What is the knob on the bottom of my office chair for?

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: August 7, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

What is the knob on the bottom of my office chair for?

Those who have just started using an office chair often wonder and ask, “What is the knob on the bottom of my office chair for?”. The short answer is that the knob is for adjusting the office chair to a more comfortable height. However, the knob can do a lot more than that. The knob adjusts not only height but tilt and tension as well.

Understanding the base of an office chair 

To understand how it works, take a look at the bottom of your office chair. This is where you will find the height adjustment mechanism. A simple turn of this knob will allow you to set the height between sitting on your seat and standing up at your desk. Hence, if you have problems with your back or leg due to standing all day long then adjust the height accordingly and sit down for some time instead of standing!

What else could this knob do?

Move along to see what other functionality this simple-looking knob has.

  1. The knob adjusts the height of your office chair. Adjust it a quarter or half turn and voila! – you are now sitting in a more comfortable position.
  2. It can be used to adjust the tilt of the backrest as well! When you are not satisfied with how your back rests on your seat, just slightly turn the knob to get rid of that uncomfortable feeling.
  3. It also regulates the tension of the backrest and seat. If you find that one part is tighter than another, take a look at this knob and see if it has been properly adjusted (or loosen it up).
What is the knob on the bottom of my office chair for? It is to help you adjust better on your office chair.
The knob under your office chair can make your sitting experience a lot more comfortable.

The knob on my office chair does not move?

If the knob under your office chair does not move then the first thing you’d want to do is to check that the chair is properly assembled. A loose screw of the wrongly placed part may cause such an issue.

If after checking out all these features you do not see any movement then make sure there is nothing obstructing it. For example, if you have a heavy bag placed on top of the base then you will not be able to adjust anything. In such situations, please move the chair away from your desk and remove the obstacle as this will allow you to use your chair properly.

Please keep in mind that there is no shortcut for adjusting an office chair other than turning this small knob up or down. Now that you know more about what it does let’s now look at how to do it!

How do I access my adjustable height mechanism?

Before explaining how to use the adjustment knob first take a quick look at your office chair and see where it is located. Is it below or directly below the seat?

Once you have found it, look at your chair from a bird’s eye view and see whether the mechanism is located on top of where you are sitting or below the base of your seat. For example, if you notice that the mechanism is located under your seat then move along to read more about how adjustable height mechanisms work.

How does an adjustable height mechanism work?

Adjustable height mechanisms differ depending on what type of office chair they are used for but all follow a simple principle – A metal tube with protruding pins inside which go through a grooved wheel at each end. 

To adjust the height of your chair, just turn the knob at the bottom. The pins on the tube will then either go through or not go through their respective grooves which in turn will make your office chair higher or lower. When you are happy with the height, lock it by pushing down a locking pin to keep your seat in that position.  

The knob under the office chair is a key component of your office chair.

What is a tilt adjustment mechanism?

If you have an adjustable backrest and control panel (like those found on Herman Miller Aeron) then this is what you will want to read about next. In the case of other models, you need not move along as they follow the same principle as explained before so continue reading!

The tilt adjustment works by using a long and flexible rod that has two protruding pins at the tip. This type of design allows you to move freely from side to side and control your backrest regardless of whether it is in a raised or lowered position!

To use it, just turn the knob on top of your seat and watch as your backrest moves with ease! Make sure to always keep this knob locked otherwise you may lose control of moving the seat.

How can you get more out of this feature?

As mentioned earlier, there are many adjustable height mechanisms available that are usually designed specifically for certain chairs. For example, some are hidden under the fabric while others are integrated into the telescopic mechanism of your seat. However, you can get the most out of this feature by getting one that is flexible and easy to use.

To begin with, if you have a chair that uses an adjustment knob then I would recommend using it instead of trying to find another method to adjust the height as they are very easy to use!

Another thing you can do is to make multiple copies of it so that you do not have to struggle using just one hand.

If you want something more sophisticated and aren’t willing to compromise on their functionality then here are a few more advanced options for adjustable height mechanisms:

The lever system which was used by Herman Miller till 2004 has been discontinued but is still available through certain manufacturers. In case you want to use it, I recommend modifying it by adding a locking pin as shown in this video (applicable if you have hollow tubes).

The telescopic tube is another option that allows you to raise or lower your seat using a crank mechanism but there is one problem – most of these mechanisms are designed for specific chairs and models so unless they were made specifically for yours then don’t purchase them.

Lastly, the hydraulic system which uses fluid power to adjust height can be found on certain models from Steelcase and Haworth. While not exactly difficult to understand how they work, I personally feel uncomfortable using something that relies on fluid (unless we’re talking about hydraulic brakes which are different).

If you have any other questions regarding height adjustment mechanisms, feel free to ask in the comments section!

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