The way most people talk, you’d think that “big and tall” is a general category for everything outside of the standard, from men’s suits to office furniture. In fact, they are two very different things. When buying a chair for your home or office, it’s important to understand the difference.


As the president of OFM, an office furniture manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler, I’ve learned that some customers need a chair with a higher weight capacity, while others require a deeper seat, a higher back, or more seating height range than usual.


There are some basic rules you should follow when adhering to the do's and don'ts of buying an office chair. The standard commercial chair is designed for a 250-pound person. If you’re above that, look for a chair with a weight capacity of 300, 350, 400 or 500-plus. These are built with higher weight capacity wheels, base and gas life to ensure they last. Many will also have a thicker wood seat and back pan to prevent cracks or breaks, some as thick as three-quarters of an inch.


Most commercial chairs are also designed for people up to and around 6-foot-1. If you’re taller than that, you’ll want to look for a chair that you can adjust. Features such as a seat sliding mechanism and a ratchet back height adjustment will help mold the chair to better fit you on a day-to-day basis.


The seat sliding mechanism allows you to adjust the depth of the seat itself. When in the correct position, the edge of the seat should fall in line with your knee cap helping to give the maximum circulation to your legs. When the seat depth is not correct, it may be resting on your hamstring which can do just the opposite and start to restrict blood flow through your legs. This alone can be a main factor in workplace fatigue. For those with a larger torso, the ratchet back adjustment allows you to move the lumbar support along to prop up your back so that you are able to sit straight and comfortably.


If you don’t fit within the industry’s standards for the average customer, finding a comfortable chair on a budget can be daunting, but it’s worth the effort. You spend as much time in your office chair as you sleep in your bed, so it should be just as comfortable. You can find OFM’s big and tall seating options at National Business Furniture. In the coming months, we’ll add two new chairs with a 500-pound weight capacity and increased seat depth.

After all, people come in all sizes. I think that your furniture should too.


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