When I learned I would be working from home for the foreseeable future, I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately order an office chair. But there I was, three months later, still sitting in an old wooden dining chair.
I finally decided to do something about it, but not wanting to spend my entire stimulus check on a Herman Miller Aeron, I went to Amazon to see its best-selling office chairs.
The two top-selling models were the Furmax Office and the BestOffice office chair. These aren’t exactly household names. But, both models had a lot in common: They both cost less than $100, have mesh backs, and offer lumbar support. And, both come in a variety of colors. Both chairs also have 4-star ratings on Amazon, with upwards of 6,000 reviews each.
But which one is best? To answer that question, I ordered both, and my wife and I spent the next week trying out both chairs to see which is the best office chair under $100.
|Seat depth||18 inches||20 inches|
|Seat width (max)||18.5-16 inches||19 inches|
|Seat height||16.5-20.5 inches||17.5-21.5 inches|
|Max weight||250 pounds||265 pounds|
A few things to note about cheap office chairs: They don’t come with all the amenities you’ll find on pricier chairs. So, for example, while you can adjust the height of these seats, you can’t adjust the arm rests or lumbar support.
BestOffice vs. Furmax: Price
The BestOffice chair is slightly more expensive than the Furmax; while it starts at $64.99 for the black model, other color options (blue, green, gray, orange, white, pink, red) cost around $75.
The Furmax starts at $54.88 for the red model, and goes up to $59.99 for most other colors.
There are eight colors available in total: Black, blue, lime green, gray, green, orange, purple, and red.
BestOffice vs. Furmax: Assembly
Both chairs took about 15 minutes to assemble; anyone who’s ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture should have no trouble putting these chairs together. The only tool you need to put them together is an Allen wrench, which was provided with each kit. The BestOffice chair came with a few extra screws, which I appreciated. Furmax’s instructions went a step further: They had a QR code on them, which led to a YouTube video showing how to assemble the chair.
BestOffice’s instructions had this sentence: “Please do not tight the screw until all screw lined up with hole and try to tight it loosely initially in all screws then tight a little bit more in all screws do not overnight one screws that will make other screw hard to tight but tight all screw firmly in the end.” These kinds of unclear, loosely translated instructions are not uncommon in budget chairs.
BestOffice vs. Furmax: Design
You can adjust the height of the BestOffice seat from 16.5 to 20.5 inches, which should be good for most desks. It also has a tension adjustment, so you can control how much the chair’s seat can tilt back. The Furmax chair has the same adjustment levers, but its seat goes from 17.5 to 21.5 inches in height.
The seat on the Furmax chair measures 20 inches deep and 19 inches wide; it maintains the same width from front to back, which makes it look a bit bulkier than the BestOffice chair.
The BestOffice chair is 18 inches wide at the front, and tapers towards the back. However, its arm rests did not angle inwards, so my thighs didn’t feel hemmed in.
BestOffice vs. Furmax: Comfort
I liked the mesh back of the BestOffice chair, which was nice and breathable and supported my lower back, but it pushed my legs a bit too far forward. I couldn’t “sink” into the chair as much as I would have liked, and it felt like there was excess pressure on my hip bones. I ended up leaning forward, so much that my back wasn’t even touching the rear of the chair, to get a more comfortable position.
The Furmax felt much better from the get-go. My lower back and legs slipped into the chair much more comfortably. I also preferred the lumbar support of the Furmax to the BestOffice chair. The Furmax has two “wings” on either side of the back, while the Best Office chair has a support that comes up from the bottom. As a result, it felt like the Furmax chair was cradling my back.
My main quibble with the Furmax chair is that the front of the armrests curved in too much, and rubbed against the sides of my legs.
I’m about 6 feet tall, so in order to see how the chairs felt on someone smaller, I had my wife, who is 5’ 3” and considerably lighter than me, try out both chairs. She really didn’t notice a difference between either chair.
Overall winner: Furmax
From price to assembly to comfort, the Furmax Office chair handily beat the BestOffice chair in my sit-off. It’s about $10 to $20 less expensive, has somewhat clearer instructions, and most importantly, was more comfortable to sit in for a day’s worth of work. So, if you’re looking for the best office chair under $100, the Furmax Office chair is the one to get.