.