When you work at 8-hour shift in the office, you don’t get to choose what chair you sit on. Sure you could complain to HR to get a better one, but that doesn’t always work. So in these cases, you often settle and happily leave the office to sit on your couch.
If you work at home like me, you know the importance of a good office chair. Or perhaps you’re new to the whole idea of working at home, and you are just starting to learn the true meaning of hip pain, lower back pain, and a sore butt. These excruciating or annoying pains and lessons might have head-started your journey to find the best office chair.
I’ve worked in a few in-office startups with $100 chairs that have peeling fabric that made my arms hurt, and offices I’ve worked in had some seats felt comfortable I could tell the difference in quality. What makes a good office chair is very apparent to me since I’ve been researching and testing chairs for years. If there is a chair that I would HAVE recommend to nearly anyone, If I had to without knowing what type of chair they need, it would have to be the Steelcase Leap.
|Preview||Chair||Material||Ergonomic Value||Cost||Review Link|
|OFM Posture Series||Fabric||Review|
|HON BASYX||Mesh + Fabric||Review|
|HON Endorse||Mesh + Fabric||Review|
|Herman Miller Embody||Fabric||Review|
The one good thing about having a regular office job is that if you work for a good company, chances are the chair you sit in is probably decent. Good offices that value their employees and business invest in quality furniture because they know that it increases productivity by removing discomfort. Good furniture also makes the workplace look better. So now that you work at home, why you should do anything different? You shouldn’t.
There’s this big misconception about chairs. People think that you can get a good chair for somewhere between $100-200, but if you plan on spending a solid amount of time in that chair for years to come, you might want to reconsider what your budget means. Is $900 a lot for a chair that could last you ten or twelve years? (this is the warranty on some Steelcase chairs).
Nowadays, some offices are even employing standing desks to employees that request it. (If you’re wondering about which standing desk I recommend, check this one out).
However, finding a good office chair isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s taken me years and hundreds of dollars of wasted money to find a solution that works for my home office. I’ve used and tested products ranging from $40 Amazon chairs, $150 office depot chairs, to upwards of $1000 chairs.
That’s why I am are here today to give you an ultimate bookmarkable resource that you can rely on and share with friends to help theme find their own office chairs. This guide will help you find the best office chair online so you can increase your productivity and make as much money as possible (or play video games as long as you want) without having to worry about back, butt, arm, hip, neck, or whatever-you-are-feeling-pain. Just remember, that even the best office chair still requires stretching and movement to remove all symptoms.
I want to recommend you one chair–one product, that fits you perfectly, but I know that every person reading this article has different tastes, budgets, priorities, and needs. So that’s why this article will two types of chairs–including cheap budget friendly office chairs and more expensive ergonomic office chairs.
However, before we discuss the differences in office chairs, we need to talk first about how to sit in an office chair.
There are multiple factors that you need to consider when using an office chair that help you customize your chair to fit your body and the experience at hand. Chances are the more adjustable a chair is, the better the chair will be in the long term.
This is why chairs that are super adjustable cost more money since each feature is a mechanic that needs to be built correctly and operate well over time.
How to Sit in an Office Chair
Adjustable arm length
If you like using arms with your chair, you will need some adjustable arms that can move around. With chair arms, you can get arms that go up or down (most common) side to side, or even forward and backward. The best chairs can move in each direction. When your arms are this adjustable, you can find the perfect position to put them in.
Usually, this position would be around 90 degrees with relaxed shoulders and arms that rest parallel to your desk. This makes sure that your arms get to rest throughout the day without the constant pressure on your wrist to hold them up.
For me, I find that I don’t follow standard ergonomic advice when it comes to arm chairs–since after extended use, my arms feel very stiff. So depending on how you are, arm chairs might not be super important–but the best office chairs usually have armchairs anyway (so you can just lower and slide them out of the way).
Seat height is in most chairs–fortunately so, but this is one of the most important features to have since you need a chair that can raise high enough to get your arms at a comfy distance and angle to your desk.
Also, it’s important for your knees to be slightly lower to be held at a 90% angle from your hips. You don’t want your chair to be so high that your legs are turning downward too much, or too low that your knees are higher than your hips.
Most lower-end chairs don’t let you customize the seat depth. This feature lets you slide your seat forward or backward to adjust how it hits the area underneath your legs. The ideal length for the depth of a seat is to have the end of the seat 2 or 3 fingers behind the back of your knee.
Similar to seat depth, a lot of cheaper office chairs don’t have this function either. Back firmness is necessary however in determining how much torque and force you want to be put on your back.
Do you want to be able to lean back without putting any force–or do you prefer there to be a discernible force keeping you upright?
Lastly, similar to back firmness, but a little different is a fully adjustable back. Some chairs let you lean further back than other chairs. Some lower end chairs restrict movement entirely, while higher end chairs let you recline so far back it almost feels ridiculous (some DXRacer chairs do this).
Best Ergonomic Office Chairs
Whereas the budget section of this article only includes a subset of budget-friendly chairs, this section can encompass a wider variety. The best ergonomic office chairs can function in other areas as well. These chairs are designed to be multi-function.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the best gaming office chair, the best luxury office chair, or even the best heavy duty office chair–a good ergonomic chair can and will fit the bill.
