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#WFH in the time of Covid-19, as many reports have shown, has resulted in us putting in longer hours. And Singapore has been called out as one of the world’s most overworked cities. Just remember, overworking = more time spent in your #WFH chair!
Getting a proper office chair for home use is even more important now — but with so many options available, what chair does one choose?
Do you go for a high-end “branded” one (easily in the 4-figure range), a really cheap one from Taobao, or a “highly-rated” one from Lazada that seems “too cheap to be true”?
Do you buy an ergonomic chair or maybe pick one of those gaming chairs your friends have been posting about on social media?
Because we’ll end up spending much time sitting in that chair (about 40% of our day), our #WFH throne of choice has to be durable, comfortable and ergonomic. That sexy gaming chair might make you look cool while playing EVE Online or Overwatch, but is it comfortable?
Key considerations — can the chair be adjusted to suit your body shape, does the material used trap heat or allow air to circulate and keep you cool in Singapore’s humid weather? Will the leather peel over time (argh, need to waste precious time talking to customer support in order to resolve the issue)?
A quality #WFH chair could be a worthwhile investment — those few hundred dollars, combined with the warranty period, could mean you’re just spending a few cents a day for optimum comfort.
But I just want the cheapest option!
Just by doing a cursory search for “cheap office chairs Singapore”, I came across listings that purport to be “ergonomic” but cost only $15 and are made with foam. Then there are others priced below $50 but all of these don’t seem like they can survive a few weeks of my 10-hour work days.
If you just need a place to sit, I guess that’s fine. But remember, you get what you pay for. Cheap office chairs often aren’t durable; they use materials that degrade quickly, and have poor ergonomics that could ultimately lead to long-lasting negative effects on your posture and spine (ouch).
So don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, okay? Getting a chair for cheap but paying for pain medication or chiropractic sessions because of it doesn’t make financial sense.
Why do chairs seem so expensive?
You see, it ain’t cheap to bring a quality ergonomic chair to market — it’s more than just putting a chair together that doesn’t collapse.
A lot of R&D goes into making a chair that provides maximum support and minimises pain.
A bad chair might provide support only when you’re sitting rigidly upright. But, you don’t just sit in 1 position the whole time… we lean forward to type our reports, sit upright when reviewing a document or engaging in a video call, and lean back when taking a 15-minute break.
Whereas for a quality chair, the manufacturer has researched one’s typical activities through the day, then designs a chair that’s able to support them.
Lumbar support (where the C shape in your spine is)
A poor chair might just add a pillow and call it a day. A quality one means the manufacturers have studied how the spine moves, then prototypes various solutions to create a lumbar support that adapts to each person.
Durability & quality
Finally, quality chairs place a huge focus on durability and quality — they go through rigorous testing to ensure it lasts for decades (and that it won’t collapse on you). For example, the ErgoTune office chair is rigorously tested for durability — during one test, a force about 40kg is applied simultaneously to each armrest at an angle for 60,000 cycles (amongst other tests, that gives it the BIFMA, ISO and FR-One certificates).
So how do I choose? Start by finding one that is incredibly adjustable.
Why “incredibly adjustable”? Because comfort comes naturally when a chair can be tailored to your unique body shape and activities.
Remember, a chair that doesn’t fit well will always be uncomfortable, no matter the price. That’s why you need one that gives you the freedom and choice to adjust to your exact body proportions.
Let’s dive into these “adjustability” features and how to evaluate them.
Look for a chair with great lumbar support, where it “fills the gaps” of your lower back’s natural C-shaped curve. Otherwise, a prolonged lack of lumbar support could result in you overworking your back muscles and lead to pain down the road.
The ErgoTune chair was built with this in mind. It has the Auto Tuning Lumbar Area Support (ATLAS) that automatically calibrates itself to your lumbar curve, even as you move.
But a chair’s lumbar support only works when placed correctly. Which brings us to the next point.
All of us are of different heights and sizes, so a simple lumbar cushion on your average office chair may not even match where your spine’s C-shaped lower curve is. What’s the point then?
You want to find a backrest height that can be adjusted to various levels to ensure that the Lumbar Support fits snugly into your spine’s lower curve.
The ErgoTune is one of the rare chairs in that market that has this ability to adjust backrest height, so you can find that lumbar-supporting sweet spot.
This is the most basic adjustment that most chairs should come with. Your knees should be bent to approximately 90°, with your feet firmly planted on the ground — this helps to reduce pressure on your joints. Some chairs come with less height range than others; just find one that fits you.
