Are armrests good for ergonomics? [updated 2021]

Armrests are a very important part of any chair, but there are many conflicting opinions on whether armrests should be attached to a chair or not. Many people are not sure about this, are armrests good for ergonomics or not, and they’re looking for the answer.

Some Experts say: armrests always be attached for better ergonomic sitting posture.

However, there are also some Experts who argue with this, and they say you can only achieve your best posture if there isn’t an armrest on the chair at all. In this post, we will take a look at some interesting facts about armrests.

What are armrests?

Armrests are those parts of chairs that are situated in between the user’s arm and shoulder. This is not a formal definition, but it will do as our general understanding of this term.

Armrests are features on a chair that support or cushion the upper arm, usually in front of one’s body with hands resting upon them.

Are armrests good for ergonomics

benefits of ergonomic armrests

There are several benefits that armrests provide to the user. The main benefit of using armrests is they reduce the tension in the upper body area.

Armrests should be used when using a mouse, keyboard, typing, or writing on your desk because they support the arms without stress. It helps to Maintain a Seated Posture. Properly positioned armrests are vital for a comfortable back and sitting posture.

They fit between the user’s arms and shoulders, thus improving the overall posture resulting in improved blood flow and stretching of muscles in the back, neck, and shoulders areas which are common problem areas for people who spend long hours at work.

Without armrests, your upper body muscles will be tense, weak, and less stable due to the lack of support that prevents the user from slouching or sitting with improper posture.

According to some tall users, armrests are small for them and make them uncomfortable while typing.

Are armrests bad for ergonomics?

This is a tricky question because it depends on the user how you’re using it.

Does your chair include armrest adjustment features? Because sometimes the lack of adjustment causes bad ergonomics. The chair design also plays a good role here. Bad chair design can make the armrests uncomfortable to use.

This isn’t the case for most ergonomic chairs, but it might be done if you look at a cheap budget office desk chair.

This is not always the case for ergonomic office chairs, but if you’re looking for more budget-friendly options and not focus on chair design, then it might be happens with you too. A good design chair that includes armrests gives you support, and they are also good for the upper body.

Why do Office Chairs Have Armrests?

Originally, office chairs did not have armrests and people would typically use the edge of their desk to balance themselves.

The purpose behind office chairs with arms is to provide you more comfort and support during prolonged use of the chair.

Some of these purposes include the following:

  • To provide a place to rest your arms and take some of the weight off of your shoulders. When using a chair over long periods of time they maintain healthy posture by supporting weight distribution while sitting upright in one place without having to rely on the backrest for support.
  • This also helps to make your sitting posture correct as well as reducing strain on your arms and hands, thereby avoiding injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

How can Armrests be used?

Here is some guidance about where should armrests be for good posture.

Height adjustable

The armrests on most chairs are adjustable and are at a fixed height.
When you are choosing an ergonomic chair, make sure it has adjustable arms.

That will help your wrists and forearms get a break. The armrests should be positioned at the same height as or just slightly lower than your keyboard tray to avoid flexing your wrists and straining them.

If you are tall, then you need the armrests to be in a high position. This will make room for your arms. Tall people especially are vulnerable to neck and shoulders pain from slouching forward because of their height.

A big, tall chair with adjustable armrests will give you the comfort and style you’re looking for.

Width adjustable Armrests

Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders when you sit because that relieves pressure on your back and knees.

An ergonomic office chair must have adjustable armrests because you will be able to adjust the height, width of armrests. You will not be locked into one size for all situations you are in, so you can move them closer or farther from your body according to your comfort.

Pivoting Armrests

Pivoting armrests are essential for anyone who has to position their wrists close to each other. If you want to avoid slouching forward, simply do this. Armrests that pivot inward or outward create a “V” shape.

The best benefit of its V shape is it makes reading or using your phone much more comfortable. After using your phone, when you go back to your desk, you can simply slide the armrests back to their original position.

Flip-up Armrests

Finally, there are Flip-up armrests you can dismiss when you are not using them. I have already been told that some people prefer armrests, and some say we are uncomfortable with this.

These flip-p arms chairs are usually found in shared office spaces because they might be suitable for small work areas. Flip-up armrests are typically a compromise from an ergonomic perspective.

There are very few flip-up armrests that offer any adjustments, other than they all provide an easy to flipping upward.

How to Choose the Best Armrests Office Chair?

  1. Be sure that the chair is sized and elevated to suit your needs.
  2. Evaluate its ergonomics – armrests should be positioned in a way that they don’t exert pressure on your elbows or create an unintentionally awkward angle between elbow and shoulder, upper arm should be perpendicular to the desk surface
  3. Consider materials – leather, fabric are good choices for the armrests.
  4. Remember this must be well-fitting for you, so it might take some experimentation before you find the perfect one! 
  5. The best armrests are those with adjustable height and width.


If you’ve been dealing with achy, tense muscles and general discomfort while sitting at your desk for long periods, armrests might be the answer.

If you work at a desk, then the use of armrests can reduce muscle tension in your neck and shoulders/ upper body area. It also depends on the person’s needs using it as to whether or not they need an armrest when sitting down.

If you type long hours all day, then an armchair would be very helpful since it provides ergonomic support for both hands while alleviating pressure from wrists and shoulders that comes from constantly holding up one’s weight.

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