Tips when purchasing small compact office chairs online for adults.
The small compact office chairs for adults is a huge segment of the office chairs market. These chairs usually use less materials than larger office chairs and cater for a huge market. This allows the office chair industry to benefit by economies of scale which helps to keep prices competitive for you.
In this article we focus on small compact office chairs for adults. Office chairs are for adults, however we wanted to highlight that we are talking about small compact office chairs for adults. We are not talking about small compact chairs for children.
Office chair manufacturers in different parts of the world use different data sets when determining the dimensions of the chairs that they manufacture in different segments. A small compact office chair for adults manufactured by different office chair manufacturers may be different sizes.
For instance, one small compact office chair specification may have a seat width of 18″ and another may have a seat width of 24.25″. This is quite a difference. It also shows that the small compact office chair manufacturer that caters for a seat width of 24.25″ is probably using more recent Western World human sizing data sets when determining the sizes of small compact office chairs for adults.
Chairs manufactured in Asian countries may be smaller and more compact than chairs manufactured elsewhere. This may be due to the fact that the size of adults in general in Asian countries are usually smaller than the size of adults in the United States and Europe in general.
More modern data sets for adult data for the United States and Europe in general contain more up to date data that shows that some human sizes are getting larger over time. Some of these human size dimensions may actually be larger than the dimensions used for their small compact chairs for adults. One of these human size dimensions is the seat width dimension which we have already mentioned above and which we discuss more below.
Small compact chairs for adults do not follow standard sizing. Different manufacturers and suppliers of small compact chairs use their own combination of sizes that they hope cater for their target user. Their specific small compact chairs for adults may not be suitable for you which is why you need to look at all the different chair sizing dimensions. If just one of them is out, that particular office chair may not be suitable for you as you will not be able to sit comfortably in the chair.
Seat Width Sizing Considerations
For instance, the BestOffice Home Office Chair for Women Adults has a seat width size of 18.5″ (Width) with armrests in the way. An extra few inches is required at both sides to allow for comfort and movement. It is also an idea to allow for error and for future growth when applicable. If your clothing hip size is between 35″ and 36″, you may find this particular chair to be a very tight fit and may not really be able to fit into it comfortably.
Another small compact office chair specification may have a seat width of 24.25″. If your clothing hip size is between 46″ and 48″, you may find this particular chair to be a very tight fit and may not really be able to fit into it comfortably. We believe that if your clothing hip size is less than 40″, you may find this particular chair to be too loose for a comfortable fit for you.
We think that there are two different ways to measure this:-
- Make sure that the width of your hips at the widest point when sitting down on a normal chair without armrests is less than the seat width specified for the chair you are thinking of purchasing. Don’t cross your legs when measuring. Do position your legs side by side with a decent space between them for comfort.
- An alternative way to measure your hips would be to measure them as if you are measuring them for clothes. In this case, you measure the distance from one hip to the other and around your body back to the first hip ensuring that you are measuring the largest part of your buttocks. This is the usual clothing hip measurement. The usual clothing hip measurement is usually measured when wearing just under garments. For your “very tight” seat width value, divide your clothing hip measurement by two.
With both ways of measuring and as already mentioned above, an extra few inches is required at both sides to allow for comfort and movement. It is also an idea to allow for error and for future growth when applicable.
It is better to rule out a certain chair this way than purchasing the chair, assembling it and then finding out that the chair is not for you.
Most small compact office chairs for adults usually have a maximum load limit of 250 pounds. However this is not always the case as we are aware of at least one small compact office chair for adults which had a maximum load limit specification of 100 pounds. This in our opinion is not high enough for an adult and also raises possible safety concerns. Even if technically this weight limit may be high enough for you, that may not be case for a colleague or a friend of yours who may potentially use that chair.
We recommend that you check the maximum load value for the small compact office chair you are thinking of purchasing and that this is less than your own weight as well as any of your colleagues or friends who may also use the small compact office chair, now or in the future.
Our understanding is that for small compact chairs for adults the maximum load limit should be around the 250 pound mark.
Office Chair ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Standard
One standard used in the design and testing of office chairs is the American National Standards Institute/BIFMA X 5.1 standard. This standard caters for a range of expected sizes that an adult may be, however in general and in our opinion does not really cater for the smaller sized adult or the bigger sized adult or the wider sized adult.
So it is not really surprising to discover that many small compact office chairs do not follow the Office Chair ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 2017 Standard as their specifications may be too severe for the smaller sized adult who also weighs less. The Office Chair ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 2017 Standard includes a weight limit of 275 pounds. This was based on the weight of the 95th percentile male, which when the ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 2017 Standard was developed was around 275 pounds. Loosely speaking, 95 per cent of the male population in the United States weighed 275 pounds or less according to the United States CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2007-2010.
The United States CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2007-2010 showed that the weight of the United States 95th percentile male was 273.6 pounds (Source). By the time that they did the survey of 2011-2014, the weight of the United States 95th percentile male had increased to 275.4 pounds (Source). When they did the survey of 1988-1994, the weight of the United States 95th percentile male had been 243.8 pounds (Source).
United States Weight – 95th Percentile in Pounds Statistics (Males Aged 20 Years and above) from Various United States CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)
|Time Period||Weight – 95th Percentile in Pounds||Notes|
|1988-1994||243.8||See More Statistics|
|1999-2002||267.1||See More Statistics|
|2007-2010||273.6||See More Statistics|
|2011-2014||275.4||See More Statistics|
The 2011 version of the ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Standard was based on a 253 pound 95th percentile male weight whereas the 2017 version of the ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Standard is based on a 275 pound 95th percentile male weight. This means that weight related tests now have to withstand successfully the heavier weight in order to pass these weight related tests.
The tests in this standard are intended to assess the performance of new products only. They are not intended to assess a product that has been in use.
Source: BIFMA website
We do find this interesting. It suggests to us that an office chair manufacturer would still claim that they are compliant with the ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Standard if they were manufacturing/marketing that particular office chair model prior to the 2017 version of the standard “kicking in”.
Of course, bringing a small compact office chair to the revised weight limit of 275 pounds or more may not be a small undertaking for an office chair manufacturer in the first place. It would most likely increase the price. The new revised small compact office chair may no longer be truly a small compact office chair. The new revised small compact office chair may no longer be the right size for their intended audience of smaller sized adults in the first place.
It is up to the office chair manufacturer to determine which standards that they follow if any.
This makes comparing different small compact office chairs more interesting especially if you are on the “border lines” between different standards.
We recommend always looking at each of the different key specifications for the small compact chair for adults you are thinking of purchasing. You need to ensure in our opinion that each of your appropriate sizes is able to fit comfortably within the chair specification.
For instance, you may be a slim smaller sized woman whose hips are not too large, however if you are looking at the BestOffice Home Office Chair for Women Adults and you have a clothing hip size of 35″ to 36″ you may find this particular chair to be a very tight fit and may not really be able to fit into it comfortably.