The ErgoTune’s seat height range is suitable for people (150cm to 190cm), which should be most people in Singapore!
Most chairs often leave this out, even the premium, pricey ones. But seat depth is crucial, to ensure that you don’t slouch, or have to tilt forward when #WFH. Once you do that, the spine is thrown off balance and could cause issues in future.
The ErgoTune chair is made with this consideration in mind, with seat depth adjustments to help you sit comfortable with ease.
Ever wonder why sometimes your wrist, elbows or even shoulder hurts? This can be attributed to the armrest, which frankly, is kinda taken for granted. When your wrist or arms are not properly aligned and supported, you’ll have to strain your wrist — one of the biggest sources of discomfort. An armrest that is height-adjustable ensures that your elbows are in a 90-degree position for comfort.
The ErgoTune goes one step further. It’s got a 5D armrest that supports not just elbow height but elbow position across all kinds of activities. With this “armrest extend in” feature, you can tilt it towards you for support when playing games on your mobile phone or tablet, or even read a book comfortably.
Last but not least, the headrest supports one of the most sensitive structures of your body, the neck. As it is already, so many of us have “text neck” — our neck and head are bent forward due to excessive looking down to look at our devices and “texting” on our phones. This position increases the strain on one’s neck.
With ErgoTune’s TriTune 3D headrest, the sitter’s head will always be supported, whether it’s sitting upright or leaning backwards.
Adjustments — the more the merrier
While there are many other points of adjustments, the essence is that the more the merrier as there’s a better chance the chair can better fit snugly to your body. ErgoTune’s Supreme chairs come with 11 points of adjustments. This means that each chair can be tailored to the sitter’s unique body shape and sitting position for maximum comfort.
What else to look out for?
The 2 most common materials are mesh and leather.
While leather looks good and feels comfortable, it doesn’t disperse heat very well (especially in our humid weather). Worse still, leather is known to peel or flake over time (and stick to you!).
Mesh, however, is a lot more breathable and durable. ErgoTune took the approach of creating the best mesh out there, and equipped each chair with the DuraWeave mesh, a 2:1 blend of fabric and polyester for the breathability and strength of traditional mesh but with fabric’s comfort. This means your #WFH experience is cooler!
Durability & Warranty
Cheaper chairs are often fitted with a lower quality mechanism and are typically not built to last. ErgoTune chairs use top-notch materials like 60mm PU castors, and are fitted with a made-in-South Korea Class IV hydraulics system. Each chair goes through rigorous testing and QC to ensure durability. In fact, the manufacturers are so confident in their quality, that they provide a 12-year warranty for each chair.
We all love buying from Taobao, but there’s hardly any support when we need help with any issues. With an investment such as a #WFH chair, you’ll need local support. ErgoTune chairs come with a 12-year warranty and multiple channels for support (showroom, phone, email, webform).
So, what’s a good price to pay then?
Top-of-the-line luxury brand chairs (like Herman Miller Aerons or Steelcase Gestures) are in the range of $1,700 to $2,400 SGD. However, most of us will find that figure hard to stomach/justify.
ErgoTune was founded on the idea that everyone deserves to feel fantastic at their chair, without paying through the nose. By going direct-to-factory and customers, they removed layers of unnecessary cost (like retail store, marketing, and supplier markups), to bring you an ergonomic chair that starts from $399 to $599.
Considering the work that goes behind developing a chair — quality assurance, R&D, plus customer support, 12 years warranty, this actually seems… fair for a proper quality office task chair that will last for several years and beyond.
Taking the 12-year warranty into account, the ErgoTune Supreme (at its usual price) costs about $70 each year, or 19 cents a day, while the ErgoTune Classic (also at its usual price) costs about $46/year or 12.5 cents a day. Not bad for everyday #WFH comfort!
Weight: Up to 150kg
Weight: Up to 150kg
Duraweave Hybrid Mesh
GyroBrace 5D Armrest
TriTune 3D Headrest
Duraweave Hybrid Mesh
4D Armrest (no rotation)
Nylon Polymide Base
|$599 (U.P $850)
|$399 (U.P $550)
It’s time to invest in upgrading your #WFH experience.
Buy the ErgoTune chairs on its website, or try out the chairs in its showroom at 110 Lor 23 Geylang, #07-09, Victory Centre (near Aljunied MRT).