Standard Desk Chair Height [Chair Size Examples]

Matching your table with your chair’s height is important since you will spend a good part of your day sitting while working. If your desk’s height is just right, you won’t feel too tired at the end of the day. Is there a standard desk chair height?

The height of desk chairs ranges from 16 to 21 inches (40 to 53 cm). However, not everyone has the same height. Therefore, there is really no standard height for desk chairs.

You have to find the ideal chair height for your height within this range. If you are shorter or taller, select a desk that suits your height instead of choosing a different chair.

Your posture will be affected if the height of your desk is not suited to your height. For example, if your desk is low for your height, you have to lean forward as you work. Likewise, if the desk is too high, you will experience discomfort in your hands, wrist, elbow, and shoulders.

Read on to learn more about standard heights of desk chairs, comfortable heights for chairs, and other vital info you need to know about chair heights.

Standard Desk Chair Height

desk chair height

The height of desk chairs ranges from 16 to 21 inches (40 to 53 cm). However, note that not everyone has the same height. Thus, there is no standard height for desk chairs. Therefore, find the ideal chair height for your height within this range.

The majority of office desks or working tables are 28” to 30” tall. This range offers a comfortable sitting height for those between 5’8” and 5’10” tall. Moreover, the usual desk chair size that suits this range is around 18” from the ground.

Desk Chair Heights Sold on the Market

The height of desk chairs sold on the market ranges from 16” to 21” (40 to 53 cm). These are the standard heights of desk chairs. Standard desk chairs usually have higher backs than bar height stools or counter chairs.

The majority of desk chairs have armrests. They are called armchairs. However, some chairs have no arms and are aptly called side chairs.

The chair’s height should always be suited to your height and not the desk or table‘s height you’re working on. Thus, if you are shorter or taller, you should change the desk surface height and not your chair’s height.

Standard desk chair heights, as well as desk heights, vary between countries and companies. Thus, if you are buying desks and tables online, check their dimensions if they are suited to your height and the heights of those who will use them.

Why There Is Really No Standard Desk Chair Height?

There is no industry standard regarding desk chair heights simply because people are not all the same. People of different heights use chairs. There are tall people, and there are short people. Some tall people are taller than others. Some short people are shorter than the average.

A chair has the right height if the upper and lower legs of the person sitting on it form a right angle, and both their feet are flat on the floor. When the person is seated on the right seat, the seat’s entire area should be wholly taken, and the backrest fully supporting the person’s back.

If it is an ergonomic chair, its armrests, backrests, and seat depth can be adjusted. The backrest can also be adjusted so that the back of the person sitting on it is almost straight and the pelvic area to their shoulder blades is fully supported.

What Is a Comfortable Desk Chair Height?

There is a range of desk chair heights to suit the range of table heights. Tables or desks are mostly 28” to 30” tall. Desk chairs that range from 16” to 21” tall are the chairs suitable for this range of table heights. The chair height is reckoned from the leg of the chair to the top of the seat.

If you want comfortable seating, you are advised to give an extra allowance of 9” to 13” between the chair’s seat and the table’s underside or desk. This extra space will allow your guest to cross their legs under your table.

Is There an Ideal Office Desk Chair Height?

The height of 29” seems to be the standard height of chairs in North America. When it comes to office desk chairs, it is different. While desk chairs are usually measured from the floor to the seat, there are different chair size ranges manufactured by different companies.

Office Desk Chair Manufacturers

Following is a list of the popular office desk chair models that furniture manufacturers in the United States produce. It shows the different heights of desk chairs for each manufacturer:

ManufacturerDesk Chair Height Range
Sihoo Office Chair16.5 to 20 inches
Steelcase Gesture16 to 21 inches
Duramont Office Chair17 to 20 inches
Herman Miller Embody16 to 20.5 inches
ErgoHuman Eurotech17 to 21 inches
Steelcase Leap15.5 to 20 inches
Haworth Zody Chair14 to 21 inches

All of the above office chairs are considered ergonomic. Moreover, some of these chairs can be adjusted to suit taller persons and can go beyond 21” tall. Drafting chairs, on the other hand, can go even higher. Conversely, there are shorter chairs for those who are petite. They can be as low as 14.5”.

standard desk chair height

Considering the different desk chairs available, is there such a thing as an ideal desk chair height? If you consider the ergonomic aspect of the topic, there should be one chair height that will cause minimal negative effects on your arms, neck, shoulders, and thighs.

To determine if the height of the desk chair is ideal, you should be able to observe these two things:

  1. If you are working on your desktop or laptop, your forearms should be parallel to and at the same height as the desk. Your elbows should be at an open 90 to 100° angle; and
  2. Your knees should be bent at 90°, and both your feet should be touching the floor effortlessly.

Importance of an Ergonomic Chair

A majority of United States citizens and other developed countries spend up to eight hours sitting in front of their office desks every day. Thus, even if a chair is only slightly uncomfortable, it can cause painful injury to a person who has spent cumulative time sitting on it.

Every year in the United States, almost 2 million employees suffer work-related Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This figure is based on a report of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Moreover, around 600,000 of these employees have to absent themselves from work.

Thus, this is why it’s important to use ergonomic chairs in our offices with the right seat height for every employee. Undoubtedly, workers sitting four to eight hours a day on ergonomic chairs will considerably minimize the incidences of RSI. Ergonomic chairs come in many types.

