How to Adjust Tilt Tension on Office Chair (Pro Tips)

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: February 18, 2022

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How to Adjust Tilt Tension on Office Chair

Did you know your body weight is the primary determinant of how much tilt tension you need? While lighter users need this setting somewhat loose, heavier folks have to tighten their tilting mechanisms.

An overly tightened tilt tension setting wears you out when you try rocking or reclining, while a loose one feels like you’ll fall backward.

Learn below how to adjust tilt tension on office chair in a few steps.

You adjust tilt tension on office chair by rotating the dial left to loosen and otherwise when tightening. However, these mechanisms vary, so you fix the tension on your office chair based on its functionality. In fact, some have this setting at the front while others at the center.

Table of Contents

How to Adjust Tilt Tension on Office Chair

Locate your tilt tension control at the chair’s base. Note that there’s a tilt tension control and the tilt lock feature, so pick the right one.

The tension control loosens tilt tension with a clockwise turn and tightens it when turned to the right. This feature allows you to modify the tilting tension to achieve an optimal sitting position.

With the tension set, focus on your alignment. Your feet shouldn’t struggle to stay firmly planted. Relax your back on the backrest and leave two inches between the chair seat and your knees’ backs.

How Do I Fix The Tension on My Office Chair?

Now, the tilt tension control varies in positions on different desk chairs. Similarly, the way different mechanisms operate contrasts, with some mechanisms giving you an easier time to rock or recline than others.

An office chair with tilting abilities usually has one of these techniques below.

Swivel/Center Tilt

Office chairs with swivel or center-tilt are the most widespread. As implied, this mechanism reclines from the seat’s center. While reclining, the chair’s backrest and seat maintain the same inclination.

This technique functions from your chair’s core. Because most of your weight leans on the chair’s front side of the chair, it’s challenging to rock back and recline.

This chair style has both tilt lock and tilt tension mechanisms but usually only includes a vertical lock position.

Knee Tilt

While not as popular as swivel versions, chairs from mid to high-end usually have this feature. The chair reclines behind the knees rather than in the middle in this system. Hence, it makes rocking and reclining simpler.

Moreover, the knee tilt chair’s center of gravity helps keep the feet on the ground.

Synchro-tilt Operation

Synchronized tilting is a popular choice and is typically available on average to premium office chairs. This mechanism allows your seat pan and backrest to rock or recline at different angles. However, the backrest often reclines twice as much as your seat.

While maintaining your feet firmly on the ground, synchro tilting allows reclining in a regular position. So you may rock comfortably and enhance blood circulation.

Most synchro-tilt desk chairs have two knobs. The right dial controls tilt tension while the left controls tilt lock.

Forward Tilt

Like synchro and knee-tilt, forward tilt is common on mid to top-priced chairs. It lets you tilt your seat forward instead of maintaining it parallel to the floor. This function works excellent in providing a more upright stance.

The mechanism offers ample back support while ensuring overall proper ergonomics.

Multipurpose Mechanism

Chairs with multifunction abilities work like swivel-tilt chairs. So, to reline or rock, your feet must rise off the floor.

However, this operation allows locking in all reclined positions, even the forward tilt position, unlike the swivel tilt. Plus, multifunction office chairs have adjustable backrests.

Weight-Activated/Mechanism-Free Tilting

These are the rarest. Unlike the other chairs, mechanism-free tilt chairs only include seat height adjustability. Weight-activated systems automatically adjust their recline resistance to keep you in an optimal position.

Lesser capabilities make it a minimalistic and lightweight option often included in top-tier units. Top-tier units, though, make come at a higher cost. 


What Does a Tilt Tension Knob Do?

A tilt tension knob controls your chair’s resistance as you recline or rock. The resistance reduces when you turn it to the right, allowing you to recline with ease. On the other hand, turning it anticlockwise stiffens your chair up, making you use more strength to recline.

How Do You Tilt Lock an Office Chair?

You tilt lock an office chair by pushing the tilt lock lever, often on your seat’ underside. Pull out your tilt lock control when you need to adjust the tilt angle.

It’s best to use the tilt lock when engaging in similar activities over extended periods. This way, you don’t have to adjust your chair often.

How Do I Make My Office Chair Not Lean Back?

You make your office chair not lean back by repairing or adjusting the component causing this issue. For instance, your chair leaning back may imply loose tilt tension. So, you need to turn the chair to the right to make it firmer.

Other probable areas to address are broken wheels or a loose seat pan. Here, replace the wheels or tighten your seat pad.


Learning how to adjust tilt tension on office chair is one element and achieving a good posture is another. While your chair may have an optimal resistance level, failure to sit properly counters the benefits adjusting your chair should help you achieve.

The tilt control dial for your desk chair is under the seat. Push it down to tilt your seat forward. When focusing on work, tilting forward enhances blood circulation in your leg muscles, preventing potential clots. It also ensures strong leg muscles.

Tilt your seat backward, then release the control knob. Leave your feet down and slightly recline your office chair. This helps you relax by transferring weight to your backrest.


  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith is the founder of CozySeating, is a father of 2, and an engineer from one of the leading furniture stores in the country. Due to his 10 years of experience, he has proved to be the best person to offer advice to clients regarding different seating furniture based on their needs and performance. Besides, he is a specialist in product reviews and always keeps up with the current trends in the market.

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