Since you’re here, you’re probably on the lookout for a new office chair. If you're dying to click on the latest designs, hold up for a second and read on.
From durability to health benefits, we've devised a foolproof guide to help you work out which is best for you.
There's more to it than picking an office chair you like, so let's get started with the basics.
What to look for in an Office Chair:
‘Best’ is a pretty subjective term. The best chair for you might not be the most expensive, or even the best reviewed.
First off, you’ll need to decide which type of chair you want. We’ve provided a quick guide at the bottom of the article, so have a look if you’re not sure. If you already have a rough idea, you can narrow it down further by choosing which of the sections below is most important for you.
It’s easy to spout about the qualities of ergonomics, but it’s likely you already have an idea of what you want. Even so, here’s a few of the main factors to take into account before you rush to buy.
Ideally, the chair should allow users to adjust the seat height, lumbar support, armrests, head rests and various other elements to fit perfectly. Of course, that sounds like an expensive chair already, and budget tends to dictate what we prioritise.
Even so, the best office chair is the one that fits you. When you’re sitting in a chair, your feet should either be flat on the floor or on a foot rest. A perfectly adjustable chair that can't go up high or low enough for you probably won’t be a good fit in the long run.
Chairs specifically for petite users and big and tall consumers are more expensive than a standard ergonomic chair but may be necessary. No matter your size, you need to be comfortable.
As a taller man, it’s horrible when that dreaded pain starts creeping up my knees, causing me to get up and walk it off for a couple of minutes. It’s sometimes hard to sit in an office chair that isn't mine, and the cheaper options often end up hurting faster.
Durability should be high on your list of priorities when making your choice. In essence, a $300 office chair that lasts for a decade is a better deal than the $50 chair that falls apart within a year.
Regardless, it’s an expensive mistake if you decide you don’t like it six months down the line, and that’s why research is important. We also have a variety of reviews on a wide range of chairs, from the best recliners to massage chairs.
Expensive chairs will usually have decent warranty, but be sure to check the manufacturer's website for more details.
As with most consumer items, budget is generally king when it comes to choosing which is right for you. If you’re not sure what to get, we have guides for different price ranges.
As noted above, you're likely to save money in the long run if you get an expensive chair with good durability. On the other hand, you can't draw blood from a stone, so try to stick to your price range if possible.
It's arguably better to wait until you can afford a mid-tier chair. There's a law of diminishing returns when you get to the higher tiers of pricing, but mid-range options should have most of the key features above.
Choose something that’s both comfortable and practical if you can. Above all, it’s best to be malleable in terms of which chair you end up going for, and always keep in mind how much space you have available.
Lastly, a good chair can help to keep you healthy, so let’s go through some of the long-term benefits.
What do Health Experts say?
An extensive study by the Global Burden of Disease found that lower back pain caused “more disability globally than any other condition”. There were a number of socioeconomic factors in play, but that’s a worrying factoid for employers and workers alike.
Any good chair will provide lumbar support, but it’s about more than lower back pain.
It’s fairly obvious that the health benefits of a good office chair start with proper ergonomics. When someone can comfortably sit for hours, their productivity is going to be higher.
They're also less likely to develop back pain, leg cramps or repetitive stress injuries because their body is properly supported.
The Journal of Safety Research reported in 2008 that improving the ergonomics of the chairs used in an office could improve productivity by up to 17%.
Someone in a chair that doesn’t fit them will have to hunch over to see the computer screen, shift regularly to avoid aches and pains or develops problems like a stick neck that alters their body language and impacts their health.
Conversely, seats that are too long will cause back and leg strain because you can’t gain the benefit of the back rest.
The best office chair for someone with circulatory problems in their legs is one with a waterfall design that cannot put pressure on the back of the legs or knees.
According to the Journal of Safety and Research study cited above, workers experienced fewer musculoskeletal disorders, lower absenteeism and fewer errors when given good ergonomic office chairs.
A pregnant woman with an ergonomic chair may be able to work later into her pregnancy and miss less time overall, whilst avoiding unnecessary back pain.
The Various Types of Office Chair:
Also known as passive chairs, these are designed for those sitting around a conference table. They are usually minimally adjustable but highly comfortable, especially if you’re in a relaxed sitting position. They are intended to be exactly that so that your chair isn’t a distraction from the meeting.
However, the ergonomics of this type of chair are terrible if you need to work on a computer for eight hours per day.
These are chairs designed to be used by multiple users and support a specific task. Many task chairs are ergonomic chairs, but not all are. For example, drafting chairs that let someone sit in front of a drafting table and usually come with a foot support are rarely ergonomic.
These are the highly adjustable chairs to suit any user within very broad limits. These chairs are typically intended to support users who work at a desk for eight or more hours a day. Kneeling chairs can be classified as a type of ergonomic chair designed for those with problems with circulation.
These are designed for maximum style and comfort. Their hallmarks are; thicker padding for the seats and armrests, more expensive upholstery, and features the executive’s subordinates don’t get.
Executive chairs may or may not be ergonomic chairs, though they are always more adjustable than your basic office chair.
These are more basic seats that are placed opposite the executive’s chair. They provide basic, comfortable seating for a short meeting. However, their design does not properly support someone who needs to sit in front of a computer all day.
These are more basic than guest chairs. The emphasis is minimalist design and stackability. These are the chairs they put in the cafeteria so they can stack them up to for space, or pull out of storage when there will be an all-hands meeting. They only have legs, a seat and a back.
You know what a stool is.
The Best Office Chair for Your Budget
Whatever your budget, we've hand picked some of the best chairs available. If you have a rough idea of what you’re going to spend on your new chair, here’s a guide with five of the best sorted by price range.
