Pick a Chair, Any Chair

So yesterday my trusty computer chair at home finally gave up the ghost. My primary clue was when I sat in it and noticed that I was tilted at a jaunty 30 degree angle to the left, much like the Titanic shortly after hitting the iceberg. Since one of the selling points of a chair is that it keeps you reasonably level, I quickly deduced something was wrong.

My deduction was correct — a weld joining two pieces of metal had split. So now I’m typing this while sitting perched on an old stereo box (a style of decor best described as Bachelor-Pad Contemporary) and trying to figure out what to get for a replacement.

I’m torn between two chairs. One is the Ikea Joakim ($150).

IKEA Joakim office chair

This is supposedly the nicest office chair you can buy that isn’t some $800 Herman Miller abomination. However, I’m torn because I have a completely irrational fondness for kneeling chairs; they encourage good posture and stow nicely underneath a desk, which is important since I have a small apartment. The chair that just died on me was a kneeling chair that had served me well for years.

For $180, you can get a kneeling chair that’s stuffed with memory foam, which sure sounds nice:

JOBRI Tempur-Pedic Deluxe Gas Lift Kneeling Chair

But that’s $30 more, which is a non-trivial amount. And apparently the health benefits of kneeling chairs have been somewhat overstated to begin with, which makes me less inclined (ha ha!) to seek one out.

But then I think about my small apartment, and how nice it is to just roll the chair under the desk when I’m done with the computer…

Maybe I should just ditch them both and spend $50 on a PostureBall:


(Yes, there are actually office workers out in America today sitting perched on top of medicine balls. I shit you not.)

So, I figured, why not ask my Teeming Millions of blog admirers for guidance? Pick a chair, any chair; leave a comment and help me cut through my indecision. Don’t wait too long, though; I’m not sure this stereo box is gonna hold up forever.

UPDATE (Mar. 25, 2006): I bought the Joakim today. So far so good — it’s quite comfortable. Now the stereo box can go back into storage 🙂

UPDATE (Sep. 10, 2010): In which the Joakim turns on me like a wild jackal when I try to sit in it full-time, forcing me to explore alternatives.



March 23, 2006
12:18 am

I used to own an Ikea office chair that felt very comfortable in the showroom, as the shape fit the curve of my back very well. But over time, I found that the seat was actually a very thin cushion over a hard wood surface, and it really wasn’t comfortable to use after using it for a few weeks. Also, the fabric didn’t hold up particularly well.
Last year I sat in a La-Z-Boy executive leather chair, and it was clearly the most comfortable chair I’ve ever used. But it doesn’t fit me all that well, it’s not adjustable, and it’s $749 new. And while it was pretty in a boardroom, it might look kinda weird in my apartment.
For the last few months, I’ve been looking for a good, comfortable, ergonomic chair for my home office. Given the amount of time I spend at my desk, I’ve decided that I’m best served spending some cash on a good ergonomic chair, i.e. a Herman Miller or something along those lines. I plan to try them out in some retail stores to get a feel for the fit, although I haven’t decided whether to buy new or used.


March 23, 2006
4:31 am

I’m using this chair from IKEA, but in the cheaper “natural” color. I’m sure it’s not healthy at all, and I only ended up using it because my other chair was damaging the floor, but it’s pretty comfortable. Plus, if your apartment is small it provides great extra seating for guests.


March 23, 2006
4:34 am

I guess HTML links don’t work. Sorry. This is my chair: http://tinyurl.com/7om4w


March 23, 2006
11:43 am

If you liked what you had, buy the exact same thing. This is how I end up with 5 shirts in the same style, different colors. 🙂

Jason Lefkowitz

March 23, 2006
11:53 am

“If you liked what you had, buy the exact same thing.”
Well, it was OK, but it got less and less comfortable over the years. That’s why I’m open to alternatives; I’d like to find something that ages a little more gracefully…

Herr Director

March 23, 2006
11:54 am

Man, kneeling chairs may be ergonomically efficient, but they are relaxation deficient:
Phone rings:
Jason: Hello?
Phyllis (from down the hall): Hi, Jason, it’s Phyllis, from down the hall. Are you busy?
Jason: Nope. I’m just kneeling here in my office.
Phyllis: Kneeling in your… office. Don’t you have a chair?
Jason: Of course, you silly goose.
Phyllis: And yet, you’re kneeling. Is it a religious thing?
Jason: No.
Phyllis: Is it a Kaballah, or even Scientology thing?
Jason: Now, you know I am not into Scientology. I don’t make enough money to be part to their cult, er, religion.
Phyllis: So, you’re kneeling.
Jason: Yes.
Phyllis: In your chair.
Jason: Naturally.
Phyllis: (Long pause) I gotta go. (*click*)


March 23, 2006
2:52 pm

I don’t get it.


March 24, 2006
12:31 am

go with the ball. it’s cheaper. you can use it to work out. and you’ll never lose at dodge or volley ball.
can you still run an 8 minute mile?

Jason Lefkowitz

March 24, 2006
9:05 am

“can you still run an 8 minute mile?”
Alas, no, I got lazy in 2005 and slacked off, so my mile time has crept up again. But I’m back in the gym now with the goal of getting back to the 8 minute mark.


March 27, 2006
8:43 pm

Running 8 minute mile: good
anything from IKEA: bad!
buy the ball.

Zoran Lazarevic

March 28, 2006
5:20 pm

I have used all three: chair, kneeling chair, and the ball. The bottom line is: you MUST have a regular chair.
Regular chairs are good, and they promote bad posture as you slouch or lean on the side arms.
Kneeling chairs somewhat promote better posture, but you tend to lean on the desk instead of the side arms. They force you to tighten the back muscles, which causes more back tension and ends up hurting. They also put a lot of pressure on the knees, and the resulting pain after a week will make you go back to the regular chair. Now, I alternate: one week of a plain-old-chair, one week of a kneeling chair.
Tha ball was OK for me, though my wife became sea-sick after sitting on it for 5 minutes. I don’t use it because I don’t remember (don’t bother) to swap it with the regular chair. Also, you will start sweating after sitting on a rubber ball for a little while, and you can’t bend knees as your calves will press against the ball.
I opted for spending big $$$ and getting an Aeron chair, which feels great so far.
Another option is a rocking stool (http://www.ikuinen.com/furniture/fidget-a-rocking-stool). I tried it at the store, and it seemed nicer than the ball (you can get the feet under the chair).

Courtney Gidts

May 31, 2006
2:37 pm

I’ve managed to save up roughly $44808 in my bank account, but I’m not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?