These chairs will be pricey. But despite that, don’t mistake that I don’t recognize the cost. While the other chairs mentioned in the budget section each have clear, discernible flaws due to their price–these chairs don’t.
The higher cost of the best ergonomic chairs gives higher quality in nearly every area including micro adjustments to the seat, fully adjustable lumbar support that actually supports your back, in some cases 12-year warranties, quality build construction that feels heavy duty and strong, and rear support that doesn’t flatten after a year. This is why the best ergonomic chairs make good chairs for every category. Ergonomic chair makers even make good executive chairs since they have special models that look very sharp and are designed to be used in modern offices.
In a lot of ways, picking between one of these best ergonomic chairs is a tossup since each one is a great product. To pick, you’ll have to consider a few factors like small price differences, aesthetic appeal, material design, and how each product attacks a particular problem that always presents itself after sitting for 8 hours.
#1 Steelcase Leap (Amazon Prime Compatible)
If you find that you sit in the same position all day, or you want a more tried and true product, then perhaps you will find that the Steelcase Leap is the best ergonomic office chair. Overall, this is my favorite office chair EVER since the back support hits me JUST right. It’s so simple, it’s genius. IF there is a chair that fits everyone, regardless of what I said before, it’s the Steelcase Leap.
The Steelcase Leap is one of Steelcase’s first office chairs that really took off, and since then it’s seen some cool improvements (from V1 to V2 we see great armrest improvements, sleeker design, and better adjustable back support) and it’s still one of the best office chairs today with great back support, a classy design, moveable arm rests that put some competitors to shame, and a seat that adjusts independently when you lean back keeping your body in a healthy alignment.
Check out the Steelcase Leap review!
Now if you want a more flashy ergonomic chair, perhaps consider the Herman Miller Embody. The embody is an improvement on the Herman Miller Aeron with a back that looks more like a spine than some might like.
The chair back is composed of interlocking parts that are supposed to support your back with an experience that might feel like some sort of exoskeleton.
Cool huh? Now, do you see why some of the chairs earlier might have lacking back support in comparison? You get what you pay for, and here you get a lot.
The Embody is one of the best ergonomic office chairs you can find since it comes with crazy good back support, fully adjustable arms, multiple recline options, and a “skin-like” texture that allows for excellent airflow when you’re sitting down on the seat.Plus it kind of looks like an alien seat.
This chair is a bit more pricey than the two previous mentions, and a lot of users find it’s not as comfortable over long use and that the chair cushion can degrade and leave your support to be lacking.
Check out the Herman Miller Embody Review!
If you’ve tried some of the other chairs already and weren’t satisfied, consider the Zody Task Chair (different from the Zody Chair in that it has better construction and more features). The Zody Task Chair is slightly different from the competitors in appearance.
It looks like something from Herman Miller combined with Steelcase, but the result is quite good and perhaps not as flashy for those looking to have a more conservative office chair (although some of the color schemes are very flashy).
The chair feels cushier than some other chairs, and despite the lower price, you still get some core features like adjustable arm rests, different recline positions that include a neat forward tilt position (great for typing), and great back support that supports each side of the back.
The Ergohuman is an affordably priced ergonomic chair. It might look a little funky, but that’s because the tech behind the chair’s adjustable back is very clever. With this chair, you can actually manually move the upper part of the backrest and adjust the lumbar portion as well. The back is made up of two panels instead of one. The chair also uses mesh to keep you cool, and it comes with a headrest which is a good deal for only around $624 for the entire chair!
Check out the Ergohuman Review!
Remember how I said that the Embody looked like an alien spaceship? Alright well, this best ergonomic chair looks like a steampunk masterpiece.
The Freedom is a chair that feels more like a one chair fits all sort of chair since it automatically adjusts to the user without the need to tinker with knobs or adjustments. It allows for automatic pivoting and armrests that stay with the user during recline. The designer describes the chair as a chair that just allows you to sit without the need to understand how it works.
“My idea was that, instead of sitting down and reaching for a lot of controls, that you would sit on the chair, and it would automatically balance your weight against the force required to recline.”
If you hate tinkering with knobs, or you don’t think that you need a hyper-complex customized solution like some of the other office chairs provide, the Humanscale Freedom could be a great fit since it automatically adjusts based on your weight using the law of physics.
I wouldn’t recommend this chair above the others since it has less positive reception, but it’s design and ergonomic value do have worth. I once saw and tested this chair at a company I worked for and a lot of the employees for always fighting for it. I found it better than the average chair, but I prefer the configuration options of the other chairs.
The HON Nucleus is a cleverly designed ergonomic chair for those on a budget. The chair is still a bit pricey, but the seat is very springy, and the back is very comfortable. If you ever wanted your chair to feel a bit like a hammock or a little different, this is a good choice.
Check out our full thoughts in the HON Nucleus review.
A lot of people call the Alera chair on Amazon, the “poor man’s Aeron” and that’s a fairly accurate statement. For a low price, you get a TON of adjustments and decent comfort. It’s not exactly the same, and probably won’t last you 10+ years like a Herman Miller Aeron would, but it’s a good starter ergonomic solution.
