Ergonomics is essentially a fancy word for fitting the user perfectly. So an ergonomic seat is one that suits your body type, preferably with adjustable rests to allow for maximum comfort.
All chairs aren't created equal, and the ergonomic variety are generally held up as some of the best in class. Here's a guide to everything you need to know before rushing into a purchase.
We've listed everything you'll need to know below, as well as five of the best available online.
What is an ‘Ergonomic’ Chair?
So, just what is an ergonomic chair exactly?
They’re highly adjustable chairs to suit any user within very broad limits. Ergonomic chairs are typically intended for those who work at a desk for eight or more hours a day. If that sounds like you, read on.
Most chairs provide some type of support, but a specialist seat will ensure that you're looking after yourself properly in the long term. They tend to be more expensive because of the added benefits and build costs, but they are available at a range of different price points. We’ve listed a few on either end of the scale, from $50.00 to $1000.00.
Some people are advised to buy one office chair with ergonomic benefits, but everybody can benefit from an ergonomic chair.
If you want to learn about more of the benefits of an ergonomic chair, check out the section at the bottom of this article. For now, let’s get started with the top five on the market at the moment.
Our Top 5 Ergonomic Chairs
IntimaTe WM Heart Swivel Mesh Ergonomic Desk Chair
Pros: Despite the terrible product name, the IntimaTe offering is a decent chair if you're operating on a tight budget. As one of the cheapest on the list, it doesn't have all of the perks you'll find in a chair that's 3x the price, but it's a damn sight better than buying a normal chair with no support. It’ll help with posture, slowly repositioning your back to fit the chair after extended use.
It's designed with lumbar support in mind, so it'll give your lower back decent support if you plan to use it regularly. The armrests are repositionable, with eight different settings to choose from. While it isn’t the best by a long shot, it’s affordable and usable.
Cons: The mesh design doesn't exactly scream luxury, while it lacks many of the features found in the mid-tier range.
Overall: It lacks the added protection and luxury of some of the other chairs on this list, but it does the job properly. For the price, you're getting more than your money's worth, and it’s a great chair if you fit the seat.
As an entry level chair, it'll keep you going for the short term, although it might be better to upgrade slightly if you're planning on using the chair constantly. Take a look at the chairs below first.
Office Star Brand Mesh 2-to-1 Synchro & Lumbar Support Managers Chair
Pros: The Office Star chair is slightly pricier, but you're paying for the inbuilt lumbar support. It’s still reasonably cheap considering what’s on offer, retailing for a fraction compared to some of the better known brands on this list.
It holds up to the rest for the most part thanks to the range of ergonomic options, which we’ll discuss below.
The arms have an impressive wingspan, making the chair a little wider, although they are optional if you'd prefer more freedom. They can also be lifted up, so it’s really down to your personal preference.
There's lockable tilt control, (for the upright position) and you can adjust the tension to best suit your unique frame. The build is sturdy, and the base and padding make it feel even sturdier. It’s a comfortable chair, and it’ll provide support during extended use.
Cons: Reports have been mixed concerning the longevity and durability of the chair, with numerous accounts of replacements around the two-year mark.
Overall: Office Star have a decent range of chairs on the market. If you want an ergonomic chair at a decent price, it’s hard to beat their sturdy offering. Nonetheless, smaller users may want to go for something a little more fitted, such as the IntimaTe chair above at half the price.
It’s not going to blow your mind, but it will help with posture and lumbar support in the long run.
BestOffice Mid Back Mesh Ergonomic Computer Desk Office Chair
Pros: BestOffice have provided a well-reviewed, cheap option, that gives nearly everybody the chance to reap the benefits of an ergonomic chair. It has tilt control and a padded headrest, as well as open air mesh for added support.
It’s by far the cheapest on this list, and you’ll struggle to find anything close to this price that won’t fall apart instantly. It’s easy to assemble and it works well during light use. As long as you accept that it’s a cheap chair and you take care of it, there should be no problems.
Cons: Of course, the cheap price ironically comes at a cost. The build quality isn’t the greatest, and it’s probably not going to last as long as the others on this list.
Overall: With this chair, there’s now no excuses not to go ergonomic. It’s worth it for the health benefits alone, even if it’s only an entry level model. $xx is still a lot of money if you’re living on the breadline, but your health also has to be considered.
You’ll have to take it for what it is, a low $xx chair with basic support.
Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair
Pros: On the other end of the pricing scale is the Herman Miller Classic Aeron Task Chair. Herman Miller is synonymous with quality seating, and you’re sure to be happy with your purchase if you go for it.
The brand is known for their ergonomic builds, and they say they've done over 20 years of research into the “science of sitting”. It's held up as one of the best chairs in the industry, with adjustable pads and quality materials ensuring the most comfortable seat possible.
You'll be supported in a range of different positions, as it adjusts to fit your form.
The chair is available in a number of different sizes and colours, and it's sure to last for longer than the cheaper chairs on this list.
Cons: The price point will inevitably scare some potential buyers away. Others were unhappy when they bought the seat, with problems ranging from the chair being “too ergonomic”, to not being worth the price.
Overall: If it's affordable for you, it's hard to say no to the Aeron. Complaints are generally few and far between, and it's held up as one of the best ergonomic chairs that money can buy.
There's a reason why it's an industry leader, and it's well worth the expenditure.
Steelcase Amia Task Chair
Pros: Steelcase have produced a chair which is sure to fit any ergonomic requirements. The Amia will contour to fit your body, allowing for a wide range of movement in the seat. That includes left to right, and front to back movement.
It'll take up to 300lbs of weight, so it's a trustworthy chair that lives up to it's name. It might be pricy, but it does come with 10 years worth of warranty from Steelcase. In other words, they're confident that it's built to last.
It's a stocky, solid chair, with the widest range of colours on the list. If you're looking for something special, it's worth checking out.
Cons: Despite the many benefits, it is a pricy chair. It's offset somewhat by the ten-year warranty, and $70 per year isn't bad at all in the long run.
Overall: There's no denying that the Steelcase is a great chair. It'll keep your body supported during use, and it's guaranteed to last for a long time. For heavier users, it's a welcome relief to know that the chair will always have your back. (Supported.)
The price brings it closer to Herman Miller products, but they're still cheap enough to be a viable alternative.
The Benefits of an Ergonomic Chair
It's possible that you've been advised to use an ergonomic chair by a medical professional. It's sound advice, because of the links to back pain and dodgy seating, but also due to the long-term health benefits associated with better chairs.
Numerous studies have shown the problems associated with inadequate seating. This ranges from lower back pain, to lower productivity due to an inability to stay focussed and seated for extended periods.
Pregnant women can stay at work for longer, (if they’d like to) while disabled workers get to enjoy the benefits as well. With that being said, ergonomic chairs will help anyone, and it’s worth trying one out to see if there’s any difference for you.
It should help to improve your posture more efficiently than a couple of years with the army, while there’s the added perk of not having to attend boot camp.
It's not just a fad, or cynical marketing by chair manufacturers to increase sales of expensive products. (*Which would be pretty dastardly.)
The word Ergonomics might sound like it derives from Latin, but it's actually Ancient Greek. The prefix ergo means work, so it makes sense that ergonomic chairs allow you to keep going for longer.
Since anyone can benefit from an ergonomic seat, it's great that they're available at all price ranges, and they're definitely worth checking out, especially if you're suffering from back pain.
As long as you feel comfortable and fully supported, that’s all that really matters.