There should be one type that is the most ideal for you – if you are an office worker sitting in front of your desk most of your working hours.

How to Measure Desk Chair Height?

The standard way of measuring a chair’s height is from its legs touching the floor to the top of the seat surface. It does not include the height of the backrest. The armrests’ height is not included unless you want to allow the chair to slide on the underside of the table fully. 

If you want to include the armrests’ height, add about 7 inches between the table’s underside and the armrests. Also, the same measurement is done with bench seats. A standard bench seat height is set by the American Disabilities Act, which ranges from 17” to 19” above the ground or floor.

How to Determine Your Ideal Desk Chair Height?

If you are looking for the ideal chair size that won’t cause soreness on your thighs, arms, necks, buttocks, and shoulders, follow these guidelines on calculating the chair’s height that you need to buy:

1. Your Forearms Is Parallel to the Desk Surface

To prevent physical stress on your arms, legs, shoulders, and thighs while sitting in front of your desk, your forearms should be at the right height. To do this:

  • Raise your chair’s seat so that your elbows form a 90° to 100° open-angle.
  • Adjust the seat height further to ensure that your forearms are just above the table. They should be parallel to the desk with a slight slope towards it.

If you achieve this ideal seat height, it will relax your shoulders, and your wrists will assume a neutral position. Moreover, this ideal setup will minimize fatigue on your arms.

Prevent the Occurrence of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)

It will also prevent the occurrence of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome as you work on your desk over time.

It could be possible that by making these adjustments, your feet will be removed from the floor. This should not be an issue since you can always use a footrest. Moreover, you can even use old scratch paper or old newsprint to prop your feet up.

It’s easier to do this than to make adjustments to your arm height. Another option is to replace your table with one that is height adjustable. But that would add up to your expense.

2. Your Feet Should Rest Firmly on the Floor

Both your feet should be firmly resting on the floor. If your chair has a height lever, adjust it so that both your feet are fully on the floor’s surface while your knees are bent at a 90° angle. This is your ideal chair height where both your feet are in full contact with the floor.

Do not lower the seat more than necessary. If you do, you will exert pressure on your sit bones or your ischial tuberosities.

You can also determine your ideal desk chair height while you are standing. This is a quicker way to check if a chair in a store you are browsing has the right height:

  • Stand in front of the chair;
  • Adjust its height so that the top surface of its seat is just below your knee cap; and
  • Then sit on the chair. If there is no stress on your thighs, buttocks, and legs, the chair has the right height.

Again, what is standard desk chair height? Usually, desk chairs are 16 to 21 inches or 40 to 53 cm. With everyone not having the same height, there is also no standard height available for desk chairs. However, you can surely find the ideal chair for you within this height range.

Ideal Desk Chair Height for Your Height

Here’s a table that’ll help you quickly see which desk chair height will be ideal for your height. The Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) recommended the information contained in this table as their general working guideline:

Person’s HeightIdeal Chair Height
4’11” (149 cm)15.9 inches (40.2 cm)
5’0″ (151.5 cm)16.2 inches (40.9 cm)
5’1″ (154 cm)16.4 inches (41.5 cm)
5’2″ (156.5 cm)16.7 inches (42.2 cm)
5’3″ (159 cm)17 inches (42.9 cm)
5’4″ (161.5 cm)17.2 inches (43.6 cm)
5’5″ (164 cm)17.5 inches (44.2 cm)
5’6″ (166.5 cm)17.8 inches (44.9 cm)
5’7″ (169 cm)18 inches (45.6 cm)
5’8″ (171.5 cm)18.3 inches 46.3 cm)
5’9″ (174 cm)18.6 inches (46.9 cm)
5’10” (176.5 cm)18.9 inches (47.6 cm)
5’11” (179 cm)19.1 inches (48.3 cm)
6’0″ (181.5 cm)19.4 inches (49 cm)
6’1″ (184 cm)19.7 inches (49.6 cm)
6’2″ (186.5 cm)19.9 inches (50.3 cm)
6’3″ (189 cm)20.2 inches (51 cm)
6’4″ (191.5 cm)20.5 inches (51.7 cm)
6’5″ (194 cm)20.7 inches (52.3 cm)
6’6″ (196.5 cm)21 inches (53 cm)
6’7″ (199 cm)21.3 inches (53.7 cm)
6’8″ (201.5 cm)21.6 inches (54.4 cm)
6’9″ (204 cm)21.8 inches (55 cm)
6’10” (206.5 cm)22.1 inches (55.7 cm)
6’11” (209 cm)22.4 inches (56.4 cm)
7’0″ (211.5 cm)22.6 inches (57.1 cm)
7’1″ (214 cm)22.9 inches (57.7 cm)

Conclusion: Standard Chair Size

Desk chairs have heights that range from 16 to 21 inches (40 to 53 cm). People have different heights. That is why there is really no standard height for desk chairs.

It would help if you chose a desk that will be right for your height within this range. If you are shorter or taller, choose a desk with a different height instead of choosing a different chair that doesn’t fit your height.

Again, here’s the standard desk chair height range for different types of chairs:

ManufacturerDesk Chair Height Range
Sihoo Office Chair16.5 to 20 inches
Steelcase Gesture16 to 21 inches
Duramont Office Chair17 to 20 inches
Herman Miller Embody16 to 20.5 inches
ErgoHuman Eurotech17 to 21 inches
Steelcase Leap15.5 to 20 inches
Haworth Zody Chair14 to 21 inches