Check out the Alera chair review!
What about the Steelcase Gesture?
The Gesture is similar to the leap, and in many ways, it feels like a successor. You get the same adaptable back support–in theory, but the design looks more traditional and modern. However, I would give this chair one HUGE weakness–one that other websites and reviewers who love this chair and nominate it as the best chair fail to mention (wirecutter named it as the best chair).
That fundamental weakness is that it’s really only suited for smaller individuals since the back support feels too low for me. I’m a tall person, and it hits me in the wrong spot when I sit upright, giving me back pain almost immediately since there isn’t proper support. For a chair that claims it does it all, for everyone, it’s very disappointing.
The Steelcase Gesture product tries improves upon its predecessor (the leap) by adapting to more movements and postures. The chair itself was designed to be used if you like using different postures that aren’t always traditional. A lot of users complain that the online models don’t have adjustable back support, and I found this to be an issue as well even though the support team and Steelcase claim otherwise.
Compared to the leap, It’s also a bit sleeker, and it holds a similar price point. After using both the Leap and the Gesture for extended use, I’ve found that the main differences to be that the Gesture has well-padded seat but the back support is lacking for me completely and hits in all the wrong places. The arms are also super adjustable in any dimension unlike any chair on the market–however, I don’t use arms that much in my chairs.
Check out the Steelcase Gesture review to see my FULL thoughts.
Conclusion of the Best Ergonomic Office Chair Roundup
Thanks for making it to the end of the master guide of the best office chairs! I think that the Steelcase Leap is the best office chair, although the other options do have their own intricacies and aesthetic appeal. The cheaper budget chairs are also an option for those who can’t afford or must save up for a better long-term ergonomic solution. Let us know if you have any favorites below!
Best Cheap Office Chairs 2018 (Non-Ergonomic)
These chairs are cheap for a reason. Do not go into these chairs expecting comfort for 8 hours a day. Other reviewers and the companies behind these chairs make them out to be perfect for most uses to seem like a bargain. In some cases, they can work–as sometimes I find my friends or other coworkers are usually cheap office chairs without a complaint in the world.
For most people, or for those that experience pain while using a computer desk for long hours, these chairs are good for a few hours of day use MAX– and they will be severely limited regarding adjustability and back support as well as the quality of the materials used.
Unlike some chairs like the Steelcase Leap which have two independently adjustable units (the seat and the back can both operate and move by your body, or the Steelcase Gesture or Herman Miller Embody which adjust to many postures).
If you’re on a severe budget, you could get one of these chairs to hold you over for a year or a few months until you can save up enough money for a REAL ergonomic chair like I just mentioned.
Low-Back Mesh $44.99
Paired with this affordable desk, the Mid-Back Mesh Amazon basic chair is perfect for students who are only spending a few hours typing out a paper, or if you just plan to use it as a basic task chair for small periods of time.
Reviewers love the back support and the breathable mesh, but without armrests or ability to lean back, as well as limited adjustability, you shouldn’t be using this as an 8-hour office chair.
Mid-Back Mesh $65
If you want a similar looking chair to the Aeron Herman Miller, but don’t have $900 to plop down, you ought to consider this affordable chair. It has an adjustable seat, mesh back, back support, and is easy to assemble.
However, it does have a 225-pound weight limit and the armrests aren’t super padded. An excellent chair for basic computer use, but not the best chair to recline in or spend all day sitting in. Some users also find that the back support doesn’t help too much.
This fully adjustable chair is similar to the previous two mentions except that it has a more traditional executive chair type look. This chair comes with an upholstered black bonded leather as well as a padded seat atop dual-wheel casters that let you roll around.
Of course with chairs in this price range, you will get what you pay for, which makes this chair suited for minimal use in an office–not all day use (Amazon reviewers note the low-quality arm rests and sub-par support).
If you have a little bit more in your budget, you might want to consider getting this Mobili mesh task office chair. It’s more adjustable than the previously mentioned (and slightly cheaper) Amazon chairs. It has two flip-up armrests (very cool if you want to hide them) as well as tilt control for your back that lets you recline.
Some users claim that this chair is better than the Aeron (it tries to copy its shape and function), but I would not go into this purchase with this mindset. It’s just too cheap to compare the two chairs since this chair has limited back/lumbar support.
Even if it’s comfortable for a month if you use this chair for 8 hours a day the form will start giving your chronic aches. However, I would say this chair is good for around 2-3 hours a use a day, a few days a week, with decent comfort throughout.
Finally, our last chair to be mentioned is this semi-expensive budget office chair. Here you get more lumbar support, the ability to move and customize your seat position, as well as adjustable arm pads. In comparison to our cheaper chairs in this section–this chair has much more adjustable features.
This chair also has a dense seat cushion and the wheels don’t feel sluggish. However, a lot of users mention that the back support in this chair is lacking since there is no lumbar support. You can adjust it, but it is just mesh without any complex ergonomic foundation–and after awhile, your back will start feeling a familiar pinch or ache.