BestOffice Mid Back Mesh Ergonomic Office Chair
At the lower end of the scale, BestOffice have a solid office chair that offers some ergonomic support. It’s competitively priced, so you're definitely getting value for money.
Of the many chairs you can find for under $100, it’s worth going for one that will keep your back and arms supported properly. So while it’s not the most attractive looking chair, it is very functional. There are a number of more aesthetically pleasing chairs available at a similar price, but it's not a good idea to sacrifice comfort for good looks.
We’ve chosen this chair because it’s more comfortable when being used for extended periods of time, and it’s more durable than your average cheaper office chair. For under $60, it’s a bargain.
Amazon also have a decent range of own brand chairs at a similar price, although a lack of ergonomic support at the low end means you might have to pay a little extra to get something comparable.
Ergonomic support at a cut price
Spring tilt control for basic movement
Sturdier than similarly priced chairs
Open air mesh back
Bestseller on Amazon
Doesn’t compare to more expensive ergonomic chairs on the market
Not the best looking chair, but worth it for the ergonomic tradeoff
HERCULES Series Black Leather Executive Swivel Chair
As the name suggests, the Hercules executive chair is made with larger users in mind. Even so, anyone can benefit from the comfort and support without pushing the 500lb capacity to the limit. It's a big, inviting seat, that looks more suited for a CEO than an executive. Whatever your job title, you'll feel like a boss as soon as you sit down.
Considering the enhanced weight capacity, the chair is incredibly sturdy. It's heavily padded, with neck support and built in lumbar support. It was specifically “designed to meet the needs of workers in 911 dispatch offices, nurses' stations, call centers, control room engineers, disc jockeys, and government personnel.”
In other words, it really is intended for intensive use, by people who are going to be sitting in the chair for long periods of time.
500 lb capacity means anyone can use the chair
Executive look will suit any office
Luxury padding for added comfort
Built in lumbar support
Double padding on the cushions
Could be a little too big for some people
Likely to make colleagues jealous
HON Ignition Series Mid-Back Work Chair - Black
The Hon Ignition chair is customisable for enhanced support and comfort, and it's built for extended use. If you want a dedicated seat for longer working hours, it's hard to do better in the mid tier range. The arms are adjustable, while you can also move the seat itself to conform to your body shape. You're sure to notice a difference in the long term when compared to cheaper options.
The Ignition might seem like a souped up version of the first chair on our list, but you do get bang for your buck. The basic version comes with Synchro Tilt control, and adjustable seat depth is a godsend when your legs begin to ache. There are three sizes to choose from to best suit your spine, along with a range of tilt features on different models. The back is also adjustable to further compliment your natural sitting position. The chair comes with full lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer, as they’re confident in the high quality of the materials used.
So if you want a mid-range chair with all of the features of something a little more expensive, you can’t go wrong with the Hon Ignition. (Just make sure to get the one that fits you best.)
Breathable mesh back
Adjustable arms and back for a better fit
Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA
Extended warranty, more information here
Some assembly is required
No choice of colours
Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair
When it comes to quality chairs, Herman Miller is known as one of the best brands in the business. Their range is highly desirable, and you can't go wrong with their iconic task chair.
The Classic Aeron task chair is one of the best money can buy, and it offers some of the most extensive ergonomic support you can find. It has a number of fully adjustable parts, and it's deceptively wide and large. Despite the price tag, it's reasonably understated, and will complement any home or office set up. It's available in a range of colours, and there’s a total of three different sizes to choose from.
It works in numerous positions, aligning with your movement while working. It should boost your productivity if you have trouble staying seated.
It might be expensive, but it’s hardly an extravagance. Many professionals swear by the Aeron chair, and it’s well reviewed on Amazon. If you’d like to find out more, we also have a dedicated review available.
Great design and longevity - comes with twelve years worth of enhanced warranty from the manufacturer
Design works to distribute pressure while seated
Sleek and comfortable
Entry level Herman Miller chair
Herman Miller Embody Chair
We've got another chair by Herman Miller to round off the list. While the Embody is slightly more expensive than the Aeron chair, the difference in price is understandable. Like others on the list, it's built for extended use, and it's designed to “improve both health and focus” in the long term. It’s also a later model compared to the Aeron chair, with a number of improvements in the overall build and design.
It focuses on posture support and working in a number of different positions, helping to prevent and alleviate back pain and other similar problems. It also promises to improve productivity compared to a normal chair, given the amount of time you can stay seated comfortably. The Embody chair also works to improve circulation, which should allow for better focus.
Back and lower spine support are provided in the form of all of the adjustable controls and settings that you’d expect from a high end chair, but they’ve been utilised expertly to draw out maximum comfort at the same time. The chair comes fully assembled, with a graphite finish on the base and frame. With 16 colours to choose from, it's easy to find one that’ll suit you.
If you want the very best, it’s hard to do better than the Embody chair. It might be a little pricy, but you’ll reap the benefits after a few months of use.
Iconic chair, known for enhanced comfort and support
Back support works to align to your natural curvature
Twelve years worth of enhanced warranty
Designed for extended use
So there you have it. Five of the best chairs sorted by price range. As you can see, there are great products on both end of the scale, with lots of quality in between.
Everybody deserves to sit in a nice chair, and it's important to choose wisely. If you’re planning on spending extended periods in the chair, comfort is king, so make sure to get the right type that fits you perfectly.
It’s easier to make the right choice the first time, so do your research, and don’t skimp on pricing if possible. If you are planning on cheaping out, there are always exceptions to the rule about pricing. (But they’re often few and far between.)
So get the best fitting chair within your price range, and you're unlikely to go wrong.