Whether you're working from home or commuting to the office — or both — you should be sitting in one of the best office chairs. We spend so much time at work (maybe too much), so we might as well be as comfortable as possible while we're there.
But the best office chairs are about more than just comfort. By providing the right support, encouraging good posture, and conforming to your body, they can help prevent strain and injury.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (opens in new tab), "A good chair provides necessary support to the back, legs, buttocks, and arms, while reducing exposures to awkward postures, contact stress, and forceful exertions."
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.
The best office chairs you can buy today
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?
The Branch Ergonomic Chair has seven adjustment points (the height and width of the armrests, as well as how far forward you want them, seat height, backrest angle, lumbar support, and position of the seat relative to the backrest). That's not as many as you'll find on more expensive models, such as the Herman Miller Aeron, but it's more than enough for a $300 chair like the Branch. Just as important: all of these adjustment points were easy to change. There's nothing worse than struggling to get a chair to fit just right.
My only real critique of the Branch chair — if you can call it that — is that its padded seat didn't feel as comfortable as mesh seats on pricier chairs, and is not as breathable. But all in all, this chair delivers excellent value.
Read our full Branch Ergonomic Chair review
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).
The price of this chair varies based on the color you choose as well as the style — you can opt for a mid-back, high back, and drafting chair — but ranges from around $120 to $210, making it a very affordable model if you're on a budget.
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.
Read our full Flash Furniture Mid-Back office chair review.
The Herman Miller Aeron chair may be the symbol of dot-com excess, but there's a good reason for that: It is damn comfortable. I could adjust everything on this top-tier chair, including more esoteric things, like the tension of eight zones of the fabric (including the important lumbar support) and the tilt and angle of the armrests. It also supports working in two profiles: one for when you are leaning forward and another for when you are leaning back and reclining.
The mesh bottom and back of the Aeron also allowed for plenty of airflow, which was welcome on warm days when my air conditioning wasn't working as well as it should have. However, this came with a little tradeoff, as I didn't think the Aeron offered as much support as the Steelcase Leap, which has a firmer fabric bottom and back.
Check out our comparison of the Herman Miller Embody vs Aeron if you've having a hard time deciding which is best for you.
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.
Read our full Herman Miller Aeron chair review.
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.
Read our full Steelcase Leap review.
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.
I found the Hon Exposure comfortable, and liked that it had a decent number of adjustments — the arms and the height of the chair can be changed, and the lumbar support can be moved in and out to provide more or less support for your lower back. It was, however, a bit firmer than the Branch Ergonomic Chair, which also had a bit more style, and more adjustment points. To be fair, the Branch chair is also about $90 more.
In all, you can't go wrong with the Hon Exposure, but there are more exciting models out there.
Read our full Hon Exposure office chair review.
When I sat in the X-Chair X2 and turned on its optional heating and massage pad, it transported me back to the days when I would go to the mall and relax in the massage chairs at Brookstone.
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
At around $900, the X2 is not cheap; it's about the same as you'll pay for a Herman Miller Aeron. But, it's a chair that will definitely keep you comfortable — especially if you buy the massage pad.
Read our full X-Chair X2 review.
If you don't want to spend your entire stimulus check on a chair, but still want to have a comfortable seat for your rear, the Furmax could be a good option. It has a thick, padded seat and a mesh back with lumbar support, so your back won't get sweaty, but will still get the firmness it needs. According to online customers, the height of the seat can be adjusted from 19 inches to about 24 inches.
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.
Read our full Odinlake Ergo Plus 743 review.
How long should you sit?
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.
To that end, a number of experts recommend you stand up every so often. The Mayo Clinic, for example, suggests that you stand up every 30 minutes (opens in new tab), or invest in one of the best standing desks, as well as one of the best under-desk treadmills. Either way, get up and stretch your muscles. One strategy is to set a timer; some of the best smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, will also automatically remind you to move if you've been sedentary for too long. And be sure to check out our guide to the best exercises if you sit all day.
How to choose the best office chair for you
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.
Comfort is pretty easy to understand: A comfortable chair should offer a seat that is yielding but that also provides some level of firmness. It should also wick moisture so you don't get sweaty on warm days. Seats and backs made of mesh tend to fare the best in this regard.
The seat should be wide enough that people of larger stature can sit comfortably on it and not feel like they are squeezing into a kids' chair.
The armrests should be contoured for the elbow and upper arm to lean comfortably on and be made of fabric or softer material that won't jar the elbow when you bump into it.
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.
What an office chair is made of can also have a big impact on your comfort. For the most part, office chairs are covered in some sort of fabric, with padding beneath. However, some have either a mesh back or seat, which can help with airflow, and keep you cooler throughout the day. And, if you want to make a statement, there's nothing like a leather chair.
But the materials go beyond the seat itself; pricier chairs will often use more metal parts in the base and elsewhere, whereas less expensive models will have more plastic parts.
Adjustability is the other major factor. The best office chairs should allow you to tweak pretty much everything, including the following:
- Seat height
- Seat angle
- Seat depth
- Armrest height
- Armrest width
- Armrest angle
- Backrest angle
- Backrest height
That's important because every person is different; getting a chair that allows you to adjust all of these things lets you configure it to your unique body shape. Generally, the more expensive the chair, the more things you'll be able to adjust. Chairs that cost less than $100 will usually only let you change their height.
How we test the best office chairs
There's no better way — really no other way — to test an office chair unless you sit in them. To evaluate each office chair, we sit in each for a few weeks, and go about our day. We notice not just how comfortable the chair is, but how easy it is to adjust its various features.
Since no two people are the same, we test the chairs out with a 6-foot male and let other office-mates try them out to see if there are any differences when it comes to overall comfort.
We also take note of the chair's design, its appearance, and how much you can customize it; some chairs can be configured with different materials, colors, and rollers, so you can really make it your own.
Lastly, we take into account the overall cost of the chair and how it compares to others in its price range.
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