Best drafting chair

Furniture

With the growth in popularity of standing desks, drafting chairs are enjoying a resurgence as must-have office chairs.

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Which drafting chair is best?

Drafting chairs are designed for people who alternate their workday between sitting and standing, like architects, engineers, artists and designers. Their tall design is built to match up with tall drafting tables that adjust for height and tilt.

A good drafting chair helps you focus on your work, is ergonomic, adjustable, comfortable and easy to use. If you are looking for a drafting chair that adjusts from a height of 26-29 inches and pairs nicely with a standing desk, the Boss Office Products Multi-Function LeatherPlus Drafting Stool is an excellent choice.

What to know before you buy a drafting chair

Although they were originally developed for professions that worked at tall desks, drafting chairs are used in many different applications, including people who use standing desks and people who work behind raised counters or at free-standing kiosks.

Materials

The seat, back and armrests of a drafting chair come in a variety of materials that offer a range of advantages.

Leather: Leather is known for its good looks, soft feel and warm comfort. Real leather costs more and lasts longer than faux leather products. Leather is the material used in prestigious, high-end luxury office chairs and drafting chairs.

Fabric: Woven fabrics are the most common choices for drafting chairs and vary considerably in texture, durability and appearance. Fabrics come in a wide variety of colors and keep users warm with plush, padded seats and seat backs.

Vinyl: This sturdy, durable material is the easiest of all to clean. In looks and feel, it is a budget alternative to leather.

Mesh: Mesh chairs do away with padding and use a combination of flex and tension to provide seating support. The advantage that mesh drafting chairs have over all other surfaces is that the seat and seat back are breathable, allowing air to circulate around your body for greater comfort.

What to look for in a quality drafting chair

Adjustability

All but the most basic drafting chairs are adjustable to personal preference. Adjustability allows you to not only tailor the drafting chair to fit your size and shape but also to change the configuration throughout the workday to reduce stress and strain. The better the drafting chair, the more adjustments it will have and the greater the range of adjustments, too.

Height: You will want a drafting chair that adjusts throughout a range of heights that allow you to change your seating position throughout the day. Drafting chairs adjust height by means of a pneumatic or gas cylinder that is controlled with a single lever. Check the maximum and minimum heights of all chairs you are considering to see they match up with your desk or counter.

Seat: Look for adjustments that allow you to change the degree of tilt as well as a forward and backward adjustment.

Seat back: Better seatbacks adjust for height and angle, while the best also have some sort of adjustable lumbar support.

Arms: Look for seat arms that adjust for height, reach and angle to get the most support throughout the day. 

Seat 

Choose a drafting chair with a seat that is wide enough and long enough to provide full support to your thighs, hips and buttocks. Bucket seats wrap around you; stool seats are round and usually have no back. The best ergonomic seats are waterfall seats with rounded front edges to reduce pressure on your legs. 

Armrest

Armrests support your forearms and reduce pressure and tension when you are working at a desk. They may be simple plastic or upholstered in the same material used in the seats and seat backs. Longer armrests are more comfortable and provide more support than shorter ones. 

How much you can expect to spend on a drafting chair

Simple drafting chairs with the basic adjustments usually cost between $75-$150. Better chairs with more and greater adjustability run anywhere from $200-$350.

Drafting chair FAQ

Do I need a floor mat for my drafting chair?

A. Floor mats are great when the floor is carpeted because they prevent dents and impressions while making the chair easier to roll about. They are great on hardwood floors, too, because they prevent scratches, scuffs and repetitive wear and tear.  

What is tilt tension?

A. A seat back with a tilt mechanism allows you to shift your weight forward and back, much like a rocking chair. The tension is adjusted by a knob that controls the amount of resistance to the tilting. Larger, heavier people benefit from greater tension.

What’s the best drafting chair to buy?

Top drafting chair

Boss Office Products Multi-Function LeatherPlus Drafting Stool

Boss Office Products Multi-Function LeatherPlus Drafting Stool

What you need to know: This black and chrome drafting chair has professional quality and feel at a reasonable price.

What you’ll love: The many adjustments allow you to tailor this chair to fit how you work. The back and seat angles lock into position. The seat height adjustment is a pneumatic gas lift. The bonded LeatherPlus seating surface has a high-quality feel and is quite durable. The support ring at the base is solid and the casters have double wheels.

What you should consider: LeatherPlus is not a breathable fabric.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top drafting chair for the money

Boss Office Products Ergonomic Works Drafting Chair

Boss Office Products Ergonomic Works Drafting Chair

What you need to know: This budget-friendly drafting chair can be ordered with adjustable arms, loop arms or no arms at all.

What you’ll love: The contoured back and seating surfaces are upholstered in easy-care tweed fabric. The built-in lumbar support and waterfall seat design reduces stress on your legs by promoting circulation. The weight capacity is 275 pounds.

What you should consider: The lack of arms is tiring after long stretches of sitting.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Modway Edge Drafting Chair

Modway Edge Drafting Chair

What you need to know: This drafting chair hydraulically adjusts from a height of 20-29 inches and pairs nicely with a standing desk. 

What you’ll love: This counter-height chair has more options and greater adjustability than most comparable products. The moveable arms adjust to several different positions to offer extra support when needed. This chair has lower back lumbar support, seat tilt and a tension control knob.  

What you should consider: This chair takes some time and effort to assemble properly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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