Why Do Office Chairs Have 5 Wheels? [Answered]

Are you looking to boost your knowledge about office chairs and their wheels? You might get to know something very interesting about the normal chairs as well.

Did you know that chairs can stand on 3 legs (see here)? But 4 legged chairs are a common norm today. Why?

The office chairs have five short legs with wheels on each of them. But why do office chairs have 5 wheels?

In this article, we will address these questions in detail and also discuss some interesting things about the anatomy of office chair legs. But, before that, let’s put a glance at the general history of chairs.

Evolution of Chairs – Plain wooden pieces to chairs with wheels

Chairs of all types have reached so far in terms of their design and their efficiency of serving the assigned purpose. It is really fascinating if you think about the evolution of this piece of furniture from how it might have started to the exorbitant number of options available today.

Early humans sat on the bare ground, big rocks, wooden logs, etc. In probably the oldest form, chairs were just plain wooden pieces to save your buttocks from getting dirty on the ground. And historians believe that the much more lifted elevation we have in chairs today started in ancient Egypt where people of prominent position in the society used a throne to sit.

It is from here that the idea of the chair with 4 legs started to spread. But by common masses across the world, only bench-style chairs were used.

If we talk about the exact style of chair we have today, their journey started in 1807 in Italy. A person named Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi, who was a cabinet maker, was commissioned to make a chair inspired by the emperor-styled chairs.

Those chairs are particularly called Chiavari chairs because of the name of the region from where Descalzi belonged. Chiavari chairs set the path for chairs with so many designs we see today.

Charles Darwin, whom we know as the person who first proposed the theory of evolution is credited with the invention of chairs with wheels.

Charles Darwin chair with wheels
Image Source: Wikipedia

One day, Darwin was working (in the 1840s) and felt the need to attach wheels to his wooden chair so that he could have easier access to his stationary and tools of experiments and researches. He did it and that’s how we got the concept of task chairs.

Chairs with wheels got much popularized with an increase in cleric works and the need for an employee to sit for long hours.

Since then chairs with wheels are generally categorized under office chairs and their various types are used in formal spaces are computer chair, drafting chair, conference chair, executive chair, etc.

Apart from the wheels, a lot of features have been added to these chairs over time to enhance their comfort and movability.

The ergonomic design is to keep your spine and back health intact, the waterfall design on the seat is to keep your lower body relaxed, the adjustable armrest helps you keep your hands at your keyboard’s level. And everyone gets the purpose of 4 wheels, but why 5 Wheels?

Let’s deal with the main curiosity that brought you here.

Why Do Office Chairs Have 5 Wheels?

As we said earlier, a 3 legged chair is also stable. But one more leg is there so that, if a person shifts his weight towards one side, all the legs can support the chair better. A 3 legged chair’s center of gravity can shift even with slight pressure and the person might fall down.

Now, why do you think a person will shift its weight towards one side on a chair? Because they might be tired after sitting for a while and might want to slouch a bit.

As office chairs are meant to sit for up to 8-9 hours, they need more stability. This stability can be enhanced greatly with the 5 legs with 5 wheels.

Let’s know the importance of this 5th wheel in more detail.

Balance and Stability

Five wheels in an office chair give it better stability than 4 wheels. If there is a chair with 2 legs, it can fall on either side with a slight push. With 3 wheels, it would require little more effort as the distance between any 2 legs is shorter which has decreased the tipping line.

With the 4 legs, there is still a scope of tipping from the chair if some pressure is applied towards the line between any 2 legs of the chair. You might not fall when you shift your body weight to left or right, but there is a high chance of tipping if you lean back.

5 wheels narrow the tipping line in office chairs. It distributes the weight of the person among the legs more efficiently and minimizes the risk of the person falling down even after sitting and reclining for hours.

The back of most office chairs is adjustable. Having 5 legs and wheels at the base gives you the freedom for being relaxed for few minutes. So, even if you slouch or lie down on your chairs by adjusting the back, you will be safe.

Movability

Movability

The stability provided by the 5 wheels also improves the mobility of an office chair. One can safely roll the chair across the floor without fearing falling down.

Also, with a more stable base, one can reach out to farther parts of your table by shifting your weight ahead. The chair’s 5 legs will stop it from tipping and allow you maximum mobility.

An office chair with better mobility leads to increased productivity (study more from here). Better mobility will also be beneficial for the health of a person. It will allow him to act more freely which is the best situation for the mind to keep calm. Also, being able to rest easily will help a person deal with stress better.

Strength and Durability

strength and durability of office chair

The 5 casters and the legs give a chair more strength to lift weight and also make it durable. How? The stability brought by 5 wheels allows the distribution of weight on all 5 legs equally.

So, even if a healthy person sits on the chair, or slouch too much, the pressure is not on 1-2 legs and this gives good weight capacity to an office chair.

Durability has been a major issue with office chairs in the past and the wheels have always been a weak spot. Even with a chair from decent manufacturers, it was common for chairs to lose their casters too soon.

But now with the strength and the weight balancing, the casters do not face sudden pressure and they tend to last more.

Space

The lesser the legs are there on a rolling chair, the longer they have to make those legs in size to stop the chair from tipping. A 3 legged rolling chair will need long legs to make the chair stable. A chair with 4 wheels will have shorter legs.

Having 5 legs means that the length of the legs can be cut down further. The balancing capacity that the long legs possess can be achieved through a strong and stable 5-legged base.

This makes the office chair ideal for even confined spaces. The long legs also tend to hit things now and then especially the work table. With shorter legs, the office chair is more peaceful.

ALSO READ: Tips To Decorate The Office Desk

FAQs

Why do Office chairs have wheels?

The main reason for office chairs to have wheels is to enhance the productivity of the working person. The chairs with wheels are movable, one can reach the nearby item they need for their work quickly.

One does not have to stand up to switch on a plug beside their table or to get a file kept at the adjacent table.

Are all office chair wheels the same?

Most of the office chairs that have similar sizes can have wheels of different sizes. The size of the wheel can generally vary from 2 inches to 2.5 inches.

The wheel size of big office chairs can go up to 3 inches and some chair makers also use bigger-sized casters on regular-sized chairs. Bigger wheels are better for office chairs because they provide faster movement, tackle obstacles more easily, and can be built stronger.

Apart from the size, the wheels of the 2 chairs can also be different in terms of built design. Some chairs have a single caster while others come with a dual-caster.

Can you replace the office chair wheels?

Office chair wheels or casters can be replaced easily. Firstly, you will have to detach the old casters from the chair and check its stem type and the size of the wheel. Then you can get the new wheels from the market and install them.

Conclusion

Office chairs are the perfect balance of price and comfort level. To enhance productivity, these chairs need wheels. 4 wheels will have less stability that will hamper the comfort level and 6 wheels won’t be much helpful and only affect the price.

We hope that now you know why do office chairs have 5 wheels. They are currently the most efficient base the office chairs can have.

It also makes the chair pretty durable in comparison to the chairs with 4 wheels. We hope you’ve gathered some useful information here and to know more about office chairs and their wheels, you can read further.

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