What Is The Best Height For A Computer Desk?

By Tim Chesonis •  Updated: 04/13/20 •  8 min read

Given that 54% of Americans who experience low back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting, wouldn’t it be great to know the optimal height your computer desk, chair, and armrest should be, so as to prevent back pain? How tall should my computer desk and computer chair be?

The chart below shows you exactly what the height of your desk should be based on how tall you are.  Additionally, you will find the exact measurements for the chair height you should use, and the correct height for the chair armrest.

Your HeightDesk HeightHeight of ChairHeight of Armrest
5′ 0″24.2 inches16.1 inches8.9 inches
5′ 1″24.6 inches16.4 inches9.0 inches
5′ 2″25.0 inches16.7 inches9.2 inches
5′ 3″25.4 inches16.9 inches9.3 inches
5′ 4″25.8 inches17.2 inches9.5 inches
5′ 5″26.2 inches17.5 inches9.6 inches
5′ 6′26.6 inches17.7 inches9.8 inches
5′ 7″27.0 inches18.0 inches9.9 inches
5′ 8″27.4 inches18.3 inches10.1 inches
5′ 9″27.8 inches18.5 inches10.2 inches
5′ 10″28.2 inches18.8 inches10.4 inches
5′ 11″28.6 inches19.1 inches10.5 inches
6′ 0″29.0 inches19.4 inches10.7 inches
6′ 1″29.4 inches19.6 inches10.8 inches
6′ 2″29.8 inches19.9 inches11.0 inches
6′ 3″30.2 inches20.2 inches11.1 inches
6′ 4″30.6 inches20.4 inches11.3 inches
6′ 5″31.0 inches20.7 inches11.4 inches
6′ 6″31.5 inches21.0 inches11.6 inches
6′ 7″31.9 inches21.2 inches11.7 inches
6′ 8″32.3 inches21.5 inches11.9 inches
6′ 9″32.7 inches21.8 inches12.0 inches
6′ 10″33.1 inches22.0 inches12.1 inches
6′ 11″33.5 inches22.3 inches12.3 inches
7′ 0″33.9 inches22.6 inches12.4 inches

Why Choosing the Right Height for your Desk and Chair Matters

If you were to purchase a bicycle from a professional bike shop, after determining the type of bicycle you wanted to purchase, what is the first thing that store salesman will do for you?  He’s going to fit you for the bicycle you want to purchase. He’s going to ensure that the bicycle seat is the right height by adjusting the seat for optimal use.

In the same way, when you purchase office furniture, specifically a desk and chair, you need to be fitted for that office furniture.  It not enough to simply sit in the chair to see if the chair is comfortable, you have to adjust the chair height to ensure a proper fit. The chart provided above, does just that.  It takes into account your height, and then provides the exact height your desk, chair, and armrest should be.

If your desk or chair is too short or too tall, your body will pay the price, just like a bicyclist will feel pain after a short ride, should he not properly fitted for the bike.  You want your body to stay in alignment, so be sure to get ‘fitted’ for your desk and chair when purchasing them. You can do that by adjusting the height of desk, chair and armrest.

More People Sit Today than Ever Before

Prior to 1900, if you made a living sitting down, you were probably an author, or psychiatrist, or a beggar on the street. Most people today, make a living sitting down. In fact, according to British Psychological Society (BPS), “In a typical working week, people spend on average 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk“.  That means that we sit down nearly 25% of the day. That may not sound like a lot, but it is when you consider that it accounts for 1/4 of your life!

Why Choosing the Right Office Chair Could Make a World of Difference

You’ll Alleviate Back Pain

If you have been properly fitted for both your desk and your chair, you can expect to experience less back pain. There is an optimal seating position, and if applied, your body will thank you. Let me share with you the 90 90 90 rule.

Your wrists should rest straight on your keyboard so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Your chair height should be such that your knees are at a 90 degree angle so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Finally, when sitting up straight, your back should be at a 90 degree angle to your knees, (no slouching). When applied, you will find that you will be able to work for longer periods of time without back pain. Finding a chair that offers a dynamic variable lower back lumbar support will do wonders for your back.

What to Look for in When Choosing an Office Chair

For a moment, I want you to think about just how much time you spend behind a desk each day.  Do you find yourself comfortable while sitting at your desk?  Do you feel refreshed once you stand up, or does your body ache after getting up from your desk?

Comfort Matters

Don’t buy an office chair because it inexpensive. Remember, if you find one that is really inexpensive, there is a reason why it is inexpensive. Again, given that you will be spending an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes a day in this chair, doesn’t it make sense to buy one that is comfortable? You are not going to want to skimp here. Because your back comes in direct contact with your chair wile sitting at your desk, wouldn’t it make sense to ensure that the chair that you sit in is comfortable and supportive?  You want a chair that will deliver on comfort.

Quality and Craftsmanship

A high quality chair can last you for many years, but you will need to take care of it. When purchasing a chair, do your best to get a high quality chair from a reputable source, one that takes great pride in their craftsmanship. If you are not aware of such a company, ask around, or check out Amazon.com.

Can you Return the Chair for Any Reason?

When purchasing a chair, make sure that you have at least a 30 day money back guarantee.  It’s one thing to read reviews on a given office chair, but in order to see if it will actually work for you, you need to spend some serious time in the chair yourself. Mattress companies offer this promise, why shouldn’t a company that sells office chairs?

If you purchase the chair online and have it delivered to your home or place of business, you may want to double-check to make sure that they will take it back if you are not happy with it. If it is coming from a reputable company, they may even pay for return shipping as well. Any company that is willing to pay out of their pocket for return shipping, clearly stands behind their product. How could they possibly do this? They make this offer because they are convinced that once you sit in the chair and use it for a while, that you will not want to return it for any reason.  Otherwise, they would go out of business.

Is a Standing Desk a Better Solution?

Within the last couple of years, the “standing desk” has become more and more popular. Companies are ordering these standing desks because they recognize the health benefits for their employees. Individuals are purchasing standing desks for their home offices because for the health benefits and because they are tired of sitting all day.

Advantages of a Standing Desk

Back Problems
Personally, I had the opposite problem. There was a time when I could not stand . . . anywhere . . . for more than 10 minutes without experiencing excruciating back pain. After seeing a chiropractor for a while, I am now able to stand for extended periods of time, (just not for hours at at time). As such, a standing desk just might be the perfect solution for me because it will allow me to utilize both positions while working at my desk.

Being able to stand or sit at your desk might be the ideal solution for you because you can vary your position to ensure your health and productivity. For most people, the longer you sit at your desk addressing one task, the less productive you become. This is why it’s always a good idea to get up and walk around for at least a few minutes before coming back to your desk. Instead of leaving your work, simply alternate between standing and sitting every 30 minutes or so. If you do, you’ll find yourself far more productive.

Adjustable Desk Height
Standing desks allow you to easily adjust the height of your desk to the inch. With a standing desk, you won’t have to put blocks (or checker pieces), under the feet of your desk. In fact, with some standing desks, if (or when), you get tired from standing, you can easily change the height of the desk to a pre-determined position by simply pressing a button. This way, you can stand up or sit down and continue to work without interrupting productivity.

Closing Thoughts

Using the chart provided in this article will show you the exact measurements for the chair height you should use, and the correct height for the chair armrest. Because you sit at your computer desk for well over 5 hours a day, you should take great care to ensure that you purchase a quality chair from a reputable company, be it a traditional chair, or a standing desk.

Tim Chesonis

Tim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.