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We now know that any sustained in-chair time can be detrimental to your health, but a bad chair only adds to the problem by putting you in positions that add to long-term risk. If you have a home office, finding a chair that makes your desk time more comfortable and better for your health is a worthwhile endeavor.
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Before each round of testing, we scour manufacturer sites for new models, comb through older versions of this guide to reevaluate our picks and previous dismissals, and consult ergonomics experts for advice on what to look for in an office chair that would best support your body for short or long periods of sitting. For our last major round of testing in 2019, we used the following criteria to whittle down a field of 50 contenders to a final list of 10 to test:
Because chair comfort is such a personal thing, in our 2019 round of tests we asked staffers of various body types, from a 5-foot-2 writer to a 6-foot-2 editor, to test each chair at our New York office. Each panelist evaluated the chairs on the above criteria using a modified version of this ergonomic seating evaluation form (PDF) from Cornell University, ranking the chairs on all the criteria on a scale from 0 (unacceptable) to 10 (excellent). We also gathered long-term testing notes for the chairs that staffers had been using in our offices for months.
All testers ran the office chairs through the same basic testing gauntlet, assessing comfort, body support, adjustability, and durability. This meant sitting in the chairs while typing at computers, playing video games, writing emails, sitting through meetings, and just leaning back to think. We sat in them properly and improperly, we aggressively twisted knobs, and we wheeled them recklessly around the office for over two weeks.
More recently, over a few weeks in my home office, I did an additional round of testing three sub-$400 office chairs: the HON Convergence, the HON Ignition 2.0, and the Fully Desk Chair. Wirecutter editor Ben Keough (who is 6-foot-1) tested the HON Ignition 2.0 and the Fully Desk Chair at the same time in his home office.
Two of the newest chairs we tested came from Steelcase and Herman Miller. These chairs look sleeker and do away with most adjustments in favor of attempting to automatically conform to your body. Some people liked them, but we found in general that being able to manually fine-tune the Gesture led to greater comfort and fit for most of our testers.
The Steelcase Silq boasts an adjust-to-your-body engineering design similar to that of the Herman Miller Cosm, but we found the chair to be less comfortable for sitting for long periods of time than other, comparable chairs. The Herman Miller Sayl, specced for around the same price with more adjustments, was more popular with testers. One size C tester found that the Silq pushed them forward in an uncomfortable way and that the armrests dug into them. This chair might be better as a task chair in a conference room or if you tend to get out of your chair regularly throughout the day.
To come up with our list of the best office chairs, we've spent hundreds of hours sitting in all the chairs on this page to see how they hold up to the rigors of office life. In addition to their comfort, we also evaluate the chairs based on their design, adjustability and value to see which would be the best for you.
Of course, a good chair is just one part of a safe and productive home office. To that end, you'll also want to check out our guides to the best standing desks and the best desk lamps to make sure your work environment is comfortable and well-lit.
While sleeker than most other office chairs, there's nothing overly flashy about the Branch Ergonomic Chair, and maybe that's a good thing. Once I settled into this $300 office chair, I largely forgot about it as I sat on it while working from home. But isn't that the point of any good office chair?
One reason I liked the Flash Furniture Mid-Back office chair is that, in a sea of black and gray office chairs, it stood out with its bold blue and white color scheme (it's also available in gray, yellow, red, orange, white, and yes, black).
However, as with most budget office chairs, the Flash Furniture model isn't very adjustable - you can raise and lower the seat and adjust the tilt tension, but that's it. Still, I found it pretty comfortable when sitting for long periods of time. And, when I was ready to head home for the day, the chair's arms fold up, so that I could tuck it under my desk more easily. If you're looking for a cheap office chair that looks good, this is definitely a model to consider.
It's perhaps no surprise that all of this comes at a price, as the Aeron starts at more than $1,000. My advice is to look for sales of office furniture as companies clear out their buildings of unwanted items. You're bound to an Aeron for around $400 or less.
