Armrests have a major impact on the usability of a chair, so choosing the right type is a decision that should be thoughtfully considered.
There are three primary types of armrests: 1) Adjustable; 2) Fixed; and 3) Flip-Up. Each type has their own advantages and faults, depending on how you plan to use your chair.
1. Adjustable Armrests
Adjustable armrests can be individually raised and lowered and some can also be turned in or out at an angle.
Pro: The freedom to quickly adjust them to your liking at any time makes them very popular on gaming chairs, as well as some office task chairs.
Con: They are often more expensive than the other types of armrests and have more mechanical components.
2. Fixed Armrests
Fixed armrests are set at a single height and angle, and are often used as part of task and executive chair frames by connecting the seat and backrest.
Pro: They are cheaper and simpler, with no moving parts, making them a good option if you don’t do work or activities that require you to adjust the positions of your arms.
Con: You can’t adjust the positions of your arms and you might have to lower the chair height to fit under a low desk.
3. Flip-Up Armrests
Flip-up armrests are attached with rotating hinges that allow you to flip them vertically at a 90º angle.
Pro: Useful for getting armrests out of the way to roll a chair under a low desk or for performing activities which require lap space, like playing an instrument.
Con: Flip-up armrests aren't fully adjustable.
Most modern office, executive, and gaming chairs have armrests, but there are alternative chair types, like Kneeling Chairs that do not have any armrests.