If you have ever been in the market for an office chair, you know just how many options there are to choose from. The variety is staggering. After all, isn’t an office chair… an office chair? The simple answer – no.

The majority of people today spend a lot of time seated at desks in their office chairs. Therefore, furniture makers have a distinct challenge before them; how to make an office chair comfortable for eight hours of use or more, day after day.

Many seat support materials are used to address this challenge. These materials are vastly different, offering different benefits and different comfort levels at different prices.

Fabricated Foam

Fabricated foam, otherwise known as cut foam or slab foam, is one of the most common seat support materials that furniture makers use. It is often used in upholstered office chairs. Fabricated foam can vary in densities; the denser a piece of foam, the firmer and more durable it will be. However, too much firmness can be uncomfortable. As a solution, many furniture makers will add layers of foam in the seat of the chair. The layers will have various densities, with the lighter, less dense foam pieces towards the top to create a cushioning feeling when a user sits. Office chairs that include only layers of fabricated foam are often a very economical choice for those looking for a new office chair.

Molded Foam

Molded foam is aptly named, as its production process includes an actual mold. The process consists of liquid foam material being poured into a mold and then baked to set. Molded foam seats offer more consistent support and are able to hold their shape longer than fabricated foam. These seats can also allow for a comfortable and visually appealing contour seat. Another distinct benefit of molded foam is that there is a possibility of a great range of firmness. It all depends upon how the foam is produced.

Memory Foam

Memory foam features a unique and distinctive chemical makeup that allows the seat to adjust to your body temperature. The seats, therefore, retain more heat than others and also mold their shape to the user as the user moves around. With such a design, memory foam seats keep the spine in a constant neutral position for desirable comfort. Memory foam seats are known for their superior comfort and their “hugging” effect. These chair seats are also hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites as an additional benefit of their design.

Mesh Chairs

With traditional office chairs, such as leather or other upholstery, a user can occasionally experience a chair with an uncomfortably warm seat or back. As there is a lack of ventilation, the hot air is entrapped. Mesh chairs solve this problem by offering a ventilation system. With mesh seat material, temperature is regulated, allowing for air flow to keep the user cool and comfortable. Leather and fabric chairs without ventilation systems can also retain unpleasant odors. With a mesh design, unpleasant orders are less likely to cling to the material.

Pocketed Coil System

Seats featuring pocketed coil systems offer superior comfort. The spring coils help to evenly distribute weight and are more durable than most foam options. The seats include a multi-layer foam design in addition to pocketed springs located in the seat portion. The layers of foam also capture all of the benefits from each type of foam and ensure comfort when sitting. The top layer of foam is less dense, creating a nice cushioned feeling when user first sits. The other foam layers are denser and will hold up better to constant usage.


Ultimately, choosing an office chair really comes down to your personal preference and your budget. All of these seat support materials feature a variety of benefits and each has its own appeal.


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