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Business Interiors | Comparisons | Seating

Office Task Chairs vs. Conference Chairs: What's the Difference?

June 4th, 2020 | 5 min. read

Office Task Chairs vs. Conference Chairs: What's the Difference?

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Do you need office chairs for a new department of employees at your company? Are you ready to upgrade the outdated chairs in your conference room?

Whatever you're looking for, it's important to understand the difference between office task chairs and conference room chairs, and when you should use one over the other. 

Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we have 140 years of industry experience in helping find everything they need for their office, including conference room chairs and office chairs. 

In this article, we'll break down conference chairs and office chairs, what they're designed to do and how they compare in the following areas: 

  • Budget
  • Functionality
  • Style and customization options
  • Size options
  • Type of use

Office Task Chairs vs. Conference Chairs: How Are They Different? 

What is an Office Chair? 


Office task chairs are used at individual workspaces, such as desks and cubicles. They're designed for everyday workplace use – eight hours a day, five days a week.  

Low-back task chairs are smaller in design, intended for shorter use and come with or without arms. Mid-back chairs are larger, have armrests and provide ergonomic support with a higher back.  

What is a Conference Chair?

Chord Conference Seating

As the name implies, conference chairs are used in conference rooms and set a uniform tone for business meetings. These chairs are simple to use because they come with static arms and limited adjustments.  

Unlike task chairs, conference chairs are not designed to support users for eight hours a day. Instead, they’re intended for short-time use, such as a weekly meeting or an employee brainstorm session. 

Office Task Chairs vs. Conference Chairs: How Do They Compare?

1. Budget 

Office Task Chair 

The price of an office task chair depends on several factors, including ergonomic features and customization options. The more features it has, the more expensive a chair will be

Office chairs are usually made with standard chair materials like fabric, mesh and vinyl. Even though some chairs have leather upholstery, this option is less popular and more expensive than other materials. 

Conference Chair 

Conference chairs have less ergonomic features than office task chairs, which we'll discuss in the next section. They're made of high-end materials like leather, metal or wood, which cost more than standard chair materials. 

2. Functionality 

Office Task Chair 

Office chairs offer a wide range of ergonomic features to support a wide range of users with different body shapes and individual seating preferences. 

Depending on the manufacturer or model, you can add adjustments and customization options to increase its functionality. Some of the most popular adjustments include: 

  • Seat depth adjustment 
  • Seat height adjustment 
  • Adjustable lumbar support 
  • Adjustable arms  
  • Adjustable swivel and tilting options  

Conference Chair 

As previously mentioned, conference chairs offer less ergonomic adjustments than office task chairs. However, the lack of adjustments is completely intentional. 

In most conference rooms, the chairs surround a larger table where people gather together for meetings. The table can look out of place or unprofessional if you see chairs adjusted differently. 

Conference chairs are also designed for short-term use, which is why they only come with standard ergonomic features such as a tilt lock backstop, seat height adjustment and non-adjusting arms. 

3. Style and Customization Options  

Office Task Chair 

With office task chairs, the customization options are seemingly never-ending. They offer a variety of customizable features, including color, upholstery and finish options. 

The level of customization can also depend on the manufacturer or model of the chair. Steelcase, as an example, has a wide range of textures, patterns and colors.

Steelcase Leap, for instance, has more than 50 different fabric colors and six leather options, and four frame finishes, including black, platinum, midnight and polished aluminum. 

By contrast, Global Factor is available in light neutrals, dark neutrals and bright colors, and only two base color options: standard nylon and polished aluminum. 

Conference Chair 

Conference chairs make up for their lack of adjustability with aesthetic appeal. Although they offer fewer customization options than office chairs, they have leather upholstery and wood finishes that are customizable. 

4. Size Options 

Office Task Chair 

Most office chairs come with either low- or mid-back heights. Typically, the higher the back on a chair, the better the amount of lumbar support it provides. 

Conference Chair 

Conference chairs usually have a higher back than office task chairs do. These chairs can also be more substantial in size to support a variety of postures and provide comfort for extended periods of use. 

5. Type of Use 

Office Task Chair 

Office task chairs are intended for everyday use. They offer ergonomic adjustments to provide all-day support and flexibility, and accommodate users of different body shapes and sizes. 

Additionally, most task chairs are designed for prolonged mobile use, so users can type on a keyboard or texting on a smartphone without compromising healthy movement. 

For example, Steelcase Gesture is built around factors like head size, head shape, neck length and desired range of motion to support a greater range of postures. 

Conference Chair 

Conference chairs are designed to work around a conference table and remain in a static position, as compared to accommodating various working positions throughout the day.  

Office Task Chairs vs. Conference Chairs: Which Chair is Right for You?  

At the end of the day, the chair you choose will depend on how you intend to use it. 

If you need a chair for everyday eight-hour use, you should go with an office task chair. They provide a variety of customization options and ergonomic features to support a wide range of users every single day. 

Conference chairs, on the other hand, are designed for conference rooms or short-term use. They're simple to use and have a higher back than office chairs, but they offer minimal adjustments and fixed armrests. 

At Egyptian, we know it can be challenging to understand the difference between office task chairs and conference room chairs. In fact, we can't tell you how many times we've seen a conference chair at a desk or cubicle. 

Fortunately, we offer an extensive portfolio of both office task chairs and conference chairs, so you can find the chair that perfectly suits you, your employees and what you need to get work done.  

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