Why Should or Shouldn't You Use Your Office Chair Armrests

Why Should or Shouldn't You Use your Office Chairs Armrests?

Have you ever wondered why office chairs have armrests?  

This blog will cover all you need to know about armrests in easy to understand language and help you realize if you should or shouldn’t use them.



Back in the day (1900), armrests were a special feature for office chairs. It really screamed executive if you had a chair with them on. Fast forward a couple of years and now you rarely see an ergonomic task chair advertised without armrest.

What happened?

Did the switch happen because of aesthetic purposes… that would be silly, right?!?


So what exactly did we discover that made this switch happen?



The benefits that armrests can provide when used properly are pretty AMAZING!

Here is the list:


  • 1. Reduction of postural loads on arms, shoulders and spine.
  • 2. Reduction of upper extremity static muscular activity.
    • This has been shown to be effective for the trapezius muscles. (aka. The muscle close to your neck that you tend to rub after or even during a long day at the office.)
  • 3. Overall: reduction of upper extremity ergonomic risks (lower injury risk).

How do you use these things properly?


Just like the famous story you will be playing with your settings to test which adjustments are too ____, too _____ or just perfect.


Adjustment #1: Armrest Height


  • If your armrests are too high, your shoulders will be creeping up towards your ears.
  • If your armrests are too low, you will hunch over to use them.
  • If your armrests are just right, you will be having a relaxed posture with your forearms gently resting on the armrests.


Adjustment #2: Armrest Width


  • If your armrests are too close to you, you will feel constricted and will restrict some of your movements.
  • If your armrests are too wide, they will be wider than your shoulder breadth.
  • If your armrests are just right, they will be positioned under your shoulders.


Adjustment #3: Work Surface


  • If the work surface is too high, you will be reaching up to do your tasks, putting you in a less than optimal position.
  • If the work surface is too low, you will have to reach down and you will feel contact stress on your forearms
  • If the work surface is just right, you will have it slightly below your forearm height.



Armrests are extremely useful for minimizing work related injuries. They may not be necessary but highly recommended! That being said there are a couple of scenarios where you would want to get rid of them.  



The main reason you wouldn’t use armrests is if they were getting in the way of your overall adjustments. For example, if they don’t allow you to get close enough to your work station, if they aren’t adjustable, if don’t fit your “just rights”, or if they are too hard.

You are now fully equipped to make a sound decision about your office chairs armrests.

All of the chairs on ErgoMania have highly adjustable armrests, so if you are to pick an office chair from this site you can be rest assured that you will have the ability to adjust to your new ergonomic standards!


“It’s great to take risks in life, just not with your armrests.”


Team ErgoMania.

Share this post