If you struggle with back pain, you want a chair that adjusts to you. While many chairs can be tweaked to your requirement, the Steelcase Leap takes an alternative approach: It shifts as you use it. The back bends, the lumbar support shifts and the entire chair tilts as you adjust your position; you set these by using three controls that allow you to tweak how you configure the chair for your spine, lumbar region and posture. That makes this chair a great pick for people with chronic back or spinal issues, as adjusting these controls can make a chair much more comfortable.
While the Leap has more of a traditional office chair look than the Herman Miller Aeron, I preferred the back support of the Leap, which felt a bit more firm. The Leap also comes in many more color options than the Aeron, too, so you can really personalize your home office.
The Steelcase Leap isn't cheap, though; at around $1,000, it is one of the more expensive chairs we looked at. That might be a sound investment if you use it a lot and want something that can be adjusted to suit your mood. As with the Herman Miller Aeron, it's good to look for office furniture clearance sales to see if you can get it at a discount.
The Hon Exposure is like the Honda Civic of office chairs: It's dependable, it's affordable, it gets the job done, but isn't the flashiest of seating. It costs around $200, and comes in three versions: A mesh back with fabric seat, an all-leather model, and a mesh back with leather seat. Unfortunately, the only color option is black; if you're looking for a bit more pizzaz in the same price range, check out the Flash Furniture chair, which comes in a variety of colors.
Nostalgia aside, the X2 Chair is a very slick and very comfortable office chair. Both the seat back and bottom are mesh, which provides plenty of breathability, and the chair has a ton of adjustment points, so you can get it to fit you just right. The one downside is that it took me a good while to get everything just so.
I also loved the look of the X2; it's not quite as flashy as one of the best gaming chairs, but it's not as subdued as one of the thousands of generic office chairs you can find on Amazon. It's also sturdily built: part of the frame and the base are made out of metal, which has a shiny chrome finish
The Furmax rests on five casters, so you can roll around your home office. You can adjust the incline and the overall height of this chair, but unfortunately the armrests are fixed. Then again, you can't have everything at this price. However, this chair is available in a variety of colors: There's the traditional black, but it also comes in gray, purple, red, and white.
There are lots of cheap office chairs, but which is the best office chair under $100? I tested the Furmax against the BestOffice chair, another top-ranked mesh-back chair with lumbar support on Amazon. The Furmax came out on top for comfort.
The Odinlake Ergo Plus 743 is a good balance for those who want a fully configurable mesh office chair that's still relatively affordable. At around $699, the Ergo Plus 743 is about $200 less than some comparable chairs, such as the X-Chair X2, but still offers nearly many of the same features.
We were big fans of the Ergo Plus 743's solid metal base and sturdy frame, and liked that we could adjust not only the arms, but the seat and the lumbar support and headrest as well. Our biggest quibble is that the seat material tended to grab our pants more than with other chairs when we shifted around in the seat. Otherwise, it's a great chair for the price.
Even if you have the best office chair in the world, it's unhealthy to remain seated for hours on end. A number of studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods can have negative effects on your body, such as higher rates of heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
Office chairs range widely in price, from less than $100 up to $2,000. Ultimately, you should purchase an office chair that best fits with your budget. There are two main differences between budget office chairs and more expensive models. The first is materials: Less expensive chairs will often be made with cheaper materials, and may not have as big an emphasis on design. More expensive chairs will be more fashion-forward, and will be made from more premium materials, and may even provide you more options for customization.
The second difference between low- and high-priced office chairs is adjustability. Less expensive chairs can't be adjusted as much as more expensive chairs. For instance, an office chair that costs around $100 may only let you adjust its height. As you go up in price, office chairs will have more things you can adjust, such as their arms, lumbar support, seat position, and more.
However, if you see a chair that you like that's a little out of your price range, it's worth doing some digging to see if you can find a previously owned model for less. Because of the pandemic, a lot of companies were forced to close or downsize their offices, which resulted in a lot of office equipment being sold for pennies on the dollar.
Another critical feature is lumbar support. This piece of an office chair helps you maintain the curve of your lower back, so that you don't strain yourself by sitting for long periods (not that you should). Like other parts of an office chair, this should be adjustable so that you can move it up or down, or increase or decrease the amount it pushes out. 041b061a72